Monday, August 29, 2005


So this morning we went to Ulsoor for rowing. Sindya and I did ran around the lake and were just stretching and waiting in line for a single-scull. Today was the day we were meant to practice balancing in a scull while tied to the pier.

Just then, they brought out some waterskis and there was an army guy trying to learn how to waterski. He wasn't able to get out of the water, and I made some comment about his skis not being positioned correctly. One of the coaches overheard so he turned to me and asked if I knew how to ski. Then he was like "will you show us?" It was issued as sort of a challenge. So I said that I could definitely give it a try.

Well eventually the boat came in and I got into the water. The only thought going through my head was "shit. now a bunch of army guys are going to get a laugh out of me falling" Luckily, I was able to get up on the first try and even cross the wake a few times.

After two rounds of the lake I came back to shore and watched Sindya's balancing act in the scull (she had already gotten in). There wasn't time for me to try today, but that's okay. I haven't waterskied in oh about... fifteen years. So I've spent the rest of the morning smiling from ear to ear.

PS: I should mention that Ulsoor was no cleaner today than it was yesterday. So if I die because of sewage ingestion, then we all know why. :) (actually it wasn't that bad)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Moral: Gluttons shouldn't go to an all-you-can-eat place when starving.

Story: After rowing this morning and attempting to improve my running time (no luck: still did 16:54 around the lake), I rushed to the office and forgot to pick up breakfast either at home or near the office. By 11am I was starved and light headed.

Every Wednesday they have an all-you-can-eat salads-and-cold-cuts buffet at a german cafe (Cafe Schlomegger) above the Max Meuler center in Bangalore. I called and made a reservation for 12:30 (when they open). I ate about four full plates of meat and salads, after which Sindya (who didn't eat quite as much as me) proceeded to order dessert. Of course, I had to have some of that too.

After a 90 minute lunch, I could barely walk the four flights of stairs back down to the road. An hour later I'm at work feeling unbearably sick. ugh

On a side note, Moohaha writes about bad drivers in the US. I'm amused

Thursday, August 18, 2005


The rowing coaches want us to be sufficiently warmed up before starting to row, so I've been running around Ulsoor Lake every morning for most days the past two weeks (the long weekend excluded).

I was told that it's 3.6 km around the lake.

I timed myself the past three days and the times were 18:34, 17:40, 16:54 respectively. Pretty rapid improvement once I started timing myself, but I know I'm getting closer to my current limits.

As soon as I get under 15 minutes I'll be close to a six-and-a-half-minute-mile, which is my current goal. I'm told that the Army dudes run it in under 15.

Given that I do an hour of rowing after that, I'll probably just stick at that, until it becomes painlfully easy for me (wishfull thinking)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Will update this entry later; need to head to bed. But here's a link to photos from a weekend in Allepy, Kerala.

(If you're subscribed to the feedburner version of my feed, you should already see the pictures)

So last Thursday night, Sindya and I took off for Kerala. We got in a bus at 4:30pm, and reached Allepy at 5:15am on Friday. A car from the resort was waiting to pick us up. We got to the resort minutes before sunrise, and were able to take some great snaps. The resort itself is very rustic. No TV in the rooms, all wood construction, outdoor openair bathrooms, etc. It was so beautiful there that we just stayed up and watched the sunrise and hung out in a hammock until breakfast time.

For breakfast, we had Appams and Stew - a traditional Kerala breakfast. The stew is basically vegetables boiled in coconut milk - it's delicious. After eating about 4 appams and exhausting the stew that we got, I asked the waiter to bring me a bowl of coconut milk and a jar of sugar, and proceded to eat six more appams doused in coconut milk and sprinkled with sugar. That about set the tone for the rest of the trip.

At around noon we took all our luggage and checked onto a two bedroom houseboat (there was no one in the other room so we had it to ourselves). There were three people on the boat with us; a fulltime cook, a dude who steered the boat, and a dude to run the motor. :) The cook made some amazing lunch (shredded coconut in some kind of gourd, some daal, and a yummy kerala fish curry) and dinner.

There was a mattress on the front of the boat where you could just lie under the sun and watch the world go by. That's where we were most of the time. We stopped in the middle of a lake for a while and I went for a swim though was a little scared because the dude told us there were water snakes (non poisonous) in some parts. At around 6, we docked somewhere and went for a walk, had dinner, and went to bed.

We got back to the resort by about 10am the next morning (breakfast was just toast along with an amazing dessert of caramalized unripe banana - why is it that we don't have dessert after breakfast all the time?). At noon we got on another boat to go watch the annual snakeboat races.

Each snakeboat accomodates about 120 people (usually representing one village). There are several heats with 4 boats each; it looked like they rowed about 2+ miles but I'm not sure. It was great fun to watch the first 3-4 heats but it got old quick.

After finally making it back to the resort at 6pm, we hogged some more on the buffet dinner (appams and coconut chicken curry, followed by many more appams eaten with - you guessed it - coconut milk and sugar) and hit the sack.

Sunday morning was spent just chilling in preparation for a 4pm bus back to Bangalore.

Overall it was an amazing trip. Did I mention the coconut milk?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

innovation week

A few months ago, I had a really kickass idea for a relatively simple web app that, I think, could make web surfing much better (yes, another one of those ideas). I worked on a proof of concept but, being close to a big release at work, I couldn't find the time to concentrate on work as well as a prototype.

With support from Management, I was able to spend all of last week (minus a few hours each day when I had to attend meetings) working from home on my prototype. It was great fun to stay up late with pizza, coke, and some good music and hack away; I haven't had that much fun coding in... well... a long long time.

On Sunday night, I slept at 10pm (because I was going to start rowing classes at 6am on Monday) but ended up waking up at 2am with a head full of code. The last time that happened to me was probably during OS class way back in 2001. I ended up coding from 2am - 5am, going to the rowing class at 5:30am (we ended up not starting until today so just went running), playing tennis from 8-9am, and then being at work all day. Just when I thought I was ready to pass out at home in the evening from exhaustion, I just had to bust out a few more features that were spinning around in my head.

The app is not ready to go live yet, but it's at the point where I was able to demo it off to a few people at work today (sans any browser crashes or error messages). It's the first time we've done an 'Innovation Week' at Amazon Bangalore. Working on something small and innovative gave me a badly needed recharge; back to 'real' work now.

I'm totally convinced that RoR is the way to go for frontend development. It's funny; Ruby on Rails made the webapp/db coding so trivial/nonexistent that 90% of my time was spent writing javascript. I've mostly been doing backend, server framework-type coding at work so I'm not exactly an authority on frontends. But the little jsp that I've been exposed to tells me that RoR is the way to go.

Monday, August 08, 2005


As of this morning, Sindya and I are signed up to row for an hour every morning on Ulsoor lake, from 6:45 - 7:45. It's *amazing*. We're spending the first week rowing on a fixed boat (it's tied to the dock) to learn the technique.

The location (Trishna Yacht club) is Army property but they allow civilians to use it, through a company called Catapult Connect. The coaches are all super friendly Army guys who've competed nationally or internationally. Six days a week for 23 more days, we'll be waking up at six, taking a quick run around Ulsoor Lake, and then rowing for an hour.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

rails on fcgi

I've been working on prototyping a small rails app at work this week. On Friday I decided that I had enough functionality to be able to do a basic demo, so I decided to focus my attention on getting the demo up and hosted before getting back to fleshing out the functionality.

Since then I've been in config hell. Things were running really slow on my box because I was using CGI. Like an idiot I decided to switch to using lighttpd->fcgi->rails instead of apache->cgi->rails, but do it all in one go. I can't believe I still don't know better than to try doing multiple switches like that in one go.

Anyways, I came to my senses this morning and followed the following excellent instructions on getting fcgi set up on my local box. After (almost blindly) copy-pasting the commands, my app is up and running a lot faster with fcgi support.

The next step is to make the apache->lighttpd switch.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

out of this world.

this is nuts. check out the moon.

And, for shitsandgiggles, make sure you zoom in all the way.

hat tip, google blog.

no way!

a multibutton mouse from apple!

One wonders why exactly it took them over a decade to realize that it's useful to have more than one button. Though I agree that more buttons is not always better; I have almost never used the 'forward' and 'back' thumb-buttons on my Microsoft mouse.

Monday, August 01, 2005

amazon 10 yr celebration

SO had quite a big celebration for its 10 yr anniversary; a concert featuring Norah Jones and Bob Dylan.

We had a company picnic/10 yr celebration in India as well. We went to the Kings Sanctuary resort in Nagarhole. We left on Friday morning with two big buses and a small tempo, and arrived there in time for a late lunch. The rooms there were pretty amazing, and Sindya and I were lucky (with a little help from Rekha as well) to have a cottage to ourselves (most other people slept 4 to a cottage - two in the bedroom and two in the living room).

We went out for a safari that afternoon. We didn't see any tigers; we just missed seeing one by about 10 minutes. Ironically, people travelling on a loud, interstate bus saw a tiger whereas we (travelling in jeeps, specifically there to see the wildlife) didn't. We got to see lots of spotted deer, some Sambar deer, a wild elephant, a Gaur (I think it's the same as a bison), two types of monkey (langur, and one other) and a bunch of birds whose names I forget. We got pretty cold and wet, it rained the whole weekend. After the safari, we had dinner and drinks. A couple of us went for a midnight dip in the pool.

Vikas and I had brought some climbing gear so at 7:30am on Saturday twelve of us got into the tempo and went to a nearby rock for some clibming and rapelling. Vikas and I set up rapell with the help of the guide (he actually is an entertainer at the resort who'd just learnt to climb by watching people set stuff up there). Apart from the two of us and Pooja, no one else had rapelled before so they needed a lot of convincing to lower themselves off the edge of a cliff. Pooja required the most ;) We didn't have time to climb, but I think everyone had a great time. Shivam and Harman came away with a few bruises since they were the first two (after Vikas) to try rapelling down so didn't have a good idea of how it was done. Sorry guys!

We got back to the resort, played in the super-cold swimming pool for about 45 minutes, had lunch, and then got back on the bus to head back. It was a good break.

Now I have to plan a real honeymoon before the wife kicks my butt!