Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rooted my Android

After almost one and half  years of buying my second android phone (Samsung Galaxy ACE) I finally decided to root my phone which I always wanted to do. A shell with root access, what else do you want in a Linux based system ? One of the reason which provoked me to do so yesterday itself was that the power button stopped working suddenly. I suspected that it might have got some rain water inside  but later decided to try the factory reset  option once before taking it to service center.  The chances were low because I thought I was trying to solve a hardware problem by just resetting the software.

However it worked ! I don't know why. In this process I lost all my call logs and list of apps installed.I backed up all my SMS in Gmail tough.  I was expecting the Google Play to remember the list but it did not. I remember said that all the apps and WI-FI password etc will be backed up when I signed in with a Google account last time. Moreover lately my GPS seemed to be working with a lot of delay. Especially while running the GPS used to get fix after I run half a kilometer and I had to manually enter the points in runkeeper. After this reset the GPS also seems to be working quicker. I am yet to test it while running. I remember GPS used to take only few seconds to get fix , even inside the car/train when I bought the phone last year.

  1. I downloaded the  DDKQ8 Gingerbread 2.3.6 Rooting Package zip file as my phone was already running Android 2.3 (it was shipped with 2.2 but got the upgrade few months back ).

  2. Transferred the file to the SD card , which was also newly formatted after factory reset.

  3. Checked the "Allow Installation of non-market applications" options in Settings-> Application Settings.

  4. Enabled the "Debug Mode when USB is connected" in Development sub-menu.

  5. Re-started the phone in recovery mode. Usually the recovery mode should come after pressing  and holding Volume Up Key and OK button while powering on. But of my model it did not work.I found that  you have to hold Home + Power till and device starts and shows Samsung symbol then, let go. Holding it till Samsung appears was important.

  6. After booting in recovery mode I selected the "Install from SD card" option and chose the zip file I downloaded in step 1.

  7. Restarted the phone. The phone booted normally but I was not sure if it is rooted or not

  8. I downloaded the Root Checker app to test and it showed me that phone has been rooted.

After successful rooting I want to get my VPN working in my phone and install custom ROMs like CyanogenMod and Ubuntu . I will probably try this next weekend when I don't need the phone much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fishing at Ameenpur Lake

After childhood adventures of fishing in the family pond with cousins using home grown sticks and wheat flour paste as bait, this one was first opportunity to do some fun fishing. This was first time in this season as well, so expectation was not much high but was pretty excited about it. Thanks to Hyderabad Adventure and Trekker's Club, for organizing a beginners fishing meetup.

Photo Courtesy : Ravi K  || Fish Courtesy : Monika

Key lessons were

  • Best place to catch earth worms is at the root of the small plats on a soft soil.

  • Keep the earth worms alive by putting some wet soil in the plastic you are collecting the worms in and letting some air come inside the packet.

  • Take thread of length little more than 1.5 times of the length of the stick.

  • Tie one end of the thread at the narrower end of the stick, preferably near the first joint  to avoid slipping of the thread.

  • Take the other end of the thread , leave 1 feet and tie one end of the sol stick.

  • Take the extreme end of the thread (we had left 1 feet) and tie the metallic hook there.

  •  Insert worms longitudinally along with the curvature of the hook and keep the worm compressed. You might need to insert more than one worm to cover the whole length of the hook. Ideally no metallic part of the hook (specially the pointed end) should not be visible and whole length should be covered with worm body.

  • Now swing the stick from your back top to the water (may be right side-ish if not exactly from top)

  • IMPORTANT ! - Keep distance from others and never stand immediately next to the guy who has the stick with hook because he would swing the stick from the right-ish side according to the above guideline.

  • You can use small thermocol block if sol stick is not available. In my case one of the local professional fisherman tied the thread at the both end of the sole and it was always lying horizontal to the water.

  • Sit down silently next to the water when the hook is in the water so that your shadow and noise  do not alert the fishes  .

  • Once the sol start moving up and down pull out the stick immediately with a swing making a loop on the top right side. Make sure nobody is near/behind you before pulling out because the hooks are so sharp that it can only be removed surgically from the body in case of any accident.

  • Finally the most important point is fishing needs a lot of patience, so keep trying. Its fun even if you don't catch one.

At the end of the session few people really caught some small fishes. Hoping for some bigger ones in the next event.

Photo Courtesy : Ravi K

Sunday, July 22, 2012

IEEE STEP at Hyderabad 2012

In April this year we organized the IEEE STEP program at Warangal.on behalf of GOLD (Graduates Of Last Decade ) Affinity group of IEEE Hyderebad section.

Since this program is for the graduating students and most of the engineering  colleges in the state of Andhra Pradesh is in the capital city Hyderabad, we wanted to organize the season 2 of the STEP (Students Transition and Elevation Program ) in Hyderabad and make it big. IEEE HQ and the local section has been supporting us enough financially to organize both of them.


The planning started couple of months back with long trailing email chains among the GOLD volunteers and students volunteers. Volunteers like Arif and Raheem came forward to offer their university seminar hall and other facilities in the campus. MJCET (Muffakham Jah College of Engineering and Technology) is situated in the heart of the city and turned out to be the most convenient location for students around the city. Also the seminar hall was very well equipped with audio/video facility.

From the inception, GOLD vice chair Preeti took the lead and co-ordinated with other volunteers to get all the arrangements done.  We approached speakers who were from the top companies and they agreed to spend their Saturday among graduating students motivating them and showing the way how to make a transition to professional life.

Weeks before the event we created the following flyer and also spread the word using our Facebook Page

On the day of event , the number of audience was very encouraging. Section chair Dr.Atul Negi addressed the audience and speakers started giving their talks. Ashish Daniel talked about how to do the home work before appearing in the interview and how important goal setting is success. Kavita Lal shared her experience how professional and college life style is different and what is expected from an employee by an organization. Lavanya Menon shared a very inspiring presentation with so many practical points which were essential to balance work and life. I would try to share last 4 slides of her and play over and over to inspire and get inspired. All her slides has some interesting note with examples.  Finally Harish Krishan talked about what it takes to do what someone really like doing and eventually to be an entrepreneur . All the talks were super quality and every one had something unique to offer. It may be mere luck that we got all the such fine speakers together in an event. Section chair presented mementos to the speakers and wrapped up the session with final remark.

I really want to thank all the speakers, volunteers and audience for executing the event successfully inspite of rain and  traffic.

More on this event details can be found in IEEE Hyderabad Section's website.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Run JavaFx without any prerequisite runtime installation

JavaFx 2.2 recently added the native packaging option during build and can be deployed as executable files  anywhere. This opens up the whole new way how java developer can ship their program to the computers where the latest JRE is not installed.

One of my friend was trying to come up with the Windows GUI program which could run directly from the CD or USB drive in most of the computers. In Indian institutions like schools , the computers are mostly out dated and only has IE 6 browser. HTML5 was not a good idea because it needs the latest browser and it can expose most of  the code and resources on a commercial product. .NET licence was costly considering the small budget project and it was very difficult to find programmers with Delphi and Python (tinka) skills.

Java being so popular language, its very easy to code the GUI quickly, especially in JavaFx. JavaFx have mp3 audio file playing support. Now the big problem was any JavaFx program (jar) needs JavaFx runtime to be installed. This installation could not be expected to be done by school students or people who were new to computers without help of a system administrator. People might not have the correct version of runtime installed and may run into various compatibility issues.

Native packaging allows JavaFx programs to be shipped as exe wrapper file and its own runtime JRE directory.

Since JDK 7 Update 6 , JDK and JavaFx has been merged and there is no separate runtime directories.

One can get get the latest JDK 7u6 beta build(build 14 or later is recommended) On Windows/Mac/Linux it comes with JavaFX 2.2 SDK as part of JDK installation. the "Getting started with native bundles" section of  Java Deployment blog can be referred for the detailed step.

For Netbeans JavaFx project , NetBeans 7.2 is required to support the latest JavaFx 2.2.

  1. Create a new JavaFx project and do you coding.

  2. Locate the project folder (mouse over the project node in the navigation pane ) and open the build.xml

  3. Add nativeBundles="all" attribute in the deploy tag

  4. Right click on the project tag and select "clean and build"

  5. Go back to the project folder and you can find the "bundles" folder in the usual "dist" folder.

  6. Inside the "bundles" folder there will be another folder with the project name and the executable will be inside it.

  7. Now you can double click and run the program.

  8. The "app" directory would contain the jar distribution archive.

  9. The folder called "runtime" contains the whole JRE (that includes the JavaFx runtime in the latest version)

  10. The whole bundle is portable to most of the computers, I have tested it in a computer where no Java is installed.

It is always recommended to have Java installed in all the computers for better performance and running other application but native packaging is very useful for light weight programs and a greater outreach.

More Help

Alternatively once can convert the jar files to windows executable and bundle with its own JRE with Launch4J. It worked fine for JavaSwing programs but got JavaFx runtime error in some computers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Playing mp3 audio with JavaFx

Java had audio support since ages but there was no direct way play mp3 files in java.

Thanks to JavaFx , you can now directly play mp3 files from your program. In this way you can avoid storing .wave audio files which are huge in size.

In your JavaFx project you need to put the following lines of code

String source = new File("audio.mp3").toURI().toString();
Media media = null;
media = new Media(source);
MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = new MediaPlayer(media);;

Note that this will play audio file from the current working directory. Usually the same directory where the above code file exists or the final executable jar directory. You can confirm the directory using the following code.
System.out.println(new File(".").getCanonicalPath());

There are many other ways to add mp3 capability to Java but I felt using JavaFx is the easiest way specially because of the fact that since the JDK 7 update 6 contains JavaFx 2.2 .

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Video : Astronomy at Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Volume 9

Last week I participated at Pecha Kucha Night Volume 9 as a speaker. Finally the video is out. Thanks to Nikhil for some of the photos which made the slides very impressive. Also many thanks to Vishal, Sharath and Karthik and HandsMedia team for wonderful execution and editing of this video.

You can watch the rest of the videos in that event in the Pechca Kucha Hyderabad's YouTube Channel.

Update 12/02/2013:

The presentation has been featured in pechakucha HQ website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

After Life

I don't believe in after life, I think human body is a biological machine which stops functioning after death , that's it.

But there are lives around us who continue.  One of my colleague shared a blog on a real experience how disastrous can life be after an unexpected death of a family member. The author mentions few lessons she learned after loosing her husband and all information with him.

My friend  shared the following an article about claiming money stuck at various investments.

On a lighter note of you are worried about your Facebook status after death, there is an article for you :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Right to Information Act

Recently I filed my first Right To Information (RTI) application against Election Commission of India and it showed result.

Few years back when I shifted to Hyderabad, applied for registration of my name in electoral roll manually by submitting forms and photographs but it never got listed at Chief Election Officer's website . Every time I gave a call , I got a response that name will be listed next month but it never happened. Even the acknowledgement copy of the application did not have any status tracking number to follow up. Only way was to search by Name and House Number. From my friend's experience I knew that that letters in my name will be defiantly  jumbled up and I will not be able to search even if it comes up in the list

Finally when 3 years passed, I filled up the E-Registration form and submitted my photo and personal details in February 2012. Again the status remained as pending for months. I got no response to the email of Chief Election Officer of local constituency.

Now I was forced to file an RTI  (Right to Information ) at the Central Information Commission's website. As per the website RTI stands for Right To Information and has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the  Constitution. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and have the right to know how the government works, what role does it play, what are its functions and so on. I also had both  tracking number and RTI complaint number this time to follow up with election office.

Finally after filing the RTI the chief election officer of state instructed the district collector and election officer of the constituency to let me know that status of the application ASAP. In next few days I got a call asking the address proof document, photo identity proof and color photo. I had uploaded the photo in the e-registration portal already but they asked for color photo again for preparing the Voter ID Card.

After giving all the required document I checked the status of my application online after couple of weeks  and found that my application is accepted and an EPIC ( ELECTORS' PHOTO IDENTITY CARD) number has been generated. I knew that e-seva centers could print the card for me if I quote the  number but I got a response from e-seva that they do not information about the  list of voters in my constituency. Hence I followed up again with my district's election officer and got to know that there are different branches of e-seva [MS Word DOC] who could print my card.

Today I visited my nearest branch of e-seva centre and got my Voter ID Card printed for Rs 10/-. Surprisingly it has the photo which I had given in the online application, then what did they do the new photos I have later ?

However status of my RTI application says "Signed Copy Awaited", there was no instruction in the RTI website while submitting the complaint to send the hard copy to anywhere. I think its just the power of the act which expedited the process.



The Hyderabad section of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, read I-Triple-E) had their Special Annual General Body Meeting (SAGM) on 8th July 2012 at Family World Club, Hyderabad. As GOLD (Graduates Of Last Decade) Chair I presented the activity summery till now with following slides.


We are looking volunteers, both IEEE members and non-members to be part of our events. Drop me an email if you are interested.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Venus Transit Video

Exactly one month ago I captured this Venus Transit video during the sunrise , when we first witnessed the planet Venus in front of the Sun. There were cloud cover but we got a glimpse.
Make sure you change the quality to 1080p/720p and watch it full screen to spot Venus.

Monday, July 2, 2012

PechaKucha Night Volume 9

I got an invitation to talk in PechaKucha Night Hyderabad volume 9, last week. I spoke about basics of Astronomy and how it evolved as my hobby. I also got to meet a lot of talented and creative people. The video recording is going to be released after sometime. Till then let me share some photos taken by my friends.

Some of the pictures of mine are below and other pictures can be found at the Facebook album and earlier videos can be found in their YouTube channel.


Following are the 20 slides are presented

Rough transcript of the talk is as follows

  1. This is the sky you can see right now if you look up (given there is no cloud). Several bright stars, Moon, Saturn, Mars etc.As a kid I always wondered of stars are random or has some meaning. Before I could invent I discovered that thousands years ago people have already charted it and imagined different animals and objects by connecting the stars, called constellations. Some look like as they are name after and some really don't.

  2. I had idea about solar system but real sky observation started when my uncle gave me this book in late 90s and parents gifted me this binocular. I could recognize any portion of the sky and I could look into the bright nebulae and star clusters.

  3. Later on I gathered some hi-quality and binoculars and medium powered telescopes. I could look into faint objects and features of other planets.

  4. There is always some astronomy around us in the name of astrology. I was surprised the astrologers were fairly correct not in prediction but in calculation.Out of total 88 constellations they ignored all and only considered 12, through which the Sun, Moon and other planets pass and gave some random prediction based on their position.

  5. There were no astronomy column in newspaper and journals but I took advantage of the astrology section of it. I spotted the planets correctly in the sky using horoscope charts. I am a Scorpio and if they say Saturn is in my zodiac now, I will just spot the planet in the constellation in the sky.

  6. But some planets really affect us , not the way astrologers say but giant planet Jupiter's gravity is so massive it protects the planet earth from many meteor or comets which could hit us and wipe human race like they did to dinosaurs 56 million years ago.This picture is of 1994 when a comet  broke apart and collided with Jupiter.

  7. People may say Saturn is evil in Astrology but its the most beautiful object in sky with its shining rings.This picture was taken by Cassini spacecraft along the edge of the ring which is just a kilometer thin. Largest moon titan and ring's shadow can be seen. This gaseous giant is so light that it can float in water.This small picture in the bottom was taken by me through my telescope.

  8. Going father away in the solar system these pictures are of Uranus and Neptune taken by Voyager spacecraft.Uranus almost has no feature but can be seen in naked eye in fairly dark sky but Neptune is very far away and faint as seen of earth. It just completed one round of sun since its discovery.

  9. The closest of the planet to sun is Mercury and very hard to spot due to its proximity with Sun.It is even smaller than the largest Moon in the solar System Ganymede.

  10. The morning star is actually a planet Venus. It has so dense cloud that its hotter than mercury due to green house affect and does not let us see the surface with any telescope. It has phases like moon when seen through telescope.This picture of surface is from Soviet craft Venera 13 which managed to land after several failure attempt.

  11. Most of the movies showed the aliens comes from Mars but we did not find any trace, however we found a lot of water in the polar area as ice.The picture is taken by me when it was in constellation Leo few months back and brightest.In the right bottom a typical sun set as it looks like from Mars.

  12. A typical Earth rise looks like this from Moon and creates can be seen through my telescope easily especially.Right side one is an eclipse photo montage create by my friend Nikhil during Lunar Eclipse on 15th Dec 2011. Lunar surface look reddish copper color during totality due to diffracted sun light through earth's thin atmosphere.

  13. Pluto is now categorized as   dwarf planet because its size and  awkward revolution around sun. Above is the best resolution we could get from Hubble space telescope revolving around earth. The first ever space craft with fly by Pluto is the new horizons in 2015 and may look like this artist's impression.

  14. This shows the scale of size of each planet and sun, earth being so tiny , the scale of distances are also incredible. The bottom image is a family portrait of solar system taken by Voyager in 1990.

  15. Going beyond solar system all the stars we see in night sky belongs to our own milky way galaxy of which sun is a constituent star. But we have neighboring galaxy called Andromeda which is the farthest and the only objects we can see in naked eye in dark sky.

  16. Voyager is one of the most successful space craft sent in 1977 , now sailing at the edge of solar system so far away that one signal takes around 13 hours to reach earth. Its the farthest object we have ever sent.

  17. This is Solar Eclipse in Jan 15 and me and my colleague made a pin hole camera to project's sun on to one of the side of the box. It was an annular eclipse where moon was bit close to earth could not cover sun totally.This was longest eclipse of this millennium.

  18. Recently we witnessed the transit of Venus, Nikhil stacked his photos to generate the awesome image in the left side. The right side one is from my camera , you can see some sun spots which are a bit lower temperature are on Sun's surface

  19. We also occasionally go out for stargazing, especially during winter. Top picture was taken with Amgonna friends , you may see some known faces in this.Bottom one was taken during leonid meteor shower on 17th Nov, this is a long exposure of ten minutes where people were moving around.

  20. I will leave with you a picture of earth which may not be very interesting taken from a vintage point near Saturn when Voyager turned its camera back towards us. Its just a pixel of dust suspended in the sun beam but every one you love , hate or ever known and every one who ever lived were in it. This is just attempt to show our place in this corner of the  universe and solitude. We have to deal with each other more kindly , preserve and cherish, as this pixel is the only place ever harbor life known yet.

Update 2nd July

Pechakucha Hyderabad Night Volume 9 featured in the Hans India article.


Google IO 2012

Like last year Google broadcasted the keynotes of the annual developer event (Google I/O) at their local offices . I came down to their office on 27th and 18th June night despite EURO semifinal matches scheduled right after that.

Most amazing part of the Keynotes were the featured video if Virtual Start Party , which I am regularly part of.It was an awesome idea from Fraser Cain and Pamela Gay , who started recording their podcast from Google hangouts . Later many astronomers joined them in Hangout on Air and used their telescopes to broadcast live images from Sky. Following is the full length video from which some clips were shown in the keynote. I think Virtual Star Party is the best use case of Google Plus  hangout till now.

Following are my notebook pages on both the days

Day 1 (Android)

  • Offline voice search

  • Google now

  • Incremental app update

  • Free Google cloud messaging for developers

  • Movie for sale I play

  • TV shows in Google play

  • Magazines 14 days free trial

  • Nexus 7 inch tablet 12 core GPU , fonts didn't look good ??

  • chrome as the default browser for first time.

  • Compass mode.

  • Offline maps for entire city.

  • Nexus q, port port port, speaker

  • Multi user playlist and hangout

  • Plus event

Day 2 (Chrome)

  • Google drove OCR and picture recognition  iOS

  • Tools docs offline

  • IAAS from Google (Compute Engine)

Apart from this following are the tweets I posted during the events!/search/realtime/%23io12%20from%3Aneilghosh

All the IO videos can be found at their youtube channel