Monday, 26 September 2011

Swimming in Bangalore

Its such a pain to find out about swimming pools in Bangalore. Most of them are being maintained by Clubs who charge around 2-3 Lakhs for membership! WTH? For a one day/week swim, do I need to pay that much? Nope! Here I have 2 awesome swimming pools listed out! They charge minimum and you can have a very good time swimming. :-)

Bangalore BBMP Swimming Pool - PM Swimming Center
Location : Jayanagar
For 40 Mins : 16 INR.
The swimming pool looks clean. It has a good length and depth. For pro swimmers, this place would be an awesome practice ground.
But personally I didn't prefer this pool cause of the crowd that comes in here!

National Games Village Swimming Pool
Location : Koramangala
For 1 Hour : 100 INR.
Awesome Swimming Pool. Length : 25 Mts. Max Depth : 5 1/2 feet. Very decent crowd.
Open to all from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. I think they use Ozone. There's a separate pool for children. The pool is Unisex, so there's no specific timings for ladies and gents. Since, the crowd is decent, there shouldn't be any problem as such!!

Happy Swimming!!!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Trekking in Bangalore - Skandagiri

Thinking of Bangalore, the first thing that comes to one's mind is the shopping malls, pubs, etc. Its indeed a very painful process to search for weekend hangouts in Bangalore if you are obsessed with the malls and the same old restaurants. Also, when you have your friends coming to Bangalore for a weekend, you'll have to end up visiting the same coffee shops and hangout spots everytime. It gets very boring after quite a few months (Atleast for me it was!!)

Last week I was on a search for a completely new place to visit near Bangalore and spend my weekend there. I Bing-ed extensively and found this place, Skandagiri, a hill close to Nandi Hills. Skandagiri is famous for the view during sunrise and the clouds that surround the hill by that time. Besides that, its a good trekking spot. You've to be a real enthusiast to climb the rocky & damp terrain. And the whole trek is an amazing experience. Let me share on how to plan for a trek and reach this place.

What can you expect to see at Skandagiri?
The sunrise is awesome and the clouds that surround the hill during the morning. More than anything else, the trekking experience itself is far worth the bucks spent!

What's the minimum budget per person?
It generally depends on how you plan the trip. Exclusive of the conveyance charges, I'd say around 500 INR, should be quite good.

Right time to visit Skandagiri?
Weekends! If it rains, kindly avoid. Other than that it should be totally fine. Its generally preferred as a late night trekking spot. For the sunrise view, 6:00 a.m. is preferred. You need to be at the base at around 3:30 a.m. to make sure you are up the hill by 6:00 a.m. If trekking is what you are looking for, you can do it by late morning. It is generally not famous in here, but trust me, around 400 people visit early morning, and it might be a little cluttered there during sunrise.

Where is skandagiri? How to reach it?
This question is just a Bing Maps search away. Anyways, this place is around 70 Kms away from Bangalore. Its quite close to a place known as Chikballapur. There are many non stop buses that ply from Kempegowda Bus Station in Bangalore to this place through out the daytime. The rate is around ~40 INR per person. You can also get train to Chikballapur by around 8:40 a.m. from Majestic Railway station. The train has around 10 stops while the bus stops nowhere. The travel time from Bangalore to Chikballapur in both means is around 2 Hrs, sometimes the train is ~20 mins late. If you are travelling by own vehichle, its well and good. Just have a Map Service with you. From Chikballapur to Skandagiri base (distance of 4 Km), you can take an auto. The auto fare is 100 INR.

Reaching the top of the hill :

Its a mandatory rule that you need to take a guide to reach to the top. There are many guides who will be available near the start point of the Skandagiri trek. They charge around 100 INR for each person in your group. If you want to bargain, you can offer them for a day's pay which is around 500-700 INR. If you are planning not to take a guide, be sure to lose your way in the middle of your trek! Having said that, if you are visiting Skandagiri by morning, you can take a guide till half of the distance and do the rest of trekking by yourself. It's easy that way as you get more time to spend time with your group than listening to the guide's personal life tragedies and stories.
The trek is a little tiresome one and make sure you've enough water with you so that you don't run out of them at any point of time.

After Reaching the top?

You may be very hungry and tired. You can order for a noodles/bread omlette/simple bread with a guy there! You can even buy water bottles, but the cost is just 50 INR ;)
Top of the hill, you can also visit the temple, take a lot of pics and enjoy the beauty of nature. People who trek by night, take some bed spreads, etc to sleep there itself. In this case, you have to take some shawls, etc too. It might be a little cold out there. Night treks can be more fun cause of the campfires you can do. You can buy sticks for the campfire at a nominal rate from the villagers there. If you are trekking by late morning, you can stay at the top for around 2 hrs, take snaps, etc. You won't get much of things to do there. But, even then, its simply awesome as the view throughout is too good.

Make sure that you :
  • carry three or more water bottles per person.
  • have towel, bed spreads, shawls.
  • take some snacks to munch after reaching the top.
  • have good trekking shoes to get a good grip. As it may be slippery with normal ones!
  • charge your mobile phones well before the journey.
  • have around atleast 150 INR per person while trekking. Cause, if you run out of water, you may have to buy it at the top.
  • carry torch lights to trek during night time. Its mandatory too.
Also, please don't throw away anything on the way or after reaching the top of Skandagiri. It feels really bad to see the plastic stuff in a very green environment.

If you have any comments/suggestions regarding this article or any information that I missed out, please write it as a comment or send a mail to

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Compiling your first Linux Kernel

I'm going to explain you on how to compile the linux kernel and get it running on your system. First time experience of Kernel compilation is always an exciting one. Here, I'm sharing on how I compiled my first kernel (and this.. I did it long time ago. But to help you folks, I'm starting afresh so that you'll understand better from a beginners point of view) :-) Sometimes, beginners like you and me tend to get distracted, feel out of place when compiling the kernel. Many feel that we are just not so much of a geek to handle the Kernel level development stuff. Also, as there is simply many fundamental processes to learn before the actual compilation, it may even put you off. But, don't panic. Compilation of Linux Kernel can be done by beginners like you and me too. Please follow this instruction set carefully and if you have any doubts, do let me know!


First things First - Checklist :
1. You should have a linux system. In my case I use, Ubuntu 10.10
2. Make sure you've free space well above 1.5 GB to make sure you don't end up with less hard disk space in the middle of the process


1. Getting the linux Kernel Source
The first steps in compiling the source is obtaining the source. It's always a wise decision to opt for the latest stable kernel. Hence, go to and download the latest stable kernel. It should be weighing around ~71 MB.

2. Extracting the Source
The source comes as a tar.bz2 file. Extract it to a proper location. I've extracted the linux kernel in the following path. /home/sanjeev/development/

3. Exploring the Kernel Source (Optional)
It's such a wonderful feel to check out the Kernel source. Being one of the most popular and powerful operating system, seeing its source code is such a bliss. If you are a beginner, it'll make you go ga-ga over it! Just check out the basic directory structure followed, open couple of files, try following the code.

4. Making the Kernel
This is one of the most important steps in the whole process, and this is what that makes compiling the Linux kernel such an easy process. Its whole a lot of complicated stuff, which is available for us in a very simplified manner. Being beginner, lets not get into the depth of which modules we need and which we don't. There is an easy way to just make the default modules only.
So, open terminal and use cd command to navigate to the directory where you extracted Linux source, in my case, it is cd /home/sanjeev/linux-
now, type make defconfig in the terminal. This command is to create a configuration based on the defaults for your architecture. Configuring this way is the most easiest way and is recommended for beginners. During this configuration process, there are many modules in the kernel which are turned ON and OFF so that you compile just what is required for your machine. If you want to play some more, try make gconfig. But while writing this, I used make defconfig only!
Once the configuration is set in place, we need to Make the kernel. Make of Kernel is so powerful that we can even have multiple threads doing the job for us. This significantly reduces the time of build. You'll have your two cores in a dual core to run in 100% CPU utilization. So, you may want to give the command,
make -jN where N stands for the number of threads you want to spawn. In a dual core case, just type make -j4
This is a time consuming process. Go grab some nap.
After few hours, you'll get the message, Build Successful and a path information about where you can find the Kernel Image.

5. Installing the Kernel
We are almost done with 80% of our job, this step will be the last mile. The general path, where you can find the Kernel image is, /arch/i386/boot/bzImage, in my case, I found it in, /arch/x86/boot/bzImage.
Copy this Image file into your /boot directory. You can achieve this by using 
cp /arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot

You may want to rename the Kernel image to a different name. So, try mv /boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-

Now, we need to get our Grub find our latest Kernel. So, type in the Terminal the following command, update-grub and then type grub-mkconfig.
The first command, helps you find your kernel and add it to the template files that generate the grub.cfg file. The next command helps you generate the new grub.cfg file with your Kernel updated in it.
Now, restart the system and let me know your experience! :-)
Hope you found it a real pleasant way to build your first Kernel!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The New Era of Social Technologies...

I was so impressed with the Facebook Careers video wherein the CEO, CTO, VP of Facebook explain how cool it is to work there. Especially, Mark's opinions about why social networking is fun and how Facebook is looking at it, was simply awesome.

He said something very similar to this... Everything around us can be broken down into simpler things and with every other day, we tend to make our lives less complicated. For example, we have invented very simpler forms of communications. We send e-mails, smss and what not. We keep exploring avenues to get ourselves engaged in a productive way, yet keep things so simple and fun to use. Whatever humans do, there’s a very simple ideology behind it, and it is what is studied and is imitated by (social) technology.

This blog post is going to explain, how I look at things, how important it is to get your apps and products the social way, etc.

Today, we are in an internet era, where we talk about the cloud technology, PDAs and things way beyond that. Increasingly, we feel the necessity, simplicity, reliability and security behind moving ourselves over to the cloud, as in, internet. As every one of us started feeling internet a part and parcel of our lives, it is increasingly becoming a hang out place too.

Getting back to 199X to 2004, i.e. before the arrival of internet or computers to the common junta of India, I have seen many children playing in the street, housewives gossiping sitting in circles and as usual family heads discussing on key issues ranging from office politics to where India is lagging :P ,etc. There was always a social thingy involved in whatever happened. It was mostly fun and everyone felt good to share things with others.

But with the advent of affordable personal computers and pirated games, children started moving towards playing single player games on their PCs. Since those games grabbed the complete involvement of kids, none of ‘em ever felt the need of getting back to the playground or play indoor games. Slowly, I feel this started percolating into the grownups but in a different way. Television occupied most of their time and they started feeling, it is more of fun to watch it than going to someone’s home and chatting. The social nature of things changed and people never realised it.

Technology got into everyone’s day-to-day activities. But that never meant that people forgot about how they used to enjoy the company of their family friends and neighbours. It all burns down to the fact that people love to get involved more with TV and PCs rather than meeting friends. This was a great advantage for the technology. It got into our lives and we started adapting soon too.

With Internet and related service’s coming, life became even simpler. From now on, you needn’t go to shops, banks, post offices, government offices and other places. Every single thing has got automated and they all have shifted to a new address. The WWW! What can be more fun than to reserving tickets of your train right from your home? Tomorrow, may be you needn’t even move a little, there might be yet another service that might offer you to do the same job but from home, and at your convenience. Out of this fact, there are two things that are evident. One is, either people are very lazy to do things or they want to achieve something really big in a shorter span of time with less energy usage, i.e. they want to make a productive use of their time.

As most of our time is involved in playing with technology things around, we don’t get much of time to socialize. Here comes the advantage of social networking. What if technology could give you a platform for socializing, giving you freedom to share things of your interest and connecting to people of similar interests around the world? It’ll fulfil your innate need of socialising at your comforts right? More like a non blocking type of communication, where you send information and let the receiver read it when he/she wants to.

Interestingly, people love to get themselves involved in socializing aspects of the web. They find it more collaborative, informative, simple and fun. There are other reasons to get involved in socializing in web too. Web gives you a complete freedom to showcase yourself to the whole world without any discrimination. Hence you needn’t ice break or feel shy about sharing things. Having said this, the socializing part, has started playing a major role upfront.

This has completely revolutionized today’s market. Now, you have more chances of finding your customers in Internet than anywhere else. Products or services that were not even thought to exist or wanted by a person in the year 2005, are now ruling the world. Everyone has started getting involved more with internet and technology as such. To iterate again, the lifestyle of people changed on a different scale, but when you break things into simpler stuff, they do the same things they would do if technology never existed. Today, you want to talk to your friend, you opt to chat or text him/her. Right?

Though the choices keep changing, but the first part of it, i.e. talking to friend can never change. Social apps give you a platform to do it. Not just this, say, you want to buy a product, and you visit an online shopping site, you take a look at the product and there is a small widget that says, there are totally 190 buyers out of which 35 are your friends. Naturally, you are motivated to buy the product. To say, even a small chat room in an online shopping can change the way buyers buy. It is how society functioned when there was no technology. On the other hand, the services that are driven with socializing phenomenon always get the edge, as they can get enough insights about the demographics and needs of their customers instantly. It is a simple win-win situation for both the sides.

Even multiplayer games that can be played intermittently, has taken off in a great manner. Again, socializing aspects is the one and only factor that keeps people engaged in it.

By what I’ve said so far, you understood the logic or not, just get this right in your mind. It is important to keep applications consistent the way people used to transact when there existed no technology. Hence it is very important to keep it simple and straightforward. To add to it, give your application a way of socializing which can promote a good user-user interaction and sharing info. Cause, people always love to be in a place where they have their interest groups, family members and friends. They love to play, shop, eat, hangout with their friends and loved ones. Hence, if you are able to analyse how social aspects of your product can work out for you, it might turn out to be very advantageous. It’ll keep your users engaged with your product on a very higher scale. So, I say, give them what they want, a way of socializing. In this regard, I’d say, Facebook is doing only one part of it, i.e. hanging out with your friends and stuff. There are much bigger things in social networking such as a social shopping to social learning. See, you always feel confident in a place where there is some human existence right? Also, you never want to explore a spooky or a new place all alone, you take one or more friends with you there. So, make this simple logic built inside your application model. People, i.e. users should be able to effectively socialize through your application. Cause, if you don’t provide such a service, the junta will start moving towards a service that provides that. You can have a superior technology, a really great market, but you can miserably fail if you don’t understand the importance and dynamics of socialization. To summarize, create a superior technology, a superior market. Add social strategies to connect both of these.

Technology <-----> Social Aspects <---> People / Market

When there existed no technology, people loved to get together and have fun. With advent of technology, people started having more fun. Now, they had enough of simple technologies and want the technology to give them more. So, they are increasingly moving towards technologies that can satisfy their socializing needs. Hence forming a proper spiral model of the way technologies and people work. In days to come, we might increasingly see apps that are built with the social aspects to take off better than the ones that don’t provide it. Dot. :P

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Software Freedom Week Celebrations @ GLOSS, SASTRA

Hello Readers,
I'm really sorry for not posting for so many days. I've been busy lately on many things like looking out for final year project internships and things like that. Anyways, the news is that, 3rd and 2nd year folks of GLOSS are organising Software Freedom week at SASTRA University. Software Freedom Week is celebrated inorder to emphasize the importance of open source to everyone. And, being at college, students and faculty members take immense pleasure in getting to know about what open source can do for them. Last year, we had conducted many competitions during the open source week, but this time, I'm not quite sure about the kind of surprises our juniors are gonna give us. I've got high hopes on them and I must say, the publicity thingies have been going quite well. Especially the posters are quite attractive. I sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm that they have been showing towards the community.
To tell a few lines about how open source can help you, I've got a small experience to share with. Recently I've been working on linux kernel development. It’s been going quite good and I seriously can’t express the kind of thrill I feel when I compile the code of Linux Kernel by myself and when I go through the source code of scheduler and stuff. I feel that may be, sky is the limit for the joy that you get when you’ve got some real cool operating system like Linux’s kernel source to play with. If not for open source, you might not be able to play with an OS’s source code like what you can do right now.
It’s like this... everyone cannot focus on reinventing the same wheel and releasing it as a new technology or product. It is always good to make use of already invented things and yet make something real cool.
Let me stop with this for now, it’s already late 1:40 a.m., I might start blabbering in the post if I don’t.
Till my next post, C’ya guys n’ don’t forget to attend the SFW celebrations at SASTRA :)