Best Paper Award at EGPGV 2009 !

Our paper (me: 4th co-author) was earlier selected for presentation at the EuroGraphics Parallel Graphics and Visualization(EGPVG, since the expansion is a mouthful) conference. From http://www.egpgv.org/programme.html

Parallel Solution to the Radiative Transport : László Szirmay-Kalos, Gábor Liktor, Tamás Umenhoffer, Balázs Tóth, Shree Kumar and Glenn Lupton

This also won the Best Paper Award at the conference, which concluded recently. Most of the hard work was done by Laszlo and his team, and kudos to them on this achievement !

This is also my first external academic publication, and I feel somewhat motivated to try some more submissions. I've been doing things for a while, but this paper has been an eye-opener in terms of the professional benefits of getting papers published !

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His Big Escapade – Destination Unknown

Sometimes I get phone calls from complete strangers. Typically, the callers get the phone numbers from my "About" page. And yes, that's the reason I keep them there.

Yesterday, at 8 PM, I was riding back from Madikeri towards Mysore. My phone rang. I had to excuse myself & asked the caller to call me again in half an hour or so. Next call at 10 PM. Guy calling was Praveen, obviously a kannadiga, and sitting in Shillong. Between jobs, and travelling his motorbike. He is using the Eicher map. He has been blogging extensively about his experiences on his blog page. He's ridden quite some distance already. Bangalore - Kolkata - Gangtok - Bhutan (yes!) and now sits pretty at Shillong.

Praveen wanted to get some road directions. Most maps show a short route from Agartala to Aizwal. My tour of the North-East had taught me that it didn't exist (or if it did wasn't motorable). I told him as much. And confirmed it today morning by calling Inspector S K Das - who's currently posted in Agartala (remember him from my Tour of North East ? He was posted in Teliamura then).

Praveen is probably busy getting permits now. Good luck to him for the rest of his journeys! Finally, turns out he's not that much of a stranger after all. He knows one of my close friends from engineering days. Is it a small world, or are the junkies somehow connected ? 🙂

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Speaking at SAP Labs soon

A first for me, this one. I'll be speaking about my cycling tours at SAP Labs (office in Whitefield, Bangalore) on 26th March 3rd April. Nothing technical about this !

The title of the talk will be

A journey on the road; a journey into the mind

I have a three hour talk slot (including breaks). I'll be addressing a group of 20-30 people. Keeping the audience awake could be a challenge! Seriously, an unfinished travel spanning five years needs to be compressed into 2.5 hours - and that will be the real challenge.

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Which map to use ?

Let's say you want to chart a route for a small tour from Bangalore. You want to avoid the larger roads (read:highways) and explore the countryside. Which map would you use ? The Eicher Road map or the Lonely Planet map lack the needed detail. Using survey maps are a possibility, but has a number of drawbacks - it is difficult to chart a route, and it is expensive. Using the very popular Google maps/Google Earth is not a good alternative as well. You probably don't agree with that last statement, but that's precisely the reason why I am posting this.

The better alternative is - Yahoo maps. To convince yourself that this is true, compare the maps around a place called Thalli which lies between Anekal (40 kms from Bangalore) and Anchetty (in Tamil Nadu, on the way to Hogenakal falls) : comparison is between Yahoo Map and Google Map. Yahoo maps show a lot of minor roads, labels notable villages too ! Big help for touring the countryside, and my preferred choice for route planning now. ( Thanks to KP for sticking to Yahoo in the face of Google's popularity )

So what did I do during the December holidays ? Me & KP did a short 7 day tour and used some information in the Yahoo map to good effect! We camped on the banks of the Kaveri river at a relatively unknown place called Dabguli which falls on the road from Hunsnahalli to Dantalli. Don't waste time finding these places on the Google map : you will fail 🙂 We had an excellent time riding in traffic free roads, pushing our cycles at places, staying in temples, a school (Details coming soon). Meanwhile, wish you a Happy New Year 2009 !

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And this year I’m travelling to …

You won't believe this - nowhere ! I have more leaves this year than any other. 15 days to be precise, from Dec 20 to Jan 4. But not going anywhere.

Several commitments are keeping me away from my bohemian ways this December, but that's not the real reason I'm not going anywhere. The real reason is simply that I'm planning something next year - a long ride in North India. Where to I known not.

Meanwhile, what will you read ? The Tour of Nilgiris is one option. It is nothing like my idea of touring and passes through the Nilgiris but three days (surprised?). But a couple of people will be blogging about it for sure - so you're promised daily doses. It's amazing how an idea of a joy ride has now turned out into a fully organized tour with seven sponsors/partners (anyone knows the difference between these?). Ravi Ranjan and others (raise your hands, I don't see them 🙂 ) have done a very good job of promoting this for sure! But first, they believed in it...

If you, for some reason, want a daily dose of stories to read, then please excuse me this year. Instead, tune into the Tour of Nilgiris.

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Himalayan Trekking expedition by a friend

Just got this from Bharata

I am back from an expedition to Auden's Col in Himalayas. This was the
highest and the toughest climb I have ever done in my life!

More details at
More photos at http://picasaweb.google.co.in/bharata.rao/AudenSCol

What's special about this trek ? I believe that what these guys did is close to the limits of what can be done without specialised equipment (they walked long stretches on ice, for instance). If you are a trekking freak, do yourself a favour : read his story. Very well written, and very nice pictures as well. Way to go, Bharata !

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What’s up ? BarCamp…

Not much actually. The rains have made me lazy - the last time I rode a bicycle was a month ago. I've regained all the weight I lost during my cross-country ride. Is that reason enough to go for another ride ? I don't think so 🙂

Meanwhile, I've caught an addiction : playing Squash. Surprisingly, I have played it only thrice since Sunday. Must thank my partners Nagaraj & KK here; they keep it interesting. For a while, Snooker caught our fancy too, but that seems to be fading at the moment.

What about cycling then, you ask? We will have a session at the BarCamp this weekend. See you there !

I have proposed a couple of other sessions at Barcamp too. One on stitching panoramas & one on OpenSim/SecondLife. Here's hoping for an exciting BCB7....

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And the shortest way to BIA is…

Reams of newsprint have been wasted on how far the new airport in Bengaluru is from the 'city', how many signals need to be crossed to get there and how much time it takes to get there.

So how far it is really from, say Banaswadi ? The answer is - 25 kms. Sure you don't believe me. Well, you don't need to, unless you are willing to cross a compound wall to get into the airport ! Don't understand ? Read on...

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Disabled commenting on the Firefox threads


I have closed the following threads for comments : Buy Firefox at your own risk and Improved Support from Firefox.

Why? I had posted them based on my experiences, and to raise awareness about issues. And I believe the posts fulfilled their objective. They were not intended to be a forum to support firefox, problems with their bikes, which bike is suitable for you to buy, etc etc. It's frankly becoming a pain for me to manage these threads, which are much deviating from their original purpose. So instead of spending time moderating threads, I've decided to close these.

If you are interested in cycling, or are looking around for people to ride with, want to ask questions related to cycles and cycling, then please consider joining a cycling forum like BikesZone Cycling Forum. Of course, I am open to questions too (look at the About page for contact info).

Finally, thanks to all those who read & posted comments !

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Cross Country Ride Gallery

It has taken time, but it finally is here. Yes, I am talking about pictures from my Cross Country Ride !

There are 175 pictures for you to enjoy there. For those looking at the story, please take the trouble of reading my blog at http://cross-country-ride.blogspot.com.

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