My Trick to Beat the Traffic

Unless you are very very lucky and your office is close to your residence, you would spend at least 2 hours a day in traffic in bangalore.  I spend about 2 to 2.5 hours driving to and from office.

Initially, I used to just listen to FM or some music but got bored of that very quickly.  As a result, I ended up paying more attention to all the nuances of the traffic and insane drivers.  And if you are in a bad mood,  you may loose temper with all those insane and hostile drivers – hurting yourself in the process.

I started listening to podcasts few months back. It took some time to find few good ones, but now I cannot stop. Listening to some of these podcasts is like a silent observer of conversation of friends in the car. I find listening to these podcasts so engaging that I hardly realize how time flies away – forget about paying attention to the madness.

Here are some podcasts that I listen to:

  • IT Conversations – This is a longest running podcast.  Sitting in India, I cannot attend all the cool tech conferences, but thanks to IT Conversations, I can listen to all the good ones here.
  • HBR IdeaCast – Hardvard Business Review’s weekly podcast bringing management ideas from leading minds
  • techzing – As they say “if you are a hacker, you will probably love our show”. I like listening to Justin and Jason and all the cool people they bring in.
  • UNTETHER.tv – This must be in your list if you are interested in mobile software companies, location,  mobile ads, mobile trends etc

I have created a public google feed for all of the above here

I actually wanted to listen to podcasts a while back itself, but I didn’t come across good software that makes this easy on Windows 6 phones. I own HTC HD2 for an year now and I love the device. I strongly believed that Microsoft will come back and gain the market with their new version – so I refused to buy iPhone or Android device. I kept updating it with unofficial but very cool windows 6.5 Energy ROMs. But after I heard about Windows 7 phones, killing of Windows 6.5 version and no upgrade path for existing phones, I ditched Microsoft and ditched very hard.  #FAIL Microsoft   #FAIL HTC for not having any upgrades.

Thanks to the folks at xda-developers, I have installed Android on Windows 6 phone six months ago and never looked back.  Infact, with the “Haret” approach, I have the flexibility of having several versions of Android installed on my SD card.   This allows me to play around with latest cooked ROMs and see if I like before I upgrade. Currently, I am running the latest gingerbread 2.3.2 with the bleeding edge cyanogen mod 7.  How cool is that ?

Anyway getting back to the point – if you are having an Android device, check out this cool app ACast specifically designed for podcasts.  Once you add your podcast RSS feeds, it just self-maintaining.  The moment I park the device for charging, it is configured to switch on and connect to home Wi-Fi.  ACast downloads all the latest podasts, adds to the playlist and deletes the ones you have listened to.  No unexpected or surprising data charges 🙂

With 2 to 2.5 hours daily, I have few more slots to fill in.  Drop in a comment, if you know of a good tech podcast.

No GPS cells in my brain

I am one of those who just cannot remember the way out of a new place.  Last week I joined CISCO India which has offices on Outer Ring Road.  These are huge building complexes interconnected. And as a new employee, you will end up moving between these buildings  for HR, IT Support, Cafetaria, Parking etc.  And if you donot have the nature’s equivalent of GPS in your brain, you are in for fun!!  Here is my share in the last 3 or 4 days:

  • I drive my car into a parking space and discover that it is full. Come out of exit,  enter another parking lot and find that also full.  Before I realized that I am circling the same parking lot, I finished 3 rounds
  • Next day, I get into multi-level parking and didn’t bother to note down which level and where I parked. In the evening, I end up searching for my car for 10 minutes
  • With all the blocks of developer cubes and offices structured very similar, I invariably get into wrong block and mistake that someone else is sitting in my cube.  So now I remember to remember whether I should take a left or right after getting into a rest room, for example
  • Cisco has these several “You are here” kind of self-guiding maps almost in every block and every corner.  This has always been my problem. In an attempt to find a colleague’s office space, I stand infront of one of these maps but cannot figure out whether to take a left or right.   Another similar scenario where I get totally confused is looking at a route map and guide the driver in terms and north-south/east-west  etc

Is this just me or something that I can explain away with lack of genes or presence of some unexpected genes ?

I know if I continue in the same place long enough,  ultimately my sub-conscious mind takes over and this becomes a simple motor-skill.   Till then, I am having fun 🙂