Sunday, May 23, 2010

Android 2.1 Update on Verizone Wireless Droid Eris

Recently received an OTA (Over the air) update to Android 2.1 on my Droid Eris device. It went fairly well. I noticed complaints on the internet about the contacts being deleted but for me they seem to be restored. It could be that I have already backed up my contacts on My Verizon and a Verizon service restored these contacts from there. Anyway, here are at some very useful features and tips to exploit the new features of the phone:

1. Check out the Google Voice Based GPS Navigation.
2. Seven home screens. Add some HTC Widgets or Android Widgets such as Facebook, Twitter, etc to individual home screens. These widgets give you a quick preview of any latest updates.
3. Pinching inwards shows a preview of all seven home screens.
4. Set up free Yahoo email finally from here. Note this requires 3G on.
5. Now, on other home screens, you can also add the Mail widget. The most impressive part of this option is it lets you choose which account to preview within the widget. Hence, I have my office email preview on one home screen and personal Yahoo email preview on another home screen.

However, there is one annoying feature in the phone which seems to occur as a result of adhering to some security policies of Microsoft Exchange. You will need to set up an unlock password on your phone and re-enter it each time, you wish to wake the phone up from its idle state.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cuisine of Rajasthan

My Ranavat lineage originates from the western state of Rajasthan in India. It is a state of beautiful forts, amazing sand dunes and has a rich history of battles fought by Rajputs with the invaders of medieval times who came from modern day Afghanistan, et al. Of course, one of the most fascinating aspect of this state is its food and is something that never fails to mesmerize me. Here I would like to share three videos on the Rajasthani cuisine from a TV series that comes on an Hindi News Channel in India called NDTV India. Now what's special about this TV series, is that the anchor, Vinod Dua, visits small towns and cities across the country and visits the eateries that are popular among the locals and do not necessarily find a place on an average tourist's itinerary. But after watching the episodes, I am sure you will realize that your trip to Rajasthan would be incomplete without visiting one of these eateries in cities such as Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur and Sreenathji:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bollywood radio on Android

I possess a HTC Droid Eris smartphone (Verizon Wireless, Android 1.5) and recently found a nice way to listen to online Hindi/Bollywood radio stations. Here are the steps:

1. Download StreamFurious application from Android Marketplace.
2. I usually listen to online radio stations that are run on Shoutcast
3. Go to Shoutcast in your browser, search for the radio station and click "Tune In"

One of my favorites is Radio Teentaal for a mix of popular Hindi Film and pop songs and .977 FM for Latest English Hits

Monday, April 12, 2010

Satyam scandal inspires spamsters

The recent Satyam fiasco in India has inspired creative spamsters to impersonate a family member of the Ramalingam family and send spam messages. Quite creative and I will publish a message that I received here in the hope that my blog does not get blocked :)


My name is Radha Ramalinga,I am the wife of Rama Ramalinga,the younger brother of Byrraju Ramalinga Raju,former chairman,founder and owner of Satyam Computers.

I do have a proposal for you,which would be of immense financial benefits to you and I.

My husband and his brother are currently in big trouble in India,I need your assistance to help me move some funds from Holland to India or anywhere where it would at least be of some help to our family.

I would give you more details of this proposal if you show yourself willing to take on it,I assure you that you would most certainly be compensated but please I would kindly request you to keep this matter confidential.

I am currently here in the UK where it is a bit safe for me and my kids.

You can reach me on my personal email id which is

Yours sincerely,


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Network Infrastructure After a Crisis has occurred

Interestingly there is an organization for this purpose too. Check out NetHope . They go around establishing network infrastructure to mitigate the dire need for access to information technology to aid in collaboration in relief work.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Crisis Camp for Haiti Earthquake Victims

I recently attended a session organized by Crisis Commons at Yahoo Campus in Sunnyvale, CA to build applications that could be used by NGO and other relief organizers in Haiti working to help earthquake victims. My honest intention was to observe the kind of applications that people are building for such purpose and I have to admit I came back quite impressed with the plethora of applications.

Similar camps were being organized across the country. Conference calls were being held between volunteer project managers at different locations discussing project status, needs and hand-over of projects from the east coast locations to other locations at the end of the day. There was even a deployment environment provided for such applications. There were some stumbling blocks - such as scattered information on wikis, twitter and IRC channels and long searches for projects that needed developers. If you were a Ruby on Rails or an Android programmer or a translator, there were several projects that required urgent programmers. Several applications were being built around using maps to aid in emergency response and scraping twitter feeds and news articles to increase awareness. Mobile applications were being built as interface to several applications to help people on the field quickly communicate.

I would like to list the two projects that I believe could go a long way in aiding earthquake victims:

1. We Have We Need: A Craigslist type website to help people post needs and providers responds to those needs. The needs range from demands for crutches to requests to private plane owners to fly in relief supplies to Haiti

2. Person Finder: A mobile application to report the condition of individual people in Haiti.

I personally teamed up with few talented programmers who attempted to search twitter for tweets that were demanding help of different kinds in Haiti. The aim was to take a Twitter feed and put it under a generic category of different types of requests for help. We were not close to completing the project but I learnt several things about how Natural Language Processing Libraries such as Word Net could be used to identify the subject and context of the tweet and that of course using the Twitter API is a piece of cake.

For more information, check out the Crisis Commons Wiki