Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.

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Feb 2010- The Best Month Of My Life!! [Part Tre]

And finally, I'm at the final post of my three part series dedicated to the awesomest month ever, Feb 2010.

After the great outings throughout the month (read part 1) and the kickass events (that I'm part of) beginning to take shape (read part 2), you'd be forgiven for thinking that it simply couldn't get any better. But there's a thin line between being a "Great" month and a "Awesome" month.... Two major gadgets that I bought during the course of the month transformed Feb 2010 from "Great" to "Legen ....wait for it ...dary"!! And here they are:




1) A Dell Studio 15 Lappy
I'd been planning to buy a lappy for quite some time, and plans finally finalised in Feb 2010. I'm now the proud owner of a Dell Studio 15! I have just one word to describe it's looks - KICKASS! Watching movies on the HD LED TrueLife™ display has been a complete joy, and stuff like the slot load DVD really makes it look very slick! Battery life is pretty great, and heating issues are virtually non-existent. Here are the rest of my specs:
  • Core i3 Proccy
  • 320 Gig HDD
  • 3 Gig DDR3 RAM @ 1333 Mhz
  • 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570
  • Built-in 2.0MP webcam
  • Dell Wireless Bluetooth Internal (2.1) mini-card
  • 2 USB 2.0 compliant ports
  • 1 USB/eSATA combination port
  • HDMI and VGA Connectors
  • IEEE 1394 port (Firewire)
  • 8-in-1 Media Card Reader
  • Preloaded with Windows 7 HP (Personally repartitioned to include a Linux partition)
  • Loads of other Preloaded Software
  • A Targus carry case
The lappy weighs around 2.5-2.7 KGs, though it feels much lighter. The final price came up to ~47-48 K. The preloaded face recognition software (FastAccess) is initially pretty crappy (understandably), though it gets a pretty acceptable face detection rate as time goes on. Highly recommend that you go for the Studio incase you're currently planning to buy a laptop.

Unboxing of the Lappy [IMG] [~1MB]

1) A Cellphone
And this is the big one ..... I finally got myself a cellphone!! After over half a decade of being president of I-Don't-Have-A-Cellphone club, and having insults hurled at me by everyone ranging from my 10 year old cousins to my 70 year old uncles for not having a cellphone, I've finally joined the leagues of the network enabled brick wielding generation. And it didn't take me too long to decide on my cellphone of choice: the Micromax Q5

Pretty odd choice? I'd generally agree.... but my trip to Bengaluru set one thing straight. Indian phone makers were entering the scene, in a BIG way. I actually saw more Lavas, Micromaxs, Karbonns and Lemons in Bengaluru than Nokias, and SonyEricssons. Also, speaking to my uncle, who currently works in the R&D at the cellphone division of Videocon convinced me to change my choice from Videsi to WeRDesi!! :)


Anyway, here are the specs of the Q5:
  • Dual SIMs, GSM-Dual-Band (900/1800 MHz)
  • 262K Color QVGA Screen (320*240 Pixels, 5.6 cms)
  • Trackball Navigation with Full QWERTY keypad
  • A Yamaha sound chipset
  • 2.0 MP Camera
  • Bluetooth (A2DP), Speed Dial, Conference Calling etc.

The USP of the phone is the inclusion of keys that directly connects to Facebook. Infact, the phone is generally called the "FB phone". There's a pretty crazy ad for the phone on the Micromax site. The FB key simply launches a nifty java app that connects to FB and has basic features like updating your status, checking statuses etc. There's a similar key on the phone that launches messengers like Yahoo Messenger, GTalk, MSN messenger etc.

Internal memory is pretty low (15 MB) though the microSD slot enables you to add upto 8 gigs of external memory. The phone weight is less than a 100 grams.

Overall the phone, being the (sort of) blackberry clone that it is , performs pretty well. The Java UI is pretty quick and the camera and music player too are more than satisfactory. And at a selling price of ~7 K, it's a definite steal!!

Unboxing the Cellphone [IMG] [~ 1 MB]

Well, that's it I guess.... Feb 2010= Travel +Events +Gadgets +Loads of other random awesomeness!! If I could sum up the entire month in a single expression, it'd probably be something like this:

I can only pray that a month like this will show up again sometime soon! :)

Feb 2010- The Best Month Of My Life!! [Part Deux]

Check out Part 1 of this post!!

Over the last few months, I've been steadily migrating from the participation side of events towards the organisational aspects. I've been fascinated by how, in event planning and execution, small things can make huge differences (did someone say Butterfly Effect?), and how, as organisers, you get to meet tonnes of awesome people. What you see as the event, involves tonnes of behind the scenes negotiations, compromises, favours, a small amount of infighting, and a gazillion tonnes of pure awesomeness.

Nobody works slower 3 weeks before an event than India and nobody works faster once the 3 week mark is crossed. -Famous Quote by (insert name here)

And February 2010 marked the start of full fledged preparations of two events that I'm partly organising: Twestival Goa and Photoflare.

Photoflare
: Our college has a kickass photography club led by a bunch of really awesome people. And there are loads of ideas that keep flowing around. The idea for a photography festival started off as a spark, and soon transformed into a wildfire with many people from and outside the club showing interest in the idea. And a short time later PhotoFlare was born. Now, PhotoFlare is an international photography festival that will be wholly organised by our club, and will consist of a competition, workshops and lecture sessions. The photography competition is already picking up pace with photographers from all over submitting their entries. PhotoFlare is close to my heart for another reason.... the website. Why? Go through the source code of the site and see if you can figure it out!! :)

Twestival Goa: So I guess everyone knows that I'm a twiddict. So much so, that people actually check my Twitter profile to see if I'm home or not (since I generally only tweet through my PCs). Anyway, a Twestival is an event that's organised completely by volunteers on Twitter. For more on the event, I'd suggest you watch this video. Goa, along with cities across the globe, will witness it's first Twestival on the 25th of March. By "we" I mean me, @varsha181, @neha1989, @naikaustubh and @dpreacher who form the core-ish team of Twestival Goa. All proceeds from the event go to Concern Worldwide, a global humanitarian organisation. We've already had DJ's Ryan and Joel and the awesome retro band Bac2Basix as confirmed acts for the event, and we're hoping to get some more. Incase, you're in Goa on the day, do try to make it. Here's more details.

Yup, so that was February for me.... so you're already nodding your head in agreement that Feb was the best month of my life eh? Well, believe it or not, this is still not the end! Part 3 of the post coming up soon!

Feb 2010- The Best Month Of My Life!!

It's been quite some time since I've updated the blog, but believe me, I've wanted to do so at a much earlier date! But I've been amazingly busy over the last month and a half or so.

Loads of craziness in the works, and I can proudly claim that February 2010 was the best month of my life (so far)!!

Why?? Read on and I'm confident you'll agree...

Feb started off on a great note with TEDxBITSGoa on the first Friday (5th Feb). Despite the initial hiccups with the projection and sound system, the event went off well. Kudos to the guys from BITS for managing to bring together so many amazing individuals under one roof. It was super-inspiring to listen to guys like Himanshu Parikh, Arvind Gupta, Nikhil Velpanur, Chris Csikszentmihalyi and Bennett Orlando speak about their lives. A special mention again of Mr. Himanshu Parikh, whose work in slum development really brought tears to my eyes. He's a person I really really hope I get to work with over the next decade or so of my life. He encompasses (for me atleast) exactly what being an "engineer" is all about.

Still high on TEDxBITSGoa, I headed off to NullCon the very next day (6th Feb), a Indian hacker conference, where I was to be a speaker. And believe me, Nullcon was the awesomest event ever!! The whole thing was informal as can be (the way I like it), with gyaan sharing going on on all fronts. What I liked best was that there was no audience as such. It was more like a bunch of network security professionals and enthusiasts meeting at a 5-star to discuss their topic of interest. Kinda like a large BoF session. Met some amazing people like Raoul Chiesa (a legendary hacker who currently works for the UN in a cybercrime branch UNICRI), Cassio Goldschmidt, Prince Boonlia, Veysel Oozer amongst others. The whole event kinda reminded me of the X-Files, since many conspiracy theories (and methods) were discussed. I say this also because quite a few talks followed the 0-disclosure policy (i.e. no photos/videos/external discussions). NullCon was two days of complete awesomeness, and it concluded with my talk (which was just before the ending keynote) on the 7th. My talk was, much to my awe, well received by the crowd. Here's an online copy of my NullCon presentation, though I doubt it'll make much sense without the speaker's voice. :)

So it's around the 10th of the month, and I've already had two huge events. But this isn't the end of my Feb, not even close!! :)

On the 18th, I left for Pune, for GNUnify, A FOSS conference/workshop organised by SICSR. Another great opportunity to meet loads of cool people such as a certain "engineer hater" Ajachi, Gautam Rege, Manjusha Joshi ma'am and the entire FOSSEE team from IIT Bombay. GNUnify had so much going on over 2 days, that despite my best efforts, I managed to barely attend 30% of the events. Yet, over these 48 hours, I attended some fabulous sessions/BoF's on coding in CakePHP, Ruby on Rails, Drupal and Python. The talks by the guys from Mozilla (the main sponsors for GNUnify 2010) were extremely captivating. They spoke on topics ranging from l18n to HTML5, and showcased some of the newer products by Mozilla such as Bespin and Weave. Overall, GNUnify was a great experience, except for the fact that the crowd was too mixed, with complete newbies right next to professionals!! I didn't like the fact that I had to explain the ls command to a guy next to me during one of the workshops!! But this qualm apart, GNUnify was a great event. Plus, after pronouncing it wrongly for over 2 months, I finally learnt the right pronounciation of GNUnify (it's "ganu-nify", incase you're wondering).

The very next week (24rd Feb), I was in the IT hub of the country, Bengaluru, though this time for a family event, a cousin's marriage, that too a marriage of the only type that should be legal.... a love marriage!! Bengaluru, being the city I was born in, holds a special place in my heart, and it was great to be in Bengaluru after nearly a year! The whole wedding was more of a neo-hindu marriage with pujas being followed by jam sessions!! :) Overall I had a great 4 days out in the intellectual capital of India.

Phew!! That was enough travelling for one month eh?
Well, this was just one part of the awesomeness that February 2010 was.
Second part coming up soon!! :)

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Prologue

Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!