Alwar & Sariska Trip – Second Day

Next day me and wife along with our son woke up early. Although holidays are for relaxation, I always prefer early to rise for enjoying the sunrise and beautiful mornings specially on hills. I am a nature lover and started my photography session of the surroundings just after coming out of room. Our rooms were on first floor of the hotel and there was a large balcony something kind of a terrace. Chairs and table lying there were inviting us to sit and enjoy morning tea. We accepted the invitation and ordered for the tea which was good in taste. We have clicked a lot of photographs of our son in various positions and then we came down in the hotel lawn. Due to morning dew it was delightful for me to walk barefoot on the lawn grass while wife and kid was riding Jhula. Again I have started my photography session by taking pictures of flowers and plants in the lawn.

Beautiful Hotel Surroundings

Read the full post at Ghumakkar – Inspiring travel experiences

Alwar & Sariska Trip – First Day

It was evening of Saturday, 9 October 2010. I have just returned from the office when I received call from my cousin brother whether I am interested to go on a short weekend trip to Alwar and Sariska on very next day. Earlier also many times we both have thought about visiting Alwar but could not convert the same into reality. I have discussed this with my wife and she was more than happy to go as it was a long time we have gone for a trip. So I called my brother to confirm the trip and it was decided to leave Ghaziabad (our residence) at 6:30 am. My brother’s WagonR was the trip vehicle and there were two families each having 3 members. First family – my brother, his wife, their 6 year old son. Second family – me, my wife,  our 11 months son.

Although there was very less time for preparation for the trip, I was able to invest some time on my laptop to find about Alwar and Sariska on the web. I am a member on Indiamike forum and from there I have taken help to finalized the hotel Amrit Resort. I don’t believe in searching for hotel after reaching the destination specially when you have family with you. It was first picnic for our little son so we were happy as well as cautious for him. After doing packing and all we have gone for a sleep around 1:00 am but not before setting the alarms in our mobiles for 5:00 am.

Boating Charges a little bit expensive ?

Read the full post at Ghumakkar – Inspiring travel experiences

Useful Free Android Applications – Hindi Keyboards

Sometimes there is requirement for typing in Hindi like sending SMS or posting on facebook.  Existing built-in keyboard in Android does not support Hindi language. But there are few keyboards in Android market which are very good for typing in Hindi.

Sparsh Indian Keyboard -

Market download link – https://market.android.com/details?id=com.sparsh.inputmethod

This is very good keyboard for Hindi as I am using this myself. I don’t know why this is not much popular because this allows to type in Hindi very fast. When we click on any Hindi alphabet a pop up menu shows up to select from all available options for that alphabet. They have support for other Indian languages like Tamil and Kannada.

PaniniKeypad Hindi IME

Market Download Link – https://market.android.com/details?id=com.paninikeypad.hindi

This is also very good keyboard for Hindi typing. This was my default Hindi keyboard before I came to know about Sparsh. This keyboard is available for a lot of Indian languages like Tamil, Marathi and Malayalam.

There are few other Hindi keyboards available but I have experience of above two only.

Hindi for GO Keyboard
Market Download Link – https://market.android.com/details?id=com.jb.gokeyboard.langpack.hi

Devanagari for AnySoftKeyBoard
Market Download Link –  https://market.android.com/details?id=com.anysoftkeyboard.languagepack.devanagari

MultiLing Keyboard with combination of Plugin Hindi
Market Download Link - https://market.android.com/details?id=com.klye.ime.latin
Market Download Link – https://market.android.com/details?id=klye.plugin.hi 

You can try these. Please let me know via comments if there is any other Hindi Keyboard which I have missed.

Happy typing in Hindi….

Useful Free Android Applications – Random

It was around six months back when I purchased my first Android phone LG Optimus One after in love with Nokia for 4.5 years.  This was a pretty happy transition due to availability of lot of useful applications available for Android in comparison of Symbian, the underlying operating system of Nokia phones. There is a huge difference in applications available on Android Market and Nokia Ovi Store in terms of both Quantity and Quality.

Based upon 6 months of experience with Android I would like to list some useful applications along with their download link and small description. All applications mentioned are free. Here I go with first 5.

  1. Gmail
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.google.android.gm
    This is install by default on all Android phones and as name implies this is wonderful applications for accessing Gmail for both individual and Google Apps account.
  2. Adobe Reader
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.adobe.reader
    For reading PDF files
  3. App 2 SD
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.a0soft.gphone.app2sd
    After download and installation of any application App 2 SD automatically alerts in the application can be moved to SD Card to save internal memory.
  4. SMS Popup
    https://market.android.com/details?id=net.everythingandroid.smspopup
    After receiving a SMS this applications shows a pop up window on mobile screen with complete content. There is no need to go to Messaging application for reading the SMS.
  5. Google Docs
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.google.android.apps.docs
    For accessing Google Docs files on mobile

I will list more applications in future posts.

ASP.NET Dynamic Data – Good but …

Recently a new assignment came to me in which we have to develop one web application very fast. It was a Survey application and we have to capture the hard copy survey forms into database for analysis purpose. Most of our developers know only ASP.NET web forms and for data access we use stored procedures most of the time. I have looked for Rapid Application Development (RAD) options in ASP.NET  and first thing that came to mind was Dynamic Data. I have never worked on it but I knew that it is the de-facto framework for RAD in ASP.NET world for simple CRUD applications. As it was new for me I have decided to give two days for exploring it whether it can be used or not in our survey application.

In starting I created a simple table, generated dbml files using LINQ to SQL and it was magic everywhere. I was able to do CRUD work in no time in a nice user interface. Later when I have added more tables some issues came but I have solved them by searching on Google and reading blogs. I was able to create partial classes so that foreign keys can return proper value not just the first character field in the table and to change the metadata so that my displayed field names were different from the column name. I have decided that it will work.

But I faced problem when I have tried to customize the UI. For example –

  • how to add a radio button with yes/no, male/female options ?
  • how to bind a dropdown to static values instead of database ?
  • depending upon the answer of previous question how to show/hide next question ?

These were some issues in starting which I was not able to solve, may be due to my less knowledge of Dynamic Data. Although I have found some good blogs (like – Stephen Naughton (C# Bits) who has in depth knowledge of dynamic data) but I realized  that I have to learn a lot of thing and have to invest a lot of time if I want a lot of customization in UI. So finally I have dropped that idea of using Dynamic Data  and looked for other options. ASP.NET MVC was a option but there were two main reasons against this – my team have no experience of it and it’s a better option not faster. So finally now we have decided to develop this using ASP.NET web forms again but with LINQ to SQL so that we don’t have to write stored procedures and we have fully typed objects to save our time. Apart from that we will move one step forward to our ultimate goal (ASP.NET MVC) as first time we will be working on a not so great but still a ORM – LINQ to SQL.

I will try to keep you updated..

Nokia 5230 – Useful Applications

Its been around 3 months now since I purchased my Nokia 5230. I have downloaded a lot of applications on my phone and found the following as useful. These application will run on any Nokia touch screen phones like 5800, 5235, 5233, 5530, C6, N97, X6 etc.

  • Opera Mini 5 Beta – what a wonderful browser on a mobile, if you are still using Opera 4 switch to it ASAP. This is must application.
  • Fring – to chat with my Gmail, Yahoo, MSN contacts
  • Nimbuzz – its same like Fring but I like its interface better, its personal preference between fring/nimbuzz
  • Skyfire – alternative web browser (specially for viewing flash)
  • Wordmobi – to post on wordpress directly from mobile (I came to know that official app from wordpress for Nokia is coming soon..)
  • Qik – For recoding and sharing live videos
  • Skype – to call with skype contacts
  • Google Maps – although Ovi maps application is already there but Google maps are also required time to time
  • Converter Touch – a very nice and beautiful application for conversion of weight, area, distance and many other types
  • NewsHunt –  a lot of Indian newspapers of various languages can be read in the application
  • Wikipedia – wikipedia reader widget for Symbian mobiles
  • Snaptu – this is I think the most useful application. Actually it is a combination of various applications like – facebook, twitter, techcrunch, lifehacker, rss reader, cricinfo etc
  • Shazam – to identify any running song, interesting application

My New Nokia 5230 Touchscreen

I have purchased Nokia 5230 Touchscreen mobile two days back and I would like to say that it is a superb device. I have never used a touchscreen mobile before, and I am feeling the power of touch.  The Symbian series 60 5th edition operating system is also very nice and for extra applications there is Ovi store. Thanks to Nokia, the Ovi Maps with free navigation is one of my reason to purchase this phone. My earlier mobile was E51 so I am quite used to symbian phones.  So far I have installed following applications on my 5230 –

  • Opera Mini 5 Beta – what a wonderful browser on a mobile, if you are still using Opera 4 switch to it ASAP. This is must application.
  • Fring - to chat with my Gmail, Yahoo, MSN contacts
  • Skyfire - alternative web browser (specially for viewing flash)
  • Wordmobi - to post on wordpress directly from mobile (I came to know that official app from wordpress for Nokia is coming soon..)

Besides that I am looking for some another apps on Ovi Store and have downloaded some small apps like SMS Preview, Nokia Photo Browser, Weather Touch, Memory Touch etc. If you know about any other good application for 5230 (or 5800/5530/5533/N97/N97 mini as all are compatible) please let me know.