My World A Blog On All The Things That Happen In My Life

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Status » Grid 2 gameplay video - Faceoff run with the Nissan Fairlady Z: http://t.co/IiAPdIA9sS via @YouTube

Posts about Life

On to a new life
on 24/12/2013 - like it?

I had originally wanted to publish this back in late August when I shifted from Borg Cube to Borg Cube Grande.. ie, my new home.. but #lazybhat happened and I never got around to finishing that.

Since shifting to Bangalore, I’d been staying in a tiny 1BHK house in Murugeshpalya, off Old Airport Road. Back then, I’d chosen this place mainly for it’s proximity to my workplace – at about 4.4km, it takes me an average of 15 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes to reach office. With 335E plying in copious amounts, heading to office or to Majestic to head back home was quite easy too. 2 years in, I decided to to move to a bigger place, so that things are all set when the inevitable #cpgweds happens.

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ICICI’s Useless Buy 1, Get 1 offer with BookMyShow & their other farcial offers
on 13/06/2013 - like it?

I have an ICICI Bank Coral Credit card. Part of the ‘perks’ that the card provides is something which is enticing to all:

Buy one ticket and get the other ticket free, any day of the week, at www.bookmyshow.com. You can book upto 2 complimentary tickets in a month on a first come first serve basis.

Very nice! so I had tried to book tickets using this offer. I think I’ve succeeded maybe once. Off late, trying to book tickets using this offer has been an exercise in frustration. Every time, I ended up getting an error message:

Sorry, we can`t proceed with the booking for this offer since the Total Number of Tickets for Today has been exhausted OR You may have applied it to an ongoing transaction which is not yet cancelled. Please try again after 20 mins.

Since these offers have long ass weasel word terms & conditions, I tried to check to see if my transaction meets the conditions.

  • Valid credit card for the offer – ICICI Coral Card: Check
  • You can book up to 2 complimentary tickets in a month: Check, not booked any thing for the month
  • Ticket price less than 250: Check
  • Valid only for users coming directly to the BookMyShow Website and not via individual cinema sites: Check
  • The offer cannot be combined with any offer / discounts / promotions at the theaters: Check
  • The number of free tickets available daily are limited and customers can avail this offer on a First Come First Serve basis: Hello, what’s this?

Limited tickets? So what’s the count and when does it get cleared? I sent an email to BookMyShow Helpdesk:

I have a ICICI Bank Coral credit card which entitles me to the buy 1 get 1 free offer. I’ve been trying to use this offer for several previous bookings & without any success. I tried applying the offer for today’s Man of Steel booking, only to get the error message

Sorry, we can`t proceed with the booking for this offer since the Total Number of Tickets for Today has been exhausted OR You may have applied it to an ongoing transaction which is not yet cancelled. Please try again after 20 mins. For any queries please write to us at [email protected] (-4011)
Why am I getting this error? Some facts
- I have not used the offer this month, so I should be entitled to the free tickets.
- The booking is directly from your site
- The ticket price is Rs 250

So, BookMyShow Customer Care replies back to me: (hat tip for the quick response):

With reference to your mail, the quota of tickets available every day under the mentioned offer is limited and hence, the offer is not available for redemption once the quota of free tickets is exhausted for a particular day. Also, any revisions/decisions regarding the quota of tickets is at the sole discretion of the bank. The free tickets quota is renewed every midnight at 12 o’clock and hence, you are requested to kindly avail the offer when the quota is refreshed again at 12 AM.

Quotas for tickets? Book at midnight? What is this, IRCTC? I asked them what’s the quota amount:

Thanks for the info. What is the count of the free tickets that are allocated?

to which I get this reply

The quota for the mentioned offer is undisclosed by the bank which can be availed on a first come first serve basis.

So, for all the brand-whoring spanking partnerships, they amount of tickets is undisclosed? They can set the quota to zero or may be single digits & these wouldn’t know.

Learning: If you’re enticed by this offer, don’t bother. The offer is as useless as the free flight ticket offer that I got as part of the same credit card, which upon trying to redeem n number of times, I was told that the route in question cannot be booked under the offer.

What a fucking farce.

(ps: I’ve asked ICICI for the ticket quota count about half hour ago, waiting for their reply..)

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Closing the chapter
on 27/03/2013 - like it?

About a week ago, round about this time, my Mum called me up and and told me a piece of news which I would never in my wildest nightmares would have imagined, would happen to me.

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A look back at 2012
on 01/01/2013 - like it?

Last year, I’d written a 2011 year in review, thought that was a nice way to recap the year. Continuing the same trend, here’s how 2012 went by

Gadgets /Software bought/acquired/reviewed

So, that’s about it for 2012, I guess. Happy New Year all & here’s wishing the upcoming year is as awesome as it was last year.

 


Contacting Bank of America from India via phone without International outgoing using Collect Call
on 28/11/2012 - like it?

If you’re ever stuck in a situation where you need to contact Bank of America from here in India, but don’t have International outgoing available, here’s a quick tip:

  • Check out AT&T’s Direct Access Dialing Code for India(at the time of writing this, it’s 000117)
  • You’ll reach an Operator. Tell him/her the number you want to Dial. This should be 602.597.2395 for Bank of America. Will be different for others.
  • You’ll be prompted to Enter Calling Card number. Skip entering anything
  • You’ll be asked if you want to initiate a Collect Call. Say yes.
  • Done.

This should work with any organization which uses AT&T and accepts Collect Call, but I haven’t tried with others. I’m writing here because I want to document this for my future use.

This will come in real handy especially in situations where BoA detects Irregular/Fraudulent card activity and wants you to verify the transaction by dialling in – but you have no way of reaching out to an International number. Have your card number & other details ready

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Reddit’s secret santa and Guinness World Record for most email addresses in To: List
on 06/09/2012 - like it?

Way back in late November/December last year, I took part in reddit’s /r/secretsanta. I found it was pretty cool, to (hopefully) get a random gift based on my barren, lurking reddit account, though a small search would reveal a lot more about me.

Anyway, after Ashwin’s feedback(“my santa didn’t send anything. I was reassigned. second santa also nothing. #foreveralone”) I didn’t expect anything. A month or so later, however, my secret santa confirmed shipment of the gift. And I received it couple of days later.

Sweet! What I didn’t realize, till couple of weeks ago, was that the folks at /r/secretsanta were trying set a Guinness World Record for “the largest online secret santa game” and were successful at that! So that made me a Guinness World Record holder too! Woohoo!

Achievement Unlocked

Soon enough, I put forward an order for my Guinness World Record certificate and things were all set. Or so I thought. Couple of days ago, I received an email from Guinness stating that due to high volume of orders, the shipment would be delayed by another couple of weeks. That was fine, but then the person who sent the email did the biggest goof up ever.

The person put the email address of about 1,072 people in the “To” field. Not even the cc, the frigging “To” field.

Epic Facepalm

Image courtesy http://www.comicvine.com/

 

Here’s how it looked like

Naturally, I wasn’t too pleased

and neither were the reddit folks. Kicker was the contents of the email, with a disclaimer stating:

The contents of this e-mail from Guinness World Records Limited are confidential and intended for the addressee only.

If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy or further distribute this e-mail, and delete this message from your computer system.

Riiight.

Marco Frugatti, SVP Records, however did send an email apologizing the data breach

I am writing to you from the Guinness World Records Management Team regarding our company’s recent breach in relation to email data for a group of our record-holders for Largest online secret Santa game.

I can confirm that this breach was a human error by one of our own staff. Naturally, we take this matter extremely seriously and are conducting a formal investigation to ensure an event like this never happens again. I would like to offer you our unreserved apologies for this situation and any inconvenience it has caused.

However, I fear that this breach will have even more serious repercussions, given how lax people are with passwords. Good thing is that Guinness owned up to the mistake and have confirmed that they have initiated refunds for the payment of certificates. Time will tell who’ll be hit more – Guinness or the individuals in the email. My bet is on the latter.


Being on the other side of the Interview table
on 03/07/2012 - like it?

Attending an interview tends to be a scary, nerve-wracking event for most, me included. It’s like college exam 2.0 – you don’t do anything building up to the event, panic & do a splash and dash the previous night(though in my case, it’s more like “ah, fahgettaboutit”), start wondering and worrying what’s about to be asked prior to the event, with your mind racing about – “what if x comes, oh shit I forgot about y”, the big moment where you stammer, blabber and spit out something and then keep worrying till the results are out.

Last week, I got a call from the HR team asking if I’d be available and willing to come to office on Saturday. The reason? We had a weekend hiring drive and they wanted me(among others) to be an interviewer. My first reaction was – “mm okaaay but I’ve never done this before”(though never is not true, I did take up an interview, but that was for my team & was more of accompany-the-project-leads-and-ask-a-few-questions). This case, however, was different. It’d be a face-to-face interview. With people willing to join the organization. I decided to say Ok. Hey, it’d be a different experience.
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On Contact Lenses and Bausch & Lomb’s Pure View “HD” lenses
on 20/04/2012 - like it?

I’ve been wearing contact lenses for more than 10 years now. Switched to contacts from my clunky spectacles when I started my PU(aka 11th).

Guess who I am & win!

Guess who I am & win!

When you use something for 16x7x365 (I won’t say 24×7, since the lenses are off when I’m sleeping), you tend to know it inside out. And especially when it’s something like contact lenses, which sit on your eyeballs, every little change will result in instantaneous result. For instance, if you put on your lenses with an every-so-tiny speck of dirt that it’s bloody invisible, trust me, you will know about it & you eyes will water like there’s a big pump pushing out all the tears.

Anyways, all these years I’ve been using Bausch & Lomb’s SofLens monthly disposable lenses. They’re great. Actually, scratch the great part. They’re fantastic. Fits perfectly, no shifting, no dryness nothing. If coloured lenses are your fancy, they come in various colours, but I’ve been on the stock ones, which have a light-blue visibility tint which is awesome if you ever do the scary part of dropping your lenses on the ground or in the kitchen sink.

I’ve tried some other lenses, mainly B&L’s “permanent” ones(in reality, they’re supposed to be changed every year or so), but these didn’t suit my eyes & would go bad in less than 3-4 months. Also tried Johnson & Johnson’s contact lenses, they were fine, but not as comfortable as SofLens.

Over the past few years, we’ve had HD shoved down our throats – everywhere from video to audio. Heck even FM stations started touting “HD quality radio” crap. And joining this “we have HD” queue is… *drumroll* B&L.  Yes. Bausch & Lomb claim their lenses have “HD” optics.

Whatever the heck that means. And on their webpage they have pretty, pretty pictures(albeit served as Flash, so if you’re on a laptop, move it away from your thighs else you’ll have a Seekh Kebab down there) showing what happens when you wear their “HD” lenses. Apparently “blurred” images become crispy, squeaky clean & sharp. No more halos. Excuse me you brilliant folks at B&L PR and marketing, all those (blurred images, halos) are signs of a person wearing lenses NOT suited to them.

Curious to see how they actually work – I took the bait & bought them. For a pretty steep price. Lenskart took about 10 days to deliver them. They forgot to ship the free lens solution & case which was to be included as part of the offer, but after a support ticket, they sent them to me via courier.

Been wearing these for about 2 months now. And as expected, the HD’s just marketing gimmick. Everything looks the same. And to answer those who asked me on twitter, wearing “HD” lens and viewing a “HD” movie on “HD” monitor doesn’t give you a 2160p display. Har, Har.

It’s not just the ludicrous steep price that bothers me. These lenses don’t have any visibility tints. Trying to find where the lenses are in the case itself is like fishing in the deep sea with your eyes blindfolded. Don’t bother searching if you’ve dropped them. While there has been no “shifting”, the lens tends to get dry a wee bit faster. And not to forget, the lens is a dirt magnet. Picks up dirt way faster than anything else that I’ve tried.

So to sum up: Don’t buy ‘em. HD or no HD, you won’t find any difference. And you’ll save some cash to buy another pair of lenses. Or for some shopping. Or beer. Whatever you prefer.

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Capping off a roller coaster year
on 06/01/2012 - like it?

2011 was a roller coaster year. Here’s the year in review, in bullet points

  • Sold off my iPhone 3G and purchased a Nexus S
  • Supposed long term US stay gets cut short.
  • 3+ years of work on project gone down the drain. On the upside, learnt quite a lot.
  • Met Manaa in person, after being a very close friend for 6+ years
  • Was elected as Community Moderator for one of the Stack Exchange sites, Super User
  • Wrote my first Chrome Extension to get around WebNonsense crap
  • Bad security practice from the past comes to haunt me.
  • Quit 3i and joined Logica at the middle of the year – after almost having joined TCS, rejected in final round of interview at Oracle & a bungled interview at Société Générale.
  • Did a short term stint in Bangalore for training at Logica
  • My beloved Nexus S got stolen, purchased a iPhone 3GS from Shivaranjan as it’s replacement
  • Went on a road trip to Goa with Appy, AshwinSid and SwaroopH during the middle of the rainy season.
  • Test drove the Swift & Figo. Waited for the new Swift to arrive in market and then went and booked the Ford Figo. Swift’s price put it out of my budget & couldn’t wait 6+ months for the Swift
  • Met Harshad Sharma & Malcolm after having known them for *years* on twitter.
  • Gatecrashed Ravi’s wedding.
  • Ran all over Chennai in trying to get the paperwork & formalities done for the car loan
  • Car loan got disbursed, did the payment, only to be told, couple days before taking delivery that I will be relocated to Bangalore
  • Cancelled car booking, return loan since re-registration of TN car in KA === heavy losses. Total damages: 2.3k(loan processing fees) + 4k (first month interest)
  • Got a permanent transfer to Bangalore! (woohoo!) Ashwinsid & 9_6 welcome me in style.
  • Moved to a 1BHK house on rent. Much thanks to Dkris for allowing me to stay at his house and give expert tips on house hunting.
  • Watched Poets of the Fall perform with front row, centre stage view at The Great Indian Octoberfest
  • Got clicked for #TAD365, thanks Roycin!
  • Met GeekGod & Waste-u Photographer, Waste-u Photographer’s bitch and Frequent Flyer Manish
  • Finally, welcomed the New Year at a far-away coffee estate in Chikmagalur.

Gadgets bought/acquired/reviewed

Overall, a fab year. Happy New Year – and best wishes for the year ahead.

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Bangalored…
on 15/05/2011 - like it?

… for a fortnight, that is.

Although, I was not  *strictly* Bangalored, barely a week after joining Logica I was asked to come over for Bangalore for 2 weeks for some training sessions. Now since this was a company sponsored training, my travel and accomodation was handled by them.

Reached Bangalore on Sunday, May 1st morning via the Jan Shatabdi Chennai-Mysore train at 10:45am. Ashwin was kind enough to come over to the railway station to pick me up. Headed over to At-home Guest House at Koramangala, which was to be my place of stay for the duration of the visit. With no agenda being set, Ashwin & Me were wondering what be the next thing to do. Ashwin & Me remembered Ashwin Murali ( “Cruise” to avoid any confusions” Smile with tongue out ) tweeting about TGIF having reopened in Royal Meenakshi Mall, and that’s where we decided to move next.

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