Monday, September 01, 2008

Tag - A for Apple

Tagged by prithz again.

A - This is where I shop. - An Open Handset Alliance Project. Let us see if Android can be successful.

B - The unofficial, official blog of the "iphone-dev team". I can't use my iphone without jailbreaking to run open-source utilities on it.

C - Good place to find a decent hotel while traveling on budget. -Visit there time to time when a new interesting project shows up.

D - Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. My primary OS.

E - A nice new site for new gadget reviews.

F - You can get some serious deals here. - Nice social networking site. Not an avid user though.

G - Another tech news site. - Use this if you wanna type in tamil.

H - To keep up with news back home time to time.

I - Internet Movie Data base.

J - A nice software blog.

K - This is the primary site for the Linux kernel source.

L - Another social networking site. - One of class mates new venture.

M - Regular user of this to get driving directions etc.,

N - Electronic shopping. - News site. - One stop shop for all the news.

O - Social networking, once again.

P - Mandatory site to visit for all grad students.

Q is empty...

R - India calling cards. - Indian news site. - Another tech news blog / site.

S - News for nerds. Stuff that matters. Very informative.

T - for tickets to Tamil movies running in LA area.

U - A nice distro-based on Debian. Recommended for linux newbies.

V - For all you virtual machine needs.

W - Wikipedia - Tech news site.

X A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Y - Broadcast yourself.

Z - Pretty detailed site on US real estate.

I am not tagging anybody. If you want to do this tag, please do so. :-)


The Tag name is A for Apple
Give preference for regular sites
Ignore your own blogs, sites.
Tag 3 People.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Five things you don't know about me

Hello Peps:

It has been a long time as usual.. Hope everyone is doing good and having a fun time.. It is time to finish my long pending tag and this is also my first tag.

Tagged by Prithz, Five things you don't know about me.

1. Music makes me lose control.

I like music (any form) very much. I just can lose all of my other thoughts when I am hearing my favorite beats.

2. Important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for
existing. Never lose a holy curiosity. - Albert Einstein

I am a total follower of this quote. I used to ask so many questions (non-stop, non-sense) when I was a kid. Even now, I ask lot of questions (mostly to myself) to keep myself motivated.

3. I am the biggest procrastinater. I procrastinate things to the last minute. This is true especially when I know that I can get this done in a finite time. My irregularity in these posts should have hinted this already.

4. I wonder a lot about our brain: the way it thinks, the way it works, the way it adapts and the way it shapes up the person.. and so on..

5. If you had met me when I was 10 yrs old, and asked me what I wanted to do in my life, I would have answered: "I want to be a pilot". I still want to be one and enjoy the freedom of flying.

I am tagging anyone. :-) However, if you wanna do this tag, feel free and do it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Words of Wisdom

One more post for this week. Just found this really long and interesting video that caught my attention. It is a long video (38 mins), but it is worth watching. This video is from youtube titled, Vivek - The Homeless Prophet, and this homeless guy talks about his spiritual views. He is quite interesting and he tries to explain his views to this videographers (who actually spoiled some part of the video by trying to make it funny). The essense of his long speech is that God is one's self, life is not about just making money and being rich, it is about discovering yourself and lead a humble life free of artificial constraints. To be happy you do not need money, fame, power or looks. All you need is a good heart, a passiononite dream and a faith in yourself. Follow your dreams and never give up.
Update: I noticed that the embedded video does not show up properly sometimes. Here is the direct link to the video, Vivek - Homeless Prohphet.

Random Jokes

Hello People:

Forward jokes than, found it from my email inbox back from 2 years. :-)

Types Of Women (as classified in today's IT age!)

HARD-DISK Woman: She remembers everything, FOREVER.

RAM Woman: She forgets about you, the moment you turn her off.

WINDOWS Woman: Everyone knows that she can't do a thing right, but no
one can live without her.

EXCEL Woman: They say she can do a lot of things but you mostly use her
for your four basic needs.

SCREENSAVER Woman: She is good for nothing but at least she is fun!

INTERNET Woman: Difficult to access. Need to keep trying.

SERVER Woman: Always crashes when you need her.

MULTIMEDIA Woman: She makes horrible things look beautiful.

CD-ROM Woman: She is always faster and faster.

E-MAIL Woman: Every ten things she says, eight are nonsense.

VIRUS Woman: Also known as "WIFE"; when you are not expecting her, she
comes, installs herself and uses all your resources.

If you try to uninstall her you will lose something, if you don't try to
uninstall her you will lose everything............

A woman had 8 sons all named Kevin. On asking how she managed to call
one in particular She replied: That's easy. I call them by their surname!
A small boy wrote to Santa Claus : " Send me a brother "
Santa wrote back : " Send me your mother "

Disclaimer: For all the ladies, no offence intended.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Beware of mechanics!!!

Hello Peps:

As usual, there has been a significant delay in getting this post. I should strongly acknowledge Prithz, BSK, Bharathi, Marutham and others for constantly motivating me to keep this alive. To be honest, I started writing a post following up my post about my car and never got to complete it (I will post it immediately after this post). Oh well.... lets get on to business..

Living in USA, you tend to forget that you could be cheated in your day-to-day life doing simple things like fixing a flat tire. But, there are some creepy mechanics out there, and you gotta keep your eyes wide open. I would like to share an incident that happened to me yesterday fixing a flat tire, so that you will be more careful when fixing your flat tire.

My car got a flat tire in our office parking lot and one of my collegues reported to me that my tire is losing air. We examined the tire very carefully to locate the cause for the puncture and replaced it with my spare. Then I took the flat tire to a tire shop to get it fixed. It was a privately run performance wheels / tire shop near my office. The mechanic examined the tire, told me that it is gonna cost me $25 to fix it and is gonna be another hour before he could start working on it. Sounded reasonable. I didn't ask him many questions, left my phone number and asked him to inform me when it is done. After all, it is just a simple job, fixing a punctured tire. I went back to the office and never received any call from this dude.

After couple of hours, I went back to his shop to pick up the tire and was amazed to notice that the tire didn't look as I gave it to him. It had a big mark on both sides and the mechanic was trying to explain me that I drove the car punctured and hence, the tires are damaged and needs to be replaced. I was 100% sure that this was not the case: (1) It happened on a parking lot, and
(2) I have examined it very carefully. However, I had no way of proving this to him as I didn't ask him all these things when I gave him the tire. He must have either:
  1. Intentionally damaged the tire so that he can sell me a new tire, or
  2. Had an incompetant worker who spoiled the tire unintentionally and the mechanic was covering up his a**.
In any case, it was not a very pleasant experience. It is not about the money, it is just the feeling of getting cheated. Nobody likes the feeling of getting cheated and I am no exception.

I am trying to console myself by assumming that the damage was unintentional. Anyways, I am gonna make sure that he gets what he deserves - a written complaint to the California Auto Repair Beareau and a public disclosure of this event with his name, and address. I am also considering setting up a trap to catch him red-handed. ;-)

I heard that car mechanics are very very dis-honest in the US. Looks like there was a study conducted to measure this. A brand new certified car (with no defects) was taken to different mechanic shops all over the country. Just the spark plug was pulled off so that the car wouldn't start. It was found that a large number of the mechanics were dishonest. They would fix the problem [i.e. plugging the spark plug back] and charge a hefty sum reporting non-existant problems. The worst suggestion of all was to replace the engine transmission.

Beware of mechanics!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Volkswagen Golf III anti-theft alarm

Hello People:

Good news.. My car is back to normal now.. She does not scream anymore.. Yup.. She just needed 2 hours of my personal attention and is fine as always.. :)

I found that there is very little information available online to fix these problems and I am going to post my experience here so that it is useful for others who experience the same problem.

Looks like the anti-theft alarm, centralized locking, and the water drain system are always an issue for Volkswagen automobiles. My car is a 1995 model, volkswagen golf, with centralized locking and anti-theft alarm. The alarm is engaged when you lock the car and turn the key twice (your centralized lock should also engage with this). The alarm goes on everytime you open the car without using the key. To open all the doors you just turn the key twice. In my case both of this was not working and the alarm would engage if I try to open the door (even though the door opens). It makes loud, annoying noise and also stalls your engine. Hence, you cannot start the car. However, the annoying sound will go off in 1 minute, just to save the battery. The engine stall remains active and the alarm will fire again for 1 minute if you try to start the car or open the doors again.

The alarm control unit is located under the steering on the left hand side corner (near the air ventilation system). This gets input from all the doors, trunk, and the automatic opening circuit. It controls the ignition and the alarm horn. There are mechanically operated switches in the driver and passenger side front doors that will disable the alarm when you open the cars using the key.

Before doing anything, open your hood and disconnect the battery negative (the black wire). This will shut off all the power. [Note that your radio will be reset and you need a code to unlock it when you power the vehicle back. You can find how to unlock this in your manual. If you do not know your code, you can get it from your dealer.]

There are several potential causes for the failure. The important ones being:
1) The door switche (due to wear-and-tear) failure
2) The centralized lock / unlock unit (its poor location and susceptabilty for water flooding)

If you drains are clogged or the vapor seal is broken, the centralized lock / unlock unit in the trunk might get water in it when it rains. If the water enters the circuit board, it is a disaster. This indeed was the problem in my case and I found it as I was checking it. You can disconnect this module for testing the swtiches.

To diagnise the source of this problem, you also need access to the alarm control module. However, the access to this module extremely complicated in this model of the car. I was totally annoyed. Basically, if you remove the bottom trim under the driver seat, you will be astonished to see a hard metallic casing covering all the circuits. There are beams running across and the several control modules are mounted in the beam. This particular alarm control module is buried deep inside this metallis mess. Ideally, if you want to reach this in a clean way, you need to remove the steering, front air bags (gotta be careful with this as you can potentially blow this on your face while opening), and then the metallic cover. If you go to a service center, they might probably do this. However, I did not follow this as it is very time consuming and very tedious. First get a clear view of the alarm control module. It is located on the left side of the car behind the metallic bars (Hint: There is a opening on the door where all the wires are routed from outside. The module is about 6-7 inches above that almost near that).

The module have two connectors connected to it and this will be helpful in locating the module. A 10 pin connector and a 6 pin connector. All the inputs from the door goes to the 10 pin connector. If you have a small hand, you will be able to reach up to the connector and disconnect it without removing the metallic cover. Once you have the connectors unplugged, you should be able to verify if your mechanical switches are functioning using a multimeter and the circuit diagram (available from the service manual).

Good Luck!!!!!

PS: I am just posting my half-baked post due to lack of time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The silent night and the screaming buddy

Hello People:

It has been a really long time since I had posted. I guess many of you might have started thinking that I update my blog only once a year (for Diwali). I have been thinking about lots of interesting topics (interesting to me if not for others) to post, but never had a chance to bring them out in words. I finally decided to finish my long pending post this weekend. But, for the elements ....

Okay.. Enough digressions and lets get back to business. Let me introduce you all to my best buddy since 2003.. my man.. my right hand.. my friend.. my everything.. life changed a lot since I met her.. it became interesting, thrilling, entertaining, & educating, ... we go out every day, every night, rain or shine.. dark or bright.. any time.. any time I please ..we have spent hours and hours together.. travelled miles and miles together.. to beaches.. to mountains.. scenic drives.. chilly snow.. bumby hails.. and what not.. She sings very well.. in fact she sings all the time.. i am so attached to her that I can't live without her.. but, the elements...

This saturday night, I was working late.. yup really late 1 am.. I was hungry.. can't wait to meet her and go out to get some food.. yup she has never refused to my calls.. till that night.. never.. 3 am, 5 am, any time, .. she would just go with me whereever I please.. but, she started screaming at me.. loud.. i mean really loud.. she would never stop.. I tried my usual tricks to passify her.. may be I hurt her?? may be she is just not happy?? thoughts running through my mind.. I tried again.. yes screaming.. the same wild screaming.. she would never stop.. i go round and round.. she would never stop..

I went back to my office.. checked on the Internet.. how to stop the screaming?? how to disable her loud scream?? I really wanted to go and eat.. I came back to her.. tired & hungry.. come on lets go.. again.. screaming.. the same wild screaming.. what is wrong with her today?? is it the rain that poured a little bit in this dry southern californian desert?? is it because it is a saturday night and I working late at the office?? all I hear is screaming.. she would stop exactly after 1 minute.. If I ask to her to come with me to eat, she would start screaming..

Then I decided.. I had to do this.. I made up my mind.. I had to do this.. I can't bear the screaming any more.. I gotta stop this.. I did the cruel thing.. yes I did.. my selfishness made me do that..

you should be wondering what did I do??? okay let me be honest..

I pulled the plug.. yes I pulled it.. strange silence filled the air.. I felt cold, eerrie wind blowing across my chins.. the silence was different.. thoughts racing in my mind... I have to fix her.. I have to do it quick and then go and eat.. it is very cold and there was no lights.. I was hungry, cold, alone,.. I went back to my office and brought an emergency light / generator.. and started working on her.. the light was not enough.. but I didn't give up.. I worked on her.. this is my first time.. I disassembled her as suggested in the text books.. as you know text books are always wrong.. after 3 hours of hard work, I figured that I disassembled the wrong section.. the module that I was looking for is not present.. Now I was hungry, tired, angry, & cold.. the module I was looking for is well protected.. hard to reach.. there is no light and have to work using the senses of touch.. I tried.. tried hard to find that it is under a heavy metallic protection..

it was almost 6:30 AM now.. I finally made the call.. left her on the road.. called a cab and went back home.. she is still standing in the same place, waiting to be fixed.. I didnt' get time today to console her and bring her back to life..

Okay people:
Enough suspence... I am assumming you are not just reading the end... If you are then STOP right here and READ the post from the beginning.. for the nice souls, who read all the way from the top, you must be wondering who she is.. She is my Car.. my lovely little car.. The anit-theft alarm in my car broke and it would never go off.. damn it is loud and totally annoying.. also your engine gets stalled and you cannot start and drive your car when this happens.. I opened the hood and pulled the battery negative.. tried to fix it.. i just needed to to locate the control module to disable the alarm.. now go back and read the post again.. it should all make sense hopefully.. on a side note, you just don't realize how much you are attached to your car until you miss it.. now I have got a bike (healthy choice) for filling the needs until I fix my car.. I want to fix it myself just for the satisfaction.. hopefully I will work on her tomorrow during the day light and get her back to life.. :-) I love my car.. however old she is..


Disclaimer: I haven't had a chance to proof read this and posting it AS IS.. so bear with me if the language is little rough..

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Karthik B.S and KK for persuading me to put a new post.. the elements behind this post..

Monday, October 23, 2006

Diwali Potluk

Date: October 22, 2006
Place: San Diego

Organizer: Captain Basu -- man of the match

We had a really nice diwali potluk. I cooked after 2 years inspired by the enthu shown by others. :-)


All you can eat

MallikaiPoo Idli