What is this Agile anyway?

These days in office, people all talk in hi-fi terms only – Agile, Scrum, Sprint, User Stories, Stand-Up, Sync-Up, Burn down chart, Kanban board etc. etc. long list. They seem so super excited that agile is so awesome, without agile we would have struggled like anything. I feel like blasting them, ‘there has been so many invention which did not follow agile like nuclear bomb creation, we were successful in making it, dropping it and killing millions of innocent people, so agile no big deal’. Very frankly speaking ok, I really don’t know definition and complete meaning of any of these hi-fi terms, so most of the time when these people talk to me, hundreds of other things will be in my mind like finishing work, going home early, paying bills etc. So thinking to increase my knowledge level enough to appreciate what others are talking about, I spend a week on google search and then Boss I dropped learning further, I went totally crazy. You know why, I couldn’t grasp anything, it was so confusing, I think my brain got fried up or something, God only knows whether it became chicken fry or mutton fry.

So I didn’t gain any new knowledge doesn’t mean I am going to disappoint anyone, I will relate personal experience. These days, personal experience means a lot more than just google searched ditto copy, isn’t it? Ok ok, am again beating around the bush, such hot topic means you should check temperature of bush first otherwise its dangerous, you might get burnt. So where do I start. Hmmmn, I will start from where I think it starts according to me, and I tell you in advance please do not use this post as reference material and all, later don’t come to me and tell you said so and so and you did so and so.

There is one shepherd in every team a.k.a ‘scrum master’. One fine morning, he will call all his goats a.k.a ‘team members’ into one dark room. He is specially trained guy by the management to do this rearing business i.e. to show green pastures and how much you should clear in next 2 weeks. Multi responsibility guy this shepherd, sometimes he seems like big guy – facilitator other time coach, yet some other time he seems like small guy – book keeper or librarian, I still don’t know he is big or small guy.  Anyway I am just another goat, like any other goat so I don’t really know what more the shepherd does other than tend his goats and it seems like not my headache to poke into such matters.

So once we are all flocked together, the shepherd will open up a picture a.k.a ‘burn down chart’ and show us how much grass we have already burned down, where we have reached till now, where we should be after two weeks a.k.a ‘sprint’. It’s such a tight schedule that seeing it only you will start getting butterflies in your stomach, ‘this much to do in this sprint’. Last sprint also we all did lot of burning, next sprint also we have to burn, burn more and more, keep on burning week after week, Boss, I really need some breathing time, don’t you think. Then the shepherd will present to you the all the grasslands to be burned for the next 2 weeks a.k.a ‘User stories’. You have talent, how else could you break or simplify everything into User-Stories for two-week sprint, did you also plan for designing, Architecture, fixing reboot issues…? And then the shepherd tells in the most pleasing way possible, ‘so and so will take this much ‘User Stories’, the other will take this much, I think you have more than enough time’ and then one question, ‘it can be completed right?’ That moment Boss, I feel like putting fire to the burn down chart itself, let it burn completely all at once, why doing this week after week. Boss, I haven’t seen this so called grassland which you just talked about, what if there might be some challenges on the way, what if some bugs creep out of nowhere, what if I fall sick, what if?…Instead of taking up engineering, I should have taken up astrology, atleast I could have predicted the future in advance, ‘Vatsa, in the next 2 weeks, Jupiter seems to be in your Mars, and this may or may not interfere with your sprint…’ Again the shepherd looks sharply; I have to give an answer which should be yes. I look around at other goats; all of them have nodded their heads already, I also do ‘mundi hilana’ like Shahrukh Khan in Chennai Express. Who wants to be pictured as talentless, that too in the beginning of a sprint, if others can do, even I can do. I have also come after completing my engineering bros.

After this meeting is dispersed, everyone runs to their seats to start their burning. No left side look, no right side look, burn, burn and burn. We goats miss the big picture in this super simplification, we won’t know what others are actually doing. Is this knowing only your ‘user stories’ part of the system really good for you and your career? If I get some doubt and approach any other goat, they will give me that look, burning look not to disturb or am troubling them, interfering with their burning. No blaming here, I also don’t feel like helping anyone, it is additional pain and trouble. So even if I see someone is doing something wrong, I will have to think twice. Helping another person to burn his tasks won’t reflect in my burning or no one is going to notice it and even the goat who got helped will also not tell it out loud. As a result of this kind of attitude, you are avoiding sharing of knowledge and in turn loosing chance to learn. Only if people are willing to help one another, only then will innovation or creativity come up. But will it work if disciplined project execution is the only thing in mind?

Next day morning itself, we start with stand-ups. Till yesterday afternoon, we were in that planning meeting, what do you think I did after that, feel like telling ‘nothing much to tell’ but then others start speaking out, ‘I downloaded a document, I searched this point in that document, I couldn’t find it there, today I am planning to search in one another document’, don’t you think this is too much. Should I give account of my each and every move, isn’t it enough that I show the ground after its finally burned. Is this much micromanagement really required? Already my mom is telling, ‘Beta, eat food properly’, it is true, I am dying of fear and anxiety, ‘Amma, food is getting stuck in throat’, night I am doing google search to frame tough sentences to catch up with what others are saying about their updates, I don’t want to be looked at by others as talent-less.

In school we used to have black board no, where teacher used to write using coloured chalks and students used to watch, but here it is white board a.k.a ‘kanban board’. This board is also made colourful, not with chalk but with 3M’s POST-IT sticky notes. Whatever user stories was assigned to each team members will be written next to his/her name on this board on individual sticky note, this is the start point of the race. Now the race begins – ready, steady, go – the first person to move every tasks against their name to the finish point is the winner of this race. Here the goats move notes on board, the shepherd watches. If you don’t move some note somewhere forward on a daily basis, you will be looked down by others as an incapable person. No one cares about whose task is more complex, whether it will take more time or not, whether there will be any blocks on the way, nothing, its like comparing ant and elephant, utmost stupidity. All what is cared for is ‘did you reach the finish point in time?’ It’s like Lord Krishna had known agile was coming when he said, ‘The goal is more important than the path.’

You might now ask what’s problem in completing tasks in time, that’s anyway your work, why am I complaining, good question Boss, very good. First thing, I don’t like this daily surveillance, what you don’t trust me, my capability, Boss, you hired me knowing am good and capable to do this work, suddenly you lost trust in me or what, better do one thing, fit one camera on me, so you can know 24*7 what I am doing, how I am spending time. Is this people-productivity management tool to find the under performers on the spot and expel them then and there? Then I have one point, if this sprint I performed extremely well, will you increase my salary also on the spot, that would be motivating if you say, ‘Today you did work very well, take 1 lakh extra!’ No right, only at year end you will give any appraisal, and by then everyone would have forgotten all your over performances, only under performances will be highlighted. Suppose you do meet all deadlines in time by struggling very hard, but for some reason you miss one deadline, you know what happens. It will be the only thing in discussion during appraisal time, ‘you are one who gave estimate, and you couldn’t meet it’. It’s not that I wanted to give wrong estimate, I am telling you again, I am no astrologer, if you are one, you only assign the deadline, don’t ask me to estimate, I am human I might make mistakes.

As if the daily stand-ups wasn’t good enough, we will have more endless stand-Up, Internal team Sync-Up, Cross-functional team Sync-Up and other -Up meetings spending 5-10 hours per week and after all these Up meetings, where is the time to work anyway, should I stretch more or should I multi-task? All these meeting are compulsory, its like working under a dictator rule. If I skip any of these meetings, it will be a big hungama, I am not serious it seems. Boss, since I am serious in my work and since I feel like these meetings are pointless, so only I skip them, why else would I skip simply sitting staring at projected views. Suppose you sit at any of these meeting means you will be expected to talk non stop about what all you did, the same thing only we talked in morning stand up, you should have recorded it and kept. The lesser you talk the less work your doing this is the conclusion that is arrived at. 

At the end of the sprint comes the feedback session. First the burn down chart updated with current sprint details will be projected. Then looking at this chart in dismay, one big discussion will start pointed at the engineers and engineers alone. Why burning did not happen as expected, why task not completed on time? Why only the poor engineers are punished? Shouldn’t everyone be accountable – planning, required resource and logistics, understanding of the complexity involved in the task etc.? Is there no project failures with Agile or what? I feel under agile, technical challenges are overshadowed and piled up since this is not seen by people who decide what needs to be done, until it’s too late. There is no mention of the quality of work anywhere, only completion on time is discussed. Then all of us have to start relating what all problems were faced and these all these will be heard, recorded, filed, stamped and never solved. Even in next sprint also, the same problems will be present and it will also be recorded, stamped to be never solved. I ask, then why is this feedback taken anyway? We could have used this time for something else. So is agile a boon or a bane? 

I know this is a pretty long post but let me know what you think about this post and do share in your thoughts too by commenting below.

A glass of Ginger Lime Juice please!

It has been very cold in Bengaluru and for the past one week, my friend has been winter sick. Sick as in fever, cold, headache etc. and she was taking in loads and loads of tablets. First I thought not to interfere into it. She was popping tablets one after the other, one for cold, one for fever, one for headache, and then some random tablets, God knows for what all reasons and that’s when I decided to intervene, ‘taking so many tablets is not so good, not safe‘, I told her. ‘Then what should I do?, I am sick, I need something to atleast stay put.’ She said in her usual bossy tone but I wasn’t in a mood to let it go that soon. I don’t like tablets, let alone taking them in large quantities. Then I thought about my Grandma’s home remedies for cold, sneezes, and other winter woes. And the first thing that came to my mind was ginger. The health benefits of Ginger have been well known to Indians for a very long time. Ginger contains many vitamins and also manganese & copper, all of which are very essential for proper functioning of the body.

So I took her to our office cafeteria and ordered for both of us a glass of ginger lime juice each. So while they were preparing the juice which takes around 5-10 minutes, we sat down and waited for the drink and she started asking what’s so great about this drink. I knew some benefits of ginger but I didn’t know well enough to explain to her in detail. So I just blabbered something to her to save the scene and thought about conveying the benefits through a post.

Ginger Benefits:

Next to the benefits offered by ginger, I have listed some popular tablets (in brackets) which also claim to provide the same benefits when consumed.

gingers

1. Anti Inflammatory: Ginger contains antioxidants which help to increase the flow of fresh blood by removing harmful impurities in the body, reducing joint inflammation and thereby acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. (NUROFEN PLUS)

2. Prevents Cancer: Ginger acts excellently for preventing cancer and also killing the cancer causing cells by slowing down its growth. (Tamoxifen and raloxifene)

3. Blood Pressure: Ginger acts as a blood thinner and reduces blood pressure in people instantly. (lisinopril oral)

4. Reduce Pain: Ginger helps prevent all kinds of aches such as tooth ache and it also helps cure migraines that are becoming more common each passing day. (hydrocodone-acetaminophen oral)

5. Digestion: Ginger acts as an active agent for digestion. It speeds up the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestines. By consuming ginger, one can be less prone to getting stomach pains or any other digestive problems. It clears the stomach of all impurities thereby helping the people who suffer from motion sickness. (Probiotics)

6. Arthritis: Ginger helps cure arthritis as it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce swelling and inflammation in people suffering from thyroid or arthritis. (prednisone oral)

7. Lowers Cholesterol: Ginger is a great agent for reducing cholesterol as it as it helps to remove the blockages in the flow of blood vessels which could lead to heart attacks. (Niacin)

8. Cold: Ginger is one of the oldest cures for cold, nausea and flu as it has anti-viral and anti fungal properties. It cures cold and provides instant relief and also kills the bacteria that causes cold and ensures that it doesn’t return. (Coricidin)

9. Ginger juice for hair care: Ginger acts as a good conditioner to your hair; it also helps to reduce dandruff and speeds up hair growth. When ginger juice is applied to your hair, it creates irritation on your scalp which stimulates the flow of blood. (Vitamin B tabs)

10. Acne: Ginger juice when consumed helps reduce acne or pimples and it also prevents occurrence of acne in the future as it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. (isotretinoin)

Am addicted to you! – Lay’s Potato Chips

To be really honest, I can’t actually remember the last time I had the potato chips also called regular or plain chips which comes in transparent packets in shops. I can’t even remember the last time I had them bought from a roadside seller frying them freshly in large quantities of oil and then serving it in small brown paper packets. All I can remember is that it was cheap and crispy and it was potato chips. It used to be a bit salty and sometimes a bit hot. I used to get them and then have it over a timepass conversation with family slowly munching into it and sharing with all. A packet of 250 grams was more than sufficient for an entire half an hour. But that’s a long time ago. I can’t seem to remember when and why I dumped it though. I couldn’t find an image of even a single transparent pack in Google of the plain chips that am talking about. The closest resemblance to that age old chips is what can be seen in the picture below.

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Fast forward to the present, I remember the last time I had the potato chips also called Lay’s potato chips which comes in custom designed packets. I can even remember the air tight packet, how it sounded when it is shook. I still remember how even when Lay’s wasn’t in my shopping list, the mere sight of it in a shop would make my heart skip a beat and buy the junk. I can remember grabbing the party pack and making my way quick home. It was costly, never mind, and crispy, yes a lot, and it was potato chips. It comes in many flavours – Cream and Onion, Tomato Tango, Classic Salted  etc. I used to get them and gobble it down my throat within minutes. I don’t want to share, after all it’s all mine. Even 177 gram of party pack isn’t enough for me. I must agree with this ‘No one can eat just one‘. Even though the ‘one’ here refers to a single chip piece, I would say it refers to one packet. Searching for images was so simple, Google is flooded with images of various varieties, take a look.

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The song which comes to my mind when I think about Lay’s potato chips is something like this.

I’m addicted to you,
Hooked on your taste,
Like a powerful drug
I can’t get enough of,
Lost in your taste,
Drowning in blue
Out of control,
What can I do?
I’m addicted to you!

Well, all this was the fun part, now let me get a bit serious. My first question is Why is the Lays chips packet filled with so much air? Can’t they fill it with more chips? The answer which I found in Google search is as follows ‘They’re actually filled with nitrogen to increase shelf life and keep the contents tasting fresh, in addition to cushioning to keep the contents from breaking in transit.’ So basically am I eating nitrogen chips, oh no.
Now Lay’s is 100% vegetarian or so is the claim as seen here. You can see all ingredients present in all the various products by clicking on them in this link. The following is very important. See the image below:

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Even the FAQ session of Lay’s claims the same. But is it true? Do we know it for sure? Will I be able to make the same lip-smacking potato chips following the steps which PepsiCo claims to be used to make Lay’s Potato chips:

The production process begins on farms in select regions across India where the best potatoes are grown specifically for Frito-Lay. Upon the potatoes’ arrival at plants, it can take as little as 24 hours for the chips to be made. Lay’s chips are made using the following simple process:

  • Wash – the potatoes are thoroughly bathed in water.
  • Peel – next, we gently peel the skin off the potatoes, even as the flavour remains intact.
  • Slice – The potatoes are thinly sliced and rinsed again to remove any remaining starch.
  • Cook – The slices are cooked to a crispy crunch in edible vegetable oils.
  • Season – Finally, the chips are topped off with a mouthwatering sprinkle of salt or seasoning

The potatoes have now become delicious chips and are packed and delivered to a store near you.

Frankly speaking, I have tried making it a million times, and trust me, it wont reach anywhere near Lay’s taste. Again am coming to the same topic – Lay’s ingredients. I know they contain salt, lots and lots of them. Salts are added to enhance the taste. A single serving of potato chips is about 28 grams, but most people consume far more than that amount at one sitting, who can stop with 28 grams anyway! Such a single serving of plain potato chips contains 180 mg of added salt. The body only needs 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and eating several grams of potato chips can result in your getting too much salt from one small snack and lead to several negative health problems, including high blood pressure which can lead to stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease and kidney disease. And if you are going to say will try the flavoured varieties, am sorry to say that they have even more added salt.

Even though the claim above is ‘Trans-Fat Free‘  but I see a small * at the end of it, something like *Conditions Apply. Most chips are deep-fried, a process that creates trans fats to preserve their shelf-life and achieve the crisp texture. So if I proceed with my intuition that it does contains some Trans Fat, then what am I getting into? Trans fats are the worst and most dangerous fats you can consume because they increase the risk of heart disease by clogging arteries, raising your bad cholesterol while lowering your good cholesterol. Trans fat should be a strict no no in diets with no * attached.

We talked about salt, we talked about fats. But do they contain any nutrients? Sadly the answer is Potato chips lack nutrients to add any value as a snack and they tend to displace things in the diet that are higher in nutrients. Fried potato chips do not contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals to help compensate for the high fat and salt content. Frying potatoes in unhealthy oils strips them off all the nutrients the raw potatoes contained. It basically means that you are filling yourself up with Nutrient-poor food.

What about MSG – the flavour enhancer? The claim says no MSG but there is a section on the packet which says ‘CONTAINS ADDED FLAVOUR (NATURAL & NATURE IDENTICAL FLAVOURING SUBSTANCES)‘. Am not saying Lay’s contain MSG or not, but what if? Am a bit skeptical Symptoms after consuming MSG containing food are as follows: a headache and numbness in the back of the neck, which can radiate down the arms and back, mild to severe headaches, tightness in the chest, pressure around the cheeks or jaw, mild mood changes, weakness, tingling, burning sensations, heart palpitations, or vivid and bizarre dreams, asthma-like symptoms etc, the list goes on and on.

Now that I have reached the end of my knowledge sharing session regarding Lay’s ingredients, I am left with the task of concluding – so is Lay’s good or bad or ok ok. If you have read this post till now, I think you would be in a better position to provide a suitable conclusion/ opinion on this topic.

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Simple Fried Rice – My style

There might be times when you don’t want to have plain rice but you don’t have enough ingredients to make a full fledged fried rice with a lot of vegetables. That’s when this receipe will come handy, it doesn’t use any vegetables as such and it is pretty simple. So let’s begin.

I have used 2 glass of Charminar rice here.

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You will have to wash the rice grains 3-4 times in running water. Washing rice actually helps to get rid of the surface starches, prevents clumping, and yields a clean, fresh taste. Use plenty of water and always start by stirring the rice in circles with your fingers. Its fun to do this part. After you finish the washing process, allow the rice to drain itself on a sieve.

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If you have taken 2 cups of rice, take around 4.5 glass of water and allow it to boil in a pan. That’s like providing enough water for the rice to cook well.

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In the meantime, in the cooker, put some 4-5 elachi/cardamom, cloves and bay leaf in ghee and heat them slightly.

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Now put the drained rice into the cooker along with some salt to taste.

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Fry the rice in the cooker by stirring it.

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By this time, the water would have been boiled.

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Pour the water over the rice and allow it to cook by covering.

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You will have to cook it till all the water gets evaporated. You should also check in between whether the rice has been cooked enough by taking a grain out and trying to eat it. The rice would have elongated by now and increased in size.

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If you want to garnish the rice, take some cashew-nuts and break them into pieces. Take some raisins, wash them, dry them and put them together with the cashews in ghee.

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Let them cook well. You can see that the cashews turn a bit brown and raisins get swollen up when it is cooked.

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Add the cashew-raisin mixture to the cooked rice.

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Mix well and turn off the fire and serve hot.

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You could serve with any curry, even with the Paneer Masala that I have shown in a previous post.

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Paneer Masala – My style

I couldn’t come up with any innovative name for the dish that I prepared using Paneer as the key ingredient so am settling with a more common name. As the title rightly points out, this is my style of making panner masala and hence this is not the only style available to make it. With that said, let’s begin.

Ingredients list:

I have used 200 grams of Creamy Paneer, the packet shown below. This paneer is very soft and comes uncut.

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Two medium sized onions sliced into small pieces. I have made it small because I have no plans to grind it later like what is called out in most receipes.

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4-5 cloves of garlic, again sliced into very small pieces.

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Some cilantro/ coriander leaves which will be used in the end for garnishing

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Two medium sized tomatoes cut into very small pieces.

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So these are the main ingredients. The masala’s used and other details, I will be explaining below.

Now to cooking.

In a pan, take some ghee. I have used ghee here but it can be substituted with cooking oil or butter. Into it put the garlic first and allow it to fry.

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Add the onions and saute it.

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During this time, you can cut the paneer into cubes.

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Add a bit of salt so that the onions get turned to brown quickly. The salt acts as the catalyst to speed up the browning process.

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Now add the tomatoes.

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Mix well until the tomatoes blend really well.

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It should resemble a thick paste like texture.

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Now add some water. This will help in making the tomatoes into a paste and aid in further cooking.

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Now is masala time. Add coriander powder, red chilly powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well. From now on, ensure the pan is on low fire because the masala should not get burnt.

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I add a bit of tomato ketchup and some sugar at this stage to give a tangy and sweet taste to the curry.

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Mix it well.

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Add the paneer cubes into the prepared curry/ sauce.

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Mix well.

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Allow the paneer pieces to cook really well. It should take roughly 4-5 minutes.

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Garnish it with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

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Can be served with poori, roti or naan.

 

Through the Sunglasses, and What I Saw

What follows below is a real life personal experience of using a pair of sunglasses for the first time. Since this is of utmost personal nature, there could be significant variability from others first time experiences (if found elsewhere) for which I am not answerable for. With that said, let me start my narration.

The ‘pair of Sunglasses’  who is the protagonist in this account was received by me as a complimentary gift from Titan Eye+ on purchase of contact lenses for an amount >= 2.0K INR. Even though they were free, I actually got the opportunity to pick them, not the make but the colour. So other than the brown one which I picked eventually, there was a black one and a green one which looked really weird. I was obviously thrilled as the sunglasses seemed like the best New Year gift of 2016 🙂 

I very badly wanted it to be the next day so that I could showcase them to the entire world, or so I thought. I devised plans to wear them while riding my bike to office in the morning. For my plans to work out, I even got ready earlier than usual, put on the sunglasses and did a ramp walk kind of activity for atleast 15 minutes inside the house before stepping out. This ramp walk session was something like getting to know each other and getting acclimatised session for me. It was obviously too dark inside with the sunglasses on and then I decided to try it out.

Reaching near my bike, I fished out the helmet from inside it, removed the sunglasses, put on the helmet and then placed the sunglasses back on my face. The sunglasses rested perfectly well over my nose even though it seemed a little large. And then I started my ride, seeing through the sunglasses.

The usual white sunlight was kind of light brown and the surrounding seemed to be of the same hue. My eyes felt a bit more cool than usual, it could be the weather was actually cool than usual but I didn’t bother to check. The red traffic signal didn’t look any different but the green light was a beautiful red blue mix. There was this unusually less traffic on the way, reason being I was earlier than usual and I usually travel during the peak hours, but I felt like attributing it to ‘because I’m wearing sunglasses’.

Travelling through the smooth newly tarred road, I looked around to see the shops, the buildings, the people, none of which I usually notice on any other day. This is because of the great curiosity which the sunglasses instilled in me, making me want to see the world through a different hue. I have to take a side road which reminds me of travelling through a village, even though the village will no more exist in 6 months’ time from now on as its going to be replaced by concrete structures as soon as possible as part of urbanization, but never mind, let me enjoy the present and leave the worries to the future.

Both sides of the road is laden with coconut trees and some other trees which give shade to the road. Through the sunglasses, it looked like 6 pm or so. Then there was this cattle moving on the road and it all seemed like a completely new experience. Things which I haven’t cared to notice before appeared so livid and lively, even the car colours, bike colours, oh my, what a completely different world I thought, I fell in love with the protagonist, I loved this association, felt it like a blessing, until…

Until I hit a pothole. I actually forgot about this pothole, it was a big one. Since I take the same route daily to office, and since the potholes never get covered on the same day or the next day or the next month of their first public appearance, I am well versed with the exact locations of all of them, and I think everyone should be if they care about their backs. Anyway as I was saying, I hit a pothole and my sunglasses rubbed so badly over my nose from the jump. It started to pain, a bit too bad. That was the first pothole en route and there were many to follow. Each potholes made the sunglasses press severely on my nose and I was writhing in pain to take the sunglasses off, off my nose.

From then on, all my thoughts was to take them off as soon as possible. I didn’t see any more natural surroundings, buildings, trees, vehicles etc. All I saw was the road and all I thought about was or I cared about was, how to manoeuvre the potholes with the least impact to my nose and nothing else. My protagonist got converted to the antagonist, I started hating it, felt it like a curse, I just wanted to end this association, somehow. Finally, after what seemed like a long ride, I reached my office, pulled the sunglasses out, checked my nose for any dents and discarded the sunglasses into a distant corner of my bag, never to use them again anywhere soon.

This post won’t be complete if I don’t attach a picture of the so called protagonist of this post who ended up being the antagonist, so here it goes, introducing to the world the one and only Sunglasses.

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Microchip ICD3 Issue – Part 2

Continuing from my previous post (if you haven’t read it yet, read it here)

Another issue seen while using ICD3 is given below:

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If the detected Target Device ID is 0x0000000, then there is some issue in the communication between ICD3 and the target device. Please re-check all your connections.

The reason for this other target device ID mismatch could be any one of the following:

  • A wrong target chip is selected in MPLab project.
  • Ensure whether the target device is the same as you think.
  • You might need a Debug adapter to Debug.

Narrow down the issue by doing Self-Test procedure on ICD3 (refer Part 1). If it goes through, then it is obvious that the issue is on the target board. You will have to check the following in such circumstances:

  • Ensure the 5 programming pins on the target (PGC, PDA, nMCLR, VDD, VSS) are properly connected and that the device is getting VDD from your power source.
  • There is proper decoupling capacitor on all the required pins.

 

 

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Inshorts – News in 60 words (Review)

Let me tell you something very important. This is the first time I am writing a review and that too about an app. So this post basically contains my personal experience of using this app. Let’s get started, shall we?

So what is this “Inshorts – News in 60 words” (Formerly News in Shorts) all about? Let the below ad speak for itself.

“Inshorts is a unique news app that curates daily news from various national and international news sources and summarises them to present in a crisp, 60 words or less format. All summarised articles contain only facts, no opinions, to help you stay informed with the right content. Inshorts learns your preferences and shows all articles of your interest, in a single feed.”

This app requires android 4.0 and above and has a size of 4.8 MB. I particularly like the following which appears in WHAT’S NEW section of the app.

We took the app to a service station,
The water shrunk the size to 4.8MB,
The oil made the swipes smooth and trouble-free,
Dents in videos were made to flee,
All other bugs sent on a long vacation!
Previous app size: 6.4 MB
 
Let’s begin installation of the app.

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It requires access to the following on your phone.

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First time opening of the app, you see the following screens one after the other. You need to swipe up to proceed further. Indeed that’s the most important thing you should be doing in this app – SWIPE UP.

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Done! And there you have the first News in 60 words – short and crisp.

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You can click on blue word that follows ‘more at’ which will lead you to the original article. So you can read  the full article if you wish to and always get back to shorts by following the ‘back to short’ link. (See how the word short is bold and blue)

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Swipe up to read the next news. Click on Share (again blue). You can Share on all the apps installed on your mobile.

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You can also get to a video if available by clicking on blue word that follows ‘video at’.
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The app provides options for Night Mode also which basically means the white background of news will be replaced by a darker background. (See image above). You can also select Notifications to be notified of new posts.

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Clicking on the feedback button sends you directly to mail with lot of details of your mobile.

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Click on ‘Hindi’ to switch the interface language to Hindi. The news also will appear in Hindi. You can switch back and forth.

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You can bookmark any news by clicking on the heading of the news. The heading turns red.

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All bookmarked items can be accessed later on from Categories – Bookmarks.

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It’s also possible to get specific topic news by clicking on ‘More’ which expands as below.

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There’s lot of other features available which I still haven’t tried out. Overall, I feel it’s a nice app to have handy. 

To try “Inshorts – News in 60 words” , click here and let me know your thoughts about it.

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Tea in a Tea Cup

Who doesn’t enjoy a cup of good tea, to begin a day or to refresh themselves during a day? Everyone does enjoy it. Tea comes in many varieties – green, black, herbal, with milk, without milk, with sugar, without etc – the list is endless. Making Tea in a Tea Cup is a relatively simple task. Today I will be showing you how to make 2 cups of tea in 2 Tea Cups. This contains both milk and sugar. Let’s begin.

Depending on how many cups of tea you are planning to make, you have to take those many cups of water first. Am making 2 cups of tea, therefore, taking 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Remember not to use already boiled water as already boiled water will have less percentage of oxygen in it which will not give the desired taste to the tea. It’s like this – the more oxygenated is your water, the better will the tea taste. So go for fresh filtered water bubbling with oxygen.
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Next step is to boil this water. So keep the saucepan on the stove and allow it to boil. Keep it covered to reduce the wastage of gas.

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In the meantime, take the tea cups and place a tea bag, one in each of the tea cups. I have used Taj Mahal tea bags here.

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Now you can add the required sugar into the tea cups.

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By this time, the water would have boiled. Turn the gas off and remove the saucepan from the stove.

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Pour the boiled water equally into the tea cups. Pour the water over the tea bags and see the water change colour gradually. 

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Keep the tea cups covered for a while. This will allow the tea bag contents to diffuse into the water.

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Different tea bags will have different brewing time. So depending on the type of tea you are making and also depending on the strength that you like, you can keep the tea bags in the water for longer or shorter periods. After 3 minutes or when you notice that you have got the desired strength for the tea, remove the tea bags using a teaspoon. You can either throw away the tea bags or reuse it once more if you like, for another tea.

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Add the milk powder into the tea cups. I have used Everyday milk powder.

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Stir the milk powder well. And there you have the perfect Tea in a Tea Cup ready to drink.

Serve hot with biscuits or cake.

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