Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review : Offworld by Robin Parrish

What if you were all alone in this world ? .. What if you weren't ?

Offworld by Robin Parrish
Astronauts go through a huge deal of training to prepare them for the unexpected millions of miles away from home. The first manned mission to Mars was no different. But the biggest challenge they face, the biggest "unknown unknown" for them is waiting right here back at home. Losing all contact with home on way back, they return to an world that's completely uninhabited. They set off an a journey to determine the cause and run into more than they can handle.

And then there's some unexpected things happening - buildings burning down, unexplained black outs - which leads to the only logical conclusion : There is some..er.."thing" out there. And these brave astronauts might not be as "alone" as they thought they were.

This book keeps you guessing right from the very beginning as to what could be the reason behind this sudden disappearance. Is it an alien abduction? Is it a conspiracy ? Is it a divine interjection ? Is this their minds playing tricks ? Is it a sick joke ? Or is it just a bad, bad dream ? - The answer is stranger than you'd expect.

Having just a handful of characters in the entire storyline is needle that the author has threaded quite expertly. You get to know the characters in quite the depth, but you still feel like you've barely scratched the surface. You might get to know them very well, but you'd rarely trust any one of them as all of them have this hidden facet to their personality, some hidden agenda which makes you question each and every one and their motives right from page 1. .

Especially this one survivor they meet along the way. The only one to still be "there" wile the rest of the world's evaporated away. The fact that you know so very little about this person haunts the reader at every turn of the page.

I guess the story would be best summarised by this quote form the book itself :

"Life is poetry.
Stop. Watch. Listen.
There’s poetry all over.
And the thing about poetry?

It don’t write itself."

Book Review : Inception , The Catherine Kimbridge Chronicles #1

Inception by Andrew Beery
It's been years since I sacrificed an night's sleep because I just couldn't put down a book I'd picked up. Just one line - the first line, that's all it took, and I was hooked.

"2067 was the year I died for the first time" - The first line

This book has all the ingredients of a gripping space drama - Fictional technology with names and back-"science" that nobody understands, but sounds good to hear and flatters you into feeling intelligent  ;-) , the strong central characters, cheesy references to pop culture, the aliens ( and how they relate to humanity ), a long forgotten powerful and omnipotent race, the symbiosis between organics and synthetics and the ultimate triumph of human ingenuity and curiosity over everything else.

If you love any of the space exploration fictions like StarTrek, Star Wars, Star gate, Battle Star, FireFly - then this book would be just up your alley.

***** / *****

Saturday, August 17, 2013

EpisodeCalendar Android App

About a couple of weeks back, I stumbled upon this amazing website : EpisodeCalendar . Its a great way to keep track of the TV shows I watch ( and plan to watch at some later time ) . But I was really saddened by a lack of an Android app. After quick look though the FAQ, I realized that there used to be Android ( and iOS ) apps , but they were pulled off the air just a couple of months ago.

There was a nice RSS feed, though. And then it struck me - Let's harness this RSS feed into an Android app !
Presenting : My first ever android app !!

This is a very basic application for EpisodeCalendar which lets me know which of my shows are on today ( and a few days next and previously ) and provides some additional details about them. That's about it ! No real login required ( just need to enter email address registered with EpisodeCalendar ), not complex features, just a simple list of shows to watch today ! ( an an option to set a reminder )

Swipe from left, or click on app icon for navigation drawer to navigate to other days.

Screenshots :

Download apk :
--removed--
Source :
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4Q2yQONzG4TRjFxT3VHRm1BcEk&usp=sharing
License :
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4Q2yQONzG4TUk1Ja2R1cURYRGc/edit?usp=sharing

This is a project meant for personal use and presented for example purpose only. The app is in no way associated with EpisodeCalendar . This app is in no way complete. Do check back for revisions and updates.

PeeKay , 17 August 2013
cuz i was bored
http://pranav.inkoli.com/
-=BlaH - BlaH=-

UPDATE : According to Kristian from EpisodeCalendar, the official app from EpisodeCalendar is just around the corner.I'm removing the direct download link. But I'd be keeping the source code up for reference only.

UPDATE : The episode list now also shows episode title, swipe left and right to switch days. Not tested on tablets

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Learning Android

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Android. But I'd about HAD IT with just standing on the sidelines. I wanted to learn to develop for Android.
Now, I'd tried to do this a few times earlier. But then, me, with my fickle interests, could never really stick to it. Not to mention, the troubles with just getting a Java Environment setup on my computer almost took my enthusiasm away.

Enter : Android Studio

This is a nifty little Android IDE based on the popular IntelliJ platform. I've been impressed by the tool ever since it had been announced and showcased at this year's Google I/O .

And then, last week, I finally took the plunge ! Started seriously working on a small little app.

Will update the progress right here on http://pranav.inkoli.com/

PeeKay , 13 August 2013
cuz i was bored
http://pranav.inkoli.com/
-=BlaH - BlaH=- 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bugs on my face

"Been a while since I felt the bugs on my face" - A beautiful thought that hit my mind

It's a scenario that every biker can relate to - Its twilight, the sun has just crossed the horizon on its way to end the day, you are on your bike, sans your helmet, just passing by foliage and then suddenly ... an army of tiny bugs just burst out of nowhere and just swarm the entire airspace ! There are bugs hitting your face, hitting your arms, getting tangled all up in your hair, and if its an especially unlucky day - entering your mouth, into your eyes and even up your nose. Not really a happy memory for anyone.

Alok's Bicycle
It's been a couple of years since I parked my motorcycle in one corner and just completely forgot about it. But today, I was just on a stroll on my friend's bicycle around dusk and I felt a few bugs hit my face. And I was just hit with a huge wave of nostalgia. Just remembering all those times I (involuntarily) spat out bugs or cursed my fates for the searing pain in my eyes as a bug entered it. I just kept reaching out to all those not so happy memories.

And with it came a wave of longing for riding my motorcycle again. Riding along the highways, being one with the road, feeling the wind in my hair, leaning into curves of the roads - almost scraping my shoes on the road as I negotiated an extremely tricky turn, freedom from being trapped in a roll cage. ( There's a reason it's called a cage )

This event has inspired me to take the keys off the nail on the wall, dust off my jacket, get my Honda fixed and once again be part of the culture that is 'biking'. Now more than ever.
But, then, it doesn't take much to inspire me. This must not be just an inspiration - this has to be something more. A movement.

UPDATE : Just days after this, I got my bike fixed !
https://plus.google.com/106658894895516889579/posts/hHERuVrLe7U )