2012 July

I can drive my car

By | featured, special | No Comments

The title of the post might  sound stupid to many people, but it means a lot to me.

It was sometime in October 2010 that Aseem bought our first car, Nissan Almera. Whenever  we both used to go on a long drive, I would imagine myself driving the car on my own. But this was yet a dream to me, as I had no knowledge of how a car works. In India, one can easily get some driving lessons from a friend or a family member and get the drivers licence after clearing the tests. But this was not the case in Finland. One has to take up driving lessons from a diving school which was mostly held in Finnish and the course was quite expensive.

Whenever I went to inquire about the English courses in the driving school, they said they might start one, if there are many candidates for it.  Well, I never managed to learn Finnish as it seems to me like a tongue twister, nor did I get any calls from a driving school about the English courses.

After a year, Aseem sold our old car and got a new one. This time it was a Nissan Primera. During the winter 2011, I once again went to the driving school to inquire if they have any English courses. This time they said that probably during spring they might start one. I thought, may be during the next summer, I have my drivers licence.

The future store was not as bright as it looked. It was March 26 2012, someone stole our car and burnt it down to ashes. Until now we are unaware of the culprit and even police were unable to find the person.

Now I had no car, so no excitement to go for a driving lessons now. Both of us were mentally so disturbed that we did not feel safe staying in our own apartment. After a few weeks I got to know from one of my colleague that she has started taking driving lessons in English in one of the driving schools nearby. Now the question in front of me was, should I go for a driving lesson now?

But it was Aseem, who managed to convince me to take the course. He had more confidence on me than I had. He said, we can have a new car in future, this is the time for you to take the course. So there I was, started my driving lessons after I lost my car.

But I would admit that this course helped me to get my mind diverted from the incident that happened in the past.  The theory lessons seemed quite interesting to me and after every lecture, I used to tell Aseem about the new rules I learned about the traffic.

Then came the day, when I had my first practical driving lesson. I barely managed to move the car for few meters. I was wondering, how can one do so many things at the same time while driving. It was then when I realized, how much pain did Aseem took, while I was happily sitting in the next seat enjoying the long drive.  That day, while returning back from the class, I took the bus back home and now I could understand what the driver might be doing while taking a brake, or slowing down, or moving the bus. Driving looked so difficult to me now that I thought I would never be able to learn how to drive.

Well in the next 2 lessons, I somehow managed to drive. This time it was much easier that it looked in the first class. At least now I was able to move the car and stop it. But then still there were lot many things which I thought was difficult to do at the same time. Pressing clutch pedal while changing gears, no gas while changing gears and many such rules looked so confusing, that I could hardly follow all the instructions given by the instructor. The instructor in the first three classes was friendly but was strict too. He said, if I leave you to do mistakes, you will never learn. May be he was right but I got scared of him. Then I got to know from my colleague that the other instructor is quite friendly  and understanding. So I booked the rest of my lessons with him.

Driving with the other instructor was much more easier. With him I never felt that I did a blunder. He used to appreciate whenever I did something good and he said that mistakes are the way to learn. Slowly with his help and support and Aseem’s encouragement I managed to do good in my driving lessons. Now even I was able to do multiple things simultaneously while driving.  In the meantime, I cleared my theory test as well.

Now we planned to move out of our old apartment to a new one and take a new car as well. This time we again went for a Nissan Primera.  Now I was happy that in a few weeks I would be able to drive my own car. Then came the day for the test. I did quite well in the driving lessons, but somehow could not managed to clear the test mostly because of parking. I had to take few more extra lessons before taking the test again.

Lucky enough to have cleared the test this time, finally I got my drivers licence on July 26th 2012. So my journey of getting my drivers licence was now over. Now I was able to drive my own car.  Now driving did not looked so difficult and my dream had come true.

Yesterday, on 29th July 2012, we again went for a long drive, but this time I was driving and Aseem was sitting next to me. The drive was 150 kms long and was quite satisfying.  I still make some mistakes, which I think would go away only by experience. But the only satisfaction now is that “I can drive my car”.

 

Microblogging

By | normal | No Comments

I always wanted to setup a microblog for my website and just get rid of twitter for every update I do.. The idea is that friends and family are aware of my micro-blog and follow me there. I can post things to twitter only when I really want to..

I personally liked status.net for everything but could not configure it for my mobile client on MeeGo. I received a strange error always that the website is down. When tried using the web interface on mobile, all posts were published as private posts which was not what I wanted.

I also gave a try to sharetronix. But it is just too complex.

For now, I find myself content with a chinese blog called PageCookery. Works ok on mobile browser and has basic things available. What I also like about them is their categorization of posts.. something like: I like, I want etc..

For now, my microblog can be found here, currently hosted using pagecookery, bit I will try to change it to status.net. The status.net installation can be found here

Hello world 2

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My website suffered some kind of attack recently, because of which, a lot of spam mails were being generated from my account. I had to henceforth, delete all my data and start from scratch.

I will try my best to restore all the data (blog-posts) to this “new blog”

God speed and god bless!

Nokia: IMHO

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Yes, you are right, I work at Nokia and I am writing this post about my feelings for Nokia, keeping in mind the recent state of affairs. Other than writing as an employee, I will also try my best to pen down my feelings as a consumer.

To start with, as a consumer, I am a hardcore Nokia fan. I firmly believe that as a mobile phone company Nokia has contributed a lot to the market and its share of contribution has not yet ended. As an employee, Nokia is a great place to work. You get to learn a lot of things, you learn how to apply innovative ideas and the best part being the ability to touch the life of millions of people. I really appreciate the Nokia values and their ways of working.

Now, looking into current state of affairs as a consumer, I might have been happy to see Nokia investing in an array of windows phones but I am unhappy with their strategy of discontinued MeeGo and Symbian platforms. Today, I see that windows phones are not a feature complete devices. For example, Lumia 800 does not have a reliable Bluetooth. I personally don’t like the Metro UI very much. I think that it is a waste of space on the screen and I am more comfortable with full utilization of all the available screen space as it is done in MeeGo, maemo or Symbian phones. As a normal user, I can’t even select a normal mp3 as my ringtone on Windows phones. I have to first cut the file short to one minute and make it folllow some rules to be able to set as a ringtone. There are some known problems with the Audio quality and battery life. These might be very small points, but they do affect people who want to personalize their mobiles. Talking about the strategy, I just feel that Nokia has choosen the wrong path now. The #Feb11 announcement could have been better. Probably, it would have been best if Nokia would have left the option of choosing the platform to the end-users and would have focused on making and promoting world class products like N9, PureView and in side-ways, investing a little in Windows phone to see the capability of the product. After making a technology shift to Windows immediately and killing all other platforms Nokia has, how did they think they would make money? By selling those phones to which they say that they will be killed in future? What I appreciate is that even after making a huge technological shift, firing a lot of people, Nokia still managed to come out with a few of Lumia phones in the market in a remarkably less time. What I do not appreciate is that they are investing big time on a platform that could not gain a substantial market share even though, all other OEM manufacturers are using it as their smart phone platform too. What I do not appreciate is that the Lumia products were not a complete solution to smart phones (esp. when compared to MeeGo’s N9).

As an employee, my heart really goes out with the decision of abandoning MeeGo, Symbian. All the innovations, patents, good work, quality lines of code, talents will now rest in pieces. While, the innovations, patents still remain with Nokia, the talent will now be scattered. So much money and time was invested in building such an asset and today, there is no future for all of them. On #Feb11, I would have rather loved to see MeeGo released already, followed by few updates and then, another device with a stripped down MeeGo (functionality, feature and price wise) coming soon to cover up the lower price segments. As for Symbian, it has been paying Nokia’s salaries since ages and I see it has the capability to do so for at least a couple of another years. A ramp-down of Symbian was something I might not rule out, but I would have probably expected to hear something like ‘We will pursue Symbian for a couple of years more while doing an RnD for Windows phone based smartphone products. Once we find that Windows phone is the right place to be, we will try to phase out Symbian. In future, we see Nokia investing in both, MeeGo and Windows phone’. Today, as compared to all other Lumia products, I see Nokia N9 as the most innovative, sparklingly fresh and the best smartphone any company could make till date. I see PureView as another flagship device Nokia produced. But all in all, I don’t understand, why they decided to sell it in limited stocks?

Why wouldn’t a company want to sell phones (which have been applauded in the market) and make money?

As an employee, a consumer and just another person who admires Nokia as a company, I am really sad at its current position. Nokia is very much uncertain about the future of Qt within the company. Why in the world? You spend billions of euros in making an ecosystem so common that could have supported both Symbian & MeeGo without much efforts and when the time came to get the pay-back, you are uncertain about its future and decide to abandon it? WHY? Just because you are running out of cash? Just because you need more money? If this is so, then why did you not sell flagship devices like Nokia N9 and Nokia PureView? I am sure they would have broken all previous records in sales and their sales would have provided enough cash flow for Nokia to easily sustain the huge competition.

Based on my “limited” mindset, I seriously think that the current path of Nokia is not right. I (and probably all the developers, consumers out there) would have rather appreciated a Qt based ecosystem supported by platforms like Symbian, MeeGo. In order to build a more bigger developer ecosystem, may be Nokia could have released an official Qt port for Android in association with Google. I see this as a huge leap towards keeping the developers happy. One peace of code, running on all the major platforms like Symbian, MeeGo, Android. And after all this, if they were still not happy, invest a little in a small portfolio for Windows phone too. Port Qt there. Make developers, consumers happy.

When a company needs cash for operating, firing people is not always the right thing to do. Especially, for company like Nokia, probably, selling more phones (like N9, PureView, Asha series) makes more sense because it brings in the cash flow.

I am sad for Nokia. I just want it to grow big, bigger that it was a few years ago, which as of today, seems to me like a long path to cover. Although, it would not have been difficult if, in my opinion, we would have chosen a bit different path than what we have right now.

At the end, I just want Nokia to succeed. All the best.

Some other reads:

http://dot.kde.org/2012/07/09/kde-rely-qt-protect-qts-freedom-contribute-it

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With the recent strategy changes within Nokia—the largest contributor to Qt, there is uncertainty about the future of Qt that concerns KDE.

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http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/07/jolla-promises-meego-will-live-on-plans-new-smartphone/

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More than a few N9 aficionados felt their hearts sink when important MeeGo team members left Nokia this week, putting the fate of the entire swipe-friendly platform in doubt. Recently-founded Jolla was clearly watching, as it confirmed just in the nick of time that it’s planning to carry the torch further. The Finnish startup, which includes important members of the N9 team as well as veterans of the unofficial MeeGo community, not only plans to iterate on MeeGo but to build its very own smartphone…

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