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Phoenix

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Due to some negligence, I lost all the data on my wordpress blog while trying to migrate from my old server to Amazon EC2.

Right now, the original content of my blog is resurrecting from its ashes.

Just like “Phoenix”!

(and coming soon, a part 2 of this post! [update: well, hopefully, by Dec 31, 2015 or latest, by Jan 2016])

[Sep 8, 2312hrs] Update: So, finally, after a bunch of tasks**, I successfully imported all my posts from a local copy of my blog. And they are visible again. Although, I do not know why, I see one post missing!

 

** Tasks:

  • extracted old backup of blog from archives to “blog.aseemshakuntal.co.in”
  • installed mysql database on my server
  • created a database for my blog
  • imported old-blog.sql
  • NO LUCK STILL, posts show only on first page and old posts return 404
  • Google, google, google
  • Finally, found mod_rewrite as the culprit
  • Enabled mod_rewrite, NO LUCK STILL
  • Updated apache’s sites-avaialble/default configuration to “AllowOverRide all”
  • Links start to work, but pictures are not shown still.. brrr
  • Manually edited all posts with uploading pictures again!

It works now! Das is gut! Sehr gut!

Sailfish SDK

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So, I took the plunge and downloaded the Sailfish OS SDK from here. I really appreciate the unique three step install that the SDK provides and that it was good to go in a few minutes as soon as download was finished. That is the power of Qt.

Really happy to see the documentation for the Qt Components. Guess, I was looking at them not after really a long time. Good old times were refreshed in my mind.

Next steps? Over the weekend, have my first application ready for you, #Jolla.

#Respect for you, #Jolla.

N9 vs Lumia

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I will start with what I would like to have in a phone that I use. In my day-to-day life, following are the apps / functionalities that I use on a regular basis:

  • Alarms
  • Email (MFE, Google, Yahoo, custom email account support)
  • Ability to configure multiple Calendars (+ to-dos, reminders)
  • Music
  • Social network (facebook, twitter)
  • LinkedIn
  • Contacts sync with online services (e.g. Ovi, Google)
  • Whatsapp
  • Browser
  • Feed reader
  • Password manager
  • Dropbox client
  • WordPress
So, both Lumia and N9 have these mentioned features / functionalities and hence make both of them a good phone to use. The real difference lies between the user experience.
Lumia is no doubt a good phone, but it does not promise me a good “user experience”. Here are some of the reasons, why:
  1. Crazy silent reboots!
  2. No time (or other indicators) on the power saving lock screen. Powering on the screen everytime I want to see time is bad. And sometimes, pressing the power button initializes a reboot.
  3. No handy way of connecting or disconnecting WiFi / Cellular connection. I hate going to settings and then doing things. Or even, installing the short-cut applications for this purpose.
  4. Internet explorer sucks. Big time.
  5. No beep profile. I would not like the phone to be in vibrate mode at some times. While at work, I would like the profile to be famous Nokia Beep.
  6. Can’t do much with an offline Lumia. (or get a real flat data plan, not like those in Germany)
  7. Can’t transfer or share files (songs / images / ringtones) over bluetooth. WAAT!!
  8. Not a good battery life. Have to charge battery almost every 8 hours.
  9. The annoying “Mobile operator” delivery reports.
  10. The applications for facebook sucks! The in-built integration with social networks is Ok but when the phone is offline, I cant really see much about what’s happening around. I have to open dedicated applications or even the people’s application to see whats happening which again triggers some data connection in background.
  11. No ability to show contacts by Nicknames! It is annoying to see my mom calling and the phone says: “Rxxhxx Vxyxx”. Does not give me the feel of having a “personal” device.
  12. No way to schedule when to sync my email accounts. I really do not want to see any office emails in the night from my exchange account. Brrr!
  13. I am forced to connect my phone to a PC to update it. No OTA update is available. Being a linux user, I had some hard time trying to  update my phone.
  14. Cant configure my custom voip accounts to make calls.
On the other hand, what I like about Lumia is a couple of UI effects that it has. The swipe gesture in inbuilt apps is good. The showing of calendar reminders on lock screen and tiles is good.
I have been using N9 for close to two years now. And I really see N9 as the clear winner in my “user experience and expectations”.
  1. No crazy reboots
  2. A good blank screen indicator
  3. Connect / disconnect from the network using the status menu
  4. The beep profile
  5. Mozilla
  6. With an offline N9, I can still see some selected updates from my friends in the feeds screen. No need to trigger a new data connection. And if I am interested to know more, I can tap on a particular update to open app and create connection if required.
  7. I can see all the updates (from social, feed reader) at one place. No need for opening a special app for them.
  8. OTA updates are available.
  9. I can select when to update / sync which email account.
  10. Support for OVI which has all of my contacts.
  11. Relatively better battery life. I charge it every morning. (or at a gap of about 12-15 hrs)
In a nutshell, Nokia N9 is an epitome of good work and passion towards making a solid phone that people will love and like to use.

Lumia 800 indeed is a good phone in its own category. But it does not stand a chance when comparing to Nokia N9. What I could add more is that if someone has been using symbian all his/her life, they might find Lumia a very good experience. But I guess, it is not the case with Nokia N9 users.

Honestly speaking, initially, I was hesitating a bit to start using Lumia. One of the major reasons being “what if it is better than N9”? But now, I am happy it isn’t.

And yes, I agree with https://twitter.com/lowyatdotnet that Nokia N9 is the most underrated smartphone ever. Read this.

Lumia

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In my new role at Nokia Berlin, I have been given a Lumia 800 for my daily use and will be given Lumia 820 very soon. Initially, I was hesitating to use it but now, after about one month of usage, I am happy. Why? I will post that soon.. 😉

Why Cricket will never be the same again

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Here are a few very popular and noteworthy quotes about the maestro, the master blaster, the right arm slow bowler, the one and only legend, the god of cricket, the “Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar” by a few cricketing legends:

———————————————————-8<——————————————————————

  • I have seen GOD, he bats at no.4 for India in Tests: Mathew Hayden
  • When you bowl at him you are not just trying to get him out, you are trying to impress him: Andrew Flintoff
  • Sachin is a genius. I’m a mere mortal: Brian Charles Lara
  • I am fortunate that I’ve to bowl at him only in the nets: Anil Kumble
  • India me aap Prime Minister ko ek Baar Katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par Ungli nahi utha Sakte..Navjot Singh Sidhu
  • He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also: Waqar Younis
  • A banner once said-‘ I WILL SEE GOD WHEN I DIE, BUT TILL THEN I WILL SEE SACHIN TENDULKAR
  • Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world: Allan Donald
  • There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others: Andy Flower
  • If Sachin plays well…India sleeps well: Harsha Bhogle
  • I would go to bed having nightmares of Sachin dancing down the ground and hitting me for sixes: Shane Warne

———————————————————->8——————————————————————

In the End, I can only say that his contributions to the sport has been something that the whole nation and the world will look up to and the little master will inspire the generations to come.

Sachin, the greatest living batsman will be missed by every single person who loves cricket. Many people had been criticizing him for not “retiring” from the game but did they ever realize, without him, cricket will never be the same again! And like millions of Indians, I will not be able to come to terms that Sachin is not playing cricket.

For sure, I respect his decision.

Startups, acquisitions

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An old draft post, which I published now!

Aug 10, 2012:

People put their times and hard work to enhance or create something that they like or believe in and then a startup is born. Almost ninety percent of the successful startups work on some kind of an innovation model.

While even the big players today, like Google, Amazon, HP, Apple all started as small companies which made it big, there have been a lot of small companies that came in this market with a dream of getting it big. Some of them succeeded partially, some did not.

I was looking at some of the startups, that were really innovative and could have succeeded greatly. But then, they were acquisition-ed by other big players and eventually, killed. List of such innovation houses are huge! To start with, lets take an example of Flickr. It happened to be the best social picture sharing platform. Yahoo bought it, probably messed somewhere in deciding between “innovation” and “integration” (a good read: here).

Dec 8, 2012:

Similarly, there were other innovations around as well. Coming straight to what I want to convey in this post is that there was one another startup that was very innovative and did a lot of things in this open source world which made people follow it like a cult. Me being one of them.

Yes, I am talking about Trolltech, the makers of Qt. Like all other start-ups, it was bought over by a very big player in the market, viz. Nokia. And after a couple of years, Nokia decided to part ways with it.

I have had the privilege to work with the core qt team (at Oslo and at Brisbane) for quite sometime. While, the end of this journey has not been a “happy ending” and I never appreciate Nokia abandoning Qt, what I appreciate is that they did not kill it. Well, in a way, they did.. but the in a way they did not.

Qt still lives. Qt5 still came out. Thanks Nokia for realizing that Qt is a good piece of technology and some one should continue the innovation. Thanks for passing this on to Digia.

Digia, thanks for Qt5! And jolla, thanks for taking it forward!!

Change of plans

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Sorry for the noise, but there has been some change of plans related to my stay at Nokia. While already resigned from the company, accepted the severance package and ready to become an ex-Nokian, I got an offer from Nokia Berlin on Wednesday, 29th September and I decided to stay back for a number of reasons agreed between both, me and Nimika.

I was a bit sad to leave another opportunity that I had at RIM, Sweden.

Now I have made a choice and its all mine.

the PILL

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Today, I took the red pill. For those who might not connect to this, I decided to be in the real world and handed over my resignation to Nokia.

This means that very soon I will be an ex-Nokian. Precisely, in another 2 weeks. My resignation is pretty well influenced by the latest reorganization happening at Nokia.

The good thing about this is that I am now allowed to work on something that I like, explore new opportunities in the area that I like. Pretty much, I can now tailor my future as per my wish.

With all great aspirations and wishes, I bid adieu to Nokia and wish myself good luck.

Mr. Elop, its kind of pity that Nokia has such a thinner innovation force now. Even worse that many people who are working under you do not really feel good about it!

Qt, everywhere

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Qt Everywhere, #qteverywhere!

qt, everywhere!

qt, everywhere!

 Yes, by now, the world has known already, what are Digia’s plans to do with Qt. YaY!! There is qt everywhere now! Android, iOS, Windows!! And its sad that Nokia is not using it anymore.

The moment I heard it, I was filled with joy.. the joy of seeing qt alive, the joy of witnessing qt running officially on all possible mobile platforms. But, why so late?

It reminded me of a dream Nokia saw a few years ago! “Qt Everywhere”!!

=> Dream One | Dream Two

Now that this dream is going to be true and probably, in a more bigger way, it is sad that Nokia is not a part of it. The good thing is that a few genius Nokians will be a part still. I wonder why, Nokia never thought to do something like this? If they wanted to establish a Qt ecosystem, this could have been a good strategy. I know there were some hobby projects to port Qt to Android and iOS but there was nothing official. And had there been any official support, in my opinion, this would have brought wonders to the #qtecosystem and would have brought joy to many developers.

Reminds me of my previous blog post about Nokia. This step is quite similar to what I wanted the mainstream Nokia strategy to be (read: here).

I now wonder, what happens next? Would Qt ecosystem grow as big that google be interested in it? I think when a big player like Nokia backs off.. probably, things might not be so “piece-of-cake” for Qt, but for sure, we will find new innovations continue at places like Jolla!

God bless and god speed to Qt..

I can drive my car

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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”.