Sunday, December 6, 2009

A (short) visit to an Emirates call center

Today I went to the Sandton City office of Emirates, to inquire something about my Apr'10 flight. One of the staff members came up to me and asked if I mind going directly to the call-center to have my issue resolved, as the number of customers was more than the number of computer-terminals they had in that office, and her intent was to have my query answered faster.

I readily agreed.

Through various corridors, passages, stairs and doors, she took me to the Emirates call center, and had me seated besides her near one of the terminals. In ~10 minutes, all my queries had been solved.

This was my first visit to a call-center - a world-class one at that - and I'm glad that today I finally got to see one from inside. It made me understand first-hand how a call center looks like, how are individuals seated, what type of computer-software is used, and so on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Comparing the course of a day to a boy's life

This thought ran across my mind as we were whizzing past the roads of Mpumalanga, en route to Graskop, on 22-Nov-09. When I looked at the first rays of Sun, it reminded me of how boys are when they're two years old. They're young, they're new, and they're just starting to give a glimpse of their infinite energy.

First rays of Sun, Mpumalanga, South Africa, 5:08 AM, 22-Nov-09

And as they grow up into an adolescents and then adults, the display of their energy seems to mimic the course of Sun's light on a typical day - it grows and grows and then reaches its peak, when it burns bright and overshadows everyone and everybody else - like an 18-year-old boy who considers himself on top of the world. Thereupon, like a 25-something adult entering his 30s, Sun's rays begin to calm down, get more relaxed, and start feeling pleasant. The evening Sun, especially during moments just before sunset, looks like a ball of wisdom, like an old, ageing man, who can no longer burn bright, but holds much sense and wisdom.

Rays of a young, growing boy, Blyde river, Mpumalanga, Age unknown

And that's how I compare the course of a typical day to the lifecycle of a young boy...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Missing computer science and my college days

Today I'm missing my college days. Am missing those highly intellectual subjects and chapters I used to read and enjoy... the graphs, parallelism, microprocessors, operating systems, computer graphics, NP-hard problems, algorithm-complexity, databases, and on and on and on...

Good days they were... and I wish to bring back the joy of those days...

And today I'm missing it so much that I drew a directed-graph on the whiteboard at my company's Jo'burg office, and started remembering the traveling-salesman problem.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

List of my travels in an aircraft or a cruise ship

A flight is being considered distinct whenever it's preceded by a takeoff. Aircraft models are indicative of only the broader series. Entries in italics are confirmed flights, yet to commence. Entries in blue highlight are tentative, subject to change. A S? sign after an aircraft/airline means that I'm not 100% sure about its safety.
  1. 1993; Delhi-Agra; ~20-40 minutes; Indian Airlines; Unknown
  2. Jul'06; Delhi-Goa; 2.5 hrs; SpiceJet; Boeing 737NG
  3. Jul'06; Goa-Delhi; 2.5 hrs; SpiceJet; 737NG
  4. 17-Oct-08; Delhi-Bangalore; 2.5 hrs; Kingfisher; Airbus A321
  5. 19-Oct-08; Bangalore-Delhi; 2.5 hrs; Kingfisher; A321
  6. 8-Oct-09; Delhi-Dubai; 3.3 hrs; Emirates; Boeing 777
  7. 8-Oct-09; Dubai-Jo'burg; 8.2 hrs; Emirates; Airbus A340
  8. 23-Dec-09; Jo'burg-Dubai; 8 hrs; Emirates; A340
  9. 27-Dec-09; Dubai-Cairo; 4 hrs; Emirates; 777
  10. 30-Dec-09; Cairo-Bahrain; 3 hrs; Gulf Air; Airbus A330
  11. 30-Dec-09; Bahrain-Dubai; 1.3 hrs; Gulf Air; Airbus A320
  12. 31-Dec-09; Dubai-Delhi; 3 hrs; Emirates; 777
  13. 3-Jan-10; Delhi-Dubai; 3 hrs; Emirates; 777
  14. 4-Jan-10; Dubai-Jo'burg; 8.2 hrs; Emirates; A340
  15. 19-Mar-10; JNB-Cape Town; 2 hrs; Mango; 737NG
  16. 22-Mar-10; CPT-JNB; 2.3 hrs; South African Airways; A340
  17. 3-Apr-10; Jo'burg-Dubai; 8 hrs; Emirates; A340
  18. 4-Apr-10; Dubai-Delhi; 3.2 hrs; Emirates; A330
  19. 26-Aug-11; Delhi-Shanghai; 6 hrs; China Eastern; A340
  20. 03-Jan-12; Shanghai-Haikou; 3 hrs; Hainan; Boeing 737
  21. 04-Jan-12; HAK-Singapore; 3 hrs; Hainan; 737NG
  22. 04-Jan-12; SIN-Delhi; 6 hrs; IndiGo; A320
  23. 14-Feb-12; Delhi-Beijing; 6 hrs; Air China; A330
  24. 16-Feb-12; Beijing-Seoul; ~2 hrs; Air China; 737NG
  25. 16-Jun-12; Gimpo-Jeju; ~1 hr; Asiana; A321
  26. 19-Jun-12; Jeju-Gimpo; ~1 hr; Asiana; A321
  27. 23-Jun-12; Seoul-Beijing; ~2 hrs; Air China; A330
  28. 23-Jun-12; Beijing-Delhi; ~7.3 hrs; Air China; A330
  29. 27-Jul-12; Delhi-Singapore; 6 hrs; IndiGo; A320
  30. 27-Nov-12; Singapore-Bali; 2.4 hrs; KLM; 777
  31. 30-Nov-12; Bali-Singapore; 2.2 hrs; KLM; 777
  32. 10-Dec-12; Singapore-Bangkok; ~2.3 hrs; Scoot; 777
  33. 11-Dec-12; Singapore-Bangkok; ~2 hrs; Cathay; 777
  34. 12-Dec-12; Bangkok-Delhi; ~4.6 hrs; IndiGo; A320
  35. 11-Aug-15; Delhi-Moscow; ~6.5 hrs; Aeroflot; A330
  36. 11-Aug-15; Moscow-Istanbul; ~3.5 hrs; Aeroflot; A320
  37. 19-Aug-15; Istanbul-Antalya; ~1.25 hrs; Turkish; 737NG
  38. 21-Aug-15; Antalya-Istanbul; ~1.25 hrs; Turkish; 737NG
  39. 22-Aug-15; Istanbul-Moscow; ~3.5 hrs; Aeroflot; A320
  40. 23-Aug-15; Moscow-Delhi; ~6.0 hrs; Aeroflot; A330
  41. 22-Aug-16; Chandigarh-Bangalore; 3 hrs; AirAsia India; A320
  42. 25-Aug-16; Bangalore-Chandigarh; 3 hrs; IndiGo; A320
  43. 26-May-18; Delhi-Udaipur; ~1.25 hr; Jet Airways; 737NG
  44. 27-May-18; UDR-Delhi; ~1.75 hr; Jet Airways; ATR 72-500
  45. 12-Jan-19; Maldives-Sri Lanka-Goa-Bombay; 8 days; Costa; neoRiviera
    1. Booked for my parents, not me. But I consider it and feel as if I'm myself doing this.
    2. 12-Jan-19 to 19-Jan-19 on the cruise ship.
    3. Flights from Delhi to Male [Maldives], and Bombay to Delhi also.
  46. Coming soon!
Aircraft (wanna fly on, already flown on): Airbus A320, A321, A330, A340; Boeing 737NG, 777

Aircraft (really wanna fly on, not already flown on): Airbus A320neo, A350, A380 [THIS IS A MUST!]; ATR 72-600; Boeing 717, 747, 747-8, 787 Dreamliner [S?]; Bombardier CRJ, CSeries [Airbus A220]; Comac C919 [S?]; Embraer E-Jet E2; Gulfstream G550, G650; Honda HA-420 HondaJet; Ilyushin Il-476/Il-76MD-90A, Il-96; Irkut MC-21/MS-21; Kawasaki C-2, P-1; McDonnell Douglas MD-11, MD-90; Mitsubishi Regional Jet [MRJ]; Saab 2000; Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo, White Knight Two; Sukhoi Superjet 100; Tupolev Tu-204-120 OR Tu-204SM

Aircraft (wanna fly on, not already flown on): Aerion SBJ; Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde; Airbus A400M; Antonov An-124, An-148/An-158 [S?], An-225, An-70 [S?]; Boeing 737 MAX [S?], B-52H Stratofortress; Boeing/McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III; Cessna Citation Sovereign; Comac ARJ21 [S?]; Dassault Falcon 7X; Embraer KC-390, Lineage 1000; Ilyushin Il-86; Lockheed L-1011 TriStar; Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, C-5M Super Galaxy; North American XB-70 Valkyrie; Transall C-160; Tupolev Tu-154M-100; Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer

Aircraft (not keen to fly on, already flown on): 737; ATR 72-500

Aircraft (don't wanna fly on, already flown on): None :)

Airlines (wanna fly on, already flown on): Aeroflot, Air China, AirAsia India, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Gulf Air, Hainan, IndiGo, Jet Airways; Kingfisher, KLM, Mango, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines

Airlines (not keen to fly on, already flown on): China Eastern

Airlines (don't wanna fly on, already flown on): Indian Airlines; SpiceJet

Airlines (really wanna fly on, not already flown on): Air Arabia, Air France, Air Italy, Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, AirAsia [AirAsia; AirAsia Japan; AirAsia Philippines; AirAsia X; Indonesia AirAsia; Indonesia AirAsia X; Thai AirAsia; Thai AirAsia X], Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Bahrain Air, EgyptAir, EL AL Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Finnair, flydubai, Garuda Indonesia, (Kulula Air), Lion Air [S?], Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Ryanair, S7 Airlines [S?], Saudi Arabian Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, VietJet Air [S?], Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Virgin Galactic, Vistara

Airlines (wanna fly on, not already flown on): Aerolíneas Argentinas [S?], Aeroméxico [S?], Air Astana, Air Greenland, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Cebu Pacific [S?], Cubana de Aviación [S?], easyJet, Iberia, LOT Polish Airlines [S?], Kuwait Airways [S?], Mexicana [S?], Royal Air Maroc [S?], Southwest, TAM Airlines, Thai Smile [S?], Transaero [S?], Wizz Air [S?], Xiamen Airlines

Airlines [don't wanna fly on; not already flown on]: Jetstar; Tiger Airways

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Moving to Johannesburg (SA), shortly

I'm moving to Johannesburg, South Africa, within a couple of days. So many things need to be done still... Visa, packing, other formalities, learning cooking (!), etc.

Let's see how things pan out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When you fear that you might have got swine-flu...

I fell down unconscious in the bathroom last night. When I regained consciousness, I found myself lying on the floor of the bathroom - in an utterly helpless state. I've always been proud of my uptime (so much so that I triumphantly bang this drum in front of some of my friends - "Me and ill? I don't fall ill! I haven't fallen ill in the last two years...") (plus read my tweets here, here, here, here, and here), and when I realized that I must've fallen down on the floor, it was then that I felt that I might really have gotten swine-flu.

I was feeling unokay since afternooon of the day before yesterday. And it worsened that night, and it kept getting worse yesterday (I kept ignoring my 101 fever, hoping that I'll soon get well, but when I didn't, I finally took leave from work). I looked up the symptoms of swine-flu on the Web, and it all seemed to suggest me that I've got this hopefully overhyped, but potentially life-threatening sickness.

How does it feel when you're living with this fear? Not good. You just wanna get ok real fast. You wanna see signs of recovery. You realize why they say that health is wealth. And you ask "Why me? Why now?".

I'm probably on the path to recovery (that's why I'm able to pen this post), and I'll hopefully be declared fit-for-work by my doctor by Sunday, so I'll probably be able to resume work on Monday.

I have so many dreams, and things keep getting added, and I must stay okay so I can fulfill them, and make my parents proud of me.

Let's see.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My feelings on transporting accident-victims to a hospital, twice...

Yesterday, while driving back from my company, I saw an accident-victim lying on the road. I was taken aback on seeing that practically no one was willing to help him. The crowd was making its way around the body, seemingly curious, and concerned too, but unwilling to help.

Shamefully, I too moved ahead - about 5 meters ahead of the body - and that's when my conscience slapped me and stopped me (I don't know why I just moved ahead initially). I quickly got out of my car, rushed to the body, shouted loudly that I'm gonna back-up my car towards the victim's body, and that someone must accompany me to the hospital.

People quickly placed the victim on the back seat, and one person joined me. I drove as fast as I could, safely, and got the victim admitted to a nearby hospital. After ensuring that the victim's family is on the way, I left the scene.

The incident reminds me of Jan'09, when a *ditto* incident took place at the very same spot. That time too I had seen people unwilling to render help. And that time too I had transported the victim, to the same hospital. The similarity of these two incidents is almost surprising.

It makes me feel good that I could help these needy and helpless human beings.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Still not out of my college...

I went to my college the day before yesterday (on Wednesday). As I roamed there, it did not feel at all that I'm no longer an active student there. Walking in the canteen, rushing to the science block, or simply wandering in the OAT gave me the exact same feeling that I used to get when I used to be a student there. I still many times think of my college, and wish I was there.

Click here to watch a memorable video of class of 2008

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A brand new blog - on my own domain

Close on the heels of the launch of my email address on my own domain comes the launch of a new blog - also on my own domain name. This new blog - named HyperBlog - will be my official blog from now, and is likely to supersede my Main Blog (my Other Blog should continue just fine).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Google I-O 2009 (Day 1) - Chrome Experiments Video's Background Music - Song Download Link

I recently watched the keynote video of day 1 of Google I/O 2009. Day 1 kicks off with an introduction video showing different Chrome Experiments running in Chrome. The video is abstract but quite impressive, especially if the viewer has knowledge of the ongoing Web-apps-versus-Desktop-apps war.

What is more impressive however is the background music of this video. I liked it so much that I watched the video about 10 times. User comments on the video's page show that many others too liked this song. However, no one really seems to know which song this is, or whether it is an original composition by Google or an existing song by some artist, and where to find / download it. Some comments on the video claim that it is a song called Falling, from Into The Fire album by Krylyn.

Incorrect. There's another video posted by Google, with not the whole keynote but only the introduction video, and its description clearly states that the background song is an original composition by Googler Matt Waddell.

I downloaded the highest quality version of this video (HQ22) (click here to know the difference between HQ18, HQ22 and HQ35), extracted the audio from it in WAVE format, trimmed it to remove the silence at start and end, and encoded it into 2 MP3 files (each at 192 Kbps) using LAME MP3 encoder
  1. File 1: Unabridged audio. Click here to download this file
  2. File 2: Same as File 1, but with the leading Welcome to Google I O removed, so it starts directly with the music and can be used as a ringtone. Click here to download this file
I think I'm not violating the DMCA because I think Google will love it if this file spreads :)

About Me - My Google Profile

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Continuity Mistake In The Movie "Crimson Tide"

***Caution: Spoiler Ahead***

I watched Crimson Tide a few days back. I usually read user comments, goofs, trivia, etc., on IMDB after finishing watching a movie. When I read the list of goofs in Crimson Tide, I was surprised to see that nobody had pointed out this important mistake.

Throughout the movie, Hunter kept insisting that the crew should try to receive the second EAM, which the Alabama wasn't able to receive due to a chopped cable first, and due to a faulty radio thereafter. This second EAM was shown partially twice, before being shown completely the third time. However, each of the three times the message shown is different in some ways, as demonstrated by the screenshots below

FROM field ends with D.C.; SUBJECT starts with NUCLEAR

FROM doesn't end with D.C.; SUBJECT still starts with NUCLEAR

FROM ends with D.C.; SUBJECT starts with TERMINATE

My claim that this is an error rests on the assumption that an EAM is like a SMS message - it stays queued at the sender end until it is received correctly, and the sender keeps attempting to send the message until the recipient acknowledges that the message has been received successfully. The contents of the second EAM could not have changed (the way they are changing in the screenshots above).

An Error In The Movie "Chaos"