Jun
5
2011

Summer time!

Under General, Travel By

Sammamish River Trail, Redmond WA

It takes a bright sunny weekend to break the stupor brought about by cloudy days of Seattle. And today was such a day. I had not biked north of my place for a long time (almost a year now). Sensing a chance to restart serious biking before fall sets in, I set out north of my place towards the Sammamish River Trail. I took a book along with me. The problem with this book is that it is dark and gloomy, describing a dystopian society and as I later realized, it was the absolutely wrong book to take out to read during such a bright and cheerful day. The journey to the trail was effortless, since it is completely downhill from my place. I started late in the afternoon so that I would not have to face traffic on the trails. Following the 520 bike trail, I was there in a couple of minutes. I got off at Leary Way and biked till about NE 116 St.Sammamish River Trail

The trail was beautiful today. As expected, lots of people were strolling, jogging or biking on the trail but I encountered little or no traffic on my way up the trail. This allowed me to slow down and enjoy the view rather than looking back every few seconds for yet another biker doing a time-trial on the trail, eager to overtake me. What makes this worse is the fact that bikers just creep up behind you with no warning whatsoever. Some do have the courtesy to announce, “On your left” but that applies to just a few of them.

Kayaker

I also saw one kayaker.

After reaching NE 116 St, I decided to head back to a nice spot I saw near NE 90th St to finish my book. It is a level spot with rocks where you can sit and read, enjoying the view of the river. But by the time I returned to the spot, it had been overrun with a bunch of ducks doing their own thing and a gaggle of geese swimming with their young. Realizing the futility of my reading exercise (no pun intended), I just sat down and took pictures.

DucksGeeseDucks?

Soon I was joined by parents and their excited kids (humans, if this was not clear already). Some of them had even got food to feed the ducks! Apparently, this place was a regular duck/geese hangout place that I did not know about. Pretty soon the place was full of excited ducks going quack-quack while indulging in their feeding frenzy.

Feeding time!

Now for the finish. All that lay between me and my safe return home was climbing back the (now a steep climb) 520 trail. I bravely mounted my bike and started home but realized that I am not in a shape to climb the steep onramp from Leary Way. I finally gave up on the final few feet of the on-ramp (and walked the bike for that stretch). I guess I still have to practise hill climbing on the bike.

Till next time.

Jul
9
2010

Traffic enforcement on Facebook!

Under General By

New Delhi, India

We might not have a traffic camera at every intersection, what we have is the power of social media!
Delhi Traffic Police Traffic Fines

Visit Delhi Traffic Police on Facebook

May
4
2009

More “blowing your own trumpet”

Under General By

College of Computing, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA

From my network security professor :)

Hi CS6262 star students,

If you're receiving this mail, you should be proud of your accomplishments
in CS6262, as one of the top 10 students in the class.

I very much enjoyed having you in class, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed
the class, too.  We hope you found the material fun and inspiring.  See you
around, and happy hacking.  :-) 

-Nick
Dec
23
2008

Jumping with Joy!

Under General By

Marina Park, Kirkland WA

Joy!

Dec
14
2008

Snowfall!

Under General By

Hillsboro, OR

This was the sight that greeted me when I woke up today. Even though I am not a great fan of cold weather, there is something about this snow scene that made me look up and watch and capture the moments on camera.

There is something about sitting in a warm room peering out of the window, seeing white specks of snow covering the earth in a white blanket. One gets a feeling of calmness when snow falls on the earth; when it rains it looks like nature is in a hurry to get everything drenched and is unleashing torrents to do it as soon as possible. Snow falling gently on the ground seems to reveal a tender side of nature, the sight of snow blanketing the earth gives a warm and tender feeling of being covered by a blanket.

Of course, if it were a snow-storm, maybe I would have felt differently! :)

Aug
8
2008

Day 2, looking for a silver lining on an overcast day

Under Travel By

Charlottetown, PE

Today was my second day in Charlottetown and I was hoping for better weather. At least the forecast at Yahoo had said that it would be sunny today. But it was so wrong; it poured throughout the day and there was just a little sunshine when the rain stopped for a moment. Worse, I have a sore back which is (interestingly) due to sleeping in more comfortable conditions. Weird, isn’t it? I mean my back was OK when I slept in a sleeping bag on a carpeted floor back at my apartment in Atlanta but when I have a comfortable bed with a soft mattress to sleep on; my back gives way. Perhaps it hoped for something harder to support my weight :)

On the bright side, I have been having excellent home-cooked food (without me actually having to cook any of it) thanks to my bua. Also went to a pet store where the condition in which the animals was kept was (expectedly) deplorable. Maybe pet stores also want to benefit from the empathy of people when they see those poor animals trapped/caged/boxed in those containers. But I didn’t have the heart to say this in front of my nephew who had so eagerly come to the store to see the animals, if he ever reads this, he would know my opinions about putting animals in cages and making them suffer.

Aug
7
2008

Down in Charlottetown

Charlottetown, PE

Town Hall, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Couldn’t think of a title that rhymed better!

It has just been a day since I landed here. The weather was pleasant even though it has been raining throughout the week. So I went Downtown with my Uncle and Aunt to see the place. My cousin brother, his wife and two kids are also here. Saw the library, Town Hall and the Confederation Mall at Downtown. Didn’t take many pictures as was not sure regarding the policy that prevails here regarding taking pictures in public. I think I will grow more adventurous with time and get more photos!

Due to non-availability of Internet at my place, this (and forthcoming) posts might take some time to make it to my blog so bear with me :)

Aug
6
2008

Night-out at the airport

Under General By

Atlanta, GA

100_0129 100_0127

So my journey to Charlottetown begins at Atlanta airport in a somewhat unusual way; with a night-out at the Atlanta airport. Why? Because my flight departs at 7 am and I can’t find anyone willing to wake up at 4 am to drop me off at the airport. So after dropping some of my worldly belongings at my friends place for safekeeping, off I go to the MARTA station at 12 am. Now walking to the North Avenue MARTA station at midnight is enough to give anyone goose bumps. With vagrants hanging around at all the street corners on the way to the train station, it is hard to be calm and composed while walking to the station with 2 suitcases and a backpack. Anyway when my friend walked me to the station and left me there, I tried hard to remember the route back to his house, in case I needed to, you know, rush back. Luckily for me I found a cop (with a revolver) keeping a watch at the train station which gave me confidence. So after waiting for the train for 20 minutes (MARTA doesn’t seem to adhere to schedules during night, for some good reason, I presume), I finally stepped into a more-than-half-empty train carriage for the airport. Nothing interesting (thankfully!) happened on the way and I reached there well in time at around 1 am.

Now, all counters for Delta are closed at night, except for one, where all people seem to crowd. I didn’t have any success at the self-checkin counters (which apparently work for domestic flights only) so decided to stand in a line for checkin which was (suspiciously) at a counter called ‘Ticketing’. Well, since I had nothing better to do anyway for the next 5 hours so standing in the line with 20-odd people seemed like a pretty decent thing to do. After an hour of waiting, when I tried to checkin, I got a response that checkin for checkin luggage would start at 4 am. Oh well, standing in line had provided me with a nice way to keep busy (and not fall asleep) so the wait for the next hour wasn’t that boring. And anyway, my mom called me every few minutes so which provided me with a neat distraction.

The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful except for a seemingly-random check by the TSA and another in Canada by their Border Protection Police. Two checks by two different countries in a single day doesn’t seem all that improbable anymore now. So am there and waiting for access to a working Internet connection to post this entry…

Aug
3
2008

Destination !

Under General By

Map image

This post is inspired by the laziness displayed by Rohit in updating his blog, the blog has dropped to PR 0 and if things continue this way, it doesnt look too good.

Ahoy there !

Apr
5
2008

Why was Yahoo SMTP misbehaving?

Yahoo provides free SMTP access to all its non yahoo.com domain email addresses. I started using the server around 6 months back. The best part was that the SMTP servers were dumb. They were acting as open message relays for anyone who had a valid Yahoo ID. So I could send an email message as support@yahoo-inc.com using the SMTP server and the Yahoo server would happily send my email message. Worse, the receiver had very few options for detecting that the email message was fake. It came from a Yahoo server and looked like a message from Yahoo customer care and so should be genuine. The reason for this (as I suspect) were Yahoo Plus accounts. They used the same SMTP servers as the free country domain Yahoo accounts. Apparently, Yahoo didn’t verify the FROM address for its paying Yahoo Plus customers and so passed the benefits to the free customers too.

The ramifications for this became apparent. Yahoo servers started sending out spam. I had no proof in the beginning but this post verified my suspicions. Spammers became aware of the golden opportunity and started abusing Yahoo servers to the fullest. This led to really tough times for the Yahoo Mail people and their PR guys as apparent from this post on Yahoo Mail Blog. Not only were the email servers overloaded, but ISPs started blocking mails from Yahoo servers which led to delayed/undelivered mails.

Now it seems that Yahoo has changed the way it routes emails through its SMTP servers. Earlier methods were quite trivial as the mail headers would have shown.
Received: from smtp104.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com (smtp104.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com [69.147.102.67]) by rly-ma08.mx.aol.com (v120.9) with ESMTP id MAILRELAYINMA088-8c647354bcb3bd; Sat, 10 Nov 2007 01:12:27 -0400
Received: (qmail 55018 invoked from network); 10 Nov 2007 06:12:27 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO localhost) (myYahooID@myIPAddress with login)
by smtp104.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com with SMTP; 10 Nov 2007 06:12:26 -0000

Gradually Yahoo started repairing its servers from the smtp11x.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com series to smtp10x.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com as the latter still worked for a long time without FROM address checks.

Now the mail headers are more complicated. It seems that Yahoo does some internal checks regarding whether the FROM address is valid and then only routes the emails.
Received: from n3.bullet.mail.ac4.yahoo.com (n3.bullet.mail.ac4.yahoo.com [76.13.13.29])
by mx.google.com with SMTP id d12si10680167and.24.2008.04.05.08.35.00;
Sat, 05 Apr 2008 08:35:01 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 76.13.13.29 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of myYahooAddress) client-ip=76.13.13.29;
DomainKey-Status: good (test mode)
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=neutral (google.com: 76.13.13.29 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of myYahooAddress) smtp.mail=myYahooAddress; domainkeys=pass (test mode) header.From=myYahooAddress
Received: from [76.13.13.26] by n3.bullet.mail.ac4.yahoo.com with NNFMP; 05 Apr 2008 07:31:40 -0000
Received: from [68.142.237.88] by t3.bullet.mail.ac4.yahoo.com with NNFMP; 05 Apr 2008 15:34:24 -0000
Received: from [216.252.111.166] by t4.bullet.re3.yahoo.com with NNFMP; 05 Apr 2008 15:34:24 -0000
Received: from [127.0.0.1] by omp101.mail.re3.yahoo.com with NNFMP; 05 Apr 2008 15:34:24 -0000
X-Yahoo-Newman-Id: 666616.8045.bm@omp101.mail.re3.yahoo.com
Received: (qmail 61052 invoked from network); 5 Apr 2008 15:34:24 -0000
DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; q=dns; c=nofws;s=s1024; d=yahoo.co.in;
h=Received:X-YMail-OSG:X-Yahoo-Newman-Property:Message-ID: Date:From:User-Agent:MIME-Version:To: Subject:Content-Type:Content-Transfer-Encoding;b=1zOo54htnYlA5Gy3kNjQQVpRD8fYyEbgwwejDXI4Jr/RZ32+QDvvwYLxJOdSkbwWyJhA3P5PfBVX+mGGYePhw3TXtmfqdVSUcu/BGnwpyONzF3umcYLylkOzLBu/URre6lF+6gdEnRPsfIE3isy25r9dfELJke0wDDwqEdCEYg= ;
Received: from unknown (HELO Why?are?spaces?replaced?by??BTW?if?you?read?this?you?are?a?G33K) (myYahooID@myIPAddress with plain)by smtp103.plus.mail.re1.yahoo.com with SMTP; 5 Apr 2008 15:34:24 -0000

BTW I had told this to the Engineering head of Yahoo Atlanta during my internship interview here and he was surprised by this. Unfortunately I couldn’t demo this for him as Yahoo had started fixing this problem starting that day only.

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