Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Australian National War Memorial and Museum, Canberra

While I was doing Australia trip planning, I am glad that I included Canberra in the schedule. War memorial was the last place I visited in Canberra, before leaving for Sydney. Built in 1941, Australian War memorial serves as a spot to honor all those brave souls who made supreme sacrifice fighting for Australia. Reportedly it is also recognized as one of the best war memorials in the world.

The main tower and adjoining walls list the names of every soldier/officer who died for the country.

An unknown Australian soldier is berried here.
 Names of every individual, decorated with flowers

It appears names are sorted by the country where the soldiers died. I could see Burma, Malaysia, Singapore etc written on the outer wall.

Inside view of the dome in hall of memory

The National War memorial building houses a museum that showcases artifacts and stories from the war. Unfortunately I had to rush through this section as I was getting late for the bus.
 Above: Lone Pine sculpture by Wallace Anderson. Lone Pine represents a scene on the dusk of 6th August 1045 when men of 1st Australian Infantry attacked Turkish trenches in Chunuck Bair (a hill in Turkey).
View from the memorial is also great- one can see old and new Parliament from the entrance of War memorial

Below stretch is known as ANZAC Parade (Australia and New Zealand Armed Corps)
Below: Coins thrown into water
Above: The entrance to Australian War memorial in Canberra, ACT. There are more things to explore around this area- such as outdoor gardens etc. I regret I couldn't spend more time here.

Other related information: Entry is free. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily, photography is allowed but security check is involved.

Getting a taxi or bus around the war memorial was difficult. From here, I literally ran till the bus terminal, which was 2 kms away and reached just in time for the bus.

Back home, I feel we should build more such memorials for our own war heros.

For Australia Visa requirements check this post. Click here for Australia Travel Planner
Indian Bloggers
More: Canberra-Sydney bus journey * Hot Air Balloons in Canberra * Telstra tower, Canberra

Sunday, May 29, 2016

ಟೆಕ್ ಬುಕ್ - ಟಿ ಜಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿಧಿ (Techbook by Srinidhi TG)

This post is a quick review of a Kannada book named TechBook by Srinidhi TG (Not me, another very popular Srinidhi based in BLR) and his decade old tech website, Non Kannada readers may check out other book reviews here or Srilanka or Australia posts here. - Shrinidhi Hande

ಇದು ಟೆಕ್ಸ್ಟ್ ಬುಕ್ ಅಲ್ಲ, ಟೆಕ್ ಬುಕ್ - ಟಿ  ಜಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿಧಿ 

ಟೆಕ್ ಬುಕ್ ಟಿ ಜಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿಧಿಯವರ ಹೊಸ ಪುಸ್ತಕ. ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ ಪ್ರಚಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಿರುವ ವಿವಿಧ ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನ ಸಂಬಂಧಿ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಲಭವಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ . 3D ಪ್ರಿಂಟಿಗ್ , ಬಿಗ್ ಡಾಟಾ, ಮಿಥ್ಯಾ ವಾಸ್ತವ, ಇ-ಕಸ, ಕ್ರಿಕೆಟ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನ, ಮಾನವಯಂತ್ರಗಳು, ಡ್ರೋನ್  ಹೀಗೆ ಹಲವು ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಸರಳವಾಗಿ, ಸುಂದರವಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸಿ ಕೊಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ, ಮನೆಯ ಹಿರಿಯರಿಗೆ ತಾಂತ್ರಿಕ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಸುಲಲಿತವಾಗಿ ಅರ್ಥೈಸಲು ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಸಹಕಾರಿ.

ಮೊಬೈಲುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿನ್ನ ಬಳಸಿರುವುದು ಗೊತ್ತಿತ್ತು, ಆದರೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಇರತ್ತೆ ಅಂತ ಗೊತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದೆರಡು ಗ್ರಾಂ ಸಿಕ್ಕರೂ ಸಾವಿರಾರು ರು ಆಗುತ್ತೆ ಅಂದುಕೊಂಡು ಒಂದೆರಡು ಹಳೆಯ ಮೊಬೈಲುಗಳನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೆ. ಟೆಕ್ ಬುಕ್ ಓದಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅವನ್ನು ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಳ್ಳಲೂ ಆಗದೆ (ಒಂದೆರಡು ಹಳೆ ಮೊಬೈಲಿಂದ ಚಿನ್ನ ತೆಗೆಯುವುದು ಆಗುವ ಹೋಗುವ ಕೆಲಸವಲ್ಲವಂತೆ ) ಎಸೆಯಲೂ ಆಗದೇ (ಇ-ಕಸ) ಕುಳಿತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. :(

ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರೋ ಒಬ್ಬರು ಕೆಟ್ಟು ಹೋದ LED ದೀಪಗಳನ್ನು ಸರಿಪಡಿಸುತ್ತರ೦ತೆ. ಇ-ಕಸವನ್ನು ದುಡ್ಡುಕೊಟ್ಟು ಸಂಗ್ರಹಿಸುವ ಕೆಲವು ಸ್ಟಾರ್ಟ್-ಅಪ್ ಗಳು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಾಗಿದೆ [link]

ಗೋ ಪ್ರೋ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರ ಹಾಗು ನಿಸ್ತಂತು ಚಾರ್ಜಿಂಗ್ ಕುರಿತಂತೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಬರೆಯಬಹುದಿತ್ತೆಂದು ನನ್ನ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆ. ಗೊಗಲ್ ಕ್ರೋಮ್ ಕಾಸ್ಟ್ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯೂ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಬರೆಯಬಹುದಿತ್ತೇನೊ. ಬಳಸಿದ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳ ಮೂಲ ಫೋಟೋಗ್ರಾಫರ್ ಅಥವಾ ವೆಬ್ ಸೈಟ್ ಹೆಸರು ನಮೂದಿಸಬೇಕಿತ್ತು.

Key Summary
  • Title: Tech Book
  • Author: Srinidhi TG
  • Publishers: Bharathi Prakashana, Mysore
  • Genre: Technology/Kannada
  • ISBN 13: NA
  • Pages 132
  • MRP:  Rs ೧೦೦

ಬೆಲೆ ಕೇವಲ ೧೦೦ ರೂ ಟೆಕ್ ಬುಕ್ ಖರೀದಿಸಲು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ಲಿಕ್ಕಿಸಿ 

ಇ ಜ್ಞಾನ .com  ಕುರಿತಂತೆ :  ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ ೨೦೦೭ರಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಾದ ಇ ಜ್ಞಾನ .com ಟಿ ಜಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿಧಿ ಯವರ ತಾಣ  ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನ ಕುರಿತಾದ ಬರಹಗಳಿಂದ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಜನಪ್ರಿಯವಾಗಿದೆ. ಮಾರುಕಟ್ಟೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಹೊಸ ಹೊಸ ಮೊಬೈಲುಗಳು, ಆಪ್, ಇತರ ಉಪಕರಣಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಯಾವುದೇ ಆಂಗ್ಲ ಭಾಷಾ ಬ್ಲಾಗುಗಳನ್ನು ಅವಲಂಬಿಸದೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇ ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇ ಜ್ಞಾನ .com ಬಹಳ ಉಪಯೋಗಿ .

ತಾವು ಬರೆಯುವುದಲ್ಲದೆ ಬರೆಯ ಬಯಸುವವರಿಗೆ ಸೂಕ್ತ ಮಾರ್ಗದರ್ಶನವೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ

ಹತ್ತನೇ ವರ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಲಿಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಇ ಜ್ಞಾನ .com  ಇನ್ನೂ ಹತ್ತು ಹಲವು ದಶಕಗಳ ಕಾಲ ಅವಿರತವಾಗಿ ನಡೆಯಲಿ ಎಂದು ಹಾರೈಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

Island Game of Modern Life- Book Review

I got this book from Author months ago and the review has been long overdue. Island Game of Modern life is written by first time author Himanshu Kumar and book is a great piece of work telling story of corporate life in a unique way.
Plot: In this plot, Grand Dad who is in his deathbed, tells his grandson about how he was nearly dead in his younger days and how a game with Yamraj saved his life. Rest of the book is primarily about this Game that grand dad and his IT colleagues play with Yamraj. During the course of the game the characters build up, telling their story, life history and other interesting aspects. So there is some part of the book which is pure imagination, philosophical and some of you might find that part too artificial. But once you get over that part, rest of the plot is primarily life story of lead characters (team leader/project manager/team members of an IT firm)- their individual love interests, life struggles, point of view and so on. End of all these the final chapter takes everything to a logical conclusion and throws in some wisdom about life and its purpose.

Things that I would like to highlight:
Try to read this book in one or two sittings. Because there're many concepts, characters, their own stories and sub plots, if you stop for a week and try to resume reading later (like I did) you will have tough time connecting the dots and getting full picture, as you are likely to have forgotten what all happened till the point you read last time.

Also, in the plot, it is the story of a grand dad who was software engineer- It would have been easier to believe if grandson was to the software engineer, as this phenomenon didn't exist 50-60 years ago when grand dad was in his youth. I checked with Author to cross check this point. Someone seems odd, but I continued reading keeping that logic aside, as core story is very much relevant today.

Key Summary
  • Title: Island Game of Modern Life
  • Author: Himanshu Kumar Sah
  • Publishers: Notion Press
  • Genre: Corporate Fiction/ Philosophy 
  • ISBN 13 :978-93-86009-21-0
  • Pages  242
  • MRP:  Rs 245 (Amazon Link here + 50 Rs delivery charges apply, you may wish to wait for a sale)
Island Game of Modern Life will interest you if you enjoy reading life stories of IT people or people who chase money, fame etc without knowing real purpose of life. This book will also give lots of exercise for your brain as author introduces rules of the game- different islands, their names and purpose, rules etc. 

Note: Now you can read all my Book Reviews under one tag- Books

5 Attractions to explore in Matara, Srilanka

Matara is one of the southern most towns in Srilanka. We paid a half day visit to this town to check out what it has to offer. This post lists various attractions we visited in Matara. I do not have too much details to write about each of these, hence covering them in one post instead of separate post for each attraction.

1) Beach Temple (Puravi Duwa Temple)
This is the most interesting place in Matara, a temple located about a hundred meter away from shore on a small island, connected via a suspension bridge. The bridge makes the temple entry a lot photogenic.

Interior hall is nice place to relax and pray for a while- cool breeze from the sea on the otherside refreshes you.
 No entry fee for Puravi Duwa Temple, a donation is expected.
  Entrance and view of Matara from the island
2) Star Fort: Star fort looks great from top view, which unfortunately I don't have. It is a super small fort, the shape of a star, built to protect the then governor. Alligators were places in the canal that separated the fort from the outside world. Today it showcases some artifacts of olden times and history serving as a museum. We were told not to take photographs inside. No fixed entry fee but separate registers are maintained for locals and foreigners and we were asked to make a donation (looked like a mandatory step) and museum staff would give all subtle hint that they are expecting to be tipped.

This is an 18th century dutch fort originally called Redoute Van Eck. More details on Wikipedia
Opposite to this fort is a small temple worth a quick stop.
3) Matara Fort: Right behind the Matara bus terminal, this small fort is the size of a tennis court. Children play in the centre and a clock tower is the sole attraction here. It was built in 16th century by Portuguese. Check Wikipedia for detailed history of Matara Fort.
4) Weharahena Buddhist Temple
This temple is located at about 5 kms from Matara bus terminal. The giant Buddha statue is the main attraction. The statue is 6 stories tall. An underground temple with lots of paintings exist. If you have the time and interest to view detailed historical paintings then you must explore this temple. LKR 250 is the fixed fee for foreign tourists. Parking and chappal stand is free but a donation is expected.

5) Dutch Shopping Complex
Dutch Market: This nice building can be seen at an intersection as you enter Matara town. Worth a quick stopover.

Apart from this there is Matara beach park, which was practically an open space next to the beach occupied by young couples. There are few more temples in 10 km driving distance.
Indian Bloggers
Also see: Nandana Tea Factory * Mirissa parrot rock

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nandana Tea Factory visit, South Srilanka

While I was exploring places to visit around Galle, Nandana Tea factory came up. Nandana tea factory is pretty far from regular tourist towns of Srilanka. Most tourists visit tea factories which are conveniently located- in 2011 we had visited a tea factory in Nuwara Elia. Nandana is some 40kms from Galle and is not really on the top in the list of things to do, so probably most tourists don’t find it worth going all the way. As I was planning my itinerary to me it looked like instead of going directly to Matara, I can go to Hiyare Reservoir, then Nandana Tea Factory and then head down to Matara. Because everythig else was beach, I thought a short ride on the mountains will be great. I checked Nandana Tea Factory's website and it said they are open to visitors. That sealed it.

Read about Hiyare Reservoir in this post.  As we headed towards Nandana tea factory, we passed through several small tea factories- our driver kept saying that none of these are open to tourists and asked from where did we get to know about the fact that Nandana tea factory is open to tourists. I said internet and he said “I don’t know that much about internet- not many tourists come this side. 2004 was when I had come here last

Hutch internet connection died on the way. With some local help we navigated last few kms and reached Nandana. Once they confirmed that factory tour will be arranged, we were relieved

The factory visit program at Nandana Tea Factory consists 3 parts- Garden visit, factory visit and tea tasting session. Entire session lasts about 90 minutes and is totally free. On that day we were the only group and thus the tour felt very exclusive, compared to other factories that tour visitors in large groups.

Our first stop was at their kitchen, where we were shown their traditional grinding stone, kettle, raw rice and other village style life.

Next we saw the nursery, where different types of tea plant saplings are nurtured before planting outdoors. TRI stands for Tea Research Institute. It assigns specific numbers for each breed/variety of tea (Example: TRI 2043)

Next stop was at the garden- very small campus (about 4-5 acres). Staff were very informative to tell us about various plants and trees in their garden. Many medicinal plants, fruits are cared for here. We were shown how a decompose pit, a honey bee nest and many other trees/plans and their importance were explained to us.

They have a small venue made completely out of natural materials- tree trunk, mud etc. If there are any events this hut is used for the same.

After exploring the garden, we entered the tea factory. We were first shown the initial drying bed, where up to 35% moisture is taken out from the leaves. At the time of our visit they didn't have any fresh stock to process, hence this section was empty.

Next we entered the processing area through back door. Here visitors are given a white coat and hat. No other tea factory that I visited had this provision. There was no restriction to take photograph either.
We saw the huge machinery at work churning the leaves, crushing them into smaller ones and then, the leaves getting separated based on size

The final stage is special. There is a colour separator machine, which scans each tea leaf particle, identifies its colour (black, brown etc) and routes them to different boxes. Before the arrival of this machine, the separation was done with hands by experts
Nandana tea factory is in its 3rd generation of ownership and reportedly exports to 4-5 different countries including Russia and UK.

 Final phase was tea testing (or tasting). The most interesting part. Most tea factory visits conclude with drinking a cup of tea. But here at Nandana, we were laid out with a buffet of tea variants. Around 6 different variations and first and second extraction for each- that is 12 options. We could sample any or all of them one by one to decide which one we like the most. Then they would make a full cup tea of the variant we selected. Tea was also accompanied by biscuits, banana and jaggery- total bliss- almost eliminated need for lunch that day.

After tea tasting we went to their factory store and bought 3-4 packets of tea. Rate card is below for your reference.
Then we headed towards Matara. The visit was totally worth it. Map location below. When in South Srilanka, recommend visiting this factory.

Similar: Royal Enfield Bullet Factory visit * Nano Sanand plant visit * Moonstone factory visit *