June 19, 2014

Current List of Apps

  1. Office 2013 Suite: Mainly excel, word, outlook and lync
  2. Toad 12.5 DBA Suite: For Oracle DB administration
  3. Notepad++: The only text editor I love. I have configured it to use multimarkdown
  4. Cygwin: better than Microsoft terminal (cmd), it is configured with rlwrap to enable history/bash like auto-completion in sqlplus 
  5. Chrome: the only web browser you need
    1. LastPass
    2. Google Input Tools
    3. Adblock
    4. Hola
    5. Pushbullet
    6. Readability
  6. Github: for code versioning
  7. Evernote: for note taking.. Previously used OneNote but then moved on. 
  8. WriteMonkey: for zenware writing
  9. Dropbox: everyone knows. 
  10. Others -Teracopy, 7-Zip, PDF Creator, AutoHotKey
Web Apps
  1. Asana

March 03, 2013

Australian International Airshow 2013

F18 Super Hornet Pilots sharing experience. Photo © Anjul Sahu
I have been living near MHOW (Military HQ of War) where I used to see some fighters getting transported on the back of truck. That was my closest encounter with this heart throbbing machines. Then I saw them flying around Tambaram airbase, Chennai during office hours. The power, speed, super sonic sound and ability to do massive destruction is what makes them interesting. Whenever I see them in Hollywood movies, I live a second life in my dream as an air-force pilot. Wearing an Aviator with dashing blue (or green sometimes) dresses leaves an inspiring and brave image. What a life!

Recently, I got an opportunity to attend Australian international air show organized at Avalon Airport near Melbourne to understand and see more about aviation closely.  I was waiting for it since few weeks. On the photography front, I ordered a telephoto canon 70-200 F4 IS for this event but it couldn't be delivered on time by FedEx.   I would curse FedEx for that - lazy service.
Aerobatic Solo Display. Flying few feets above the ground makes it a very brave act. Photo © Anjul Sahu

Many teams participated in the event like US Air Force (USAF), Singapore (RSAF), Australia, Japan, NZ and French Air Force showcasing F18 Super Hornet, F22 Raptor, Spitfires, F16s, C17 Globemaster, PC/9/A (Roulettes), Predator, Super Puma, Pilatus, Hawk 127 and many more. Full list here.
A military transportation plane taking off the runway and a security personnel looking at the crowd. Photo © Anjul Sahu

Air field attack demo by a small aircraft. Photo © Anjul Sahu
Four F18 Super Hornet display formation. Photo © Anjul Sahu
Team of Roulettes showing the combat split formation. Photo © Anjul Sahu

Since this was the first time I was attending such event, I didn't knew much about it though I read few articles as preparation but still there is some learning that I would like to share. 

Do's and Don'ts

  • Pack up light and carry only important things. Do not carry which you thing that you will not probably not going to use. 
  • Take sun screen (SPF 30+), dark sun glasses (with UV & Polarizer), Cap to protect yourself against the bright sun. Normally you won't find shades around the place where such event is happening
  • Take a folding chair so that you can relax on a long day. I really missed this thing during the second half of the day. 
  • Take lots of food, water, juice etc to nourish yourself. You will always find food joints on such place but most of the time they are heavily crowded and there will be long line on each of them. 
  • Take everyone in your family just like a picnic. You will enjoy more. 
  • Now coming to photography, take out your biggest lens from the box to really get close to the flying planes. I would say best is 100-400mm range in telephoto and also take a moderate wide angle (24 - 35 mm) for taking the pictures of formation display.  For a heavy lens, take a monopod for support.
  • Keep extra batteries and memory cards as you will be taking lot of pics in burst mode which will fill up very fast.
  • For normal planes, minimum shutter speed should be 1/500 sec and for super sonic fighters like F18 Super Hornet or F22 Raptor, pick 1/1000 sec or faster. You can break this rule to create awesome looking panning shots of flights moving on the runway.
  • I used single center focus all the time because it makes the autofocus pretty fast and I can track the subject very quickly. 
  • Reach early to secure a good place near the runway and avoid the clutter in front of you.
  • If you can't bear the awesome super sonic sound, then don't forget to take the ear buds with you. This is essential for kids.
Overall it was a great experience which makes me think that I should attend such event again. I would like to see Indian aerobatic team Suryakiran performing in future.

August 24, 2012


“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” ~ j k rowling

March 13, 2012

Before Buying Your First SLR Camera

If you are planning to purchase DSLR camera then this article is for you. If you are serious about photography then only you should consider it otherwise my advise would be taking a better point and shoot with creative controls (Tv, Av, M modes) and with 10x or more zoom. Often I have seen many people take SLR and they don't shoot because the camera is too big to carry, or they don't want to go beyond the kit lens and hence limiting their shoots. Nowadays, there are good point & shoot cameras that perform very fast and effective.

Few questions that can decide your purchase.

  1. Which Brand?  There are many brands available in market, some are them are quite famous since the beginning of photography like Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji and few of them are new like Panasonic, Sony etc. I would suggest you to opt either from Nikon or Canon because these companies have been spending lots of money in research and development in the field of camera and lenses and other accessories. Many third party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, Zuiko etc also creates product for Nikon or Canon but not for other companies. You will never get short of choices in Nikon or Canon. Both cameras are equally good and there are some pros and cons. This is a famous classical question btw discussed many times over the web. Good photographers will suggest you to go either of them as it doesn't matter much. It is individuals preference to select one brand. Note that you can't mount Nikon's lens on Canon or vice versa. So once you decide your brand, you have to struck to it for a long time because it is a kind of investment and it is very difficult to switch between them as you will be building your kit. Read more from experts here - Ken Rockwell or Photo.net or Digital-Photography-School and there are lot more when you google :-)
    • Nikon gives you bolder colors and it is quite fast in performance.
    • Canon gives you more natural and saturated colors, its autofocus system is faster than Nikon usually.
    • In the low end, Nikon has sturdy build than Canon but as you go higher in the ladder, the difference is negligible.
  2. What type of photographer am I? What would I will be shooting? Depending on subject you should consider your purchase. If you are going to do product photography or advertisement photography or journalism which requires faster camera will bold colors and depth and sturdy build quality then you should pick Nikon. If you are in to Nature or Wildlife photography or Sports or Wedding/Portraits then go for Canon. But I again like to say that both can be deployed to any type of work and it will just work. This divide is just based on the observation of photographers's exif and their work. But it is not a rule.
  3. How much I am willing to spend? Both camera manufactures have good range of cameras in all segments so it should not be a major factor in deciding your pick. Spare some money for lens purchases also and also think of replacing the kit lens with some good lens. 
  4. Future plans and upgrades? There are two types of SLRs - full frame (35 mm censor) or Crop (1.5x or 1.6x of 35mm). So basically it is the coverage of your sensor which is going to record image. With same lens, a full frame camera will have more coverage over frame and it will be true focal length. So suppose if you have taken a picture with 50mm lens on full frame, effective focal length is 50 but on crop sensor it will look like a 80mm (50mm x 1.6). Many lenses are only compatible with crop sensor camera and they won't work on full frame. Plan your lens purchase accordingly. 
  5. Which lenses should I purchase? You can read more about Canon lenses here, here and Nikon here.
Best combination on full frame camera is 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8, it covers almost every situation. 

I hope you will focus more on photography than your camera or lens. There is no rule in photography, shoot directly from your heart and enjoy it. 

Some great sites that you should visit before your pick.
Wish you good luck and Happy Shooting. Please join me on Facebook

February 05, 2012

World Wetlands Conservation Day (Feb 02)

First of all those who don't know about Wetlands, I would like to quote its formal definition.

"Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Water saturation largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil. Wetlands may support both aquatic and terrestrial species. The prolonged presence of water creates conditions that favor the growth of specially adapted plants and promote the development of characteristic wetlands soils."
-- EPA, America's Wetlands: Our Vital Link Between Land and Water

To celebrate and to share awareness about the conservation of Wetlands, The Nature Volunteers group (TNV) organized a photo walk and bird watching camp at Sirpur Tank (is also a Wetland).  It is  important to save various species of plants, birds, mammals who survives just because of the condition provided by wetlands. Also it helps in maintaining our ground water levels and helps human population to survive.

Sirpur Tank, Indore

Currently most of the wetlands are in danger due to various reasons -
a)  Land acquisition for real estate purpose & other monetary benefits,
b) Changing environmental condition,
c) Industrial pollution,
d) Use of plastics, polythene etc.

Each wetland is a home for variety of species and they are sometimes found only in that particular region. So think of loosing hundreds of species from Nature if you loose one of them. Its a very important channel to connect land and water. You can read more information here - http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/habitat/wetlands.php and http://www.wetlands.org/Default.aspx and take steps to protect the wetland near you.

Some birding spots near Indore area (List by Shariq Khan)

Lakes and Wetlands
1. Sirpur Lake, Dhar Road, Indore
2. Kishanpura Lake, Dhar Road, Indore
3. Yeshwant Sagar, Depalpur Road, Indore
4. Bilawali Tank, Khandwa Road, Indore
5. Pipliyapala Regional Park, Erstwhile AB Road Indore
6. Khatipiplya Village Pond and Buranakhedi Village Pond , Kanadia Road  Indore

Forest Plantations and Open land
1. Ralamandal Sanctuary, Near Rau-Dewas Bypass Road
2. Tincha Village and Forest Plantations, Near Simrol, Khandwa Road
3.  Telyakhedi Forest Plantations, Near Kampel
4.  Shivni and Banjari Forest Plantations, Near Double-Chauki, Nemawar Road
5.  Kajligadh Forest Plantations, Near Simrol, Khandwa Road
6.  Residency Garden and Indore Zoo
7.  Pitra Parvat, Indore Depalpur Road

December 24, 2011

Saleel Tambe - Wildlife Photography

Yesterday, I attended a seminar "Keyword approach to Wildlife Photography" by Mr. Saleel Tambe who is a famous wildlife photographer, authored various books and had experience of more than 15 years. You can read more about him on his website. The seminar was more of a philosophical aspect of photography. He shared his experience and secrets which is not only specific to nature photography but as for all aspects of it.

The principles he follow is

December 19, 2011

Spokn Internet Telephony Review

Past one week I have been testing the spokn paid service to call International numbers. It is a VOIP telephony service of one of its kind started from India, similar to Skype but way cheaper than it. I am bit disappointed with the quality of call, it is not clear and latency is high. They have application on most of the platforms but not on Android which is unusual though they say it works with any SIP client (I have not been successful anyway).

August 04, 2011

10 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn From Albert Einstein

I received this in a mail from my boss and I found this inspiring.

Albert Einstein has long been considered a genius by the masses. He was a theoretical physicist,  philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live. Einstein has made great contributions to the scientific world, including the theory of relativity, the founding of relativistic
cosmology, the prediction of the deflection of light by gravity, the quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, the zero-point energy concept, and the quantum theory of a monatomic gas which predicted Bose–Einstein condensation, to name a few of his scientific contributions.

Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” He’s published more than 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works. Einstein is considered the father of modern physics and is probably the most successful scientist there ever was.

10 Amazing Lessons from Albert Einstein:

1)    Follow Your Curiosity
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

What piques your curiosity? I am curious as to what causes one person to succeed while another person fails; this is why I’ve spent years studying success. What are you most curious about? The pursuit of your
curiosity is the secret to your success.

2)   Perseverance is Priceless
   “It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer.”

Through perseverance the turtle reached the ark. Are you willing to persevere until you get to your intended destination? They say the entire value of the postage stamp consist in its ability to stick to
something until it gets there. Be like the postage stamp; finish the race that you’ve started!

3)  Focus on the Present

My father always says you cannot ride two horses at the same time. I like to say, you can do anything, but not everything. Learn to be present where you are; give your all to whatever you’re currently doing. Focused energy is power, and it’s the difference between success and failure.

4)   The Imagination is Powerful
  “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Are you using your imagination daily? Einstein said the imagination is more important than knowledge! Your imagination pre-plays your future. Einstein went on to say, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” Are you exercising your “imagination muscles” daily, don’t let something as powerful as your imagination lie dormant.

5)   Make Mistakes
  “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Never be afraid of making a mistake. A mistake is not a failure. Mistakes can make you better, smarter and faster, if you utilize them properly.

6)   Live in the Moment
  “I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.”

The only way to properly address your future is to be as present as possible “in the present.” You cannot “presently” change yesterday or tomorrow, so it’s of supreme importance that you dedicate all of your efforts to “right now.” It’s the only time that matters, it’s the only time there is.

7)   Create Value
  “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."

Don’t waste your time trying to be successful, spend your time creating value. If you’re valuable, then you will attract success. Discover the talents and gifts that you possess, learn how to offer those talents and gifts in a way that most benefits others. Labor to be valuable and success will chase you down.

8)   Don’t Expect Different Results
  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

You can’t keep doing the same thing every day and expect different results. In other words, you can’t keep doing the same workout routine and expect to look differently.  In order for your life to change, you must change, to the degree that you change your actions and your thinking is to the degree that your
life will change.

9)   Knowledge Comes From Experience
  “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Knowledge comes from experience. You can discuss a task, but discussion will only give you a philosophical understanding of it; you must experience the task first hand to “know it.” What’s the lesson? Get experience! Don’t spend your time hiding behind speculative information, go out there and do it, and you will have gained priceless knowledge.

10)   Learn the Rules and Then Play Better
   “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

To put it all in simple terms, there are two things that you must do. The first thing you must do is to learn the rules of the game that you’re playing. It doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s vital. Secondly, you must commit to play the game better than anyone else. If you can do these two things, success will be yours!