Friday, December 11, 2009

ICONCT’09 : Again a not-so-technical view of another conference I am attending ;-)

Dha. I was supposed to post a technical round up for the eResearch’09 conference, but had been on travel so much and have been caught up with other “todos” that it has still not happened. But hope do that in at least next few weeks.

In the mean time I am attending this conference at Shivakashi, better known for fireworks, than probably an engineering collage ;-)

I have previously visited Tamil Nadu for only two purposes: Travel and Conference. This is my second conference in Tamil Nadu. The first one was quite boring. I did not have much expectations from this either. The only point here was that this was a computing technologies conference rather that a subject specific conference. Which thankfully took away most of my boredom.

My flight from Pune-Chennai-Madurai was so-so. While I discovered that the Pune airport is far better managed than the Chennai airport. I was quite astonished with the kind of checking these people do. Well this was my first domestic flight, so I should have expected some surprises. The worst part of the whole trip was getting from my home in Pune to the airport (which is barely 2.5 Km away). I was expecting this would cost me around 30 INR on a rikshaw with meter. When I actually went to ask for the fare the rikshawala said 100 INR! I said I will pay whatever comes on the meter, but he refused to do so (This is pretty horrible, there should be a legal system in place by the RTO, Pune, to place a complain. If there is one it needs to be publicized, at least I am unaware of it!). Any way this guy came down to 80. I simply said that I would pay nothing above 60 and he agreed! On a second though I should have said even lesser. If he was not prepared for that, I would have simply walked to that place (I have done this many a times, but not to catch a plane of course!).

The trip from Madurai to Shivakashi was not a bad one, I was escorted with a guy who was giving one of the keynotes, and eventually also turned up to be the chief-guest. Anyways, I was quite amused to find a 4 lane highway here. Only if people also could follow the lane disciplines. But then, we are Indians ;-)

Also there seems to be nothing so interesting to see around Shivakashi, or rather that is the impression that I got. Have no plans to go around Madurai, as I have already been there before, twice. The Internet connection is also so-so, am currently using Airtel GPRS, which is simply too slow for anything other than checking some mails, and posting this!

I did better not say much about the conference it self, but can be summed as: Ok (my talk day 1), bore (day 2), bored (day 3). Now I simply want to go home. Makes me think again and again that I should simply switch my field. Only thing that I really care about is whatever I do, I should be enjoying it :-)

As of the collage where this was held, MEPCO Schlenk engineering collage, I must admit that it was a pretty good experience. I even interacted informally with a couple of students out here and guess the facilities that the collage provides along with the kind of teaching that is offered here is quite good.

In the end I felt that, my visit was more valuable in terms of the feedback I gave rather than what I presented there.

No idea on how the journey back home will be!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Free internet kiosk at public places: best case for Chrome OS

Ok, so I am getting bored at transit. Lesson learned: never take a flight with huge transit time, even if it might be a bit cheaper. Awaiting my flight at this "buzy" Singapore airport. I finally got my "private" wifi connection. Rather than using the public free internet kiosk.

I did use these public kiosks at the Sydney and the Singapore airport before. But the interface is just too bad and wants for a better experience. At Sydney this is provided by Optus, and surprise surprise its an Ubuntu terminal with I think either boots into Firefox or Seamonky as the browser. The bad part is that it is so locked down that you can just use it for one thing: browsing simple pages. The real bad thing is the interface. I clicked on the "delete private data" before giving it to another guy in queue. And this process took 2 minutes! As it rebooted the whole kernel. As far as this experience goes Singapore airport has much better interface. But guess what it runs Windows and Internet Explorer. Yuk ;-)

More over people seem to be least bit worried about clearing private data on public computers. There just needs to be better user interface. At Singapore airport, each session is only valid for 15 minutes and it automatically terminates (clears all cache) after that period. Which is one step better than what was there at Sydney airport.

This brings me to the point where I feel Google Chrome OS can provide a substantially better user experience and secure access to Internet. In fact, in all these kiosks all the ingredients for best user experience for Chrome OS are already present. I look forward for this change the next time I try to access a public internet access kiosk. And it would be best if it also has VoIP built in (see for instance

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tired of reading articles with obvious errors

An article in an Indian media reporting about Amazon's Kindle. Full of technical errors. Do the people who write such articles really know what they are writing about? Or is it just cut-copy-paste?! I wonder.