Nagarjuna Sagar

On a day mass hysteria overtook everyone and people were busy drinking sweet polluted water around Mumbai, we went to a sagar of another sorts.

18th I posted on BN about riding out to Nagarjuna Sagar. But did not get any replies by evening. Disappointed, I went home in the evening. Just before leaving office , Swamy asked if anything planned on the weekend. I said, maybe to Nagarjuna Sagar on Sunday (as I was planning to get my bike serviced on Saturday). He said to let him know if I planned anything.

Reached home around 7:30 and got a call from GR "Hey are you going on the ride?". I said probably on Sunday. He said to make it on Saturday as he was to attend some wedding on sunday morning. Called up Swamy and told him I am going next day , he said he will confirm in an hours time ( but confirmed in 20mins). Called up Partha also who was going to a friend's wedding that evening, and was not too sure whether he would be able to come next day as he was planning to get sloshed. Got a call from him at 9pm that he was coming , and to just give a wakeup call next morning.

19th Aug.
Got up at 5:30AM. A feat for me as I was usually getting up at 9 normally. 6:00am got a call from Partha just as I was to call him up. 6:30 was at the Kondapur crossing (epark) for Partha as we were to meet up with the other guys at Paradise ( or Pyradice as GR spells it).

At Paradise

7:00AM reached Paradise to find GR and Swamy already there (though at different parts of Paradise). Moved off from there without waiting for tea/coffee as we planned to have it on the way. Reached the outskirts of Hyd where we stopped . Got a call from GR's wife telling about some naxal activity the night before and urging us to be careful - but since we were to go in another dir, it was ok for us. As we were on the call, Partha took off followed by Swamy. We left a good 5 mins later.The road is nothing much to write home about. Broken in most parts , and being broken further in parts to lay huge pipes . The pipes were left on the sides of the road, so it was kind of felt like riding in a tunnel with the tunnel outside ( imagine you have two tunnels and you are riding between them). Wierd kind of experience.

The day was becoming hotter. The day before it had rained but the day had dawned without a single cloud in the sky. A mesh jacket helps as it was really very hot. After riding around 100kms or so, we still had not met up with Partha, though we overtook a group of college guys riding to Sagar on their bikes (2 up). Both me and GR were doing around 80-90 and overtook them. A couple of them got enthu and tried to keep up with us, but soon fell back. Found Partha a few kms away relaxing on the roadside and waiting for us to catch up. The three of us rode on and stopped at the next town for a tea break. Swamy was not to be seen anywhere. Network coverage was flacky and we sent sms to him "where are you da?". As we were having our coffee break which consisted of maaza, the college guys turned up and we introd ourselves. They were quite happy to see us riding also on our way to Sagar.

15 mins we were on our way, while the college guys had just started on their food.

The last 25kms to Sagar are quite nice. nice sweeping curves, and at this time of the morning was without much traffic and we reached Nagarjuna Sagar by 10:15. Swamy was already there... relaxing under the shade of a tree. It seems that all the confusion started as Partha had to take a leak and took off rather in a hurry to find a spot, and Swamy went ahead of him and got confused whether Partha was in front or back ! Anyways, they had a long wait under the shade of a big tree. GR took the lead and we went ahead to the Dam.

BN at N'Sagar


From the bridge

It was a sight to see ( intermittently blocked by the power cables which seem to criss cross India and make it a pain to take good pic) with all the 26 or so gates open. Photo session over we decided to head back to the town and grab some grub. Found an AP tourism place which we thought would be quite good. Nice view of the dam, nice lush green lawns, ample parking space ... but no food ! GR looks at my and quizzilcally said "Our record is still being upheld". We never get lunch at the right time when we travel together ! It seems that this place serves breakfast between 6-9am and lunch from 12-2pm. Nothing in between except for bottled water. Asked if there is anyplace where we can get some grub and they pointed us to GreenVallery resorts ( another AP undertaking). There again they said only meals are available. So Partha and I started talking loudly about going somewhere else... and suddenly idlis and prui-bhaji were available ! ;-)

Having an early lunch, and with the time still just 12:00 we thought we might as well go ahead to the Attipotala Falls. After a short ride of around 20-25kms we came to the falls. Its one of those sub-level falls - where you have to hike down to get to the falls. There is a garden by AP tourism set up beside the falls - but it was full of picknickers - and required an entry fee - so we decided to give that a pass and instead hike to the base of the falls.

Lush green forests

The one thing I find interesting about India is how much it changes even a few meters away from the main roads. As we started down the steps , Partha and other started giving premonitions about how hard it will be to climb back !! :-D . As we hiked towards the falls, the flora changed from dry arid to a lush green forest - and the first view of the falls in the distance was like being in some other country ( which we dubbed Congo !). As we came to the base of the falls , we were met with a grizly sight. Goat legs hanging from between 2 trees ... probably as offerings to the spirits there. No real idea and we could not ask anyone else there.
Goat Legs ... no idea why

Attipotala Falls - up close and personal

Clicked a few pics. Relaxed in the cool shade of the trees and then finally started back the long climb ( well , it was not very long, but in the hot humid afternoon it sure did feel long !). Another long break to gather our breath when we reached the bikes and a discussion on whether to go back or head out towards Sriselam from there. I was not in the mood as last few weeks I had not been well, and already was feeling exhaution catching up (dunno why at this point GR forgot about the marriage he was to attend the next day), and told the guys to go ahead while I will head back to Hyderabad. Finally it was decided it was all or none, and so we headed back to Hyderabad , with another trip to Sriselam as the next trip to do.

As we passed Nagarjuna once again, we saw the college group of bikers just about reaching Nagarjuna . Friendly waves of hands and we were on our way back.

Now it was just a ride back , and all of us moving in a group at around 80-90kmph. The first stop was a cold drink stop. We figured it was less dangerous to drink Sprite (maaza was not availabe at that place) than to drink the groundwater, so downed around 8-9 bottles of sprite between the 5 of us (yeah, this gives you an indication of how hot it was! ). A few petrol filling stops later (petrol is now really more expensive! :( ), and we were back in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Saying our byes we headed out to our respective homes ( took me and Partha another 40mins to cover the remaining distance). Back home by 5:30pm !

Although the ride is nothing much to write home about, it was a good ride with some strange things (goat legs anyone?) thrown in , and a ride after a long long time !

Total Distance : 391kms.
Time: 11hrs. with breaks sight seeing etc.
You can find more pics on my flickr

Moving Ramses


The Ramesses II status in Central cairo is getting a move. Since the status was in the middle of the city, it was getting corroded with the atmospheric pollution, so the civic authorities decided to move it.


Related resources:

Wifi in Daramshala


Google is going out and wifi'ng the town of Mountain View ... old news.

But, a group of nerds and tibetan monks are getting people networked in the town of Dharamshala. Wired has this news item on them, including the monkey proofing they have to work on !
Life is a Network.

Kabootar

Sometimes , one comes across unexpected sights. Yesterday went to Koti to buy a couple of tech books. Its like old delhi - reminded me of nai sadak, but set in the main road of chandni chowk. Full of small bookshops and chai shops. Traffic at its worst. Pedestrians rushing across roads without an ounce of respect for their life. And our 3-wheeler guy driving like he was going to overtake Rossi (yeah, i did not go there on my bike. I rather go in an auto to such place). There, I came across an unexpected sight - a kabootar khaana. Its been ages since I have seen it - and it brought back childhood memories of when my granddad used to have a house in old delhi - and the evening skies were filled with the pigeons flying.

There's so much in life - we cant take anything for granted.

DCE does me proud Again !


DCE team was the only indian team from India to participate in an international competition on Ariel Robotics Competition. They made an UAV which got a Most Innovative design prize.

Way to go guys !!! Proud to be a DCEite !

Links :
ps : Now I wish that i had done something consturctive when I was there instead of whiling away the time sleeping in classes ! Mebbe something to do with the new campus.

Aliens use Firefox !

Aliens use Firefox ! Honest !

You see, for years crop circles have been made by alien spaceship (that's what they tell us). This year these circles have been sighted again ! This time they are in the shape of the firefox Logo. Its a clear message - even aliens use Firefox.

So, if you are still stuck with age old browser, now with this irrefutible proof, you should get firefox a.s.a.p. !

More pics of the crop circles, and the website of the aliens !

What if Microsoft packaged the iPod ?



iPods are a craze now. Everyone wants one. Even if they never ever fill up the device to its capacity, they want it. Its a cult out there.

One of the first things you notice about the iPod is that it is very chic and yet portraye very simply.

But... oh what if Microsoft marketting got their hands on it ?

This video is what would happen to the packaging if they did. BTW, its supposed to have been created by guys in Microsoft as a parody ;-)

Take care of your heart.

Here was a chat, arranged by WIPRO for its employees, with Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist). The transcript of the chat is given below:


Qn: What are the five thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
Ans:
1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar
Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No
Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes
Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.
Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints

Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.

Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare

Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.
Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
Ans: Yoga helps.

Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Best food is fruits worst are oil.

Qn: Which oil is better - gingili, groundnut, sunflower, saffola, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad; the so-called best oil company has the largest marketing budget.

Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Qn: How different was it in treating Noor Fatima, the little kid from Pakistan ?
Ans: It was extremely difficult, Because of the media attention. As far as the medical treatment
is concerned, she is like any other child with a complex heart problem.

Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position, put an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking,junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.

Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not have a software engineer as a child

Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short / long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans : No.

Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans : No.

Qn: How would you define junk food?
Ans : Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, samosas, and even masala dosas.

Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Ans : Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans : No.

Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?
Ans : Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
Ans : No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans : Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time. Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.

Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans : There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Ans : No.

Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans : Nature protects women till the age of 45.

Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans : Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for a health checkup if you are past the age of 30 for at least once in two yrs. And work very hardand Enjoy urLife...

Are you Vista Ready ?

Microsoft's latest OS is going to be up and ready by Mar 06 Oct 06 Jan 07. Lots of nice screenshots are doing the rounds of the net. Non-techie people getting the screenshots are going all ga-ga over it. They tell me - vibhu, you worked on Vista ? Does it not look great !

Sorry to put a dampner on you folks, but most of you will not be able to even run the great looking interface on your system.

Shocked?

Let me explain it. The Aero interface as it is called is a graphics intensive user interface. That means that without a dedicated graphics card (like the ones from Nvidia or ATI), you will not be able to see the great looking trancparencies. And that is not all, to be able to do anything more than just playing minesweeper, you will need to upgrade your system. So, if you are looking at upgrading your comp - and can wait for 6-10 months, I suggest you wait and see what is required for the next version of windows. As for now, the current requirements are :
  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
  • 128 MB of graphics memory.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive3.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

Since we all know that windows barely runs on the specifications given by Microsoft , and since most of us will be at least using Microsoft office, I would bump up the requirements to (believe me , I was using a AMD 64 with 1GB of ram and it was still slow) :
  • GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
  • 2 GB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
  • 256 MB of graphics memory. (pref 512MB if you are into gaming)
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive3.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

Now a few notes :
  • 128 MB of graphics memory means that the graphics card ( in the point before that) should have 128 MB of memory in it . This is not the RAM of the computer. Typically these cards cost around 10k INR.
  • 15GB of free space is needed to install Vista. It comes to around 5-10GB space used after install.
  • Internet access is needed for the WGA - Windows Genuine Advantage. In other words it lets Microsoft know if you are using a pirated copy or not. How it does is that it contacts the microsoft servers (without telling you) and will block you from using the system if your credentials are not in their white list. It has nothing to do with Advantage for you if you are using a pirated copy. So, with the next release, Microsoft hopes that it will cut down on piracy.
  • One biggest problem with Vista is that it requires activation. so, if you do not have a net connection, you will not be able to use it. In india, most computer users dont have a net connection, and if you dont, then I would suggest that you dont get Vista. And this activation is needed everytime you change the hardware configuration of your system - like say adding a DVD drive.

Its a nightmare.

But, since I have been working on Linux and opensource for sometime, you may call me biased about microsoft. So, I think it relevant that I provide links , some of which are from long time users of Microsoft software ( I was also taken aback by the frustration in these posts).
No. God, no. Today's Windows Vista builds are a study in frustration, and trust me, I use the darn thing day in and day out, and I've seen what happens when you subject yourself to it wholeheartedly. I think I've mentioned the phrase "I could hear the screams" on the SuperSite before. My wife said that to me one day, and she was referring to the sound of me barking some primeval curse at my desktop PC as it succumbed to Vista's stupid slowdowns, crashes, and hang ups for the umpteenth time
My advice is simple: Boycott IE. It's a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn't secure and isn't standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators.
A former Microsoftie says addiction to Windows revenue, mediocre products, and missed opportunities could doom Seattle's most successful company.

Personally, I am only gonna move to vista when the office computers move there. Till then ... viva le linux !