I was going through Google Photos’ Rediscover This Day feature and realized that over the past couple of years, a lot of my trips seem to have happened around this time frame.
Two years back, I bought(rather, Dad bought & leased it to me, I’m still repaying him :-D) the Maruti Suzuki Celerio. Why Celerio? I was looking at something within ₹6,00,000 – that meant the Ford Figo(which I bought, almost took delivery but had to cancel), the Swift etc were out of conisderation.
Dad told me that a new car is coming and is quite within the budget and he was right. The car seemed to be pretty good – looks good(from the front anyway), and with its hype about the AMT(and from Magnetti Marelli of all places) I decided to zero-in on the car.. till I realized the AMT is only upto the VX trim(no ABS/Airbags/BT stereo etc) and with a waiting time of 3 months or so – decided to nix this and went for the Manual transmission Zxi (Optional trim)
Part of this was originally posted as a comment to Nithin‘s facebook post about today’s news article stating that Cops will send you legal notice if you block an Ambulance.
There’s a well known law called Parkinson’s Law which states
work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
There are various corollaries on this – and the one which I resonate the most is
Data expands to fill the space available for storage.
Now, if you drive on Indian roads you’ll pretty much agree with this version:
Vehicles will cram in to fill the space available on road.
I had a situation this morning where the ambulance was about 4-5 cars behind me on Old Airport Road. Right infront of HAL Police Station. The Ambulance’s sirens are blaring, the driver’s desperately trying to make way so that he can move on. I have 2 BMTC volvo buses back to back on my left – first BMTC bus taken so much as of the road as to crumple me like I was nobody. An rickshaw was less an than inch infront of me(who poked in somehow from mid-lane bulldozing his way, eager to trade paint if necessary) and a biker trying to pass me from the right side with so little gap, his knee would scrape my car and he’d scream bloody murder if I just let the clutch go for a microsecond. I wondered where and how am I supposed to give way to the Ambulance in this case. If I wait and let the Ambulance go, then I’d have heard more curses than a Bangalorean yelling at an Auto driver for demanding meter mele double at 8pm. Ultimately, I crawled on first gear till the Ambulance passed me, pretty much blocking the entire lane behind me.
Any curses were drowned by Foo Fighters’ My Hero coming through the Celerio’s music system. Also was good to see an auto rick behind me gesturing others to move so that the ambulance can pass. Good going man.
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.
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@example.com. (-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..)
From below comments, ICICI has clarified that the quota is 100 tickets for Debit cards & 200 tickets for credit card.
BookMyShow has updated it’s Terms & Conditions to mention this(thanks, Fishy!)
- Free tickets will be offered under the Offer for each day in four blocks, starting at 10am, 12pm, 3pm & 5pm until stocks last.
- The number of free tickets available monthly are limited and customers can avail this offer on a First Come First Serve basis for the month.
Now, that’s much better in terms of communication. Is it worth? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.
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
- Welcomed the New Year in a coffee estate/homestay in Chikmagalur with Ashwin, Daaku & Prasad.
- Made a quick trip to Mumbai & Vasai with Ashwin and finally met some awesome twitter folks – b50, Anaggh, Nakul, Jayesh, slacker, Preshit, Failgunner and lots more. Malcolm welcomed us to Vasai with an epic awesomesauce lunch and a trip around Vasai. Aalaap gets drunk and results in skipping the Pune/Doolally visit that we had planned
- Ditched the iPhone again, went back to Android and bought a Samsung Galaxy S2
- Became a Guinness World Record holder, albeit with my email leaking out to whole lot of people.
- Diablo III finally gets released, after a 12-year wait. And I played it. A lot.
- Made a trip back to Chikmagalur to the coffee estate/homestay that we had gone to during New Years’ – this time during the start of monsoon season. The weather was out of this world.
- Got a chance to be an interviewer which was pretty cool.
- Became part of Barcamp Bangalore organizing team – though I was more or less handling the word-of-mouth marketing part, it was hell loads of fun. Tweeted the hell out of it. Gave a small talk on automated data backup too 🙂
- Kunti, Bibhas, Rishabh come down to Bangalore. Had great fun meeting up and hanging out with them. Some pics from Kunti, Bibhas & Rishabh.
- As if to take revenge for me dumping the iPhone 3GS, its battery expanded and exploded wildly.
- Plan a trip to Pune for NH7 weekender. Ditch Weekender plans and meetup with slacker & Mikhail at Hyatt. Get serenaded. Twice.
Gadgets /Software bought/acquired/reviewed
- Nokia N9(though I admit, I never got to write the review, such a shame. Great device, great OS – just DOA)
- Sennheiser CX680i sports in-ear earphones (review)
- Llama (review)
- System Mechanic 10.8 (review)
- Norton 360 (review)
- Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook (review)
- Alienware X51 (review)
- Sharkoon X-tatic 5.1 headphones (won)
- Logitech Optical Mouse G400 (purchased)
- Klipsch S4a (bought)
- Samsung Galaxy S2 (bought)
- Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1TB hard disk (bought)
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.
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.
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
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.
This is what my /r/secretsanta sent me (at Borg Cube) [pic] — path.com/p/2oFaso
— Sathya (@SathyaBhat) December 26, 2011
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!
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.
Here’s how it looked like
Naturally, I wasn’t too pleased
The morons at Guinness World Records just sent an email to all reddit secret santa participants with email address in To field. WTF?
— Sathya (@SathyaBhat) September 4, 2012
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.
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.
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.