RIP Nikhil – my dear dear friend

kaleidoscopic!
not those here-and-now colours
but in memory

cloudy sky is filled
full of black twiggy branches
a large crow shoots past

picket fence and trees
standing tall like sentinels
like sad sentinels

comes-on quietly
so benign the sensation
so bloody empty!

this revelation
times at last you think you know
shrug! alas you don’t

fleeting memory
self-flagellation head-shake
another one lost

again and again
scene full of twiggy branches
black crow descending

🙁 😥

Suggestions for a new Camera?

Our current camera (Canon IXUS 860 IS) is on the last dying leg – the camera itself works OK, but the screen is going to give up any day now – there are big holes where the pixels are dead (looks like a black hole). We love this model and want something along the same form factor and not interesting in anything fancy. One of the options was the new Canon IXUS 240 HS which has a built-in Wifi connection and has just been released, though is not available in all the markets.

As it happens I am going to be flying through Singapore soon and was thinking of picking one up at duty free. Does anyone have any recommendations for a model along the same lines? Want something decent enough in a small form factor.

Happy Diwali

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali

May the year bring Joy, Happiness, and Prosperity!

Books and Desk

I have been asked a number of times, what books do I have and use. It is a long list and I am too lazy to list them out. So instead here is a photo I had taken about a year ago. Sure there are more books since then on different topics, but this should be good enough to give you a flavour.

IMG_4603

Also people asked me about my machines and study at home – and there is a photo for that too. This was in London and not in Bangalore of course. I guess this might mean I need to get to cleaning things more often and probably invest in some cable management solution. 🙂

IMG_4602

Just the two of us

Read this story in the Guardian about a guy called Matt, who blogged about bringing up his daughter all alone, as his wife died soon after giving birth. This was such a heart stopping story, which is highly recommended. Interesting shift on the tone of the blog which first helped Matt with the bereavement and later gave him strength to cope with this to finally the blog providing support for others in a similar boat and looking for help.

If you get teary-eyed then you probably don’t want to read this, but I would recommend the article. Matt has just released a book called Two Kisses for Maddy as well.

Moving

In other news of the day … we are going to be moving in the next few weeks to Bangalore. Avanade, is sending me on a posting/secondment to Bangalore for 18 months to help out with a few things. Of course, the family will be moving as well. After my tenure, the plan is to come back to London.

So, over the next few days/weeks there is going to be a flurry of activity with us trying to rent our flat, sell the car, packing, moving things into storage, figuring out what to feed and drink the muscle (a.k.a friends and family – suckers!) who we managed to rope in to help with the stuff, etc., etc.

I have been to Bangalore only twice before – each time for a few days on work. Needless to say, it is going to be an interesting experience. There are a few excited people in Bangalore waiting for this – I just hope I can live up the the hype. 🙂

And yes, the tickets have been booked and confirmed!

Selling my Car (Left Hand Drive – BMW 330i)

Update 2: Car already sold – thanks for all the interest.

Update: Dropping the price we we need to sell the car soon! I am wanting to sell my car and thought I would put it up on my blog first before trying other places.

It is a Left Hand Drive BMW 330i Automatic (2001 model) with 89K miles in Excellent condition and has both the Sports and Premium packages factory installed.

We bought it brand new and are the only owners; and have all the paperwork since we bought it originally. This is a personal import (to the UK) and is fully legal in UK, Europe and US (it also meets California emission controls). It has 12 months MOT.

Here are the specifications:

  • Left Hand Drive BMW 330i (E46), 4 door Saloon
  • 3 Litre Engine (Petrol), producing 231 PS (170 kW; 228 bhp) and 214 ft lbf (290 N·m)
  • Automatic Transmission (Steptronic Gears with a Manual, Sports and Fully Auto mode)
  • Black Colour
  • Automatic Climate Control Air Conditioning
  • CD player with Premier Harman Kardon 8-way speakers
  • Heated Door Mirrors
  • Xenon Headlights
  • All Leather Seats
  • ABS and Anti-Skid Traction Control (a.k.a Dynamic Stability Control – DSC)
  • Driver and Passenger Side Air Bags
  • Multifunctional steering wheel
  • Central Locking
  • Cruise Control
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • On board computer with trip details, Mileage, Service Indicator, Air Temperature, etc.
  • Full Size spare
  • Premium Package which includes:
    • A multifunction steering wheel
    • Wood grain interior trim
    • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
    • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
    • Full adjustable Power seats for both Driver and Passenger
    • Driver Seat memory
    • Power Lumbar Support for both Driver and Passenger
    • Moonroof
  • Sports Package which includes:
    • Three spoke sports leather steering wheel – provides had improved grip over the standard “square” steering wheel.
    • Sport seats – provide better bolstering and support than the stock seats. They also include adjustable thigh supports.
    • 17 inch wheels with staggered lower profile tires.
    • Sport suspension which offered improved handling by way of firmer springs, a lower ride height, and tighter dampers.

Here are a few photos of the car – click on each thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture.

New Parenting Blog

New Parenting blog up and running (finally) – by popular demand. The intention is to keep that completely different from this one. I and the wife will be starting to post there so watch that space. Happy to get other new (geeky) parents (or soon to be parents) contributing if they want to.

[qrcodetag]http://www.geekyparents.com/[/qrcodetag]

Is technology making us less human?

Guardian story Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US where a number of academics have done studies which conclude that Twitter and Facebook don’t connect people, but on the contrary they isolate them from reality got me thinking about this and wonder if Technology is making us less human!

MIT professor Sherry Turkle’s new book Alone Together (which seems interesting and is something I have not had the bandwidth to check out), is leading an attack on the information age. It does seem to agree with the recent articles like Is Google making us Stupid? I don’t quite understand Facebook (even though I have been more on it recently); my views on Facebook are quite well known, especially in the context of privacy and security. If I talk to a friend who could be in Delhi or San Francisco, I don’t feel as connected having a dialogue with him or her over Facebook as I do when talking on the phone, IM or even email. Often people thing just because they have posted something on Facebook, that is the end of it – it almost seems at times, I am too lazy and can’t be bothered, so will post a message and get it over with – or as they say in Punjabi – “syapa mukao”. 🙂

In a related note, but a little different context I do think the vast information available to us is making us more stupid and we are forgetting the ability to learn, grasp, understand and appreciate the basics and fundamentals. When something is a quick Bing or Google away it makes us all very complacent. It also means that for us sitting down and reading something which is more than a few paragraphs is getting very difficult. I know I can also see this happening first hand. And I notice it every day at work – especially as the newer and younger generation joins the workforce; things that I would take for granted or appreciate does not seem to be the same. Of course and sites like LMBTFY and LMGTFY don’t help.

I was quite stuck by this paragraph from the article Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level.

I think it would be good for me to get a copy of Alone Together and then maybe post something back (feel free to comment below if you have read the book and got any feedback). Of course I do see the irony in the fact a geek like me talking about possibly to using less Technology.

And then there were three

Those who don’t know, I and Meenakshi are the proud parents if our baby girl who we have named Maya Bahree.

Maya means illusion (and not money as some have thought.

She is a keen and eager little thing who despite being a few weeks early is doing extremely well and so is Mum.

We had to stay back at the hospital until the doctors were satisfied that Maya was doing well. Git back home about 2 data ago.

I do feel sorry for her, having gotten stuck with two clueless parents who she has to depend on for everything.

Still learning to deal with the sleepnessless (is that a word?). 😀

Changed Themes

Was getting a little bored with the previous WP theme  and changed to this one. It does have a lot of defaults in the footer and not had a chance to figure out how to turn it off or customize it. If anyone has any ideas on how to do it then let me know. Also, if you have any suggestions for free and cool WP themes then let me know.

Blast from the Past

We were cleaning up the house – sort of like spring cleaning, except in Autumn and in old boxes came across a whole bunch of old stuff, which for me was a blast from the past and each with fond memories. Before I recycled/donated/threw it, took a few photos (click on them to see them in the original size).

Numega debugger

Compuware, the best debuggers in town.

Palm Cradle

Anyone remember a Palm Vx?

Discmans'

Don’t miss the Joggable one 🙂

Network Adapters

3Com PCMCIA adapters.

ATL Server

ATL Server anyone?

Netgear Print Server

Netgear Print Server

Zip drives

Zip drives anyone?

More zip drives

More zip drives

Nokia phone

Nokia – do they still make phones?

Dell Axim

Dell Axim – I had forgotten I had one of these.

Techy Books on Kindle?

I was thinking of getting the latest version of the Kindle, but one of the factors in the decision will be the number of techy books available for the Kindle. Anyone owning one has any ideas? Are there far and few or is there a good selection with more being added? I do read novels, but not as many and if there are not enough techy books for the Kindle right now then that might be a deal breaker.

Running

Happy that recently my running has been consistent and the weather has been helpful too. Last few days it has turned cold with the temperature down to 4 degrees C. It helps me relax and de-stress and clear my head. Smile

Below is a screenshot of the workout profile from this week thanks for iMapMyRun free app for my Android Wildfire (which is small and light enough for me to carry in my pocket when on my run). Still need to build more stamina.

Is it time to relook at Facebook again?

I still don’t get Facebook – despite being on it. If I want to talk to someone I will call them, email them, text them, meet them, have dinner with them – get the picture?

I am quite worried about the security and privacy elements of it – or rather the lack of it. Those who know me well (anyone?) 🙂 know I was not always this paranoid but after attending a few Security courses – I cannot bury my head in the sand anymore.

The main issue I have is the commercialisation of the information and it will just get more as Facebook heads to compete with Google – it is my information after all and I don’t feel comfortable sharing so much of it – even after locking it down and setting the various privacy settings. It is very easy to exploit. Take the example where Facebook changed the settings where Google by default would be indexing a lot of this information. And it is you and I as users who had to login and explicitly change a setting to stop it from doing that. Furthermore, despite all the security measures that Facebook might have in place (and they don’t mention how internally within the company walls is the information protected) all it takes is one disgruntled employee (or soon-to-be-ex-employee) to take it all and walk out the door!

The secondary issue I have is the fact that more and more of the information, friends, contacts, etc is marketing and spam (a lot of what we see on Twitter as well). I personally am (thankfully) seeing much less spam on emails these days; but on the flip side I see a dramatic uptick of spam on social site. Not sure if this is because our email spam filters are finally smart enough to work, or perhaps the spammers found the social networking sites to be richer pickings?

It is good to know that there are others out there with the same concern and with some sites such as Suicide Machine allow you to “all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego” [sic]. Of course, all has not been peachy for Suicide Machine at the same time. 🙂

If you are thinking like me and really giving it a go then suggest you seek some help as well to make it easier.

The irony of all of this however is that I will be posting this it to my Facebook wall and also tweeting it.

Goodbye Community Server; Hello WordPress

Finally moved from Community Server 2007 to WordPress.

After thinking about it for a long time and then wanting to do it for probably an even longer time, I have finally moved this blog to WordPress from Community Server. Overall the move was mostly painless and did not have to write any code to move the posts and tags over which was excellent. I would have loved to write some code to do that, but I don’t have much bandwidth these days so anything I could use (as a user) without writing code or customizing is just great.

I will post the details on how I did the move in a few days. I know there are many others out there wanting to move from Community Server to WordPress and as part of the move I took some screenshots so watch out for that.

I also had to move hosting providers as the place where this blog was earliest hosted is a Microsoft only shop and they did not offer PHP and MySQL. So there might be a few things still breaking or missing. For example, I still need to figure out how to redirect the url from the old url (/weblog/amit) to the new one (/blog/amit). I think WordPress has a built in option and there is also a plug in available. Of course, there is also the .htaccess file which I can use. Let me know if you have any recommendations on which is the best way to go about this based on your experience?

So far am quite pleased with WordPress and happy with the move. 🙂

Follow me on Twitter

Interestingly I am more active on Twitter over the last 2-3 weeks than here; I guess that might be because it is easier to dump a quick thought – which I suppose one can do here but kind of “seems out of place” (yeah, weird!).

Another contributing factor is I have been extremely busy – both on work front and also on the personal front (between relatives visiting and my assignments does not leave me any time).

Also, I finally got around to building a new MCE – so whatever little free time I had went in that – life was very interesting the few days we were “in between” MCE’s the old one was disconnected and the new one was not up and running yet (that’s a story for another time).

Lastly, the fact I want to move away from CS 2007 to WordPress has also somewhat been at the back of my mind; the more I post, the more data I will need to move and the more headache.

I should get more active here soon (once I get some time), until then follow the tweets.