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Showing posts from August, 2013

Inferno - travellogue and Jason Bourne combined

As someone who has read all of Dan Brown's novels, I could not help check out Inferno, his latest work.

Inferno brings back Robert Langdon epitomized by The Da Vinci Code - the book and the movie.  Thanks to the movie, most of us visualize Langdon as Tom Hanks!  
Inferno finds Langdon in a hospital bed - not able to remember how he landed there.  An inspiration from Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity?  Needless to say, there are killers after him.  And like in other adventures of Langdon, there is a pretty lady for company. 
The action this time starts in Florence.  After an exhaustive (if not exhausting) narrative of the various landmarks in Florence (relevant to the novel), with a lot of Italian dialogues to boot, we are transported by a large boat - where else - to Venice!  The bad guys (are they indeed bad?) are not too far behind, but our hero is always one step ahead. 
There is always a clue to solve and this time it is Dante's Inferno which is the reference point …

The weekend drive to Coimbatore

It was a long weekend on account of Independence Day and Varamahalakshmi.   The original plan was to rent an Innova and go to Coimbatore along with a friend and his family.  That plan did not materialize. I spent 45 minutes trying to get a tatkal ticket in vain.  Since we had committed to the trip and didn't want to disappoint our relatives, we decided to drive down.  We had done this multiple times, but always had some company to share the driving.

It was a 380km from home to home.   We decided to start early by 5 AM to avoid the weekend traffic.  It was close to 5.30 AM when we actually started.  Once we crossed Hosur, we could see a lot of road work happening - mostly flyovers in junctions.   In the process, we missed the A2B, which comes before Krishnagiri.  In any case, it was too early to stop, with our little one fast asleep.  It was close to Salem that we finally stopped - around 8.30 AM.  Past Salem, more signs of road work - it appeared that nothing had changed in 3 yea…

Thalaiva and the ban

When I saw the news this morning "Thalaiva runs into controversy", my first thought was about one of the songs in the recent Hindi release of Shah Rukh Khan, Chennai Express.   I saw the song Lungi dance in one of the music channels the other day.  The song hero-worshipped Rajnikanth, calling him "Thalaivar" ( and then broke into the typical bump-and-grind routine.  The lyrics referred to lifting the lungi and dancing.. yet another instance of nonsensical lyrics.

Anyway, so I thought the song ran into controversy in Tamil Nadu and got banned.  But no, wait, that was not the case.  This was about the movie Thalaiva starring Vijay, a popular Tamil actor.  Apparently, many theatres had received bomb threats due to which the movie was released everywhere but in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.  The news report claimed that there was a political angle to it, with a particular line in the movie being against the current Government.

Coming on the heels of the ban on Vishwaroo…

Continuous integration for phonegap android application

A few days back I wrote about getting started with Phonegap applications.

As a strong proponent of automated builds and continuous integration, it was imperative that I automate the building of a phonegap application that we were developing for android platform.

We were already set up with jenkins on a RHEL 6 cloud instance and I was prepared to write necessary scripts.   The first order of duty was to set up the linux box to build phonegap apps.  The steps are pretty much the same as it is for Windows, except for the installation of Android SDK.  I did phase some tricky issues which I will document in a separate write-up.
We were building an application in phonegap which would work fine on mobile browsers as well as as a native android application.  To this extent, we needed to 
a) deploy the relevant files to the web server b) create an android release build for testing.
The web server deployment is straightforward - just copying over a bunch of html/css/js files.   So the problem …

The DND sham

I keep getting phone calls from numbers starting with 1409.  Most of them are on "behalf of" Citibank - asking me to take either their credit cards or personal loans.   Ironically I am a Citibank (savings bank) account holder for more than 15 years. 
Since I did not want to take things lying down, I checked if there was a DND (Do not Disturb) facility that Citibank provided.  And would you believe it - they had.  I registered a few weeks back.
If you think that was the end of it, hell, no!  The calls probably stopped for a week or so, but resumed.  
I am back to getting a call per day and have sent a message from my online account.  I am waiting to see how they respond.
What is absolutely disgusting is the call for the same thing from the same people multiple times.  Has there been any study indicating that such tactics help get customers? 
I have nothing against the callers and am sympathetic, but it is hard to maintain composure when yet another call comes in the middle o…

How I almost lost my iPhone

The short version.

I misplaced my iPhone in a grocery shop.  I realized it as I was driving.  I went back and the shopkeeper had kept the phone safely.  All is well.

The long version.

It was a rainly monsoon evening.  The start of the month meant some grocery shopping.  Parking my two wheeler close to Noble Super Market in Thippasandra, I wandered in with my backpack on my back.  The guy at the entrance kept my helmet but allowed the bag in when I mentioned the magical word - it had laptop.

I had a list and got the items one by one.  I made a call to clarify a couple of items, but could not reach my better half.  I made some assumptions (which turned out to be right) and went ahead.

Interestingly the shop was not too crowded and the billing did not take much time.  As I did not carry a bag, I had to pay for the "carry bag".  I need to remember to bring my own bag next time (as I do in case of Reliance Fresh).

A few customers were gathered around the payment section.  The cr…