Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hang out with AstronomyCast

Google Hangout has been a coll feature where people can do video conferencing for free and it is totally web based. I have been a regular listener of AstronomyCast who were recording their episode 236 live in a Google hangout session on 24th October 2011. It was great to be in the live recording session with Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain along with other people having interest in astronomy. The interaction session before and Q&A session after the recording was great. Here is a clip I had recorded during the session.

The topic of this episode was "Einstein was right" . Pamela and Fraser cited many evidences which tells us how accurate the predictions made by Einstein's general and special theory of relativity were  You can download the podcast mp3 here or listen in the following player. if you want to join the next recording session , you can Circle Pamela or Fraser so that they can invite you the hangout session.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oracle Vs ICRISAT Friendly Match

After a long break finally Oracle Hyderabad team were invited to ICRISAT for a friendly match inside the ICRISAT campus on 22nd October Saturday. After so much of practice at our campus nets our team was desperately looking for some practice match (even if it was on mat). We played there last year and beat them with considerable margin however they claimed that their star players were unavailable and finally we had to give them couple of our players to play from their side. That was eventually my last match in that season before I got busy in some courses in IIIT. I had ended up in a high note with a couple of wickets in the same over. This time they were ready with full strength but we had couple of our key players like Captain and Vice-Captain missing. However our line up looked on good paper with a lot of batting depth unlike other tournaments where a lot of bowlers are available and usually bowlers are seen in the bench.

ICRISAT is my second most favorite ground in Hyderabad not only because it has  a lot of greenery around but also one can do other activities like swimming and lawn tennis in the campus. Infosys cricket ground tops my list hence we call it South Africa in our team.

Finally match started around 10 AM local time . It was bright sunny day with an average of 32 degree centigrade.  Oracle won the toss and batted first to set a target of 133 in allotted 20 overs.  Thanks to Debraj who batted in the lower middle for a change and helped to reach this decent total. Ankit hit a couple of big shots to get some quick runs and Sriram almost carried the bat through the innings. The ground was big with a lot of big and hard grass. Hence boundaries were difficult to hit.  ICRISAT despite  getting a good start kept loosing wickets , thanks to back to back wickets by Raja. Finally ICRISAT were all out for 120 with 5 balls to spare when I got the last wicket in the first ball of the last over of the innings. Our overall performance was good but we gave a way too many wides.

We are looking forward to match again in next Saturday !

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SiliconIndia Java Conference India

Today I spoke on creating RESTful  webservice using JAX-RS at SiliconIndia JAVA conference held at Green park Hotel Hyderabad. It was great to see the professional audience and top people from the Industry like Lalit Balchandani, Jay Pullur , Shastry Kuppa and Ashish Sarin speaking about JAX-WS, Spring Rooand Agile project management. There were also sessions touching cloud computing topics like BigData and Mapreduce.

The chief sponsor Tata Mcraw-Hill Presented me the book "ANDROID, a programmer's guide by Jerome DiMarzio.

View more presentations from Neil Ghosh

Thanks Arun Gupta for helping me out with the slides and other clarifications regarding  JAX-RS before the conference.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Astrophotography with Point and Shoot Camera

Place the mouse pointer over the image to see the consterlation lines and labels

I recently tried to click some celestial picture with my new Sony Cyber-Shot Hx9V. Taking snaps of stars and planets is really challenging because very less amount of light reaches us and the lights generated from earth (specially at urban locations) act as hindrance. I played around with ISO and shutter speed settings to capture enough light from stars and making the camera as sensitive as possible without letting the noise to dominate. I found for stars with half moon shining in the sky ISO 200 and 15 second exposure worked as optimum setting. If I use optical zoom, the exposure time had to be reduced further to avoid trails. For 1x zoom trails does not dominate  even at 20 second exposure but picture of sky becomes very bright with 200 ISO. and reducing ISO further (e.g 100 )is not a good idea as it makes camera less insensitive to capture such faint object. I manage to capture a aeroplane trail as follows .
how do you make gifs
How do you make gifs

I tried to take picture of  Jupiter and its moons. I knew moons were visible at 15x zoom using my binocular with 70mm aperture. My camera has 16x zoom but problem is aperture which is F3.3 maximum for the camera. So despite good resolving power my digital camera may not able to gather enough light to display the Galilean moons. To overcome this problem I again used the long exposure technique but with such a high zoom trails are inevitable even at 10 second exposure. So I increased the ISO to 800 and decreased the exposure way down to only 3 second to avoid trails. I got the following picture

Finally I also tried to piggy back the camera on the telescope mount. However afocal photography (picture taken through the lances of telescope) is not yet much productive yet for me.  I will try later with a stable tripod.  Jerry from helped me creating this where you can mouse over and see the constellation lines and star labels  added by me  later using GIMP. Laving you with the album of raw pictures from my camera.

Sony Cyber-Shot HX9V

I recently did some search in the internet before buying my digital camera. I was looking for a compact camera with high zoom and very good video recording. I was also looking for features like long exposure and my budget was around 15,ooo INR. Finally searching a lot in and checking prices in Indian online stores  like , and . I don't really trust any other site as of now. I narrowed down my search results to Nikon CoolPix S9100/S8200 , Sony Cyber-shot HX9V and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20. Panasonic one was having touch screen and 60 sec shutter  exposure and 240 fps recording options advantages over the others. However from the reviews I concluded not to go for touch as one has to operate buttons also along with it and I was not sure about this brand in digital camera category. I went to the nearby store and checked Nikon  s9100 and Sony HX9V and found that optical image stabilization was way better in HX9V than S9100 and later was not having very good reviews in amazon and other Indian websites. So finally I decided to go for Sony Hx9V.

I bought it from They shipped it soon but aramex  courier service was not that great. Finally I got it after some delay. Following is the unboxing video. Pardon me for the quality as it is taken from Samsung Galaxy ACE.

So far I am happy with the camera , tough I have not much chance to use it. I really like the automatic mode ,  ease of use. Following are the pros I have found till now

  1. High zoom with Compact camera

  2. Digital zoom quality

  3. In-camera charging

  4. super image stabilization

  5. up to 30 sec long exposure

  6. GPS

  7. Easy panaroma

I am sure I will get to know more as I keep using it. Following are the cons

  1. Awkward position of the Flash

  2. video/picture is not flat (curved) at the edges when we take wide angle shots (without zoom)

  3. GPS takes time

With above feature , I guess I will not miss DSLR much and its easy to carry also. Absolute value for money. I am hopping it will work well without any defects. Will leave you with the Indian ad the camera featuring Deepika

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Durgam Cheruvu Trek Again

There was an unfinished trek of mine a couple of weeks back.Today it was time to complete it. Thanks to GHAC for giving the opportunity again. This was my 3rd trek with GHAC. The place was same, the starting point was same as well,  just the company was different and very friendly as usual.

We started at 6 AM in the morning and took a more difficult path to enter the area adjacent to the Mumbai road. We had to climb rock and bushes at the starting point itself , so we did decent amount of body warm up at the starting point. We did scrambling at the medium sized rocks which was a new experience for most of the new comers. GHAC founder Diyanat explained the difference between rock climbing and  scrambling (where only limbs are used to climb). He also said during scrambling one should always make sure that 3 of the 4 limbs are attached to rock/ground and make movement with the otherp one. Some up us also tried chimney climbing.

Photo Credit Sambhav

After an hour we went downhill through the medium size boulders where we had to warn (by shouting) the person in front/below in case we make any stone falling down accidentally. At the bottom we reached the lake side where a lot of eucalyptus trees and few peacock feathers were found. We walked along the bank of the lake and took a bushy path to reach the dargah. Somebody explained the reason why the lake is called "secret lake". It was called so because it was surrounded by small hills/rocks , hence could not be seen from from outside until one climbs the rock surrounding the lake. However now a days APIIC had done a lot of construction activities and blown the rocks away. We also discovered the concrete  tunnel through which water is supplied to Golconda Fort. Everybody rested for sometime at the small concrete dyke and socialized a little bit. Finally we headed to the main road in a walkable plain path, which took around 15 minutes.

You can find all the photos here.

Thanks to Diyanat and Vamsi a lot for organizing this trip. I rated this event with 5 stars.