KSTDC Tirupathi tour package experience.

Booking

The reservation was done online through the KSTDC site. The site is very basic, but quite functional. The specific seats in the Volvo bus can also be blocked. We were charged a total of Rs. 3400 for the whole package . The package that we took was the 1 day tour of Tirupathi(Lord Venketeshwara and Padmavathi Temple)-Mangapura.

KSTDC Website.

KSTDC Website.


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Building Webkit on Windows 7 with Visual Studio 2008 Express.

I have been successful with building and running the win port of webkit. The whole process took 2 days but it was worth the effort. Below are some tips and links that I helped me in getting through.
My config: Windows 7 + Windows 7 SDK + VS 2008 Express Edition.

Some tips :

  • Don’t fetch the webkit trunk : Webkit trunk has not only the source code but the layout tests as well. Layout tests are important if you are planning to make some changes to the code. But if you just want to explore the code, then they are not needed. The layout tests is a large number of files. It takes forever to download them. Just take the Source, Tools & Webkitlibraries folder and you can start building.
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Font for programmers.

Programming fonts trigger as passionate debate as sometimes politics or religion do. Every programmer has his/her favorite font,but mostly the monotype small fonts rule programmers heart.
The clarity of such fonts is very important. Here is some information about some programmer fonts that I have collected over the past few weeks.

Dina rules!!
My favorite, which seems to be favorite among quite some programmers, is the Dina font. The clarity is amazing and the width saving fits more code into the screen. Just google for Dina and you can find many posts about how Dina has made their programming life easy :). While making the programming life easy is more of a psychological thing, but one thing is clear that Dina makes code easy to read on the screen.
Here is a sample of Dina in action in Carbide.c++.

Dina in action.

Dina in action.


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Finding rented accomodation in Bengaluru.

Moving to Bengaluru has been a mixed experience. A few weeks before the final shift to Bangalore the great search for an apartment was kicked off. It took us nearly 4 weeks of finalise the place. In this process we nearly saw around 30 flats and independent houses before finalizing on one. So here are some main points to keep in mind while finding a rented accomodation place in Bangalore.

Where to start?
The various places where you can find rent listings are as follows:

  • Message boards/ Forums in IT companies : If you are moving to Bengaluru, and if you have some friends here in IT companies then you can ask them to find such postings on the company internal forums as well.
  • Sites like magicbrick.com, 99acres.com : Best place to find owner posted ads.
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Best free tool to remove EXIF information.

Images contain EXIF information, which can contain enough private data to cause privacy issue. I found a very nifty tool to remove all the exif information from images in one click. It’s called Easy Exif Delete. It just has one screen, to add the image files, and in one click you can clear all the exif information of the images.

Here is the screenshot of Easy Exif Delete.

Screen of Easy Exif Delete.

Easy Exif Delete can be downloaded from the following sites:

  1. Cnet.com
  2. ConsumerSoft.com

 

Project reviews : An essential exercise to maintain momentum and direction in hobby projects.

For a past month I have been coding a Symbian native application as a hobby project. What was initially a month’s exercise(according to my earlier estimates), is not even 50% over after nearly a month. There is progress , daily checkins and visual progress in terms of the UI development. But the project still seems hopelessly over-schedule. So what went wrong?
I decided to preside over this question to understand the factors affecting my progress. I made a long list of features, features of my application. Then I tagged them according to the phase they were conceptualized. And finally the version in which they will be released. Check the pie chart of the same.

Features added in phase?

So as it is clear from the pie chart, as I continued coding I did not stick to the feature list which I had planned. Adding more killer features to the app only adds on to the agony and stretches the limits of the developers interest. The most important thing is to freeze the feature set and even if some “absolutely needed” feature emerges, it should be added to the list of features so that work can be done on it subsequently.
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Some OpenGL ES links.

  1. Linear Algebra Video Lectures from MIT Open Courseware.
  2. A First Course in Linear Algebra – Online book.

OpenGL – Just links for making OpenGL ES work on various platforms

OpenGL ES for Symbian links

RmClock : The nitro boost for mobile processors.

This experiment was done by me some time back to squeeze out more performance from my Acer Aspire 5052. Now if you check the specs it has a AMD Turion Processor MK38 maxing out at 2.2 Ghz. The AMD processor is known to be more cheap than the Intel line of similar mobile processors. But they are more like the Intel Celeron line, cheap but they heat on running cpu intensive tasks. So this laptop was being used to do Symbian application development, but the thing I noticed that it would take some time to build the code. I was not sure what was the reason for the extra build time taken, even though the laptop was decently powered!!

After doing some research on the net, I figured AMD employs, it calls the PowerNow! which is similar to Intel’s SpeedStep. PowerNow! offers performance on demand, so basically when you idle the processor will run at lower cpu speeds and when something processing heavy crops up the frequencies are switched to get more performance. This helps to keep the laptop cool and extend the battery life of the laptop. Now this also means that the fans of the laptop are engaged less and thus there is less noise. But this in turn also

RmClock : Nitro Boost for the mobile cpu’s

Rmclock is the tool that can stop the transitions and keep the CPU at the the mission-ready max frequency level. So in my case it was at 2.2 Ghz level.

Repercussions of using RmClock

While RMClock allows to tweak the CPU to extract maximum performance, it has some side-effects. I found that now my CPU fan would run full-on all the time. Especially when compiling it would literally make a humming sound like the servers racks. I had to get a USB cooling pad as well as make clear out the air-vents to make the CPU cool. This cooling pad was of great help as I noticed that Acer Aspire had this issue of heating up some part of the keyboard while doing cpu intensive tasks like code builds.

RmClock has a free version which can be downloaded from here.

References

Spotted : BlueTiger Motion Simulator.

Recently I saw a BlueTiger Motion Simulator, which is basically an advanced awesome car racing rig. The whole setup with 3 monitors and real time motion simulator was very cool. It was playing one of the Formula One Sims. I found it a bit too jerky. Check the pics below.

BlueTiger-sideview

BlueTiger-backview

Currently they are offering a 10 minute ride for 150 bucks.

Images taken with a Nokia N8. And on a unrelated note , wordpress seems to be incapable of handling its super resolution and uploading the images the throwing out of memory errors.

Micromax VanGogh x450 looks very similar to LG Decoy!!!

A few days back I saw the TV campaigns for the new Micromax VanGogh  X450. The X450 sports a inbuilt Bluetooth headset, present on the backside of the device. This reminded me of something that I had seen earlier, but was not able to really recollect exactly. So after some google searches I got what looks like the original inspiration of the Micromax VanGogh, the LG Decoy!! I am not sure if the designers at LG wanted to give some premonition, but the name is very unsettling. The Decoy was released in 2008 and was a slider as against the 2011 mono block  design of the VanGogh. The design of the VanGogh is quite streamlined and seems more classy and its even dual-sim like all other Micromax offerings.

Here are some images for comparison.

LG Decoy in blue vs. Micromax VanGogh in yellow

LG Decoy in blue vs. Micromax VanGogh in yellow

More information about the LG Decoy : #1, #2.

Specification of the MicromaxVanGogh  X450.

Image Courtesy : PhoneArena.com & micromaxinfo.com