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A Web-log

Blogs end year wrap up

It is very surprising to know that I started this blog on 5th December 2012. At that time I was at the end of my masters degree and though to go through and commit what I have been thinking for a long time. To have another blog for casual stuff.

Unfortunately the technical blog has almost stopped, as it is really difficult to get enough time to write a solid piece of post. Although it is not fully true. I am still not giving up on that, as it is my main blog.

The other blog gets a pretty good and stable amount of views, though it has declined a little bit, which I found out after doing some analysis on the blog traffic. This is not surprising though, as I have failed to do what it takes to maintain a blog. Fortunately the content does not age, the contents has no relation to time, therefore I am still able to get a constant amount of traffic. There are two peaks every year, and both the time are at end semester. Read the rest of this entry »

The trusted (?) taxi

This happened a long time ago, more than a year ago. I reached Bengaluru airport at around 12:00 am or around such time. I wanted to immediately reach my room and try getting some sleep before the next working day starts.

Although at that time there would be no traffic, but I did not want to push through the airport bus crowd. Therefore I took a taxi. These airport taxis are very good and you pay whatever it is on the meter, along with a receipt.

I got into the taxi and told the destination. It is around 40 kilometers from the airport, therefore it is time to relax for around an hour. Nothing to do except occasionally check if we are taking the correct turns, although these guys follows google maps, and always follows the direction which was discussed before boarding the taxi, or whatever you tell.

After I got down, I gave him two 500 Rupees note. The fare is generally on the range of 800 ~ 900 Rupees. At that day too, the bill was around 800 Rupees, as far as I remember.

He told me that he does not have enough notes to give me the balance change. This kind of situation is very common to trick the passenger to not give the money back. Many people won’t spend the time and effort to make change and just let the driver keep the money. Or, it can also be the case that the driver really has no change, a pretty viable situation.

I did not have change either. I called a person in my apartment and asked him to keep some 100 Rupees note ready. Then I told the taxi person to wait here or come with me and I will give him the exact fare. He replied that he cannot leave the car as there was no parking, and he will not let me go without paying. Fair enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Vacuuming up memory

Yesterday I was cleaning the house as normal. I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I was not fully awake while I was cleaning the house before going for work. I finished the kitchen, the hall, the living room,, and at last at my room.

There is a red coloured rag in my room which can collect some real good dirt. But, a SanDisk micro SD card also has a red and black colour!

I was cleaning my room, and there was a piece of paper on the rag. I moved the vacuum brush on it. But! As I started to move the brush on it, inside my mind,, my reaction was:   “Shit!!!” . I knew that it was my un-backedup microSD card! Muscle memory moved my arm and sucked in the card. *Clicketly clickety clik clickety clieck”.

Shit!! I powered off the Hoover. Opened the device, took off the bag.  Damn! It was  fortunate that I noticed that my microSD card, which fell out of my wallet was sucked into the vacuum cleaner device, but there is a difficult task ahead.

I was completely exhausted and very sleepy, therefore I searched for new bags in the store. There was none. That means, I cannot cut the bag with a pair or scissors, but have to dig every bit out. Therefore I started to dig every bit out. This was a painful 45 minutes task, which involved pulling whatever was in the vacuum cleaner bag and check it in detail if there was a microSD card somewhere.

I emptied the bag. No sign  of the microSD card. I went through the trash manually (which was mostly carpet fiber and dog hair), still no sign.

When the bag was empty, for the last chance, i shook the bag violently (as I couldn’t cut the bag), and ….. miracle. The microSD card appeared !!!

Relief !

It’s now in a more secure place 😀


Mixer taps

Mixer tap temperature control is a version of tuning a radio for an AM radio station, and trying to get the best audio quality. The only difference is that where you get penalised if you do a mistake if you make a mistake with the taps. I am sure everyone knows about this fact and sometimes it can be a little bit annoying when planning to take a really long shower.

There are essentially four types of such devices to mix hot and cold water I have encountered, which are as follows.

  • Two different taps, one for hot and one for cold, commonly found in old houses in the UK.
  • Two separate taps,one controlling the hot water flow another the cold but has one tap nozzle.
  • Those taps where the vertical position of the tap head extension is neutral, and right is for cold and left is for right (or the opposite).
  • The electronic ones which has a constant temperature water, which is often good enough, along with the electrically heated showers with electronic temperature controller.

My issue is for the showers only, because the water is pouring all over you. If it is cold, it feels like a shock, if it hot, it feels like fire. I have mostly used the ones with the two separate taps to tune the proper temperature of the water while taking a shower. This is a science to keep the temperature at a constant value. Also if you make a setup the fist day, it may not work the next day, as the temperature of the hot water may not be the same as the last day.

The process goes something like this, first make sure the water is heated for enough time so it really hot. Next, open the hot water tap and let the cold water in the pipe drain out. Next try to find the comfortable temperature by adjusting the tap for cold water. It sounds easy, and it is easy, but there are some challenges.

Once you are in the shower for some time, the temperature of the water may change. It can start to become colder, or warmer, depending on the temperature of the hot water, or a breeze from somewhere (a slightly open window). Then you reach for one of the taps, and this is tricky. The setting is delicate. You have to rotate the tap knob, but the rotation should be so minuscule that you should not feel that it has rotated. If you have rotated a bit too much, it can end up freezing you or burning you. When I tell burn, it is literal. Therefore, at that time, it requires focus, and a very delicate series of very minuscule rotations of the taps to get the right temperature. Read the rest of this entry »

Bank scam call

Here is yet another scam, I experienced a couple of months ago.

I arrived at Bangalore a couple of months ago and unblocked my phone number which I blocked before leaving. I was trying to take some good amount of rest, as I was really tired, as this time cabin baggage weighed more than the check in luggage, half a kilo more, (I was expecting a fine, but it was okay for them), and it was a long flight. I was sleeping like dead. The mobile phone rang. I just unblocked the phone and it is strange to get calls, maybe some friend who knew I have arrived, just trying out the number? The screen showed an unknown strange number, which is not those recognisable support center, sales or call center phone number patterns. I received the call.

“Hello sir, we are calling in regard to your bank debit card.”, the woman said something like that. I replied “hm.”, as that was the most I could speak at that moment. “Sir, your bank account will be soon blocked as there is no sufficient funds in your account … do you want to keep debit card or cancel it?”.  It took a few seconds to fully open my eyes, and actually wake up to function. I sat on the bed, put on my spectacles and asked her, “I didn’t get you, can you repeat that for me please?” . She repeated the previous statement with in a more elaborate fashion. I told,”I don’t want it to be blocked.”. Next, she asked something like this, “Sir you need to give the card number to us to do the processing and update your card to stop it being disabled.”. Read the rest of this entry »

Blown in the wind

I was going home at a very cold and windy night. Technically it was morning though. The temperature plummeted below zero, the strong wind and the very light drizzle made it unimaginably cold for me. Therefore before leaving my desk, I put enough layers on me. It’s a three and a half kilometer walk.

That day I also wore a pair of gloves. While on the way I took a few pictures of a nearby landmark, which I do almost every night. Though the gloves came with metal mesh on the finger tips of the index finger and the thumb, but as everyone knows, operating anything with the gloves on is clumsy. Therefore I took off the glove from my right hand and kept in the left pocket of the jacket, as the right one already had a music player in it.

After taking a couple of picture, and started walking while flicking through the album and put the phone in my pocket, and then continued to walk. Instead of putting on the glove, I proceeded to walk. After quite some time, when my hand start to become cold, I reached for the glove on the right pocket, but it seemed to be not there! Read the rest of this entry »

Benefit of doubt

I was waiting for the underground train, around a year ago at my home city. While waiting for the train to arrive, I was thinking something. Suddenly a man approached me.

He was short, dark, and much elder than me. He was wearing old  trousers and an unstuckd shirt, both of which looked very old and faded too. He had a certain type of necklace made out of a certain type of beads, and a red Tilak on his forehead, which indicated he possibly is some kind of a devotee to a specific goddess.

He told me that he was in a trouble, and he was new in the city and lives far from here in a rural area in our state. His accent also indicated he was from that region of the state. Then he asked me if I can help him somehow. He was very polite and gentle.

I would most of the time just absolutely ignore such things, given the number of scams going on (both outside and inside). Sometimes I offer them to help my taking them to the nearest police assistance center. Although, a very few times I do go with the situation and actually believe that the other person is true. For example here Frauds in the city.

This time I decided, okay he may be new here and wanted directions or whatever, because I have seen people from different places coming first time in this city and getting lost (they will typically have no smart phones, so no GPS and stuff). Sometimes some people will one piece of paper with an address written on it. Next the man asked me if I could give 7.50 Rupees for the bus ride from where he will get down, as he lost his purse. Read the rest of this entry »

The “gentle” thief

This happened long ago, possibly 14 ~ 15 years ago, but I remember this very clearly, because this was a very new experience for me at that time.

I was in a toy shop with my mother one evening. The toy shop also sold a few different cosmetics in a corner where a a few women were trying out some products. This was a pretty old shop run by an old man, which we often visited.

A certain girl who seemed to be from a well to do family (as per current “society standards”), who was way older than me (as she was twice as tall), was opening nail-polish bottles and applying on her nails to test the colours and how it looks. The old man told not to break the the seals of the nail-polish bottles to test them, instead he told her to let him know so that he could get the samples out. The girl told okay, but as the sample set did not have all the colours, she anyways continued breaking the seals anyway. At a point of time all her finger nails were coloured.

The old man was very busy attending the others, and a few others were waiting to get attended along with us. The old man once again requested not to break the seal, as products with broken seal will not be sold. The girl was very rude and taunted the old man told (when translated) something like “I need to test things before I buy, isn’t it? There are shops who fool people and sell bad products”. Although this is kind of a valid statement, but the way it was told this was very indicative and disrespectful for the old man. She told it softly, but the tone and indication was otherwise. The old man happly replied that if there is any defect with the product, she may bring it to the shop and get the money back.

The girl had two more girls accompanying her. I was observing what they were doing. They were talking within themselves and now her friends were trying out the nail-polishes. The old man was getting very upset as almost all of the nail-polish bottle seals were broken. So he requested yet again politely and re-stated the cause why he is telling not to break the seal and tried to take the box down. Now the girl told very loudly so that everyone can hear, and it was something like, “Oh, you will not even see the products we buy?”. Till this point the people who were not following this, would have thought that the old man was the one who was creating the trouble. Then the girl told a few other stuffs which embarrassed the old man. Most interestingly, she actually has not “misbehaved” superficially.

Next the old man went to the other corner of the counter. Now what I saw was important, and at that time I was absolutely stunned to experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Window seat without a window

Depending on how long the flight is and if I am flying in a series of connecting flights, I will select a window seat or an aisle seat (the middle seats are terrible). In a big aircraft like Boeing 747s which have 10 seats per row (divided in a 3, 4, 3 groups) the middle two seats of the of 4 seats are the worst. Window seats are when you empty your bladder and want to get into a cave and not move until you reach the destination. Although the aisle will be in easy access for the aisle seats and you can easily get out when de-boarding the aircraft, but you also need to get up whenever the other two people wants to use the bathroom or for whatever cause. There are tradeoffs.

My general rule is, for short flights (upto 2 hours) aisle seat, and for long flights, window seats. Other seats are forbidden.

Selecting seats sometimes can  be a gamble. If you select the a seat in the middle group of 4 seats (D, E, F, G), and the flight is relatively empty, and your row happens to be empty or only one more person, you can unfold the hand rests and sleep properly using three seats. Else, the window seats are the best for sleeping. Once you get into the cave (the window seat), put down the window shades, and sleep. The only problem is the shades are a bit further away than the walls, so using the shades as the support for the head can be a bit difficult. For that a pillow or your jacket can be used to fill that gap, and it works well. Though with a window one can sometimes enjoy the outside view (sometimes). For long flights, it can be intense sunlight shining on the face, or just white stuff flying around while you sleep.

This time (for my stupidity) I selected a window seat, but without a window. There are a few seats on the window side without the windows, while checking in, I did not notice this fact. When I sat on my seat, and tried to put the window shades up, I discovered that there is no window shade, and then I found that there is no damn window.

Although I was not expecting this, but it had a big positive aspect. As there was no window, then wall is much closer to me, and I can actually rest my head against the wall. With the given pillow it’s even more comfortable. Although I cannot see outside (which I did not want to in this occasion), I could at least get a comfortable place to rest my head and sleep well to avoid the jet-lagged. Also, as the middle seat was empty and the person at the aisle seat was dead, I got to use two seats, which added up leg space.

Actually, I might prefer this seat location in future flights, when I want to sleep well on an aircraft.

Writer’s block

All the blogs have stagnated, any other type of writing has also stopped, except occasional writing for academia (that has to be done without any choice). Academic writing is very different than writing non-academic stuffs like this. Also, as English is not by first language, therefore there is a severe limitation while expressing the thoughts. Even if they are expressed the vocabulary and the sentence constructions would be at least uninteresting, if not funny.

“Today, cups of coffee were ordered and consumed by us. After which everyone returned to their corresponding desks and resumed work. Later a friend [reference1] stopped by my desk [reference2], which lead us to a five minute long conversation, in which she reported that the coffee was significantly (with 95% confidence) better in the present day than the previous day.”

The above paragraph does not read well. In fact, it reads like shit. Though this is my best production.

Recently, I took a vocabulary check in Facebook. Which showed some words, and asked synonyms and antonyms. I started well, and was going strong. Later they started to give words which one would only use when studying for GRE or TOEFL or equivalent tests. I ended up with a result which told, I have a vocabulary of a 10 years old child in the United States of America.

Though I can still post photos, which I am doing (in a very low pace), but I do not shift my daily schedule much. It’s mostly between the place where I stay and the place where I work. In a few occasions I do go in different places, but when I return back I realize “Damn! I didn’t take a single picture”. Sometimes when I do remember to take a few pictures, when posting I realize “Damn! This is a crappy picture”. The photographer’s block maybe? Though a photo-clicker is a more appropriate term.

What about the other blog, there are mostly technical stuff? In short, it takes way too much time to produce one post. There are several posts which took far more effort and time, than what I have invested in an academic conference (unsatisfying, disappointing) research paper. This is because, the only motive is to produce something unique and of quality. Laziness. Laziness engulfs me. A few crisp drafts along with me, are sitting down on the bed of Laziness.

What about academic writing? You cry internally while you write. This is because you know that the work was incomplete/inaccurate/disappointing/unsatisfactory/valueless/lol-ish , but; you still have to write it down. Though I support writing down intermediate and shitty things modestly and in a straight forward manner. Though I like writing in third person, it’s fun! “The experiment was done using ….” , Yes, the experiment was done, but no one knows who did it 😀 . When you get a feedback , “hey! your results doesn’t make any sense” , we can go “We don’t know anything, the experiment was just done, we don’t know who did it.”

That is it a total of 500 words.