Friday, February 29, 2008

Sky from a Car

Sky from a Car, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

We were travelling from Agra to Mathura, while I was in India in August 2006. The evening was stormy and yet I could find some blue sky behind the clouds... A very interesting shot altogether.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Learning Photography

I found this collection of articles on photography.

Currency conversion Vs. purchasing power parity in articles

I am an subscriber in Switzerland (English version), and has read National Geographic Magazine (NGM) for a few years on and off. Its great magazine with stunning photographic content and research.

However, one thing has always troubled me. The way the writers/editors look at the other countries economic situation with an outsider's view. I would imagine that a publisher of their stature would go another level and get the local view.

For example, in an article on Hazara people of Afghanistan in Feb 2008 issue, there is a reference to two people working as labours and earning $1.2 for toiling hard. Fair that $1.2 looks like a very lowly sum when looked in USD, but, converting it to local currency brings out the fact that its equivalent to about 59 Afghanis.

And, by averaging that if a person earns 3 USD per day, he would end up with about 150 Afghanis. Now, what I expect from NGM is that they get to the reality and figure out what's actually possible with that amount. Whether its enough to buy food for the family, pay for the shelter stuff like that.

Well, its sort of given that there is poverty, but leaving the numbers in USD does not give a local image of the place. It rather leaves the reader perplexed, "Only $1.2, I spend more than that of money on cigerettes",or something like that.
In my view, its more important to show the purchasing power of the money that is being earned by the poorer people. Only then, the real extent of the poverty and the crisis they are facing will show up.

In another instance in the same article, one man is photographed with a caption that says that he works 12 hr days and earns about $65 a month. Again, I would expect the localization of the info here. Is it a norm that people in that region work 12 hr days. What good is 65$ in local currency, what can that money buy...

These numbers in USD or Euros or Pounds dont make much practical sense unless mapped with ground reality of what they are worth.

Another Open source initiative...

I am starting to think of joining another open source project on RoR. Its basically a helpdesk and workflow management solution, which would be totally web based.

I have used Peregrine for quite sometime now, and therefore have a view. I feel that there are some things in the tool that can be improved and therefore the idea. Another guy in US is also working on the topic.

Currently its hosted at

Replacing two separate lenses with a superzoom...

I have been playing around the thought of replacing my two lenses with one super zoom. And then with a next step, move into specialized lenses for special situations.

Read more about that here...

New image resizing technique

I found this amazing image processing technique called image re-targeting. This really is amazing.

Read more about it at this link here

Try this youtube video as well...

This stuff is really really innovative and brilliant. Congrats to the people behind it...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New leaves

New leaves, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

It is not honestly my shot, since it was taken by my better half. :)

It was another sunny afternoon, and the new spring leaves still dominate our surroundings. She took it not far from other other locations that inspired my shots.

I did some cropping and post processing to the original shot, and I think it has come out very nicely. I really like it... already considering for my wallpaper...

Remarks ?


Violets, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

While walking to my gym, I found this small bunch of violet flowers (dont know the exact name.. :( ) blossoming in the middle of dry leaves at the bottom of a tree.

Couldnt resist shooting since it gave me an interesting contrast. It was pretty sunny too, so the sunlight also played a role there.

Afterwards I sat down on my laptop to touch the saturation a bit before posting here.

Remarks ?

When I miss India

Yesterday evening when I was returning home from office, a lady boarded the bus. She looked very much similar to a south Indian native.

I knew by instinct that she was a Sri Lankan, thats because there are a lot more Sri Lankan people living in Switzerland than South Indians. However, I couldnt deny myself the possibility that she could very well be an Indian. Somewhere I wanted her to be an Indian, and then there was this urge to go upto her and speak to her. About where she is from, what does she do here, how long is she living here and all that.. kind of small talk..

There are times when living overseas you feel like getting back in touch with homeland. The people, the culture, the food, the mindset, local issues, scenarios.. things like that. And when you come across someone strange, where there is a possibility that he/she is from your homeland, the urge goes higher.

Another exponent for me are few hindi songs. Whenever I happen to listen certain hindi film songs, I feel very homesick... Take for example, "ऐसा देस है मेरा" from Veer Zara. Few more in the same genre would be...
  1. ये जो देस है तेरा, स्वदेस है तेरा... फ़िल्म स्वदेस
  2. घर कब आओगे - फ़िल्म बॉर्डर
  3. चिट्ठी आयी है - फ़िल्म नाम
These are some examples of songs that make me feel nostalgic about home. There is a strong urge of leaving all the overseas business and just move back home. Close to parents, family members, old friends everything...

I hope I am depicting the emotions correctly.

Interesting site found

I found this interesting site that talks about various topics in IT industry. Browse for few minutes and I liked it...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Saxophone player

Since it was a shot from a normal Minolta SLR, the digital version is a scanned copy given to my by the photo developing shop. I found it very interesting to see what digital alterations have done to the original scanned image. Specially the color balance, saturations.. And some cropping too...

Remarks pls...

Nice evening shot...

Found this while surfing DPreview galleries, absolutely magnificent shot...couldnt resist posting...

Adding pages to your rubyforge website

Thanks to Tim Hunter for guiding me to the faq to be able to post pages on the project website.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Leaves

New Leaves, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Spring is on the way, and my collection of rose plants are showing signs of new leaves...

Took this one on a sunny afternoon at my place.. second one from the set..

Spring's on the way

Spring's on the way, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Spring is on the way, and my collection of rose plants are showing signs of new leaves...

Took this one on a sunny afternoon at my place.

Remarks ?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another useful Ubuntu Blog and some samba help

I was trying to set up Ubuntu on my Dell Laptop (Btw, Gutsy doesnt work, and Feisty works out of the box). And as they say, it worked like a charm.

So, trying to configure samba sharing between my two laptops, I ran into some issues and was looking on google. Found this blog really helping

A few simple mistake though, setting up a samba share for the first time requires using

smbpasswd -a

so that the user can be created for samba.

It was giving me this message

Could not connect to machine NT_STATUS_LOGON_FAILURE
Failed to change password for raghav

and then, my windows workgroup name in smb.conf was not good either. So, changed that, and restarted the daemon using

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

and all's well in the samba world :)

I have also managed to set up the ssh server as well, so I can now work on rails stuff, without having to reboot the system. Its really pretty simple in Ubuntu. Just install the sshd package from Synaptics and you are good.

Now get some ssh client (like putty) and just remote connect to the in-house ubuntu server (sounds pretty impressive..huh..) and u r started. :)

Residence Permit renewal in Switzerland

In first week of November 2007, I submitted an application to renew my residence permit based on a work permit renewal request from my employer.

At that time, they said that the new permit would arrive in two weeks time. When I contacted them back, it was told to me that it normally takes 6 to 8 weeks, and the 2 weeks date that I was given was incorrect. Well, now, its more than 3 months and there is no permit in my mailbox.

The real problem behind this is, being a foreigner in Switzerland, this residence permit is part of "travel documents". So, for example, if I plan to visit Greece and apply for a visa at the embassy here, I would have to produce the right kind of travel documents. Not having a valid residence permit means that I cant apply for a visa anywhere.

Furthermore, embassies issue visas only for a period that is a month lesser than the validity of the residence permit. For example, if I would have a valid residence permit today in my hand, and I apply for a visa, I would get a visa starting tomorrow and valid till a date which is derived from residence permit's expiry.

Now with this permit already late by more than a few weeks, and the next extension to be applied within a few days, its pretty clear that there is no chance for me to be able to visit any european country for the immediate future.

Thanks for all the restrictions on Indian citizens.

A content Musician

I find the contentment in the instrument player phenomenal. A review request I posted on, people suggested that an angled view would have been better. Though I respect the views, since it was an spontaneous shot, I did not really got a chance to shoot another one.

Registered at Ruby forge

The Library Mananagment System project has been registered at RubyForge. You can access the default project page at http://rubyforge।org/projects/lms

In coming days, I am going to explore more about the project setup on ruby forge and then update accordingly. Right now, the default virtual host that we have got is called, but it really is the default page.

Would update more, perhaps post the few pages that I have thought of on the wiki there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Cute landscape...

Shamelessly referred from gak

Fantastic eye shot

Absolutely fantastic shot of the eye of a Giraffe.... by n2soaring

Giraffe family meal

Giraffe family meal, originally uploaded by j_wijnands.

Isnt that a cute shot...

I would have loved it even more if the shot would somehow gave view of the giraffe's height... :)

Red hot tulip...

I am not convinced about the level of redness this particular flower should have, but I still like the shot somewhere.
To me, it feels like the flower is of color fire-red... comments ?


A gentleman (Matt Simpson) suggested on dpreview that I could have processed the image as posted here, with which I absolutely agree. Reduced noise and cropping have brought the image in much more prominence.

Classes for Library...

More on the Library Project

Was thinking further on this and found a basic idea of the classes I would see..

  1. Book
    1. Properties
      1. Id
      2. title
      3. author1
      4. author2
      5. author3
      6. isbn no
      7. language
      8. type
        1. printed matter [default]
        2. dvd
        3. CD
      9. meta tags [comma delimited]
      10. year of publishing
      11. edition #
      12. issue cycle (days)
      13. No of copies
    2. Methods
      1. add
      2. remove
      3. update
      4. add a copy
  2. Lib Transactions
    1. Properties
      1. date of issue
      2. member id
      3. book id
      4. date of return
    2. Methods
      1. issue book
      2. return book
  3. Member
    1. Properties
      1. Name
      2. age
      3. address
      4. sex
    2. Methods
      1. Add
      2. delete
      3. update
Would update more...

Light rays from behind the clouds...

Found this in my old image collection (which I am reviewing these days). Immediately liked it and thought of sharing... I have to admit, its not the cleanest images, a situation shared by many of my old Minolta photographs.

DataWarehouse with Ruby on Rails

Recently joined Wish to join a few projects on similar direction.

While browsing through I found a project they call "ActiveWarehouse" using Ruby on Rails. Pretty interesting for me, since I come from Warehousing background myself.

I guess, I am going to read more about it and probably join the project. See if I can contribute something.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog

Found this interesting blog, quite a lot of interesting stuff and links to even more stuff..

Plugins, comments, comparisons...

Walking Trail...

Forest_Wanderweg, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Is it only me, or someone else also sees a column of light descending from skies into the far away end-point of the walking trail. Doesnt it look like the people are walking into oblivion...

Tiny Purple beus...

Small yet beautiful...

Colors of autumn...

Posted by Picasa

I specially like the different shades of green and red intermixed yet visibly present.

Useful color codes

Found this very useful color code page.

Very useful when you want to manipulate something on your blog's template by yourself.

5.5 Terapixel camera

Found this somewhere on internet...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Library Management System : Ruby on Rails

Well, I want to learn some more of rails and ruby (as much comes along).

And so I thought of building a tiny little web application to build a library management system based on rails and mysql.

The idea is that, it would be a web based application to manage the library from an staff member's point of view. At a later stage, there would be an additional viewpoint from the library visitor, to search for books, request for issue etc...

I also intend to build a page which could be used to issue out or receive books (as a library transaction).

Here is a summary of what I have thought this application would do.. to start with...
  1. Keep stock of books
    1. multiple copies of book allowed
    2. Allow searching for books in library
    3. search on meta tags
      1. Title
      2. description
      3. author
  2. allow books to be issued out.
    1. keep track of date of issue
    2. Expected date of return
  3. Administration
    1. Allow to add books
    2. Rename, replace, add remove copies etc.
  4. Reports
    1. Books overdue on a given date
    2. Members with overdue books
    3. Books that are most probable to go overdue
    4. Members most responsible for overdue books
    5. etc...

Well, thats the very first stage of requirement thinking that has been done.

Rails Tutorial...

Looks like I found another interesting rails tutorial...तुतोरिअल्स

Jodhaa Akbar in Zurich

On the 16th of Feb, we enjoyed Ashutosh Gowarikar's new epic "Jodhaa Akbar" in Zurich. A particular cinema, that seems to have some ties with Indian movie distributers was screening it for a few days. The same cinema had already screened "Welcome" in past.

Before the movie was released, we have seen quite a few reports about the movie's correct depiction of historical facts about the emperor Akbar and his Rajput wife Jodhabai. It was so clear that people were trying to gain publicity out of nothing. People and groups that nobody has ever heard of were now on TV news talking about history and correctness or incorrectness of the movie's depiction of historical facts.

This is typical of populists in India. Give them anything that can be cashed upon, and they will. Arranging demonstrations, publishing press releases, breaking stuff at cinema halls screening the movie and what not.

I am no historian, but ever since I remember, we were taught in history classes in schools that Akbar married a Rajput princess "Jodhabai" in order to start diplomatic relations with Rajputs and avoid un-necessary bloodshed. It was depicted as a rather intelligent trait of the ruler.

I dont quite know where did they get to know something different about Akbar or Jodhabai and are furious upon.

Now, given all that background of weeks before release of the movie, the antipication was high. At times I feel that the movie produces try to enrage such sentiments in people, just to get their movie the same sort of anticipation that I felt. It gives a feeling to people, "Lets see this movie, what the hell is all this agitation about".

As it turned out, the movie is a result of brilliant effort. Being a costume drama set in a different time slice, it was always going to be difficult for the director to produce the same feelings and effects of that time. However, in my personal opinion, he came out pretty good. The movie has great visuals, fantastic costume design and the two lead actors, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Roy, have not given their director anything to complain about.

At 3 hours 30 minutes, its a bit on the longer side of movie spectrum, but we didnt fell bore in there. Perhapy it was relatively easier for us since we knew certain parts of historical facts, but otherwise also, the movie is pretty engaging.

Congrats to Ashutosh Gowarikar on such a nice movie. :)

Drying leaves in an abyss

Drying Flower in an abyss, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

One of my rare attempts at close-up photography. found this by the sidewalk when I was going to the gym.

I dont have any sort of special macro lens (as George asked me the moment I asked him about Macro photography). Just the normal kit lens from my EOS 350D kit.

I hope its worth looking at.

Feel free to comment.. pls..

yOOrek's Rants'n Raves: Beautiful Photo of Old Lisbon

Here's a great photo George found somewhere...

yOOrek's Rants'n Raves: Beautiful Photo of Old Lisbon

Monday, February 18, 2008

Making a Tag cloud for Blogger

I have always seen web pages (blogs actually) showing many tags with different font sizes showing prominence of one tag over others. Today I realized that these things are called tag clouds. And then I was searching already as to how can I get one for myself.

It seems google can find anything for you, proven umpteenth time... :)

Here is what I found, first read looks promising...

Will implement it later though .. and report of course...

बाल कृष्ण की आरती

॥ श्री कृष्ण : ॥

आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ,
आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।

श्री यशुदा कौ परम दुलारो, बाबा की अँखियाँ कौ तारौ ,
गोपिन के प्राणन कौ प्यारौ, इन पै प्राण निछावर कीजे ।
आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।

बलदाऊ कौ छोटो भैया, कनुआ कह कह बोलत मैया ,
परम मुदित मन लेत बलिया, यह छवि नैनं में भर लीजे ।
आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।

श्री राधावर सुघर कन्हैया, बृज जन कौ नवनीत खिवैया ,
देखत ही मन लेत चुरैया, अपनौ सर्वस इन को दीजे ।
आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।

तोतर बोलत मधुर सुहावे, सखन मध्य खेलत सुख पावे ,
सोई सुकृति जो इनको ध्यावे , अब इनकू अपनौ कर लीजे ।

आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।
आरती बाल कृष्ण की कीजे, अपनौ जनम सफल कर लीजे ।

Gutsy on Dell Inspiron 5100

As planned, I was doing a bit of research on installing latest Ubuntu release on my Dell Inspiron 5100.

I had installed Feisty Fawn on the same laptop earlier without any issues. As it turns out, there are a lot of issues with Gutsy on Dell Inspiron 5100.

Some of the major issues..
  1. Display
  2. Heat Sink management (from software)
  3. Live CD booting
Here is one of the that point towards such problems...
When I tried to boot through the Live CD (downloaded today), I was greeted with a blank screen. Could only get in when I chose the safe graphics mode from the boot menu.

I am surprised at this situation, especially at the fact that a give set of hardware was supported by default in Feisty Fawn and not in the next release (Gutsy). There got to be something in the release planning that needs strong attention...

About my Dell laptop

I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 purchased in July 2003. It has worked pretty well duing these years. Lately, say last one year or so, I have had problems with it. The performance went down considerabley.

Taking cues from here and there, I went for memory upgrade and put on a 1 GB RAM chip. It did help but not as much as I would have liked.

then in July 2007 we went in our new laptop HP Compaq 6710b. Its working nice and fine, no problems.

Now, I do have this Dell laptop at home and want to put this to some good use. Selling it doesnt seem like very good idea,

a. because its not going to fetch any interesting money
b. its got a bit of emotional value for me (it was my first ever laptop)
c. I can always use a second system at home for experiments etc.

Last few months, I have tried to do a bit more research into getting this system to work better. The people around the place have suggested to do a BIOS upgrade. When I tried for the first time, it turned out that I had a really really old BIOS on this laptop and it wont be upgraded directly.

I had A06 and the current version was A32. So, I was forced to upgrade to A22 first and then only I could goto A31. I read about it on Dell Forums and have to thank dallascowboysworldchamps for the suggestion to the way forward.

A gentleman on one of the google groups ( suggested that I should install a software for monitoring my cpu fan. Available at this software seems to work.

It reports that my CPU temperature is fluctuating between 57 and 62 degree celcius and its regulating fan speed according to the temperature.

Overall, the system is performing much better already.

Lets see what comes next. I am thinking of installing Ubuntu on this laptop once again...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Year Fireworks - Zurich

Here's one from my collection of New Year Fireworks at Zurich Lake. The album is here

Sunset sky

Posted by Picasa

We went to do some sleghing an hour away from Winterthur (forgot the name of the place :( And while returning, I looked at this and thought, "How can I not capture this...".

Flower in Lauterbrunnen

Posted by Picasa

Shot in Lauterbrunnen in July 2007. Shared today :)

Stage at a concert

Posted by Picasa

Shot without any help from Tripod etc. It was a concert in Winterthur, such things I frequent even though I dont get a word of the poetry thats supposedly sung there (I dont get German yet.. :( ). So, I tried to capture the stage smoke and here's how it came out...

Comments Guys...

Paris Night Shot

Paris Night Shot 1, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Another one from same trip...

In this one, I specially like the way green color has come out from the lights in garden. Lovely view....

Tracadero from Effel Tower - Night shot

Paris Night Shot 2, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Took it from the top of Effel Tower, when we were in Paris in October. Spectacular lighting, I think such views truely give Paris the title, "City of Lights"

I like the way the detailing has come out despite that it was a landscapic shot and that it was so dark.

Kudos to the camera. :)

I have definitely seen the light...

As George would put it, I have definitely seen the light.

After the introduction to postprocessing and the cures possible as a result, I have a strong tendency of going back to my old photographs and look at them again in a new perspective.

Photos where I felt I did not so nicely, I could concentrate on them to "perhaps" get something out from them.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Evening sky in Winterthur

Forest Of Reds, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

An evening sky in Winterthur.

Forest Of Reds

Forest Of Reds, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Another one from my old photo set of Keukenhof photos from The Netherlands.

Touched a bit with PS...


yOOrek's Rants'n Raves: Defender - There is no substitute

yOOrek's Rants'n Raves: Defender - There is no substitute

Thursday, February 14, 2008


SingleTulip, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Tulip_drop, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Courtesy George, I am starting to look at post processing even more... This one is an altered version of the original photo

Anybody care to comment...

Post Processing of "By the side of Zurich lake"

By the side of Zurich lake, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Tried some of my first learnings on post processing on this photo.

Care to comment...
the original is here...

By the side of Lake Zurich, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Taken sometime in 2005 Dec, using my old Minolta Analog SLR (that should explain the grainy image quality). :(

However, I like the look of the photograph as it is, gives me a vintage painting like feeling.

My introduction to Post Processing

Yesterday, while discussing around photography, George agreed to show/tip me on somethings about Post processing.  Let me say it clearly here, that I am not a big fan of Post Processing a given photo in Photoshop or similar tools.

However, after what George showed me yesterday, I have to admit, yes, there is a certain benefit attached there.

I've only got to the very basic stuff till now, like controlling the blacks, the whites and such, but I am turning into a fan already.  

I have always seen photography as an art of the camera, and probably never realized what role Post processing play in terms on overcoming the mistakes the camera/man could have made.  I guess my knowledge of photography is going up another level.

Cant thank George enough on this.  

Know more about George at

Sunset at Louvre - 2

One of the better photos of sky that I have seen...

DSC_0409, originally uploaded by _maze_.

Great shot Marcel...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Violet beauties

violets_Keuk, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

From Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands.

Catching water at fountain

Catching water at fountain, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

I tried to capture the flow of water midway. Not that its some spectacular photograph somehow, I like the way flow of the water layer that looks like stopped mid-way.

Luzern, Switzerland

Interesting photo...

Grey Tower

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

महाराष्ट्र के हालत

यह महाराष्ट्र में क्या हो रहा है ? क्या किसी को दिख नहीं रहा कि कुछ नेतागण अपने किन्ही स्वार्थों के कारण सीधे-साधे नागरिकों में मनमुटाव पैदा कर रहे हैं।

इन श्रीमान नेताजी की बातों से पहले तो लोगों में कोई मन मुटाव नहीं था। इन श्रीमान ने कुछ अच्छा बुरा कहा और लोगों में मनमुटाव पैदा हो गया। बहुत बार ऐसा लगता है के हमारे नागरिकों में इतनी समझ तो होनी चाहिए कि इन नेताओं कि बातों का तत्त्व निकाल कर सोचें। बहुत बार ऐसे ख़याल भी आते हैं कि हमारे नेताओं को भी बुद्धिमानी दिखानी चाहिए और सोच समझ कर बयान बाजी करनी चाहिए।

सोच कर देखें...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rails fixed

After some delay on this item, I managed to spend some time on my Ubuntu system.

As it turned out, the rails env was in fact broken due to my mistake. Many versions of rails/ruby installed over period of time. From Ubuntu package management system, from Rails, ruby website. Many versions of gems etc...

So, I had to do a bit of cleaning up. In fact a lot of cleaning up. Removed ruby from Ubuntu packages perspective altogether. All of it. Removed rails from Ubuntu packages as well.

Then I got the latest ruby source code from and did the basic compilation. Nothing had to be configured for ssl or anything else. It worked like a charm. Lovely.

However, if you have some system running in production on rails, you better read a bit more on rails 2 before migrating to it. I managed because I am still playing around, and nothing is really running that is of production value. :)

It has quite some changes that do NOT fit in with rails 1.2.3 regime. Some of them are here Whats new in Rails 2

good luck :)

btw, found two interesting blogs on rails... adding them to fav links...

George's Experiments

Originally uploaded by yOOrek
Here's this one from George.

I dont want to sound negative, but I dont quite appreciate as much post processing as he loves.

Personally, I am more of someone who likes the photographs as they come naturally out of the camera thing. Not to say that post processing is something lesser or whatever, but its just photography to me stops at the camera.

Still like the image from George...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ice Skating

Saturday was a very sunny day... one of those really clear sunny days when everything is shining and you cant ignore the beauty scattered around.

We were just being lazy at home, basking in the sun coming in from the window when the call came. It was a friend from work and he suggested going for ICE Skating.

I like such adventures, though I am not good at most of them. But the very idea of something outdoor excites me. Its the same for my wife as well. And so, it didnt take him much to convince us to join him despite the fact that both me and her have not done it ever in our lives.

As expected, the weather outside was as good as it looked from the windows. Sunny with light breeze on, its that kind of sunny cold feeling that I love.

We had to rent the skating shoes and that turned out to be the least interesting part of the adventure. They didnt had her right size and therefore she had to settle for one bigger. That gave her constant pain the feet. :(

And, when we finally hit the rink, it was wonderful. Despite the fact that we didnt know ANY ice skating, the whole atmosphere was lovely.

We were so bad with the skating thing, that we couldnt even stand on ice without holding onto something. The side railing came to our rescue even for the slow walking across the ring. I cant say it was skating because it was not. We were literally, dragging ourselves through the place, making a mockery of ourselves (not that bad though). We saw little kids doing lot better than us. I was overwhelmed... really...

The Rescuers, Railing and Friends

Before yesterday, I had only seen ice skating on TV (on those ice skating championships, that they air even in India) and loved the way these sportsman sort of float on ice...those movements, gyrations... just wonderful. I always felt it to be like a piece of art.

An Expert at Work

Now that I was there myself, in person, it came to me in reality. There I was, looking at all those people moving on the ice, the kids, the teenagers, the couples, the experts, the novices, the first timers (like me). Before that moment I had only imagined this thing, never set foot on that surface myself. I loved it from the heart.

Besides the fact that I loved the sport already, the weather was proving to be a perfect companion. It was sunny, the rays bouncing off the surface, somehow made it look unreal. It was later afternoon, and so the shadows were getting longer and the sun turning orange. All of it gave the situation a very romantic perspective.

A glimpse of sunshine on ice

While we were there, a truck came on to the ring to clean the surface. As it was going about the ring with the cleaning bit, the surface behind it was gleaming. I couldnt stop thinking, "Where in India would I find such a place, with all that infrastructure, all that care, attention to tiny details".

I like the way the western countries maintain what they have built. The infrastructure they have, the system they have in place for building that kind of community structures and maintaining them.

There were some learning aids for ice skating। An steel bar, a ice-man etc using which you could get a head start with skating. We tried to use some, but didnt get much out of it. Where I managed a few stints with the aid, my wife didnt like it so much (perhaps it was her shoes, hurting so she couldnt enjoy much anyway).

Steel Bar - The Learning Aid

After about about two hours we came back. It turned out to be pretty tiring. We didnt feel it right away, but the effort to skate showed up with legs, specially ankle aftwards.

We had planned to go to the local town carnival parade, but skipped give the tiredness.

Will write about that sometime later.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pink Tulips Lit by Afternoon Sun

What lovely light effect ...
Absolutely creative and fantastic photograph... :)

Forest of Tulips...

Flowers_field, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

This one give me a feel that I m standing in front of a huge wall of Tulips. Though George said its not as sharp as he would want it to be, but then he always says that for all my photographs...

Sometime I wonder if he's actually telling the truth... !!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

With Java again after 6 years

For some reason, I had to go back to do some Java programming stuff after a long time today. Before today, last I did some Java programming was way back in 2002.

As it turned out, I had forgotten everything of Java by now. I couldnt' even write the basic Hello World by myself as it is. Then I had to turn back to Sun's Java Tutorial (available here) and restart learning.

It was very exciting to remember all that I had forgotten back again. It really was. To write a basic java application saying "Hello Raghav" and later on writing my own math class. I created a square function with two constructors. I really liked it.

However I have to say that, way back in 2001/2 when I was writing JSPs and Swing Applets (using Java 2 as they called java 1.2 then), we were writing code using Editplus and JDeveloper and VisualAge kind of tools. They were not so nice actually.. to develop the kind of stuff we were building. JSPs, Beans EJB etc.

On the other hand, when I was trying this thing today, I saw that there was Eclipse, Netbeans and so many other IDEs for developing with Java. So much has changed in the development arena for Java, its almost unrecognizable. Not that I was unaware of all these changes, It was just going unnoticed in terms of real effect since I was an onlooker before today.

I really like programming, and I wont say that I dont like some help doing the stuff. The Syntax highlighting, automatic syntax checking, one click compilation kind of thing, handling classpath, adding external JARs ... and the list goes on... I tried Eclipse and found it an amazing help.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

हिन्दी में पहली ब्लोग एंट्री

पहली बार में हिन्दी में ब्लोग पर कुछ पोस्ट कर रहा हूँ । बहुत अच्छी फीलिंग हो रही है। मेरी भाषा को इतना सम्मान मिल रहा है, मेरे लिए यही बहुत बड़ी बात है।

मैंने हमेशा से यह महसूस किया है कि हिन्दी को बड़ी भाषाओं कि तरह कंप्यूटर क्षेत्र में सम्मान नहीं मिलता, काफी हद तक इसलिए कि इसकी लिपि (script) बिल्कुल अलग है, बाकी पश्चिमी भाषाओं की अपेक्षा।

मैंने पहली बार हिन्दी भाषा में कोई कंप्यूटर ऍप्लिकेशन देखा था, Ubuntu, Unix जैसा दिखने वाला operating system. फिर उसके बाद काफी कुछ और आया है बाज़ार में।

लेकिन आज गूगल पर हिन्दी में ब्लोग करने कि क्षमता को देख कर मैं बहुत ज्यादा खुश हूँ।

धन्यवाद गूगल।


Children Park

Snow_Park, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

One of my all time favourites. I like this one for the feeling that it gives away. whether its a painting or a photograph ?

And also, all the snow has given the whole scenery a sad kind of feeling. That adds to the effect.

Isnt that striking ?

I find this one very interesting.

Primarily for the background that almost completely dark. And therefor the flower kind of stands out. The colors have come out pretty nice as well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sentries at Wagha...

IMG_7894, originally uploaded by

Nothing technically special about the photograph though, however, I feel that I should mark it to my blog.

The primary reason, its from Wagha border (India-Pakistan border in Punjab). I have been to the place and there is a special ceremony to mark the "taking down the flag" in the evening.

Border guards from both countries try to impress as much as they can over tiny little things and it feels both funny and awkward and patriotic.

So, reminiscing Wagha...

Cute baby...

Referred with regards from

I wonder whether some would call that a bit overexposed ?