Archive for September, 2011


I just installed Facebook Timeline feature in my profile and got engrossed in it awesomeness. A brilliant feature introduced to the world through the recent F8 Developers Conference, FB Timeline gives a beautiful portrayal of what you are and what you have been. And the timeline is neat and concise with a good mix of statuses, videos and pics, (and most importantly) at an amazing speed! The Timeline feature is the perfect example of gigabytes of per-user information put into good use. Now lets see how to activate it on your profile.

<guarantee>The steps below would hardly take 2 minutes to complete</guarantee>

Step 1 : Open https://developers.facebook.com/apps. This opens the developer page for you account. If you haven’t developed anything yet, it will ask for the “legendary” Request for Permission where we blindly issue an “Allow” irrespective of whatever it asks us to allow πŸ˜›

Step 2 : Now inside the developer’s page, you could find two obvious buttons to the top right namely “Edit App” and “Create New App”. Click on “Create New app” button.

Step 3 : A new message box appears where we are asked to enter an “App Display Name” and “App Namespace”. I entered it as “Narendran’s Chronicles” since my timeline is just gonna be my own history and the namespace as “narendranapps”. (Never Mind!)

Step 4 : You might have to enter your mobile number of credit card details to make yourself authentic to FB. I used my mobile number. After some 2-3 minutes, got a message saying “Facebook Mobile Confirmation Code: XXXX”. Enter this confirmation code into the textbox that appears on the screen and you are done with this authentication thing.

Step 5 : Now getting into the developer page once again, click on “Open Graph” on the Left bar. Under that choose “Get Started”.

Step 6 : You will get a page “Get Started with Open Graph” and it prompts “Start by defining one action and one object for you app”. I entered “read my timeline” at “profile”, since the timeline gets attached to my profile. Click the green “Get started” button.

Step 7 : The next page gives you options to edit the notifications which are displayed once someone reads your timeline. You can very well ignore this and click “Save Changes and Next”. Else if you are grammatically challenged like me πŸ˜› you can have your own funny notifications.

Step 8 : Click “Save and Finish” in the next page.

Step 9 : Now you would be facing a page which gives you some alarmingly technical information and makes your mind-voice go WTF! But you could safely ignore this and open your FB profile as usual. You’l get a message which looks like this.

Message regarding Timeline feature


Step 10 : Click “Get it Now”. And yes, you’ve got it now!!

This is how your FB timeline looks!! πŸ™‚

Cheers! πŸ™‚

I know that many people are like me – simple wandering about saying “yes” to whatever is asked. Spending most of the time dreaming what to do and suddenly a phone call reminds you that you need to go out to hangout with friends, submit your lab record or attend some meeting/function. In other words, not having a definite goal for yourselves and setting goals based on what you see around at that moment. What you are about to read is one such story – Ya, the story of myself. Read on and you might find a lot of similarities with your own life and that might bring up a smile on your face.

  • In my 10th standard, I wanted to become an archaeologist – I read about the various civilizations and even visited monuments and temples to read history. I talk with Sanskrit professors about the origins of India.
  • Then after seeing a big shot by the name Dr.Kathiravan in my hometown. He was a symbol of dedication, hardwork and passion. Then I wanted to become a doctor and serve the people.
  • I was naturally good at drawing (thanks to mom). I attended some painting classes during my 11th standard under Mr.Sylvester Peter. He used to say me that I have natural talent and could become a very good artist one day. Coincidentally I was already winning prizes at state level competitions. So, (you know a school boy’s mindset rite?) Β I wanted to become a professional artist.
  • My father is a coach in my district cricket association. He taught me every nuance in fast bowling and made me a pretty good bowler. When I made it into the district team, I thought I should enter into the Indian cricket team one day.
  • When I reached the later part of 11th standard, I loved every concept in Physics and made a prototype of a Reverse Osmosis plant with my classmates. I was inspired by Albert Einstein, the man synonymous with the word “Genius”. I wanted to revolutionize the world by inventing the Time machine πŸ˜›
  • During my 12th standard, I wanted to be a polymath and started winning every extra-curricular activity I found in my way. My dream of getting state rank perished with that. But I was very, very happy travelling long distances and meeting new people.
  • The 12th annual holidays helped me get into better contact with my brother Vivek. My brother has been winning the best employee award every Q (Quarter of a financial year) ever since he entered into Robert Bosch. He is the youngest person to get an onsite job in the HQ of Bosch in Germany. Seeing him grow, I wanted to become a Mechanical Engineer.
  • Then since I was engrossed in Computer Games during the 12th holidays, my parents said that I might be naturally inclined to computers and enrolled me for BE Computer Science under Anna University, Chennai. And yeah, I did learn it with passion (like I did for every other activity :D)
  • I started learning Java in my first year under one of the Assistant Professors in my department. I made a calculator using Java Swing and said to myself that “Yeah! thats it man! I am the king of Java. I will learn all the packages within a month and create a really big project in it. Thus I can get into Sun Microsystems as a Java specialist”. (Naivety ruled me :D)
  • Then came the voices on Cloud Computing. I started working on Xen, read lots of Amazon white papers and made some *trivial* papers on Cloud Computing. I was working all alone then.
  • Then one celestial meeting occurred, I met my best friend Ahamed Nafeez in my own hostel. He too seemed to be in a similar wavelength as myself. When I talked with him, before I could realise we were best friends already. We decided to work in Networks. We did certifications togethers, won Network engineering competitions, paper presentations, and to cap it all, we did a workshop on Network security. During those days, my dream company was Cisco and Cisco only.
  • Then when I saw Android flourishing, I started hacking into android development. I was jaw-dropped on seeing the cool projects in the Android Developer Conference. I worked with my roommate Ganesh to create some cool projects involving a variety of Android technologies. We wanted to make a startup on Android Apps.
  • Then I got introduced to the Bhumi Social Foundation through Manoj. At this point, you should know that my entire family is known for social service. Even I got some accolades regarding that. So I was easily influenced and I got into that completely different world. Then I decided to Β get into full time social service by becoming a member of Teach For India. I have already said about the phone interview I had. But with a second thought, full time social service did not look like a good idea. So I dropped it.
  • Then I got my first Wifi enabled phone Nokia E63. I used Internet in my mobile very often. When I found that browsing was too slow in wireless networks, I started working on a solution and found a problem with TCP performance. Β I made a research paper on it and it will published as a proceeding in Springer LNCS in few days. I wanted to bring a change in the way Wireless Networks worked.
  • Then my interest in Python began to sprout out when GSoC 2011 approached. Though I couldn’t do GSoC this year due to my brother’s marriage, I got into another Summer of Code by Umit, which was also a part of GSoC. Then I started making a few hacks in Python and now am sitting at PyCon in Pune typing out this blog at an alarming speed πŸ˜› Now I dream of becoming an expert python hacker. πŸ˜€

To finish it off, I realize that what I am now is just the remnant of all the previous Narendrans I had been throughout my life. Sorta jack of all trades. Seeing the specialist Python Hackers around me makes me feel guilty of not having done anything significant. I have tried atleast a 100 different things in the past six years that went undocumented and unnoticed :P. Saying this, even my future is uncertain. Few years down the lane, I have no idea what I would be doing. I don’t even know if this is strange or this is a “Typical Adolescent Thinking”. I need to specialize in one field through which I can effectively serve the community. DOT.

When I was hopelessly lamenting this to my mom, she replied, “What is the highest position in your field? Something named Google rite? I don’t want you to get in there and break your head. You got placed already. Be happy for that. Oor suthify with your friends, get married in a couple of years, settle happily and speak Tamil at home. Thats enuf. And dont ever take this topic again when on phone or when at home!!”

In a nutshell : I say “Enna valka da idhu”, Mom says “Keep it simple silly!” πŸ˜€

Though I have loads of things to blog about, am settling down with the life lessons I have learnt through my varied experiences as a son, brother, friend, student, painter, gamer, social servant, hacker, team leader and an insane thinker. The final result I got after brainstorming myself is something that is better felt than being listened to. Here is the depiction of what I figured out from my little 20-year experience.

Lesson 1 :
You can become whatever you wish to become with sheer dedication and hardwork. Be it a doctor, computer engineer, scientist, painter, musician, Anna Hazare, or Osama Bin Laden, you name it! But what matters is what you love to do.. What you are made for.. What every cell of yours is inclined to do.. What is it that you can do 24x7x365 tirelessly with complete passion. That is your destiny. Don’t waste your life trying to become someone else. Life is counted on how much you have enjoyed by being yourself. Β Don’t hide your true potential just because you feel that its not upto the mark. You are already awesome πŸ™‚

The obvious question is “How do we find what we are made for?”. Answer – No one else other than you could find it. Ask yourself and get confused a million times, you will find the right answer one day.

Lesson 2 :
My life in Chennai taught me a hell lot about relationships. Ofcourse, am learning some hard lessons even now. But one fundamental concept I noticed is that – Many people in Chennai are NOT what they seem to be. They pretend to be that “someone else” for the sake of getting accepted by the society. And thats hilarious. When you are true to yourself and to the community around you, whatever you get would be a genuine fit for you. Even if you have very few friends, you could be 100% sure that they are true to you.

In short – Don’t waste your life trying to become something. Do what you love to do, and automagically you will become the one you are destined to be. A fantastic life is guaranteed if you start living YOUR life right now and enjoy every moment.

You might think that these are the words which you find on some lame books like “You can Win” or some Share-Auto’s cover. But trust me.. This is the Ultimate Truth.

Still I have lot more to say, but for now its better if I halt with this πŸ˜›

Courtesy – The innumerable times I’ve spent time thinking about human life and to my role model who has been my inspiration since birth, my lovely lovely brother Vivek Thangarajan.

Cheers! πŸ™‚