Moved to a new apartment

After 2.5 years of stay in Bangalore I finally decided to rent a 1 bedroom apartment for myself…and that is when the problems started.Β  My requirements were a decent sized apartment for a single person with car parking in a good locality……don’t think it’s asking for too much but it was not that easy to find one.

Even after a month’s search I could not find a decent apartment that I could rent….and in the process of my search (sulekha was the only source of my searches) I found some really interesting houses…….one guy posted an apartment for Rs. 7500 with 10 months advance that did not even have doors for bathrooms, the kitchen which was actually an extended room into the veranda with some asbestos sheet as the roof. Then there was this house that was not even big enough to accommodate a 6’x4′ bed…and the owner says, a software engineer who was staying there until recently moved to US now and even got a citizenship there πŸ™‚ . So, does that mean, I have to squeeze myself into that matchbox like house in the hope of getting a US citizenship πŸ™„ !!!

Though I was completely against going with agents, in desperation I finally thought of contacting some and none of these people charge anything less than a month’s rent πŸ™ . So, was back to sulekha again.

Finally after many shocking experiencesΒ  I could find an apartment suiting all my requirements but for a slightly higher rent but I had no other option….and it was through an agent πŸ™ (good part is he did not charge meΒ  one month’s rent as commission). But now after a month and a half of stay in this apartment, I must say it was a really good decision. I am enjoying every single moment here especially the amazing view of the lake and coconut grove from my balcony. Its so refresing and worth every paisa πŸ˜€ .

The other good part about this place is this being a big campus, even at midnight you can safely go down for a walk (which I rarely do πŸ˜€ ) which reminds me of the good old IIT campus days. I am eagerly waiting for a good rain during the day to see how it would look…..will post some more pics then.

Telangana History X

I am not going to whine here about the present Telangana movement. Was actually watching American History X movie and that was the initiative.

Has anything you have done made your life better?……… This is the statement that made me write this post.  Professor Sweeney in the movie asks Derek this question in prison and that makes Derek to really look back at all his actions against the Afro-Americans. This guy Derek was actually influenced by another person (Cameron) and joins a radical organisation against the Black people. The above question really makes sense. If only people would start thinking rationally and ask themselves such questions before blindly doing/supporting anything, this world would definitely have been a better place.

In the current situation I can correlate this to the on-going Telangana State movement (and that’s the reason for the title πŸ˜€ ). Instead of people just saying we have been fighting for a separate state for the last 40 years and we want it now, why can’t they just think for a moment in what way is that going to make their life better. In my opinion, oppurtunities be it education/job or whatever it be should be based on talent and not just because you happen to be from some region in a country and so have got more right than someone else from a different region. The sooner people would realize this the better would be our future.

Ofcourse, this applies to whatever we do in our life and its just a coincidence that the Telangana movement was going now and found it to be apt.

And towards the end of the movie, liked the conclusion of Danny in his paper……..Hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.

A good movie with a good message.

Internet woes contd………..

Had I known before about internet connection sharing in windows xp, I would have saved some time today. But anyways it was a good learning experience.

I initially connected my laptop’s ethernet port to my pc’s port and on my laptop, gave the default gateway as my pc’s usb connection’s ip address. My idea was to direct all outgoing packets to the pc’s usb interface. But this did not work. Then after a little bit of googling came across the internet connection sharing feature in xp (not sure if the previous windows versions had this). That worked like a charm for the first time itself. So, I had the following setup working now –

Laptop’s ethernet to pc’s ethernet and then bsnl modem’s usb interface connected to pc’s usb port. And on my pc, I enabled the option Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection. This was the easiest solution but it only solves half of my problems. I will now have to sit near my pc to work πŸ™ which is pretty bad. I somehow wanted to get my wireless also working in this mode πŸ™‚ .

For the wireless to work for me, the WRT54G2 had to be brought into the picture now.  Now instead of connecting pc’s ethernet port to laptop directly, I connected it to one of the lan ports of my router and then the laptop’s port to one of the other lan ports. This works fine πŸ™‚ and I was able to access internet over both pc and laptop. Now the final issue was to get the wi-fi working.

Because of a few failed attempts in getting the wi-fi connected, I thought the access point mode was not supposed to be used. So, tried the client mode, client bridge mode, repeater mode and repeater bridge mode though knowing that these modes were for a different purpose all together. I already had a client bridge mode setup back in my flat in bangalore. But I was so frustrated that I started exploring all the available options πŸ™ . Finally when nothing worked I thought of getting back to AP mode and bingo…..it works!!!!! πŸ˜€ . Was so happy to get the wi-fi also working. Ofcourse, all this has eaten up 2.5 hours of my time but atlast got what I wanted.

So, here is the final setup just in case some one needs a similar thing to be done –

Scenario – One pc with spare ethernet card and connected to ISP over some alternative interface like USB port or another ethernet card. And need to get wi-fi access and other systems in the lan to be able to share the internet connection along with the host pc.

Solution – Enable Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection under the  Internet Connection Sharing on the host pc. Connect the host pc’s ethernet port to one of the wired  ports (not the WAN port) of the router. Have the router in AP mode and that’s it. The wireless can now be shared among any number of laptops just like any normal connection and also other systems can be connected to the remaining wired ports of the router.

Update – Jan 4th 2010

Though the wi-fi setup works fine in the above scenario, I noticed that initially when my laptop’s wi-fi gets connected it shows the speed of the connection as 54Mbps but within few minutes it drops down to 1Mbps. And then the speed you get is worse than my reliance datacard. Also one point that I noticed was that when the desktop’s internect connection was being used, we can forget about working on the laptop over wi-fi πŸ™ . Looks like it works by statically alloting specific bandwith to each of the interfaces. Need to explore further. Will keep posting my findings here……

Internet woes

Like last year, we have an year-end shut down this year as well and amidst all the telangana struggle, the bandhs and protests, reached hyderabad safely yesterday morning πŸ™‚ . And the first thing I checked after reaching home was the internet connection. Switched on the desktop here and everything seemed to be fine and was quite happy.

Later when I switched on my laptop and connected my WRT54G2 router, I realized that my modem’s ethernet port was not up. Only the USB port was working and that’s how the desktop’s  internet was fine. And I can’t even use the USB port with my laptop as this has some strange issue with it. The internet stops working after a few minutes of browsing πŸ™ and when I pull out the USB cable, the laptop just hangs and I have to do a hard restart. And this is 101% reproducible πŸ˜€ . Now tried with other cables and tried connecting the modem’s ethernet port to laptop & desktop directly. But nothing seemed to work. Finally decided to give a complaint as I was strongly suspecting that the modem’s ethernet port was having some issue and the modem may have to be replaced. So, called up the BSNL customer care.

Took a while to actually find out the customer care number itself. And finally was happy that I got the number and the phone was ringing on the other side and some non-human response was heard. And after a few button presses, got to talk to a human and this is how it went.

Call#1 -  Some lady picks-up and after the routine greetings from her, she says she can help me out in resolving my issue. Was happy that BSNL customer care also works and thought that things are improving with BSNL as well (this is ofcourse proved to be wrong later πŸ˜€ ). Now she asks me to check if I have dhcp/static ip settings and then asks me to ping to the router’s ip address which would not work. I was telling her that the modem’s ethernet link itself is not up and its definitely not going to work. But she won’t understand it and finally she says its some issue at their end and it will work in 2-3 hours 😯 . Now come on, what is it got to do with their end when the modem’s port itself was not working. That’s when I understood that she never understood what my issue was. This is how the tech support of the BSNL customer care is πŸ™ .

Call#2 – Then called up again after some 30 mins hoping to get someone else on the other side now. This time it was a male voice and I explained to him the whole situation. And the way I explained to him, he understood that there is no point in asking me to check ip address or any other routine settings. He puts me on hold for 5 mins and then comes back saying that it could  be some hardware issue and I have to get help from some technician. Now that is what I called them up for and this guy in turn expects me to get some other techinician to check the port. After insisting that it was the bsnl modem that has an issue and someone from bsnl has to come and maybe replace the modem, he says some techinician will call me back in an hour and he does not even register a complaint.

Call#3 – More than and hour passes now but still no sign of phone call. So, thought of contacting them again and this time a lady picks up and says a complaint was already registered and it actually takes 24 hours for someone to respond back and she happily gives the complaint number and hangs up. And its almost 40 hours at the time of writing this post and no sign of follow-up from them πŸ™ .

It was only today evening I realized that I had to work on something very urgent and was supposed to complete it by the weekend. That’s where my problems started again. Thought I have a datacard, the response on vnc would be so slow that one can hardly work on it. The other backup plan was to go to a cousin’s place but somehow got busy with some other work at home and it was already midnight. So, finally thought of coming up with some solution using whatever I had with me (a desktop, bsnl modem with working usb connection, linksys wrt54g2 router, laptop with integrated wi-fi & a few cat-5 cables). More on the solution part later………….need to finish up my work now πŸ˜€ ……………………

Asus WL-500GP…..I am loving it

Got a new Asus WL-500GP version2 and I am extremely happy with this. Now I have a 24×7 download rig without the need to continuously power-on my laptop. I just start my downloads by logging into the router’s transmission torrent client once and that’s it….. rest of it is taken care of.

Here is how I got this setup done……one of my colleagues was actually using this and posted details about this router. Liked it by looking at what all one can do on this router and got one from US. Btw, though the asus website shows many dealers in bangalore who sell this, none of them actually have one. The only way to get it is through an agent in Mumbai who gets stuff from US that is generally not available in India. We just have to give him the link to the product (amazon, ebay, etc.) and this guy ships it to us with some additional charge ofcourse.

Here is how my setup looks like now:

Setup   I kind of started loving dd-wrt firmware too much. My secenario was I had to put my two routers in different rooms and had to get them connected wirelessly. This requires the client bridge mode which is very easy to setup with dd-wrt firmware. Neither the linksys stock firmware nor the asus stock firmware support this natively.

Now coming to flashing the firmware, the Asus router comes with a restoration utility on the CD which comes in handy if we brick the router. But somehow the restoration utility never worked for me πŸ™ .So, I had to flash my new firmware using tftp. Initially flashed the oleg firmware (in the  second attempt πŸ™‚ ) but setting up the client bridge mode seemed to be complicated. So, decided to move to the DD-WRT firmware and after another 2-3 attempts of firmware download I got it working finally.

And from here, setting up the client bridge mode and getting the USB disk to work was pretty straightforward. Installing the transmission torrent client was also simple. One more advantage of this router is with the USB disk connected to it, you have a NAS server that can make this disk to be shared in the local network. So, my problem of having a NAS device also got solved. In fact, few months back I was looking to buy a NAS device but did not find a suitable one for me. The stable ones were priced too high and the cheaper ones were not good.

Now, I connected a 160GB 2.5″ laptop hard disk to the router and I have a startup script saved in the router that restarts the transmission client once power is resumed after a power cut. So, apparently the downloads go on 24×7. There are quite a lot of other features as well on this router but did not explore them all. Will keep posted here if I play around more with it.

The Hangover

What a movie it was!!!!! As far as I remember this is the only movie in which I was laughing from beginning till the end and even now πŸ˜† . These days I reduced my movie watching a lot and am really happy that I watched such a good movie after a long time. Just like the way I used to watch movies randomly before, was just sitting idle in the evening after having worked from home and was feeling bored. All of a sudden came this thought to my mind to watch a movie and that’s it, me and Karthik went to forum and watched the night show. It turned out to be really really good one.

About the movie, I think there must be tons of reviews already on the net and I don’t want to repeat here again. Only thing I would say is it’s a must watch for all the guys out there πŸ˜‰ ……..and very much true as they say What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Bungee Jumping results in tragedy

Its been a long time since I posted anything. But never expected that I will have to start with something bad. This is about the bungee jumping event organised by CARE and facilitated by BMC India in Bangalore on April 10th, 11th, 12th.

Few days back, I got a mail forward about this bungee jumping event being organised by CARE adventures and headrush bungee. I was interested in it but could not go because of some work and a friend of mine, Karthik registered for the event. He went to the event on 11th April. His serial number was 31 and was waiting for his turn. In the meanwhile he went out for lunch and after coming back he notices that nothing was going on over there. Then he came to know that there was a mishap and a guy got injured seriously. So, the event was cancelled. Just after five or six persons had done it, the hook was broken and resulted in the accident.

So, this post is to warn anyone who would like to register for such events in the future. Be sure that enough safety measures are taken before taking part in any such events. Later on when the news about this incident came on news, we came to know that the guy has succumbed to death. There wasn’t even an ambulance at the venue which is supposed to be a very basic safety measure. And as it always happens after such events, the organisers were absconding. So, people be careful…….all the adventurous people out there, this should be an eye-opener.

TED talk on Biomimicry by Janine Benyus

This particular TED talk by Janine Benyus is all about Biomimicry wherein we imitate or take inspiration from nature to solve the human problems sustainably. The last few statements of the talk inspired me to write about this particular TED talk. It goes something like this – These organisms figured out a way to do the amazing things they do while taking care of the place thats going to take care of their offsprings. When they are involved in foreplay they are thinking about something very very important…..having their genetic material remain ten thousand generations from now. And that means finding a way to do what they do without destroying the place that’s going to take care of their offsprings and thta’s the biggest design challenge. Luckily there are millions and millions of geniuses willing to gift us with their best ideas…..good luck having a converstion with them. For people who haven’t seen the talk yet, when the speaker refers to organisms, she is actually referrring to the creatures around us on the planet and they are the geniuses she is referring to towards the end.

She illustrates her ideas with just 12 sustainable designs inspired from nature. In fact that’s the title of the video – Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature. I liked the ideas so much that I was thinking of getting hold of a copy of her book also. A few of the ideas that she mentions in the talk are – a locust’s ability to avoid collision within a roiling cloud of its brethren informs the design of a crash-resistant car; a self-cleaning leaf inspires a new kind of paint, one that dries in a pattern that enables simple rainwater to wash away dirt; and organisms capable of living without water open the way for vaccines that maintain potency even without refrigeration — a hurdle that can prevent life-saving drugs from reaching disease-torn communities.

I think its high time that we start exploring alternative ways of manufacturing before all the fossil fuels are completely depleted and environment polluted to alarming levels. After watching the video I was just searching for more information on biomimetics and was surprised to see that there is so much going on in this field already. I found a nice featured article in NGC site as well that talks about biomimetics. That was a pretty long article and at the time of writing this post, even I haven’t read it completely πŸ˜€ .

Some other interesting TED videos that I came across can be found in my forum. I keep updating it whenever I find some good videos.

Back in action again

Its been a long time now since I posted anything new here. The last post I made was on September 2nd and since then there haven’t been any updates. There have been several comments in my latest post asking me why aren’t there any new updates πŸ™‚ . I never knew there were so many people checking this place. Anyways was actually a little bit busy since the last few weeks. So, could not post anything. In fact I still have the draft of quite a few posts that I was thinking of posting since 3 weeks but could not complete them.

I even saw many movies recently but couldn’t update about them as well. Anyways now you will all see some regular posts here again as before. Thanks to all those who were curious to know why there haven’t been any posts recently πŸ™‚ . And the funniest thing is that all of them know the reason πŸ˜€ .

Bangalore Traffic Police changing for the good

Was surprised today to see a mail in our company mailing list with the subject “Traffic Tickets in Bangalore“. That person was given a traffic ticket for “No Parking” violation. Initially I thought it might be just a one-off case…. but after googling up a bit, I came to know that bangalore traffic police are indeed issuing tickets for traffic rules violation…. as of now I think its mostly for parking violations only. The cops just give the ticket and we need to go to the police station to pay the fine. No towing of vehicles, no bribes and no arguments. But I guess its being implemented only for cars and two wheelers are still towed away πŸ™ . You can check out the experiences of some people here. Looks like things are changing slowly.

This actually reminds me of another new initiative by bangalore traffic police where in they send sms to people about traffic updates. You can check out the blog entry made by jayant about this here. I think as of now, its only airtel subscribers getting these messages. Whatever it be, atleast things are changing now and lets just hope that traffic situation in bangalore would just get better.