Links - October 2012

I had been on a business trip (details later) earlier this month. With gazillion flight segments and a new time zone everyday, I take this as an opportunity to catch up on movies & music. Long flights provide an excellent chance to watch a few movies and tv shows, even though the experience of watching these on the tiny economy class screens leaves a lot to be desired. This time I watched Dark Shadows, Snow White & the Huntsman and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Also saw The Last Samurai & Ronin for the millionth time. Of the new lot, I liked Dark Shadows the most, and absolutely loved the song Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues. Here is a quote from the movie Dark Shadows :

Barnabas Collins: Josette... Victoria Winters: My name is Victoria Winters. But you can call me Vicky. Barnabas Collins: Enchanted. But I shall call you Victoria, a name so wonderful I could not stand to lose a syllable of it.

My search for new music peaks around my travels. I need to keep this steady throughout. Maybe I will get some help here as it looks like more of these trips are coming in the next few months. Here are top three new songs I discovered in this trip :-

David Guetta - Titanium featuring Sia The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin Malukah - Skyrim The Dragonborn Comes

I am absolutely mesmerized by Sia's & Malukah's voice. And Nights in White Satin is a beautiful song. :))

I will write about my trip in detail soon, and also share a few clicks I took using my mobile. Till then, here is an excellent quote from George Carlin, apt for the full moon night tonight.

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

 

AWS + Wordpress!

This site is now powered by Amazon Web Services, running Wordpress!  

What started as a curious exploration, resulted in me moving sidoza.com hosting from Yola.com to Amazon Web Services + Wordpress!

I remember reading somewhere that Amazon Web Services now powers around 1% of the whole world wide web (that is four w's, somehow). The article left me curious and I wanted to figure out AWS. And in the process, I decided it was high time to move my website from Yola's restrictive hosting and blogging environment to Wordpress, with which I am in love since almost half a decade now.

It is not a difficult process at all. Granted, at one stage I was back to my (very old) developer self, installing PHP, configuring Apache, installing Wordpress. And there was a time when I was not exactly sure of what I was doing (logging in using SSH, running commands like 'sudo', 'yum' etc. etc.)

Here is how I transferred sidoza.com from Yola to AWS :

  1. Sign up for AWS
  2. Get an EBS backed 64-bit Wordpress Linux image up and running. There is more than enough material available from Amazon to help you on this.
  3. SSH to the linux instance, install PHP, MySQL. Wordpress and Apache were already installed, if I remember correctly.
  4. Configure Wordpress and plugins. I chose TwentyEleven as my theme (for now).
  5. Migrate existing blog posts from Yola.com to Wordpress using RSS Importer plugin.
  6. Get a (free) IP for your instance and update the 'A' record with the domain registrar to point to AWS.

Thats it! It took me a while, and I have not migrated a lot of pages from my old site to this one. But I am happy with the outcome, and plan to build this website. And finally, it feels good to be back on my favorite blogging platform. Yola.com had become too constrained and restrictive to me.

One important point to note : There is no direct migration tool from Yola to Wordpress, but trust me, RSS Importer works fine. All you need to do is fix the image paths in your blog posts, something that was not a big deal to me since I had only 22 of these to migrate. If you have more, I am sure there is a code snippet somewhere, that allows you to change image paths in blog posts using regex or something.

Welcome to the all new sidoza.com!

Premier League Season 2010/2011 Review!

Although the English Premier League Season for 2010/2011 has ended almost a month ago, I have just found some time to review the predictions I made back in August 2010, and see how those panned out. My Club I expected Roy Hodgson to stick around and change the fortunes of my club. While the former did not stick around for too long, the later almost happened. With Kenny Dalglish taking the reins at Liverpool, enthusiasm and energy is once again visible in the team and we now play with a lot more flair and confidence. Although my prediction was for Liverpool to be in the top four all season long, the way things ended, we were quiet lucky to just miss on a Europa League position by finishing sixth.

Title Contenders I had predicted that the title contenders will be Manchester United and Chelsea, but in the end it was a one horse race, and cost Carlo Ancelotti his job. Sad to see Manchester United winning the league again, but they were never really given a run for their money by anybody. I lose out again by predicting Chelsea to pick up the Premier League.

Rest of the Best With Liverpool not fairing in the top four, both Manchester City and Arsenal get a place in the top four, while Tottenham had to make do with a place in the Europa League. And none of them was consistent enough to deserve anything more than this.

The Upper Mid Table I predicted Birmingham, Aston Villa, Everton & Newcastle to finish up with the top half of the table, but Birmingham could not even manage to prolong their stay in the league and Newcastle finished 12th. In their place came Fulham and Sunderland, two teams I could not have thought about.

The Other Half While I predicted a tight battle for relegation, what we saw was a bottom half as tough and unpredictable as any in recent seasons. My bets for relegation were West Brom, Blackpool & Wolves, but in the end it was Blackpool, Birmingham and West Ham who got relegated. And West Brom finished 11th!

So here is my prediction and final results side by side for a quick recap :

Prediction Result
Liverpool 3rd 6th
Title Chelsea Manchester United
Champions League Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal
Europa League Arsenal Tottenham
Relegation West Brom, Blackpool, Wolves Birmingham, Blackpool, West Ham

As you can clearly see, betting is clearly not an advisable career option for me :) !

12 Pillars for Happiness!

In the month of December, I had the privilege of visiting Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore) for attending a 5 day residential leadership program. Needless to say, it was absolutely brilliant. After 10 years in the corporate world, the academic program was a breath of fresh air and revitalized me and most of my fellow participants. We had a range of sessions in the program, covering the topics of Corporate Entrepreneurship, Personal and Interpersonal Effectiveness, Leadership, Strategy, Branding, Execution, Negotiating etc.

In one of the sessions, we had a spirited discussion on Happiness & Passion. Our faculty for the session, DVR Seshadri, gave us the following 12 pillars for achieving happiness :-

  • Rise to your full potential
  • Set your own metric for success
  • Give rather than take
  • The only reality is now
  • This phase will also pass
  • Have an attitude of gratitude
  • Everything happens for good
  • The last shirt has no pocket
  • Strive for balance
  • Respond, not react
  • What we know is a small part of what exists
  • Change, and the world around you changes

These are the 12 pillars for a happy life for your body, mind, heart, soul & intellect, based on the foundation of your core values.

Brilliant!

Recent Readings

I have been reading a lot lately. Atleast by my own standards. This is partly due to a consistent inability to go to bed on time (lack of sleep), and partly due to a friend lending some good books to me. My recent readings are primarily fiction novels, but around half a dozen of business books are up next. Find below a list of some of the stuff I have read in the last fortnight or so :- The Bridges of Madison County is easily the best love story ever written. Even if you have watched the movie, going through this novel is highly recommended. The Maltese Falcon is worth a read, but nothing more. The Laughing Policeman is a lot better though and you can feel the frustration of the lead character, until he is able to sort things out. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a fast paced pop novel with colorful characters and a gripping plot. It even gave me goose bumps a couple of times...