It was 1:30 AM yesterday night and I couldn’t sleep. I was trying really hard to sleep but I couldn’t. I gave up after a while and started to think about random stuff and thus, I ended up thinking about the Cloud.
Cloud storage has been one of the best technological innovations in the past few years. Several companies ranging from existing technology leaders to startups, seem to be interested in this field. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox etc really excel in this field. Each of these companies offer amazing services. These companies seem to be concentrating on making its users rely more on the cloud.
I personally use all of these services to manage my digital life based on the category.
I use Spotify a lot to listen to music both on my computer and my iPhone. It has the offline playlists feature which makes my train commute a lot better. But sadly, I often end up not finding the music I want to listen to on Spotify. As a result I tend to fallback to my Google Music account which has almost all the songs I’ve always had on my hard disk drive. The only downside to it is its streaming on mobile. It sucks big time. I do sometimes end up using Grooveshark or Last.fm if I don’t find the music I want on Spotify or my Google Music account.
After two of my external HDDs bailed on me, making me lose all my photos, I realized that photos are precious. So I use Flickr, Dropbox, SkyDrive and iCloud to store/backup my photos. Most of them are redundant but it’s worth storing copies of them on different servers.
I use Evernote to store my notes. Whenever I get any idea, I make a note in Evernote to make sure that I don’t forget it. I sometimes even use it to save my car parking location along with a picture.
I use Pocket to mark articles for reading later and to store some interesting bookmarks.
This is a more generic category. I use Dropbox and Box to store all my ebooks, docs and other random files.
That pretty much sums up how much I rely on the cloud.
Mark Z’s post on Instagram acquisition.
Facebook buys Instagram
Not sure what to do with this but I might end up using this as my custom URL shortener. Thank you Christmas Island.
You can follow the steps below to repeat a track on Spotify.
- Create a blank new playlist.
- Add to this playlist the song you want to repeat.
- Select the repeat option for the playlist.
Now your song is in “repeat-track” mode.
Update: Spotify now supports repeat track functionality natively.
Disclaimer: There are other alternatives to this setup by means of gems. But this is how I prefer to do it. Manually. With total control.
I have been working on a Rails application (a side project) and wanted to utilize the power of Twitter Bootstrap 2.0.1 and HTML5 Boilerplate 3.0.2 with Asset Pipelining in Rails 3.2.1.
Download Twitter Bootstrap from http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/
Download HTML5 Boilerplate from http://html5boilerplate.com/
Setting up the Rails Application
First and foremost, create a new Rails application by using the command
rails new app_name.
Once the app is created, navigate into the app folder
Integrating HTML5 Boilerplate
Now let’s first start with HTML5 Boilerplate. Open the downloaded H5BP zip file.
Navigate into the
css directory in the zip file. Copy the
style.css file into
app/assets/stylesheets of the Rails application that you just created.
Once you’re done with that, navigate into the
js directory of the H5BP zip archive. You’ll have
plugins.js and a directory called
libs. Copy the
script.js into the
js/libs directory in your H5BP zip archive and you’ll have
modernizr-2.5.3.min.js. These are the versions available during the time of this post. These will change eventually. Now copy those three files into
lib/assets of your Rails app, create it and then copy the said files.
Next, from the H5BP zip archive, copy the files highlighted in the image below into the
public directory of your Rails application.
Next, copy the left out
index.html from your H5BP zip archive into the
app/views/layouts directory of your Rails app.
Delete the file named
application.html.erb (if you’re using ERB) from the
app/views/layouts directory of your Rails app and rename your
index.html file existing in that directory to
application.html.erb. We’ll get back to this file after setting up Twitter Bootstrap.
With that, you can get rid of your H5BP zip archive. Next step would be integrating Twitter Bootstrap into the application.
Integrating Twitter Bootstrap
Open the downloaded Twitter Bootstrap zip archive and navigate to the
css directory in the zip archive. You’ll find the
bootstrap-responsive.css files along with their corresponding minified versions. Based on your requirements, copy the needed files into the
app/assets/stylesheets directory of your Rails application.
Now, navigate into the
img/ directory in the Twitter Bootstrap zip archive and copy the **glyphicons **files into the
Next, navigate into the
js/ directory in the Twitter Bootstrap zip archive and copy the
bootstrap.js file into
And you’re done with the Twitter Bootstrap zip archive.
You’ve now successfully placed all the required files in the right places of your Rails application. The next part would be tweaking the Rails application a bit and modifying the default layout.
Changing the Directives
Now, change the contents of your
Next, change the contents of your
app/assets/stylesheets/application.css file with the contents of this:
Change the contents of your
app/views/layouts/application.html.erb file with the contents of this:
Important: If you’ve used the minified versions of the files from Twitter Bootstrap, then you should change the directives in the
app/assets/stylesheets/application.css to the corresponding minified files.
For ex: in
require bootstrap becomes
Also, the reason we are manually “requiring” the files is to maintain the required order of the files. This also prevents overriding of the styles and functionality.
That’s it. You’re done setting up your Rails application with the power of HTML5 Boilerplate and Twitter Bootstrap (Rails BootPlate). Now the rest is in your hands.
If you find anything wrong with the setup, please do let me know in the comments section below. I will make changes and update this post. If you’re interested, you may fork the project at: https://github.com/mohnish/rails-bootplate
**Update: **To make the glyphicons work properly, you need to change the path of the icon files in the bootstrap.css file at Line 1174 and Line 1183 to
The reason behind motivation
U2 – With Or Without You
There was a project called “1000 Smiles” and I was lucky to be a part of it. Sweet old memories!
(My pic shows up at 0:26)
I have been thinking about implementing a lot of ideas that I’ve had since a while but never had the motivation to do so. That was mostly because I always plan on making things in a perfect way and tend to procrastinate a lot. So, perfection in my case can be dubbed as procrastination. To get rid of that, I have planned on hacking on the ideas that I’ve had and will try to complete them ASAP. Starting from today, I will pick up one idea at a time or even multiple ideas if I feel bored and hack on them. I will deploy them without waiting for my innate judgmental self to kick in and decide if the app is really worth deploying or not. The only priority for the deployment of an app would be that It Works™.
I will open source my applications one at a time so that anyone who finds my hacks interesting can contribute to them. I will also write a follow up blog post for each of these apps explaining the technology stack behind the app, the APIs used in the application and the process of building it.
I hope the information I provide helps you, inspires you and I really hope you guys enjoy using my applications as much as I do.
If you’re reading this blog, then you must have noticed that I’ve changed the theme and the URL of my Blog. Well, those are just the superficial changes. I even changed my blogging platform. I used to use WordPress to blog (Of course, occasionally). But now, I switched to a much more comfortable platform, Tumblr.
Till now, I haven’t had any problems with Tumblr. In fact I like the service.
So, here is a little comparison of the two awesome blogging platforms.
WordPress: In a word, terrific. It has almost all features a blogger desires. It’s very easy to setup and use. It has a very neat admin interface. Nothing complex. You have a ton of plugins to customize your blog. There’re good themes, not great, good (the free ones). I’ve used WordPress for over two years. I have always loved it.
Then what made me shift? Well,
- You cannot have your customized URL for free. You need to pay some amount for that.
- Even if you pay the amount for the customized URL, you cannot install any plugins because WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to do that.
- You’ve to purchase the upgrade (which by the way costs you around $99/year if I am not wrong) for customizing your blog with the plugins you desire.
- A better way to use the powerful WordPress blogging platform is to install a copy of it from WordPress.org on your own server and you’re free to customize it to your needs. That might sound like a great option. But it is not if you’re not planning on shelling out your hard earned money to merely host your personal blog on a server. If you’re willing to pay for your server, then go nuts. WordPress is an amazing platform to blog on. Although it has a few drawbacks.
The main drawback with WordPress is friction. The platform has a certain amount of friction which makes the usability a bit less pleasing. I know this statement might piss off the WordPress fan-boys reading this blog, but it’s a fact.
WordPress doesn’t make me feel like blogging often. I tend to postpone blogging. If I feel like sharing something, it doesn’t provide me that frictionlessness (wow, that’s a big word). This is because of the options you have to post content. Yeah, they do have different post types, but still, they’re not up to the mark.
WordPress’s iPhone app is not that great. I have had it installed on my phone for more than a year and I haven’t used it even once. That is definitely a deal breaker.
This is the exact point where Tumblr kicks in.Tumblr excels where WordPress fails. Frictionlessness.
First off, the Tumblr iPhone app is very good. I love it. It is so easy to use and it makes you feel like sharing more stuff. There’re many post types such as Image, Audio, Video, Chat, Quotes and Text. I have used all these post types (except audio) on my blog. WordPress has failed to handle such types well. So this is the point where the friction to share kicks in when using WordPress. When you feel like sharing an image, you think twice and opt for some other image sharing service like Instagram.
Secondly, the free themes offered by Tumblr are lovely. It’s ultra easy to customize your theme to make it look the way you want it to.
The other good thing about Tumblr that I loved is that it doesn’t charge you for using a customized domain name and the service itself is free.
These were the exact things that I was looking for to get rid of my Rackspace server. I was literally paying $132/year for a WordPress blog that I use occasionally. There’re other services which offer free WordPress hosting, but they’re very slow. That is obvious because their services are free and you really can’t expect more from them.
Before I actually made the switch to Tumblr, I even considered Posterous. Posterous was good but not as good as Tumblr. Tumblr has features that really impressed me to make the switch.
And that my friends, is the story of The Switch.
Wish you all a very Happy Sankranthi.
Bill Gates (B): Okay. So, shall we begin?
Me (MT): Yeah. Sure.
B: So, what’s the reason behind this sudden blog post?
MT: Sudden? pfft…It’s New Year. So, this is my customary post. Of course, since nobody visits my blog, it’s not a surprise that you don’t know about it. Anyhow, moving on…
B: Then why don’t you blog more frequently?
MT: There are two reasons for that:
- I am lazy.
- Who reads my blog anyways? (Come on admit it, you’re reading this blog either because you’re jobless or there is nothing on this earth left to do which is lesser boring than reading my blog or you were redirected here by some spammy website)
- There’re a zillion other Social Networks to catch up with.
- I am lazy.
- I am busy with my work and my side projects that I’ve been working on lately.
B: Side projects? Can you elaborate what they are and what you’ve been working on?
B: That was insightful.
MT: Thank you.
B: What were your biggest achievements in 2011?
MT: Well, 2011 helped me gain a lot of respect. Yeah. So much, that the doors open-up themselves seeing me at airports, malls, grocery stores etc.
B: Airports…Have you been travelling too much?
MT: Good question. In 2011, I travelled a lot. I had the wonderful opportunity to live in Eastern, Central and Pacific timezones.
B: That should’ve been fun.
MT: Yeah, no. You might think it was, but no. But that sure helped me make up a new resolution.
B: What is it?
MT: Visit all the 50 states in the United States. Not in just a single year, but at least I should start with this year. And by visit I mean, I should stay in a place for at least a night in any State.
B: That sounds interesting. What are your other resolutions?
MT: There’re a few.
- Be productive.
- Donate money.
- Lose weight in a healthy way and work out at least 18 days a month.
- Complete what I started.
- Be less selfish.
- Be cool.
B: Most of these look like your last year’s resolutions. Don’t they?
MT: Yeah. They are. So what do you get from that?
B: That you never were able to keep up any of your resolutions?
MT: 10 points for the correct answer. Claps
B: Okay, now let’s skip to the last part. What according to you have been the highlights in 2011?
MT: Let me recollect. Thinks Yeah. Here they are:
- I met some amazing people.
- I went through a very tough time and survived.
- Nailed an awesome job at a Start-up.
- Visited some great/good/bad/ugly places.
- My country won the cricket World Cup.
- Had my first ever surprise birthday party ( tears rolling down )
- Travelled between the dates September 11-15, October 11-15, November 11-15 and December 11-15. Amazing coincidence, right?
B: Sure. Whatever you say. Okay now, with that we wrap up this wonderful conversation. Have a wonderful year ahead. Take care.
MT: That is so kind of you to call this conversation “wonderful”. Anyhow, have a Wonderful and Prosperous New Year ahead.
/me wakes up
I love this song so much.
Check this out: Beautiful CSS3 Code Generator
I have been actively looking for jobs since the past few days and I couldn’t find an efficient way to properly keep track of all the jobs I’ve applied and the resumes I’ve used for each of the jobs. I tried using some applications but in vain. None of them suited my needs. I even tried using Dropbox to keep track of all the resumes and the job applications. Even that didn’t go well. All of these had their own problems. I needed a powerful and robust solution.
As a result, I developed a new Web Application as a weekend hack, which does exactly what I need, keeps track of all the jobs that I’ve applied to along with the respective resumes. It’s called “CareerTrackr”. I don’t even know if the name is apt to the product that I’ve developed. The only thing that matters to me at the moment is its functionality. A lot of my effort went into designing the interface for the application. As always, I believe in a good UI/UX.
Currently the project is not open to the public. I am testing the project on my own. If I find any bugs (which I am eventually bound to), I’ll fix them and then open it up to the public. Also, I will Open Source the code once I am done with the testing. Once the project is full-fledged, I will post the link and the screenshots. If that sounds interesting to you, wait for my next post on CareerTrackr.
WordPress: First off, let me start off with WordPress. WordPress never fails to impress me after launching new versions of its blogging platform. WordPress 3.2 seems to be heavily loaded with awesome. This seems to be a terrific upgrade from the previous versions. There are loads of new features included in the upgrade.
- The new Twenty Eleven WordPress theme (which is currently on my blog)
- Lighter on the resources
- Newly designed dashboard
- The best part of the update: Zen mode for distraction free post writing.
**Google: **Google seems to be going crazy with the release of its new products like Google+, Google Music, WDYL etc. Google also launched 2 new versions of their new Gmail interface. Believe me, they look really clean, simple, minimalist and amazing.
Facebook: Facebook launched its Video Calling feature yesterday along with other updates such as Group Chat and newly designed chat interface. The Video Calling feature seems to be activated but the Group Chat feature doesn’t seem to be. On a lighter note, there has been an image doing rounds on Google+. I really am a huge fan of Facebook and I really don’t appreciate the image. But the image makes me really LOL. Just look at the “f” flip when the girl gets slapped. 😀
Google at last had launched its new suite of social tools, Google+, yesterday. I think it’s a great move from Google. I’ve actually been waiting since a long time for this to happen. It was rumored that this suite would be named something like “Google Circles” or “Google Me”. Google had its recent failures by introducing products like Google Wave, Google Buzz, +1 etc. Buzz was supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook but it didn’t manage to even get proper public attention. Apart from Google+, Google seems to have revamped their Web Search interface (which sucks btw. Come on Google, seriously, a black toolbar with white shadows?), a new widget in Gmail that displays information about the person mailing you and some sweet shortcuts, a floating options menu in Gmail and of course, WDYL.com (What Do You Love). Google seems to be trying very hard to get into the game. I like this kind of competition among the top companies. It forcibly creates a need for creativity, speaking of which, I think you should check out the tour and the videos Google has set up on their Google+ website. Let’s see what Facebook has lined up for us.