There comes a time in every one’s life to leave the place that you got so accustomed to, your very own comfort zone and venture into the unknown land filled with strangers. Inevitable, isn’t it? Even since I made my decision to move from my present organization, these thoughts have been popping up my mind. Wonder whether there is any name for such phobia!!

With one more day at hand before I say good-bye to all, my team organized for a meeting, which later I got to know that it was my farewell meeting. At that very moment, it made very obvious to me that “So….This is It”. Anyhoe…

It was so nice to see all my team members along with my leads. The room was so silent that it was looking as if we were mourning for something. I had to break the silence. “Lets not make this all the more a sentimental session”, I said and there was a sudden burst of laughter on everyone’s face. Goshhh!!! After a brief session of compliments from my team members, they handed over the gift, sorry GIFTS bag to me.

Farewell gifts!!

Now I realized why Sridhar had been missing during post-lunch session. Himanshu!!! Thank you so very much for your compliments and for the “Thank You” card!!! truly you made my day!! It felt as if I got some award. Team!!! Thank you all for all the lovely gifts,. I just loved em all. Pavan, you will definitely miss my set note “Heads down on..” I believe, but I ll try to have the same in gtalk.

See you all tomorrow guys!!

Most of us would have had this experience!!! When we listen to a song, or go through a specific place or when we look at some thing, it immediately reminds us of something special, a nice moment in our life that we truly cherished and enjoyed, and that gets us Nostalgic!!!

I was listening to “Chak De India” song from the movie Chak De India and it reminded me only one thing, my beautiful and joyous trip to Coorg that I went couple of weeks back. Why? Because in that silent night, with the low hum of the bus engine and the gentle cool breeze swifting our face, we all were enjoying this movie. Though many of us have already watched it, no one hesitated to watch it again!! It’s such an exciting and exhilarating movie!!

(With movie’s theme and storyline it’s also famous for its beautiful actresses. Goshhh…. I could see the excitement and joy in Sridhar’s face when Nethra Reddy appeared, man he was so obsessed with her I guess. My favorite’s are Vidya Sharma – the captain and Aliyah Bose. I am especially obsessed with the BGM of the song “Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan”. Awesome track and was used at the right timings during the film)

It was such a nice feeling and I am sure all time every time when I listen to this song or watch the film, It’s gonna remind me the trip. I am all wanting to go for one more trip like that!!! Guys..plsssssss….lets pack our bags once again!!!

Till then…Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaaaaaaaaaaan!! (Listen and enjoy)

The Semantic Web = a Web with a meaning.

“If HTML and the Web made all the online documents look like one huge book, RDF, schema, and inference languages will make all the data in the world look like one huge database” – Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web, 1999

I attended a seminar on “The Semantic Web” a tech talk session organized by ACM at Computer Society of India, Bangalore chapter on 23rd Feb ’08. The session was presented by Geetha Manjunath a Senior Research Scientist at HP Labs, India with 17 years of research experience in System Software Design and Middleware Architectures.

This was my first time attending a tech talk session at CSI and had a bit of difficulty in finding the location. I entered at the right time. I am a n00b to Semantic Web, but heard holler in the press about it, and wanted to know what it’s all about.

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Abstract: The Semantic Web is an emerging technology intended to
transform ‘documents’ on the World Wide Web into ‘knowledge’ that can be
processed by machines. While this is the vision of Tim Berners Lee, the
core technologies of Semantic Web can be used in many enterprise
applications today. RDF, RDFS and OWL – the building blocks of Semantic
Web – provide good models for knowledge representation to solve some
primary problems in data and application integration. The talk will give
an introduction to semantic web, ontologies and associated W3C standards
(RDF, OWL, SPARQL). It will also touch upon some existing and potential
enterprise s
olutions that can use semantic web and the associated
research opportunities.

Semantic: (Greek semantikos, giving signs, significant, symptomatic, from sema, sign) refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language, code, or other form of representation…

As I understood, Semantic Web is an extension of WWW wherein an attempt is made to define the meaning of information on the web so that the web content can be understood my Web/Machines/People acting as universal pool of information and knowledge.

At the heart of Semantic Web is RDF (Resource Description Framework) and several other terminologies and data formats. Being a n00b, I was trying to picture the entire concept with what I knew already about WWW and contrasting between Semantic and WWW. The audience was real energetic and knowledgeable. Micro formats, OWL, Ontology, URL, URI gossh…it was going bounces for me. But I adhered with the basics and tried to understand from a layman’s view. I had some questions:

1. When there are million’s of web pages, who is going to define and maintain the URI, to avoid duplication. Also to mention the integrity of the definition. (Ans: Swoogle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swoogle)

2. How different are bots compared to Semantic web. As bots have the intelligence based on algorithms and read and extract information from web pages.

3. Information is wealth, we all know!! Since semantic web is so very promising, what’s the road block for it go live. What are the major hindrance for wide spread adaptation and what are the initiatives taken by W3C to promote it.

The session was very informative and interesting and it went on for almost two hours. I decided to explore more on the subject and will spend the next couple of weeks exploring in depth what Semantic web’s all about. Here are a few links to give you a head start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RDF_Schema

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Ontology_Language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Resource_Identifier

http://swoogle.umbc.edu/index.php?option=com_frontpage&service=search&queryType=search_swt&searchStart=1&searchString=

Semantic Web — Altova Library

W3Scholl — Semantic Web

Amazon book’s

I will upload the presentation slides once they are mailed to me from ACM.

Happy exploring Semantic Web until then!!!

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The second week of February has been rocking so far!!

15th Feb-18th Feb – I packed my bags to Coorg and had an awesome and an adventurous weekend with office friends!

19th Feb – Office threw a party at Grand Ashok, Bangalore and had an awesome evening. Some one said “Dance as if no one is watching” and that’s exactly what I did. Had a gala time with friends and colleagues.

After two days I got an announcement that we are gonna have a team outing, one day trip though, on Friday 22nd. Yupeee!!! On your, mark get set, Zoom!! It was more of an ad hoc plan and everyone decided to visit Wonder La. I have been to this place two years before with my friends from Dell and had a real good time.

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This place has astounding rides, water rides, man I was all excited for yet another round of fun. Arrangements went real smooth as the destination is just 30 kms from office premise. Those who had cars offered to pick up team mates. Since we were a group of 30 people, I called up Wonder La to ask for group booking offers and they gave a whopping 20% discount. It would be 15% if we were between 25-29. But we were exact 30 and to have fun for one day it just cost us 378/-.

We all assembled at office premise by 8:30-9:00. Looking us in casual jeans, T’s and shorts, colleagues were asking several of us what are we up to and we responded by telling “Wonder La” with all 32 teeth popping out of our mouth.

Off we departed as and when people started arriving and we had no problem beating the traffic. We reached by 10:00 and luckily no one dropped out. We were exactly 30 and we got the 20% discount. Since it was a week day I wasn’t expecting much crowd but that day three schools had come over on excursion, so can imagine the crowd. It was fun watching them, teachers asking them to stand in line in two’s holding each others hands. Some naughty kids were always running around and were getting belted from teachers, how many such trips we all would have gone during school days, that too once in a year!! Those were the best days of my life!! truly!!

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All of us headed straight to the changing rooms and everyone were in their best attire for a fun trip like this. T’s and Shorts. Reminded me Jungle Book title song “Jaddi pahanke phool khila hai, phhol khila hai”!! HaHa!

The one ride that everyone should start with in Wonder La is definitely the Wonder Splash. Gives you the thrill and gets you wet at the same time. The Q wasn’t that big and we just waited for 5 mins. I sat at the rear seat as it gives more fun to experience the full force (Giving excuse to myself as I didn’t get the chance to sit at the front). 11 of us strapped to the vehicle, off we went through the tunnel and there it took a sudden steep declination into the shallow waters with waters splashing all over. It was just a matter of 5 seconds which brings all kinds of emotions out. Joy, smile, fear, curiosity…..Awesome!!! The best part is that they have a camera installed at the right location and it just captures everyones expression at the right time. Straight we headed to look at our pic and started making fun of each other’s facial expression. Check the picture (This pic will definitely bring a smile all time any time)

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After this ride, every one’s energy level shot up and we got dispersed in several batches to have fun with dry rides. Next we went to Wonder La Bamba, Maverick, Drop Zone, Insanity, Y Scream (This one’s my favorite). Fun in purest form. Once you get buckled, all you will hear is scream…scream…scream!! Goshhh!!

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After dry rides we decided to get wet and straight headed to water rides. My favorite one is Vertical fall where we come down a steeply sloping chute and land with a splash into a sparkling puddle. The ride starts from a height of 6 storey building, and before you know it you are already in the pool. Its definitely not for the timid at heart as the website says and whoever went on that ride will agree to that!! Awesome!! We finished all the other rides and headed straight to Wavepool (An artificial wave pool). We wallowed in the wave pool for almost two hours. That’s were we had more fun. We would throw an object and swim underwater to see who finds it first. It was also fun teaching Sandeep how to swim underwater. Poor guy tried so hard to go underwater but he always ended up surfacing and he would still keep his head underwater and assume that he is swimming underwater, Haha!! Five of us were there playing in the wave pool and had a cool time. I got so tried and headed to the change my went clothes. By this time the entire group was tired and lazing around. We caught up with few more rides and had fun driving crazy cars dashing each other. It was 7:00pm in the evening when we were all done and all set to head home and crash!!!! All together a wonderful Friday!!
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Say Cheeeese!!!!

After having a great trek trip to Doddamakali a couple of months back, we thought it was just the right time to pack our bags again for yet another adventurous trip. We have been really scratching our heads for selecting the destination though. We decided to go on a two day trip, 80% opting for core adventure and at the same time to explore Karnataka. Team mates wanted waterfalls, trek, rappelling, parasailing, safari, swimming etc etc etc. We had prolific destinations to select from, also to mention the packages offered my several resorts. Finally Coorg seemed to be the best destination and Jungle Mount Adventures (JMA) for just there for that.

On 15th Evening, we assembled at 10:30 pm at office premise. With “Dhoom Machale” in high volume we started our trip dancing and everyone hoping to have an awesome and a memorable weekend. Enthusiasm and Fun was in the air. Energy level was high for quiet some time until our friends “Jack Daniels” and “Kingfisher” showed up. Rest of the story, I leave it to you for your imagination (Like Taare Zameen Par)!! We started a bit late though but it helped us reaching our destination not too early in the morning. We just reached perfect. Finding “Jungle mount adventure” (JMA) was getting difficult as mobile phones were off no use and there weren’t sufficient directions. (Sagar!! Please put in some direction board, a small plate on the telephone pole won’t be sufficient especially when traveling at night time)

Sagar (JMA) drove our luggage and few of our team members to the base camp while the rest preferred to walk. The morning was misty and cold. Fresh morning dew on grass was glistening in the sun. The view was spectacular with the sun rising from the distant mountains. I so very had a very good feeling that we certainly are going to have fun. We all got freshened up in half hour. Only a few brave ones dared to take shower, rest of em, naaahhh!! Brushing and face washing was more than sufficient. God bless the inventor of Deo!! Had hot poori’s with saagu for breakfast and we all packed our bags for the first event of the day!! Rappelling!! Two jeeps took us to vicinity of the fall and from there we started our trek to the base of the fall. The first view of the fall is still locked up in my eyes. Not a so very gush of water but it was falling at a gentle speed from a height of about 300ft. I couldn’t wait for the team and took a plunge right away into the cold water. It was so damn cold and awesome. Soon I was joined by my team members and had a great time swimming and playing in the falls. While we were playing, the JMA team were preparing for rappelling. We started climbing uphill to start with our rappelling event. Dr. Topez, a 61 year old youth (Everyone will agree with me, I am sure) gave us clear instructions about the gadgets used in rappelling mixed with his humorous stories. He instigated us and gave us the support and encouragement assuring us that it’s completely safe. He even fell down intentionally while rappelling to give us the confidence that nothing with happen!!! He said “Even if you are dead half way, you’ll be still hanging in mid-air” J and what he said was absolutely right.

When they asked for who wanted to go first, several hands went up but I got lucky. Harness was clamped around my waist with cantilevers and descenders. With gloves on, I was all set to go on my first rappelling. After a brief photo session, (Pic to remember for life) I descended downhill. Goshhh, I could still feel it. The very excitement of hanging from a rope about 300m above the ground was AWESOME. Sagar told me to look down the moment I descended and looking at the falls from there was truly spectacular. One should do it to feel it. As I was giving myself more rope through my left hand, I was descending down slowly, with my right hand to control the direction. 2 minutes of pure adventure, joy and fun!! I enjoyed the moment and in the mid-air I was posing for pictures which were being taken by my friend at the ground. Slowly and steadily I descended safe and the members of JMA helped me to remove the harness and other gadgets off me. There I was already telling the people how it felt to descend down. Also succeeded in convincing few people to rappel who weren’t ready before!!! Following me most of my friends rappelled and descended safe and sound and everyone truly enjoyed it!! After rappelling, we took a day safari to the peak of a mountain. Sagar said that we will definitely enjoy the scenery and he was damn right. Two jeeps with skilled drivers took us there and gossssh, it was more beautiful than we all thought. Enjoyed the view and had nice photo session after which we started back to our base camp.

We were damn hungry!!!! Lunch was already prepared and ready for our attack. Lunch was neat and delicious (Sagar, thanks for the pork, it was yum). Before laziness crept inside after lunch, I headed for canoeing with a friend of mine. Wanted to try my hand on Kayak, but it wasn’t there on that day. Rowing was more difficult than I imagined but it didn’t take us long to understand and there we were already rowing like professionals. Once we returned back to the base, we already saw people having fun in the river. I couldn’t resist myself and plunged in right after leaving the canoe at the shore. It was awesome swimming in the river. I didn’t have the stamina to hang on for long, so I wrapped a life jacket around and was just floating for a couple of hours until it got dark. I had great fun swimming and playing with friends out there. In fact I was introducing myself, with new teammates from other company who came that evening to JMA, right in the middle of the river. Someone said what a place and time to get introducedJ. By the time I got out of the river, my friends already started with a game of cricket. Evening was cold and nice. With intermittent power failures, it was completely dark and everyone was just lazing around playing pranks scaring one another. By that time, we had our camp fire ready. There we went and started anthakshari. It was so much fun coz we can sing in any language (Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam). I must say that Pavan’s team was strong and he was proud about it. He claimed their groups as “Google” and in fact they were. I was wondering how the hell they could remember so many songs and bring it out in an instant. We were upset at the fact that most of the songs in Hindi would end with “Ha” and our team running out of songs that would begin with “Ha”.
Sagar came in at the right time and asked us to get ready for Night safari.

I heard a lot about JMA’s Night Safari and Sagar is the only person who can do that. So he took is us in batch and I was in the first batch of 14 people. The next 30 mins, I never thought that something like that would be even remotely possible. We were all clinging at the back of the jeep. This guy (Sagar) turns off the lights and there he goes into the mountains, in pitch dark pulling off all possible stunts. Turning left, turning right, going reverse all of a sudden, taking us to the end of a peak, stopping by in a scary place where we could hear a distant waterfall, it was nice. It was awesome on our way back. After briefly taking a break, he started off downhill at a freaking ~120kms. I am not kidding here. I am sure he must have hit more than 120kms. I wouldn’t even dare to drive at such speeds even on a highway. Everyone were screaming and shouting at the top of their voice. Some of them could hold on to the jeep neither other, they just sat down merely supporting themselves. Oh My God!!! I could fell the G-Force (I understand that G-force is a bit exaggerated but I don’t have any other word to explain what we all felt). Once we returned, the next batch was ready. We were sitting by the fire side warming our self and we could hear the distant shouts that second batch was making. We sure knew what they were going through!!! Sagar!!! You rock!!!

There our day ended after a nice dinner and off we went to our huts and tents with a fun filled and a memorable weekend that we will remember for life!!!!

IconThe Fedora Project has announced the alpha release of Fedora 9. Highlights of the Fedora 9 (Sulphur) alpha release include partition resizing support for ext2, ext3, NTFS, and encrypted filesystems in the Anaconda installer, faster and more efficient yum dependency resolver, PackageKit, FreeIPA, GNOME 2.21 development release, KDE 4.0, Firefox 3 beta 2, 2.6.24 Linux kernel, and many others.

Phoronix has published a brief preview of Fedora 9. Among the features being worked on are encrypted file-system support, updating KDE to 4.0, PackageKit integration, and switching to upstart initialization. In this article, we are taking a brief look at Fedora 9 Alpha and the features planned for Fedora 9.

Release Notes

Get Fedora

Go Fedora!! Go!!!

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Recently, I visited Marina Beach, Chennai. It was a beautiful morning and the weather was too good to lie down at the shore and enjoy the breeze. There were couple of kids having fun playing with the waves. Boys were trying to show off how brave they are by going farther from the shore. Mom was screaming from the shore not to go farther though!! I enjoyed looking at the kid’s playing and building sand house and out of no where comes another guy. He was in his twenties, shabby wearing a shirt and pant and I guess he just woke up. His dress was torn and shabby. I was waiting to see him plunge inside the waves and to have fun but what I saw for the next 10 minutes totally moved me.

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This guy goes till the depth is about knee level totally dressed and immersed himself. Then he took a plastic cover from his pant pocket and he removed a bar of soap and started to take bath. He definitely looked embarrassed, but somehow he managed to overlook the crowd and started applying the soap. There he goes again and takes a plunge on a big wave rushing towards the shore and he was done with his SHOWER. Shower isn’t a right word though, he just wanted to clean himself. He somehow managed to slip off the crowd behind a small boat to change.

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After a moment he takes his old shabby dress to the sea and washed them. He dried them off for a while and packed them in the same bag. Probably that’s his dress for the next day! After he left, I was thinking about the state of that guy for sometime. I wonder where he would have slept all night but he just gets up, heads straight to the beach to take bath, washes his clothes and just goes off. Wonder where he was heading and what was in his schedule for the day but I know for sure that he is just heading to find a way to merely Survive!!

I had a though provoking situation looking at both the Fun filled and Mere Survival part of life that morning!!