Kiran's blog

Tiger! Tiger!

19 Jun 2011
Posted by Kiran

As we drove through the Bandipur Forest in the safari jeep, the mood was getting increasingly desperate. We hadn't sighted a thing! On the safari the previous day, a lady in the seat behind me had been yapping off as though there was going to be no tomorrow and whatever chances we had had of sighting any wildlife, diminished with her high-pitch, high-volume voice regularly piercing through the forest. We pinned our exasperation on her and requested a more private safari for our next day.

Today we were on our own and yet, things had gone from bad to worse. Even with the lady's continuous commentary, we had managed to see a family of elephants yesterday. Today we hadn't even seen a langur! It was like the light rain had driven every animal into some secret hiding spot deep within the jungle.

At each fork on our trail through the forest, with each turn we took, I found myself wondering "Are we taking the wrong turn? What if there is an animal just beyond the line-of-sight on the path we aren't taking?" Turn after turn we saw only wet trees and muddy puddles.

After having fruitlessly driven through the forest for more than an hour and a half we had all but given up hope of seeing any wildlife. It was then that our luck changed.

Posted by Kiran

This post is more a user's rant than an expert opinion. I have used Android for just about an year now and have wondered why certain things were the way they were. Having moved to Android from Windows Mobile 6.0, the first thing that struck me as odd was the lack of flexibility for the users to install their applications into the SD Card. That meant that the users were confined to whatever Internal Storage was available on their phones and more often than not that was very limited.

As soon as I bought my first Android phone, I started fishing around for a solution to this problem and found it in Apps2SD+ (now called Legacy Apps2SD+ or, at times, Apps2EXT). However Apps2SD+ needed root access and was tricky to set up. It took every bit of my technical acumen to understand and execute the steps it entailed. It was also risky and could have easily bricked my phone!

Hence when Google released Froyo with in-built support for Apps2SD I had high expectations. The Froyo Apps2SD turned out to be a disappointment though. I believe that Google got the design of their Apps2SD solution wrong, and although I can think of a few reasons why they might have chosen the design that they did, I cannot help but think that they could have done a better job.

Posted by Kiran
Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve
Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve

Recently, I got the opportunity to visit two of Karnataka's well known Wildlife destinations: first, as a birthday present to me, my wife planned a day visit to the Dubare Elephant camp; second, we decided to take a break from the work schedules and head off to the Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve.

Both outings were planned spontaneously via Jungle Lodges & Resorts (JLR) and turned out to be extremely enjoyable; we came back thoroughly refreshed and elated.

This blog post is to share our experience as well as some of the pictures I managed to click on these trips.

Posted by Kiran

2010 has not been a great year for photography. Though I did get many shots, and many good ones at that, I must say that this was the year in which Photography took a backseat. I can blame it on my move back to India; an unpredictable work schedule, difficulty getting around and slow broadband connection did not help.

However, I did get my camera out of its bag time and again and got some shots. Here are the ones I consider my favorites from among the photographs I clicked in 2010. You can click on the image to go to the original gallery where the image was hosted. Feel free to provide a rating for the image in its gallery and leave a comment.

Posted by Kiran
Update (07-Sep-2012): Seesmic has now been acquired by Hootsuite and they say "Consumer users of Seesmic are encouraged to explore new tools, apps and features available at Twitter.com". Effectively, what they seem to be saying is that general users should go and find some other client that suits their need and Seesmic will no longer be around for long. With that, I suppose, this comparison is now moot since Seesmic will soon cease to exist as a great option for general users looking for a powerful Twitter Client.

When I first started off on Twitter, Tweetdeck for Desktop was my preferred client. I found it to be extremely user friendly, feature-packed and intuitive. Once I got my HTC Desire though, I realized that the best way to use Twitter is through my mobile phone. Twitter is all about instantaneous sharing of views and opinions and my phone allowed me to do just that; it soon became my primary platform for Twitter usage and I longed for an equally feature-packed Twitter client. I longed for Tweetdeck for Android.

Though I initially used HTC Peep, the in-built Twitter client on my phone, once I discovered Seesmic for Android, there was no looking back. Seesmic had everything I was looking for and was the perfect client for me.

That is why when Tweetdeck finally got around to releasing their client for Android, I found myself in a dilemma. Should I stick with my new found loyalty to Seesmic or should I go back to Tweetdeck?

I decided to compare the two with regards to the functionality that I use most and here is what I found.

The Signature Parody

05 Dec 2010
Posted by Kiran

We have all learnt that it is imperative that we read any document in its entirety before we sign it. By affixing our signatures on any legal or contractually binding document, we effectively affirm that we agree to every word that is written on it.

However, how many of us really stop to read and understand every word on that document before we sign it? Most of us don't.

What is more amazing is that people have come to expect that you don't read the document before signing it. In fact, I have had multiple experiences in India, where people clearly got irritated if I'd stopped to read the document before signing it. Somehow people in India seem to believe that we must simply put all our trust in them and sign the dotted line. They seem to believe that by reading the document first, we would be wasting their time.

Posted by Kiran

Ever since I moved to Android from Windows Mobile, I have been complaining about the Android Platform's seeming limitation in handling Calendar reminders. The fact that the Android Calendar gave me only one 5-minute snooze option always troubled me and I have written about this annoyance in the past too.

I promptly bought Calendar Snooze, an application available in the Android Market which allows users to choose the duration of time for which the reminder must be snoozed, and even recommended it in one of my blog posts.

When I noticed that Google had neglected to include the feature in their much hyped Android 2.2 (Froyo) as well, I couldn't understand why Google chose to ignore such basic functionality.

However, in all my eagerness to lambast Google at their oversight, I seem to have neglected one design feature of the Google Calendar, which renders the snooze option redundant.

Posted by Kiran

It is no secret that what happens on the Indian roads is best described as controlled chaos. Expecting orderly traffic while driving in India is probably not the best idea. I have driven in India since 1994; even then, each time I go abroad and return, it takes me a while to get used to the kind of driving witnessed in India.

I read somewhere that driving in India is basically pointing your vehicle in the general direction you want to go and stepping on the accelerator — and hoping to god that you don't get hit by something. That description quite summarizes what drivers in India go through every day.

Here are a few points about Indian driving and Indians that everyone who wishes to visit India and possibly drive here should know.

Posted by Kiran

Android is a powerful Mobile OS and it is growing. However, as I had earlier mentioned you'll need to install applications from the Android Market to tailor its behavior to your liking.

Here are some of the applications that I use frequently. These are the ones that have helped me tailor my Android experience just the way I like it.

The applications listed below are those that you can make use of without any tweaks to your phone. You do not need to be Root on your phone to run these.

Posted by Kiran

One of the disadvantages with having to manage multiple Exchange Accounts is that it is very difficult to get a unified view of the all the accounts. Be it email or calendar schedule, each Exchange account could potentially have a different set that have to be dealt with. Microsoft Products only allow access to one Exchange account at a time, and that complicates things.

For emails I just move them into PST folders organized by project, initiative, topic, whatever the case may be. Once these emails — whichever Exchange Account they came from — are in their folders, I can easily get a chronological view of what conversations were going on related to that piece work.

Getting a similar view of appointments is trickier. I always like to know when my meetings are scheduled and ensure I am not double-booked at any particular time before I respond to meeting requests.

Managing this with two Outlook Profiles is next to impossible. However, I found a rather unique way of handing this issue. I use the "Publish to Internet" feature in Outlook 2007 to do this.