Linux vs Mac

By | normal | No Comments

Or well, let me frame the title of this post by not being politically correct!

“Development on Mac sucks”

Especially for newbies on Mac, yes, that is very true. First of all, the package management for mac sucks big time. I really couldn’t find a LAMP package in App Store. WHY? Such a biased decision! Wouldn’t developers use mac? Or do people at apple assume all developers to be nerds who know ins-and-outs of using macports, brew etc? Other than that some small points that make me feel pissed.

  1. “readlink -f” (illegal option, #fail)
  2. “echo -n Hello”
  3. I dont know how many keyboard shortcuts I need to remember
  4. Amazing that they forgot some really important keys like [, ], {, }
  5. Some things really not uniform, like usage of cmd and ctrl keys. They have moved many of ctrl features to cmd key but left some of them with ctrl. WHY?
[SORRY, hit publish too early.. wanted to save it.. need to rush to office, so will update this post little later]

qtip.me

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qtip.me

take a tip, skip the queue

Have you ever found yourself waiting in the queue at the bank or post office, twiddling your thumbs, desperately wishing that you could be using the time to pick up some groceries, the dry cleaning or to simply grab a coffee instead?

Now you can, with qtip.me! Use your mobile phone to secure your place in the queue. Utilize your waiting time exactly as you want to and show up right when it’s your turn to be served.

Check out our first video, hand-made at Codemenders Oy.

In the summers of 2012, many of us at Nokia were asked to leave because of huge changes in the organization and company focus (yes, one of the polite ways to tell this).

That’s when we decided to do something of our own. I am very proud to announce that our work, which started in the fall of 2012 has now hit a new milestone.

qtip.me has kept me busy most of the time outside of my office hours and now it is available for public. It is an honest bid to save a little amount of our time, which we spend doing nothing at the queues.

Extend your support to qtip.me by following us on twitter and liking us on facebook. And yes, do refer it to an office near you, where you think we need to take away your queueing worries!

Hearty thanks to the team behind qtip.me, Nimika for the Windows phone application, Alexey for Android phone application, Dmitry for the iPhone application, Chandra for guiding us in lows, highs.

the passport story

By | normal | No Comments

Another interesting thing, I wanted to share with all. It might be my foolishness or my carelessness. Nevertheless, it still was interesting.

Long story cut short:

  • In May 2013, I had to travel from Berlin to Tampere and back.
  • It was an unplanned and sudden journey
  • I decided to fly on Friday and came to office for a half day at work
  • I booked tickets when I was in office and then, started at 12 to catch the 2’o clock flight from Tegel
  • I was possibly the last person to turn up. At the baggage counter, I decided to drop my luggage.
  • They did not ask me about any kind of identification and let me in
  • I boarded the flight
  • The moment flight moved, I recalled, where is my passport?

I had to get Nimika travel with my passport to allow me travel back (Helsinki – Berlin – Helsinki).

Once upon a time, to Frankfurt

By | special | No Comments

This happened on 7th of June, 2013.

I and my wife Nimika were travelling to India for a one week trip on June 7. Our flight (Indian Airlines, Dreamliner) was scheduled from Frankfurt at 21:30. I wasn’t aware that most of airlines offer a discounted ticket for a journey from Berlin to Frankfurt in case of an outbound journey from Frankfurt. We had hired a car to travel from Berlin to Frankfurt and considering two people travelling, the car came really cheap (55 € rental + fuel costs) as compared to train tickets which were 125€ per person.

What happened before this day:

Everything for this trip happened at sudden blink. Almost!

During the first week of June, it so happened that we had to travel suddenly. Maa and Papa were in New Delhi for a 30 year celebration of their marriage anniversary with Bua and Phupha. In a blink, we suddenly decided that we had to also visit Vaishno Devi during this trip. In another blink, I took a week off from work.

And then, getting tickets to India for both of us, took hours.

First of all, I had to take separate tickets for me and Nimika since we both had different return dates. So, I purchased my tickets first from Air India’s website. Next, when I started to purchase Nimika’s ticket from the same credit card, the transaction was reported to be successful but still the ticket was not reserved (and I was advised to call their call-centre with a reference number). Considering a glitch, I tried it 2 more times, only to get a message: “this credit card has been used for 3 failed attempts recently and hence, we have blocked it”.

WTF!! I called Deutsche bank immediately and they found the problem being “insufficient credit limit” on my card. Considering that I was having my much needed and urgent holiday, they raised my credit limit by huge 400%.

I tried purchasing tickets, again. No luck. So, I decided to call Air India’s call centre with the reference number provided. To my amusement, the guy who picked up the phone, did not know anything about the reference number system. He kept on insisting that the ticket PNR are not generated like the number I gave them. A****e!

I was getting on my nerves since the website showed: “Only one seat left”. I had already booked my tickets to India, our (me, nimi, maa, papa) tickets from New Delhi to Jammu. But wasn’t sure if Nimika would be able to join us!

After a two hour ordeal on most of the travel websites, I gave a try to “travelstart.fi” for Air India tickets for Nimika and was finally successful.

Finally, the day:

My initial calculations were:

  • Berlin to Frankfurt ~ 550 KMs
  • Average speed limit on the way ~ 130 kmph (+ travelling on autobahn)
  • With two stops in between, total driving time should be MAX 5 hours
  • I should leave Berlin by 1PM.
  • I will reach Frankfurt by MAX 7PM, with 2.5 hours in hand.

I left office at 12:00 to pick the car from Tegel Airport. It was a Peugeot (with French number plate). I started driving to my apartment when I suddenly noticed that one of the side mirrors was not working properly (some loose screws). Considering a long journey, I decided to change the car. I was still calm. Went back to airport and asked them to change the car. It took some time, but then, they changed it to Opel Astra.

It was 1pm already now. Quick calculations said that a 30 minute delay would cause the whole journey to delay by max 30 minutes. Moreover, its autobahn! I reached home by 1.30pm, had lunch and then, we left for Frankfurt.

Damn the city traffic, we were still at Messe Nord (ICC) in Berlin at 15:30. Now were getting nervous. My navigator said that expected time of arrival would be 20.45. We had already lost 2 hours of our travel time and we were still not even 20KMs away from our start point.

Waiting on the red light near ICC, I just prayed, if Vaishno Devi mata has called, we will reach for sure. The road ahead looked empty. As soon as the traffic light was green, I gave a full throttle driving at the max speed of 130kmph and in sometime, we were crossing Potsdam.

Navigator: expected time of arrival – 20:30 hrs.

And then, the maximum speed limit was over. We were on autobahn. Full throttle, close to 170kmph, I hoped that there would be no more delay delays.

Navigator: expected time of arrival – 20:15 hrs

We were about to reach Leipzig when the 2 lanes were cut to 1 lane. I started to notice some cars, driving slow ahead of me. And suddenly, I noticed a trail of cars at least a kilometre long ahead of me. Shit! Not again!!

Navigator: the route is being re-calculated because of a traffic information update!

I immediately took an exit that the navigator pointed me to, only to be greeted by army personnel that you are not allowed to take this road. I told them that needed to reach Frankfurt by 20:00 and possibly this is the only fastest way. They smiled and said that going back was the only way, unless I wanted to swim across. It was the floods. I called up my parents, told them that there are traffic jams and we were not sure if we would be able to make it to Frankfurt. We then called up the Air India help line again. This time, they seemed a little friendly.

Air India guy: This is the number of the check-in desk please inform them. 

Check-in desk lady: If you reach here by 20:30, we will take you onboard. We cant wait for more.

At this moment, I decided that in the some case, I will try to delay the flight myself. HOW? I will call up Phupha ji and ask him if he could help get this plane remain grounded until we reached Frankfurt.

Navigator: expected time of arrival 21:25

Travelling at a speed lower than 20kmph, all hopes shattered. We are not going to make it. After about 30 minutes of ordeal, the traffic started to move a bit faster and then, we started driving down a hill. Cars ahead of us started to disappear faster. I gave the same taste to the car behind us. We were approaching Jena now. About 300 KMs more to go and it was already 17:45.

Speeding up to around 190kmph, I gave it one last try. Much thanks to god, we did not face any obstacle until I noticed the fuel meter showing that I could drive about 150 km more, with 250 more to go still for the airport. I just kept pushing the accelerator as much I could, also looking for any possibly empty gas stations. Time was a legacy, we did not have.

Navigator: expected time of arrival 20:45

Near to Fulda, we stopped at a gas station. Thankfully, there were no queues. Filled the gas tank and pushed the gas peddle as hard as I could. When the airport was about 50Kms away, traffic kept increasing. We saw a lane which was closed from both the sides and had almost no traffic. We could take this for airport too and so, we just took over that lane. The lane had no exit to what ever end we saw.

Navigator: expected time of arrival 20:20

Now I feared, what if this lane had no exit. But thankfully, we easily entered the airport area from this lane. We now had to find the car return place. We entered the wrong parking area. Asked one of the guards where was the return place and he said, GO OUT and take a 1 KM detour and then you will find the right place.

Getting out was another ordeal. We reached the exit point and the door of parking would not open now. It was like water – water everywhere, not a single drop to drink. We pressed the help line of the door and the guy only spoke German. Thankfully, he opened the door for us. We found the return place right there. The car-guy was kind of like waiting for us to leave the car to him. We took all our luggage out and started the home run.

Current status: 20:25, reached airport. Finding check-in counter.

All counters were empty. We kept running from one place to another trying to find the Air India counter. A typical movie like scenario. We ran to the info desk and asked them to call the Air India service desk. Instead of calling, they pointed us to where it was. We ran again. There was a lady closing the counter. We explained the the situation and that we had given a phone call earlier.

Our boarding passes were ready and she allowed boarding. We had to almost run for the immigration counter. Once we boarded the flight, we called home.

Mission accomplished!

(I could not take more than a week off from work because of some deliverables planned in the coming two weeks, but I think that for a trip like this, it was completely worth it.)

Jolla

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Like all others, I received my Jolla phone a few days ago.

On first few hours of usage, I am amazed to see its performance and happy that Nokia N9 possibly has a worthy successor. In the coming few days, I will give this phone a full try and then post what I liked and what I did not. Although, I must confess that I have not yet started to use it as my primary phone (which is still Nokia N9) so far. Especially the social part of it.

Some of my initial thoughts about it (in about 24hrs of basic usage):

Happy to see:

  • Jolla store showing live feeds of whats happening
  • Nice calendar application. Especially like the way you show week numbers and week days
  • Time picker in Timer is quite familiar to me and I liked it.
  • Quite an intuitive date picker which takes one from Year -> Month -> Day

Disappointments:

  • No SIP account support available
  • Forced to sync social (facebook, twitter) contacts to local phone
  • Cannot mount the SD Card to laptop / PC (or am I missing something?)
  • Cannot save camera pictures to SD Card
  • No head phones in package and if you connect the phone to another headphone, music player does not respond to button press, e.g. for changing songs.

Improvements required:

  • Add a shortcut to connectivity in home screen pulley menu. Following “Settings -> WLAN -> List of networks” to connect to WLAN is a bit painful.
  • Allow to change the unit settings in the Map application. Always seeing YARDS when I am used to METERS is very very annoying
  • Add support of mounting SD card on PC
  • Allow saving camera pictures in the SD Card
  • Would you mind adding a “Close all” button in Multitasking view (just like N9)?

Some easter eggs required:

  • Please add a “Are you missing N9?” dialog / application when someone tries to swipe from L to R on Home Screen

Points for me:

  • Play with the phone more
  • Make it my primary phone in days to come
  • Try to find out some time and possibly contribute to the Jolla ecosystem with some apps!

Any comments, please post on twitter @aseemshakuntal

rightware

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So, I started to work at Rightware Oy in Espoo. A company working in automotive domain with a cool UI framework called Kanzi and a benchmark framework. So far, the first week has been OK.

Some things I liked here (and not being diplomatic, I swear):

  • Friendly people
  • Nice workplace
  • Nice tool Kanzi

Thing which might need improvement:

  • For god sakes, start using GIT. Subversion is so old school
  • Please have a bus stop nearer to office
  • Do we really need to use Windows?

 

void, main!

By | special | No Comments

Last few days, weeks and months have been very crucial for a lot of reasons.

Being an Indian, Cricket has always been in my veins. India has painfully let go some of the stars of Indian cricket in the past. But none have matched the splendour of Master Blaster. This farewell and retirement is going to create a void in the hearts of all the cricket fans from India and across the world.end

Being a Software Engineer for mobile platforms, Nokia has always had my trust. Not only as a consumer but also as an employee. I have always cherished the nokia ways of working things and am really happy to be part of some of the teams which delivered products very fast, for example, the qt team for SuSe based embedded linux, the here maps team. I am also very, very proud to be a part of some of the product programs like Nokia N800, N900, N9. I have also had a pleasure to work with great managers and great minds at Nokia.

On Oct 31st, 2013, this wonderful ride with Nokia came to an end. I beleive, everything that has a start, has an end. And so is my journey with Nokia, as an employee. I also beleive that its a small world. I will surely come across Nokia in future, may be when they start making phones again.. 😉

At work, I have a special respect for a few fellow workers like Raine, Alexey, Kristoffer, Lörre, Lauri, Sebastian, Frank G, Frank V, Stephan B. and a few managers like Venkat, Devesh, Sami and Jens.

I think that a void has definitely been created with these changes but that is the charming part in itself. We will see more and more Sachins coming forward now. Nevertheless, it has been a great journey so far and now, I look forward to complete my masters course and new job at rightware.

N9

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Happy birthday, Nokia N9, my precious!

Though, you were killed on arrival, but you still are the most under-rated smartphone today! Happy to use you and be a part of your development program!

that moment

By | scribble | No Comments

that moment when the world seems cold!

that moment when the damage has already been done!

that moment when you loose your hope!

that moment when everything goes wrong!

that moment when you cough all night!

that moment when just a few people stand by!

that moment when you stand against all odds!

that moment when the wind turns by!

that moment which shows its confidence in you!

that moment which makes you feel blessed!

that moment which has the power to unleash the unknown!

that moment when even the leaves turn the way you want!

that moment when you know that you can!

that moment when you could control the change in your life!

that moment…