Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wings of Fire

Though tagged under review I’m going to try and bring the essence of the book, in no means I have the guts to write review on a book that’s written on/by Dr. APJ Adbul Kalam. Unlike regular biographies the book is filled with information and facts on Indian Space research straight from Dr. Kalam’s diary, has very limited information on his personal life. From Preface of the book we can understand Mr. Arun Tiwari co-author of this book had brought up this idea to write a book and put it work. The book is organized in seven sections but the core content is put inside 4 sections – Orientation, Creation, Propitiation, and Contemplation. While the rest cover how and why this book formed and what it intends to convey. Dr. Kalam being a spiritual person has quoted poems and lines from Quran throughout the book.

Orientation starts with the birth of the legend Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram to Ashiaamma and Jainulabdeen, Dr.Kalam’s father is a humble boat owner and spiritually motivated person. Schooling life taught Dr.Kalam more than formal education, his family memebers like Jallaluddin though uneducated had somethings to teach. He feeds of the liberal minds of his father and father’s good friend head priest Pakshi Lakshmana sastry and his teacher Siva Subramania Iyer as and when we encountered castesium/untouchability . Dr. Kalam went to St. Joseph College, Trichy for learning science with Physics as major then reaches MIT, Chennai to pursue his ambition – Aeronautics Engineer. He aspired to become a pilot but his physical limitations puts an end to that dream, but as God decided he lands as Scientist in INCOSPAR.

Creation talks about how Dr. Kalam pursued and loved research, it covers few projects in which he worked and some he helped. Nandi was his first dream, an indigenous hovercraft which was sadly shelved though the prototypes seemed to work as expected. While he was down on spirit, he was pulled by MGK Menon and placed in Space research wing of India which will be formed at Thumba & Hyderabad and he developed a good relationship with Prof. Vikram Sarabhai. Under his guidance Dr. Kalam was asked to develop various sounding rockets later he was asked to be the Project Director for SLV -3 under the leadership of Dr. Brahm Prakash. Prof. Sathish Dhawan takes over the place of Prof. Sarabhai after his sad demises, and joins the team to aid in making the first indigenous SLV. After a humiliating failure, the second trial of SLV launch on 18 July 1980 – 0803hrs functioned as expected and became a grand success this got Dr. Kalam a PadmaBhusan.

Propitiation, following his grand success as Project director of SLV, the reputation that Dr. Kalam gained interested Ministry of Defense. And this interest got him into research wing of defense – DRDO at Dehra Dun, where he was asked to develop advanced missiles. Dr. Kalam set his own research center at Imarat, where he spent much of energy on scientist and engineers to motivate them and to help them be enthusiastic. He started Project IGMDP for creating 5 missiles Prithvi -Surface to Surface; Trishul – tactical; Akash – Surface to Air; Nag – Anti-tank; Agni – Reentry missile. One by one his team was achieving the goals; this attracted the concentration of world super powers. Soon International powers exerted much pressure on Indian government to go against testing of Agni, since it had the capability to carry nuclear weapon. Midst intense international pressure and criticism of media Dr.Kalam and his team successfully tested Agni on 22 May 1989- 0710hrs.

On the previous night Dr.Kalam was confused and tensed as previous 2 launches were called off and funny cartoons started to appear all over newspapers. To keep Dr.Kalam calm and help him relax Defense Minister (at that time) quipped “Kalam! What would you like me to do to celebrate the Agni’s success tomorrow” in reply Dr. Kalam replied “we need 100,000 saplings to plants at RCI”. I’m still smiling just thinking of how simply can a Director level person in DRDO takes care of nature, and we make big banners and paper pamphlets to say don’t cut tree without realizing we are already doing harm. Later in a university convocation he asked the students there to come forward and join India’s mission to make Astra, Air to Air missile. Soon Dr. Kalam was awarded Padma Vibushan.

Contemplation, “A large number of scientist and engineers leave this country at their first opportunity to earn more money abroad. It is true that they definitely get greater monetary benefits, but could anything compensate for this love and respect from one’s own countrymen?” – Dr.Kalam’s own words. Can I discuss about while working in MNC? Yes I will. To me going there is not bad but refusing to come back is! Refusing to rise along is! Running away from this country as you feel its rotten is cruel. All are not rotten; we have to remove the rotten ones before they spoil everything! Will you join hand?

Epilogue: Though the book is published at the dawn of 21st century, the information shared is much limited to the year 1990, but the rest are added in this section in few paras. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who served in nations Space and Defense research joined Dept. of Atomic energy. Here he played many key roles including involving him in Nuclear Test of May 1998 which brought multiple ban on India’s economy abroad, basically it’s all out of fear that India would develop. He is also part of Self Reliant Mission, 1995 – 2005 it’s focus is to make all essential technologies inside India-indigenously – for which he called for the support of students. Also envisioned ‘The Technology Vision -2020′; for not just making India self-reliant but above it, as a front runner in technology space. Since Dr.Kalam believes that technology can raise a country above all and make it a super power, though the intension is not battle we have always witnessed that the side with superior technology wins one. Dr.Kalam was recognized as an important and valuable citizen of India when he was awarded Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian award.

At the time the edition was printed Dr. Kalam was sworn in as the President of India and was also Professor of Technology and societal Transformation, Anna University, Chennai. Dr. Kalam has always supported the involvement of students in India’s technology research at very early stage as early as design phase of SLV. From then Educational institutions are roped in to support the research and development of indigenous technology.

Dr.Kalam tells that every person on this earth is born with a fire within, he asks us to give it wings and make it fly. He asks us to achieve our dreams no matter how long or how hard it is. With that note I’ll complete this write up.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fascinated by Fictional? I’m Astonished by Fact

Minas Tirith
Most of us would have watched/read LOTR it is so popular many makes thesis and philosophical research on it. One fort that attract many people from various field is the one in Gondor(imaginary place in Middle east). It’ll be boosted for its architecture design which makes it an ideal cantonment. But are we paying enough importance to the cantonment build for real, probably were our ancestors lived?

While I scaled the Rock Fort without much trouble I never noticed its historical importance. Pointing towards Main guard gate, the identifiable remains of fort; my uncle said ‘the fort of Rani Mangamma‘ his chest bulged in pride I became curious. (Now I wonder what this is country, through the eyes of women? one which has accepted women rulers by 17th century – a pioneer in woman empowerment or a molestation arena)

With my interest dragging me to know more about the fort I went thru few page in Wikipedia about the fort and its rulers & dynasties. When I realized this fort has seen raise and fall of a much as 6 empires I was nothing but astonished. There are many structures inside the fort portraying the architecture of various dynasty. Archaeological survey had unearthed that this rock was once occupied by Jain saint even before any Kingdom build a fort around it.

Main Guard Gate
Contrary to my early assumption the Palace and Army camp were set at the base of rock than atop, temples decorate the top of the rock. Time ate most parts of the fort, few identifyable remains like Pallava cave, Main Guard gate are made as monuments. In the image of entrance gate you can see the door of the gate still intact! when you get a chance to visit Trichy do visit this place. Though now its a market place now which looks like a carbon copy of Raganthan street, T.Nagar with busting crowds and blowing Air vents still the cave, gate and stuff with historical importance are protected.

Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort

Very old image showing a near perfect Cantonment

Above is the image that I found as described by my uncle, who happens to live inside the once cantonment town. “Thattu thatta veedu irukum” – Colony built on various levels with increasing heights.

He added that Birla group once mounted high power lamps on various locations in the rock, so that at night the whole setup would glow like gold. I googled and found a rough image of it for your delight. See you with another Historical Travelog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thegidi a movie made in style

Thegidi classified to be thriller, crime action turned out be lite enjoyable movie when blended with love and passion. Plus 122 minutes running time helps us digest the story without trouble and come out of theater with ‘nice’ note. I’d like to place this movie with the line up of movies such like Pizza, Villa, NKPK , Soodhu Kavvum; simple, new face, low budget and a hit. With Thegidi hitting the screen just couple of days ago it might sound little early to call the film a hit, mark my words its worth it.

Plot Summary: The movie revolves around the protagonist Vetri, holds a master’s in criminology; following the advice of his professor gets a job in a detective agency in Chennai. Where he was given assignment to shadow a list of people, mysterious deaths of those he followed makes him panic. With his desire thumping profession he falls in love with the fifth person he follows, this gives him more reason to crack mysterious deaths and save his lady love. Will he succeed? how he works outs clues to find the killers? -this forms the rest of story (no spoilers plz).

THEGIDI - Rating 3.5 / 5

The lite tone carried throughout the movie make us enjoy the movie, compared to a conventional Tamil masala movie the death count, blood spilled, anger expressed are greatly low and this make ‘Thegidi’ a watchable for every age group. Humor is a not a concentration of the movie though some moments shared between Vetri and Nambi, chef, roommate, friend of Vetri makes us smile and remind causal conversations we enjoy with our friends. Debutante composer Nivas K. Prasanna steals the show with gripping background score which blends with the fluid screenplay; songs are hard to remember but didn’t hurt the ears as a DSP would. 

Talking about the cons on the movie, we can place the best pro as the first con – too lite screenplay no breath taking thriller. Screenplay is too fluid you can almost narrate the next scene, the only place where the director P. Ramesh managed to catch us off guard is when the killer is revealed. Lead Female ‘Madhu’ played by Janani Iyer has a deeper characterization in story and she managed to delivered her best and did justice to the role, but failed to leave a strong impression probably because of her limited screen space. Ashok Selvan playing lead as ‘Vetri’ lacked emotion maintaining almost same facial expression from the every first scene! but why? While Jayaprakash played a fantastic role as a police inspector and cemented his ‘best character artist’ label but had less than decent frame time for him to make any impact as he comes way into the second half.Update: I take back this, I keep humming some songs from the moview, specially Vinmeen vithaiyil song

The movie simply stands out and delivers. Though thriller this will be a good stress buster and if you are planning a weekend movie do keep this movie name in your mind, especially if your spouse is reluctant on seeing Hollywood movies ;) On the whole I’m happy to give the movie a Good rating. Compelling to rate best but failing to qualify in acting department but definitely above good so a 3.5/5 will be my rating. I really loved to see the heroine of the film speaking Tamil :) in her own voice, its a happy sign that Tamil girls are getting to play lead female roles in Tamil movie.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is Motivational Books That Motivating?

I don’t do it intentionally but I stand different from my friends when it comes to choosing genres, while they pick action, thriller, horror or romance I stay put with drama, love, comedy and inspiration. While the words ‘choosing genre’ remains vague and open so does the medium I’d be using, could be movie or book or TV show. Somehow at least one of my choices matches with the book collection in library or Books24X7 and I start reading them when I get free time.
Though the busiest work life has been and is the last 2 months it has not stopped me from reading books. Have a nice conflict & FISH are the ones that I recently completed. I don’t wanna talk about ‘The Alchemist’ which I read cover to cover cause of honor and appreciation received by the book from multiple sources, of course it had the juice but not enough to be rated as that, in my humble opinion it is overrated. Talking about the last two motivation/personality development books that I read, they both are fables talking about life of managers facing different situation and how they overcame and that way book tries to explain philosophy that for sure is gonna confuse us.
FISH, a overrated book or should I say a well marketed book? half way I started dossing leaning on the train window. Last book that I read on train is ‘Sari n Sins’ though it’s dark humor and erotic romance & made me think why I’m still reading this? I completed with the flow of story; probably the basic difference between fictional story book and fable for motivation(real dry). But on the other hand “Have a nice conflict” went better, I’m sure that I would have enjoyed if I had read FISH first since Have a nice conflict had better constructed story.
“Beat around the bush” will be apt sub-title for FISH  book :P thinking about connecting the story to the suggested philosophy they had made the book look like Bollywood movie!!!  or some Hollywood Karate movie :D i.e., know one thing and you’d only be successful. Is that so easy to be successful? In a line I’d say “Fish drowns!” Why I’m so angry with this book? well as I mentioned I’m having busiest work life now and when I spent my precious hours on it, it better be productive or at least stress buster.
I don’t want to compare but still I feel How to have a nice conflict is better than FISH in many ways. Be it the content, story or the way the author took it along. You’d feel nice reading it as it’s a story not a lecture, while the core concept material is appended to the end of book Character Assessment – 7 motivational value system. All said and read but are these books really motivating? are they really developing my personality. If a book is enough to develop my personality then why would I go for another self-help book? I don’t remember the name of first such book I read! now I must have crossed at least 20. Its rare that something has managed to impact me! I’m not sure if thats my problem or the books.
Hey have you noticed all those negative and misleading words up front? I used them intentionally; Clearly unclear, I’d like to ask the same question to you “How much a motivation book has impacted you?”

How I fixed the CMOS baterry time & date issue

As CMOS battery in my PC got rotten my system won't boot, unless I press F1. Then I try to access the internet, Google wont open as it sights security risk! that's the first time I realized my PC date & time is getting reset to 01-01-2004 12:00:00 AM cause of this battery problem.

The simplest way to fix this would have been to replace the battery. But I'm really afraid to touch anything in my decade old PC as it is running on the power of Karma not by the virtue of power cord. So I was using it as such like pressing F1 every time to boot and then later setting the time using the clock. Slowly this boring ritual started to irritate me and then I thought "hey I'm a techie let me find some good way".

Automation it is! The only development work I do in my office is when I get a work item on "automation". So I simply wrote a 5 line batch script and placed it in the start up. Now when Desktop opens a Command window pops up asking "enter time and date" cool ah! watch the picture here. >

@echo off
echo "Enter time as hh:mm:ss AM/PM eg. 07:53:06 AM"
echo "Enter date as MM-DD-YYYY eg. 12-31-2013"

The code is for Windows XP check this wikihow entry for other OS.