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GiftJaipur

Online gifts shops are increasingly becoming popular world-wide. These portals have revolutionized gifting system tremendously over the years. Now you don’t have to bother about gifting dear ones any time. One of the portal I came across was giftjaipur.com. You can send gifts to Jaipur, which is so rich in culture and traditions. You can send gifts on several traditional festivals – Diwali, Holi, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Baisakhi, Eid, and even Christmas to India. So if you are looking for unique gifting ideas than visit giftjaipur.com. Many Non resident Indians have started using it to send loving regards in the form of gifts to their dear ones in Jaipur. Sending gifts to Jaipur has terrifically become easier with the giftjaipur.com online shop. It is the best way to reveal togetherness to dear ones in times of celebrations or festivity or grief.

Mauritius – paradise for honeymooners

Our amazing honeymoon at Mauritius had a rocky beginning.. but then all’s well that ends well.. it ended with the honeymoon duration being extended by 1 day, and spread over 3 classy hotels instead of 1.

Day 0 – 13 Feb 2011
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We were to take the flight of Air Mauritius from New Delhi at 5 am, and thus we arrived in Delhi 10 pm the same night. At 2 pm there was an announcement that our flight was delayed by 12 hours, and that we would be kept in a hotel soon. People protested and after a lot of heated complaints, the airlines said they would try to extend our stay by a day. At 3.30 am, we reached Wvyomin at Dwarka. The room was very comfortable, and the bathroom was well stocked. The USP of the place was the food. There was variety and taste was amazing. We went around nearby, but the place was in the middle of a village it seemed. So no new discoveries made. :) By 5 pm the reception counter informed us that the flight had been delayed further by 8 hours, making it a delay of 20 hours !!!

Day 1 – 14 Feb 2011
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Our valentine’s day started in New Delhi’s International Airport, where Sanchit was busy fiddling with his new HTC Desire (playing angry bird :P). Anyways, we finally boarded the plane at 1 am and reached Mauritius at 8 am. There was some chaos about a missing couple, who came out of the airport very late, and we started for our resort. Our resort ‘movenpick’ is located in the south of Mauritius. The way to south mauritius was very scenic, and we crossed many sugarcane and pineapple fields. The check-in took a lot of time, but the room we got was worth the wait. The resort was sprawling over 22 acres, and we quickly made our spa, snorkeling and glass bottom boat bookings. We went on the glass bottom boat and saw a great variety of fishes and corals.

Day 2 – 15 Feb 2011
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We went for water sports this day starting with tube ride. We mounted a double seater tube which was tied to a speed boat. The speed boat went zooming with lots of turns and it was a exciting bumpy ride on the sea. Next we tried paragliding which commenced with a dip in the sea. Next was underwater sea walk. It was simply amazing and super. The fishes ate bread from our hands.

Day 3 – 16 Feb 2011
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We went to Port Louis which was the capital of Mauritius. The city is surrounded on 3 sides by mountain and 1 side by sea. Its very scenic but humid as well.

Day 4 – 17 Feb 2011
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We went for a south tour and saw an extinct volcano, seven sands etc. Good scenic places on the way. We went to the most revered hindu sankar mandir, where there was a pond called the Ganga Tal. It is said that the British had brought 60000 slaves from India to Mauritius. Amongst them was a saint who had brought ganga water from India, and purified this lake with the water. Now this pond is considered equally sacred as ganga. The pond was overcrowded with fishes. Throw in a small piece of banana and all the fishes would jump in that area.

Day 5 – 18 Feb 2011
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We went for spa, jacuzzi and steam bath today. In the after noon we went for snorkelling. We were the only novices in the group of 10 people. The snorkelling boat took us approx. .75 km from the coast. We wore fins and life-jacket (first timers) and jumped into the water. It took sometime to get used to the breathing tube, and after gulping in some salt water we were ready to snorkel. People had spread out all over the place, and we started swimming together hand in hand. The sight underwater was simply amazing. There were fishes of different colours and shapes, swimming on top of corals.We were simply stunned by the beauty seen underwater. Also the independence to swim about on our own was thrilling. This remained our best experience in Mauritius. By now we were informed by Air Mauritius that they have arranged for an additional day’s stay in mauritius in another hotel in north mauritius.

Day 6 – 19 Feb 2011
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We packed our bags, ready to transfer to the other hotel. On the way to the hotel, we went to Casela Nature Reserve. There we went for Interaction with Lion, in which we were allowed to pet a Lion cub for sometime and take pictures with it. We then went to a petting farm. There we had a gala time feeding ducks, deer, goat and other farm animals. The zebra took time to come to us, but when it eventually did, it allowed us to pet him. We also fed ostriches and boy do their peaks snap on your hands. We also went for a safari in the reserve which was decent for the price they charged. After casela, we visited pamplemosses which was a botanical garden. Other than a thory variation of lotus, we didnt really see anything unusual.

Day 7 – 20 Feb 2011
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We explored the swimming pool at the hotel, which was supposedly the largest pool in mauritius and simply lazed around, before making the move to take the flight back home.

On the whole we had a marvellous time at Mauritius and would recommend it for all honeymooners.

Removing google ads from angry bird

very easy way to do it… simply put your android phone to aeroplane mode and the ads disaapear :)

I have been using Zigbit in quite a few projects, and generally was programming it using JTAG/ISP. The issue with this was that I was dependant on a programmer like AVR Dragon. AVR Dragon for some unknown reason gets damaged randomly. And till now we’ve not really been able to diagnose the problem. So the best option was to move away from JTAG/ISP programming and try programming the modules using USB. I had some trouble finding good posts on how to do this exactly with pin connections, so thought of putting together some relevant information in this blog.

The good news is that zigbit comes with bootloader pre-loaded, so one simply needs to solder it and it is ready to be programmed through usb.

To do the same one needs the following on the PCB :-
1. Mini-usb connector (any other usb connector would also do)
2. FT232RL (other similar USB-UART convertor would also do)
3. Zigbit
4. Momentary Switch (for chip reset)

Pin Connections

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Pin Connections
Download this schematic

How to Program

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In Linux, one can use the utility ‘meshprog’ to program zigbit. ‘meshprog’ can be downloaded from here

Installing this utility is simple, and using it is even simpler. The command is
meshprog -t <device> -f <file.srec>

So, if my device were to be connected to /dev/ttyUSB3 and I needed to download the program Blink.srec, I would use the following command

meshprog -t /dev/ttyUSB3 -f Blink.srec

This utility waits for the user to press the reset switch. Once the reset switch is pressed and released, the bootloader in the zigbit downloads the program to the chip’s flash memory.

For Windows, Serial Bootloader is a software utility designed to program an application code into WSN nodes through USB or RS-232 port, without using JTAG. It also provides the possibility to set up the network parameters for each node without affecting its firmware image. Serial Bootloader is a part of ZigBeeNet Software. One can use the ‘bootloader’ utility from ‘cmd’ and download program in similar manner. The command in windows is

bootloader –p port_number [–f file_name] [-b baud_rate] [-h] [-s bootstrap_size] [-M MAC address] [-C Channel mask] [-P PANID]

So, if my device were to be connected to COM19 and I needed to download the program Blink.srec to it, I would use the following command

bootloader -p COM19 -f Blink.srec

Installing Bootloader in Zigbit

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In case, you are reusing an old zigbit which doesnot have a bootloader or if you’ve overwritten the bootloader section, you can change the fuse settings and load the ‘bootloader.hex’ using JTAG and ISP programming. You can download the bootloader hex file from here

To enable programming of a node by Serial Bootloader fuse bits are to be set up for ZigBit as follows: 0xFF, 0x9C, 0x62.

I have tried my hands on many different types of hobbies/activities since my childhood.. When I was 8-9 years old I remember making coloured balls with clay, different coloured chalks and shapes with PoP…. Making smthing which colourful and smthing artistic has always been very fascinating to me.. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I was given the bottom most rack of a built-in almirah for arranging my doll-stuff.. I just loved organising that space into a drawing room, kitchen area, bedroom and a guest room 😛 At that point the idea of guest rooms was not very common or maybe I had not heard of it.. I remember that after a few years I was so amused to know that what I actually thought was a figment of my ambitious and dreamy imaginations was actually reality and people did have spare bedroom for guests… At the age of 12/13 embroidery was introduced in our school as extra curricular activity and that was when I learnt another very creative art of intricate needlework. I loved it and pursued it for sometime, got some good quality threads from my dida (maternal grandma). I came to know how good she was with needle work and could appreciate the collection of needle work that she had painstakingly built… I also learnt a bit of knitting wool from my maaji(paternal grandma). Years later although I did take up embroidery again for a gift that I made, I hardly remembered the different styles of needlework. The entire project was made in chain-stitch style, which looked neat but obviously lacked variety. I want to learn knitting and embroidery again…

I’ve tried my hand at painting ..and although I love to visualize an aesthetic painting and manage to get my sketch right, I’ve never been able to put in colors right..I dont know why that happens.. Maybe because the consistency of water I mixed is not right, or the canvas I painted was not appropriate or most probably I lack the ability to colour well… which is why I really appreciate people who are good painters.. I have had a few friends who are really good at painting…My ex-roomie and one of my best buddies, Richu is a fantastic painter.. I remember when we were in first year, we used to be given the job of making hand-painted posters for different college events… What initally seemed like a daunting task to me, eventually turned out to be a fun activity and very creatively satisfying job, although my contributions were hardly much, I enjoyed sitting there with her and watching a piece of art coming up.. :) And ofcourse later on I started giving my inputs as well, and the most memorable poster I remember making with my friends was for a Linux Workshop that we were organizing.. We made cut-out posters of a ‘Suse’ Chameleon eating up a ‘Windows’ Butterfly 😀

Linux Workshop

Another activity that I had taken up during my engineering was rangoli.. We had shifted to a new house by the time I entered college, and every diwali I started making rangoli at our door step. We had a rangoli making competition in my 2nd year (I think) in which I participated along with Richa and Mansi in team. We divided our work according to our strengths and worked on it. Although some participating teams did try to spruce up their creation by adding diyas to their rangoli, somehow we managed to get the first prize…

Rangoli

After I completed my graduation in engineering, I donot know whether it was due to the tedium caused by scientific studies or something else, an urge to do something creative came over me… I made a lot of glass painting and eathern ware painting… Although they might not be master pieces, they gave me a lot of creative satisfaction and joy….

Glass Painting

Other than these transient activities that I love to indulge in, there have been some relatively more consistent hobbies that I’ve had…  I’ve been attending singing classes in my childhood in calcutta… Although I didn’t really enjoy the drill that I had to go through for those classes, eventually I guess that helped shaping up my vocal chords in a way that I was able to sing well enough… When I went to DPS, I had to sing a few times during our introduction sessions with seniors.. I remember have sung ‘Sharara Sharara’ to which one of batchmates would have to dance, and we became quite famous in the hostel..Our duo was beckoned several time by many seniors who’d make us repeat our performance.. During one of these sessions, one of seniors Pooja Lal who was a talented singers, sang for us. She had a very melodious voice. I noticed that she carried with her a diary of lyrics. I borrowed her diary and copied a few songs to my DPS almanac… Thereafter, for quite some time, I would note down the lyrics of songs that I found hummable into the same almanac…. I dont have a great memory with songs, and on quite a few occasions when I have been requested to sing, the diary has always come handy… I have a collection of mostly soothing bollywood stuff, some english songs and some nursery songs by preeti sagar…  I have had some amount of classical song training, but have never taken singing training very seriously because its easy to sing songs just by hearing the song repeatedly and humming along..

Now dance on the other hand is not one of those activities which I can pick up easily by watching the dance movements on screen. In my childhood, I learnt Kathak for a year before moving on to Bharatnatyam.. In Calcutta, I was attending the dance classes of a student of a very renowned Bharatnatyam dancer. However, those classes never interested me because they were impersonal, and they made us all wear uniform dresses… When I moved to Gujarat, I learnt bharatnatyam with a teacher who lived quite near my house.. I loved learning from her because the number of students in the batch were less, and as I was progressing and learning fast, she started giving me solo lessons :) I would come to her house early in the morning, say hi to her mom and go up to her room to wake her up and then come down to the ground floor balcony of her house, where I would chat with aunty and uncle till she got ready and came down.. Within 2 years, she thought I was ready to start with my Arangetram training, and decided to take me to her guru for his opinion… He was of the opinion that 2 years was too less to amass the knowledge of 5 years of bharatnatyam, and hence that I should not be taking arangetram training so soon. He told my mom to take me to another of his disciple’s classes if I wanted to finish arangetram sooner. Although I did visit his disciple’s class once, the idea of leaving the hardwork of my teacher and getting into the umbrella of another one just for arangetram seemed too treacherous to me and I donot remember the exact reason,  but I discontinued bharatnatyam at that point… I did have a stint with rock dance too when I was in 7th std…But the problem there was I was not getting any opportunity to perform on stage with the group. I was too young to be casted in the grownups group and old for being casted in the youngsters’ group. Once they had called the then Miss Gandhinagar to teach all the kids in the academy, how to do ramp walking… It seemed slightly tough, but eventually I was able to walk quite well and give good poses.. However this casting problem happened there as well, and I was the only person who didnt participate in the fashion show. Well anyways, knowledge always helps, and when I was in DPS, I participated in both the fashion shows that were held there during my stay… Because of my catwalk skills, I always sailed though the screening tests that they held for selecting participants….More recently in Bangalore, I tried learning hip-hop..an amazing dance form..requires good amount of stamina and flexibility… Was having fun learning it, however the instructor became very irregular in taking classes and soon the sessions got boring..so I discontinued it..However, I used this knowledge as well as the help of some youtube videos to put together a dance performance along with my colleagues Neena and Ruchi at Accenture.. It was fun practicing with them… The video’ of the dance is



… I love dancing and as soon as I get free of the current tasks at hand, I intend to enroll in a dance class…

Cooking….its my passion..because food is my passion… I love eating and I love cooking and feeding my friends….My earliest memories of cooking go back to 5th std..I think we were having vacation time..and I used to be all alone in the house watching television..Thats when I discovered Sanjeev kapoor’s cookery show on Zee Tv… I used to follow it religiously and I developed a good sense of cooking then.. Although my initial efforts didnt turn out to be very tasty, eventually I have learnt quite a few dishes and I continue to learn more…

Other than the activities that I’ve written about, there have been many more like rakhi making etc … Maybe would recollect those memories in a later blog…  As of now I intend to keep recollecting and writing my childhood and other memories in pursuit of my latest hobby … blogging !! :)