Friday, March 28, 2014

Corniche Run

So I decided to go out and run today. Its been 2 weeks since I landed and I've been holed up all this while because of sore throat and back issues. Now that, my back is a little better and throat less itchy, I decided to take my chances and go out for a run. I must say, Abu-Dhabi looks gorgeous from the Corniche promenade. I ran a good 6 kms and still I could not reach the other end. I need to check how long is the beach. But it was truly amazing to look at the glittering shimmering towers in the fading lights and suddenly these fading facades turn into beacons as the lights come on. Totally loved it... 


After a lot of back and forth, I finally made it to Abu-Dhabi on the 14th of Mar. I have traveled in the past. But in all my excursions so far, this was the most painful one. The first challenge was to secure a passport, then visa and so on... It kept me on the edge for more than a month. Now that its settled and I'm here the other aspect that's gnawing at me is the separation from family. Wherever I've traveled, my wife has joined me in at most 3 months. But this time, we'll be separated for perhaps a year. The other and emotionally more poignant part is my daughter. I've never been attached to someone like I'm to my daughter. Of course, as a child I was extremely attached and insecure about my mother. But as an adult, I find myself most vulnerable when thinking about leaving my daughter behind and moving here.

She has taken it well. I believe, my daughter has a relatively robust emotional build. She does not cling to anyone, gets over people much faster. I say so because I've seen that  in a couple of cases when the maids at our house changed to whom she was very attached, she coped well. I think she could do it because her parents were with her. But this time I've moved away and so I have yet to see how she copes with it. The one constant in her life is her mother. But I've seen her staying away from her for 2 weeks at her Nanu's place. Though she was a little sad for a few days, she held up well. And then I came over and she was bright and chirpy again.

Today I spent 2 hours chit chatting with her on the skype. I loved it. She enjoyed it. We exchanged smilies and read each other stories. I read her a O'Henry and she read me couple of Tinkle stories. God, bless her! She makes my world beautiful...

The work, if may say is still evolving. I think, I should get in front of business now. I also have to learn and accept the way they work here. All that will take time.But I hope I'm able to make a positive impact in coming months.

Post #34 Another AWS Issue

Its been 2 months since I uploaded my last update to my website. Since I've moved to Abu-Dhabi, my new bank account is created and its in local currency. As I want to keep my Abu-Dhabi expenses separate, I created a new account. I downloaded my local bank statement and tried uploading it.

I was hoping it would work seamlessly but alas! All of this because I was perhaps lazy and stupid not to implement the mm/dd/YYYY format in my code. As in India, all dates are in dd/mm/YYYY, I did not implement it and so the statement upload failed. The good thing is I knew immediately why the failure occurred. I also corrected in about an hour and then uploaded the new War to Amazon Beanstalk.

Ha! So, it showed Uploading and Deploying for a long time and finally it gave a warning message that the action has timed out, but not to worry it'll finish in some time. Okay, I said. After a while I got a mail saying the new version was deployed. Cool! I ran the application only to find out it was still broken. I kept trying uploading it as war for some time using the web interface and then finally got Amazon Eclipse plug in installed to see if I could use Eclipse based interface. But no luck. However, the application continued to run fine in its 2 month old version with all monitoring parameters Green.

I then tried restarting the app server using the beanstalk web interface. Again, the same thing. The action times out with reassuring message that the script will eventually run and finally you see that the action is completed on the web console but there is no impact on the EC2 server.

As luck would have it, an Amazon sales person tried to reach out to me to see if they can expand their offerings to me. I got back to him with this problem and asked him to get it resolved. He asked me to log the issue on the "vibrant" amazon AWS community forum and I'd surely get a response.

Okay, I did that too. And after 3 days the query is still unanswered. So much for the vibrancy.

I finally decided to take the matters in my own hands and deal directly with the EC2 instance, instead of using beanstalk. I logged into EC2 instance and saw a lot of OS / Applications updates pending. Crossing my fingers I ran them. They ran fine but after they'd run, I tried deploying again. This time the Site stopped responding completely. Ouch! I brought down my own website. Whatever was working till now had also stopped. In desperation, I used the old Windows Trick on the Linux Server called, "Reboot the Server".

And viola! the site came up, I could upload the new war and it worked fine.

So, here is a piece of  advice to Amazon AWS. There are a lot of individual users, small firms that use AWS. Amazon offers them absolutely no support. They have to live on the forums, which for all its vibrancy, pass up a defects / questions logged. The paid model starts with $49 a month fee. My entire bill of hosting the server is $50. And its a personal expense not a corporate one. How could I subscribe to $49 plan?

Anyhow, here this ends. Perhaps, I'll try and find another host for my site. Someone who cares about $50 a month revenue and helps out its users with troubleshooting instead of turning them away.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

T2 Mumbai

I'm writing this blog from the new Mumbai Intl terminal. I was told horror stories about the immigration queues and the long hours it takes to go past immigration. I think these issues will linger for arrivals. For departures however, my experience was great. There were hardly any queues at immigration or airline check in counter.

And I'm talking Jet airways in the middle of the day @4:00 pm. Its possible, that the intl traffic is at is slowest.

The access to the airport is much better than before. I cam via Andheri Kurla rd as most ppl from central suburbs would. There is little you can do about the AK road and you can only hope that the traffic improves a bit once the metro starts and ppl leave their cars home.

But the access to the elevated road from AK road was seamless. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Okay. So I left the terminal around the time. The flight take off was delayed as the skies were jammed. So, there was enough air traffic. As at Mumbai, the intl and domestic routes share the same landing strip, probably days are domestic heavy while nights are for the intl.

The overall look of the terminal is as good as or better than many other international terminals I've seen (not too many but surely a few ).

The decor is neat and lighting is diffused. At times I felt it was on the dimmer side but it was always adequate.

Given its a new terminal, they have taken notice of the travelers using their mobile devices at the airport while charging them simultaneously. To that end there were plenty of power outlets with multi pin options.

They even had charging cables and stations for mobiles. Andriod, iPhone, Nokia. All kinds of charging cables with a platform. All you have to do is plug your device in and sit around for a few minutes while it charges.

There are Laptop stations, just like a cyber cafe bays. Each station has about 10 bays. 6-7 of them are equipped with HP touch PCs. They look beautiful. And then there are empty bays where you could plug in your laptop and work.

The free internet connection by GVK worked seamlessly. I sat for around an hour browsing and working on my laptop. It was great.

I do think that the terminal is small and perhaps will be inadequate as the air traffic grows. Hopefully, by then Mumbai will have its Panvel intl. airport operational.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Stomach Churn

It's been a tough month. As the travel date approaches there seem to be a lot of loose ends sticking out. 
First the passport police verification which is still not complete. There itself I hope I get the documents in order. Also there are no last minute issues. 

Then there is registration of my car. The RC book is still not come. 

Next is my wife's car repairs. 

Then there is a medical. It would happen once I land there on the job. I'd have preferred it happen here than there. 

The visa has not yet come. I have to collect forex. 

It's not excitement and anticipation. It trepidation and anxiety. 

I'm sleeping fitfully. I may be coming down with a sore throat. 

I shouldn't have attempted peeking into the future. I faintly remember myself promising myself not to. Did I?

Let's see how things go.