Let Us Say Grace

As we head into another new year, the calendar has changed to 2018. But the differences in the world continue to remain. As long as the human condition prevails, these differences will always exist. These differences periodically surface as flash points in politics, economics, societies, arts and personal freedoms. Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell (Source - Wikipedia) There is a painting "Saying Grace" by the iconic American illustrator Norman Rockwell. It was created for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1951. As is characteristic of Norman Rockwell paintings, it captures an ordinary moment with extraordinary detail. A boy and his mother say their prayers in a restaurant before a meal in a restaurant. We can also see the reactions of the other diners, some fully, some partially and some not at all.  What is truth? What is justice? What is equality? What is morality? Before we even debate these topics, we must search for the meaning of them individ

Tech - Lets Chat

Instant messenger applications (like Yahoo Chat) have been around since the beginning of the web, but the web was initially bound by the desktop. With the emergence of mobile, messenger applications (like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger etc.) have seen a explosive rise. According to recent statistics , billions of messages are shared using these applications. While these messages are largely between humans, technology cannot be far behind. The DevOps movement in the world of IT accelerated the move towards automation. Except perhaps design and coding, a lot of activities such as testing, integration, deployment etc. are becoming automated. One of the last vestiges of manual intervention was tasks like - monitoring, troubleshooting etc. Bots were created to automate these repetitive tasks too. Diagram using iPad App - Paper I decided to explore this world of Chat and Bots, also called by some as ChatBot. There are a few mature frameworks that can help build this capability. C

Fiio and Sony - Music to the ears

Fiio is a relatively unknown brand in India when it comes to portable music players. The Chinese company manufactures reasonably priced high resolution digital audio players. The Fiio X1 player is the entry level model. It is built using aluminium, making it light for everyday use. It has a basic user interface similar to the earlier Ipods. The key to the player producing great sound is the separate DAC chip - Texas Instruments PCM 5142 and an Intersil Amplifier. In addition, the player can play a variety of audio file formats (FLAC, MP3, WMA, AAC, ALAC, WAV And OGG). Now, that we get professional grade sound from the player, we need a professional grade headphone to listen to the music. The Sony MDR 7506 has been around for decades unchanged. It handles all genres of music effortlessly and cleanly. There is almost no distortion, be in the vocals or the background music. For those who are keen listeners of music, I would recommend the Fiio X1 (Gen 1 or 2) and the Sony

Biryani with a Persian twist

Biryani with a Persian twist Anyone who likes Indian cuisine is familiar with the Biryani. Few know that the word Biryani is derived from the Farsi word "Birian". Some believe that the dish could therefore have originated somewhere in erstwhile Persia. Today's attempt was to make a biryani with a persian twist, right from the choice of meat to the spices. So, I used mutton and only persian dry spice powder. Contributed by  Rajan Manickavasagam . Published  11. December 2016 Ingredients Salt (to taste) Crushed black pepper  Persian dry spices 1 cup natural/greek yoghurt 2 cups of basmati rice 500 gm of mutton chops  2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 tablespoons of clarified butter (ghee) 1 large onion chopped into juliennes 10-12 cashew nuts Assorted whole spices - mace, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and star anise Instructions Marinate the mutton in salt, pepper, persian dry spices and olive oil for 10 minutes. Heat a wok and

Single Malt infused Burger

Single Malt infused Burger I have been fascinated with the various barbecue sauces from America. There's a wide variety of them ranging from the Kansas City, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. Largely, they use similar ingredients with some regional variations.  I thought of making a variation of the Tennessee sauce by using Single Malt instead of an American bourbon. Contributed by  Rajan Manickavasagam . Published  02. January 2016 Ingredients Salt (to taste) Crushed black pepper  2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce 200 ml Tomato puree 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (or to taste) 2 chicken breasts  2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider vinegar 1 tablespoon of Soy sauce 2 tablespoons of Glenfiddich 12 year single malt  1 finely chopped onion 2 burger buns Instructions Heat the oil in a wok. Saute the onions. Add the salt and pepper.  Add the various sauces as you continue to saute the onion. After a few minutes, add

Musings from a Decade

So far, I have had a career in technology spanning 17 years. Recently, I completed 10 years in my current organization. I had the opportunity to work with great leaders, articulate managers, creative technical experts and incredibly hard working developers. While 10 years in an organization is a milestone, there are others who have served for many decades. In the words of the American poet Robert Frost, "There are miles to go before I sleep".  I was reflecting on the decade gone by. Here are a few musings for a fulfilling career. The Astrologer's Dilemma This is a folktale from Birbal. He was the advisor to the Mughal emperor Akbar. Birbal once had a merchant as his neighbour. The merchant's fancy was to constantly consult astrologers about his fate. An astrologer once read the merchant's palm and predicted various things. Towards the end, he also proclaimed that the all the near and dear ones would die before the merchant himself. This enraged the

When a photograph get a life

Photographs usually capture a slice of life. But sometimes, they get a life of their own too. I count a few of my photographs as my favourites. But one in particular seems to have become very popular. This is a photograph of the UK Parliament on a winter evening. I took it from the opposite bank on the Thames. It is licensed under creative commons license. Around a dozen sites have used this photograph. While some ask for permission, most of them use it along with attribution. It is interesting to see the number of topics that are linked to this photograph, ranging from education, diversity, health, news, current affairs and politics. https://www

Tech - Setup CI-CD in under an hour

I was always curious about the badges that some Github repositories sport. Largely, the badges are related to continuous integration and automated tests. I thought of exploring some of the cloud based tools related to engineering a piece of software. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety and ease of use of these tools.  To start with, I needed some code to start with. I already had Java based REST API that I use for trainings on Elasticsearch. My repository is at Github . I have integrated my repository with the following tools - Continuous Integration and Deployment - Travis-CI Code Coverage - Coveralls Cloud Provider - Heroku Depending on the type of application and programming language, all the above tools provide documentation on integration with Github. Based on the size of the code, it takes a few minutes for build, tests, code analysis and deployment steps to be executed. The application is finally deployed to heroku.  The diagram below describes the flow once a

The People's Chef

Today is the 6th death anniversary of one of the most famous chef's - Keith Floyd. He was a chef, restaurateur, author and businessman.  Image Source - Bristol Post It was in the early 1990's that satellite television took off in India. And, one of the first channels to make it's foray was the venerable BBC. Keith Floyd's TV shows like - Floyd on Spain, Floyd on Italy, Floyd on France etc. opened up new cuisines and experiences for the Indian audience. He was probably one of the first chef's who wanted to spread the joy of food among people. His energy and passion for all things food and cooking was only far too evident. In addition, he expressed an almost childlike enthusiasm for different cultures and experiences.   So, here's to you Mr. Floyd. May you have a good time wherever you are, with your trademark 'splash and a dash'.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers Recently Tastemade  app was launched on Apple TV. There are some interesting indie chefs and hosts worth watching on Tastemade. Some of the programs reminded me of England. So, this recipe is inspired from typical English ingredients like worcestershire sauce and 'sharp tasting' cheddar cheese. Contributed by  Rajan Manickavasagam . Published  09. August 2014 Ingredients Rock salt (to taste) Crushed black pepper  1 cup of cooked rice (can be left over) 1 tablespoon of port wine 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce (or to taste) 2 diced piri piri chicken sausages Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves (or mint leaves) 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil 1 red bell pepper 3-4 thin slices of cheddar cheese 1 toothpick for presentation! Instructions Slice the top of a red bell pepper. Scoop out the insides of the pepper. Roast the pepper and the top in a preheated oven at 220C for about 15 minutes.  Take the pepper ou