Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Dollar by Jamey Johnson

This is the lyrics of an amazing song i heard on Yahoo Radio at the Country Station...

The Dollar by Jamey Johnson

Daddy hugs his little man, says: "Son, I've got to go,"
And he pulls out of the drive and disappears.
As they walk back in the house, the young boy asks his Momma,
"Where does Daddy go when he leaves here?"

Momma tells her little man: "Your Daddy's got a job,
"An' when he goes to work, they pay him for his time."
Well, the young boy gets to thinkin', an' he heads up to his bedroom:
Comes runnin' back with a quarter and four dimes:

An' says: "Momma, how much time will this buy me?
"Is it enough to take me fishin' or throw a football in the street?
"If I'm a little short then how much more does Daddy need,
"To spend some time with me?"

The young boy tells his Momma: "Now, I know Daddy's busy,
"'Cause most times when he gets home, it's dark outside.
"But tell him I've got me some pennies saved up from the tooth fairy,
"An' I keep 'em in my piggy bank an' I believe there's thirty-five.

"An' Momma, how much time will this buy me?
"Is it enough to take me campin' in a tent down by the creek.
"If I'm a little short then how much more does Daddy need,
"To spend some time with me?"

"An' Momma, how much time will this buy me?
"Is it enough for just an afternoon, a day, or a whole week
"If I'm a little short then how much more does Daddy need,
"To spend some time with me?"

Momma takes her little man, sets him on her lap,
Starts dialin' up some numbers on the 'phone.
She says: "Daddy come home early, you don't have to chase that dollar,
"'Cause your little man has got one here at home."

The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)

I saw The Chronicles of Narnia today with my roommates… a very well made movie and supposedly a good adaptation of the original (I haven’t read the C.S. Lewis classic).

For me as a viewer it gave me a lot of pleasure and all the thrills that a similar movie would offer. It is a movie that I believe, young ones and adults would enjoy alike… the only thing is that you may find it a bit childish at times.

But as an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings series and also others, I found Narnia to be an amalgam of Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland. Except that instead of Alice, here there are four siblings who wander into the magical world of Narnia through a wardrobe (with Alice, it’s a rabbit hole). Narnia where all animals (surprisingly) speak human tongue and we get to meet some interesting creatures that we have read and heard about in mythology and fantasy books like the Centaurs (human + horse), Minators (human + bull), Unicorns and Satires (human + goat)…

Like LOTR, they are entrusted a mission that they do not want and guided by a Lion who is very wise and named Aslan (to me it sounded like Gandalf in an animal form). The Lion dies in the middle, only to be resurrected later for the final war (much like the passing of Gandalf the Grey and his resurrection as Gandalf the White)… There are phoenixes and hippogriffs (like Harry Potter) and a white which who can turn her enemies into stone with a wand (sounds like an altered Medusa)

But after saying all this, the movie is an absolute delight to watch and I really recommend that you watch it and bring out that child in you, who is always thirsty for adventure…

My Life@MIT Hostels (Return to Manipal – Part 5)

It was an emotional time for me as i visited all the rooms that i had lived in from my freshman year to final year at MIT Manipal. It brought back a lot of memories (bitter and sweet)....

1st Year: V Block, Room No. 219

The freshman year, when Pani was my roommate. It was when we had the most fun in hostels as the hostel was only for the freshers. A closed quadrilateral with a courtyard in the middle brought some fond memories, especially when we used to shout “S.P. kahan hai tu?” (SP where are you?) and those nights when Joy used to bring his flute out to play in the wee hours of the morning, and how we loved it for a couple of days and then we started cussing him :)

The amazing festivals of Lodi & Holi (when we had a pretty nasty fight), those long hours of Engineering Drawing and the Late Night parties at Vinay’s and Kaushik’s rooms… Of “Kambal Ishq”, when we used to invite guys to a room in the pretence of a party and whack them with a Kambal (Hindi for blanket) over their heads, just for the heck of it… Wow, those were the days.

2nd Year: X Block, Room No. 3178 D

Second year with Mr. Gurjot Singh Bakhshi (a.k.a Boss) as my roommate we had a large corridor for ourselves, with Bhopu and Pani in the next room. That year brings memories of the amazing Roti’s that Gurjot’s mom and nanny used to make… those Gobi pakodas and Rice with Rajma was too good to resist.

3rd Year: X Block, Room No. 3169

Third year I moved into a single room and was a rollercoaster ride of a year. Ths was the year when I hit my first 4 GPA and decided to concentrate on my technical aspect of life@MIT, setting aside L&D (Literary and Debating club) and a forayed into clubs like IEEE and likes. This was the year I got introduced to the wonderful world of Microcontrollers and what one could do with them… I had a lot of fun developing small stuff and it sure makes you feel like an inventor when those babies start working… I and Joy also came up with this paper on Mobile Robots which really kicked ass.

4th Year: X Block, Room No.2254

Final year was marked mostly by the placements and I had a Midas Touch at that. Sat for 2 companies and got both… the year was a rollicking ride of parties and events. But I got to spend only a semester there as I did my final semester project outside Manipal (though I returned to Manipal several times in those next six months, My guide still thinks i came to deliver the reports :) )

Reliving Manipal (Return to Manipal – Part 4)

As we sat having breakfast at Vikram’s (it’s a modest eating joint in Manipal), Me, Aseem & Joydeep were talking of reliving Manipal, doing it all again, to keep it fresh in our minds till we return. So we embarked upon the quest with Ragul (my roommate, has a rather strong liking for Manipal though he never studied there)…

What better place to start than our very own D.T. (DownTown Pub). DT is at its best usually at night, when it is filled with people in various stages of drunken delusions and when it’s playing music, that will take you to a different level. But what the F***, we don’t have time and we have a bus to catch at night, so its DT@noon.

We were welcomed by quite a crowd, who obviously had similar thoughts. Except the fact that it was morning, DT was the same… GNR & Iron Maiden were blasting and people enjoying quite a head-bang. We spent rather a long time there doing shots of Gin & Mango Juice (kind of a new combination for me, but it was good)

After quite a photo session at DT, Pai left us as we proceeded to our beloved LC (Little Chef) for the ‘Egg-Cheese-Macaroni’, ‘Cold Chicken Burger’ and ‘Iced Lime’ that kept us alive through many of those horrible mess days. We were quite pleased to see Nagraj there who gladly posed for some memorable photos

Next stop was KC( Kamath Circle) where we saw many of our friends in a game of basketball. Now we were off to the hostel blocks. We wanted to visit each of the rooms where we stayed during our 4yrs in Manipal.

After covering the 5th block and the Tapmi Mess, we proceeded to see Timmy (a small dilapidated shack behind the 9th block), where we used to have hot ‘Ginger Tea’ and ‘Bun-Omlet’ on those sleepless sessional nights.

Timmy (a rather tiny person) was delighted to see us and got a special tea from him. Onto the Poornima juice center and XI and X Blocks where we spent the rest of our lives in Manipal. The trip ended with a visit to the Temple and we headed out to Café Coffee Day to reunite with Pai & Joylita

We sure did relive Manipal in a matter of a couple of hours, memories safely locked in a trunk to be conjured up at another place, another time…

See the pictures of the Manipal trip here

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hurray, I’m a Graduate! (Return to Manipal - Part 3)

The 4 years of hard toil finally paid off… I finally graduated to be an Engineer… I was eagerly waiting for the graduation day, when I would wear the cloak and cap and receive my degree in the limelight. But as the day came in, I was more excited to meet my much scattered friends than actually the ritual called ‘The Convocation’ (view the Photos here).

Since the last 6 months, we MITians of Batch 2K5 have been infesting all parts of India (some abroad too… ranging from Munich to Stanford) and to see them together again was special perhaps because of the fact that we won’t be meeting as a bunch again for a very long time.

We had to march obediently (a virtue that is much lacking in us MITians) towards the stage that was adorned with dignitaries who went on & on about themselves and about the current trend in technology or medicine or whatever. We were at almost our wits end when they announced that the convocation ceremony was about to start.

Cheering my friends, my turn came and it was a brief moment, but one of pride when I finally received it in my hand…

Then it was all the photo sessions and exhilaration that followed… “Hurray, I’m a Graduate!”

The Adobe Presentation @ MIT (Return to Manipal - Part 2)

There I was waiting for the presentation to start and sitting among the audience (which were few). There were some MCA (Master of Comp Applications) guys there chatting away that some one from Adobe is giving a lecture today. I chuckled to myself, when I imagined their surprise when I would go up on stage to address them…

Then I saw a familiar face in the crowd. He was the Shekhar, the P.A. system guy, who takes care of the microphones and projectors during all the events. He saw me, forgetting that I was not in the college anymore, he comes and says,

Him: “Hi, I heard there is a Guest Lecture today”
Me : “I heard too” ;)
Him: “Any Idea whose giving it?”
Me : “Yep…”
Him: “Who?”
Me : “Me… (Smiling)”

His face lighted up as he realized that I had come back and then we stared chatting about the college and he said that I should come to college often for such stuff… I said, “I would be delighted, anything to come to Manipal” It was quite an emotional encounter for me.

Then people started pouring in (may be due to the name of Adobe) and we had an eventful presentation which lasted almost 2 hours (phew…). I did a presentation on RIAs and Flex and there was a lot of interest in the audience on this technology that is causing a revolution on the web and how we use it. Questions were shot at me as if from a tennis-ball machine and it was hard to volley them back and parry the tricky ones.

Then there was an exciting application development session where I made an application that gets photos as when clicked on a grid which has details about the different phones. It used the basic features of FLEX like DataGrid, States, Events, Image, panel…etc. I could have shown a live online version of it, getting photos from the Flickr Photo service, but couldn’t as there was no Net connection available.

People were very enthusiastic (there were the occasional sleeping beauties) and were most interested in picking up RIAs in general and Flex & AJAX in particular. They were most curious about the usability issues and connection with Databases and server interactions with traditional Server Pages like JSP, ASP, CF etc

It was a fruitful session and people mailing me day-in and out on when the Flex2.0 public beta release is out… Guys keep a watch for it at Adobe Labs. My first day in the Return to Manipal was over with me basking in the glory of being the Alumnus that came back…

The Stage is Set


Q&A Session

Thankyou Preetam Sir, for making it happen !

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nostalgia Personified ! (Return to Manipal - Part 1)

After a 9 hour bus journey (which I didn’t even know, coz I slept all through), I finally set foot in my favorite place in the world (after home…Of course), on the morning of 20th Jan 2006. My very own Manipal…

Manipal is where I learned the ‘tricks of the trade’, the place where I discovered my hidden passions and so called talents. A place I enjoy the most being in, a place where fun, frolic and work is like a package deal, under an umbrella called The Manipal Experience.

Not many places in India are blessed with what is called a University town, a concept well versed to the public elsewhere. Manipal is like a confluence of cultures, of youth, of ideas and the pros and cons that come with it. A place, that is so imperfect in the eyes of others, it seems perfect to me, a place where you can explore all alleys of life (I seriously mean all!). If you emerge unscathed from Manipal, you have a glorious and awesome future ahead as you have the “Been There, Done That” attitude in life.

Any way, it was a good digression from what I was gonna write. So I reached Manipal, this time as a guest of the college… an honor that not many can boast of (within 6 months of getting out of the place). I was there to give a presentation on the emerging topic of “Rich Internet Applications & Adobe Flex” as a representative of my company. An accommodation in an A/C room in the hostels was more than I could ask for and I was just too excited to be able to go up on stage again at my favorite Auditorium.

The presentation was at 3.00 pm but I reached the venue at 2.30 pm itself (which is so unusual for so called tech-talk celebrities, who follow the motto of ‘The later I come, the more people turn up’). I just wanted to soak up the experience of being there.

A dais that I have climbed up countless times, for participating and conducting quizzes, paper presentations, almost more than once in a month in all my stay in Manipal. But it felt different now… I was an Alumnus, returning to the Mother ship, but to leave again, just to share the corporate experience that I had had… Nostalgia Personified!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Kissed by a Bus

There are only a few "Road Rules" in Urban India…

1. The right side of the road is the empty side
2. Thou shall honk so loud that the guy in front will move out…
3. Thou shall stick whatever part of your bike/car/etc
in any available space on the road.

It’s a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world out there and yours truly often has to stick by the above rules (reluctantly though... there is no value for dutifulness in today's world). If you don’t take the above rules seriously, then you pay the price…

I found this out first hand yesterday when me and Kailas (my roommate) went shopping. Kailas usually takes it as a matter of personal pride that he strictly follows the above rules... and that too, religiously!

We set out from home and Kailas was his usual self… Honking loudly and zipping sometimes through the left and often through the right (read… wherever it is empty), we finally reached the shop, but not without incidents (refer Pic…)

Thank god that the car guy had the presence of mind to stop… and so nothing unwanted happened! I kind of grilled Kailas on the above incident and then he became his docile usual self and wowed to drive ‘Properly’ in the future.

The ride back was much more comfortable with Kailas riding as he had promised.. this cheered me up and I began to relax in the smoke filled traffic of the office-returning Bangalore.

We reached near the St. Antony’s Church as a bus halted in front of us (no movie like or should I say usual antics of screeching, but plain old brakes applied as slowly as it can). As a Good Samaritan, Kailas also breaks (using the drum-brakes, giving his disc-brakes a well deserved rest) stopping dutifully behind the bus.

The next thing I know, I was being rocked as if I was in a seismic zone… A bus that was behind us braked too, but the good ‘OLD’ bus and driver couldn’t get it to stop and kind of kissed our Royal Enfield, thus causing all this. Kailas was stunned, partly because he didn’t know the language (Kannada) to cuss him and partly because he just replaced his tail light and partly because, in India, there are not many who get to be kissed by a bus and live to tell the tale too….. Praise The Lord !

What happened as a result of this... Kailas has now wowed to go back to his usual wanton ways, the technique described in the above picture, that never caused the one below....

Kissed By a Bus !

The amazing part is that, the kiss was so gentle, it didnt even break the brake-light but only the cover... :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Above and Beyond

As i was going crazy taking pictures of perople all around me (check my last post), my eyes kind of fell on the framed certificate on Harish's Cube... the Macromedia Above and Beyond Award.

It invoked two emotions in me... one, the fact that we have all gone above and beyond the horizon called Macromedia and attained the Valhalla of our life. One journey is but a prelude to another... As Tennyson says (in Ulysses)

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles...

I tresure what was Macromedia and look beyond the horizon, to what is Adobe and to the exciting journey that is to come...

The other thought was of humility, one of respect for the work that he has done and the that "I'll be there someday"

Cheers Harish... for what you have achieved and I'll strive to reach there... Someday (I hope to read it as SOON)

Me Gone Crazy !

I got joseph's camera to office to transfer some files to my computer. As i got here i decided to go crazy and started taking pics@MM Office left and right. Thank my stars, the security people didnt think i was a mole spying for a weakness in the office security (for those un-enlightened souls, there was a shootout incident recently at Indian Institute of Science by some terrorists. Check that out here)

So here are the pics...

Into The Deep (the Macromedia Entrance)

Dreams Flower here...

Time (and TimeZones) wait for No man !

My Office

The FLEX Area (kinda apt bcoz Sam does skipping here too)

Yep That's Me !

My two great (and lovely) Friends

Lauren (my sweet boss)

Me & Harish (Thanks man for referring me to this great place !)

Harish yet again...

Bye Bye Reindeer (Anand's Cube... Reindeer in the back)

Iyer the Great ! (Ram's Cube)

Jyoti (as sweet as the kids pasted all around her cube)

The real rishKESH (too bad, you can't see his ponytail)

Sreenivas & Sam on print...

That's all Folks...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Bannerghatta Trip

We went to Bannerghatta National Park yesterday. After an awful ride through dug-up and extremely dusty roads, we finally reached there… The first and foremost reason for us to make the trip was defeated… To have a smooth and fast drive.

The Bikes

And the Bikers (Ragul,Me,Sumith,Kannan & Joseph... from L to R)

Oops... Kailas was missing in the last one

Since it was a holiday (Saturday, as well as Sankranti/ Pongal festivals) people flocked to the place and it took us quite sometime to get the tickets. We went in for something called the GRAND SAFARI (Rs.110, about $2.50 per ticket).

As we went in I saw a very heartening sight. NO PLASTICS ALLOWED (apparently a deer had died some days back, consuming plastic). They were taking meticulous care to pack everything in paper bags so that the harmful plastics are not exposed to the animals. But since I was in India, I should not have been too optimistic. I saw people sneaking plastic items into the bus as it’s easier to carry and the wait to transfer it into paper bags would consume their PRECIOUS time.

The safari stared, first showing us some Deer (striped/ non-striped /big /small etc). But we were a bit astonished by the fact that the deer were not bothered by our bus near them. Either they were used to it, or they were bound by (invisible) chains (I would like to think it was a real safari, so they were used to buses… Period)

Then it moved on to what was called a BEAR Safari, which turned out to be a huge disappointment. There was only a single Bear and that too, it was more interested in the processed and bowl-served food than the whole lot of deer that was hopping around him.

But if that was a disappointment, the LION Safari was a total letdown. Yes, we saw lots of Lions (about 10 of them) but they were all in cages, taking their afternoon naps after a fiesta. If caged animals is their idea of a Safari, I wondered, what next?? This trip was going to the WILD dogs. We started taking more interest in the antics of two cute kids on our bus than the scenes outside.



But as a Sine wave goes with crests and troughs… the trip had its high point, and that was the TIGER Safari… after passing the initial Tigers, again in cages, we got to a point where there were 3 tigers walking around our bus… That was cool.

Tiger, Tiger Everywhere...

Then we saw White tigers and the trip took a turn for the better. As our safari ended, we were in a much better mood than when we started. The zoo was a good one with all sorts of animals from zebras to leopards, snakes to monkeys. We had Joseph trying to “ape” some of them as he tried to scale heights that no man has ever done before.


We also saw a fight between two porcupines, which was scary as we were standing just beside the cage. Joseph had his camera and one hand inside the enclosure and did a funny but great job of pulling his hand (and more importantly the camera) out before anything unwanted happened..

And the winner is...

We loitered around for sometime having some fun of our own and making the most of this "Out of the City" atmosphere. Then we headed back.. to "Square One". Though the drive back was as horrible as it could be… it was just that the trip was not bad and we quite enjoyed it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Return of the Jedi

Manipal… the name sends a thrilling vibe through me. It also generates in me a feeling of nostalgia and those memories (bitter and sweet). I’m drenched in these emotions as I’m preparing myself to go to my very own Manipal for my Graduation Convocation :)

Life springs surprises! And when those are pleasant, they kind of are very dear to heart. I got one this week. Not only is the fact that I have my convocation, which is going to be one of the most memorable days of my life, I now return to college as a Corporate honcho, than a student that I was.

I am going give a talk on “Rich Internet Applications and Adobe FLEX” in my very own MIT (Manipal Institute of Technology) as an ambassador of Adobe Systems. It’s like the return of an amateur Jedi as a Jedi Master (exaggerating obviously!). Just that there are no "Darth Vaders" here... I hope!

Looking forward to it very much. Hello Manipal, here I come and FLEXing my muscles too! :)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Long Lost Friend

The term “Long Lost Friend” was always a funny phrase for me. I believed that you can never lose a good friend and then rediscover him/her again after a while… I thought that friends would always stay in touch… But i never thought of those friends who were in your life when you were too small. I never thought of that! Until yesterday when something very bizarre happened to me. I found a Long Lost Friend.

This was all the way back in 1st grade (15 yrs back) :) when I joined this school called Vidyadhiraja Vidya Mandir in Trivandrum, India. I had a very extrovert attitude (yeh... I had) and a knack for making friends (I still do). We formed a gang of 1st graders (all guys) who used to chat away to glory while the teacher tried to imbibe in us the seed of knowledge (chuckle).

The teacher literally got sick and tired of me and complained about my behavior to my mom, who gave her full liberty to do as she pleases with me. She pondered over the problem and came up with a brilliant solution. She placed me in a place where I was surrounded with girls and I kind of drew myself into a shell like a tortoise.

She had a solution for her problem… But for how long? She didn’t realize that man is a social animal. Adaptation and the character to make maximum out of the available resources is one of man’s most celebrated abilities. In short, now I had a “Chatter Club” going in with the girls, who where sweet and quiet as per her calculations.

There I met Laxmy… My number one accomplice and joint secretary of the “Chatter Club”. We had a great time together. My mother still says that during the parent-teacher interactions, they had nothing else to say but complaints about both of us chatting, oblivious of what was going around us… I do not remember much about that school other than her and another handful of people. But I left the school when I was in 3rd grade and all memories faded away but a few remained.

And yesterday I got a scrap in my Orkut profile. “Are you the same Raghu and do you remember me, Laxmy from Vidyadhiraja?” Boy was I thrilled. I had found a “Long Lost Friend”.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Yahoo Widgets !

I was a big fan of Google Desktop. It is in sync with Google’s philosophy of simple and elegant. Google Desktop, though cool and useful is a bit bland… It was a good experience and the fact that they were releasing the Google Desktop SDK excited the programmer in me too. But the current SDK download is a version in Visual Studio .NET project files which kind of put me off and I stated looking for greener pastures.

Recently I read an article by Gerry McGovern which says – “E-marketing is about substance over show, logic over emotion, text over graphics. Good Web marketers follow the Google motto: be useful”. But I, as an erstwhile employee of Macromedia Inc. beg to differ. If the same/similar substance can be packaged in a better way so as to give an enhanced user experience, there’s nothing like it… or as in Macromedia we used to say “Experience Matters”. This is exactly why Yahoo Widgets blew me away…

Yahoo Widgets were a offshoot of Yahoo acquiring It is an amazing utility and comes with a Yahoo! Widget Engine which can be downloaded easily. Then you can add plugin like programs with enhanced visual experiences to attain the utility level of Google Desktop plugins and more…

The widgets range from the usual calendar, organizer, clock, notes ones to yahoo specialties like weather and stocks. I liked the stocks widget very much because it can access real-time stock prices from almost 25 different markets around the globe, unlike Google which has it for only NASDAQ and NYSE. For laptop users, there is a battery widget that will give you a visual indication of your laptop battery. Check out more of these in the Widget Gallery. The only advantage that i saw of Google Destop plugin that announces and indexes emails form Outlook for better search purposes. But this takes up a lot of space on the local machine and makes it very slow.

But what excited me most was that Yahoo too was giving us a way to program our own widgets. It comes with a widget called Widget Converter that can convert a .widget file into the source code and back. A very ingenious method indeed. The code is in simple Yahoo proprietary XML (I work in Flex which is written in Macromedia proprietary XML) and JavaScript, easily reprogrammable to suit our needs. It has an easy to understand tutorial and other helping hands at the Widget Workshop

I cannot wait to explore more…

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Audio Posts migrated !

Hi All,

I have migrated all my audio posts to as the last free space provider was getting choked due to bandwidth and other constraints...

This is a temporary set up until i get my own webspace. But it will do for the time being :) Enjoy