18 March 2013

Mahindra's new electric vehicle E2O

After Mahindra took over Reva, it has launched a new vehicle. Its called E2O. But besides it being an electric vehicle with 100Km range and 5 hour charging, and other similar features. But the most interesting part is that its also launch iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps. This app allows you to
  • Get current vehicle charge & range status
  • Set schedules to pre-cool or pre-heat your E2O’s cabin
  • Activate ‘REVive’
  • Remotely control E2O’s charging
  • Remotely lock or unlock your E2O
  • Engage ‘Vacation Mode’ for your E2O when you are not going to use your e2ofor a few days or more
  • Plan your E2O trips
  • Get troubleshooting assistance
  • Locate ‘Positive-Point’ charging stations and service station
  • Request for road side assistance and many more...
Being able to control some of the car features with your phone sounds very cool to me. More at http://www.mahindrae2o.com/mobileapp.htm
I guess next logical step would be an API which will allow developers to do some more amazing things. Its a pretty interesting development and something which we all can look forward to.
Having said that, there are certain things which do bother me.
  • Security : I am not sure about how much secure the system is going to be. When the best of the software companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe etc are not able to secure their software all that well, how well will Mahindra be able to do is surely questionable.
  • Lithium Ion battery being used are similar to the ones which are used in phones. I just hope they dont blow up like some of the chinese phones

31 December 2012

2012 - The Year that was for me

Let me summarize what 2012 was for me :) 


  1. I began the year by building Auto/Taxi Complaint Android App for Mumbai on my dear sister's insistence. 
  2. Ported the two Auto Complaints Apps for Bangalore and Mumbai on Windows Phone. Microsoft gave me a brand new Nokia Lumia 800. My mom now uses it proudly. Somehow she still prefers Android though. 
  3. Had an awesome Team Outing at Goa. It was great time with the most awesome I have ever worked with. Doing all the water sports and just being in the water was such an immersing experience. The fort was nice too. But I was really disgusted by the openness with which people approached me for all kinds of drugs. For me it was a very disgusting experience. But then, that's what makes Goa, Goa!! Probably.

  4. Was part of the planners group for Barcamp Bangalore 11. Made the Barcamp Bangalore App for the event and open sourced it as well at https://github.com/the100rabh/Barcamp-Bangalore-Android-App. Also gave a talk on "Making you UI look good on Android". Slides for that are at http://www.slideshare.net/the100rabh/making-your-ui-look-good-on-android
  5. Had a real fun time taking part in all the different internal events at Intuit which was both exciting and tiring at the same time. Had some nice time with colleagues there. Being part of hackdays, technical presentations and VC pitches, all made it a very memorable time
  6. Lady Luck showed a little bit of light on me and I managed to win a cycle at Earth Day Contest at Intuit. It was fun to have that. I manage to cycle to work every week trying to beat my office cab to office (Which I often do, thanks to Bangalore traffic :)
  7. Then came the time for Barcamp Bangalore 12. This time I must say I had opportunity of working with best planners group with Daaku, Viral, Mixdev, Aman, Ninad and Sathya contributing immensely to making Barcamp Bangalore what it is. Right from the electronic scheduling done by Aman and Ninad, redesign of Android app by Aman(Can’t forget that Aman and Sathya filed over 50 bugs for my first cut ), Sathya taking charge of social media, Viral taking care of finances, Mixdev for comig up with the idea of Tecklash and Daaku managing everything else. It was really fun to be around with these guys. My talk on "Lean Startup Principles from an Engineer's perspective" went pretty well. Slides for the same are at http://www.slideshare.net/the100rabh/lean-startup-principles-an-engineers-perspective
  8. There was this time of the year for Yahoo Open Hackday. Like previous years I participated. I was initially teamed up with Dkris, Ninad and Aman for "I am Bored" app. But then I found idea of SoundBeam a lot more interesting and so jumped to join Mixdev and Viral to do it. After some struggle we did manage a one way communication. The code for it is live at https://bitbucket.org/the100rabh/soundbeam. But the surprise came next day morning when a few friends called to congratulate me on winning Hacker's Choice Award. Well actually it was Aman, Ninad and Dkris who had won that for "I am Bored". I had told the reported on the morning when we started about our idea and yes Times of India just assumes and makes up stuff. I have now experienced it first-hand. 
  9. Finally I visited Calcutta during Durga Pujo. It was fun being there after 12 long years of missing it. The city remains same, the spirit remains same and so does the food. Saw the most amazing pandals, lights and animated lights. Cant help but love the city even though Ms Mamata Bannerjee's 10 day holiday doesn’t inspire me to move back there again. I am a Bangalorean now :)

  10. This year saw my first idea to published by Intuit. It was about Method and System to alert user if he is inaudible to other participants in a virtual conference call. Hit the link to read more. I hope someone picks it up and actually implements it. It would really be useful to me at least.
  11. Then time came for my wedding anniversary in December. My wife had planned everything, knowing I was neck deep in work and would never plan anything :) So it was Mysore trip and we went to places where we either of us had not visited, so it was Mysore Zoo and Palace. We spent a real long time at both these places, which is how we like to visit places. Though the Mysore palace is miniscule compared to the palaces in Rajasthan, it was not that bad. The zoo, of course, was the finest of all. I loved the fact they have aviaries where birds are free to roam about and fly as well. Even other animals have plenty of space to move around. 

  12. Last but not the least was something which I was planning to do for a long time. I finally completed a course on Coursera on Python. I had been coding in python for sometime now without actually knowing the nuances of Python. I did code a couple of simple apps on Google App Engine and even implemented Google Cloud Messaging backend for BCB App without actually having learnt Python as such. Mainly because its a fairly simple and Google was always there to help :) I would surely say I now some things about Python, though there is still a lot to be done. If I am not doing something on Android, probably my next personal project will be Python based :)

21 October 2010

Bangalore Auto Complaint

I am sure that there are a lot of people in Bangalore who are truly frustrated by Autos in Bangalore. They violate all rules of the RTO by charging extra or refusing to ply to certain destinations or tampered/faulty meter. RTO Bangalore has come up with two email addresses to report these violations.

But I found it really difficult to complain. I think the only way we would complain is in the heat of moment. With smartphones you can send a complain anywhere. But then again there are these lazy people like me who find typing the details very difficult. This is besides keeping the emailIDs handy. So I decided to create this Android app which makes creating and sending the email a breeze.

android_auto1

You just need to enter the errant Auto's Number and details like to and from location. Next select the checkbox which is applicable in your case for the offense of the auto driver. You can optionally take a picture of the auto. Since you have a good camera on you Android handsets, you can take the pic of the number plate as well. Click on email button now fires up your favorite email client on your phone the mail composed for you. Just add your name and click on send to file a complaint.

I am sure your next question is going to be, “Who will take action on it?”. Well this is the first step towards disciplining the Auto drivers in Bangalore. Lets see what happens next. RTO guys have taken one step, let us take one more. May be we will reach the goal of disciplining the  Bangalore auto drivers.

You can download the app from Android Marketplace by searching for Auto Complaint Bangalore. Or use the QR Code below.

08 April 2010

The most brilliant of Phishing mail

The follwing mail just landed on my inbox spam folder(thanks to Google). I could not resist but laugh at the infinite stupidity hidden in the phishing mail. I wonder how much more stupid the person who falls into that trap has to be.

Subject:  Confirm your ip address


Dear Value Customer,


True our promise to keep your HDFC netbanking account safe and secure from fraudsters,
our online security team has discovered some foreign ip Log Ons to your account from the
following IPs : 812.164.72.212 ,195.93.21.10, 195.93.21.34
Due to this,your netbanking has been blocked for your safety until you confirm your IP address .

Click here to confirm your Ip.
Please understand that this is a new security measure brought into
HDFC Netbanking for the security of your internet banking activities.

Best Regards.
The HDFC Netbanking Security Department Team.
© 2008 HDFC Bank Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ok Now that you have read it let me give you some amazing insights

1. Confirm my IP Address. D00d since when did I have a static IP Address.

2. Have a look at the examples of IP Addresses. 812.164.72.212. Awesome, I never knew we have IPV6 already implemented. I was thinking all this while that I was stuck with 255.255.255.255 being the highest IP Address possible(though not really). This IP has to be some foreign or alien origin. :-P

3.netbanking has been blocked until I confirm the IP Address. I dont get it, my IP Address changes at each logon anyways :-)

4. “© 2008 HDFC Bank Ltd. All rights reserved.” ??? well this is 2010 isnt it?? Just wondering what rights have been reserved.

5. More importantly, I dont have an HDFC Bank account :-P

16 November 2009

Nokia WeMeet App is interesting

Nokia R&D invited some of us to preview their pilot project of WeMeet application. Its an interesting application. Its a simple application which allows you to have threaded sms conversation with friends as group chat generally does. Its a simple application though still in its testing phase or the pilot as the Nokia guys call it.

It has a simple interface (screenshots nicely compiled by Prashanth at TechBangalore). You can create groups in simple steps. Send message to friends is a breeze as  well. Just like other group SMS services like SMS Gup Shup, it allows you to send SMS to all your friends in that group in a single SMS. It sends a message to a local number in Bangalore(not a premium number), which in turn broadcasts this to all the people in the group. As this is currently only in pilot phase, its free and available only in Bangalore. To join create, modify and send message to groups an SMS is sent for your cellphone. When you receive an SMS from a group message, thats delivered directly to WeMeet application. If your application is closed, it will start up automatically and show you the message.

I think the beauty of this application is not the fact that it can send group SMS, but the fact that it can display the messages in a threaded manner is a killer feature. Another killer feature its that it runs also on S40 devices like my 5130 and others like 5310, 3600 etc besides the S60 based phones like the N and E series phones from Nokia. That kind of assures connectivity with most of my friends and family. Yeah we all trust Nokia with the low end phones.

The major difference between  this and other services is the location information which is encoded in the message so you can know an approximate location of the users. For phones which are devoid of GPS, the CellID & CBS messages are used to identify the location. This information seems to be optimally encoded in the SMS. It sure is really an innovative use of existing technology.

All said but this app is not without flaws. But then it being a Pilot project of sorts, it makes sense. Some limitations are like, max number of users in a group can only be 5 and only the creator can add new members. It crashed a few times on my 5130. One consistent failure I found was when trying to add a contact to a group from phonebook. It showed low memory error on my cell phone.

More information on it and downloadable apps are available at http://wemeet.nokiapaloalto.com/