Microsoft

Windows 10 TP in Surface Pro 1

I have been trying to find time to install Windows 10 Technical Preview (Build 9926) in my Surface Pro 1. I want to keep Windows 8.1 to do my work when traveling with Surface Pro. This meant installing Windows 10 TP in Dual Boot mode, so that I can easily switch between the two Operating Systems. Instead of creating a new disk partition for Windows10 I went with VHD option. Probably it was not a wise choice. As Dynamic size VHD requires nearly twice the space, which is premium in a tablet device like Surface Pro. VHD options ends up taking space for the VHD file and when Windows boot it needs to have the space equivalent to the defined partition (in the VHD) free in the base machine. For example, in the physical drive you require 26GB free space – 8GB for the VHD file and 18GB for the VHD to get mounted in runtime.

To install Windows 10 TP in Surface Pro, you need to create a bootable USB drive using the free RUFUS app, the Windows10 ISO image, setup Surface Pro to boot from USB (enter UEFI mode by holding Volume UP while Power ON, then boot from USB by holding Volume DOWN while Power ON), then creating VHD by using DiskPart command. Detailed instructions are in Technet blog and from here. Remember to ensure you have set partition type to FAT32 in Rufus, I kept missing it few times and Surface Pro didn’t recognize the USB for boot a result.

After few trial and error (including VHD_BOOT_HOST_VOLUME_NOT_ENOUGH_SPACE), I got it all working. Windows 10 TP is still work in progress, but I am impressed with progress made so far. Windows boots up and responds fast, UI is flat but pleasing, the biggest advantage is the unification of Desktop UI & Metro UI.

Windows 10 Technical Preview in Surface Pro 1

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Movies

Anegan (2015)

Today evening show in Devi Theatre, I saw Anegan (அனேகன்). Directed by popular cinematographer turned hit Director K.V.Anand. Anegan is starred by Dhanush and debut actress Amyra Dastur. Yesterdays love hero Karthik plays an important role.

For a change let me start with this – I liked the film.

Anegan is a love story between Ashwin (Dhanush) and Madhu (played by Amyra) across 3 generation. The film starts in Burma of the 1950s when Tamilians lived in large numbers there and Tamil merchants (Chetiyars) dominated the business. The Burmese scenes were shot in Vietnam and Cambodia (as per Wikipedia), leaving that technicality aside I felt the scenes to be very colourful. For a change in recent Tamil films, instead of seeing India or US (like in all Gautham Vasudev films), Burma and their local costumers appears different with lot of life. The film starts with a Tamil construction worker (Dhanush) saving the life of a Burmese General’s Daughter (Amyra) at a trade-fair. What follows is usual, but the director should be appreciated for showing the mass exodus of Tamilians from Burma after Junta rule in 1960s as the background for the love affair not succeeding, this kindles our emotions.

Then comes the present day love story, where Ashwin and Madhu are working in a Video game development company headed by Karthik. At the risk of deviating from multiple generations plot, the Director shows the worsening work pressure situation and medications taken by software professionals. Madhu hails from a rich family with boundless wealth managed by her maternal uncle. Then the story switches gear to go back to yet another generation. This one happens in 1980s in North Chennai outskirts, when a local painter (Dhanush) falls in love with a Brahmin girl (Amyra) and they are killed by villain. The climax is how the love interest succeeds after struggling for many generations and the bad guys are punished. Though the climax twist is not unexpected it has been told well, it could have been better if it was a bit shorter. Though Anegan is not another 3 hour+ movie,  at 160 minutes I felt it could have been shortened.

Brilliant performance by both Dhanush and Amyra, who both have played nearly 4 different roles across time periods well, they have brought the individual characters to life in their enacting. For Karthik, this is a big break and he has used it brilliantly. I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where Dhanush imitates Karthik – it shows how far as an actor Dhanush has come. Songs were mediocre, surprisingly (for me) many in the audience stood up to dance for the song “Danga Maari Oodhari“, which I couldn’t understand a word due to the loud music and all the whistle in the theatre.

The film had a great plot, bordering on fantasy and Director has used it well. Reducing a bit of heroism on Dhanush character in all generations could have made the film stand out, but that would have certainly disappointed fans of Dhanush – for that reason I agree with K.V.Anand for having them. Overall, a thorough entertainer you will enjoy.

anegan

 

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Chennai, Events

TAF Chiefs on a Roll

Something is wrong with me, yesterday I played cricket and today Cycling!

It was 5AM and I pushed myself to get up from bed, washed, got into my car to drive to Madras Crocodile Bank by 6:30AM. Started from my house in Mambalam at 5:30, roads were empty and I was in ECR (East Coast Road) by 5:45. It was still dark, from Neelangarai area I started seeing  fully equipped cyclists (pros) riding two in a row on the left of the road. I waved at them and continued my journey. Paid Rs.45 for a return at the toll booth, continued on and reached Madras Crocodile Bank at 6:25AM.

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Cycles were unloaded from trucks. I went to the volunteers of ACT-We Care  to sign in the roster, get my bib number and then a cycle. I was pleasantly surprised when they handed everyone a disposable shower cap along with each helmet (very thoughtful of them). In next fifteen minutes all the riders were ready and we were flagged off on our way to Mamallapuram. As soon as I got on my cycle, a familiar voice called me “Venkat”, turning around I saw V.P.Mathur (JMD, Future Focus). We both rode together, talking with a friend made the ride easier and before we knew it we were in the first pit stop. With a quick drink of water, we kept going without stopping. By 7:50AM we reached the finish line in front of G.R.T. Temple Bay Resort. I was delighted that I made it !!

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After getting our cycles

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Outskirts of Mamallapuram

We returned our cycles and we were treated to a scrumptious breakfast (Freshly made Dosa, Idli, Kancheepuram Idli, Vadai, Noodles, Upma, Cereals, Bread, Fruits, Halwa, Juice & Coffee). With a full stomach we were called in for a brief presentation ceremony where United Way Chennai presented cheques to about 8 other NGOs working on causes from domestic violence, first aid to multiple sclerosis. ECO Kitchen (an NGO working around sustainable meal production for women empowerment) talked about their program called “என்றும் புன்னகை“, a relationship and lifeskill programme for boys and girls at schools of the Corporation of Chennai. I got a nice feeling the little I did today (that too with loads of fun) helps many causes.

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Thanks to all the organizers including TAF, United Way, Act-WeCare for delivering a professional, hassle free event.

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Background: Today morning, TAF (a cycling company) had organized a cycling event called “Chiefs on a Roll” for United Way Chennai (part of the global social organization). They had two rides, a 50KM one from Tiruvanmiyur to Mamallapuram, second a 15KM from Madras Croc Bank to Mamallapuram. I went for the shorter one, as this was my first cycle (ride) event. Thanks Pravin Shekar for introducing me to this event.

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Chennai

A cricket game for fun

I am not lazy and I am not a fitness freak. I do Yoga practice twice a week, walk to places that are near-by, take the stairs daily in my office; at the same time I do enjoy eating (especially multi-cuisine). Right from my school days I was not into any sports regularly, other than a year when I took Tennis classes.

So I was surprised myself when I joined in to play a brief innings of cricket during my company’s annual offsite today at Mamallapuram. My batting and bowling (one over each) was just about acceptable I think; my colleagues I suppose kept quite, out of prudence of not making fun of their boss!.

To all my friends who will not believe that I played, see the pictures below. Thanks to my colleague “RK” who took the pictures.

Scoring the runs

Scoring the runs

To run or not to?

To run or not to?

Exhausted (!) after the game, I sat down in the beach sand, looking at the ocean and resting. Nothing relaxes more than just watching the waves.

Selfie!

Selfie!

Then they called me in for a Karaoke session. I was sitting in the back, when the DJ played one of my favourite songs – Vannam Konde Ven Nilave from Sigaram (வண்ணம் கொண்ட வெந்நிலவே) I got myself to go to the mike and start singing. Since I knew the lyrics by-heart I was residing (singing) the entire song in one go, the DJ (wisely) interrupted and kept  the mike to himself for rest of the session.

 

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Movies

Yennai Arindhaal (2015)

I watched today in Devi theatre, Ajith Kumar’s Yennai Arindhaal (என்னை அறிந்தால்). This movie was hyped as Gautham Vasudev Menon’s third super-cop action movie. Gautham’s earlier two cop movies, Kaakha Kaakha (2003) starring Suriya and Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006) starring Kamal Haasan were superhits. While watching this recent movie of Gautham, you are unlikely to forget KK and VV, you are constantly reminded about them throughout.

The story starts in the sky, inside a flight from Boston to Chennai, where a pepper-salt hairdo sporting Ajith sitting next to lovely Anushka Shetty. For Anushka (as தென் மொழி) it was love at first sight. After landing, Ajith saves Anushka from bad guys. By this time we figure out he is a cop (kind of) and we wait for his flashback to start. Gautham doesn’t disappoint us, just like in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu where Kamal’s flashback runs while he is sitting in a flight to USA (surprise), here Ajith recalls his past while sitting in a car driving in Chennai. Ajith’s past runs like in Vijayakanth starer Sathriyan (1990), a film that in my opinion set the trend for next two decades for cop genre in Kollywood. Coming back to present, Ajit fights out the bad guys and saves Anushka.

Trisha Krishnan stars as Ajith’s first love interest, though she is one of the longest running heroines in Kollywood, aging seems to have no effect on her. Trisha is more gorgeous than ever in this film, it’s a treat to watch her. Trisha’s character as dancer Hemanika is a divorcee and single mother, which reminded me of Jyothika’s character in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. Arun Vijay, one of the talented actors in Tamil film industry who unfortunately hasn’t managed to get characters that deserve his potential, has scored a home run with this movie. I felt his character as Victor to be more memorable than even Ajith’s character (Sathyadev I.P.S.), and Arun has delivered a worthy performance befitting the role. a big round of applause to him. Harris Jayaraj has done a good background score for the fight scenes, that’s about it, nothing to say about the songs.

Everyone (Ajith, Arun, Anushka) in the movie talks to themselves in many places, kind of a voice over giving a self confession. This technique was unique when Gautham delivered it in Kaakha Kaakha. It re-vibrated when Suriya speaks to us in the opening scene of KK, but doing the same in 2015, feels like the director not being sure we will understand the story telling and we need a manual to guide us through.

Coming to Ajith, this is a character that comes natural for him. He looks younger in his older (pepper-salt) makeup than his younger version. Sathyadev character is sure to be celebrated by his fans for a long time. In between the present time and the past, Ajith travels to many places around the country. The visuals showing far-away places of the country including Sikkim was breath taking to watch on screen. But this travel sequence somehow felt to be force-fitted to give a purpose to the title of the movie – Yennai Arindhaal (if you know me).

Yennai Arindhaal is a good action film, but I was expecting more from combination of an ace director like Gautham and Ultimate star.

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Continuing the trend set by Lingaa, I and Isai, Yennai Arindhaal too runs for over 3 hours, by the time interval comes fatigue sets in.

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