Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Usability Fix needed? Laptop power adapters

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trip Report : Kingdom of Bahrain : July 2011

The Bahrain World Trade Center one of the tallest Building in Bahrain 
Bahrain is a archipelago about 3.5 times the size of Washington DC  and is closest to Saudi Arabia, linked through a causeway and a bridge.  The main industry is banking with a sprinkling of industries like,  petrochemical processing plants and Aluminium. Bahrain is also home of the US 5th Fleet  See the CIA World Factbook on Bahrain

This was my first visit to the Middle East. The trip from Washington DC to Bahrain was about 15 hours of flying time plus a 3.5 hour layover in Dubai. US citizens can get a tourist visa on arrival, but I had gotten one online from http://www.evisa.gov.bh/. On arrival you have to fill up a Disembarkation card at the arrival hall of Bahrain airport.. Not having been told about this on the flight, we had to make trips back and forth from immigration.
As soon as you step out of the airport, the humidity hits you and if you are wearing glasses they are foggy and take a few minutes to clear.
Having been born in India, my first impression, Bahrain resembled India but with cleaner and broader roads. With very cordial and friendly people. We visited :
Al-Fatih or Grand Mosque :  This is the largest mosque in Bahrain and is very welcoming to people of other religions to visit. The largest fiberglass dome in the world, in the prayer room, is worth a visit.  Ladies are given the abaya that they should wear within the mosque. You can also watch the prayer if you are there during prayer time.

National Museum of Bahrain : The history of Bahrain is over 6,000 years old and the artifacts and the interactive map make it a very interesting place to visit. My knowledge of the Dilmun and the burial mounds and the fact that traders came from the Indus Valley civilization several thousands of years ago was enhanced by what I learned at the museum.

Bahrain Fort : Made of limestone and clay, this was interesting because there were no sign boards explaining the history of such an important site. See more details on the fort at the Bahrain Tourism site.

Other things to see and do :


  • Bahrain International Circuit 
  • King Fahd causeway connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
  • Gold Souq Bahrain 
  • Arabian food
  • Eat Street / Las Vegas Street ( a street close to the American naval base full of US fast food chains)
  • Day trips to Hawar Island
  • See some oil wells from the road

Have you been to Bahrain? What did you think?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Getting ready for the longest flight of my life Washington DC to Dubai on United

N788UA B777-200 United

I have been paying a lot of attention to the UA 976 United's Flight from Washington Dulles to Dubai which began service on October 26th 2008. The folks at Flyer Talk have some  pretty good discussions the experience in this thread United's IAD-DXB flights [Experiences, Questions, Etc.] I am excited that I am going to experience the flight myself tomorrow. It is 14 hours to fly from Washington Dulles IAD to Dubai DXB and I have been that each seat has a entertainment console and service is pretty good. I will be among 90 odd passengers in the Economy Class and the flight has a total capacity of 253 passengers. Since this plane has to carry a double crew, they may have a section fo the crew as well. The good thing is that the flight leaves at 10.18 at night which means if you can get 8 hours sleep you only have to worry about a 6 hour waking time.  I travel a lot and occupying myself on a flight is not a problem. I only wish there was Wifi on board the plane as well.

United in it's new avatar is expanding internationally and just launched  a new service between Shanghai and Los Angeles with a offer of triple bonus award miles. United flies to Bahrain with a stop-over in Kuwait. If my plans for next year materialize I may even take the flight 897 from Washington Dulles (IAD)  to Beijing (PEK). There is certainly a fascination to visit countries and long flights or not I am thrilled every time I fly to a new place.

Flying between Washington DC and  India : Usually when you travel to the southern part of India from Washington DC your choice is to fly with a stopover in Europe or in London. A few times I have flown to London and then the middle east and then on to India.Since June 24, 2007 Qatar Airways started flying directly from Washington Dulles to Doha and then on to other Asian Destinations. They have a connection to Hyderabad, India so that is a flight my parents and a lot of my friends have taken and have said it is a good experience.

Routes me and our family  have flown  to and from India in the last decade.

Hyderabad- Mumbai-Paris-Washington DC
Washington DC - London - Dubai - Hyderabad
Hyderabad - Frankfurt-Geneva- Washington DC- Brussels-Frankfurt- Hyderabad
Hyderabad- Doha - Washington DC- Doha- Hyderabad
Washington DC - London - Dubai - Hyderabad
Washington DC- Amsterdam- Hyderabad

Some of my tips for travelers specially on International flights:

a) As far as possible try not to have a transfer within the country of origin or destination.I never want to transfer within the US or within  India.
b) As soon as I board the flight I change my watch to the time zone of the country I am visiting
c) Drink a lot of water on the flight and get up from your seat to go and ask the crew for water and you get your exercise and a chance to move your legs.
d) Try to get as much sleep as possible
e) After you land try to get in the routine of your destination , you may be tempted to sleep or wake up at odd hours.

Have you done any long flights? What has your experience been? Let us know .

Photo credit : Mark Murdock Flickr photo

How I Facebooked my Google Plus



1) I used +Christina Warren article http://mashable.com/2011/07/01/googleplus-facebook-userscript/ to make my Google plus look like Facebook

2) Installed the Facebook to Google Chrome app http://crossrider.com/install/519-google-facebook

Now I can toggle between Google Plus and Facebook in the same tab. However I wish I coud see both the streams without toggling

Expect a lot of innovative plugins, apps and themes to launch.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

2 things I discovered about Google Plus today...

2 things I discovered about Google Plus today -
1) When you send a email to a Google Plus contact - it's like a Facebook Message and a copy gets delivered to your email. I wondered if you the contact is in your Gmail address book if it would go as a regular email.
2) You can view your own profile as someone else. Click on your name on the top left and below the "Edit Profile" button you will see a text box " View Profile as " and you can add any name and see how the view is. ( tip: choose "anyone on the web" and double check to see what photos you are sharing.
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The Google+ project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. If you're not able to access Google+, please check back again soon.
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Blogging from a Google Plus Status Update: I used the...

Blogging from a Status Update:

Update: Since you are sharing an email your secret email that you use to update your blog will be public. So make sure you edit that out.

I used the Blogger email update feature to share a Google + Status update and it got posted here http://www.shashi.co/2011/07/hey-guys-just-quick-update-on-google.html.

Now I want to see if I can use to create a Blog post and this is the test post which I will share "Public" and also my blogger email.

Will it work like it did for the "Share" ? Will it become a feature ? Imagine that you login to Google+ and update FB and /OR Twitter or write a post on your blog ?

Is that cool ?
Happenings, Advice and Technology Thoughts!: Hey guys, just a ...
Hey guys, just a quick update on the Google+ project. We're grateful for all your great feedback, and I wanted to mention two improvements we're rolling out in the next few days. picasaweb.goo...
The Google+ project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. If you're not able to access Google+, please check back again soon.
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Hey guys, just a quick update on the Google...

Hey guys, just a quick update on the Google+ project. We're grateful for all your great feedback, and I wanted to mention two improvements we're rolling out in the next few days.

picasaweb.google.com - Movie on 2011-07-01 at 10.52.mov
View or comment on Shashi Bellamkonda's post »
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