Monthly Archive: January 2006

Hello from Kingsport!

Hello! I am finally done with my travel. Reached here yesterday afternoon at around 3.30 PM almost 15 mins ahead of time. Three of my colleagues had come down to the airport to pick me up. The entire travel was pretty much on schedule, but a lengthy one.

Started off from Mangalore on Friday afternoon to Mumbai via Jet Airways flight no 9W 432. The flight was pretty much ok….reached Mumbai at around 5 PM. Found that there was one more colleague of mine traveling along with me upto Detroit. We got along and moved to the international airport. By around 6 PM we were there.

My next flight was at 1.20 AM to Amsterdam on Saturday. NW 41, i.e., Northwest Airlines. The north west counter at the airport opens only at around 8.30 PM. So, we had to wait. By around 9 PM, the NW counters were all open and we checked in at around 9.30 PM, followed by immigration check. After which me moved to the international departure lounge. It was pretty good with comfortable seats on which we could almost sleep. I got a nice small power nap. Slept till around 12 PM. By then, they had started security checks prior boarding to our flight. So, at around 12.30 AM, we went in, and at around 1.30 AM or so, we took off.

The Mumbai to Amsterdam flight was not that great. But I managed to get some bits of sleep. Landed in Amsterdam at around 6.45 AM, local time. i.e., around 10.15 AM Saturday India time. The Schipol airport at Amserdam is pretty big, but luckily, our connecting flight was parked at the adjacent gate. So, we quickly moved to the next gate, since we just had a 1hr 20 min stopover at Amsterdam.

The next flight was NW 39 to Detroit. This flight was much better, with some cool in-flight entertainment consoles for individual users. And it was more comfortable compared to the previous flight. We took off sharp at around 8 AM Amsterdam local time. This time I had a window seat. But after reaching cursing altitude of 38k feet, nothing much was visible outside, except for the clouds. This flight was for a duration of around 8 hrs, and I fell a sleep for the first two hours or so. After getting up, I played around with the in-flight entertainment console, did some R&D, and time pass. After that I filled up the forms one needs to fill up before entering the United States (I94 etc). Soon we reached Detroit. Around 15 mins ahead of schedule. i.e., around 9.45 AM EST.

Did my immigration and customs clearance, and then checked in my luggage back to the next flight. We had around 3 hrs with us to explore the Detroit airport. Its pretty cool, with an express tram and all that. Me and one more colleague of mine went around the entire length of the airport, and had some snacks at McDonalds

Detroit Airport
Detroit Airport – Click to Zoom in

At around 12.15 PM or so, I moved towards my departure gate, where I had to catch my next flight to my final destination, Kingsport. The last flight was a pretty small one…. 34 seater aircraft. Propeller driven :). It had only 6 people including me on board. The flight was for an hour and a half, and I slept for nearly an hour!. Touched down at Kingsport at around 15.30 hrs EST. My colleagues were very helpful, and helped me with luggage etc. Currently I am staying with one of my friends at his apartment. I would be soon moving to a separate apartment in a couple of days.

Here are some snaps of the appartment complex that I am going to stay at….

Allandale Appartment Complex Tennis Court
Allandale Appartment Complex

Will post more later!

The last few days…

Two more days to go before the d-day…. so far so good. We are kind of done with almost all the shopping now. Most of the “to-dos” too are done. So, we are left with the last and the most challenging task – Packing.

One has to make true use of analytical ability and arrangement skills… 2 bags – 23 kg each, and you have to fit everything in :) We had bought a big bag last week, and we already had a second bag. But now, that second bag is turning out to be pretty small, and weighs 4 kg. Given the size, we can at most stuff around 15 kg into it (total 19 kg). So, ….the fight is on. I am planning on totally ditching that bag, and buying a new one which is relatively bigger, and can accommodate full 23 kg. Even after that if we exceed the weight limit, then we need to filter out things… and that’s again going to be a big challenge. Anyways, planning to finish off with packing by 26th.

On the office front, today was kind of my last working day at mInfosys. I would be back only after a year or year and a half (???). Its nearly three and a half years now since I joined mInfosys, and was kind of a nostalgic movement to walk out. I am not sure if would be working in the same building (Infosys Mangala) when I return back since the construction of the new Development Centre has already begin!. But …again, who has seen future! You never know! :)

Oh yes… I subscribed to SkypeIn service today. So, I now have a Kingsport telephone number to to which people can call, and I receive the calls on my computer, and it works real cool. It would take some time for me to get an actual land line in US since I don’t have any credit history associated with me. So, this service should hopefully fill the void!

The race is on…

Ya, I know. It’s been quite sometime since I posted out here. Like I had mentioned in my previous post, the race against time has begun, and it’s on. The past couple of days have been very very very hectic. Did lots of shopping and shopping and shopping. The checklist is almost clear, except for a couple of items, which are pending.

I also have to setup my computer, and make my parents computer literates in a couple of days, and the lessons have already begun :)… teaching them some basics… so that they can use skype, yahoo and gtalk so that they can communicate with me. And its not a easy task!

I also have to move/copy the data I need to carry along with me. What I am planning on doing is, taking my 160GB hard disk along with me with all the required data in it. I already have an IDE to USB converter and an external HDD case. So, I just need to plugin the hard disk to USB to use it! I felt that this would be a better option then carrying lots of CDs and DVDs. What say? I hope that carrying HDD in luggage is not a problem (didn’t have any problems when my wife bought the HDD from US!).

In the mean while, I hosted a couple of parties. One for the project team and the other for some friends and colleagues. The project party was at Kadal (at Nalapad residency). The food quality and service at Kadal was bad. I did not enjoy it. It was bad. Repented for hosting the party at Kadal. :( But the next party was fun. Hosted it at Cherry Square today. The food too was good, and it was fun! Enjoyed it.

The other aspect is travel papers and documentation…. and that’s almost done, but need to have a final look at it. …. But lots of small small jobs still pending.

Wish me luck! :)

Travel & Shopping time

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I would mostly be travelling to our client location at Kingsport, Tennessee, United States on an work assignment. If all goes well as planned, I would be starting on the 27th of this month, and reaching there on 28th.
So, now the race against time has begun!. Lots of things to do in the next couple of days, and the checklist of “things to do” is ready. The “doing” part has kind of begun. Today, came back home early from work and went out for shopping. Bought a big VIP travel bag. Also bought a carry bag which I can use for cabin luggage. And then a couple of jeans. Did some other minor tasks. Lot more shopping and “To Dos” planned for the next couple of days.

Updates on work front…

Ok.. some updates on the work front. After working for around 5 months on Microsoft Content Management Server 2002, I would be moving to a different project shortly. The project is something called Process Information Management System, which is used to monitor the various equipment used at a manufacturing site. So, again something new! I would be working on software/framework provided by OSI software, and also using VB and VB.net quite a lot. Also, I would probably have to be at our client location by the end of this month. So, lots of stuff happening.

So, for the past couple of days, I am kind of transitioning out of one project, and moving into another. Things are going on smoothly, but very hectic, and its keeping me quit busy.

Skype 2 video rocks!

Skype 2 Beta with video support was launched recently. And, it rocks!. At least as of now, I think its the best video conferencing software which can be used without any major investment. All you need is a decent web cam, and at least 256kbps broadband connection.

My wife too has a basic web cam now, and now we have video calls! The quality of the video is really amazing. Its a lot better then yahoo messenger or other software. Even the voice quality is very good. gTalk comes close.

So, do try it out! But, be warned that…video conversation is a bandwidth hungry affair. Just to give you an Idea, we had a 1 hr video call today, with bidirectional video and audio. And, we ended up with 100MB upload, and 100MB download. So, 200MB bandwidth used up in one hour!. So, if you are on a connection which has bandwidth limit/cap, keep this in mind! Else you might end up getting billed like crazy!

I use the Home 999 plan from Airtel, which does not have any restrictions on the bandwidth used!.

MIT Alumni Get together @ Mangalore – Feb 12th ’06

Manipal Institute of Technology, (MIT Manipal) is organising an Alumni Get together at Mangalore on 12th February 2006.

Venue : KMC, Mangalore
Light House Hill Road,
Mangalore 575001
India

Open to all Alumni of MIT. Registration FREE
Programme starts at 5:00 pm sharp concludes by 8:00 pm
To confirm participation send E mail to office.mit@manipal.edu
Last date to confirm participation is 31st Jan 2006.

Organisers :
MIT GOLDEN JUBILEE 2007

Link : http://www.manipal.edu/mit/forstudents/alumnigetogether.htm

Busy week and friends…

The last week was pretty hectic. Spent most of the time at office in meetings and meetings and meetings.

But the best part about the previous week was, I was able to talk to many of my old college friends! Got a array of calls from friends all a sudden! Also met a friend of mine who had come down from US on vacation. Also, spoke to couple classmates over messengers/chat.

Its really great and nice to talk to old friends…discussing various ‘happenings’ and getting updates about other friends!! :) …….like….”This guy is now doing this…and that….” etc :). Fun!

New Hard disk and Webcam

Bought a new hard disk and a webcam today!

I already have a 160 GB Maxtor hard disk, but I always wanted a second hard disk after I lost my previous hard disk in an ant attack. So, bought a 80 GB Seagate hard disk – 7200 RPM. Yet to install it. The idea is to make my Maxtor hard disk a pure storage volume and use this new one as a system disk. Also, it would be very convenient for me to plug out the 160GB maxtor whenever I want to! Moving data/music/videos etc would be much easier :)

I paid Rs. 2650 for the hard disk. (A 40 GB hard disk was available for Rs. 2350). Bought it from my local vendor. What say?

Also bought a Intex webcam. Its has a pretty decent feature set. Here are the key features…

  • 350,000 pixels resolution(max. 500,000 pixels), the frame rate up to 30 fps
  • 3X digital zoom function
  • Adjustable lens for accurate image shooting
  • Night view function without any daylight
  • Automatically controls the brightness of night lights
Intex Webcam

Cost : Rs. 900. There was Logitech available too, and I was all set to buy it, but the vendor suggested that this has got better features and that he as got better feedback about Intex from the users. Let me see how good it is. Else, I think I will ask him for a replacement. BTW, logitech was priced at around Rs. 1100. Intex has some lights (6 LEDs), which are automatically lit up in low light conditions and are pretty bright.

Next I need to install Skype 2, which is out of beta and has video support!