Chilled at Kuredu

I spent the past few days at Kuredu resort. I have not been to a resort for years now and this was certainly a good relaxation getaway. The resort promotes "no shoes, no mobiles" and had only one little (expensive) cybercafe for internet. Thank god for the presence of Dhiraagu GPRS, otherwise I'd have been left dead in the water with no internet access. That can be very scary, indeed. The island the resort was on was quite big in comparison to most Maldivian islands I'd say. It took me a good hour to walk much of it. The resort seemed to have a large number of Maldivian employees and they were all (surprisingly) a very helpful and smily bunch.

The lagoon surrounding the resort was rich with manta rays and baby sharks. In fact, one of the most memorable moments at the resort was seeing the emergence of four large black manta rays swimming together in unison under the well lit lagoon surrounding the jetty protruding into the sea. The elegance of their movements and the ease with they seemed to glide in the water was just amazing. Additionally, the side of the island facing the famous Maldivian sea known as "baraveli kandu" sure seemed to be abundunt with "baraveli". It was quite amazing to watch baby baraveli tag along with the mama/papa baraveli along the beach line. "Baraveli" is called "hermit crab" in English and are a very interesting animal. My brother brought home three big hermit crabs late 2004 and they've lived in our house since then, subsisting by themselves in the "kashi veli" sand that texturizes mom's home garden/veranda!

Here are a few photos of the resort...

Inside the room

The bathroom

Roasting under the sun on the deck

View out the upper deck

Home sweet home

I arrived in Maldives this morning. I've had a tiring two days of packing up my stuff and moving out of my room. The sleepless, restless working had left me shattered and tired - so much so that I kept falling asleep in and out in broad day light, even in mid conversation/thought! The lack of proper food intake probably contributed to this near delusional state of mind. (I dispense the extra details in case someone wants to replicate the effect :p).

Male' looks changed on the superficial level - just like the superficial lives that the superficial people here live and love to live. Really feels like the same 'ol home sweet home really... sigh.

Age = Age + 1

The temporal variable defined for marking time spent by a human, more commonly called "age", is something people place a breakpoint on and hold celebrations upon a change occuring. My "age" variable incremented today - another year gone by, closer to death and so many things that I want to do remain undone. So many things staying at an elusive distance - tempting me to live another day to explore the possibilities. Hope the coming years bring me better, umm... luck! Oh yes, on a more optimistic note, I am "thankful" for all that I am "blessed" with.

Happy birthday to me :-)

Earn money - RentACoder

There is an increasing number of people going into the IT field in the Maldives. A lot of them are self-taught, quite a few of them sought help from local training centers and a number of others acquired academic training overseas. The problem however arises that there is only a limited number of jobs available. Additionally, for most of the jobs that are available, the applicant pool for that given job position tends to be quite large. This translates to low salaries and low overall income from the work.

Anyway, the issues aside, I would like to point to a resource for (additional) income earning in the Maldives - RentACoder. RentACoder is a US-based auction site for IT work. There are a variety of projects that pass through the site and they vary in complexity, the type of work, the expertise required and the time frame of the project. The projects are competed for by individuals and teams from around the world. The procedure basically involves signing up for the RentACoder service (which is free) and then bidding on the various projects that get posted there. The projects are always flowing in so one has to keep an eye constantly. Once you bid, the buyer selects the most suitable bid from the coders. The project thus begins and RentACoder does its job of acting as mediator and escrows the money from the seller to their account to make sure the coder can get paid for the work. Once the coder completes the work, the buyer reviews the final work and signs off completion. Sometimes, the coder maybe required to lodge progress reports and send updates of the work. RentACoder then makes available the funds to the coder. The coder has the options of being paid via PayPal or via Bank Checks. The bank check option is quite ideal for Maldivians as the checks get mailed to the coder. Best of all, the checks are in US dollars.

This was something I got into soon after my O'levels and started earning right after. I placed bids, competed, won some and soon had checks coming in! It is a good way to earn income and detach oneself from needing to have a job that requires physical presence. Take in a few projects a month and one would probably have more than a government or private salary would pay. Moreover, you would be doing the country a favour - by earning foreign cash! There seems to be many Indians in this overseas project grabbing business, isn't it time we get into it too?

Back from Manchester

I am back to Reading from Manchester after spending time with my girlfriend since the exams ended. I met a few new people and some old school buddies and even had a handful of memorable moments. :-)

On the train...

Walk home, Manchester

Somewhere in Manchester

Somewhere in Manchester

Blobsy 2 RC 8 released

Blobsy 2 just had another release checked out today. This latest release - Blobsy 2 RC8 - is, as usual, available at the Blobsy website.

I've fixed a few bugs in this latest release that hindered optimal performance and a few more that prevented desired functionality - including one that prevented the bot from starting conversations by itself. I have also updated the included Demo handler and added another handler to demonstrate the conversation starting abilities more clearly. This has been something that users have been whining for quite a while. Good that I got around to doing this finally :-P

Microsoft has recently allowed bots on its network. It is even running a bot development competition called Invasion of the Robots. They are offering cool cash prizes for the best bots. This is probably a move to promote the new Live Messenger series.

Anyway, I intend on updating Blobsy to the functionality introduced/updated in Windows Live Messenger. Blobsy will be updated/rewritten to be compatible with MSN P13, the communications protocol used by Live Messenger. The rewrite will probably see day light as Blobsy 3 sometime next month.

Man belittled

The tsunami that struck Maldives on the 26th of Dec 2004 is still a bitter memory to a good number of people. Bitter memories lay within remnant ruins. Man, as in the bipeds that 'walk in extended pride and boast of rule over the little they inhabit' were humbled by the might that nature could lashed out with. All in a matter of mere seconds, more horrific in real life that anything a movie has portrayed, the wonderous earth jumped out of serene slumber to Shock 'n Awe a 'paradise' nation.

Here's to taming the beast...