marathon-training

When I saw an email sent from our work that we had a chance to secure a place to run London Marathon 2014 for the charity Right To Play, I immediately responded showing my interest. Online ballot for public place in London Marathon closed in few hours after opening last year, but major charities get a set number of entries.

I’m thrilled to have secured a place to run London Marathon. I’ve pledged to raise £2000 for Right To Play

I’m running mainly because of two things.

First, it’s been a long time ambition and dream of mine to run a full marathon, and secondly an opportunity to raise money for a good cause.

Right To Play is a charity that does an amazing job of empowering and educating children facing adversity by providing them an environment to play games and sports.

Here’s Right To Play’s mission and vision.

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Mission: 
Right To Play’s mission is to use sport and play to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.

Vision:
Right To Play’s vision is to create a healthy and safe world through the power of sport and play.

Right To Play’s volunteer local Coaches deliver their programs in more than 20 countries affected by war, poverty and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and North America.

Right to Play has very high profile funders and partners like Chelsea Football Club and Goldman Sachs. I’m very proud to say that my company Polycom is one of them too.

I’ve been jogging/running 2 to 3 miles, 3 to 4 days a week for some time, but running a full marathon of 26.2 miles is different ball game altogether. I’ve got a full marathon training plan, and have started training accordingly. My 13 year old son is more excited than me about this whole thing. Although he’s not running the actual marathon, he’s fully committed to train with me. I’m really glad to have my son as a training buddy.

I’ve created a personal fundraising page at JustGiving. Your support will keep me motivated throughout the training period. Please dig deep and donate for this worthy cause.

I’ll post updates about my training experience here, on the JustGiving page, my facebook page and twitter feed.

Wish me good luck and please show your support by donating.


Over the past few years, I’ve supported and seen many of my friends and colleagues grow moustache to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

This year I’ve decided to participate myself and have some fun along the way. This will be the first time in my life I’ll be growing mustache for a month :)

It’s Movember and time to make a difference.

Men’s health is a cause I am passionate about but in order to make a difference I need your help. My commitment is to grow a moustache for the month of November and in doing so, raise vital awareness and funds for mens health including prostate and testicular cancer.

I am asking you to help support my personal journey by making a donation. The size of which isn’t important, every little contribution helps Movember to continue its funding of world class programmes. If you want to know more about what you’ll be helping to fund, you can visit Movember’s Program Overview page.

To highlight the importance of what I am doing, take a look at these statistics:
• 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
• This year 40,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in the UK
• 47% of testicular cancer cases occur in men under 35 years and over 90% occur in men under 55 years

If you’d like to help change these statistics, please donate to me by:
Donating at: http://mobro.co/niranjankunwar
• Writing a cheque payable to ‘Movember’, referencing my Registration ID: 4430153 and mailing it to: Movember Europe PO Box 68600 London EC1P 1EF

For more details, take a look at the Programs We Fund section on the Movember website: http://uk.movember.com/about/funding-overview Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men’s health.

Day one, with a clean shave…

Update: Thanks to everyone who donated, I’ve managed to raise £226 for this great cause.

Final day, before shaving…

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I’ve had a privilege of working with global service provider, experienced first-hand the benefits and pitfalls of outsourcing, got my hands dirty with many different network security technologies, designed and supported many challenging network security solutions for global enterprises.Thanks Reliance Globalcom for the opportunity.

But now it’s time to move on, new challenge, new industry…

I’ve now joined Mimecast as a Technical Operations Engineer.

Mimecast

Mimecast provides email management as a single service in the cloud that helps you slash on-premise email storage requirements, ensure complete email availability, email security and email compliance, while providing services to help you get more from your email. We call it “Unified Email Management”.

Here’s a video that explains how mimecast service works.

I’m really excited about this new role and the new challenge where I’ll be working with core grid team to maintain, design and build core infrastructure, network and security.

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I was driving to Dover on M25 when my phone rang, it was my wife, she told me that our passports have just arrived. God… I was so relieved, as if a ton weight was put down from my shoulder. Our passports were stuck in the UK Home Office for last one year, for reasons I fail to comprehend. Backlog, was their explanation. I think this horror experience with Home Office deserves a separate post.

I quickly sorted out my holiday at work and bought the tickets to Nepal. I haven’t been back home for last 4 years. We were excited about meeting our parents and relatives. After few days of marathon shopping and packing we were ready to fly. I had made up my mind a long time ago to visit Ram Bomjan (Buddha Boy) during my next trip to Nepal. My friend LTJ from Buddha Boy Google group helped me to get in touch with right people in Nepal who would finally take me to the tapasvi.

When we arrived in Nepal, the first thing I noticed was the chaotic traffic in Kathmandu, god… nobody follows the rule. After staying in Kathmandu for 2 days with my in-laws we drove to Pokhara, my home town, along the dangerous hilly highway, with breathtaking views. I missed these mountains, green fields and rivers so much.

Hilly-View
From Pokhara, I called Uman Waiba, who’s also a Buddha Boy google group member. He assured me that he’ll let the committee members and Jas Waiba (Waiba Uncle) know about my desire to visit Ram. He asked me to enjoy my trip, visit my relatives and give him a call when I arrive back in Kathmandu. I requested him to come with me if he had time and he agreed. I can’t thank Uman enough for his help and kindness.

I was planning to go alone because I was warned by Uman that accommodation, food, etc… won’t be perfect, after all it was a village. I told him not to worry, and that I was ready to accept things as they were. Basically I was planning to go there without any expectations, I just wanted to be there in Ram’s presence, and no special treatment was necessary for me. But they really treated me well and I felt very much welcomed. When my 9 year old son knew that I was going to meet Buddha Boy, he wanted to go with me too. He promised me that he won’t complain about long bumpy drive, hot weather, uncomfortable bed to sleep or maybe not his favorite food to eat, etc… etc… I’ve to admit, I’ve never seen my son so well behaved in my entire life. This was sort of a miracle for me :)

Before setting out for the journey, I decided to take a driver instead of taking the wheel myself, which turned out to be a very wise decision. The road was very rough and dangerous. One simple mistake could kill you, literally. Half of the road was mountainous, single lane used for two-way traffic, we had to reverse our car in several places to give way because two vehicles simply would’t fit. It was extremely dangerous!

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Rough road to Hetauda via Dakshinkali

Continue reading Meeting Buddha Boy

My wife called me on 27th afternoon to let me know that the eagerly awaited iPad was finally delivered. It arrived one day ahead of schedule. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I asked her not to open until I got back from office :)

The out-of-the box experience was similar to iPhone. Small package with gorgeous and slim iPad inside. I ordered a 32GB Wifi + 3G model, mainly for the GPS and mobile internet. I thought extra 100 quid was worth it. I bought the apple iPad case as well, which is probably the best case for iPad available. It really suits the iPad and can become a stand while watching movies, slideshows or when you’re turning your ipad into a digital photo album.

Ipad-Top-Small

At first glance it looks like a big iPhone/iPod touch and if you’ve used them, it’s exactly the same way to use it. After all it runs the same iPhone OS. However, you’ll immediately start feeling the difference – mainly due to the speed and screen size. Everything is so much better than on iPhone. It was easy to connect to iTunes and get started (exactly like iphone). First thing I did was to connect to wifi, it couldn’t be easier! I ordered the O2 micro sim as well (pay & go). It was easy to insert and 3G internet works well.

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Physically it looks gorgeous and perfect in every way. I thought it’s slightly heavier than it looks, but feels very nice to hold and use. It’s very much like other apple devices with few buttons (one home, one power on the top, volume and orientation lock at the side).

Once you start using it, the first thing you notice is the speed – you touch the safari icon and it immediately springs into life, same is true for photos, ipod and every other app. It’s amazingly responsive! The soft keyboard is similar to the iphones, but keys don’t popup when you press them. They’re quite big, and you can actually do some real typing with it.

Default Apps

I setup my Gmail account in Mail app. It’s nice, I like the sidebar, where you can easily navigate the emails and once you click the mail you want to read, it opens that email in full screen. You go wow…! I think Gmail (mobile version) in the browser is quite good too, I like the way Gmail natively organizes conversations. The google reader mobile version on the web is also very good.

Photos is amazing, you feel like a magician when you pinch and expand photo collection with two fingers. Videos is fantastic, I can actually foresee watching full length movies on this screen, while on the move. The iPod is much better than on iPhone because of the larger screen size. Built-in speakers are not that bad too. Youtube is another great entertainer. Maps is stunning, specially the street view.

Third Party Apps

After using the default apps that came with iPad, I started browsing and downloading the free native apps from the app store. Some of my favorites are ibooks, pages, marvel comics, the guardian eyewitness, tweetdeck, rightmove, WordPress, IMDB Movies and TV, Jampad, and … There aren’t as many native iPad apps as iPhone but I’m sure this is going to change with time. Anyway, you can use most of the existing iPhone apps too.

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Network Admin/Productivity in iPad

Obviously web browser and the email client are the most important apps but besides that built-in VPN client works like a charm (it’s a cisco ipsec vpn client), I could easily connect to our office vpn.

Ipad-Vpn

RDP Lite and VNC Lite (both free apps) work very well to give you remote connectivity to windows machines.

Ipad-Rdp

I couldn’t find any free SSH Client, so I bought iSSH for £5.99. It’s a decent ssh client, which also supports telnet and vnc.

Ipad-Ssh

Skype doesn’t have a native ipad app yet but the iphone version works well on ipad as well.

Ipad-Skype

Although you can read pdf files online and attachments in email, there’s no way to save and organize them locally in ipad, so I bought GoodReader for iPad (£0.59). It’s a pdf reader as well as file organizer, I can now carry my pdfs around with me. It’s really nice.

Ipad-Goodreader-1

Initially, I thought I would continue to use Google Docs to create and manage my documents, but unfortunately mobile safari can only view the docs, not edit them. So, I bought pages for £5.99. But I think it’s useful and worth it. The interface is well designed for touch.

Ipad-Pages

Few things I don’t like

- No front-facing camera. I think there should be no excuse not to include it, but I’m sure second generation iPad will have it.
- No third-party multi-tasking capabilities. Apple is bringing them on with iPhone OS4, so that’s good.
- No file management. I think apple should have something like GoodReader built in to the OS or at least as a free app.

Conclusion

Currently I see iPad as an excellent content consumption device but not-so-much content creation. But it has the potential to change all that with future upgrades from apple and new apps from third-party developers. My son really loves playing games and watching youtube in it and my wife loves browsing facebook :) Unlike iPhone, which is my personal device, I see iPad becoming not just my personal device but our family device. Also, from now on I can go on short trips with my iPad, confidently leaving my notebook behind.

Here’re some unboxing photos that I’ve taken, enjoy…

Click on the photo for larger image.

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I couldn’t resist myself from trying Google’s Chrome OS that got everyone buzzing.

Engadget has a very helpful video – How-to: run Chrome OS as a virtual machine. The image they’ve used is from gdgt.

Another useful how to is at TechCrunch – Want To Try Out Google Chrome OS For Yourself? Here’s How. They’re running this Chrome image (downloaded from torrent) on Sun VirtualBox.

First I tried the image from gdgt on my Vmware Fusion, it booted ok but couldn’t detect the network and was impossible to login.

I then downloaded the image from torrent (used by TechCrunch), which detected the network but strangely didn’t let me login with my google account. I did create a new google account just to try this and to be on a safer side. After reading the comments on torrent site, I figured that you can login with user “mark” and password “chromeos”. Boom… that let me in!

The first impression after few minutes of mocking around was that this wasn’t anywhere like the one demoed by Google guys. No app menu and panels. It was just like a chrome browser in virtual machine. But after playing for a while and googling around. I figured that “Ctrl Alt t” takes you to the terminal – you can sudo with the same password “chromeos”.

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After rebooting the Chrome OS from command line and re-logging in, the App Menu became available.

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I could start the sshd

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And remote login from my Mac
Chrome-Remote-Login

Personally, I think Chrome is trying to bring thin clients back in from of netbooks. Thin clients failed earlier because the networks were slow and “cloud” wasn’t there. But Chrome stands a chance as cloud is the future and it’s built with three very important goals in mind – Security, Speed and Reliability. Having said that, native softwares are absolutely must for it to succeed. Even iPhones need native apps!

As far as user experience is concerned, at the moment Chrome OS is nothing but a browser. If you want to experience the early Chrome OS – just install Chrome browser and browse your favorite sites :) . I’m sure this is going to change when Chrome OS is finally released for public next year.

Bio
Interesting development around Ram Bahadur Bomjan (Buddha Boy). He’s planning to give blessings and to protest animal sacrifice just ahead of gadimai festival.

From November 19th to the 24th, 2009 Palden Dorje a.k.a. Ram Bahadur Bomjan will be giving blessings in Ghadi Mai. He plans this appearance in order to protest the sacrificing of tens of thousands of animals before they take place on the 25th at the Ghadi Mai Festival near Nijgad in Bara District. This Ancient Nepali Festival has taken place once every five years over several millennia.

I completely support him on this one.

More about Gadimai

Wordpress-Logo-Stacked-Bg-1Finally, I’ve upgraded my wordpress installation to latest and greatest 2.8.4. I’m impressed with the latest version of wordpress. The admin section is sleek, intuitive and has several new features. I like the cool single-click auto upgrade feature.

For my RSS readers – wanted to let you know that Nirlog.com just got a facelift as well. I’ve changed my theme to Simple Balance 2.2, it’s a free theme loaded with pro features. I just love it. After testing around 20+ themes I settled for Simple Balance. It has a very clean look, options to choose different colors, supports widgets and has a built-in banner ads management system. It’s just perfect! Thanks Blogsessive for making such a nice theme and giving it for free. I’ve also tweaked the ads placement (hopefully this will give a better reading experience for those who read directly on the site). I’m displaying my last 5 tweets using a twitter widget, which is kinda cool. BTW, you can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nirlog

I’ve also moved my domain nirlog.com and this blog to hostmonster (affiliate link). They seem to have quite nice reviews and was recommended by my friend Mahesh. It’s pretty cheap too. One of the most important feature for me was the SSH access, which they have. So far so good, let’s see how it goes…

I would like to thank ISL (my previous employer in Hong Kong) for hosting my blog for free for such a long time :)

A quick note to share a moment of joy in my life with all of you. We had a baby daughter day before yesterday (14th July at 2 pm). Both mum and baby are doing fine. She weighed 3.66 kg at birth. Her name is Divya, and she completes our family.

It was a life changing experience being at the the operating theatre during her birth (I wasn’t allowed in the labour ward when my son was born in Hong Kong in 2000). Words can’t explain it! I’m sure all the dads who’re present at their child birth understand what I mean. The pain women has to go through and courage, love, care and tenderness that they show throughout pregnancy and birth is one of many things that make them so special. I think that’s one of the reasons mothers are so special in our life.

Here’re few photos I’ve taken.

Minutes after birth
Divya-1

With her mum
Divya-2

With her brother
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With her dad
Divya-3

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After getting myself into Amazon marketplace mess, finally my newly ordered D90 has arrived.

D90 is the very first DSLR to do HD video. I’ve taken few pictures and video with it and I’m impressed. The crisp quality pictures you get when you hook it up with your HD TV using hdmi connection is just breathtaking! I’ve bought few photography books and am reading all about ISOs, whitebalance, lenses, Aperture, Shutter speed, etc…

I’ve taken some pictures of my D90, enjoy…

Click on the photo for larger image.
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