Camera phones

I have finally found out a great use for camera phones - Taking snapshots of meeting room/cubicle/corridoor whiteboard research discussions and transferring them to your laptop with Bluetooth. I guess I am a decade late to the party but hey, it works for you when you are ready for it :-)

Before this I always wondered what the use for camera phones was. I even actively searched for a new phone without a camera and didn't find good ones. I always suspected higher mega-pixel cameras in phones wondering how they could really replace proper cameras. I guess I know now - a 1.3 mega-pixel one is working wonders for me :-)

Happy New Year

Have a great year ahead folks!

It was a great year work wise, travel wise, and personally.
- Worked on some good things with some great people. Am managing to build up a story in the first few years of my professional life, so happy about that. Good things planned out for this year too.
- Travel was great. Cities visited should be a good indicator so the list is: Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Austin, New York, Yorktown Heights, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Luis Obispo. Lets see if this year takes us anywhere interesting.
- Personally it has been a great time health and fitness wise. Have achieved and maintained my medium term weight objectives, and am exercising very regularly.
- On the net I have taken to twitter, re-discovered flickr, given up paid membership of LJ. I'll move to my personal webspace sometime.

Keep eating seafood!

If you want to look thin, don't hang around me anymore

They say, if you want to look thin then hang around people fatter than you. If that is what you have been up to in the last few years, then begone my friend!

For the first time in the last few years my weight is now within the 'normal' range for my height. It is close to the upper limit I admit, but hey. It had once gone quite close to the next category when sense prevailed. The loss has been exponentially slow of course but that was partly intentional once the bulk was off :-).

It has been a great three year journey (to the day) - and I'm talking just health-wise. A morning feels weird and incomplete without my 5+ kms. The half marathons last year were a great ego boost. Resting heart rate is comfortably in the fifties. Eating habits/schedules are superb compared to earlier, binges included.

Tomorrow the better half treats me to a feast :-P

Diwali at Delhi

This was our first Diwali at Delhi, and in all our enthusiasm, we attempted everything. From making absolutely yummy 'faraaL', to rangoli, to lighting up the house. The best part; we did it completely by ourselves. Click below to go to flickr.

Homemade Diwali faraaL - Chakli, Chiwda, Rava Ladu, Besan Ladu, Shankarpale
Homemade Diwali Sweetmeats

Rangoli outside our door
Rangoli for Diwali

Photos from our California/Nevada/Arizona Aug/Sept trip also up on my flickr. Highlight of that trip: I drove more than 700 miles in the US. Driving there for the first time, wonder why it took so long to do it.

Using non-US Credit Cards in the US

I learned a cheat code during my last US trip. I used to be puzzled and unable to use my credit card in certain places in the US like gas stations and grocery store self check outs. The reason used to be I was prompted for my 5 digit US zip code. Fibbing doesn't work. The alternative used to be to stand in line and pay at the regular counter. No gas at nights therefore by the way if the station was closed.

Until now. It turns out the valid cheat code is '00000'. It seems this is to enable international customers and non-US cards. Apparently using this code with a US credit card doesn't work since of course your magnetic strip contains your zip code.

Is this common published knowledge? If yes, then I just learned it anew. If not, I hope this helps someone. Does anyone know if this is just a workaround or intended to be an undocumented feature?

Old friends, frequent flying, new eating joints

< flame-bait > freegeek and chetanv are getting old. They thought I was actually sitting in my study when I thought that up! < / flame-bait >
I'd like to know where all I have a study to myself.

Visited a couple of very good (expensive but great food) places in the last couple of weeks:
1. Shalom, GK1 N block, serves good Mediterranean food and has a great bar stock (I just had me my Kir Royales). We had good Lamb Tagine, some seafood starters, and grilled fish.
2. Manre, Saket, is a very new French fine dining joint in the MGF mall adjacent to Select Citywalk. Some dishes are very expensive (even 1.5k+ for the steak, salmon, etc.) but the 1k 3-course meal is very good. I had a Mezze platter, sea bass, and Star Anise ice-cream, while the wife had an interesting fusion Lasagne Rendang. The decor is very nice, spacious, and the massive bar is quite nicely designed. A bold experiment for butter-chicken Delhi - let us see if the Kitty parties move out and fine dining actually kicks in. The best restaurant restroom I have seen in India till today by the way.

In other news, I somehow magically qualified to my first elite-level on a Oneworld airline. Result of registering for a promo told to me by a real frequent flier I guess.

The new Mahabharat

I am seriously impressed by the promo of the new Mahabharat. Looks like the promos of the FPS and strategy games we used to play years ago.
I am told it is an Ekta Kapoor serial too, named Kahani Hamarey Mahabharat Ki :-)