Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've always wondered what the form-factor and general experience would be to generate content using a touch-screen UI/device (read: iPad). I'm still kind of struggling with feeling my way around the touch UI, but other than that, I must say I'm quite pleasantly surprised thus far. Now onto some 'hands-on' consumption as well, with this device before I decide that I actually want one of these.

The only bummer is that since it does not support Flash, it's not a handy device if browsing Picasa Albums is a common use-case - which in my case, it is.

But for those of you who haven't gotten your fingers around an iPad yet, do give it a shot.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

From Margao to Mangalore - on US 101

Right from my childhood I have been regularly traveling from Margao to Udupi/Mangalore by road. Tagging along with my grandfather on his visits, or making a quick vacation of my father's business trips or just going to visit my maternal grandparents and other friends and relatives in the area. And for the last few years, to visit my in-laws.

The road from Goa to Mangalore is along NH-17 - a coastal route along India's west coast. It crosses the western ghats, passes through scenic hills and is adorned with little villages and paddy fields and has a brief stretch at Marvanthe of about 5 kms. right by the Arabian Sea, which suddenly gives way to the maddening traffic on the Kundapura-Mangalore segment. And all along of course, you are never lonely - there are people, cattle, parked trucks and farming machinery of all shapes and sizes. More recently - for the last 12 years or so - the Konkan Railway line that runs parallel to NH17 in many places also keeps you company on your drive.

As the roads and infrastructure improved and so did the quality of cars, the 300+ kms. journey became a half-day affair. Start early right after breakfast to reach by lunch time, or leave right after lunch to reach in time for dinner. Each trip to Udupi would be about 3-4 days, filled with fleeting visits to meet cousins, aunts, uncles and friends and of course, sumptuous meals at every house we visited. Feeding your guests like they live in a drought-hit area is of course, one of the cornerstones of Indian hospitality.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Intruiging "atmoshperic" pressure in "high places"?

I have been following - not comprehensively and closely though - the saga with Mike Hurd and HP that has been unfolding in the last few days. I have no idea who is right or wrong - and have neither the interest nor inclination of forming an opinion myself - but what bewilders me are the kinds of justifications that the two camps are coming up with.

In a nutshell, this is how the saga unfolded: sexual harassment allegations against the CEO => internal investigation => original complaint was deemed "unfounded", but other irregularities w.r.t. expense statements and payments were unearthed => CEO resigns (presumably under the "advice" of the Board) => a divisive saga is played out in public court with two camps emerging (one in support of the ousted CEO; one in support of the move to oust the CEO).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Unhandled Expectations

I just started a new blog - Unhandled Expectations ( - to capture things about technology, tools and their world that puzzle me. Trends, practices, technical architecture, use-cases, purpose, factors that define success, what-have-you.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A mind-Bloggingly terrible nuisance!

I have just emerged victorious - but rather broken and disappointed - from a 72-hour struggle with what has clearly been my first ever - and hopefully my last - encounter with a *L*O*U*S*Y* product from Google. Blogger. Blogspot. Whatever you call it. Thanks to Blogger, I took a trip down memory lane and went back to school. Kind of. I had to revise my HTML basics and literally "hand-write" my post from scratch trying in raw HTML in the "Edit HTML" tab of the editor.

For those of you who blog on Blogger/Blogspot (the same blogging site on which this blog is posted), you would have seen the "slick" new editor. Since I only posted brief messages till now, I thought it was rather neat. My wife had previously sought my help clean up some posts on her blog - the long and short of her problem was that the editor seemed to have a mind of its own and arbitrarily inserted whitespaces and new lines. I dismissively attributed the clunky behavior to the fact that she was copying+pasting from the Word document where she had originally composed her notes and recipes - after all, if you paste rich text in a "smart" editor, the formatting will also carry. Right? Turns out, I was only partly right.

Turns out that WebKit (Apple's layout engine on which Chrome is based) does some mighty weird things every time you edit anything - the algorithm it uses to "interpret" hard returns and formatting is "intriguing" at best. In a nutshell, it creates "" tags for empty lines and these tags add vertical whitespace. Especially when - at times; the logic of which remains a mystery - it also adds a line-height attribute (125% and 20px seem to be WebKit's favorite values). And God help you - assuming even He is willing to touch the resulting mess - if you switch between the "Edit HTML" and "Compose" options.

Granted, I was trying to create a rather lengthy "post" and I will agree that blogs may not be the ideal forum for such lengthy content, but that is no excuse for the mind-bloggingly terrible nuisance this new editor has turned out to be. 

(Sigh!) The bright side of this experience is that I tried out Wordpress (and will probably migrate there), burshed up on my HTML, learnt some new things in Eclipse while experimenting for a fix and got a lesson in perseverance.

Thank you, Google! GRRRR!