Finding the flow

I, as a lot of of us have been, have been working from home for three-quarters of this year. But WFH is not a novel concept for me. I have done it for a few years in the past. A few stints of a few years each from different houses. And in each instance I tweaked my workspace to work for me and I was heavily inspired by the internet. But once you tweak the space to work best for you the dividends are unmeasurable.

My current workspace has never felt as if it was never done. When we built this house I had grand designs for my workspace. And then I configured it with what I had in hand. I had ideas of a custom workspace for me but somehow never got around to doing it. My builder asked me to include it in the joinery for the kitchens and bedrooms. But I opted out because I didn’t have a finalised vision for it in my head.

I have been looking at Pinterest and Reddit for inspiration. The fancy desktop, gaming setups, the minimalistic ultra sleek surfaces are tech porn. And I could never get around to match them. The monitor were enamours and curvaceous. The mood lighting. The cleanliness and the uncluttered were amazing.

My space would get cluttered and dusty over a few days. And I would spend the weekend dusting and cleaning, and then eventually give up maintaining it. It just hard to always put things back and keep the space uncluttered and organised when you have so many things going on.

So finding my ideal flow is still a work in progress. But now I have an idea of what I need and am slowing starting to build it up.

Home Networking with UniFi

When we built the house I was thinking of getting a Amplify or a Google mesh wireless network. I figured, I’ve lived with pretty low level consumer routers all my life, wireless mesh is as much as I need.

But upon researching a little more, I actually decided to lay Cat-6 cabling. The only regret I have now, I didn’t lay enough cables.

I wired the house for 8 points throughout and seperate cabling for 6 CCTV cameras.Then there were 2 seperate nodes for phones. Schematically I have three seperate networks inside my home.

As the build didn’t have a home office, and only a study nook for me, I ended up terminating the data in the garage and my CCTV wiring terminating inside the house, but under the staircase closet.

Given that I had wired the house for data the mesh network didn’t seem enough So I started researching about possible equipment and set up for a slightly better network. One equipment brand kept coming up, UniFi.

The recommended setup was pretty straight forward.

  • UniFi Security Gateway (USG) was the main component. Think of this as your router. This has a WAN port and one LAN Port and a third dynamic port. So you can essentially create two networks if you require, or you can plug in two WAN’s (this I saw on the one of the discussions). I have configured it to have two LAN’s one for data and one for VOIP.
  • You could run the management software on a VM or a local machine, but I opted for the UniFi Cloud Key (UCK). This is the web based management portal for your network. The UCK can be powered separately or by POE.
  • You will need a wireless access point. Since I didn’t have CAT6 running on to the ceiling I opted for a couple of In-Wall Access Point (IW AP). These are again POE powered and for taking top your network point on the wall it has two network points (one powered and one passive) apart from WiFi.
  • As there were a few components that needed powering, such as the UCK, IWAP’s and any future needs, I opted for a 8 port Managed PoE+ Gigabit Switch with SFP. This was a little overkill for what I had initially but it also gives me some room to grow.

National Broadband Network (NBN) which is the network infrastructure owner in Australia and the type of connectivity you get is dependant on where you live. I had internet through Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) which was the network laid out for cable TV. The connectivity is decent with 100/40 Mbps.

NBN gives the Network Termination Device (NTD) and the ISP gave me what they called the Gateway Max, which has their PPPOE details pre configured. Also they have a 4G SIM in it so for any reason if the wired internet connection goes down you are supposed to have a 4G back up. Thirdly with NBN your phone line becomes a VOIP phone line and this configuration is also preconfigured in the gateway.

The thing that sucks about that ISP is that they are extremely hesitant to give you the settings for you to configure on your own devices. Their technical support basically acts dump and says they don’t know. Or that they cannot divulge that information. The only advise they can tell is to plug their gateway to the NTD, and to plug the phone and any wired devices to the Gateway.

But scouring though a few tech forums I managed to find the PPPOE information. So my set up was as above:

NTD -> USG -> Switch -> IWAP for Internet.

This has a WAN port and one LAN Port and a third dynamic port. So you can essentially create two networks if you require, or you can plug in two WAN’s (this I saw on the one of the discussions). I have configured it to have two LAN’s one for data and one for VOIP.

Since I couldn’t find the VOIP settings I ended up bridging the Gateway Max and plugging it into the LAN 2. This dibbled the 4G backup option but I was happy with that. The Gateway max also had this thing where your gateway will act as a public hotspot for the ISP’s public hotspot service. Creepy.

By bridging it I avoided all that and just used it to connect to the VOIP network. Which didn’t prove to be very successful as the connectivity will lose from time to time. Thank god I wasn’t relying on the land phones.

Then I had an issue with that ISP a few months down the line. They disconnected my internet, due to an error in one of their systems, and were telling me that they will need 14 working days to reconnect me. Naturally I was pissed off and used this opportunity to Switch to Aussie Broadband. I can’t praise these guys enough. With my previous ISP I was getting about 80% of my capacity; With these guys I get around 90% of my capacity. For the same price I get a static IP as well as tech support that understands and supports our choice of hardware.

When I told them the equipment that I have they didn’t even propose a router. They just gave me the settings to configure into the USG.

The only thing they sold me was a Cisco VOIP to Analog Adaptor (ATA) as my phones were analog. If I had VOIP phones I wouldn’t have needed them. I would love to eventually get some UniFi VOIP phones and get rid of the ATA.


The nature of the homes today is that you are going to end up with a ton of devices connecting to your wifi. Phones, tablets and IoT devices. I strive to connect as many devices as possible wired into the network. On my office desk I have an 8-port switch which creates a local network for the devices on my desk and they connect to internet through two network ports on the wall.

Similarly in the lounge room there is another mini switch connecting the consoles, the set top box and Media Player.

But ay any given time I have about 30 devices connected to the wifi network. I have split the load across the two floors by having an access point in each floor.

And the IW-AP is smart enough to keep devices on the best channel. I have relegated some IoT devices to the 2.4 Ghz band to keep the 5 Ghz band more for streaming and computing devices.


For the cameras I decided to go with Hikvision dome cameras which were cheaper than the UniFi cameras. To go with them I also got a HikVision Network Video Recorder (NVR) that also powers the cameras through POE. I have 4 TB of hard drives in a RAID config to record the videos are I am in the process of setting up a cloud backup for the video feed. The cameras are set to record on motion detection.

I ended up connecting the NVR to my data network in order to allow remote viewing of the cameras through the Hikvision apps. You can open up just the ports you need though the UCK’s firewall rules.

And you can pretty much control your home network remotely from anywhere as long as the internet connection is active. Because the UCK can be accessed via their portal or via the iOS app.

Reviving the blog

It has been over 7 years since I last blogged in this blog. Seven years is a long time. And a lot has happened over that time.

First off I am no longer in Sri Lanka. I have made Melbourne my home for the past 5 years. And I went from being a CEO to becoming a developer and I have no regrets. I love writing code and my job gives me the opportunity to do it day in and day out.

I love the work life balance that the Aussie culture brings. Back in Sri Lanka I worked very long hours. And I used to wear my hours like a badge of honour. But over here we clock in 40 hours. People and companies are respectful of your life outside of work. I have turned down requests to work longer hours or work weekends and have never been reprimanded for it.

And in a way life is simple over here. You work, you spend time with your family and then you sleep. You also get to enjoy the outdoors and be a little active.

The best part is I have found myself a passion project / start up pretty much the first year that I landed here. And though we chose a pretty hard industry to break into we’ve been chipping away at it for the past few years and we have made good progress. And hopefully things will start to move more rapidly soon.

There are a few things I want to write about, there are a few projects I’ve undertaken and would like to record my learning and findings. But before I did that I wanted to give this a contextual shift.

From a son to a father

It’s been nine years. Nine long years thaththi. Nine years since you departed. There isn’t a single day that I didn’t wish you were here. It would have been fun thathithi. And you would have been real proud too. Both of me and Malli and our wives and little ones too.

Everything you taught us comes handy. The lessons you explicitly taught as well the lessons that you taught us by example. Some lessons which we didn’t get then but which we now get when we look back I retrospect.

Somehow I get the feeling that you have left us. That you are still looking down upon us. In a strange way that you are still keeping us on course. Not letting us veer away.

Thank you thaththi for all that you have done. For making us what we are today. For giving us the foundation through education, to lead our lives. To feed our families with respect.

You will always be in our hearts thaththi.

Cycle log – 08/12/2012

I managed to go cycling thanks to Milindu. He reminded me last evening and picked me up in the morning. And it was a leisurely ride with just him and me. We did the Kelaniya root. It’s a non challenging root with about 43 Km’s.

I had Endomondo all set up to but forgot to hit the start button when we started the ride. So the link below starts at somewhere in the middle of the ride.

I’m glad and feel much better after the ride. Specially after missing the rides last weekend and also missing two mod week rides. Hopefully I will be able to join the ride tomorrow as well.

Life with Apples

I switched to a MacBook Pro in May of this year. And it has been a pleasant computing experience so far. Yes, my MBP had an issue. But thanks to the apple warranty I had its motherboard replaced for free. And since then I’ve upgraded the memory (to 16 GB) and at some point would love to upgrade to a SSD as well. I hear SSD’s are better in terms of not just speed and booting time, but also in terms of withstanding traveling. Though I don’t travel much, I do like to just close the flap and take it with me. Other than that, the only other thing that I plan to purchase for my MBP is apple care plan for another two years. That is just for piece of mind.

My other apple device is an iPad. I bought it mostly because I wanted to travel light when I hop around for meetings. And now I have built my work flow around it replacing the planner/notebook that I used to carry. I am now teaming a workflow centered around GTD principles, but using the pre installed applications that are available both on the iPad and MBP. I like the fact that they get synced via iCloud. The worst thing that can happen to a task management app is it going out of sync.

Besides a previous iPhone3 which I used till last year these are the first Apple computing products that I have used. And I have to say I am a convert. Every now and then I go wow over the new intel ultra books. But then I remember how I used to go wow over the MBP’s when I was on Dell’s and HP’s. When it comes to consumer electronics, Apple has mastered something that the others are still playing catch up with.

Windows8 and MS’s Surface tablet seems pretty promising. That combination, along with a new sleek ultra book might pose a challenge even for apple. Ultra book + Surface + windows phone with their shared commonalities across their OS can make the everyday computing experience for users seemless like on Mac + iOS platform. Bit given that I have already invested heavily on the Mac platform I’m more likely to remain on this camp.

Cycling and sticking to the core and avoiding the bloat

I’ve been cycling for a while now. When I was young I cycled as a means of transport. Those days the gear didn’t matter. You cycled because it was faster than walking and gave me more freedom to move around. And since I want brought up as a spoilt kid, my first bike was a hand me down and I used it for a very long time. I think I only got a new bike as a present for getting through an exam.

As an adult I started cycling. Again. But this time around its more as a sport. It’s my weekly cardio workout. Is time around, I started with a locally made bicycle that I we picked up as gift that was given to a kid. Since my kid already had a kiddies bike and since we had a choice I picked up a bike for me. When I was freelancing at home I used to cycle alone on and off.

Then I wanted to do it regularly. So I joined up with a gang who cycled regularly. They are a really fun bunch. Also, thy are serious about their gear. So I too upgraded my bike to better bike, albeit used but with better components. But else or guys are far more serious than me. They keep upgrading their gear. Their gear becomes better and better. So I too keep getting tempted. Since then, my bike also has been getting accessories. It got lights, speedometers, better lights and now better speedometers. Then there is the temptation to upgrade the bike itself.

But the minimalist in me somehow keeps pulling me back. A voice within me keeps saying, it’s not the gear, it’s the usage that matters. It keeps telling me to make do with what I have. Use the gear I have to e maximum potential. And once the you have really outgrown the gear, when it’s been used till the end of its life, only then to upgrade, which will be in a very long time as these gear will last a lifetime. They just need e components to be replaced. And even those components, to use them until they become unusable.

They say cycling is the new golf. I think a lot of it has to do with the new sexy gear that keeps coming out. Bicycles nowadays use space age materials and this designs themselves are eye catching. So it’s natural to end up wanting so etching newer. More than the performance, I think it’s more eye candy. Of course they keep getting better. But I am determined to stick to what I have as long as its usable. And I think that’s a pretty long time.

Internet woes

My Internet has been giving me trouble for the past few days. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. It seemed like the connection was acting up. But the I realized. It was the router.

I am trying to make do with the equipment that I have in hand. Since I switched back to the ADSL from DSL I switched back to using an old wireless G ADSL router. And since the signal on that was crap I plugged in my old N band DSL router as a wireless access point.

The one day, during the past rainy season, the N router burned. So I was forced to go back to using the crappy G wireless signal. Not just that it was a g signal it was also an old router. So that explains why I am experiencing a crappy wireless network at home. It really is a pain.

But with my recent obsession with minimalism, I was hellbent on using what I have for as long as I could. But I think now the time has come to retire those equipment and switch onto something that is more reliable and faster. I am going to get me a better router.


Computer storage is something that you will never get enough of. Specially with the advent of the digital cameras all your life’s treasured moments seem to be stored and bits and bytes on a hard disk. Though you can put most of me online, I think it’s still cheaper and more convenient to keep the locally, specially when you’re intent may net be as fast or reliable as you may think.

I’ve been thinking of a good storage strategy for personal computing needs for a while now. And I’ve been pretty keen to build a NAS using one of the computers that were lying around. I purchased the hard drives about a month back and gave it a try. But I just could not get those old computers to boot up. I think leaving them packed Ina box did something to them. So I stripped the, of their hard drives (more hard drives now) and sold them computers for scrap.

So now I had hard drives too total capacity of around 2.5 Tb but no way of using them. I wasn’t keen on buying individual enclosures for all of them. Then I came across a multifunction hard drive docking station on eBay.


This thing is pretty cool. It takes 3 hdd’s and apart front at it has card readers for all card types you can think of and USB ports as well. I loved it. Not only does it make easier to swap the hard drives, it will sure consume less power and space. Of course it won’t give me all the benefits of a NAS like the ability to gave it download torrents and such. But that wasn’t so much of a priority for me.

Using that and a few portable hard drives that’s had now I have a small arsenal of storage. I am using my old 1Tb external hdd as the time machine backup device for my MBP. And I am moving all my musical and photos to the other external drives on the docking station. And I am keeping one small portable and the other old hard drives as storage for my windows based computers. Since we have a few computers at home with a few digital cameras and other potable devices, the need to back them up comes up often.


Family time

I work pretty long hours during the week. Even though I strive to do a split schedule of working the morning session and taking the afternoon off to spend with the kids, most of the time it doesn’t work out as expected. I end up running an errand or getting back to work after lunch. And with my scheduled meetings in the night I end up staying very late and the kids go to sleep without me around.

And due to our hectic schedules on weekdays we have planned the classes for the kids for Saturdays. So Saturday is the fun lessons day for my kids. They do singing, piano and ballet. Ad it’s pretty much a full day program. And Sundays are the relaxing day for them. They pretty much have the whole day to themselves and to complete their school homework.

I strive to spend the Saturday with the kids. So no matter how late I stay up on Fridays I am up on Saturday morning to take them to classes. And I enjoy this me and the kids time very much. Today I tagged my son along for a two hour lesson for my daughter. These two hours I usually spend at a car wash getting my car washed, vacuumed and waxed.

So today, my son spent time with me at the car wash watching the car being cleaned. But his interest in cars being washed waned pretty fast. And I had got ready for such eventualities. He loves playing kiddies games on the iPad. Usually, it’s tussle to get his hands on the iPad when his sister is around. Today he enjoyed uninterrupted play time.

Ad I need to work on my patience with the kids. I have a tendency of getting pretty impatient with them when they do not listen to my instructions. I guess they are just being kids and I’m forgetting the fact. In order to make the most out of my time with them, this is one area that I need to improve. I wasn’t a very patient person at any count even previously. But I guess that SOS,etchings need to be improved when you become a father.

I am scared that I will miss out in their growth years and suddenly find them to be all grown up and distant from me, busy with their own lives. I want to be a part of their lives, not just by virtue of being their father but also as the person that teaches them about life, their friend and mentor. I had a pretty good relationship with my own father. I don’t recall doing too many things with him, he was more of an academic person. But he was always there whenever I needed him and he gave me the space that I needed as well. If I can emulate him in those aspects I would be successful as a father.

I also have a DIY streak in me so I try to get my kids involved when I do things around the house. My son was pretty interested my computer upgrade and networking projects around the house. He is also showing a keenness in cycling which I hope will prevail, so he and I can cycle together.

I even bought a book titled “Now that you are a father” to find inspiration in what I can do with the kids. I want to find interesting things to do with them which will be interesting to both me and them, apart from getting them to do homework. Hopefully I will get some inspiration from that book and by googling around.

Switching to SLT broadband

Switching seems to be a recurring topic on my blog these days. Hopefully this will be the last one in this series.

I switched ISP’s last month. As much as I was happy with the consistent service provided by my previous ISP, LankaBell, they were expensive. I was signed up for a 2Mbps connection and I was getting more than 1 Mbps consistently. Consistency is the key here, as my 4Mpbs line at work, doesn’t seem that fast, the speed is volatile and it does have a great impact on the actual throughput when you are using it.

Anyway, I was happy with the service but not with the price I was paying for it. And since SLT came up with their new broadband packages, promising minimum of 2 Mbps and maximum 8Mpbs speeds with a capped monthly usage quota, I was itching to switch. Only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether I would exceed the quota of 20 Gb per month, and whether the stated speeds would be practically available given the fact that this is shared bandwidth.

However, I faced a third dilemma. When I applied for a connection, I was told that the area I was living in was running at full capacity and that I would have to wait, indefinitely until they can activate my connection.

After about a month they did, and I managed to set up my home network using some old equipment that were in possession. Immediately, I faced some volatility issues. My connection kept dropping and it was hard to get anything done. I often kept switching back to my old LankaBell connection, in order to complete my work (I ran both connections in parallel for about a month, until I got the bill from LankaBell for another month!)

Then one day, I just turned off my LankaBell connection, and used the Wireless N router I was using with it as a Wireless N access point, and all my network stability issues vanished).

Now I am completely on the SLT broadband connection. I disconnected my Lankabell connection and they even removed their equipment. Personally for me, my Internet connection is second only to the power connection in terms of need! So far SLT had not let me down. And I am keeping a mobile broadband connection as back  up in case if something goes wrong. I am happiest when I get the bills. This connection costs me only 1/3 of what I was paying before!

Switching to coffee

This week seems like a series of posts about switching. Well, at least second one in a row, within a week, after a long pause!

Anyway, I’ve not been big on coffee until probably a few years ago. Coming from a family which was in a way involved with growing tea, we’ve always been tea people. Growing up coffee was used more as for medicinal uses, in case if you were experiencing a stomachache.

But since coffee shops started to become fashionable hangouts in Colombo, I started opting for a coffee instead of a tea, if I was at one of those joints. But still tea remained my main beverage. I never really experienced any caffeine inflicted hyper activity.

But since of late, if I was working late or if I was starting the day after a late night, I’ve been opting for a strong black coffee, to tingle my nerves and get me going. And I’ve noticed the caffeine at work. It’s not instantaneous as I would like it to be, but it works. After a little while my body wakes up and can keep me going for a while. Sometimes longer than I ‘d like it to last (specially at nights, after a cup of two of caffeine I find it harder to fall asleep)

Earlier my beverage of choice when working late used to be green tea. But I find coffee to be far more effective.

But still, I ‘m not an expert on coffee. I still don’t know the difference between an Americano, a cappuccino and a latte! And the coffee that I have been having is instant. But hey, it works for me!

Switching to a Mac

I switched to a Mac. Actually to a MacBook Pro. And I am writing this post on it!

I was thinking about upgrading my laptop for a month or so now. I’ve been using my old lap top for about 18 months and I kind of got to the point I wanted a little bit more screen real-estate and a better battery life. My previous laptops battery had passed through its motions and had very little charge retention.

I was working from the road a bit, not because I was travelling on business, but because I was shuttling my kids for classes and I wanted to get some work done while I was sitting around till their classes finished. Since my usual laptops battery wont last through the duration of a class, I was using a netbook, which was getting to me with is crawling, slow performance and the tiny screen size. Even it’s keyboard was tinier than the normal laptop so even typing on it was a chore.

Hence, I was looking for a better laptop with a better processor and a better battery. And guess what came on the list that met that criteria? MBP!

It’s amazing that the best windows developers laptop happens to be a Mac. My job requires me to run Windows and the Mac supports that natively with bootcamp. And the first thing I did after getting my hands on it was actually to get Windows7 on it! I find myself using Windows& on this more than often than I am using MacOSX. I am surely hoping the tide’s will turn around as there is a some python work on the horizon.

I can’t even begin to say how much I am enjoying this machine. The display is fabulous, the keyboard feels natural under my finger tips and the over build of the machine feels so assuring. And performance, even though this one has only a 4GB of memory (as opposed to 6GB, the max allowed on my old laptop) this one never seems to be wanting of anything to perform any task that is thrown at it (Maybe it’s the Sandy-bridge processor on this?)

The design and practicality of this machine is enormous. I love the mag safe power adaptor. Even those two tiny hooks built into the power adaptor that you can use to coil the wire. The unibody feels so assuring in your hands.

Switching to the Mac had other expenses lined up for me as well Smile. I wanted a fancier bag and it had me shopping for leather bags and I ended up getting two of them!

It’s a long weekend

It’s a long week end. And also, the school vacations have started. Avurudu is around the corner. If I was not broke, I would have planned something for the family. But I am just recovering financially from the alms giving. Besides, my wives parents are out. So we are with the kids, playing parents after a long time.

Yesterday, though it was Poya, I was working on and off. Spent sometime finishing up a project that was in the back burner for a while. And have to finish up another proposal. So I can send them out on Monday.

Also, spent sometime setting up the computer. After a recent hard disk swap I’ve been running with the bare minimum software I needed. Setting up a few more nice to have tools on the computer. Also, taking an attempt to exclusively use the SLT broadband connection so I can officially terminate my Lanka Bell broadband connection if the SLT connection works well. My initial experience was a bit sketchy, but I am not sure whether the issues were due to the connection or my old router.

Tomorrow I am hoping to join Pedal Pushers on the Sunday ride. Haven’t ridden for a long time. I think for the whole of this year so far I’ve ridden only twice or thrice. And that is with the group conducting two rides weekly, on Sunday and Wednesday night.

I’ve been working like crazy the past couple of months. And I have to find a way to better organize my day. The way I’ve arranged my work, I’m more or less working round the clock. I need to find a balance and also find some common time with wifee when she is at home. Seems I’m at home, but working when she comes and she’s sleeping when I’m done!

At least this couple of weeks should be better able to manage my time with the kids being at home!

Being busy

I’ve been extremely busy the last couple of months, My pretty balanced life has become erratic, I miss my meals, I always feel under pressure, there is always something to get done, and between the regular work and family errands, I am always on the edge as if on a pressure cooker. 

I used to have it pretty balanced. I had time for work, for play, had my meals on time, spent time with family, found time to go cycling was fiddling around with the camera. I loved what I was doing and was looking forward to picking up a hobby in Photography. 

Then, work started piling up, meaning we were getting a lot of work on our plates, and there were a few situations that I needed to handle in order to rescue what I had built thus far. So I dived in, took the reins and am now running at full speed. Adding to that, my kids are growing up and they joined extra curricular activities. My wife changed her line of work and she’s been busier than me ever since. So the whole shuttling the kids for their classes thing fell on my shoulders. And now, I have no time for myself! It’s just work and errands!

I was always pretty big on work life balance. I read about it, I arranged my life around those principles, I turned to freelancing mainly so I can find more balance in my life! But now that balance is off the grid. I need to find it again. And probably it will require some pretty big changes in my life. In the the responsibilities that I’ve taken. Maybe I need to scale back, learn to say ‘no’ more and then be happy with having less!

In love with Macs

Im falling in love with Macs these days. I don’t know. I think I’m finally becoming an Apple fanboy.

I’ve been on a Compaq, Core i5 machine for a little over a year now. And I even upgraded the RAM and the hard drive on this rig. It’s a fully spec’ed up machine now. I should easily be able to get a couple of more years of work from this rig.

I dunno. I suddenly find myself reading up about Macs, comparing the prices and checking out them at Mac stores. They certainly are now available in Colombo. Sri Lanka used to be a Windows country. But I think now the macs are invading!

I’ve been drawn to a few gadgets in the past and what I found out about my self was that my lust for the devices last until I buy them and then for about a month afterwards. Then they become just a part of my portfolio of stuff I own. This happened with my last expensive purchase, which was a DSLR. Not to say that I dont use it, but I dont use it as much as I envisaged that I will use it prior to buying it. I justified buying it a lot (to myself mostly) saying that I am picking up a new hobby. But, that hasnt been the case. With my work schedule, I hardly find any time for a hobby (i hardly find time to sit down and have a meal, let alone to indulge in a hobby).

Getting back to the topic of a mac, more than a camera, or any other toy for that matter, I will use a Mac as I spend most of my waking hours in front of a computer. And the justification this time around is, that though they are expensive, (probably you can buy 2 high end windows laptops for a MBP with similar configuration), I am upgrading the primary tool that is used in my line of work! How is that for a justification!

And I have been extremely busy with the computer and it will pay to upgrade it without waiting till it reaches its end of life. At least, if I upgrade now, I should be able to sell my existing computer for a decent price as it is still not out dated (they still sell this configuration).

Well, now I need to see if I can actually go through with purchasing a MBP.


My daughter is in grade 1 this year. And as such she is starting to get home work. That notorious thing we used to hate as kids.

But this time I am at the other end of the fence. As the person who has to face her teacher everyday, I have to answer if she has missed her homework. The weekends are the worst. She usually gets a ton.

I am in the process of sitting down with my daughter to complete her homework for thus weekend. Seems like it’s going to eat up the rest of the morning.

I am also learning the process of getting a 5 year old to sit down in one place and doing her homework when all she wants to do is watch cartoons or play. One think that is working to my advantage is the fact that she missed out doing her homework and she remembers vividly the repercussions. So she is also making an attempt.

I am trying to to find the balance of coaxing and being strict with her. Age is a restless kid by nature. So getting her to sit at a stretch and actually finishing something is a challenge. Can’t blame her either. All this time she was subjected to experiential learning and now she is being introduced into formal learning with a bang.

As a parent I want my kids to have a sound education and for them to do well. But I also want them to enjoy their childhood. And I am also concerned that forcing them to do work against their will would force them to dislike learning.

I guess with time I will find what works best with my kid. But to get there I will have to be patient and learn from her as well. This is going to be an interesting journey!

I switched to Windows Phone 7!

First off, my iPhone died. Well, not exactly died as in dead. It’s more like it got crippled. The phone is working. I can answer incoming calls and take out going calls as well. But, that’s about all I can do. Because the HOME button, is dead. Ok, so it’s not that the phone died, but the HOME button died.

I am not complaining. It’s an iPhone 3G (not even a 3GS). So, I think it lived its life cycle. I’m sure nothing is made nowadays to last decades. 3 years or so is probably the maximum for a consumer electronic device. Otherwise how can they sell their new models, which they churn out every year.

So in short, it was time for me to get a new phone. So I switched to WP7.

I know! Why not a new iPhone or even a droid. Well, let’s just say I liked WP7. I liked its tiles. I was never an Android fan. I think they try to copy the iOS too closely. At least it seems like it. And besides, I wanted to start writing phone apps again. And the shortest learning curve for me is for WP7.

But it wasn’t easy finding WP7 devices here in SL. The choice was like 25 Androids for 1 WP7. But I settled for the HTC Mozart. It’s a pretty neat phone. More or less the size of my old iPhone 3G. Nicer display. And I’m impressed with the features too. Both on the Phone and the OS.

Everything seems very much more responsive. Hopefully it’ll remain the same as it grows older. And Im particularly impressed with the voice recognition on the device. It’s pretty much spot on with the SMS responses. Too bad there’s no way to use it on other apps like Twitter! Time to buckle down and get to writing that app!

I joined a gym, finally!

I was never a gym person. I’ve never been to a gym in my life, ever!

My attempts at working out at home had been sporadic. I own three exercise machines, but they lie around, unused. I’ve attempted to walk, which kind of worked while I was working from home, alone, but after I moved to an office, it fell by the wayside. I’ve attempted to go for a walk during the weekends and that too was never regular. One thing, which I have picked up is cycling on Sundays with the Pedal Pushers, which has been somewhat regular.

With my weekly cycle rides one thing I came to realize was how unfit I was! All this time my fitness was not an issue as I hardly engaged in any physically demanding activities. But cycling 25-30km’s just showed me how unfit I was. And secondly, my wife become pretty interested in staying fit. She took up a Zumba class twice a week. I joined her once a week and and it was an eye opener to my fitness level.

With all this when my wife wanted to join a neighborhood gym, I tagged along and joined too. So now, I’ve committed myself to working out three times a week.

I was asked to define my goals of joining a gym and here’s what I came up with:

  • Lose 10 kgs of weight
  • Lose 2″ on my waist line
  • Generally improve my fitness and stamina
Losing weight and waistline has remained a goal of mine for quite sometime. But this is the first time that I am going to be doing something specifically targeted towards achieving it. So let’s see how well I keep to my commitments. Hopefully I will be posting periodic updates about progress here. And if nothing is posted, over time, it would probably mean I would have not achieved my goals or have not kept my commitment. This post is an attempt of a public declaration, so that I will hold myself accountable.

Classic ASP is still not dead

The last time I coded in classic ASP was about 7 years ago. Ever since I moved to ASP.NET 1.0 it was the way of .NET for me. But, we recently landed two relatively small projects, for two pretty large, world wide corporates, which required us to use classic ASP. And these are not small companies. These are billion dollar global companies.

Both these companies own pretty extensive IT infrastructures. Both of them have their own server farms. And I reckoned this was one of the reasons they are still sticking with classing ASP. They have invested heavily on hardware, software and platforms and it is not an easy task to keep updating them with the latest and the hip things that come out year in and year out!

Picking up a new hobby – photography

All this time I didn’t have a hobby per se. My work takes up most of my time (as a result of working across two timezones 12.5 hours apart) and the remainder of the time (which actually boils down to a little over couple of hours on weekdays) I try my best to spend with my family. So there never was time any time to spend on anything else. And during weekends, I would spend time with family (and doing a poor job of being there then) or lounge in front of the TV.

I’ve not been a great photography fan lately. I remember when I was in my early teens I tried my hand in photography. I had an old 35mm Yashica film camera, which was my fathers, and the cost of the films and the development never really worked for me.

When the digital camera’s came along, I was a late entrant to the scene. I just used a point and shoot digital camera to capture occasional family gatherings and functions. And I never really pushed the cameras to its limits. I would mostly use it on the ‘auto’ mode and would switch to other modes rarely. I went through an Olympus u700, which died on us soon after the warranty expired, and then a Cannon Ixus.

Ont the other hand my man, Rukshan’s was into photography. I always used to think he was addicted to photographs (and honestly he looked very good on them). And since he lives overseas, he always used to pester me to take photos around the house, and people and share them with him. But I was too lazy to do that on a consistent basis and after a while he stopped pestering me for photos.

My interest in DSLR’s picked up when I was asked to pick a DSLR for Rukshan from Malaysia. Just before the trip and soon after I returned with the camera (which was a Nikon D3100), my general knowledge about DSLR’s were greatly enhanced, thanks to him. During that trip I was compelled to pick the same camera for myself, but instead, being the computer geek I am, I picked up a laptop. This was about an year ago. And I thought my interest in photography will subside.

But it was not to be. So I started to put small sums away with the idea of getting myself a DSLR. And by last month, I had saved enough to afford one! So I got myself a Nikon D3100 with a 18-55mm kit lens and a 55-300mm lens. So, equipment-wise, I am content. There are only two more items I would buy in the foreseeable future and those will be a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a flash.

So now I am in the process of experimenting with my camera and finding out what I can do with it. So far it’s been mainly used as a point and shoot, but I am trying my hand at manual focusing and other manual settings. And hopefully, I would come up with photographs that I would be proud to show off (other than those of my family’s!)

A late night rant

There were several days on which I logged into hoping to post something here. But in all occasions there were one of two issues that prevented it.

1. I was disturbed – either I was required to sort something out, answer a question or manage something. Then I lose the thought train and I end up saving it as a draft, but never get to finishing it later, as it is very difficult to figure out what I was going to write previously.

2. So many things were running through my head I could not zoom in on one thing to write. So many things on my plate and trying to do more than one thing at a time and the stress of running a business.

Even right now, I do not have a specific subject to write about. I am staying online for a client meeting, and thought of mumbling something to keep me from falling asleep.

I think I need to focus on doing some meditation to bring about some serenity to the chaos going around me. In a way I am used to the chaos in my life. I walk into the office fully expecting a lot of things to fall into my plate when I open my inbox. And then I go about sorting them out and getting things out of the door. And usually on such days I end my day with a sense of having had a productive day.

I am pretty used to that and if it is a slow day, I become quite lethargic. I think a little stress keeps me going. Like a race car needs to be driven hard!

Oh, my client is calling. SO this post is getting published!

Rediscovering my blog

Whoa! I have a blog. I had almost forgotten it. Life and work had consumed me and I forgot I had a blog. Well, the problem is I have more than one blog. But still I have not blogged consistently across all of them.

I am not sure what I will end up writing on this. I wasn’t planning to make a post. Basically I have nothing specific to say. But I had a mail from because someone had tried to reset the password for my username and I just came to the blog to make sure that it was not hijacked by anyone else.

In the process I discovered a few things about my blog. I’ve had this for almost 7 years now. And there was a time when I used to be pretty active (in this blog). There was a time when my family used to comment about my posts. People who didn’t know me that well discovered about me through this blog.

Then I got pretty private. I think it happens. I got cold feet about shouting out everything in my mind. And also, Twitter came along. I started to tweet more than I blogged. But then again, I am not a consistent tweet either. I can go for months without a single tweet.

Well, that’s about it for now I think. I don’t know when I will post back here again. There are some things that I would like to talk about. But still my thought train is not complete. So, maybe someday, I will get to those on this blog.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 14 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 260 posts.

The busiest day of the year was February 4th with 153 views. The most popular post that day was moBlog.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for moblog, proactive language, fancybox close, clear print spooler vista, and moblog windows mobile.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


moBlog December 2007


Running ASP.NET 2.0 Applications on IIS 5.1 (Win XP) March 2006


Installing Blackberry desktop software on Vista March 2008


Connecting to SQL Server Express from a Pocket PC application March 2007


Tyre expiry date July 2006

It’s my anniversary

Happy Anniversary Wifee!

I can’t imagine the last 6 years. Its been a bliss. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but hey, we’ve stuck through things together and I don’t think we’ve done that bad!

I have a lot to thank you for, besides the unconditional love you shower upon me. To start off with, thanks for putting up with me. Thanks for putting up with my weird work schedules and un-godly hours. Can’t thank you enough for understanding my urges to do somethings differently.

Thanks for giving me the courage and the strength when I needed it most. I wouldn’t have started a business of my own by stepping out of a full time job, if it wasn’t for your courage. Thanks for standing by me and letting me choose freely. Pretty soon we will be reaping the fruits of all that labour.

Above all, thank you for the two wonderful kids you’ve given me. I know I’m not doing much for the kids, though I am physically there at home most of the time, because most of that most of the time is spent in front of my computer. And trust me live, you’re doing a wonderful job!

Here’s the the last 6 years and for the rest of our lives!