Ring Level 0

A Web-log

Tag: writing

Strong Winds

Last day I needed to go for an appointment early in the morning, but, I would have been happier if I didn’t have to go, as I did not sleep well a few days. Also, when I woke up, the predictions were the winds might go upto 60 Kilometers per hour. I had to get up.

Last night the predictions were not that severe, so I left the windproof jacket hanging on my desk’s chair. Therefore I went out with whatever I had to reach my desk to to get the outer shell from the chair. Also, I left with just my sandals last night, so I got my shoes as well, which was under my desk.

It was truly very windy. I am not a very heavy person, possibly the lightest person within my age-group. Still, people were performing Michael Jackson moves due to the wind, and sometimes being pushed backwards as the wind was too strong to beat and go forward. At a point, I couldn’t just proceed and had to hide behind a wall for a minute, before pushing through the wind again.

There was another problem, the wind was so strong the rain was hitting the people almost horizontally. The estimated feel was around -2 degree Celsius at that time, so it was not that enjoyable. I needed to get to the bus stop and then get a bus. My trousers were all wet till that time. Fortunately I had a track pant kind of stuff underneath  which was still dry.

After that, the cloud cover started to move and such a surreal scene was revealed. Therefore the picture, while still struggling to stand due to the wind.

Afterwards, the weather fluctuated like crazy. For example, it was raining when I got into the bathroom, when I came out it was bright sun without any trace of rain. That’s not surprising, given the country.

Here is another picture when the cloud cover removed and while I was waiting for the bus.

Audio Cassette

A lot of the young (or younger) people these days does not know what a cassette is. It is something like this.img_20170129_110154878

 

It has a tape with a kind of a magnetic layer on it which has music (data) encoded on it.

In an audio cassette, you have to play from the beginning, and you cannot just skip to the next song. You  fast forward the player, so that the tape reel rotates fast, and then stop the fast forward and play  it to check if  you have stopped in the correct place. Although there were some high end players which can sense the silence between the two adjacent tracks and stop it automatically, but seeking to the next song was purely a skill. Also, no random jumping, just sequential. This cassette has 11 songs by John Denver.

A magnetic reader can read the audio and play it (an audio cassette player). This is a cassette which I used to listen at home more than a decade ago, possible fifteen years ago. I got it out today and played it. Once one side has ended it felt indescribably good to take the cassette physically out and change the sides (which you have to do). This was fantastic.

I kind of like all the old stuff. I have an old Aiwa Walkman (portable audio cassette player), Intel 80486  system, and Intel Pentium MMX, an  Intel Pentium D,  an AMD Athlon X2, old iPods, 3.5 and 5.25 inch floppy disks and their drives. A few very old printers, including the old dot matrix printers, Punched cards and their reader, old physically large hard disk drives which can hold, say, a few hundred megabytes. Also, I believe we still have the old rotary phone, and also Nokia 1100, and a lot of other things, including calculators, memory units, wireless phones and etc. I love all of them and have still preserved all of them. These are fantastic pieces of hardware.

After playing the cassette, I remembered all of these things. After I compared these to the kind of phone I carry, I think still, these things have a greater value than anything. In fact, whatever I have used, and is not being used, is still kept in my home, even if they don’t work, as they record a piece of history and represents.

I am pretty sure, after a few decades, these will be gold.

 

 

Helium balloons

Someone retired today, so there was a farewell gathering. After everything happened the helium balloons were still there at the break out area.

There were quite a few balloons tied to a weight. I was thinking if I could attach something light enough, so that the balloons float, and do not move up or down, it would be fun.

Someone else had this idea too. As he was doing exactly the same thing. I joined him. After quite some time, we were able to get a decent weight with a spoon and a few pieces of paper, that it floated, well, kind of. There were a lot of air flow through the vents, but the balance looked cool and it was real fun. We reattached the heavier weight and left it as it was before.

Sometime later, we thought why not inhale the Helium and have fun? The fun is, if you inhale Helium, and then speak, your voice will change and will have a higher pitch. It will sound like Donald duck.

Another guy was passing by, he joined us. So we took one balloon and started taking rounds inhaling the Helium and speaking. It sounded hilarious. Although the voice will change only while the Helium is inside the lung.

It was real fun to try these stuffs. Also, all these just from a Helium balloon.

Renewals

It’s that time of the year when I need to renew everything. Which includes the domain registration and domain mapping of the other blog. In other things, health insurance, residence card, visas.

These were a few things which you have to deal almost every year. Though for me it seems I need to renew a few more things. The clothes and shoes are falling apart. The pocket of the snow jacket is not working anymore, the shoe has torn apart, need to correct the prescription glasses power, laptop servicing, lost gloves and a somewhat long list.

All these implies, tighter budget this month.

Although the most important thing to be renewed, or more appropriately, refreshed is the mind. It was necessary to get out junk ideas (work related) with which I was stuck, and get out of the vicious cycle of these thoughts, so that I can start working in a fresh mind. I think I was able to do it during the Christmas time.

Most of the things are done for now, but again next year (or so) they would require another renewal or the “reset” or “refresh”, till then, let’s keep the pressure on.

 

Life line: Centra

During the winter break, the shops in the campus closes. For this winter the campus Centra closed as they are expanding the store, and they will remain closed till 10th this month. Most of the buildings was locked during this time, although we had access cards and could enter. But, those few days the heating would be turned off and there would be no cleaning of the bathrooms, the university became uninhabitable.

I would have preferred to come in if the Centra was open. The Centra is the life line of the people here (who stays all day and night), it is open till 10pm, therefore you can stock essential food whatever you need for the late night. Although there is a Pizza Hut across the road, but it is expensive, and more importantly, it is horrible. Although it also have saved lives quite a few times.

The other nearest super markets are two Spars, which are kind of far, and will take an 30 ~ 40 mins at least to do the trip, where the Centra runs take around 20 mins depending on the queue.

Now things have opened, but unless the term starts, the shops close early, as early as 3pm. Which is understandable, but ridiculous. Therefore either spend money and order online, or stock stuffs in the kitchen.

Yesterday I was very hungry at night and pulled out a can of baked beans only to find that the can needed a can opener and did not have built-in mechanism to open. As none of the shops in the campus was open, I had to order a shitty pizza, which felt very good as it was the first meal of the day after not-eating all day.

Things are sorted out now. I have soups, breads in the fridge now and some emergency instant noodles. Tomorrow I will stock bread, different kinds of cheese, butter, salami, chorizo, mustard and a few other stuffs to make big sandwiches.

But, if Centra is open, then I could get bread and stuffs for a big cold sandwich, or just those pre-made wraps and sandwiches or get a warm chicken fillet roll or a wrap or a hot lasagna or other stuffs. There are options if the campus Centra is open.

The tag line “For the way we live today” makes perfect sense. I would be possibly the happiest when the campus Centra reopens.

Memory lost

I previously posted that I accidentally vacuumed up a microSD card. Then I put it in a safe location. I thought it was safe until last week, when I inserted the card in my mobile phone.

After a day, I found that the taxi hailing application is not working as it is installed in the microSD card. It can happen in case the filesystem of the card was corrupt, or sometimes it might need a manual registration (mount) from the settings. When I tried to do it, the option was disabled, as if there is no microSD card installed. Then I restarted the phone. No use.

Now to see what exactly is happening. Therefore I now checked how many disks are present in the system at hardware level (kind of). For the technical people, I used fdisk. There was only two disks showing, the SSD and the HDD of my laptop. This is when I became concerned. This was a hardware fault, or the data channel of the cable is severed somehow.

I checked some internal details from the operating system (Linux), and came to know that the mobile phone was detected and initialized. That is when I was sure there was something really wrong with either the card or the slot, physically.  Trouble.  So I investigated further. Read the rest of this entry »

New year blog changes

At the end after 6 years I did some layout changes in the other blog. In my opinion the Twenty Ten theme in wordpress.com, which came out in 2010, is possibly the best theme with tons of features, while being a very clean one. It was very difficult to get a theme to which I can switch.

Yesterday, I just thought to check out what new themes were introduced. I realised that it has been 6 years I am using the theme Twenty Ten. After much testing, I found that the theme Ixion is a pretty good one. It has side columns, top menus and also four columns at the bottom of the page. This allows me to switch to this theme following my layout.

Twenty Ten is a very nice theme, and I was using it for 6 years, therefore it is actually very difficult to move. Although there was a few things which I kind of did not like in Ixion, but overall it was pretty good. Therefore it is now changed.

I have three links list, Friends, Cool Blogs and Preferred Sites. I did not maintain this list. Yesterday I noticed a huge amount of sites and blogs does not exist anymore, or the authors have stopped posting, some have last posts on 2011 or so. Therefore it is time to get rid of the stale sites and get the lists shortened. Now it looks much shorter and tidy. In the next opportunity some more removals and some interesting additions are required.

Although I have kept the Friends blog list intact. I found almost all of them do not update the blogs anymore. One of them has been the consistent for around 5 years of blog post and produces quality sports articles. He has been also featured in the top fifteen blogs list.

It was not bad to change the blog in the beginning of this year. It would also be good if  I am able to keep on documenting the ongoing workflow and make quick posts. For which I have introduced a tag “workflow” to write quick and interesting articles which are potentially unfinished or under-researched.

While fiddling with the blog stats, I came to know that the top 10 visited posts have brought around 50% of the total traffic in these 8 years. The interesting thing was these articles were not very difficult to write, actually they were easy, which required very less time and effort. Although the extremely well researched and exhaustive articles got plenty of views, but not even close to these top 10 articles. Possibly the hard worked articles were for a very niche reader group, and the top 10 ones were quick google on “how to do this or that” kind of quick things.

For this blog, I did not change any theme as I could not find a clean and single column theme as clean as this. Although I changed the header picture, which I clicked last year in Doolin, Ireland.

dsc_0438-01

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 😀