Saturday, October 24, 2015


Green Goa Country Side
If you ask someone outside of India what the vacation destination they know in India, there is very high chance that they will say Goa. Its in the west coast of Indian subcontinent and famous for beaches of Arabian sea. It used to be a Portuguese colony for a long time till 1961 when Indian arm force invaded it. Initially it was part of union territory Daman and Diu (Directly governed by central government ) but in 1987 it became as separate state. Which makes sense as Daman and Diu are way up north near state of Gujarat and culturally different. However all of them still have Portuguese influence. It's one of the 3 most football crazy and fish loving state of India (Others being West Bengal and Kerala even the north eastern states to some extent.).


I grew up in a town pretty close to a beach in the eastern coast of India , so Goa beaches are nothing special for me. However it's highly commercial place with inflow of tourists from so many countries. Goan cuisine is also very famous among Indian dishes . One can easily hire a two wheeler vehicle and roam around the whole place independently without depending on any public transport. We had decided to drive down so we had our own car for local commute . We still hired a two wheeler to make sure we get to park it easily as weekends are full of crowd in some of the popular beaches. An average upper and middle class Indian family probably visits Goa once in every year. Its a very small state like Sikkim so the whole state can be covered in a long weekend trip.

Entrance to Goa crossing Western Ghats via Chorla

Chorla is probably the best route to enter Goa if you are travelling from central India. Its a hilly drive and very low/short visibility in the morning due to fog but roads are decent as compared to others. While entering govt charges INR 250 and while existing you will be searched for any alcohol bottles as it is illegal to carry them out of Goa. Due to low taxes alcohol is relatively cheaper in state.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015


IMG_4490-3It has been a while now that I have written something in this blog. This post should have been here 5 months ago but I was waiting for myself to process all the pictures taken in the trip and do a final post. Recently I realized that ain't happening. Well thats what the TSA woman official said to me after seeing my T-Shirt slogan which said " Imagine all the people. Living life in peace" in her southern accent.

Anyway trip to Seattle was full of learnings. A lot of PHP, Couchbase and system administration of physically hosted servers. Key learning was how to deal with people who are technically challenged. While a little bit of technical details may make them nervous, lack of the same may make them think you have no control over the system. Management do not remember details. You can reiterate the same thing over and over without actually worrying about freshness of the update. Sometime asking direct questions or expressing direct concerns may not help, on the contrary it may just make you look like not willing to take any step towards any solution. In fact its OK to say yes to stupidest of the Ideas to begin with and take months of time and come back and say that it was stupid, which you already knew as soon as the idea was floated. Meanwhile you bought time to calm everyone down who are in an urgency of get something done as part of a solution after a catastrophic problem . The problem itself gets de-prioratized. You get to spend a lot of time on your own things and account that time for the analysis of that stupid idea. You learn a lot. The only disadvantage is that you may not feel honest about yourself. But wait ...this is business. You just see the profit.

OK above gyaan is totally fictional ...... based on real events. Now somethings about Seattle.

This was no first time for me in USA and its not a very diverse country like India that you get to see new culture. Thanks to Amazon and Microsoft , its full of Indians unlike Austin or Salt Lake City. If you look Indian, people may just ask you which of these company you work for.

Rialto Beach - Pacific Ocean
Blake Island

Seattle is geographically interesting. Its on the north-west corner of USA in the state of Washington (not where Obama lives, he lives in east cost , in the city of Washington DC in Virginia.). Its very close to Canada, in fact the Canadian city of Vancouver is just on the other side of the border. Technically its also closest state to Alaska. Seattle is actually part of twin city of Sea-Tac, Tacoma being the other smaller city in the south . They share the same airport which is somewhat at the midway of the two cities. Portland is another city even south of Tacoma in the state of Oregon. All these cities and states combined sometimes called pacific Noth-West (PNW) as they are in the cost of pacific ocean. IT giants Amazon and Microsoft are in Seattle and Bellevue (Redmond to be precise ) respectively , separated by a water body. Combined they are called "Greater Seattle Area".

I know its too much of geographic gyaan which you can know from Wikipedia and  Google maps, especially a lot of Indians know a lot about American states but does not even know whats the language spoken in the neighboring state. I just wanted to feed you this information in case you are not aware of never get a chance to visit.

Seattle is also not technically on the cost of Pacific ocean , its on bank of backwaters, so there are several beaches , like Alkai beach which is not actually facing and sea or ocean.

Alkai Beach
Mt Rainer
There are so many  places to visit near by Seattle. Some of them I visited are Mt Rainer,  Olympic National Park, Alkai Beach, Discovery Park, Bainbridge Island, Museum of flight..

Seattle Sounder Vs Portland Timbers

Seattle Mariners Vs Minnesota Twins
You can also go and watch one of the local teams playing soccer or baseball.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Ashes 2015 season ends.

The Ashes season of this year ended. Glad that England re-gained it. Not because I am a Aussie hater (like most Indians because of Australian aggressiveness and domination in the past ) but because they have been playing really good lately. Youngsters like Joe Root is now # 1 batsman in ICC rankings.

Since last couple of months or so I have been enjoying the cricket broadcast on the Radio (BBC 5 live extra with Tunnel Bear VPN app for UK ) and TV (also star sports online streaming ). This is usually the most interesting series for me because of classic English commentary and playing conditions. Of course I am more alert when India tours England and Australia but there is something about these two countries' rivalry.

I will miss the commentary of Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton. (Coincidentally they were born only 3 days apart ) I think they are the most accent free and speak slow. While Cris Rogers and Pup decided to retire after this series legendary wicket keeper run machine Kumar Sangakkara is also playing his last series in Sri Lanka against India.

Happy for Alister Cook, what a summer it has been after being left out in world cup early this year. All matches had results this year and tough all the matches were won with a big margin it has been a great contest with 3-2 result.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Configuring Mozilla Thunderbird with Office 365 Email

There is no outlook for linux users. Setting up email, calendar, contacts etc in linux with office 365 (or exchange) account could be painful.However there is a little known fact that office 365 also have SMTP feature for configuring non exchange compliant client like Mozilla Thunderbird.

Since office 365 is a cloud hosting by Microsoft which is multi-tenant, setup configuration is pretty much same unless the company decides to override anything.

For email

  • IMAP
  • Server hostname:
  • Port: 993
  • Authentication: Normal password
  • Server hostname:
  • Port: 587
  • Authentication: Normal password
User Name: your company email

For calendar you have to install the following addon.

Installing the Add-on:

  1. Install the latest version of the Lightning add-on.
  2. Download the latest version of the Exchange Calendar and Tasks Add-on.
  3. In Thunderbird, click on Tools | Add-ons
  4. Click on the Gear icon (next to "Search all add-ons") and select Install Add-on From File...
  5. Browse to the downloaded add-on in the previous step
  6. Click Install to verify that you understand that you are trusting the add-on from a non-verified author
  7. Click Restart now to restart Thunderbird and finish installation of the add-on
Configuring to Access O365:
  1. Launch Thunderbird
  2. Click on File | New | Calendar
  3. Select On the Network and click Continue
  4. Select Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010 and click Continue
  5. Choose any name and color for the calendar. Remove the check mar from Show Reminders check box if you do not wish to receive pop-up reminders to meetings
  6. Select the email address that is associated with your calendar, then click Continue
  7. Enter the following information for settings:
    • Server URL:
    • Primary email address:company username
    • Username: company username
    • Domain name: [Leave this blank]
    • Share Folder Id: [Leave this blank]
  8. Click on Check server and mailbox.
  9. You will be prompted for your password. Enter the password for the account you are configuring and click OK.
  10. Make sure Calendar folder is selected for Folder base
  11. Click Continue.
  12. Click Done.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Horizons reaches Pluto

Finally we know how Pluto looks like. Looks at this for a minute before you read further

This image of Pluto was taken on Tuesday and was downlinked just before the flyby

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft just completed 9 years journey from earth and flew past Pluto today. Pluto was discovered in 1930 but it was only visible through telescope (~magnitude 11) that to just a single point of light. It was 9th planet of solar system when this spacecraft left earth in 2006.

Even the best image of Pluto that we had  till last few month was by Hubble Space telescope. Which barely told us about the texture.

Pluto - HST - 270° Longitude

Its also worth notable that this is the fastest moving man made object ever till date, which is why it could made it to Pluto under a decade. It was also launched using the fastest rocket NASA had that time. An Atlas-V rocket was used.

My family have a little contribution towards this mission as well.  My uncle Dr. Ranbir Sinha worked primarily on the design, analysis, computer simulation of separation, and test predictions of the payload fairing. Its definitely a proud moment for all the contributors including him. This rocket is part of guinness book of word records.

New Horizons was launched with such a speed that it crossed moon in hours where the Apollo spacecraft took days. Within 6 months it could reach Jupiter where it got a massive gravity assist which propelled it in an incredible speed towards Pluto. This is the reason why it can not be kept near Pluto's orbit for long and flies past it very fast giving only few hours for capturing images and doing other analysis.

As I am writing New horizons must be taking incredible image of Pluto's surface and other data which it is supposed to sent back when it flies past it and ready to transmit back to Earth. It takes almost 4 hours to transmit data back to earth.

NASA's Eyes on Pluto is a great way to see live simulation of the spacecraft.