Stephanie’s Blog

May 9, 2010

the last week or so…

Filed under: Uncategorized — steph @ 8:54 pm

So… the other day (I don’t remember exactly when), but sometime last week i mentioned to Indra that I wanted some mexican food… well, we put it off as neither of us were feeling up to going out. Then a few days later we went to Kurry Klub and ordered mexican food. We ordered a chicken burrito and a quesadilla. Well… what we got was *NOT* mexican, but Indian-mex. The burrito was some sort of chicken and bean mix, with some indian spices (i’m not sure which ones, so don’t ask!) that was made with a Rumali Roti (made with corn flour) that was definitely not a regular tortilla. Oh, yeah, and it came with some “sour cream” and some salsa… the salsa was good, although a bit sweeter and milder than I would have liked. Then we had the quesadilla… the quesadilla was all just veggies, no sauce, no cheese… just bell peppers, onions and other veggies. Oh, yes, and we had some “mexican” fried rice, which the waiter didn’t want to serve us because, “its just rice sir, very dry.” It was made with garlic, green onions, and cilantro, and ended up being like the best thing we ordered that night. It was definitely interesting, and I’m not sure I want to experience that again… I think I will just wait until my next trip to the states, and eat plenty of mexican food!

Today I had to go to see a dermatologist because of some infection I have on my chin, and since I was running late and knew exactly where (ok, well… the area) where I needed to go, and it was starting to rain, I took a taxi. Well… usually I get taxi drivers who speak bengali and that I can communicate where I need to go (even with my very limited bengali skills)… well, this one today didn’t speak bengali, but Hindi. But not only did he not speak bengali, he understood my english better than my bengali. I was surprised, but managed to get where I needed to go without being taken for a ride. =)

February 25, 2010

Getting more Indian States into Kgeography

Filed under: GIMP, India, KDE, KDE-edu, KGeography, maps — Tags: — steph @ 3:40 pm

I have been working on getting more India specific content into kde-edu. The first program I decided to work on was Kgeography.

At first the maps would just work in Kgeography while choosing and showing the State names and capitals, but not the placing the districts into the state. After many failed attempts to get this working, Albert told me:

PNG images need to be 8-bit colormap, yours are 8-bit/color RGB.

I finally learned how to make the maps using GIMP into 8-bit color maps after being told by Patrick Spendrin. Using 8-bit colormap enabled the maps to use the placing option.

After the maps I was working on worked correctly I emailed them to Albert. He committed all 4 district maps into KDE svn. Since then I have been even more motivated to get the remaining political state maps of India completed. Most of the maps have now been traced and colored. I am working on the corresponding KGM files before sending them to be committed.

The states that have been put into Kgeography are: Assam, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand.

District Map of Assam Get the PNG file Assam KGM file
District Map of Goa Get the Goa PNG file Goa KGM file
District Map of Himachal Pradesh Get the Himachal Pradesh PNG file Himachal Pradesh KGM file
District Map of Jharkhand Get Jharkhand PNG file Jharkhand KGM file

Jammu and Kashmir, was not accepted by Albert, because people would start debating about the actual state borders.

January 22, 2010

HP Service Center, US vs. India

Filed under: HP, HP Manufacturer Warranty, HP Service Center, Kolkata, computer, ranting — steph @ 9:46 pm

Well…after almost a year of pretty good treatment from my HP Pavilion Dv4 1145-go, something finally went wrong. Last Friday my computer stopped charging, and no amount of wiggling, pushing, and swear words would get the charger to connect. *sigh* Saturday, Indra and I went off to Loudon Street (off of Park Street) to the HP Service Center. We were lucky to make it in time, because the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had come for the 150-year anniversary of St. Xavier’s College, and the whole convoy was getting ready to pull out soon. Thank goodness the police officer graciously let us cross the street saying, “Yes, go, but go fast.” So, we went across to the HP SC. Here I filled out a few lines of information about the problem I was having, and sat down. After about 5 minutes wait my number was called, and so we went back to the tech’s office and they tested my computer with their charger, and vice versa. After confirming that it was indeed the adapter that had gone bad, they looked up my warranty information, where upon searching it was found that my warranty had expired in October. Knowing this was incorrect information, I gave them the original purchase receipt, which they then promptly scanned. They told us, “tin char din” (3 - 4 days.) Upon further clarification, it was specified that it would be business days. After this we ran our few errands while we were out, and then went home.

Monday morning I woke up to a phone call from the HP SC wanting to know the specific name of the business I had purchased my laptop at, after unsuccessfully telling the lady on the other end the line, Indra was given the phone, and the call was completed.

Tuesday morning, was the same thing. Only this time they wanted a copy of the “original” invoice. When they said this, they were promptly told that the copy was already in their possession and that there was nothing else to be given. They were insisting they needed a “stamped” copy of the “original” invoice. Again, stating that this was all that I was given, they said, “okay.”

Wednesday They called later in the afternoon, and said that their warranty counterparts in India would not be able to use the warranty as my original purchase receipt did not have the serial number of my laptop on it. Outraged at this I said good-bye and proceeded to rant about the sometimes idiotic bureaucracy of India. I went to class with all intents of calling HP & Best Buy when I got home. I called them, and after 30 minutes of international calls, I had managed to get my solution. I gave the HP in the US the Serial Number and the date I purchased my laptop, and they verified that the warranty should be valid 1 year from the date I purchased the computer. I scanned my receipt and sent it on the way to HP with the promise of the warranty being corrected in 24-72 hours. The email was received promptly.

Thursday, I called the HP SC in Kolkata and told them that I had called to the US myself and that the warranty should be updated. Nobody would listen to me, so I asked to speak to the supervisor when I also explained the situation, and that *I* had taken it upon myself to fix the problem. Nobody would listen and insisted that the warranty wouldn’t work. I many times asked for them to just input the SN into their system and they would find that the warranty information had been updated from the US side. After being thoroughly dismissed and ignored. I then called Indra and asked him to call. He instead called Suresh Gopinath, a work contact, and then he proceeded to call an upper level HP manager in Bangalore. By 430pm I had heard from Suresh-da that it was fixed. The HP SC had also called and informed me that the order placement was in and that it should be here by Friday, end of business.

Today…(being Friday) I answered the phone from HP, and was promptly told that the part had been ordered today, and would again be here in “3-4 business days.” Outraged, I had Indra call to the upper level manager, and who, despite it being his day off, said he would see what happened. Then, today at about 130pm, I received another phone call from the HP SC saying that my part had come in, and what was my address, so they could deliver it. By 4pm today the adapter was here, and now my computer is working.

It outrages me how the HP SC couldn’t even call the US side and fix the warranty themselves, I had to do that legwork myself. So, pretty much I had done their work, and they thought they would be able to get off easily, because of their ignorance in how the other countries work regarding receipts. The company needs to train their employees to listen, and not ignore their customers, as well as learn about how the rest of the world works and work with the customers, not against them.

January 4, 2010

4 years ago today

Filed under: our girls, personal — steph @ 12:50 am

IMG_7110

Happy 4th Birthday my Jovie beaner! :)

- love mommy

December 29, 2009

My Christmas Weekend

Filed under: Christmas, Friends, India, crazy crap, every day life, funny stuff, personal — steph @ 2:15 pm

Well…Christmas just passed, and wow! what a different christmas I had this year. This year I spent it with Indra, his family, and friends. On Christmas night, about 730pm we picked up Devdas Bhagat from Dum Dum Airport, after he flew in from Mumbai to come visit. That is about when the weekend started, and didn’t end until Sunday night.

Well…Friday night, Indra, Mak, and I picked Devdas up from the airport and promptly took him to his hotel in Salt Lake City. Then…we went to get some food, at 777, as Devdas was hungry, and I wanted a snack. Well…it ended up as dinner. We ate **SO** much that night. We had about 3 starters, mutton kebabs, fish tikka, and then tandoori chicken. I had never eaten so much. But then, we had some chicken ra-ra dish, and a sweet vegetable dish with some butter naan. It was yummy. We hung out with Devdas until about 10pm, and then proceeded home.

Saturday, Devdas was scheduled to give a lecture at WBSU - Barasat. Arjun Ghosh and Mak met us at our house and we left around 945am to go and pick up Devdas. We had gotten a Ambassador car for the day, and proceeded to squish all 5 of us in the car. Good times! So then we proceeded on to Barasat, in the process getting lost, since the driver missed a turn, but then Indra corrected him, and we reached the University. Then we sent the car (and Mak) to pick up Susmit who had finished his tasks, and surprise, surprise, they got lost too! =D

Devdas delivered a interesting, and educational speech about System Administration. After which, we ate…and lingered around eating lunch and waiting for others to be done with their tasks. Now, as we were getting ready to continue our adventures, there were 6 of us. So, therefore Devdas, Arjun, Mak, and Susmit all sat in the back seat, quite cramped and squished. Devdas adding, “Its quite okay compared to a peak hour Mumbai local passenger train”. Now we were on our way to Park Street to look at the lights. About 15 kilometers into the trip the brakes on the car started to go out, but the driver kept a cool head, and most of us were oblivious to what was happening. The driver managed to keep the car going and not getting into a car accident by engaging the manual transmission (shifting the gears to generate braking action). When it was realized by all what was unfolding the 4 guys in the back seat commented about using the hand brake, and the driver promptly replied, “What hand brake? That’s the first thing that gets taken out of a car!” The driver then called the owner of the car, and requested for a replacement car, little did we know that the “real” fun was about to start.

The driver managed to get us safely to Middleton Row off Park Street, where we all had tea. We spent our time looking at the church down the street that was decked up in lights for Christmas. By this time Devdas had taken out his camera, and was snapping about a million shots of everyone and everything around him! After waiting about an hour, and about 6 phone calls later, the replacement car showed up…well…it was a Maruti 1000, which was about…you know, half the size of the Ambassador we had previously had. We were all hungry, so we decided to pile into the car and go to Kafulok, one of our regular hang out joints. Well…We had adventures doing this…we had 4 guys to shove in the back seat that was designed for about 3 of them…so…Mak ended up sitting on Arjun’s lap because Susmit refused! LoL!

Once at Kafulok we had some golden fried prawns, chili garlic pepper chicken and prawn chips for starters. Then we had some delicious steamed fish, one with ginger and mushroom and the other with garlic. Then, since I was still hungry, we had some yummy hot and sour soup! =]

After this Susmit, Mak and Arjun took a cab and went home, while Indra and I took the car and dropped Devdas at the guest house.

Sunday - Started out with everyone supposedly meeting up at our house. Well…that didn’t work out well as people were late…so Indra and I went off to Science City to find Devdas. We met the others at Park Circus. We went out to some hole in the wall restaurant, called Milan Hotel. The people that were eating at the restaurant, all stopped eating and looked up to stare at our group as we walked in. It was merely a light gravy with pieces of beef in it that we ate with tandoori roti. While we were eating our beef stew, since Mak doesn’t eat beef he was eating Mutton. After this we, well…by we I mean *I* decided I wanted some fresh juice. But the others overruled me, as they wanted “joynagarer moya“, so we went and found a sweet shop and had our fill. After a time I got my wanted juice! =] Indra decided he didn’t want any juice, but instead wanted coffee. We went next door to a coffee shop, that for the life of me I can’t remember the name. We spent about 3-4 hours at this coffee shop having many adventures. Devdas and Indra had some espresso, while I had mint tea…well at least I had mint tea after a mix up with some Milk tea. After a while we got bored of sitting outside, and proceeded inside, where Arjun and Mak had something, and Devdas and I wanted some ice cream. The ice cream shop was like Cold Stone, where there were many choices and one had to answer about a million questions about what was wanted and the options. After paying our bill we then went to St. Paul’s Cathedral to see the lights at night. After this we had gone to our usual local joint, Sonar Sansa, and hung out and had some drinks before proceeding to Nirala’s China Town (one of my favorite chinese restaurants) for dinner.

After we all had our fill (and being the last people in the restaurant), we left. We waited on the street and then Indra, Devdas, and I caught a bus that goes close to our home, and Arjun, Susmit, and Mak took a taxi.

December 28, 2009

KDE update

Filed under: India, KDE — Tags: , — steph @ 2:28 pm

Its been some time since I have been in the KDE world…but now, I am back!

I am currently working on maps of India and her states for Kgeography and getting more India specific content out into the programs.

I look forward to contributing more as the days go on, and maybe, just maybe (blauzahl read the double maybe! ;-]) help bug triaging.

October 17, 2009

Princeton, Lost Souls and John Bose

Filed under: Cassini's Division, India, crazy crap, funny stuff — steph @ 1:32 pm

Thursday night, my all time favorite band, Cassini’s Division, played at Princeton. Total good time, you know, except for the fact that they started like 45 minutes late…or maybe they had already started, and were on their first cigarette break? I really dunno. :-) Well…it was fun, hung out with some friends, listened to some totally awesome music. I had arrived with Arjun Ghosh, and *EVENTUALLY* choto Indranil Dasgupta, Brandon (an american from my Bengali class), and Indra showed up (although only to pick me up!).  Also got to meet a friend for the first time, Urmi! It was fun! Little did I know…this was just the beginning of the fun.

Well…so, fast forward to the end of the show…all of us (Arjun, choto Indranil, Indra and I) went out to the street…and they started talking, and talking. And talking some more ;-)!

All of a sudden John comes out to the street with this old guy. The old guy was totally wasted. We were waiting for a taxi, and none were going our way…and the ones that were coming were getting picked up as fast as they came! Well…this guy keeps spouting out, “Am I a bad person?”, “Did I do something wrong?” and (my personal favorite ;-) sorry John!) “You are my god!”. Also, my other personal favorite outburst from the old man was, “Who are these white people standing around?!”. I had to turn away to stifle a giggle, and so John explained that I was a friend of his (the funniest part being the old man used refered to me as “people” when I was the only white person standing there!). John had asked us if we could take a detour on our way home and drop the old guy at Ballygunge Phari where he said he lived.

We finally found a taxi that was going our way, Indra, choto Indranil, and I all got in the back seat. First he wouldn’t get in the taxi because he was busy pissing on the gates of The Princeton Club. Then he had a bit of a fit about getting into the taxi. He finally got in after John reassured him that we were his friends and that we would get him safely to where he needed to go, he finally got into the front seat, with a little help.

Off we went! The old guy was muttering to himself when he was not falling asleep and falling over the front seat, at one point even leaning on the driver! Shortly we were at Ballygunge Phari and it was time to unload our “passenger”. Which proved to be tougher than getting the dude *inside* the taxi!!! Choto Indranil and Indra got out and helped the old guy out of the front seat. He at first refused to get out of the taxi and wished us good night. Finally he was standing on the sidewalk holding choto Indranil’s hand in both of his hands while bending over and touching choto’s hand to his forehead with utmost reverence. After all this time choto Indranil was his “god” and that he was “indebted to us forever”. Choto was concerned about whether or not this drunk old guy would be able to remember his house and get inside safely. On his repeated assurance that he was gonna do just fine, we left, after choto managed to “recover” his right hand.

We took a U-turn from the crossing ahead, and as we doubled back we saw the old guy still standing on the pavement where we had left him. We wondered who he was and hoped that he would get home safely. We then went home, and sent choto home in the same taxi. Yes, the taxi driver got a decent tip for this ride!

BTW, John, I know you are reading this, and you owe us 40 rupees! =P

September 28, 2009

Do you hear that?

Filed under: Durga Puja Kolkata, India, ranting — steph @ 5:03 pm

The silence is back! No more drums, and plays, and children trying to be cute by talking on the microphone, while really being annoying…ahhhhhhhhhhh it’s wonderful!

September 3, 2009

Does this shock and awe your conscience??

Filed under: Criminal Justice, Manson Family, crazy crap, ranting — steph @ 10:21 pm

I read CNN.com almost everyday and because of my interest in Criminal Justice I also read the CRIME section pretty religiously. Well…I have been following the journey of Susan Atkins for the past few days. Her current story is here. Now, mind you I understand that she is apparently “dangerous” because of the previous crimes commited about 40 years back. But…if you read you will come to realize that Susan has terminal brain cancer, and is paralyzed. She can’t get out of bed, or into a wheelchair. Recently she had a parole hearing…where her parole was *DENIED*. Right…apparently she is still dangerous.

My first reaction was that this is cruel and unsual punishment. Why you ask? Because…it “shocks and awes your conscience. Not only is Susan paralyzed, but she has a tremendous amount of medical bills that are being paid by the US taxpayers money. Now, honestly, tell me where this is fair? It doesn’t seem at all fair to me…

another rant

Filed under: India, crazy crap, every day life, personal, ranting — steph @ 4:45 pm

Sorry all…I’ve just been down a bit these last few days. I don’t get out much, because… 1. I prefer not to go out alone and get into some sort of trouble or get ripped off… 2. I don’t know the city very well, and I don’t want to get lost, and yeah…so pretty much the only time I get out of the house is when I go to my Bengali class, well…unless I go to Barasat or WBUT with Indra (which these days is not that often). But anyways, life goes on. The hardest part is I used to enjoy my bangla class…but now…its just getting irritating because the teacher doesn’t seem to be teaching us *anything* new…its the same thing day in and day out…I mean yeah, mind you, he has taught us the conugations of the verbs, but we are hardly learning any new vocab…we are learning a bunch of verbs…but no words…if you can get what I’m saying…I am learning more at home by asking Indra, Maa, or Sujata what the word means. Its really annoying…and I’m sick of not having a job…I’m really sick of having to depend on others, and I just want to be active again…sorry for the rant…I had to blow up somewhere…and the internet is a safe place because nobody gets hurt.

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