Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bike trip to Bhongir fort and Medak Church

Last Sunday turned out to be a full day biking event. We were all waiting for the Monsoon season to begin so we can have some nice weather for such a trip. Almost as planned we(I ?) started at 5:30 AM from my house when we were supposed to start from Shopper's stop towards our destination. With some delays picking up ppl we eventually were all set to go at around 6:30 or so.

The first destination was chosen to be Bhongir fort as the only seasoned driver amongst us Kannan suggested that we go there first. Bhongir fort is pretty close to Hyderabad it would have been around 50 KM from shoppers stop on NH 202 towards Warangal and the road and traffic didn't trouble us much, as a result we were at the fort in around an hour. After a quick bite at a restaurant we started climbing up the fort which seemed like being composed of a single rock all the way up to top(which indeed is the case). The fort has very minimal remains and it was more like hiking on a mountain than anything, the good part was the strong and nice winds which were awesomely refreshing. We would stop every once in a while and enjoy the winds and the nice view of the town from top. The weather was pleasant all the while.

At around 10:30 we were already down and discussing about weather we should go to Medak or Warangal. Medak as I figured out on the previous night while collecting maps was on the opposite side of the city and would have required us to go back through Hyderabad. Warangal was on the other hand 145 KMs from the place where we stood. After lots of discussion we decided to go to Medak Church and postpone Warangal trip for some other weekend.

Medak Church is on HW 97 around 100 KM(at least) from Hyderabad. While we came back from Bhongir fort and were enjoying our lunch at the Pickles restaurant near Paradise, we wondered again if we should go to this place, Aditya and I were in favour of dinning heavy and going back home as the destination was definitely more than 70 KMs away(various sources of information were not maching :)). Gene had "her" race to watch. But Kannan, Jhinuk and Ajay convinced Aditya and me to go.

After driving out of the city for more than 20 minutes, I saw a distance board mentioning the number 90 KM, but we had already come far enough to think about going back. We continued. The route is almost straight except forward except for a turn at a Gandhiji statue, which even after being warned one of the bike missed. The whole wrong route backtracking turned out to be pretty costly as we lost around 30-40 minutes and reached the Church only when it was 5 minutes from being closed. Kannan's information about the closing time being 6:30 went wrong again. It was 6:00 PM.

The short inside visit of the church was breathtaking the Church is indeed very beautiful. The paintings on the walls are simply one of the best piece of art I have seen. We so wanted to take photos but weren't allowed to and we soon ran out of time. The outer structure of the church is a monumental piece of architecture. The Church definitely happens to be biggest I have seen till now. From wikipedia article "With its massive dimensions, 100 ft width and 200 ft. length, the church can accommodate as many as 5000 people at a time."

The ride back to Hyderabad got pretty bad due to the darkness and very frequent diversions on the road which is under construction. The dinner was again at Pickles. My advise to Vegetarian folks don't expect much from this restaurant and don't by any chance order their veg sandwich. My Non-Veg friends did like the non veg sandwiches though.

More Photos:

Some more photos from Aditya : http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/aditya.sahay/BikeTripWithGooglers

And some more from Ajay: http://picasaweb.google.com/ajay.vg/MedakBikeTrip

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to KDE/OSS development, new interesting dev environment

After a long break interest in OSS contributions came back. Basically Caulier Gilles has pinged me couple of times asking if I was gonna work on upgrading Flickr/Picasa exporter kipi-plugins I wrote earlier to support the new KDE4.

KDE4 is obviously something I was waiting for long back when KDE evangelism used to be a major timepass :) but that changed over time as most ppl I worked with used Linux lately. KDE 4 does however seem to be a step ahead of the older version and the difference is visible not only in the interface but also in the development libraries. As expected things have been cleaned up and better interfaces have been developed so much that running KDE on Mac and Windows has been made simple.

For long I have not used my home Linux workstation and the default choice for working turned out to be my laptop which is a Mac Book and however enthusiastic I would be about developing my plugins I would probably never want to even experiment running C++ compiler on a macbook forget about QT and all other deps. So I had to look for other options. Thanks to the world of Virtual OSes, I am now running Linux virtually on my macbook and its almost as good an experience as developing on Linux natively.

The added advantage was that I could easily install two different Linux version one for KDE3 and another for KDE4 instead of hacking my way to get both of them to work simultaneously on a box. (I have earlier had the nightmare of compiling QT and KDE libs from scratch, downloading multiple libraries and dependencies as the list never ended and I finally gave up :()

Virtual Linux worked liked a breeze except for some minor tweaks/retries which I needed to get networking to work. My conclusion of the whole exercise is this:

1) Try using bridged networking whenever possible. This gets you the network settings from your Host OS, using DHCP in my case.
2) For Kubuntu 8, where I ran in to problem of the default network adapter being identified as ipv6 and failing consistently in assigning an ipv6 address (because of lack of ipv6 routers around), I had to go the /etc/modprobe.d/aliases file and disable the line containing ipv6 module entry. Followed by a service network restart and then it works like breeze.
3) I also noticed another issue where my eth0 adapter was not recognized at all, the fix in this case was to add it in the /etc/networking/interfaces file and then restarting networking.

Right now my dev enviroment seems to be fixed and the real struggle lies ahead the real porting work :)