sairam.blog

thoughts, ramblings and ideas of a geek

Moving to a Smarter Life

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After losing my iPhone 3 years ago, I lost hope of ever buying an iPhone again. I lived on with Nokia phones without access to internet, relying on my laptop for source of real time information. I adored smartphones, but despised Android because of lack of quality, security and consitency of buttons, features, app store. After buying my first Mac 4 years ago, my world has changed. I was into iPhone, Apple news, develpers who have their working environment on Mac. Linux is a solid server rather than a development environment. TextMate, iTerm and Alfred are the best applications. Adopting a Android phone seemed an unlikely fit.

When the news about the Motorola phone) hit the Flipkart office, I decided to take a chance with Android. There was a general discussion on 8 vs 16 Gig models. One person mentioned that there was 11 Gig free space on his 16 Gig phone, then I decided an 8GB would be more than enough for my usage if ever I use it like I used my first iPhone. The Flipkart site was reported down on the launch day of Moto G. It was an exclusive launch on Flipkart where the site experienced higher traffic than it was provisioned for. I ended up placing my order with a 1 day delivery. Next day morning, I went to the delivery hub and picked up my phone. (Yes, you can visit a Flipkart’s Delivery hub and pickup your item before they dispatch with the courier).

Flipkart launched the phone at 12am where the stock was ordered in minutes. There was a relaunch in the afternoon to take in preorders for both 8 and 16 Gigs. There was a review by a lost and frustrated soul that it was harder to book the Moto G than to book a Tatkal ticket.

The good: WhatsApp was the biggest hype of all. Most of my friends stopped using conventional email and started WhatsApp since its easier on the go and easier for group messaging. Remember the desktop client which had group messaging ? – Yahoo. You can send the same message to all members. The nicest and most annoying feature was a ‘Buzz’. You buzz a person to get notice of the chat window. Well, Google killed it. From my perspective, WhatsApp is a group messaging app on the phone where Yahoo Messenger was to web. Obviously, this is a perspective from an eighty thousand feet view. There is security, scale, laws, hacking etc., Its worth $19 billion for Facebook because of the users and the ads and the content being flown around to understand people and direct advertisements.

Email is the normal thing you expect to be in touch with. Camera, pictures, Clock, Alarm, Contacts are the standard set.

Being new to the Bangalore City, Google Maps is the best feature I use, but it drinks up the battery like I consume water (Gulp, gulp, gulp and the bottle is left with only 50%). I started attending meetups – Docker and Ruby for now. The usability of few of the features is not as expected. I cannot find the address of where I am (I usually get lost) when I want to notify a cab or a friend. I wish it took information from my calendar to display where I need to go.

The Calendar, When you are in a meeting, you wont be disturbed with calls. You can configure and customize it so that you notify my caller over SMS or only get the calls from your contacts.

I keep in sync with the web with Feedly (after the homicide of Google Reader). ReadMill for ebooks. Asana for tasks or errands.

JustEat should remake their app. Meru has a nice interface, but if only we could send the location to the driver without the address information. That reduces the time of conveying the information a lot.

The Flip Cover is nice. You wont get your sweat on the phone especially in the summer or after hours of talking. My parents appreciated the clarity and hands free.

If you want a talking buddy, you can talk using ‘OK Google’. I never got to talk to Siri.

The ugly: It does not have 4G. Not so great touch like Nexus 5. Moto G is ¼th the price of Nexus 5 in India. Battery, well its only when I am using Wifi Networks or Location services.

I feel that I now moved to a smarter life. I only wish I had bought a smartphone sooner.

Travelogue

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Woke up at T-2:45 hours to get ready after an unconventionally lazy combined along with a sleepy yesterday. I was awake more time when the sun was down. I beat the alarm by a steep 10 minutes. My lazyness kicked in, but my bodily function overrode the mind. Crazy how the overrides are configured and dynamically change the complete environment. Its hard to get a right architectural diagram and a way to represent it.

I tried to reach the auto driver like 3 times at 5am. He never picked up. Losing hope, I wanted to try out the routine route of catching an auto and thoughts swirled my mind about the non-positive aspects of not making the journey. I called up the auto driver several times after when he said he would reach there in 5 minutes which literally took 20 minutes (it doesnt take that much time even in the traffic Vijayawada experiences). He assured me that I was going to reach on time. The roads were filled with air with a mix of dust. The outskirts of the city were dominated by fog over the vehicles.

The auto driver was amazed about the Rs. 25/– entry fee which I still doubt would not ideally exist when they dropoff the passengers and is unconvetional to charge for entering the airport premises. Upon the normal security check to get inside, I found the waiting area to be smaller than I imagined. It can only fit in 1 airplane full of passengers – say 25. 1 seat for the passenger, 1 for their luggage considering no one knows who are after their luggage. The small hall was cramped up. They adjusted 2 boarding counters side by side for 3 airlines under the assumption that no 2 sets of passengers have the flight at the same time. To improve sales, there was a person who came near each person and enquired if they missed their early morning coffee and could find if he can get a replacement for the same.

Using my reference to one of my dumb theories, I prefer going in last in medium sized lines. When they called up for the security check right after the checkin, I informed a co-passenger that I would wait, he followed suite after looking at the line. The airhostesses were calling up informing the security line was empty which was when we made the move.

There was a much fancier coffee shop after the security check, selling obviously on the inflated rates and as usual, no one questions the concept of MRP though which is usually waived off in these cases.

I was rethinking my strategy about the queues when the call was made for us to move out to the airfield. Needless to say, the speakers are an overkill and the acoustics are horrid. Beware you might feel as if you were listening to a broadcast from an alien ship on who could not get the encoding right along with a little hard to modify bass. (Remember the Superman 2013 movie?).

I have never stepped foot in the Vijayawada airport. My sister has visited the airport as part of a school trip that happened atleast 15 years ago. I always was jealous about that. I came to pick her up once last year, but never saw the airfield.

Once my mind and body passed through the last glass door into the airfield, I was greet with a luxrious helicopter like the one from the movies, with its wheels on the ground hold on by a fancy stopper. Its conventional to use random sized rocks from the nearby area to prevent large vehicles like lorries from moving out of place.

If Vijayawada becomes the capital, they need to up the capacity of the airport since they mean serious infra issues and foriegn investment. Lets first fix the roads before we start the work for the Airport.

Its time for the noise canceling technology produced by Bose. The time I spent on the flight was 1 hour, but to enter the city, it took about 2 hours. We really need to work on solutions for the last mile problem).

Stuff I Learnt on 25th July 2013

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Stuff I Learnt on 24th July 2013

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Lubuntu on MK802 Android PC

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I bought an MK802 through a colleague about an year ago. I have only used it twice till now to test. I wanted to a small sized PC so that my parents could browse the internet. It could not reach the wireless server possibly because of the power of both the router and this tiny pc. I ended up stashing it till yesterday where I learnt that Lubuntu( a light weight Ubuntu ) can be installed. Well, this is the third time I am reformatting the micro-sd card.

Instructions were clear at miniand.com forum about it, but I thought to use some of my extra knowledge which I attained. Turns out its quite a common mistake

The error the android system throws out is Damaged SD Card which means we did the same silly mistake of not following the instructions

sudo dd if=lubuntu-desktop-12.04-4-1080p-1GB-miniand.com.img of=/dev/rdisk9 bs=1m

Note the “r” before “disk1” – this makes the process faster (Noted in the forum link above)

This will create 2 partitions under your /dev/disk9 which is your SD card.

Alt+F2 –> lxterminal Source Well, I could not see the screen

If you don’t see anything on your screen except a mouse pointer, it could be that your resolution did not fit exactly, you need to adjust your settings accordingly.

If you were trying to modify the password using sudo passwd and the root password does not change, may be its a sign that you are too stupid to admit you are sleepy at 3 in the morning( or there could be a problem with the file system and might require a reboot)

Next Steps: http://launchintolinux.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/six-things-to-do-after-installing-lubuntu/

TODO: A Pic of the screen and the device should be updated.

Learnings From 23 July 2013

Book Review: Version Control With Git, 2nd Edition

Version Control with Git 2/e by Jon Loeliger, Matthew McCullough from O’Reilly Media

The book was provided as part of the blogger’s review program.

This book covers topics from basics to advanced aspects of git varying from basic daily usage to once in a life time commands that you dream have existed.

Who is the book for ?

If you want to

  • know the modern day distributed version control systems
  • stop using p4, a disaster happens when you wait for few seconds to open a file on the server across the continent
  • learn about new data structures and concepts used in building an VCS
  • be amazed about no central authority managing files and easily download thousands of revision changes in a single shot
  • know how thousands of developers across the world contribute to thousands of projects without a central bottleneck
  • did not know that creating a new branch is a millisecond operation
  • stick with svn, but use the power of git

This book is for you if you fall under any of the options above

git on

The book starts off with the origins on how Git started and the big guns, one of the biggest distributed open source software, The Linux Kernel, uses it.

The initial chapters deal with Basic Git concepts which provide you explanations of keywords which are used later on.

Chapter (5) deals with adding, removing and moving operations which is the most used operation during active development.

Chapter (6) deals with commits, the heart of git version control and how its unique way it is what it is (the atomic changesets).

Chapter (7) provides a great in-depth explanation about branches and how you can create and experiment on branches w/o spoiling the existing tree and without even telling the server about the new changes. Here is where you will get to know that the creation of a branch is a millisecond operation rather than updating few table rows and locking them to avoid conflicts. Merging branches to keep or not keep history of the separate branch etc are explained in Chapter (9).

Looking back at what you or other authors have done is dealt in Chapter(8). Git can compare anything, commits, branches and tags (essentially any objects).

You slowly get into more advanced concepts of altering existing commits which I have personally dealt with in only one of my project for fixing my email address in a non-collaborated environment. Well modifying a commit has ‘disaster’ written all over it.

We get to see how git repositories are shared and what gets pushed when you initiate a push or pull. Git servers are explained as well to identify various forms you can send your code diff to the server so that it can be collaborated.

Did you know that you can share a directory on dropbox between collaborators and use it as a server as well ?

Patches are designed where you have a strict reviewer policy (like the Linux Kernel) to make a patch and send it across to be reviewed. Its added into the master once its added. This is also famously called ‘Pull Request’ on Github, where the team/community can discuss about the importance or requirement of the code change.

Hooks, the most underused by a developer but are more relevant to external services which use the code.

There are more interesting topics like

  • git filter-branch covered which you will not get to use unless hell broke lose in your repository
  • submodules – to reuse directories across multiple projects

Last, but not the least, an introduction to Github, which hosts hundreds of thousands open source repositories, is a nice addition though might look like its not necessary at first look. You can visually feel everything that you do on the command line on the UI. Many services like Continuous Integration for building & releasing software, verifying code quality, analysing code vulnerabilities etc were built on Github, essentially hook to the power of git helping developers complete the workflow.

Few of the stuff I personally learnt from the initial chapters

  • .git directory makes more sense now
  • I did not know about git bisect and had to manually iterate through commits
  • I got my hands dirty with git filter-branch. Warning: Use with extreme caution.

External Links


Links to purchase from

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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