TripIt annoyances

TripIt has a really annoying bug with their session management, and it hits me every time I use the site. This is my flow (Firefox 3.5 on Linux):

1. Go to
2. Enter your email and password into the login box on the top right corner. Do not select the "Remember Me" checkbox.
3. Click Login
-> It now takes you to another log in page with no message about why. The new page's URL is
4. This time enter your email and password into the log in box in the middle of the page, make sure you do not select the Keep me Logged in checkbox
5. Click on Login
-> If you're lucky, it will log you in the first time, if not, you'll have to repeat steps 4 & 5 two to three times
6. Now try to edit a trip, for example, add a flight to an existing itinerary.
-> When you click on Add, it takes you back to the login screen that showed up after step 3.
7. Login again (do not select the checkbox)
8. It returns to the edit screen, but your changes have not been saved. Repeat step 6 and if you're lucky, it will go through, if not you have to go through this flow a few times.

I contacted tripit customer care about this a while ago, though I didn't have it in so much detail. They asked me which browser I was using and I haven't heard anything from them after I replied.

They're now offering Pro services, but I'm definitely not giving money to a company that can't even handle something as simple as a login screen.

Summer in the valley

It's definitely summer time in Silicon Valley. Day time temperatures are up at around 30°C and nights are pleasant enough to walk around without a jacket. This is no where near as hot as Bombay's summer that, while I'm used to, I really cannot handle. Summer in the valley also means longer days, and lots of birds in the shrubbery outside my patio.

It's been a while since I updated this journal, and this time, it's on a far more pleasant note. I've been cooking a lot, and cycling a lot. A new pedestrian/cycle bridge across the 101 means that I now have another safe route to use when biking to the office. That's always welcome. The older route was longer and had far less shade, which made it a bad choice for summer cycling.

Last night some of my old college classmates dropped in. I decided to cook up something new to mark the occasion (a word that I always fail to spell correctly), and ended up with Sweet and Sour vegetables with pears. I think it came out well, and unless my friends were lying to avoid hurting my feelings, I think they liked it too. I've also tried a whole bunch of stir fry and Thai curry recipes to varying degrees of success, but I haven't posted any of those.

The heat out here also means finding ways to cool off. My apartment has a swimming pool, which I used for the first time today. It was wonderful. 35 minutes of uninterrupted swimming was good to cool me down, and probably good to build up muscles in the long term, but in the short term it means aching joints and burning eyes from the chlorine. Easily remedied though. I think I'll keep it up for a while.

Finally, a new website I've found. I was heading home on Caltrain from San Francisco last Wednesday night, and another guy on the train parked his bike on the same rack as mine. We started talking and realised that we might have common friends. He's also started his own company (a YCombinator funded startup) called I'm always interested in projects such as these because of my history with libyahoo2, ayttm and a few chat related hacks at Yahoo! in my attempts to build something like this. Let's hope they add in openid support soon.

Popularity through Plagiarism

One of the things about GPL enforcement, is that violations can only be contested by the copyright holders. As an example, if I were to find out about a violation of the GPL licence in, say the linux kernel, then the most that I could do is notify the copyright holders, and leave it to them to decide what to do.

Now, say the item in question wasn't really a piece of copyrighted software, but procedure that someone came up with to do a particular task more efficiently. This person knows that it's a really good idea, and tells a lot of people about it, intending to eventually polish it up and maybe blog about it, or publish an article but is waiting for approval from his employer, or something like that. For simplicity, we'll call this person Ideaguy.

Now, let's say one of the people that Ideaguy told his idea to, we'll call him Expertguy, just happens to be the self proclaimed expert on this topic. Expertguy decides to publish a bunch of ideas on his blog, and among the ideas, he includes the one that Ideaguy told him about, except he keeps the credit for himself. Ideaguy is hurt, but he's a nice guy, so he does nothing about it.

Expertguy then takes an idea from Hackerdude, and another idea from JSGuru, and another idea from Pixelgirl, and writes a book, as the sole author, taking full credit for all these ideas. Hackerdude, JSGuru and Pixelgirl are all nice people, so they decide not to say anything.

Expertguy is really popular at this point, and gets invited to several conferences and to speak at universities, and to write more books, while Ideaguy decides that he's heading off to teach English to children in South America, and Hackerdude, JSGuru and Pixelgirl are slowly making their way up the circuit with their own ideas, often collaborating.

So what would you do if you knew all this but weren't directly affected? What if during the course of your own work, you found out that Expertguy has had far fewer original ideas than you'd originally thought? Do you believe that everyone's karma will equal out in the long run?

Opensource Bridge Conference

I'm submitting a talk to Open Source Bridge - June 17–19, 2009 - Portland, ORWell, who'd'a thunk it, but I'm posting again. This time to let you know of a conference that I just submitted a talk to. The Open Source Bridge conference in Portland. What makes it different from most conferences in this part of the world, is that it's volunteer run (OMG, it's not by O'Reilly!).

I've decided to submit an updated version of my 2004 Linux Bangalore talk Being a Geek. The conference follows and open submission process, so all submissions are visible as soon as they've been submitted, so go check mine out. I'll probably submit a few more developer oriented talks as well.

The deadline for submissions is March 31, as is the early registration price.

Long overdue update

So it's been a long time since I've updated this journal. A lot has been keeping me busy, but I have a break today, so to the sound of wind chimes outside, I'll write something.

bluesmuse was here for Valentine's day in February. We headed to Azurra in San Jose for dinner. We were hoping to to sample their Mole Poblano, but they had a special V-day menu. They also had their regular live band playing Cuban music and a whole load of people doing Salsa.

The following day, we decided to have a little picnic up on Mt. Diablo. They weren't allowing cars through though, so we went through a bit on foot. Had our picnic on one of the sandstone formations before it started to get pretty cold, so we headed back. We also watched Slumdog Millionaire at Cupertino.

The rest of February was spent racing to complete Q1 work since I'd expected to be out of town for a while in March.

I got to Boston on Feb 27th, and worked out of there for a day. bluesmuse and I then headed to Florida for a short vacation. We landed at West Palm Beach, and spent the night there. Checked out the downtown area for a bit, but we were both pretty tired. The next day we drove down to Fort Lauderdale, and jumped onto the Jungle Queen riverboat which took us through the canals to check out a whole bunch of multi million dollar houses and yachts.

Fort Lauderdale has a lovely beach. Blue waters, and probably the warmest part of the ocean that we've touched since we moved to the US. Day two of our trip started early. We drove down to Key Largo and got lost a few times, but made it on time for the afternoon snorkeling trip.

Neither of us had been snorkeling before, so we were really looking forward to it. bluesmuse had also never been swimming in the sea before, but she adapted to it much better than I did. She seems to be quite at ease with all the sports we've tried out here, while I have quite a bit of trouble. I had a hard time remembering to breathe through my mouth instead of my nose. We did get a few pictures on an underwater camera, but the roll isn't done yet, so I haven't had them developed.

Day three was bluesmuse's birthday, and we'd planned on spending it just sitting around on the beach, but we saw a tour bus for the Everglades, so decided to take that. The driver got us to the everglades and onto an airboat. The airboat took us around the canals and we saw a lot of water birds and alligators. Then, the boat broke down and we started drifting. The driver called for a maintenance crew, but the call went through to voice mail. The passengers on the boat remained fairly cheerful though, cracking jokes about everything.

Eventually the repair crew got to us and had us ready in about five minutes. We then headed out to find some more gators before returning to the city. That night we had dinner at the Oasis Café with a great view of the ocean, and tables mounted on swings.

We then rushed off to the airport to catch our flight back to Boston.

Incidentally, even though we've been travelling so much in the last year, this was the first trip when we actually took the same flight.

We got back to Boston post midnight and it was frozen. There had been a snowstorm in the days that we were in Florida, and we were glad to have missed it. There was no time to relax though. I had to unpack and repack as soon as we got in for my flight to Montreal in the morning.

I got to the airport at what I thought was the right time, but apparently I was looking at the wrong airline. My American Airlines flight was leaving just as I reached the airport. The flight was heading to New York where I'd have to change to another flight for Montreal. Instead, I managed to get onto an Air Canada flight heading directly to Montreal. Interestingly, Air Canada has their own terminal at Boston Logan airport, from where flights to all destinations in Canada depart. It has three gates.

Montreal was also frozen when I got there, but not terribly cold. The airport is quite confusing, and there's a lot of walking to be done before you get to immigration. Immigration is fairly straightforward though, but it's where I realised that I can no longer understand spoken French.

I made my way out, and got a bus heading downtown to the Hilton Bonaventure. The PHP Quebec conference was at this hotel, and they'd gotten me a room there as well.

The conference went well. There was absolutely no time to stop and look around though. Once the day time talks were done, we'd all just follow the organisers to some place in the evenings for dinner, and get back to the hotel dead tired and just crash. The hotel also had an outdoor heated pool surrounded by snow, but I wasn't brave enough to try it.

On the morning of the 7th, I headed back to San Francisco, and got here to find the sun once again.

Was back at work on Monday, and the race to finish Q1 tasks was on again. I'm happy to say that I only had to do one all-nighter this quarter and that was mainly so that I'd be free to have some fun at hack day.

Hack day was this last Thursday and Friday, and I wrote a little game that uses various Y! properties. Will see if this is something that can be put up on my personal web server.

Well, it's been raining here this weekend, so not much to be done. I need to go get groceries, but other than that, will stay home. I was sick last weekend, but that lasted just one night, though I've been sneezing more than usual for a while - a little nose irritation due to the huge swings in temperature that I've been experiencing.

That's all for now. Not sure when my next update will be. Stay tuned to my twitter feed, which I update a little more frequently.

Disorganised opensource conference

I was supposed to speak at the One course source open source conference in San Diego this coming Wednesday and Thursday. My talk was scheduled on Thursday the 29th. The conference wasn't covering travel expenses, so I booked my own tickets in early January to get a decent price.

Last week while I was searching for places to stay in San Diego, Stoyan told me that the conference had been cancelled, however I'd received no notice from the organisers. I checked my email, my spam folder, trash can, but could find no notice from them, so I emailed them asking what the status was. They then responded saying that the conference had been cancelled and they were sorry that I wasn't informed.

The conference website has also not been updated, so anyone visiting would think that it's still on.

So I tried to get my ticket cancelled, but American Airlines tells me that the cancellation charges are more than the value of the ticket, so it makes no sense for me to cancel them. I'm now at a loss for what to do. There's nothing for me to do in San Diego, but I've already paid for the tickets.

I don't know if these people make it a habit or not of doing this to their speakers, but I'd advise others to stay away from them. I've never had such an experience with a conference before.

Update: American Airlines called back this morning saying that they'll make an exception in this case.

Saturday at home

Wow, this is the first Saturday in over a month that I'm actually at home. The last few weekends were spent in Boston, Seattle, Bombay, Bangalore, Bombay and San Francisco. Heck, I've been travelling for so long, I can't remember what I did on the weekends before that.

Time to get some house cleaning done in time for Christmas.

Back and still here

I got back to the bay area at about 1pm yesterday. The flight landed on time, and there was no line at the immigration desk, so I got through that in no time. My bag was already on the carousel when I walked out, so picked it up and headed home in a cab. I was terribly exhausted from not having slept in a few days.

Turned on my laptop when I got home because I needed to work for the rest of the day, and in a few minutes I was hit by over 200 messages in my twitter stream, and a whole bunch of people who I haven't spoken to in years pinged me on messenger saying that they'd just heard the news and wanted to know if I was okay. This was all rather strange for me since I'd been in the air for the last 14 hours, and without internet access for another 10 hours before that.

Slowly reality hit as I went through the entire stream on twitter. Yahoo!'s layoffs that started over a month ago in Australia, and then moved to Europe had finally hit the US. Friends, team members and most of the brickhouse were hit. Called up a few of the people I knew, and then had to dial in to a meeting at the office that basically announced what was already on the internets.

Soon after the meeting, my head turned lead and I dropped into bed only to wake up several hours later to the phone ringing. Actually wake up is probably the wrong term, since I have no idea how the phone call proceeded. All I knew was that the next time my eyes opened it was almost 2am and I was terribly hungry.

Woke up and looked around. There was a bunch of food, but my milk had gone bad, so cereal was out of the question. Then got down to paying bills and doing a bunch of housekeeping. I finally went back to bed around 6:30am, and woke up at 10:30 to head to work. Yeah, I'm now back to my normal timezone.

The previous day was spent in Hong Kong. My flight from Bombay was at 4am, and I got in to HK at about 11am on the 9th, and headed to the Hong Kong office. Had a meeting and demo sort of thing with the performance guy out there. In the evening I met up with couch surfers at someone's house at some place in Kowloon (I cannot remember the name). We then headed to a beach for a barbecue which went on till about 1:45am. There were 12 of us or so, and it was great fun. I was actually really sleepy when I met these people, but one of them took me to a chinese place for a drink mixture of Coffee and milk Tea, and that woke me up in no time.

The barbecue was pretty crazy. The guys had picked up live shrimp and a whole bunch of other meats and vegetables. The shrimp were already dead by the time we cooked them, but someone said that one of them moved in the bag.

After the barbecue, we took a minibus to John's place (also in Kowloon) where I spent the night. The bus was doing about 120Kph on the roads. The speed limit was 70, and his speedometer was beeping like crazy. This is what james_morris had warned me about. We finally got to the last stop from there, and then took a cab the next few blocks to his place... and then, at 3am, we got stuck in a traffic jam. Not for long, but all the same.

Coincidentally, John was the organiser of the Open Everything HK meetup, and has a whole bunch of things in common with me.

The next morning, I headed over to Lantau to visit the Po Lin monastery. The cable car was under maintenance, so that was a little disappointing, but I took the bus over. Had lunch there and then rushed off to the airport for my flight to San Francisco.

When I checked in, they told me that the flight was at gate 63. I then went to the lounge for a shower and headed off to gate 63, which is at the far end of the airport. Had to take the airport train, and I reached there with just a few minutes to spare before the time printed on my boarding pass, and there was no one there. Got closer and noticed one guy who lazily said, "San Francisco? moved to gate eight", which was back near where I'd checked in.

This time I just walked the whole way back along the moving walkways. There was additional security at the gate (they have this for all US bound flights). This security involved opening my bag, peeking inside and saying, "Just clothes?". When I answered yes, they let me pass.

Walked through the gate, but there was no plane in sight. This was a parking lot for buses. Got into bus number 9, and waited.

And waited some more. A few more people got in, and then we drove, and drove and drove, all the way back to gate 63, and then past and onto the tarmac where our plane was waiting. Everything was smooth from then on. I slept a bit on the flight, but not enough to keep me coherent on landing.

Bag is back

The rest of my luggage arrived today - completely wrapped up in clingwrap. It was smelling terrible, and I thought I may have stepped on something while coming inside with it. Opened the bag, and the smell got stronger.

Turns out that the Mozzarella packets that I'd got had exploded, and the box that they were in also opened up, so large parts of the bag and my clothes inside were covered with whey. Luckily the books I'd bought for my niece were untouched. Anyway, my clothes are now in the wash, so I should be good to go by this evening.