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Hello All,

It's been a while since I posted something on this blog. Past few days, I've been struggling to get my Oneplus One phone working since it went dead all of a sudden. I had been able to communicate with a Lumia phone in these few days and it's been really frustrating to live with a Lumia phone as the support is minimal.

I had tried various solutions to get the device working and finally after 2 days of relentless flashings of ROMs I was able to make it work !!

I think the key (that made it work) was to follow the part 2 from here


Before this, I installed Lineage OS 15.1 and all I saw was hang in loading the OS. Same with factory resets and CM OS 13.1 etc. Once I downloaded CM 14.1 OS and flashed it through TWRP recovery (after fastboot oem unlock), and then execute the make_ext4fs command listed in the above link), I could get the device to work. Then of course, I re-flashed the Lineage OS and executed the command again to boot into Lineage OS, which means I could get OTA updates just like I got for CM OS.

Brief summary of the steps I performed :
1. Download TWRP latest recovery for bacon (Oneplus one codename)
2. Boot into fastboot mode (VolUp+Power button at the same time from switched off state)
3. fastboot oem unlock to allow flashing
4. fastboot flash recovery twrp*.img
5. Download the CM OS 14.1 or Color OS or Lineage OS 15.1 to the PC
6. Once ready for flashing ROM, reboot phone into recovery by pressing VolDown+Power buttons at the same time
7. Advanced -> ADB sideload and then adb sideload , before this you may perform Wipe -> all except internal storage and OTG storage (I had selected format data since I was frustrated with few flashes not helping earlier, in hindsight I didn't need to format internal storage at all as the fix was simple command given in the link above).
8. You can optionally install gapps nano (ARM version) from gapps website (Google it!)
9. MOST IMPORTANT : enter adb shell on the command prompt and then enter this make_ext4fs /dev/block/mmcblk0p15
10. Reboot, that's all. Android FTW !! Lumia sucks

Please comment it helped you
Housejoy is a home services app for lazy/busy people. It tries to fill the gaps in the current home services market by providing simple way to reserve the time slots and get the services done without too much of following up with the service providers.

Most recently, I've booked a 'bike service & repair' service from Housejoy. The earlier services I booked were very simple, like putting a nail in the wall etc. and they were done to my satisfaction.

However, bike service was totally different. The first few times I booked the service, HJ cancelled at the last minute giving silly excuses such as 'We don't have service on Sundays' and 'We don't have service during holidays' etc. That should have rung bell. At that time, I didn't really pay much attention and after a while I booked for a weekday service. The HJ service folks (read third party bike service company employees) promptly came and took the bike away only to return it after several days, after their promised delivery date. I had to call them every couple of days to know the status of the repair..They didn't bother to update me throughout. After going through this ordeal, I finally got the bike and when I test rode the bike on smooth road, it felt okay. However, I realized little later that they did something to the bike that caused the bike to jump in to the stratosphere, even when it hits a small bump on the road. And little while later, I realized that the mileage fell to a pathetic 8-10kmpl instead of 40-45kmpl my bike used to give. It's like I had to fill up 1L petrol almost every day! I promptly called HJ and complained. They never followed up, although promised to do so. Feeling cheated, I put a negative review on google playstore to warn others about their service, no expecting any response. As expected, they coolly asked me to contact their customer (standard response to all customers who gave negative ratings), instead of proactively following up on the complaint. Now, that was the end of HJ for me. I felt really cheated and never bothered to call them, lest they might damage the bike even more.

Now the reason why I am writing this post after 2.5 months of this happening is because some wise guy at HJ thought this is the right time to apologize and return the labor charges back into my HJ wallet, so that I could use that credit for booking their services in future. That's like a sick joke, isn't it ? Who in the right mind would use their services after all that had happened ?

One thing that he told made me really happy though - that they closed their bike repair services. It's high time they close the entire company for the good of everyone. They don't deserve to be the service industry, if they don't proactively work towards gaining the customer's trust every single time. Offering compensation/refunding labor charges doesn't count.
Anyone who is a cricket fan would've surely noticed the ridiculous auto play video functionality on ESPN cricinfo. It's very annoying to not be able to disable the auto play mode on cricinfo videos, even when there is a toggle button to do it. It just does not work when you reload the page or open another page containing any video. Unfortunately, Adblock Plus also does not show 'Block' option like it does for flash. Not sure, but it could be because ESPN cricinfo uses HTML 5 for it's videos. Anyway, I googled and found a solution to the problem. No need of installing any addons.

In firefox, just type about:config in address bar and click on "I'll be careful.." and then search for 'media.autoplay.enabled' and change boolean setting from 'true' to 'false'. That's it. No more annoying auto play!
So, is 'The Conjuring' THAT good? I mean, it is a classic enough to be rated 8.1 on IMDB? My opinion (just mine!) is it isn't a classic, but is an excellent modern horror movie with all the cliches and jump scares that you expect from an American 'Horror' movie. I watched the movie in INOX, chennai and it has subtitles in English. It's pleasantly surprising to see subtitles for an English horror movie, not that it hasn't partially detracted me from following the action on the screen.

Coming to the movie, it starts with two nurses experiencing weird disturbances due to the presence of a toy. Later they come to know from a paranormal researcher couple (The Warrens) that the toy is possessed by an inhuman or demonic spirit, which is constantly trying to possess vulnerable people.

So, from here, the usual story starts. A family of 8(??) moves into a house located in a huge piece of land on the country side. And again as usual, they start to experience strange things in and around the house, like the clock stopping at 3:07am, pet dog getting killed, suciding pigeons, rattling doors and a cellar which is poorly secured by the previous owners. Many of these occurences are common in these horror movies and in this movie too, they are no different.

So the family gets concerned and seeks help from the Paranormal researcher couple. They initially ignore it saying there is always a rational explanation for most of the 'strange' things. NICE! Sense prevails; Wait what?...Aren't the paranormal researchers supposed to be the MOST interested in the supposedly haunted houses? I may be wrong, but they look uninterested in going deep into it for the first time.

After few more minor incidents, the mother successfully manages to get the Warren couple to to their home. After careful observation of house for probably what looked like 10 minutes, the reserachers come to a conclusion that the house is indeed haunted. Wow, that was so UNEXPECTED!! So, they think exorcism is their only option. They record the incidents using a tape recorder. But when the researcher couple play it at a later time, they hear their voice and the demon's voice, but not the mother's voice.

They go to the house again to gather evidence, that's necessary for them, to get the exorcism approved by the church. They also bring a cop to the place to corroborate the evidence. This character is a nice addition to the routine story. The cop manages to evoke few laughs from the audience in the climax part. From here, the story picks up pace and we manage to see the demon possessed in a horrific and ugly looking middle aged woman. This particular scene of the demon jumping on the girl scared the **** out of the audience for sure! And there are lot of such scenes in the movie which also happen during the performing of exorcism. A few people, most of them women, in the theatre almost shouted with horror when these scenes came. So, I must say these jump scares are well done. There are some hair-rising scenes like a piece of clothing flying away and hugging the demon, the warren lady seeing her daughter in a lake etc. that are very well done and unexpected.

At the end of it, it's well worth a watch, but most probably the movie won't be remembered after you walk out of the theatre. I like horror that is of unusual kind better and this is not one such movie.

Airtel has plunged to new lows recently. It had introduced a new VAS called 'Smart Bytes' for it's broadband users a few months back. After reaching FUP limit, 'Smart Bytes' automatically presents a page randomly while browing (doesn't matter if you are in the middle of booking a bus/train ticket) asking the user to either buy few extra GB(s) or continue with reduced speed of 256Kbps. There are multiple issues I'm a lot of users are facing with this VAS.

- Airtel redirects to this VAS page at random times while browsing. This is very irritating to say the least because after it redirects the page, you will losr track of the URL you just typed. So for an Airtel user memorizing URLs is a must have skill.
- Airtel redirects to this page every 15 min/30 min/1 day or whenever it feels like, even after the user chooses to continue with the plan. This is THE biggest reason (no, not FUP limit!) why Airtel is annoying me these days.
- Airtel's 'Smart' bytes is actually either 'Too Smart' or 'Dumb' or both at the same time, just like our politicians. Even now, as I'm typing this post, blogger is complaining about an error while saving my post. I'm sure that ugly 'Smart Bytes' page has something to do with this. Fortunately, Google's blogger is 'really smart' unlike Airtel's so-called 'Smart Bytes'; It saved my post as soon as the connection came back.

Hi.. It's been a long time since I posted any thing on this blog. There are some things I'm busy doing these days and playing cricinfo fantasy game is certainly one of them :) One of our colleagues set up a fantasy league on cricinfo at the time of WC and asked interested people to join. Since it is the WC, many joined the league and showed great interest in playing the game and getting to the top position. The league was a great success and we all have enjoyed it. And as you know, there is a circus cricket going on in India and we thought there won't be much interest in playing fantasy games. But we were proved wrong as the people have really gotten into the game, atleast till now. As IPL has 74 games, it's easy to forget making changes to the team before a match. So I developed a simple script in python and used a cronjob to change the trump and make replacements at a particular time before the match starts. I thought it would be a good idea to share it here as some people may find it useful

1) Download the script from pastebin, save as 'ci_fantasy' and make it executable
2) Change the variables tid (Team ID), 'login_email' and 'password' inside the script
3) Usage Examples:
       a) For printing the team
           python ci_fantasy
       b) For printing the team along with list of all available players
           python ci_fantasy -p
       c) For replacing a player
           python ci_fantasy -r 'old_player_id1-new_player_id1' -r 'old_player_id2-new_player_id2'
       d) For changing trump
           python ci_fantasy -t 'new_trump_player_id'
       e) Replace a player and make the replacement as trump
           python ci_fantasy -r 'old_player_id-new_player_id' -t new_player_id
   You can combine the 3 options (i.e., "-t","-r" and "-p") as you like
4) Setup a cronjob (crontab -e) on your linux machine. You can use the following tool in case you don't know how to generate cron commands
The below example will replace Raina (9388) with Hodge (9290) and make Hodge as trump at 7:38pm on 18-04 :-
38 19 18 4 * python ci_fantasy -t 9290 -p "9388-9290"
* On Windows machines you can create scheduled jobs in a similar way

Suggestions are welcome
Since ASE came out, I really wanted to try out developing some apps with it. But as python ASE sucks compared to the Java API, in many ways, I had no option but to use Java API. Fortunately, this application is simple enough :p

Before using this application, please make sure that you have a free way2sms account. You need to enter these details in the text boxes provided on the main screen along with the mobile number of the receiving person and the SMS message.

Here are few things you may want to know
1) 140 character limit per SMS
2)  Some sort of Internet connection is mandatory
3) Aren't the above enough ? :D

Download the latest version (1.0.5) from HERE

Update 26/08:
Fixed force close bug which was seen when the network access is slow
Update 28/09:
Version 1.0.2: Updated the application to take care of the POST parameter changes in way2sms website. Earlier versions won't work now!
Update 12/01/11:
Version 1.0.3: Added support for picking numbers from phonebook. Multiple numbers can be entered either manually or by pressing contact picker multiple times (seperate each number by a comma ',' if you're entering'em manually).
Update 02/02:
Version 1.0.4: Fixed the bug which causes the messages to mobile numbers starting with either 0 or +91 to fail. (Thanks to Vivek for letting me know about this through comments!)
Update 12/02:
Version 1.0.5: Updating app as due to changes in way2sms website, v1.0.4 stopped working. (Thanks to sugan & anon.)