Monday, January 26

Irony

What started as a misal pav ended as shaaq rotali, while watching 2 states.


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Friday, January 23

Single Page Applications and Advantages of using Angular JS

Disclaimer: Below are some points that I found while reading online about SPA’s and Angular Js. Most of the information is taken from sitepoint’s website. This can be considered as a reproduction of those articles, I am writing it down here for my reference.

What is SPA?
SPA or Single page application allows a web application to offer more native-app-like experience to the user. Single page apps are distinguished by their ability to redraw any part of the UI without requiring a server roundtrip to retrieve HTML. This is achieved by separating the data from the presentation of data by having a model layer that handles data and a view layer that reads from the models.

Two way data binding
Angular js always keeps in synchronization the data between the model and the view. Data binding means that you don’t have to put the data in the view manually. The model is a single point of contact and a direct projection to the view. Thus whatever changes in the model also changes in view and vice versa. This hugely reduces the amount of boilerplate code written to keep your views in sync with the models.

Declarative user interface i.e Directives in Angular JS
Angular uses HTML to define an app’s user interface. You can extend your HTML to include new Elements, add new attributes which in turn is used by your JavaScript code to execute your app. This declarative approach greatly simplifies app development. Rather than defining how the program flows, we just define what needs to be loaded and angular takes care of the dependencies. “Directives” are angular’s way of extending your HTML code.
Angular uses HTML for templates. This keeps things simple and allows designers and developers to work simultaneously.

Filters
Filters in Angular JS, filter the data before they reach the view. It can involve something as simple as appending currency symbol, implementing pagination, displaying content based on parameters etc.

Services in Angular JS
Controllers in angular js are simple functions which only manipulate the scope of information. For example, in controllers you can prefill data into the scope from the server or implement business logic. Angular JS introduces Services, which do the heavy lifting. Services don’t get involved in the MVC of the application, but it provides an API which exposes information. Most of the time it ensures data is being passed through and forth from the server, or it could be used as a resource sharing system which allows several controllers to communicate with each other.

Unit Testing Ready
The whole of Angular is linked together by Dependency injection. It’s what it uses to manage your controllers and scope. With Dependency Injection, angular can perform unit test by injecting mock data into your controller and measuring your output and behavior. 

Wednesday, January 21

Book Review : Losing my Virginity – Richard Branson - World's greatest Entreprenuer

I am glad I picked up this book some days back from the library. What way to end the year. The only thing I knew about Richard Branson was that he was associated with the Virgin Group.  I remember I had read about it way back in 2008 when I had just been a fresher out of college and hunting job. I had come for an interview and the owner had Richard Branson’s book in his book shelf.
 
The book’s subtitle – “World’s greatest Entrepreneur” – is indeed applicable to Richard. The book itself is a roller coasters ride and I was fascinated by the life and works of Sir Richard Branson. The book starts with a Ballooning expedition that Richard B. took up as a hobby. This shows that he was not at all afraid to plunge himself in risk, he liked adventures and later in the book I learned that it was all true. Because the way Virgin Group expanded leaps and bounds introducing great products to the consumers and making Virgin a brand, only Richard Branson could do that.
 
This book, like no other book gets into details wherever required and keeps the reader intrigued. We get to learn the early yesteryears of Sir Richard Branson, how he started “Student” a magazine for the students and how he expanded on the business by introducing new products down the line. How he formed a team and started the Virgin Group.  Things that I learned from this book were that Richard Branson was a risk taking man, he wanted to try new things and was always ready to push himself an extra mile if required.  To establish such a large empire, one has to be calm and at the same time also make rigid decisions.
 
I really enjoyed reading about Virgin music, however the best part was in Virgin Atlantic. One can really learn a lot from this entrepreneur.
 
Below are some of the notes I took down directly from the book. I am posting it here just for my future reference.
 
·         Parents Supportive.
·         Incubated an idea to start a magazine “Student” with a friend at Stowe – a big public school at Buckinghamshire.
·         Headmaster’s parting words, “Congratulations, Branson. I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire”.
·         Throughout my life, I’ve always needed somebody as a counterbalance, to compensate for my weakness and to work of my Strengths.
·         Business could be a creative enterprise in itself. Create something that is original and stand out in the crowd, Something that will last and serve some useful purpose. Above all, you want to create something that you are proud of.
·         A business has to be involving, it has to be fun and above all it has to exercise your creative instincts.
·         Music was tremendously exciting, it was political, it was anarchic, it summed up the young generations dream of changing the world.
·         It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk taker, then the art of a good risk is to protect the downside.
·         “Do you realize what you are getting into?” McLaren asked me. “I do”, I assured hm. “The question is, do you?”
·         “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” – Oscar wilde.
·         “When you are invited for dinner, you’re not meant to walk away with cutlery.
·         I am always trying to broaden the group so that we are not dependent upon a narrow source of income, but I suspect that this is due more to inquisitiveness and restlessness that sound financial sense.
·         I resigned myself to fate and forced myself to make the best of it.
·         I have always believed that personal relationships are vital in business and that people should be directly accountable for their actions.
·         I told him that I just wanted the chance to compete with British Airways and that I wasn’t going to let them walk all over me.
·         If you put your mind to something you can attempt anything.
·         I not only find the work both inspiring and relaxing but also enjoy the brief solitude.
·         I suppose that he called on a Saturday night to impress upon me how urgent our financial crises was and once again he wanted to go over the figures.
·         I felt a wave of indignation (anger caused by something that is unfair or wrong)
·         It’s like having to kill something to prove that it was alive.
·         It’s so easy to pull something to pieces. It’s so much more difficult to build it up.
·         We had $500 million in the bank. At this point I could have retired and concentrated my energies on learning how to paint watercolors or how to beat my mum at golf. It wasn’t in my nature to do so. People asked me, “Why don’t you have some fun now?”, but they were missing the point. As far as I am concerned, this was fun. Fun is at the core of how I like to do business.
·         For anyone who starts without financial backing a very thin line exists between success and failure. Survival is the key priority.

Sunday, January 4

Murud alibaug diary

We were planning for an outing for a long time now. Even this time we planned. But my past experiences told me that this one too, would be a big fail. However thanks to pranav, he booked the hotel and so we had to go.

I had no clue about Murud beach, had heard about Alibuag and that’s it. Call me an introvert, but the thought of going out somewhere makes me kill myself. With date fixed, hotel rooms booked and a car ready, I had no excuses this time, and I am glad for that. Thank you Sanjyoti, Shantanu and Pranav, I am glad you guys forced me into this.

25th Dec, got up pretty early and I had Pranav’s bike to commute. Packed my Suitcase, took my Camera (Canon 1200D) and off I was. Forgetting roads, driving super slow etc is typical me so I won’t bore you with the Story.

We started late, were caught up in the traffic, Pune Traffic so you can imagine, however we were just in time before sunset. Especially for photography. Shantanu and I were to compete.
Murud is a very clean beach near alibaug region. About 200Kms from Pune, it is a good weekend destination. It has various historical monuments and a very famous Janjira fort. Read about Murud on this wikipediaarticle 

Even though it was a public holiday, we did not find Murud beach crowded. It was surprising to see the beach quite deserted. The beach was very clean, no noise pollution except for some honking of beach scooters. Low waves meant we could walk at the shore with our costly cameras in hand.
How and why I got my DSLR is a totally different story and calls for its own post. I had done no research and got a canon 1200D totally on my instincts and I must say I am proud of it. However the hard lesson for a noob like me with no prior knowledge of handling a SLR is that one has to actually sit and learn how to operate this camera. And that is fine. I totally enjoyed holding and random clicking on it. Loved it.

Murud Beach during sunset
Back to Murud beach, with Sun about to set, I had my gear ready and I was on a shoot. Click, Click, Click. Walking on an empty beach, with toes deepen just enough, it was blissful. Enjoying the breeze we then walked back towards our hotel. Found an empty bench, we relaxed and played some old Hindi music.



We decided to dine in a restaurant next to our hotel. The restaurants there mostly serve thalis. Without any thoughts we ordered a Surmai (King mackeral) Fish thali. It was just perfect. Perfect mixture of all the spices, right amount of everything. After dinner we went for a walk followed by few hours of Cards. We played challenge, mendicote etc. That was a perfect way to end day.

Next morning we were all up before sunrise, fresh and ready to rock and roll. Morning breakfast was a simple pohe and tea. As per planned we all went towards the shore to take a dip. There were some water sports and we had to experience that. I was very excited since it would was my first time. We some bargain, we booked our self for scooter ride, banana ride and bumpy ride.

Scooter ride was a good experience followed by bumpy ride. Don’t ask why it is called a bumpy ride. Sanjyoti if you are reading this, you can ask. (Pun intended). If you are ever on a beach and there is a bumpy ride, you should must experience it. An air filled bag like a bed has some rope hooks. You have to lie on your stomach and grab the hooks. This bed is then tied to the scooter via a rope. At first it feels a little silly but the real orchestra is when the scooter takes you for a spin. The driver rides you across the waves and you are sure to bounce in the water. The gush of sea water hits your face, the waves hit and at the same time you bounce. I was awestruck. It was superb, exhilarating experience.
We then took the banana ride. Again my first time. We took our seats and off we were. I was told that we would be made to fall from the ride halfway and then we had to swim our way back. We had life jackets. So we would always float. Later I realized that we have to jump off the banana boat and enjoy the water. The scooter rider or the guide would not do anything magical to make us fall. So if you are reading this and have never taken a banana ride before, next time you are on a beach, try this ride. When you are some distance close to the shore, confident enough that you can swim, get up and JUMP off the ride. It is equally fun and a must to do in a banana ride. Trust me.

The life jackets were fun indeed. You just float when you are in water. We spent nearly an hour in the water meditating on our backs, splashing water on each other, doing gymnastics, yoga etc.
We then took a shower and as decided went via a boat on a deserted fort. It almost broken and barely had any structure. We saw few fishermen and some tourist like us.  The fort that you see in the below picture was quite intimidating and our decision to go there turned out fruitful. I got some very good shots.

Fort
We returned back to the beach after spending an hour. We decided to lunch in another restaurant and Thali was the choice of all. I again called for a surmia thali, who would want to skip the chance of having a fish thali? Not me.

Murud also has a very famous janjira fort, another tourist attraction. Travel to the jetty and take a boat to the fort. From the outside, it was huge and appeared well preserved. We had a plan to visit janjira, however on reaching the jetty we were astound by the queue of fellow travelers. It was huge and our chances of getting to janjira appeared minimal. Also a wait of almost 2 hrs did not sound feasible, so we returned back to go to the beach. Anyways we were at the Murud to relax and spend a quality time.

The next day we took off early to go to Alibaug. It was just 40kms from Murud so we had to take a detour to Alibaug before returning back to Pune. The alibaug fort is another tourist attraction. After entering the beach, you have to walk about 1Km to reach the fort. If it is low tide, we could walk from the beach however during hide tides the waves hit the shore and it could be difficult to walk. We reached early during the day at low tides. We quickly walked to the fort, paid the enterance tickets and were ready to shoot again. We were at the Kolaba fort. We saw a temple, and walked across the fort to click some nice pics including selfies. A trip without a selfie is no trip. After spending about an hour we walked back since the tides were high and we would have to walk through the water. Fun times. However the beach authorities turned on the alarm and were informing the tourist to come back from the fort as soon as possible.

From the  Alibaug Fort
After sipping our coconut water, we started back to return. The road was clear with no traffic so our return was pretty easy. By 6.00PM we were back in Pune and by 6.30PM I was home. 

Friday, January 2

Points to Consider while developing Responsive HTML emails

a)    The email should not exceed 600px in width. It should be developed in table-based layout and not div based layout.

b)    Preferable 1 column layout, but we can work with maximum 3 columns. Email with more than 3 columns would be very difficult to develop on mobile clients.

c)    Major email clients + email service providers to consider when testing your email.
•    Desktop clients: Lotus notes, Apple mail, Outlook, Thunderbird.
•    Mobile clients : Android email client, Android Gmail client (Limited responsive email support), IPhone, IPad, Blackberry (Limited responsive email support), Windows phone (Limited responsive email support)
•    Web based email clients : Yahoo mail, Gmail, Outlook.com, AOL (Test on various browsers but majorly on IE, Mozilla and Chrome)

d)    After developing HTML emails, make sure to use some service providers such as mailchimp.com to send your emails. This will ensure that email does not break visually and your output is as expected on various clients. Most of the time it is noticed that after developing the emails, developers copy the HTML in an outlook client and then send it from there to test on various devices. This is not the correct way and it will not work. The design will break in mobile device and it would not render on Browsers. Before sending your test email, outlook deletes some of your original code and inserts ms-* specific code. So the best way to test emails is by sending it via mail chimp or campaign monitor. You could use litmus.com to test your emails on numerous clients. Litmus creates a snapshot of your test email and displays it to you how it performs on various clients.

e)    Images should be uploaded to some server.

f)    A design cannot be 100% converted to an HTML email. Font-size may render different on different clients. Outlook/AOL/Lotus notes clients do not render background images. CSS3 properties such as rounded corners, gradients will not work on outlook.

g)    Emails should be viewed only on the mobile clients. If you view the email from browser of your mobile devices, it may or may not work (also not recommended).

h)    Major email clients that are HTML/CSS3 code friendly are iPhone and android. However Gmail App for Android is an exception.