Memories

Las Vegas – The Strip

This is Part 3 of a three part series of our trip to Las Vegas.

Links to Part 1 and 2 can be found here :

The next 2 days, we spent at the Las Vegas Strip – Going from one Casino to other :)…. It was fun.

Life of Las Vegas is centered around one road popularly called “The Strip“. Almost all the Casinos are on The Strip! Majority of these properties on The Strip are owned by MGM Mirage or Harrahs entertainment!

Check out the Snaps of the Hotels and Casinos …..

This is where we stayed! – Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Newyork Newyork – Hotel & Casino… There is a huge roller coaster around this Hotel.
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Statue of Liberty at  Newyork Newyork - Las Vegas
Statue of Liberty at Newyork Newyork – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Casino Royale - Las Vegas
Casino Royale – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

MGM Grand Lion at Las Vegas
MGM Grand Lion at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas Convention Center – Click to Zoom

Stratosphere and Public transit system at Las Vegas
Stratosphere and Public transit system at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

One of the Casinos in Las Vegas
One of the Casinos in Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

The famous Stratosphere – the tallest structure in Vegas!
Stratosphere at Las Vegas
Stratosphere at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

And this is a ride on top of the tallest building… and we did sit on this one. Was an Amazing experience!! :)
Big Shot - Ride on top of Stratosphere - Las Vegas
Big Shot – Ride on top of Stratosphere – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

One more Thriller Ride on Top of Stratosphere - Las Vegas
One more Thriller Ride on Top of Stratosphere – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

The Las Vegas Strip as seen from top of Stratosphere
The Las Vegas Strip as seen from top of Stratosphere – Click to Zoom

Circus Circus as seen from top of Stratosphere
Circus Circus as seen from top of Stratosphere – Click to Zoom

Harrahs - Las Vegas
Harrahs – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Buck and Winne at Harrahs Casino - Las Vegas
Buck and Winne at Harrahs Casino – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Venice in Las Vegas! – Venetian – Mind blowing stuff!
Ceiling Inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Ceiling Inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Gondola Rides inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Gondola Rides inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Treasure Island - Las Vegas
Treasure Island – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Wynn - Las Vegas
Wynn – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Mandalay Bay at Las Vegas
Mandalay Bay at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Monte Carlo at Las Vegas
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Effiel Tower in Las Vegas…
Effiel Tower at Paris - Las Vegas
Effiel Tower at Paris – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Luxor at Las Vegas
Luxor at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Bellagio at Las Vegas
Bellagio at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Bellagio Fountains - Las Vegas
Bellagio Fountains – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

We did not gamble much – since we did not know much about how to play – but it was fun!….

Vegas Trip – Grand Canyon

This is Part 2 of a three part series of our trip to Las Vegas. Links to Part 1 and 3 can be found here :

As planned on Day 2 of our trip, we headed to the Grand Canyon. For the uninitiated, Grand Canyon is a natural wonder located in Arizona.

Grand Canyon is around 5 hrs drive from Las Vegas, NV. So, we started early in the morning at around 5.30 AM. We decided to go to the south rim of the grand canyon since the north rim was closed and we could not find much information on the west rim (nor we had time to be adventurous)

Lake Mead from a Distance
Lake Mead from a Distance – Click to Zoom

The drive was pretty cool. Its flat land. Desert. The roads are straight and you can see miles of straight road ahead of you! … it was a great experience to drive ! :). We reached Grand Canyon at around 10.30 AM.

Here are some snaps ….

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Cliff at Grand Canyon
Cliff at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

At the Grand Canyon South rim, there are buses which take you to different View points along the Rim of the canyon. And they are free (i.e, the cost is included in your entrance fee to the National Park)

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Pathway to one of the view points at  Grand Canyon
Pathway to one of the view points at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

You can see the Colorado River (which carved the Grand Canyon!!) in the snaps below…
Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon and Colorado River
Grand Canyon and Colorado River – Click to Zoom

More snaps…
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Desert View – you can see the desert at the distance…
Desert View at Grand Canyon
Desert View at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

River Again – Zoomed in …
Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Cliff at Grand Canyon
Cliff at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon….
A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon
A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

A couple enjoying the (cold) sunset at Grand Canyon…
A Couple enjoying the Sunset at Grand Canyon
A Couple enjoying the Sunset at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Well, by 5 PM, it was pretty dark, and all of a sudden, it became very cold!
We started to head back to Vegas at around 6 PM. We reached back our Hotel at Las Vegas by around 10 PM.

More on Vegas trip in the next post….

Vegas Trip – Hoover Dam

This post was long due! Memories from our Las Vegas Trip! When I look back at it, its almost 6 months now since we had been to Las Vegas!!! Wow. Time runs so fast!

Anyways, Since I had lots of photos to post, I have split this one big post into three posts.

Well, it was a 5 day trip and it was fun. Here is the photo essay!

Las Vegas is the land of casinos. Don’t be surprised to find slot machines when you come right out of the Terminal Gates at the airport! You can find slot machines every – from Gas Stations (aka Petrol Pumps!!) to Superstores! More about Las Vegas in part 3 of this post.

Welcome to Las Vegas…
Welcome to Las Vega
Welcome to Las Vega – Click to Zoom

We landed in Vegas in the afternoon, and immediately we were on our way to Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is around 30 mins drive from Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is considered to be one of the greatest engineering works in history and is a must see!.

Here are some snaps…
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

We could go under ground !! (i.e, base of the dam where the generators are located) – Check out the massive generators!
Power Generators at Hoover Dam
Power Generators at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

This is one of the massive water intake pipes. It can house an entire school bus within it! Everything about this dam is BIG!
Water Intake Pipes at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Pipes at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

The power stations as seen from the top of the dam…
Power Station at Hoover Dam
Power Station at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Power Station at Hoover Dam
Power Station at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

This is the Visitor center which was built recently…
Visitor Center at Hoover Dam
Visitor Center at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

View from the dam…
View from the Dam
View from the Dam – Click to Zoom

These are the water intake towers ….
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

And the dam…
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

There are two spillways at the Hoover Dam. This one is on the Arizona side of the Dam. The spillways at the Hoover dam are Massive, and they have been used only once when there was major flood.
Spillway at Hoover Dam
Spillway at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Since this was in late November, it was pretty dark by 5 PM… and we could not spend much time. We started back to Las Vegas and headed back to our Hotel (Monte Carlo).

Check out the Wikipedia entry on Hoover Dam.

More on Vegas trip in the next post….

School Chale Hum

YouTube.com is such a wonderful place! Found one more nostalgic video on YouTube today!. School Chale Hum. Check out…….

Pretty cool!

Other Nostalgic stuff on this blog:
– “Mile Sur Mera Tumara” video (Original),
Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya video
Malgudi Days title song
Baje Sargam – audio

Enjoy!

Update 1 : To download *any* video from youtube.com and other video sites, go to http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php. You can also use the Video Downloader extension for Firefox to directly download the videos from your Firefox browser.

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – Original video

I had been in search of this original Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video for years now! Finally found it on You Tube!

Thanks to Lalima who pointed to this video on the Ek Chidiya comment thread! Enjoy!

Update 1 : To download *any* video from youtube.com and other video sites, go to http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php. You can also use the Video Downloader extension for Firefox to directly download the videos from your Firefox browser.

Update 2 (18-Aug-08) : updated the link to the video on youtube to point to a better quality version of this video.

PC Quest Linux, 10th Anniversary

Atul Chitnis remembers the 10th Anniversary of PCQ Linux. No doubt PCQ was “the” reason for Linux awareness in India. Kudos to Atul and the great team @ PCQ!

I still have all the PCQ CDs with me back at home. Offcourse, during those days (1995/96), a CD was something great, and getting a CD for ‘free’ with a magazine was pretty cool (even though you had to spend around Rs. 100 for the Mag!)

Initially, I used to religiously buy the magazine from the newsstands, but it was always tough to get the issue with the CD. But I think I never missed a issue for a couple of years. I finally subscribed to the magazine after sometime. Was subscribed for nearly 3 years I guess.

But after that, somehow, I felt that the quality of the magazine was degrading, and I missed a couple of issues too. The customer service was bad too. So, finally stopped my subscription.

But then, the Internet revolution had gained momentum, and internet became my main source of Info to the world of IT and downloads.

Talking about Linux, I did try installing Linux couple of times from the PCQ CDs (and direct downloads), but never fully adapted it for some reason or the other!

Baje Sargam…

After the Malgudi days title song, here is one more classic. ‘Baje Sargam Bankar Desh Raag‘. This song used to be beamed on TV in the good old DD days to promote national integrity. Nice to hear this song after a long time!

Thanks to Hari V for sharing this classic.

Download link : http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NM71YDVD (You will have to wait for around 45 secs before the link shows up on the window)

Malgudi Days Title Song

UPDATE: All the 39 episodes of Malgudi Days are available for online viewing at http://www.rajshri.com/malgudidays/index.asp

 

The Malgudi days title song is one of the most wanted title songs of old times. I am sure lot of people are searching for Malgudi Days sound track.

Thanks to Senthil Kumar for sharing this mp3!

I have uploaded the mp3 onto the Megaupload file sharing service. You can download the MP3 from : http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4ML5PCB0 (You will have to wait for around 45 secs before the link shows up on the window).

Its really good to listen to this title song. It brings back lot of old memories!

BTW, check this site for more info on Malgudi Days… : http://www.malgudidays.com/

My First love

Well, this post is kind of very lengthy and a bit nostalgic. The story dates back to somewhere in the late 80’s and the early 90’s I guess. Woow…Ok. its not about Me and Chitra (my wife). Chitra is NOT my first love :D (I always say that to her too)

Ok. Its about me and computers.

When did I first see this device?
…….I think when I was in grade 2!!. May be around 1986-1987.

Where did I see it ?
…… @ a bank!! Karnataka Bank to be precise. My aunt used to work there and it was close to our school. Me and my cousin used to go there if our school left early … and to keep us busy, our aunt would execute some code, which would basically print some numbers on the screen. We would sit and see the numbers scroll up on the screen, …. and that would keep us busy! (feel soo stupid now!). I think it was mostly some COBOL code running on a mainframe … I have no idea about the setup even today.

Anyway, being in grade 2, it did not make any sense to us at that point of time.

Well being a kid, I was kind of very very interested in electronics stuff. Hand-held video games, TV-video games, electronic watches, … anything!.. and computer was no different. It was a BIG electronic device.

The real introduction to computer happened when I was in grade 6 I think. We had an optional computer course/subject in school (Canara High School), and I was more than happy to take that course/subject.

I think this was somewhere in 1991-1992. Our school had 2 computers at that time. Both were IBM compatible PC. The specs were as follows :

  • The brand name was Siva. (sterling computers)
  • I think it had a 12″ CGA monitor
  • A 8086 processor
  • 640 kb RAM
  • no harddisk
  • Two 5.25″ floppy drives
  • And a keyboard
  • DOS 2.0 (I think. not very sure)

The worst part was, one of the two PCs was always in not-working state. There weren’t many people in mangalore those days with computer knowledge. So, repairs would take ages.

So, we had one computer at our disposal, and 32 people around it.

What did we learn on it ?
I remember learning Logo & Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC). Wow………..I still remember the logo turtle :) cute! and the line numbering in Basic :)

Games……oh boy!!!. Most of the time was spent in games. The instructor had somehow managed to get some games on a floppy………… and that was kind of the most awaited event. :)
32*2 = 64 hands on a single keyboard :)…….Just Imagine!!!

What games did we play ?
I remember playing pac-man. Then there was Grand Prix. Someone had renamed the file as maruti.exe !! So, the game was Maruti for us for quite sometime and not Grand Prix!! (btw, Maruti was/is a popular car in India, specially in the early 90’s and even now.) But the most popular game was Digger. One of the most addictive games, and I play it even today :). Then there were other games like Alley Cat, Donkey Kong, HangMan, “Where in the world is carmen sandiago”, space invaders etc.

Those days, the games would fit on one single floppy. Not one game, but many games!. The only exception was the game “Prince of Persia“. This game was totally different from others. It would take one full floppy!!!

I still remember buying 2 floppies for Rs 120 each !!! and storing some games on it! around 20 of them!! I still have those floppies with me, even today. Verbatim :)

After a year or two, we got one more computer at our school, a PC-XT (eXtended Technology). This one had a harddisk too! 20 MB I think, which was HUGE those days. (Please note, its MB)

Then one fine day, my uncle bought a computer for his automobile shop to manage thier inventory. This one was a much powerful computer! It was a PC-AT (Advance technology). The config was :

  • It basically had a Intel 286 processor
  • It had a math co-processor 287
  • 1 MB of RAM
  • 40 MB Hard-disk
  • 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppy drives
  • CGA monitor
  • Keyboard
  • A turbo switch !!! (to make it slower!!)
  • Don’t remember the clock speed!. Think it was 16 MHz.

Oh yes, one more thing………. How would one switch on the PC’s those days ?? There was a small lever at the rear end of the cabinet. You had to use it like a electrical circuit breaker! :) fun :)

I still remember one major incident that happened at my uncles office….. Here it goes.. :

The new computer was in office for a month or so. They asked a guy to write some program for their day to day operations. The program was written, and the data entry started. …. and this went on for around a month. In the mean while, I had my floppy with me with all the games on it, and I was just waiting for a chance to try it out on my uncles PC.

I insert the floppy, and issue the following command at the DOS prompt : A:
I get some error message. I think it was something like “General Failure reading drive A:”
I press I (Ignore).
Then I started some game (alley cat I guess)……….
The game went on, played for sometime.
I happily switched off the PC.

It was kind of an achievement!!. And then, the next day, my uncle came home looking for me, asking what I had done. It seemed that there was some virus, and the entire harddisk was wiped off…. All data gone……. back to square one. No back up nothing.

So, in short, that was my introduction to virus. I don’t remember the name of that virus , but…….after that incident, I used to regularly use antivirus software!. Nashshot was one of the most popular antivirus software those days. then there was Central Point Antivirus, and with one version of DOS, there was Microsoft Antivirus too (which was basically Central Point thing).

This incident made me more curious about computers… and I began to explore more of it!

During those days, we did not have windows/GUI. It was all text based. I think when I was in Grade 9, they started a Computer College in our school campus, called the Canara Community College. And they had arranged for some basic classes for the students in the evening. I was one of the students who decided to join it. The first batch, that is.

Some serious stuff this time :

  • Word Star 4 : The first word processor that I learnt
  • DBase III : The first Database application/package I learnt
  • Some basic programming too in DBase III.(by this time we had already done some basic programming in BASIC)
  • Also learnt a spreadsheet application called Quattro Pro (It was similar to Lotus 123, excel), but DOS based. It was from Borland.

After I finished my Grade 10 (SSLC), during the vacation, I joined one more course. This time was Corel Ventura (version 4 I think), and it was on a Windows 3.1! I think this was in 1995., and it was fun. It was here where I learnt about the basics of formatting, GUI, designs etc !….

In the mean while, the computer at my uncles office was kind of obsolete, and this time around they bought a more powerful PC, a 486 DX PC with 16 MB of RAM running Windows 3.0. But this one had still a B&W monitor. But the
graphics was better. VGA :)

I think I have spent hundreds of hours in front of the PC those days. (and I continue to do so even today)!
:)

At home, the demand for a PC at home was building up, and I think in 1998 or so, I got a PC at home. I think we spend somewhere around Rs. 45K on this machine.

It was a Pentium machine. (P1)
166 MHz
128 MB RAM!
MMX technology :)
2 GB Hard disk!!!!
Win 95
14″ color monitor (vintron)
Sound card + CD ROM drive! Woooo…

Then then on, I have kept upgrading my PC from time to time. I think totally around 4 to 5 major upgrades.

From Pentium I, I moved to a 300 MHz Celeron Processor. And then I think a 500 MHz PII. and finally, now a AMD Athlon XP 2000 processor!

Talking about the Internet/mail revolution, My first E-mail account was a Hotmail account. It was way back in 1997. I still use that account!. Those days, hotmail was plain hotmail!. Ie, it wasn’t Microsoft hotmail. We had to go to Cyber cafe to browse. I think we paid around Rs. 90 for 1 hour on the net!.. lol. Today, things have changed drastically! Got a broad band connection, and I am always connected to the net!

I booked my domain name in 1999 I think. There was a company called namezero.com, and they started to offer domain names for free. (they would put a frame of ad on your site!). So, that was when I took this domain!!!. It has been with me ever since then even though namezero does not provide the same free service now!

Times have changed, the hardware is changed, the Internet has changed…….but one thing still remains……….- The love!