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Gamer, Audiophile, Avid Blogger and yes, a Student too. Pakka Bangalorean!

Enter E-GPV – Dirt Cheap Alternative to an Xbox 360 Controller

Kept off buying an Xbox 360 controller because it’s too expensive? So did I. I mean, 1900 bucks for a controller is a little steep, right? Especially when it’s got a wire attached to it. I’ve kept off playing PC games since I bought was gifted an Xbox 360 Slim a few months ago mainly because the Xbox 360’s controller is so damn good that it makes you never want to use a keyboard again. The cost of Xbox 360 games though is a huge factor, and so it set off my search for a PC controller/gamepad. I already have a racing wheel with a gamepad on it but wanted an analog gamepad since most games almost require that. I tried out Logitech and some smaller lesser-known companies’ gamepads but none of them were quite like the Xbox 360 experience nor were they any less costly than the Xbox 360 controller itself. Enter the Enter E-GPV gamepad. Yeah, it’s from a company called Enter. It’s too much plastic and it isn’t wireless either. So why this? Because it costs 270 bucks! HAH! And that makes it a pleasant compromise. Features:
  • USB Port
  • Built-in Motors
  • Twin Vibration Pad
  • 12 Fire Buttons
I got mine off of SnapDeal for 190 bucks using a discount coupon. Took them ages to deliver it. Any who, the point is — it costs less than a pizza, works pretty damn well, feels okay, and as an added bonus the two analog sticks can be used as an extra pair of D-pad. Did I mention its cost? Oh… Enter E-GPV Gamepad (Flipkart).

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Kokkare Bellur – One Day Outing From Bangalore

Kokkare_Bellur_Mysore Kokkare Bellur, or Town of Storks when translated from Kannada, is a small village off the Bangalore-Mysore state highway that is home to threatened Spot Billed Pelicans and Painted Storks. It’s about 70kms from Bangalore and can be reached easily by the state-run buses. A perfect one-day outing. The village is a little tough to get to since the road leading up to it was really bad; by that I mean there was almost no road. A car or the state bus would have been ideal but as has been the case recently with me, this had to be done on bikes! So it took a little longer to reach than expected, but when we reached there, we were in for a happy shock. We went here thinking there would be some sort of state owned sanctuary or picnic spot like that at Ranganathittu but were surprised to find that the birds live freely in the Tamarind trees! Montage_Kokkare_Bellur_MysoreEntering the village, you will begin to see these big magnificent birds flying around, wings stretched out. Any body from a city will instantly be taken aback at the size of these birds! The villagers are well used to tourists and photographers. One of the families behind the nesting place gave us directions, advice and even offered to keep an eye on our bikes. Now if you’re lucky, as you enter the nesting area you’ll see a few Spot Billed Pelicans among the hundred Painted Storks. We were greeted by a nice little treat. There was a Kite on the ground feasting on its catch — a fish almost its size!

The Kite with its meal

Unfortunately, during our exploration of the nest, we came across a rather angry (and big) buffalo. Even though it was tied to a post, the menacing stare it gave us coupled with the angry snorts were enough to scare the daylights out of us!
Angry Buffalo

Still gives me the nightmares!

On our way back, we came across a lake by which there were people offering boat rides. The water though, was really dirty and it made us change our minds on taking a boat ride. For those of you who don’t mind, you can rent paddle boats and canoes and take them out into the water. Now, we hadn’t taken any food when we left Bangalore, so we had stopped by McDonald’s for a quick snack. Instead we had taken a couple of burgers to-go. Famished that we were, we sat in a Ragi (finger millet) field and had our lunch, much to the amusement of the villagers who passed by. Upon reaching the state highway, we headed out to Maddur Tiffany’s, a famous hotel known for its delicious ‘maddur vada’. Do not miss out on this! Kokkare_Bellur_Mysore Bikes

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View of Rishikonda Beach from the resort

Vizag – Goa of The East Coast

For a resident of Bangalore, there could be no better holiday than a weekend at the beach. A lot of you would agree. Bangalore has the weather, the people, and places to hang out as well. But we seriously miss having a beach nearby. Vizag, or Vishakapatnam, is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is famous for its natural port, apart from the tourism of course. It’s about 1300kms from Bangalore and hence my initial thoughts were to take a flight. But after finding out the ridiculous cost of a flight ticket to Vizag, I decided a train was better. By train it takes about 18 to 20 hours depending on the train you’ve taken (as I found out when coming back, it could take a LOT more than that, so be prepared). I was pleasantly taken aback by the weather when I arrived. It was very much like what I was used to, cool and calm. Surprising for a beach town. The Vizag railway station however lacks a lot of basic amenities, including a (working) air conditioned waiting room. This would turn out to be such a big damper on my return journey. More on that later.
View of the Haritha Beach Resort

View of the Haritha Beach Resort from the beach.

My room was booked at the government APTDC Haritha Beach Resort at Rishikonda. That was another 15kms from the railway station and travelling there would be only by auto. Be prepared to pay a couple of hundred bucks unless you can talk Telugu. One thing though, the auto drivers there don’t hassle you like in Bangalore. So you can let your guard down… a little. vizag-rishikonda-beach-haritha-resort-viewComing to the resort, the staff were extremely helpful. Language was not a problem as I could (sorta) follow Telugu. They’re quite fluent in Hindi, just in case. The rooms were fantastic and we had a stunning view of the beach from our second floor deluxe room. One does not have to worry about food either. The room service was quick and the food was brilliant. There’s even a very nice restaurant called Offshores. A view of the beach and the sound of the water make a very scenic background for a quiet dinner. Don’t forget to order sea food. Cooked in traditional Andhra style, you can expect a spicy affair for your taste buds.
View of Rishikonda Beach from the resort

View of Rishikonda Beach from the resort

My only qualm about Rishikonda was that it wasn’t a private beach. However, the crowd was small and the people weren’t privy to what tourists were up to.   All I wanted to do on this vacation was to laze and enjoy the beach. There are a lot more things to see in Vizag though. The Borra Caves, Arakku Valley, more beaches, and lots of temples. If you love to drive, it would be well advised to rent a car because the city has some breath taking scenic roads that one will thoroughly enjoy driving. drive to vizag rishikonda beach road My experience with the return train journey was horrible. The train was initially delayed by 3 hours, and it only kept increasing. It finally arrived a whole 5 hours late! This did give me an opportunity to explore the city, and I managed to sit through a whole Telugu movie – for the first time. :) All in all, Vizag is a truely beautiful beach town to visit, and for me, it really was the Goa of the East Coast.

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Yes, It Actually Happened!

bic_logo Millions watched it, but we were there! That’s what a friend’s Facebook status said late Sunday evening. The first Formula 1 race in India had just ended. The air was still dusty, you could smell the burnt rubber, and we wanted more! Barely two months ago, the Buddh International Circuit was still a huge pile of dirt. There was uncertainty in the air about whether the first Indian GP was ever going to take place. I took my chances, booked my flight tickets early. And then, the tickets went on sale the next day! Two days later, more than 15,000 tickets were sold and the South Natural Stand was already sold out! It was going to happen, F1 in India! I left to Delhi on the 28th, by a very early morning flight. Delhi’s weather was surprisingly very much like what I love and am accustomed to in Bangalore. The only signs of being out of place was being in the center of what is an insanely huge terminal, Delhi’s IGI T3. Wow. After a few phone calls, I was headed to Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, where accommodation for us had been arranged. I was already in a cab when I was told Ghaziabad was 40kms from IGI. Ouch! Oh well, the cab ride gave me a chance to enjoy the sights of New Delhi, at a price of course.
india gate

India Gate

We headed out to Greater Noida, where the Buddh International Circuit is located, another 40kms from our hotel. The roads around New Delhi are amazingly well kept; not a single speed breaker or ditch through the whole ride. I had already started liking New Delhi, and it was just the beginning. The area around the circuit was hardly complete. I’m talking acres here, because it looked like the Jaypee group owns half of Greater Noida. It was Jaypee for as far as you could see. Amazing really. Then there was the circuit itself, damn. The first sight of it really gives you a sense of pride, making you not believe something like an F1 race was actually happening in India. tweetAnd then came out Alguersuari in FP2… oh my gawd. The sound of an F1 car was just unbelievably loud. And for fans like us, it was the epitome of the trip thus far. Unbelievable. A thousand miles traveled, and the just the sound of an F1 car had made us feel it was worth it all. Friday evening was spent in Delhi, visiting India Gate and the famous eatery Khan Chacha. My opinion about Khan Chacha – the owners are egoistic and the prices just don’t justify the taste. More on this later. Saturday involved being late to Qualifying because of traffic, visiting the F1 Village, returning to India Gate, and heading out to Karim’s. Karim’s too, was over hyped. It was 9pm and the Biryani and Raan were already over. WTF? Sunday. Race Day! And boy, was it worth the 2 hours in traffic. We made it just in time for the parade lap, and cheered as Vettel, Schumi, Massa, Alonso, and Karthikeyan went by on old classics; and uttered racist words as Hamilton passed by. We watched as Massa and Hamilton collided, Massa’s Ferrari grinding to a halt as it passed turns 10 and 11, Massa being scootered away (on a Honda Activa! :P ), and after the race, the damaged Ferrari being towed away just a few feet from us. Ahh, worth it all.
f1 collage

We were THERE!

And as an added bonus, we saw the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, stuck in traffic right besides us, happily acknowledging the crowd that had stopped their cars to take photos! Sunday night’s dinner was at Kake-Da-Hotel, and WOW! The half an hour wait was a small price to pay for what was the best Butter Chicken and Mutton Keema I have ever had. Khan Chacha and Karim’s can learn a thing or two from Kake-Da, the food was superb and light on the wallets. A must for anybody visiting Delhi.   Sides: This post was to be written more than a day ago, but I ended up sleeping for 20-hours straight after coming home!

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Must-Have Android Apps #1

I come across so many good Android apps now and then that I would love to share, so I thought I’d make random blog posts here every often to share them. Here’s the first one. #1. Lookmobile


If you’ve left your phone behind, and would like to access any new SMS, call logs, as well as contacts, this is the app that you absolutely must have! Remember Texty for Chrome? Think of this as an enhanced version that works across all browsers. Some would have privacy issues using this, but well, guess it isn’t for you then. (The website does store all your contacts and SMS for only the current session, and is then erased.)   [Market link] #2. TripAdvisor A fantastic app for travelers. Gives you information on hotels, restaurants, as well as photos and other details about almost any place you’d like.


[Market link]  

My search for Navi Mumbai, India

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