Category: Uncategorized

Google Drive Shared Folder Quota Issues

Google Drive Shared Folder Quota Issues

Recently, I ran into this issue with Google Drive where it wouldn’t let me upload content to a folder shared with me by a friend. This friend in question had lots of space available on his drive account and I was only uploading content worth a fraction of the available space. But every attempt to upload the files would fail with an error message: “Not enough storage quota to upload. Upgrade Storage”

Google Drive error message when uploading to a shared folder
Error message when trying to upload to a shared folder. Click for full-size image.

The friend that had shared the folder with me, had more than 12GB of available space in his account. And the content I was uploading to this drive was about 4GB. So, you’d expect it to work, right?

Any normal person would expect that since I was uploading to someone else’s shared folder, the data would count against their quota. So did I. But as it turns out, Google Drive has a very unique (or should I say weird) way of treating such cases.

How does Google Drive Compute A User’s Storage Quota

Google Drive calculates storage quotas based on the ownership of files. Where those files are actually stored, does not matter. Their size would count against the storage quota of the file owner irrespective of the upload location. And when you upload a file, obviously, you are assumed to be the owner of the uploaded file. Thus, no matter where you upload a file, you can never upload more data than your own account allowance.

You can view the ownership of any file by right-clicking it and selecting “Share”. In the resulting dialog box, click the “Advanced” link. The current owner of the file has the label “Is owner” to the right of their name:

Advanced sharing settings dialog showing current owner. Click for full-size image.

Google does allow you to change the owner of a file, if the file in question is a Google document, i.e., a Google doc, Google spreadsheet or a slide. To change the owner of such a file, click the Pen icon against the name of the person you want to make the owner and select the “Is Owner” option from the drop-down menu and click Save Changes. Google Drive will ask you for a confirmation and once you click Yes, the file’s ownership will be transferred.

Be careful while doing this though, because once you transfer the ownership of a file to somebody else, you will no longer be able to change it back unless that person does it for you.

Transfer ownership of a Google file.
Transfer ownership of a Google file. Click for full-size image.

Also, the above method is only applicable to Google file types. You cannot, for example, change the ownership of an image file.

Google must have their reasons for this behavior, but it’s very confusing from a user’s perspective, and reduces the usability of Drive. What’s the point of having cloud storage, if you cannot use it to collate pictures from friends?

To make matters worse, Google does not make this information easily available. I had to dig deep into Google’s consumer forum to find a clue. There I found other people facing the same issue and figuring stuff out on their own. So, I did some of my own experiments to confirm the theory and decided to document it all here in case this helps someone.
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Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice day. 🙂
Bangalore Goa Road Trip (via Jog Falls, Bhatkal, Murudeshwar, Gokarna)

Bangalore Goa Road Trip (via Jog Falls, Bhatkal, Murudeshwar, Gokarna)

In January of 2018, I and wifey finally set out on our Goa Trip. We’ve been wanting to visit Goa for the past 5 years but the plan never came about. But this time, we finally decided that we’d visit Goa and do so on a road trip. Yay! So, here it goes the planning and execution of our Bangalore Goa Road Trip.

Palolem Beach, South Goa - Bangalore Goa Road Trip
Bangalore Goa Road Trip Preview – Palolem Beach, South Goa

We finalized the itinerary in November 2017 and made our hotel bookings. Since this was our longest road trip to date, and I am the only driver among the 2 of us, we decided to have a night-halt on the onward journey. So, our final itinerary looked something like this:

26th-Jan: Bangalore to Bhatkal (En-route visit Jog falls)
27th-Jan: Bhatkal to Vagator (North Goa) (En-route visit Murudeshwar, Gokarna)
28th-Jan: Spend the day at Vagator, Baga, and head to Palolem (South Goa) in the evening.
29th-Jan: Spend the day at Palolem just relaxing at the resort or explore the nearby area on foot.
30th-Jan: Start back from Palolem in the morning and reach Bangalore before 6 PM.

While planning the trip, we wanted our night halt on the onward journey to be around midway between Bangalore and Goa. That’s not how it turned out though as we couldn’t decide on such a place and finally settled for Bhatkal. There was no particular reason to choose Bhatkal except that it was on the coast and fit in with the overall theme of our trip which was sea, beaches, and the beautiful Konkan region.

The day before the trip:
I had planned to get everything ready well before the trip, but as usual, there were multiple things pending on my list on the night before the drive. The most important was to get the car ready. So, on the evening of 25th Jan, I popped the hood open and checked all the fluids and belts. And then took her out to get the tank topped up. Filled her up and got the air pressure checked in all four tires and the spare. As it turned out, the front left tire had a leak. I got the tire fixed and headed back home. Once home, I checked all the documents in the car and packed some essential things like snacks, charger, water bottles etc.


We had decided to leave early the next day as it was a 3-day weekend and we wanted to avoid the usual rush of Bangaloreans trying to get out of the city. We planned to leave between 04:30 and 5 AM, set the alarms and went to sleep. I follow a very strict policy of driving only during the day, thanks to the moronic drivers who are always on high beam with their fog-lamps on.

Day 1 (Bangalore to Bhatkal via Jog Falls):
I had trouble falling asleep just like I always have before a trip. Needless to say, we were late the next day. Got up at 5AM and got ready hastily, loaded the bags into the car and started our long journey. By now it was 05:45 AM and sunlight had crept up. We knew this meant long queues at the toll booths on our way out of Bangalore.

 

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We were starting from Electronic City and took the Nice Ring Road towards the Tumakuru highway. As expected, we were hit by heavy traffic going out of Bangalore on the Tumakuru highway toll. The queue of vehicles was about 2KM long, but it wasn’t due to the toll itself. There was an upturned lorry at a bend just before the toll booth, which was causing the bottleneck. Luckily, we found a small side road that bypassed the bend and we joined the main road just before the toll booth. Beyond that point, the roads opened up and the traffic was behind us and we were off.Some pictures:

We stopped for breakfast at around 08:40 AM at a place called Hotel Sai Palace about 172 KM into our trip. It’s a decent place, however, due to the long weekend, it was super crowded and finding a seat or getting service was an arduous task. Didn’t take many pictures here.

ODO Reading at Breakfast - Bangalore Goa Road Trip
ODO Reading at Breakfast

Finally, after spending 45 minutes where we had planned to finish in 20 minutes, we started again. The roads again, were very welcoming with only occasional traffic and smooth tarmac, with lovely views of green fields, ponds, and small hills all around us.

We continued on towards our next destination, which was Jog Falls. We traveled on the NH (Mumbai Highway) for another 4 hours and about 210 KMs, till Haveri, at which point, it was time to get off the NH and take on the slower State Highway to cross the ghat section. We decided to take this route towards Jog Falls.Right after getting off the NH, we stopped for a short break in a village and had fresh coconut water. It was refreshing. We also found a fuel station in the village and decided to tank up, given that the fuel gauge was below the 30% mark and we did not know if we’d find another fuel station for the next 200KM or so.

The ODO read:

397.3KM at 1:09PM - Bangalore Goa Road Trip
397.3KM at 1:09 PM

Started again after the fuel top-up. Beyond this point, as expected, our average speed went down drastically. The roads were alright, but there were just too many villages en-route and that meant a lot of speed bumps. So, we had to slow down quite often.We had also made the grave mistake of not stopping for lunch before getting off the NH. The SH stretch between Haveri-Jog Falls does not have any decent places to eat, at-least none that I could spot from the car. Thankfully, we had packed a lot of snacks and water for exactly this situation and it proved very useful.

Given the time of the year, we didn’t have high hopes of finding any water in the falls. We finally reached Jog Falls around 03:40 PM and as expected, it was completely dry save for a few small streams. By this time, we were very hungry and were desperately looking for a proper meal. Thankfully, Jog falls being a tourist spot, we found this (Prakruthi Yatri Nivas) restaurant near the viewpoint and decided to have lunch there. The place was nearly empty. The service was quick and the food tasty. After hours of munching on potato chips and sweet cake, it was nice to have a proper meal.

Prakruthi Yatri Nivas restaurant and lodge near Jog Falls viewpoint. - Bangalore Goa Road Trip
Prakruthi Yatri Nivas restaurant and lodge near Jog Falls viewpoint.

We started our journey again after spending some time in the restaurant’s backyard at 04:30 PM. We took this route towards our hotel The Royal Oak, Bhatkal as suggested by Google Maps.The route was very scenic as we passed through the Sharavati Valley Wildlife Sanctuary during the golden hour. At the same time, I was a little bit worried as the sun was setting and the thick jungle was already bringing in an early dusk. There was no traffic at all on this stretch of the road and it felt pretty spooky at times with all its twists and turns and not a single soul in sight. Still, we were not able to pick up speed as the road was very narrow and had a lot of blind curves.

Well, after about 2 hours of driving through the forest area, we finally arrived at Bhatkal. The hotel has a prominent building bang on Bhatkal Circle and we had no trouble finding it. They don’t seem to have covered parking available and we were asked to park in the open parking space available right in front of the hotel building.

The clock showed 06:40 PM and we had finally arrived at our final destination for the day after exactly 13 hours on the road. What a relief. We were tired and I was hungry. So we freshened up and ordered some tea and snacks and went straight to sleep by 8.30.

Our room at The Royal Oak, Bhatkal - Bangalore Goa Road Trip
Our room at The Royal Oak, Bhatkal

Day’s Summary:
Total Distance Travelled: 535KM
Total Time Taken: 13 hours

The next day was gonna be less taxing as we only had about 250KM of driving to do. Or so we thought.

Continue to Day 2 of Bangalore to Goa road trip. Subscribe to my blog so you will not miss new posts.

How-To:Import WordPress blog into Blogger [With Pictures]

How-To:Import WordPress blog into Blogger [With Pictures]

If you are looking to migrate your blog from wordpress.com to blogger.com, then read the post below for a step by step guide.
Note: I have tested these steps only on blogs hosted on wordpress.com. But the steps will remain the same for WordPress blogs hosted on any hosting provider.
 
WordPress and Blogger use different data format when exporting blog posts and other blog data. This makes it difficult to seamlessly transfer posts and other content from one service to another. I faced the same problem when trying to move this blog from a WordPress domain to Blogger. While both the services use the same file format (XML), the underlying structure of data is different which causes Blogger to not recognize a file exported from WordPress.

If you try to import a WordPress export file directly into Blogger, the Import tool in Blogger will get stuck with the “Writing Blog Posts” message. If you are facing the same issue, read on to find the solution.

Blogger Import Get Stuck Trying to Import WordPress Content
Blogger Import Content Tool gets Stuck Trying to Import WordPress Content

 

I did some digging and found that the Blogger team had released a tool in 2010 to convert WordPress export files into Blogger compatible format. However, that tool is now long defunct. My search led me to another such tool online:

WordPress To Blogger Converter Tool
Using this tool, you can convert your WordPress export files into Blogger compatible format. After doing this, your files should import without any problems into Blogger. Read below for the step by step process with screenshots:

Step 1: Export Content From WordPress

  1. Go to your blog’s dashboard with an Admin account. You can access your blog’s dashboard by opening the URL <blog-name>.wordpress.com/wp-admin
  2. Locate the Tools section in the left navigation rail and click Tools > Export.
  3. In the Export page, you will see two options: Export and Guided Transfer. Click the Start Export button under the first section.
WordPress Dashboard Export Page
WordPress Export Page
  1. WordPress will ask you to select what you want to Export. You can select All Content to export everything including comments, media etc.
WordPress Export Content Selection
WordPress – Select Content to Export
  1. Click the Download Export File button.
  2. You will get a prompt to download an XML file. Save the file on your local storage.

Step 2: Convert Exported File to Blogger Format

  1. Point your browser to the WordPress to Blogger converter website.
WordPress to Blogger Converter Tool Interface
  1. Click the Choose File button and select the XML file you had downloaded from WordPress.
  2. Click the Convert button.
  3. And that’s all you need to do. Depending on the size of your XML file, the tool will take a few seconds to convert the whole thing to blogger format. Once the conversion is done, your browser will prompt you to download the converted file. Save this file with a different name on your local storage.

Importing the Content to Blogger

  1. Once you have the converted file, you will need it to upload to your Blogger dashboard.
  2. Start by logging into www.blogger.com with your admin credentials.
  3. Click Settings > Other in the left sidebar.
Blogger Import Tool
  1. Click the Import Content button under the Import & back up section on this page and select the file that you had converted earlier.
  2. Blogger will upload the selected file to the server and will import all elements present in the file to the server.
WordPress to Blogger Import Complete
  1. And that’s all. You have successfully migrated your WordPress.com blog to a Blogger blog.

I hope this guide helps someone who is facing the same problem. I recently moved my blog from WordPress.com to Blogger.com for multiple reasons which will make up for a good post detailing the differences between the two blogging platforms.

Did you find this post useful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

How-To: Reset Your Dish TV HD Set Top Box for Better Performance [With Pictures]

How-To: Reset Your Dish TV HD Set Top Box for Better Performance [With Pictures]

Do you use a Dish TV connection? If yes, chances are that over time your Dish TV set-top box has slowed down so much that it takes multiple seconds for it to respond to even the simplest of remote commands like Vol+/-.
Changing a channel takes minutes, and loading the program guide takes forever. It becomes very frustrating when you are browsing channels as you can never be sure if your remote input was missed by the box or it is just happily sitting there processing an old command.

If you have faced this situation and wondered if there’s way to fix this, let me tell you that, yes there is a way to fix this. All it requires is to clear up the box’s cache and do a reboot to freshen it up. After you have followed these steps, your box should become significantly fast.
I have only tested this process on my “Dish HD+ Recorder” box, but it should work on any other dish box as well.

Disclaimer: I have only provided this information with the intention of helping fellow users. I am not responsible for any damage or information loss to your box or TV that may arise as a result of you following these steps.

Reset Dish TV Set-Top Box
This is my set-top box on which I successfully completed this process.

Prerequisite: Make sure that you have turned on your TV and set-top box both and your set-top box has completed the boot process. You can leave your set-top box on for 10-15 minutes before starting the process.

Step 1: On your set-top box remote, press and hold the “Menu” button. Keep it held until you see a menu on your TV screen that is titled “Installation Main Menu” or something similar.

Reset Dish TV Set-Top Box
Select the “System Setup” menu item.

 

Step 2: In this menu, select the “System Setup” menu item and press “OK”. This will bring you to “System Setup” menu screen.

 

Reset Dish TV Set-top Box
Select the “Erase EPG” menu item.

Step 3: In the “System Setup” menu screen, select the “Erase EPG” menu item and press “OK”. The system will display a warning message on the screen like below.

Reset Dish-TV Set-Top Box
Press “OK” on this warning screen.

Step 4: Click “OK” or one of the Color buttons on the remote as the message instructs. Once you press “OK”, the system will display a message informing that the erasing is in progress like below.

Reset Dish TV Set-Top Box
Erasing…
Reset Dish TV Set Top Box
Success message

Step 5: Once complete, the system will go back to the “System Setup” menu screen automatically. Here, you should select the menu item “Erase flash FS”.

Reset Dish TV Set Top Box
Select the “Erase flash FS” menu item.

Step 6: Once again, the system will ask you for confirmation like below. Confirm on this screen to proceed.

Reset Dish TV Set Top Box
Press “OK” on this warning screen.

Step 7: When Step 6 completes, the box will automatically reboot. This reboot may take several minutes to complete as the system will download the program guide and other data from the network. You will see a progress screen like this:

Step 8: Once the update completes, your set top box is ready to operate and is faster than ever.

If this post helped you, don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media platform. Have a good day. 🙂
Travelogue: Bangalore to Munnar – A trip to God’s own country

Travelogue: Bangalore to Munnar – A trip to God’s own country

We visited Munnar during the 15th August long weekend in 2017. We were a group of 4; me and my wife along with a couple we’re friends with.
We hadn’t really done any detailed planning for this trip except booking our transportation and stay in Munnar. We just wanted to get away from the city hustle and bustle and the monotonic daily office schedule. So, we booked our train tickets and hotel stay 2 months in advance and started waiting for the Iday long weekend.

Finally, the day arrived. Our itinerary included taking a train from Bangalore to Aluva and from there traveling via road to Munnar. We had booked the Bangalore-Kanyakumari Express (16526) for travel on Friday (11-Aug-2017) night. We were boarding the train from KR Puram station in Bangalore. We arrived at the station at 7:30 PM, an hour before the scheduled arrival of the train. Soon after, it started pouring rain. The station was already jam packed, and when it started raining, people started crowding under the relatively small covered area on the platforms and the overhead bridge. We somehow managed to cross to our intended platform using the crowded overhead bridge. By the time the train arrived, we were completely drenched. We changed into dry clothes and settled onto our berths. We then had some tasty biryani, which we had ordered and before we left home, and went straight to sleep.

Saturday (12-Aug-2017)

The train takes a slightly longer route than the road route. The scheduled arrival of our train in Aluva was 6.50 AM, but it was running about 30 mins late. I woke up at 6.30 and was greeted by this beautiful first view of god’s own country.

God's Own Country - Beautiful Kerala

This was the first time I was visiting Kerala, and I was already mesmerized by the amount of green there. It was captivating, beautiful and lush and it was everywhere.

We arrived at Aluva at around 7.30 in the morning. We found a nice restaurant near the train station and had our breakfast there. The KSRTC bus stand is located about 300mts from the train station. By the time we reached the bus stand and enquired about the next bus to Munnar, it was 8.15. We were told the next bus is scheduled in 15 minutes. The bus arrived right on time and we boarded. It was a normal non-AC seater bus. The ticket to Munnar cost us Rs. 344 for 4 people = 86 per head.

And so the second leg of our journey started. The road was beautiful, with little traffic and beautiful homes on both sides. It took us approximately 4 hours to reach Munnar including two 10-minute breaks. We reached Munnar at 12.15PM. Here are some pics along the way.

Beautiful landscape on the way to Munnar from Aluva by bus.

 

Beautiful landscape on the way to Munnar from Aluva by bus.

 

Beautiful landscape on the way to Munnar from Aluva by bus.

 

 

Beautiful landscape on the way to Munnar from Aluva by bus.

 

Beautiful landscape on the way to Munnar from Aluva by bus.

We had booked our stay in Elysium Gardens Hill Resort (GMaps). We had selected this hotel mainly for its location. It is perched atop a small hill, around 1.2KM from the bus stand. We reached the hotel at around 12.45PM on Saturday.

Hotel Experience

After reaching the hotel, the check-in process was quick. They took copies of our IDs and then asked us to wait in the lobby till they get the rooms ready. We settled down in the lobby, tired from the almost 16 hour-long journey. Soon after, we were served the welcome drink – extra sweet strawberry milkshake.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long in the lobby and our rooms were ready in about 15-20 minutes. We checked into our rooms and then came the surprise: no hot water before 6:30 in the evening. Mind you, they have this hot water policy even when their check-in time is 12 PM. I discussed this with the staff, and they said they can give us hot water in buckets. Even the buckets they have in the bathroom and the ones they bring hot water in are very small – roughly half the size of a normal sized bucket we use at home.

I was already regretting my choice of stay. We got ready and headed down to the restaurant for some lunch. We were very hungry and tired also. As we entered the restaurant, we found another group of guests frowning over the restaurant staff. Apparently, they had been waiting for their order for over 40 minutes and still hadn’t been served. They started shouting at the staff and walked out. The restaurant manager mediated and got them to come back in the restaurant.

After witnessing all this drama, we were assured that it would take forever for our order to get served, but the manager assured us that they will get us our food in under 30 minutes. We did not want to wait so long, but none of us had the energy to walk at least 1.5KM to the nearest restaurant. So, we stayed put, and finally after 25 minutes, got our food. We finished lunch at 3.30 PM, a full hour after we entered the restaurant, not bad. We then decided to get back to our rooms and get some rest and then head out to Munnar town in the evening by around 5.30.

We had paid above Rs. 2400 per room per night for a balcony room. I have had better hotel experiences for lesser prices in the past. But, for 2400/night, you would expect better facilities than what is offered here. The hotel from our experience turned out to be pretty average.

Pros:

  • Clean rooms and bathroom.
  • Very good location.
  • Courteous staff.
  • Tasty food.

 

Cons:

  • Limited hot water supply – 6.30 to 10.30 in the morning and same time in the evening.
  • Even when the hot water supply is on, there is a lot of variation in the water temperature continuously.
  • Slower restaurant
  • No laundry facility – This could be a seasonal thing.
  • Patchy room service – although, I and my wife did not face any issues with room service, the couple we were traveling with did.
  • Extremely limited selection of TV channels in the room. They do not even have the basic set of channels subscribed. All Hindi/English movie channels I tried were not available.
  • No hair drier / bathroom slipper in the room.

We had some much-needed sleep after the lunch and woke up at 5.30 PM. We got ready for a walk to the town and left the hotel at 5.45 PM. Munnar town is a small area where major roads meet. There are multiple spice shops, “home-made” chocolate shops, restaurants and other regular stuff. We were looking for a travel agent to plan our next two days in Munnar.

Taxi Experience

We eventually found the Taxi Union’s office which is very near to the bus stand. We discussed with the person there in detail about the available packages. He explained that there are four possible directions to take while exploring Munnar.
1. Kochi Direction
2. Coimbatore Direction
3. Mandupetty Direction
4. Thekkady Direction

Each direction has several points and stretches anywhere from 35 KM to 65 KM. For our next day’s travel, we chose the Coimbatore direction, which ends at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, about 65 KMs from Munnar. And for the third day, we booked the Mandupetty Direction which ends at Top Station View Point, about 35 KMs from Munnar. Each day’s travel cost us Rs. 1500 for a Toyota Etios car, so in total 3000 for 2 days. We paid 500 as advance and headed out for some shopping.

After a few hours of shopping, we had dinner in a Marwadi restaurant and headed back to our hotel at around 8.30 PM. We had a full day’s travel the next day, so we slept early. And that marked the end of our first day in Munnar.

I will be writing a separate post detailing our next two days, with many more pics and route and other important information. Stay tuned.

If this post helped you, don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media platform. Have a good day. 🙂

Getting Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview to work outsidethe U.S.

Getting Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview to work outsidethe U.S.

For the last couple of months, fans around the world have been going crazy to try their hands on the latest update to Windows Phone. One of the most anticipated and most leaked features for the update was Cortana. Halo fans like me already loved her, and the rest of the world has fallen in love with her ever since the leaked videos surfaced. The tipping point was when Microsoft demoed the new update along with Cortana less than 2 weeks back on April 2nd. Ever since people have gone crazy to get the developer preview of the software. The good news, MS released the developer preview yesterday. And anyone can create a free App Studio account and get the updated.

But one of the bad news in the presentation on April 2nd was that the most loved personal assistant of all time, Cortana, will only be a US specific feature until late this year. Many were heartbroken; me included. Well, as it turns out, we don’t have to be disappointed since Cortana can be activated even if you’re outside the US. Just follow the following steps:

1. Go to Settings on your Windows Phone 8.1 device and look for the following two entries:
a. Language
b. Region

2. Tap language and then Look for English (United States). If you cannot find this, tap “add languages” and select English (United States) from the list. After installing the language pack, your language settings page should look something like this.

3. Now head back to the Settings page and tap “region”

4. Change Country/Region selection to Uthe United States and Regional format to English (United States) as shown in the following screen-shot.

5. Hit back until you reach the Start screen and reboot your phone.

6. Next time you hit the Search button, you’ll see the all dancing, all bubbly Cortana ready to assist you. Enjoy. If you have any queries, feel free to ask in the comments below.

 

Awesomeness Assembled

Awesomeness Assembled

If the world was to end today, I’d probably be the most satisfied human to die. The child inside me wanted to go crazy, wanted to scream in sheer pleasure, wanted to be a part of the international phenomena that the epic has spawned, and it did. I feel so gratified, from the very bottom of my heart, to have let him free, to have acted crazy, to have let the blind addiction grow and to finally get my mind blown out by, what I’d call the best awe-inspiring movie experience of my life so far.

The Avengers sits at the pinnacle of the perfect balance between awesome action and the astonishing story-line that binds all that eye candy in proper equilibrium. At no point, you’d feel overwhelmed by action that can be justified only by the movie’s attempt to lure your visual buds. There’s enough reason for every bullet, every energy pulse and every arrow that went off in the film. And there’s enough content, apart from the action, to get you glued hard to your seats for over 140 minutes.

Special effects: Well, I don’t need to talk about that, you know. I mean, I’d be dumb to comment on the special effects of a movie like The Avengers. They were obviously, outstandingly, astonishingly, mind bogglingly AWESOME.

Direct Joss Whedon has succeeded in going way beyond the boundaries of sci-fi action movies in creating a perfect mix of the various aspects of super-humanity. It’s not an easy task to combine six superheroes into one epic, putting their superhuman abilities in perspective and still do justice to them all. But the wise man seems to have hit it at just the right spot. There were rumors after the teasers that the movie is probably gonna revolve around the biggies and Agent Romanoff and Hawkeye might just slip off the spotlight. But as it turns out, everyone has gotten a fair share of the big-screen.

Most of the geek audience would have been more than happy, just to see Iron Man, Captain America and Thor fighting in a jungle. But the movie has lots more in store as well, both for the geeks and the usual audience, and an absolutely fantastic way of delivering it. The characters shine within the company of each other, working as a team and looking more awesome than they ever looked. The awe was palpable when the Hulk catches a falling Iron Man or when Thor gives Captain America a hand.

Director Joss Whedon has put forth an effort that deserves a very special place in our hearts and minds for a very long time to come. And so have the actors. Perfection, in every sense of the word, The Avengers is not just a movie but is an example of how sci-fi action movies should be done. It has sent the bar in every department of movie-making rocketing up into the sky, higher than ever before.

Hats off to the great work, I’m gonna book for more shows. And BTW, I watched my first 3-D movie today, fulfilling almost a year long oath to not watch any 3-D movie until The Avengers. 🙂 🙂

Disk Cataloging Made Easy – CD Sync Portable

Disk Cataloging Made Easy – CD Sync Portable

Those who maintain a huge collection of CDs/DVDs know what a pain it becomes to find something from that collection. You have to insert each and every disk into your drive and then search for the desired item in each of them. CD Sync is designed to solve this problem. It is a disk cataloger which allows you to catalog all your disks so that you can search and browse the contents of your disks even without inserting them. The interface of the program closely resembles Windows explorer. Here’s a screenshot of the main window.

CD Sync Portable. Click for full-size image.

As you can see from the screenshot, the interface is exactly the same as Windows explorer. The list on the left site contains all the catalogs you have created. The catalogs are categorized into proper categories. Several categories come pre-installed with the program, and you can also create new ones, as and when you desire. When you select a catalog, its contents are displayed in the browser, just like in Windows explorer. Here you can browse the catalog simply by double clicking the files and folders. If the source disk of the catalog is available, you can simply click on an image / video / audio file and the built in previewer will give you a preview of the file’s contents.

 

CD Sync provides extremely powerful searching features. You can search for a single file or multiple files in any number of catalogs simultaneously. To begin a search, click the Search button on the toolbar or press F3. When you do that, you’ll see a new window ‘Search Results’ as shown below.

Click for full-size image.

The search window acts both as a starting point and the ending point of a search. Two buttons are available on the toolbar namely ‘Basic’ and ‘Advanced’ allowing you to perform basic and advanced searches through your catalogs. The basic search function lets you specify a filename and select the catalogs in which you want to search. The advanced search feature enables you to perform more advanced and content specific searches. For example, you can search your music catalogs for songs by a particular artist. When you perform a search, the result will be displayed in the Search Results window. Here also, if the source of the catalog is online, you’ll be able to preview the contents of the file.

Some of the other features of the program are:

    • Integration into Windows explorer: Simply right click any folder/disk/network drive and there you have the option to catalog your disk.

 

    • Portability: Just extract the portable version of the program into a usb thumb drive and start using it. No installation is necessary. Your catalogs go with you wherever you go.

 

    • Interoperability: The portable and non-portable versions of the program are interoperatble. Meaning, you can export your catalogs from one version and import them in the other.

 

    • Stores disks’ and folders’ file structure as it is, to allow you to browse and search them even when they’re not available.

 

    • Stores extended properties about each file. CD Sync can store above 25 types of properties about each file. This includes:
        • Standard file properties, like name, size, and date(s) etc.

       

        • Music properties, like artist name, album title, album year, and song title etc.

       

        • Document properties, like company, subject, and category etc.

       

        • Video and image properties, like width and height.

       

      • File icons for .ico, .exe, .scr, .cur files.

 

    • Incorporates powerful searching features that allow you to search any number of images at a time. It also features content specific search capability (for ex. You can search your music collection for all songs by ‘Linkin Park’.)

 

    • Allows you to export your images, in case you’re migrating to new PC and don’t want to create all those images again. This feature also comes in handy in case of data loss; you can always restore your images from the backup copy.

 

    • Several image categories (like Games, music movies etc.) are provided, so that you can categorize your images. You can also create new categories.

 

    • Allows you to export the file-list for an Image in XML format. From there, it can be read and interpreted by any other program.

 

    • If the source media of an Image is available, the built-in previewer allows you to preview almost all major types of audio, video, and image files contained in the image. The built-in previewer can also be configured to automatically play audio and video files as you select them in the file browser.

 

    • Features a clean and friendly Windows Explorer like interface. So that not too much of your time is wasted recalling where a particular command was located.

 

  • Allows you to set custom description for each and every file/folder in your image.
The Sands of Time

The Sands of Time

Somewhere in the sands of time I hit the ‘Channel +’ button on the remote control. The electron beam inside the CRT of my Sansui 25-inch home-television altered itself to produce, on the phosphor coated screen, a struggling Prince Dastan and the evil Nizam of Persia. Ohh, I murmured, and then jumped on the same old train of thought again. The train that goes through the complex territories of time travel. And once again I wondered, how is time travel possible?

I’ve given this idea a fair amount of thought. Time and again, it has continued to elude me with its’ intricacies and yeah… its relationship to Einstein’s theory of relativity. I’ve seen about a dozen Discovery documentaries on the theory of relativity, and still never been able to understand how does one slow down time by moving at a speed equal to or faster than the speed of light. 🙁

Warp Speed
Maximum warp. Punch it

One thing that troubles me more than anything else is that if time travel were really possible, and by possible I mean possible for mankind before our species goes extinct, why wouldn’t one of future us go back, say a few thousand years in the past from now, and tell the idea to one of us from the past, giving us the time machine a few thousand years earlier thereby implying that we now should be aware of it. But guess what? We’re not.

This could mean that either the people of the time travel era are forbidden from going to the past, or we live in a world of parallel universes where once you go back in time, you actually travel between universes. Thus explaining, why we don’t know about time machines yet. Because, in this universe, time machines were discovered at a very late point, and the people who tried to go back, actually jumped to different universes. This also points out that, in some of the universes parallel to us, we might be knowing what time travel is and how it’s done.

I won’t be amazed to imagine that in another parallel universe, I might be blogging about what ‘me’ in a universe where time travel is not yet possible would be doing. 😉