Feb 22, 2011 Technology
Finally I have managed to get certified in Zend Framework, I was quite a challenge to complete this exam. Only factor was lack of resources related to this exam, otherwise as an exam this was not as tough as ZCE-PHP5, that was a tougher exam if I were to compare the two.
I have posted my preperation experience in ClickOffline
That makes me the 9th ZCE-ZF from India.
Feb 9, 2011 Fun, General
Found this in one job listing
(PS. No offense meant for students/people related to that college, but imho CEG deserves a much better place that Lord Venketeswara)
Jul 26, 2010 Photography, Travel
I am back home after my first US Trip, Biryani in any Chennai hotel will seem to taste 2x-times better now. I was on a short business trip for 2 weeks to Saratoga Springs, NY. Had a marathon visa application process (I don’t know why it gets so complicated for US Embassy to issue a simple business visa) after getting my visa stamped on June, I was all set to travel on first week of July.
[6th July, 2 AM in the morning IST]
I am at the airport with my buddy Vijay [just as usual ], haven’t slept the whole night, and have very little prospects of sleeping in the day. And the routine begins, check-in baggage scanning, check-in, and I am off into the immigration counter, But this time I was clever, I told my two colleagues who were travelling with me that It will take time for my immigration to complete, and it was as expected, took about 5 mins , yes!!! whopping 5 mins (people who were behind me would have cleared the security check by now) this guy was like asking allllllllll sorts of questions, I know Chennai Immigration will ask weird questions, but I don’t understand why just me. Now time for security checks, here is my two cents… never travel with too many things in your pockets (or) simply never wear pants which have too many pockets while travelling…. I had to go back and empty my pockets for like 3 times… After convincing the security check guy that I am not going to burn this plane, I was let off…
Qatar Airways & Doha
The flight route is like this Chennai/MAA -> Doha/DOH -> New York/JFK and you won’t manage to get good sleep because here is how the flight works, It starts at 4 in the morning and will leave you at Doha at around 7, very little chance of sleep, since you have to be awake during takeoff, food, breakfast and landing, etc.. and the next flight starts during morning at around 8 local time/Doha and will have you kicked out of the airplane at like 1 PM local time/New York, and considering the excellent comfort we get in economy class , sleeping during the flight is a luxury. So if you want to get good sleep and rest… Never take this plane… I am not complaining about any of the Qatar services, they are good, but it’s about the timings. About the flight service, it was good; I have heard for lot my colleagues complaining about Qatar, but having flown Lufthansa and a couple of other European carriers before, I find Qatar has better seats in Economy class (leg room, comfort, etc..) and In-flight entertainment is excellent, I have no complaints about the food, but the flight attendants very were not that active (interactive maybe…).
Doha Airport was good, except for the inhospitable outdoor climate, the airport was huge, was not offered any time to roam around the airport but It looked kind of big with hundreds of planes parked around and all that. As soon as I walk into the airport, Some security guy said “New York? Gate 18, Please proceed quickly to Special security check for US…” and I was like… “I hate it…” the only thing to celebrate is that I was not randomly selected, it applies to everyone.
And I was off to US of A, from the skies of Qatar, the view of ground was excellent, there were absolutely no clouds what so ever, it was a great experience to see the curvature of the earth, I could see the land (desert), sea, sky and space all in one picture. After 13 hours I was at JFK, this is the shocker. JFK as I have been misguided in movies is not really the coolest airport, but I looked like some Mumbai/old Bangalore airport. I was not really the great airport, but just another place where flights land and takeoff + security + customs and a parking lot for cars, absolutely that’s it, nothing more, nothing less. Add to that the terrible heat, 37C (Chennai was 26 when I left) and really really rude security staff at the airport, people yelling, noises, jumping queues, etc… etc.. It was a home experience; I think Delhi T3 will be like a million times better than JFK. My wifi didn’t work, seems like you have to pay bingo some dollars a month for using wifi at JFK, forget about airports we started getting free wifi at our railway stations here in india… Enough of complaining, to simply put it, this airport sucks. Did I forget to tell you that a luggage trolley costs 5 USD, yes it does. So after identifying the fact the my skype-out won’t work in the state-of-the-art US airports, we resorted to use GSM over VOIP to make our telephone calls
We had to go to a place called Saratoga Springs; it’s near Albany, which is the capital of New York, 3~4 hours from the City, yes! NYC is NOT the capital of New York State. We reached our Hotel; this was our home for the next couple of weeks. About Saratoga Springs, this place is a traditional resort town, not much business activity, slow pace of life, lot of tourists, much like typical European city, Saratoga is known to be famous for horse racing and there are a couple of lakes around which offer a good sightseeing opportunity. The racing season begin just about the end of July. So we were in town a couple of weeks before. Personally I liked Saratoga very much, just for the pace of life; I like it when people have time to live their lives, instead of running and rushing for everything. No much to talk about Saratoga, there was a Walmart Super centre nearby, a colleague of mine did buy like half of it (he he he). Used the public transport (CDTA) rarely, the services were on time. You will find horse statues and springs in every road in Saratoga, The water from the springs is very sulphury, you can may be taste it once, but it is not like really drinkable. Cost of living in US is lot cheap, compared to europe, people can probably live with what they earn, food is really inexpensive. For example, a large pizza costs about 5~10 dollars, costs pretty much the same price in India. And for oil, well everyone knows the modern world history, gas is cheap in US. So comparing the economies and wages, I fell its quite cheap.
» More Pics Trip Photos
Deepak came down all the way from Madision,WI to take us on a trip to Niagara Falls. (In return, I have promised him, that I will come all the way from Pammal to Anna Nagar to take him to Kutrallam). We started off early in the day on Saturday and were in Niagara Falls at by about 2:00 PM; we found inexpensive accommodation at America’s best value Inn (Right opposite to Holiday Inn Express and near the airport), left out things and started off to Niagara. We had our lunch at an Indian restaurant (Maharaja Restaurant, Just near the park) and we headed for the falls. One the way I saw an Indian family speaking in Telugu, I told my friend, that they are from my place, he told me to keep watching, and after a few mins, I realized that every one is speaking in Telugu, It’s like 80-90% of the Indians who are visiting there look to be from AP, it looks like a mini Andhra of some sort, I was waiting for someone to shout “Jai Telengana”. That will be kinda funny to believe, but that’s very true. The Maid of the Mist tour was very good, took a lot of pictures, felt jealous about the Canadian Side, they have the most exotic view of the Niagara Falls. Few moments into the tour, I was in a dilemma, whether to take pictures of the stunning scene or to just stop and watch the natural wonder. Little later I realized that if I continue to take pictures too close to the falls I will end up losing my expensive camera. We left the place after the tour and went to the local casino to spend some time there and were back in the falls at night to watch the light show. Here is the catch, the best view of Niagara is not during the day, but at night, when lights and projected on the falls from the Canadian side. If you don’t trust me, see the pics below. It was the awesome-est experience that I ever had taking photographs. We were like clicking and clicking and clicking, and during one photo I had to hold everyone from moving since the shutter needs to be kept open for long during low light and any slight movement can introduce shake.
» More Pics Trip Photos
New York City
New York City was our last leg of travel, we took the Adirondack Trailways from Saratoga to NYC with a transit in Albany, although it was exceptionally late, the scenery on the route was very good. We reached the outskirts of the city and the city was lit up with lights and the city offered great panoramic views, and all of a sudden we are taken into a tunnel (Lincoln Tunnel), after 5 mins of drive in the darkness, the bus jumps out in the middle of 42 St, in the heart of NYC. The sky was lit up with multiple colours, skyscrapers, cars, traffic, for the next 2 hours I couldn’t not believe that I was on our planet, it was a completely out of the world experience. There is nothing to match the night experience of NYC. We took residence in a state-of-the-art budget hotel right near Times Square (Carter Hotel), the hotel was very basic, but what can you expect for 100$ a night Near Times Square.
Next day morning we went on a trip to Liberty state, took the Subway 5 from Port Authority to Battery Park, then took the ferry from there to Liberty statue and Ellis Island. It looks if you were to visit the crown of Liberty statue, prior arrangements have to be made, Tickets for the Crown visit will not be available directly at the Castle Clinton. We came back to hotel after the ferry ride, roamed around Times Square, took some random pics and were off to JFK to take out flight back home.
There are few things I missed in NYC; Emipre state @Night, Saravana Bhavan, WTC Memorial, Although I was staying a street away from Madame Tussauds, didn’t get enough time to visit it and the UN HQ.
Spent a long 6 hours at JFK before boarding the flight. Got a free business class upgrade on the way back, I would certainly appreciate Qatar airways for that. Arrived home at around 3 AM in the morning in Chennai/MAA, after having a lost 1 day in my calendar.
All in all, it was a great experience and definitely worth the long flights (and the security checks).