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Showing posts from 2011

My first Half Marathon!

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"Did It"

That was the SMS I sent to Sangeeta at 4:00 AM after finishing my half marathon in the Midnight Marathon held in Whitefield, Bangalore on Dec 11, 2011.

Now to the story.

The Irrational act !

A month back on Nov 11, some one tweeted saying "Registered at Midnight Marathon". I just clicked on the link and paid 600Rs for the half-marathon. Human progress happens on such irrational acts.

Why was it irrational? : My personal best was 12.5 Kms. The half marathon is 21kms. I thought I can practice harder and increase my mileage.

After signing up for the marathon, I announced on Facebook and even got 13 likes and 5 comments and tips. I duly forgot about the marathon and went on with my work + occasional runs ( I average 6 runs a month - yes its very bad - good runners run almost 4 times a week )

The Panic Attack

Suddenly around Nov 26th I panicked. I SoSed some of my friends and runners I follow on Twitter and got useful tips.

@nilakanta, @_bharath_k,@ulaar and Jaya…

Aleph by Paulo Coelho

I am getting back to Paulo Coelho after a very long time. The last one was disappointing - "The winner stands alone",

This book - Aleph - hits me at a time when I am going through a spiritual turmoil sort of. 
I have told this incident to a few folks, but never in this blog - long back in December 2010 - I ran out of Petrol on my bike. A very first in my history. I pushed the bike for more than a kilometer, and managed to buy some questionable looking fluid and resumed my journey.
I was to meet a gentleman to show a demo of our product - and I was late by 1 bloody hour. He waited patiently for me even though it was already his lunch time and did not cancel the appointment.
We spoke for an hour about the product and then we started chatting - what I read, what is my philosophy. He then said this :
"Venkat, do you think we meeting at this moment is coincidental? It is all planned"
Yeah yeah I thought - have heard that one before. Was being polite and just smiled as I…

ApartmentADDA turns 3 Years!

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We launched ApartmentADDA on Nov 12th, 2008 and today this site turns 3 !

I think it is apt to look at the analytics like how we would look at a kid - how tall he or she has grown! The above snapshot is from Google Analytics of Visitors from the beginning of time till today.

The mini spike after Nov 2008 was on January 2009 - when I informed about this venture in my batch's email list. Facebook had not taken off then yet.

The next big spike after Nov 2009 was on January 2010 - when Bangalore Mirror put us on Front page! Today we get more than 3 times that much traffic in a day.

Google Analytics now gives realtime reporting - it is surreal to watch the clicks and the dots show up on the world's map.

So what is next for this kid? "Changing Orbits" of course - quoting our good friend and mentor Mr.Sharad Sharma.

Speed, Distance, Pain-free Running - Pick 2

Here is an equation that dawned on me today while running. It is quite simple.

a) Speed at which you can run.
b) Distance that you can cover.
c) Running without any pain or injuries.

You can only have two of the above.

Obviously c) has to be selected - cannot imagine a life with pain - unless you are Zahir Khan or one of the sissy Indian cricketers who always feign pain in order to skip playing and go act in more Ads.

That leaves us to pick either a) or b). So if you have only 30 minutes to run - run as fast as possible for a short distance. If you have lot of time on hand - run as far as possible - but slowly with enough breaks.

At times these constraints are a real PITA - but that's life - we should just try to make the most of it.

CyanogenMod on Samsung Galaxy S and 3 Button fix

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I did not brick my phone this time. And now I am on CyanogenMod 7 - with Gingerbread. It looks beautiful and is very responsive ( thanks to the Hardcore's Speedmod kernel ) - Samsung Galaxy S feels like a new phone once again.

Some of the SGS had the 3 button method ( Volume button  + Home + Power key ) to reboot into Recovery or Download mode disabled -  which is essential to install any kernels or ROMS. 
The trick was to enable the 3 Button Fix and it becomes easy to install ROMS. In my previous failed attempt I tried to accomplish the same using adb and bricked my phone. ( http://venkat2.blogspot.com/2011/09/android-adventures-how-i-bricked-my.html
1. Root SGS
This is quite simple. Download SuperOneClick from shortfuse ( http://shortfuse.org/?page_id=2 ) and root the phone.
2. Enable the 3 button fix
If you can go to download / recovery mode with the 3 buttons you can skip this step. Use the below link and it worked without any hiccups : http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/fix-3-b…

Steve Jobs is Howard Roark

Claimer : This is not a post to mourn but to Celebrate Steve Jobs. 
I read Ayn Rand's FountainHead in 2008. A life changing novel.

If you haven't read here is a gist.

The hero of the book is Howard Roark. 
He hates the old school architecture - where you have the professors expecting one to design buildings with 18th Century architecture - the pillars and ornate designs. Howard Roark could not stand this "apeing" and refuses to follow the college's dictum and drops out and moves to New York to start his own design firm.
At the same time - Peter Keating, his fellow student, graduates with top honors and moves to New York.  The first half of the story is all about how Peter Keating's career rises while Howard Roark is rejected by the System and he goes to work as a day laborer in a mine quarry and as a construction worker. 
The second half is all about how Howard Roark's style of architecture is accepted and creates a new School of Thought. He creates a desig…

Three Running Myths Busted

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I love running.

I was never an athletic person - whenever there was a race, I was the last, play any competitive physical sport with me and I assure you I would have made you triumphant. As a kid I never cared much about sports and hated PT classes. However I discovered running the last couple of years and it was just what the Doctor ordered. I set my own pace, listen to a podcast and I am content and happy.

I touched 10km a few months back and I celebrated. Then I pushed to 12km and a nagging pain started - "shin splints". Read all about it and in the process came to know the names of other minor pains I was having. So I tweeted


venkat kandaswamy

dear runner friends - did any of you have shin splints.. I am touching 12 km and having this pain.. any help/pointers appreciated

got a few replies


knowsnotmuch

@  yeah it does creep slowly. Back off a bit, increase gradually when you get back and examine how you land on your feet when you run

An Identity Crisis!

Whoosh... that is how the time went the last 3 years. Sep 18th, 2008 - the day the Lehman Brothers collapsed and the sub prime crisis erupted - I started my entrepreneurial journey.

3 years down the lane - I still feel young and wide eyed. And this brings us to an identity crisis I am having. How do I introduce myself to strangers? Earlier it was easy - I work for an IT company and the other party just imagines me walking in with a laptop bag, boarding a flight to US of A and bringing back lot of foreign chocolates - and of course living the high life and someone who can afford the high rents and bribes. [ honestly this is not true, and I am always frustrated when the non-ITians think that we are having an easy life ]

Now I honestly do not know how to introduce myself.  Here are the few attempts :

I run a startup. The problem is - it is now my 4th year. How long will i keep starting should I not have started up by now? Also it feels as if I am toying with an idea or a business model - an…

Android Adventures - How I brick'd my phone

There is one more advantage to Running. It helped me skip a Puja shopping session - citing pain because of my run the previous day - and had a nice 6 hour window for myself.

I have been using Samsung Galaxy S for the last 1 year. It is a fantastic phone and has helped me in my running, exploring unknown places, keeping an eye on the server without booting up a laptop every time.

The PoS called Kies allowed me to upgrade to Froyo ( 2.2 ) from Eclairs ( 2.1 ). However it does not upgrade to Gingerbread (2.3) for whatever reason. While the rest of the Android world is enjoying Gingerbread I am stuck on Froyo. It was a long time dream to understand what this Android ecosystem is all about - and finally I found the time to sit and read about it and perhaps install Gingerbread.

Here are the steps to brick a phone.

1. Root the phone. This is the easy part. It does not brick it - totally harmless.

2. Get ADB. There is a defect in my phone. The hardware way of reaching recovery screen ( Volume Up +…

I Support Anna Hazare.

There you go - let me come out in the open.

While I might doubt the success of the JanLokpal bill - which no politician in the right mind will ever pass it - I love the revolution Anna Hazare and team is creating.

Dear Egypt, Syria, Lebonon - watch what is happening here. We are a healthy democracy and we are not fighting dictators. In another 50 years you will be going through what we are going through. You might be getting a honest leader now - but slowly without you even knowing - like the proverbial frog on a hot stove - your country will start getting looted. You will get so used to corruption tax that you will not even know that this is a crime you are committing. Then look back at history and see 2011 - what happened in India. You can get some inspiration out of this.

Back to my beloved country people - Go ahead - ask me - have you bribed?

Yes. I have. I am guilty but I am not ashamed. Before you call me a hypocrite read further.

Karnataka - the most corrupt state in India - is…

My Talk at BSPIN-North - The Manual of an Agile Warrior

Here are the slides from my presentation in Manyata Tech Park for http://www.bspin.org/ on Aug 23rd, 2011.

Manual of an agile warrior

Note : Its actually only 15 slides. Slideshare counts each text bullet also as a slide.

Why any product needs "Mac Users"

First the Disclaimer : This is not a mac fanboy post. I am loosely stereotyping the 3 kinds of users based on the 3 OSes - Mac, Windows and Linux. This is mainly to drive home the point of how an "ideal user" will help your product become better and better. The "Mac User", who I call - can also be a Windows, Linux,BeOs,OS 390.... user.  OS X has been successful mainly because of their Users - look at the amount of podcasts, fan sites, hints sites, magazines for this platform alone. Apple listens to these feedbacks - and incorporates some into every release of their OS.

I am tending to call these "ideal users" as "Mac Users". Had linux/windows had the same level of success - will be labeling them likewise. Shall we move on? :)

Here are some reasons why you need Mac users.

1. They demand Perfection

This is from my personal experience. Some of the CxO users, ex-Entrepreneurs who use our product - just cannot stand mediocrity or minor bugs. As developer…

What I talk about when I talk about Running

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This is the book written by Haruki Murakami(thanks to @kgthegreat for pointing my spelling flaw) Nila mentioned to me about this book on Thursday evening, Friday morning I had to plan for a surprise one day trip to Chennai, Saturday found an audio version of this book and Sunday listened to this book on the afternoon return journey. At times it is really amazing how it looks like as if someone sat and planned the whole situation to the very last detail.

I have read only one book of his before - kafka on the shore. He is an amazing fiction writer and paints such crazy images and situations. ( http://kvrlogs.blogspot.com/2008/07/kafka-on-shore.html ). I was very curious to know what he had to talk about when he talks about running!

The book starts with him training in Kauai, Hawaii 6 days a week, 10kms a day with 1 rest day. He is putting in these miles in preparation for the New York Marathon. The story weaves in and out of of how he started running ( at the age of 33 around the same ag…

I give Newspaper the boot.

Finally - after years of reading Newspaper with a cup of filter coffee in the morning - I am breaking free from the thing called Newspaper.

The disillusionment started with Indian Express becoming more of yet another run of the mill Masala Newspaper. When the world was burning with Wikileaks - IE choose to look the other way.

"Tata Sumo turns turtle on NH-4"
"Mugging on ORR, techie loses mobile,laptop"
"Old Couple Murdered in Jayanagar"

I started feeling that it is a random generator which picks these news. Of course there were these moments of brilliance - when the editorial will go hammer and tongs against the establishment. But it was becoming less and less.

Then Nadia Tapes leak happened. With it Vir Singhvi - whose columns I used to love - was chucked out. Swapan DasGupta left IE long back to write for ToI. Gurumurthy and TJS George's columns were coming very sporadically..they were getting old. IE could never find anyone to sit at their desks.

F…

Have you kept rice in the pressure cooker?

5 years back we emigrated to India - and here is the story.

July 13th - 2006 :
My sister got a phone call around 10.30 AM. We called her from Meenambakkam airport - and this is what we asked her : "Have you kept rice in the pressure cooker?" - she did not understand - why will we call from US to know if she has kept rice in the pressure cooker for the afternoon.
We were not supposed to come to India till October and it was not yet confirmed - and why was he asking this dumb question. Anyway I did not let her wonder too much - and broke the news that will be in landing in Coimbatore airport in another hour. So please add some more rice for both of us!
Good my mother did not take the call - she would have got a heartattack.
My sister's and my mother's BP shot up. After we had spoken, my sister suspected I was playing a prank. But she knew I will not play with sentiments like this - so it has to be true. And for the first time ( her claim ) she scolded me as "Naai&…

Eat Pray Love

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I picked this book because the cover had Julia Roberts saying - "this is an amazing book and I gifted this to all my girl friends". Before you start passing a judgement let me just say - I agree. It is not a smart way to pick a book.

But - I did and ended up reading this one. and I recommend it wholeheartedly to both boys and girls.

This lady, Liz 34 years of age, goes through a pretty messy divorce. She is an accomplished writer/journalist living in New York - like one of the New York movies ( wait they did make a movie out of this - with Julia Roberts ). Has an affair that does not go well either.

So she takes off on a vacation for a year - split in 3 parts equally - Italy, India and Indonesia ( Bali actually ).

In Italy she joins a class to learn Italian. And she hunts for great food. I was hungry all the time while I was reading this part of the book - every page will have some dish or the other that she relished to the core. That is all she does - day in and day out an…

The Pixar Touch

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The above video is from 1967 Disney's Jungle Book - and this is the best part of this movie in my opinion - smooth animation, great synchronization wtih music and great drama. While watching the movie it does not feel it is a cartoon - what an achievement Disney!

This post is however about the story of Pixar. The founders have a dream - to create a full length animated movie - not hand drawn like Disney's but animated on a Computer. The founders were all along inspired / coached / educated by Disney's philosophy on how to make an animated movie with emotion and a story. Pixar wouldnt  be Pixar without Disney.

The technology, software, methodology - none existed when they started. This core team of Pixar - which came into existence as part of George Lucas's Studio and later got sold to Steve Jobs later - were involved in developing some of these methodologies - Z Buffer, Ray Tracing, Shadow on Shadow, Particle animation - Photoshop was originally developed at Pixar and…

Business Card Title

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A startup has many challenges - market, cash flow, competition, support, hack attacks, attrition, power cut, hunt for the perfect coffee - add one more to the long list - Business Card Title.

Today, Sangeeta and I had a chat on IM ( yes we are in the same office - long story :) ) regarding what will be the title. We cannot have traditional roles like CxO, X Manager etc. - as in a startup you have to specifically generalize.

When we started ApartmentAdda, I had a short title on my Business card - Chief. - with a period at the end. I was ragged for 15 minutes by one committee when I had gone for a demo. Also later Sachin who was our Product Innovation Lead - used to tease me - Chief What?

So when we went for a reprint had it printed as Chief, Technology. That explains one aspect of my job - the primary role. But there are lot other things I handle daily - support, IS, patching, backups, opening office, UPS rationing, analytics, accounting, server, domain renewals, organize team outings...

O…