Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Somewhere in Bhaktapur

I went to Picnic somewhere in Bhaktapur last Saturday (see i am posting it almost a week later.. i swear i am getting lazy). It was a small religious place with lots of small temples and gods. There is a lord Vishnu lying over water and guarded by snakes - which looks like a tiny replica of Budhanilkantha deity.

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The entrance to the religious place - our picnic spot

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Lord Garud

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Can you see god appearing from fish mouth?

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Tiny replica of Budhanilkantha deity

Later in the day we saw lots of farmers working in their fields - planting season just started. I have never seen people working in the fields, in a large number. It was terrific feeling.

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I like this photograph

Drupal at YTC

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I had a short informal presentation on Drupal to friends at YTC (Sap-falcha) on how Drupal works. Basically it was to give them a rough idea on how CMS should work - I chose Drupal because I know it well and there are other reasons too like active community, popular CMS. They found it worthwhile and even vowed to try it on their own. All the best guys.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

ICIMOD seeks ...

We are expecting few major changes at ICIMOD since new DG, Dr. Andreas Schield, took over in April. Now ICIMOD is seeking lots of new professionals - different from what I was used to seeing. I hope to see big positive changes here.

Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist
Environmental Change Specialist
Senior Economist
Information and Knowledge Management Coordinator

links here

ICIMOD Books-online: a satisfaction

I have been working on ICIMOD Books-online for the past three/four months plus and yet there are still little issues popping up every now and then. "It's almost complete" is my favorite line and I wonder when I would be in a position to say "It's done now". I can't wait for that day.

In fact I am very much satisfied with this application after more than two years in software development. It uses lots of ajax (I used jquery) and I have tweaked lots of jquery plugins for its purpose. The other interesting feature is that it is maintained at two different servers - local and online. Local server is accessible with in the ICIMOD premises only. That's make data entry job much easy and quick. I don't want people to take two hours to upload files. There are pdf files which are scanned versions of books and can go up to more than 40MB. Local content is synced with online content but there are lots of issues to be taken care of. I don't want all the database tables to be synced - especially downloads statistics table. Thanks to rsync tool - syncing folders is a breeze.

Though searching may not be very powerful, I have heavily tweaked sphider (open source search engine) to index directly from database rather than spidering through web links.

Now we have a plan to provide the application in DVD format - targeting researchers and academicians. Much work has been done - running database and web server from the DVD is not much of a problem - thanks to internet and the contributors.

The environment Minister inaugurated ICIMOD books-online on World Environment day, 5th June. So much publicity. Though I am not excited about minister inaugurating it, I am much elated on seeing my work on stage.

Give a try. See if you can find any books of your interest.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Snake in the workplace: adventurous

A snake was found sleeping under the bag in one of our colleagues room. There was a photo session of snake for several minutes, maybe scaring it. Finally one bold colleague used a long bamboo stick to get the snake out of the room. I was holding another bamboo stick behind him in case it slid away. Fortunately it didn't. I don't know whether it's poisonous or not but I really wanted to touch it and hold it by its tail - which I didn't do. But I would have done if there were some snake experts around.

I was imagining Steve Irwin or some other nat-geo guy carrying that snake by its tail and shouting "beautiful!" and all.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Whitewater rafting: everyone should go for it once - atleast

I still feel water splashing in our faces at various rapids. Twisting and turning of our raft at these rapids were the most exciting part of entire trip. Many of these rapids even have names - the most dangerous one at Trisuli river is "Upset" and "Surprise", as told by our instructor or life guard or director of our boat. It looked like our boat almost overturned at this rapid but we managed to get through. We were busy shouting rather than paddling - some friends were even paddling in air at these rapids.

We covered 25km of Trishuli river, in the south of Kathmandu. We even dipped in the river - and swam with life jackets though. Later the water turned out to be really cold and had to get back to the boat.

While rafting, we had to follow our instructor, who would say "forward", "backward", "left forward" and so on. His favorite line was "Stop". He had to make sure that we didn't lose our direction and also that we didn't miss those interesting rapids. 3 hours seemed to be too short when we reached our final point. Arms were exhausted with paddling, so were the body and legs, but not our spirits. We wanted more.

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Preparing for the show

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It's me - showing some excitement

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That's the Trisuli river we rafted through - our stop point

Friday, June 01, 2007

yet another doomsday: who benefits?

Some snaps taken during the morning hour of bandh, today. These bandhs (Valley shutdown) seem to be the only way of protest and the only way the government understands. The idea was conceived and brought into action by those people in the government and now others are just following in their footsteps. No one to blame.

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Protesters busy carrying nearby objects to block the road. May God give them a little consciousness.

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Police van and UN vehicle getting past the blockade at Maharajgung


Some of the pics that I took on my last visit to ICIMOD Godavari Demonstration and Training Center at Godavari.

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A bee and the flower

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A staring beetle

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A gang of unknown bugs

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Leaves from closeup

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A pink bug

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USBCell: look around for new ideas

Host unlimited photos at for FREE! Charging battery via USB never crossed my mind, though I have seen and used MP3 player being charged after plugging into USB. But AA battery (USB Cell) charging with USB is something new for me. You may also charge them with your normal charger, after putting the cap on.

How about this? The world with no battery. The device getting charged from the powerful radio waves, emitting from super powerful transmitter. Seems absurd now. But you never know - some scientists may already be working on this.

The world is indeed full of ideas and these ideas are on an increase with every innovation. Look around us and see if we can conceive anything of our use - or anything that is going to solve a problem to some extent. I bet your life will get transformed that day. Keep exploring.

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