Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Munnar Day – 2

Basking in the Sun’s rays

The next day we somehow managed to get up real early and we set off at 5:30 am for a walk around the town of Devikulam. I must say, it is a really beautiful town. I just loved it. I would love to upload more photos of it in the blog, but that would make this too long. As we walked admiring the beauty and simplicity around us we came across a church perched on top of a small hill with steps leading to it. We climbed up and this was truly a heavenly experience. With the first rays of the early morning sun hitting us through the trees at this wonderous church , made the experience truly holy and heavenly. It was a different feeling all together to bask in those enchanting rays and watch the mist slowly fade away among the hills and tress, clearing up to reveal a beautiful town. This is a feeling that will remain imprinted at the back of my head no matter what. What a beautiful way to start the day!

In Devikulam town

Then we went on forward and into the town. The town appeared to be built during the british colonial times. This can be easily inferred from the architecture of the buildings here with those huge brick like shapes and signature british style and colors. We saw a couple of cute little pussies on the way. They really were adorable and were hiding by the house of some advocate. It was very calm, tranquil and soothing to walk through the town and finally arrive at Rajalakshmi for breakfast. I had never had Appam before, and I must say it is quite good and you must try it. After a heavy breakfast and some refreshing tea we headed back to the hotel to freshen up.

View at the dam

We got ready to go surprisingly fast, and got to the auto waiting for us outside. The auto guy turned out to be a real helpful and pleasant-mannered guide, Munnar- If you wanna hire an auto you hire it here. We first went through the beautiful roads absorbing all the enchanting views around us. Then we stopped on the way to look at a tree infested with honey bee hives. The driver told us that it wild bee honey was famous in Munnar and these hives were set up within 6 months of extracting honey from the earlier ones. But I wonder why the bees would want to build their hive in the same place their friends got incinerated ? After about half an hour on the auto again we reached Matupatty dam. It was beautiful but too picture perfect for me. I generally don’t fall into love with mainstream places that much, so I din’t really enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed my walk in the morning.

Indo Swiss Farm

Again back onto the auto we stopped at a place called photo point. I never understood the point of naming a place photo point when travellers and tourists are not allowed to shoot photos there. Apparently you had to pay to actually take photos over there and the price would be reasonable only if you were shooting a movie. This again looked very artificial to me. As we went a little forward we stopped by the Indo-swiss farm. We could’nt go in as we needed recommendation and influence. So all we could do was go close to the fence and watch the beautiful cows graze and enjoy the tranquil beauty and wish we had done something to get inside the farm and have a bit of that beautiful cheese which I had been dreaming about.

View near Chundavurrai estate

We went on to echo point. Again I could feel the same artificial beauty(I mighta repeated it a couple o times :P) but then on the plus side we did have a great breakfast – bread omelette and maggi noodles. We also tried cinamon,masala and lemon teas. They were bad here maybe except the masala tea. So my recommendation – maggi noodles and bread omelette.The onward journey to the other boathouse was really good. The views (especially near chundavurrai tea estate) along the road were wonderous and I really loved it. You could just stare out of the auto and get lost in your own thoughts. Ah!….How delightful it was !….

Fresh Fish being sold on the Hills!

Next on the list was Kundala lake where we wanted to do some boating. More than the lake I loved the huge trees around it. I wish they’d maintain it better, then it would have been even better. The Kundala dam was damn narrow with space for only one vehicle to fit across its width at a time. I wanted to try out the row boat and my friends preferred the peddle boat. My choice was voted out and so we did get on to the pedal boat. It was a leisurely afternoon and I almost fell asleep on it. We saw quite a few ducks and just lazed around in our seats on the boat when we were’nt watching them…..Oh!…we were also pedaling (stating the obvious). Then we got back to the auto where we had o make a choice between the Tata tea museum and Top slip due to lack of time. We chose the Tata tea museum as we could’nt miss that….I definetely don’t regret this choice!….it was totally worth it!

Now it was time for the long trip back. We did do some constructive work on our way. We got into a tea garden for the view and the true feel of being in Munnar. It was great. We also bought around a litre of honey for Rs80 thanks to our helpful auto driver, saw lots of trees being chopped and later found out that they were the ones used to make papper, ate passion fruits(awesome!) and fresh carrots before we stopped by an elephant camp. I really wish I paid and took the elephant ride through the tea garden. So hope none of you miss it and start regretting it like me. Then we went on back to the city and to the Tata tea museum.

We hurried into the museum as it was almost time for it to close. There we had a good cup of complimentary cinnamon tea. Then we went in to watch the documentary on the history of the Tea companies in Munnar. It was pretty good.(Except for the actors) The museum was great with a collection of antiques from the british times, everything from telephones and old typewriters to animal trophies. We were then shown and explained the manufacturing process of tea. One thing you should not miss here is buying the white tea and black tea. I had white tea and its just exquisite!….you should definitely try it!

Antiques in the tea museum

Once we were back at the hotel it was time to take a bath and go back to Rajalakshmi for some good hot dinner. It was a fun night with all of us going crazy for no reason. We finally got back to the hotel to get up at 6 the next morning and move on to the Cochin side.

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WebRTC – Getting started !

I have got some exciting news – The WebRTC project is gaining some real momentum now. How do I know this? For starters the weekly Mozilla WebRTC meeting on Google+ has become crowded. A couple of months back when I first joined the hangout to see what WebRTC was all about there used to be hardly six people. Now, I have to fight for space on the hangout as only ten people can be accommodated at a time, and people have to keep dropping off after their relevant part is done to accommodate others (Yes! we need a better meeting solution – hopefully WebRTC will cater to our needs). The other reason for this gain in momentum is more people are getting involved as the components are getting stabler and better by the day thanks to the super enthusiastic, skilled and hardworking people involved in the project. Presently, there are a few developers working on creating some cool demos (and hopefully tutorials) for WebRTC which is exactly what we want now. Now, gUM is pretty much stable. Peer Connection has made real progress with a few demos where you could make video calls and Datachannels is being used to create a demo – this is a social app with filesharing also included as of its many awesome features. This is what I call real progress. Itching to try out WebRTC? Don’t know where to start? Want to know what can be done? Well, I am hoping this post will be of some use to all those who are deluded by these questions and maybe it will even fuel your interest to start experimenting with WebRTC.

A good place to start exploring WebRTC is gUM. My first reason for suggesting gUM is that it is the most stable and least buggy of all the WebRTC components. The second reason is that it is the easiest to use for a newbie as there is very little to learn about how it works and it can be easily integrated with whatever you are working on 😉 I forgot to mention the obvious, the reason I use it – its just so much  FUN! 🙂 A simple demo on gUM created by Anant is the best place to try out gUM. Here, you can see that you can get audio and video independently or together, how cool is that? And of course for those of you obsessed with yourselves there is an option to take a photo of yourself! Yay! To get this demo to work you will need the Nightly version of Firefox from nightly.mozilla.org Then you will have to change the preferences which can be accessed by typing about:config in the address bar. Then toggle the following two preferences to true – media.navigator.enabled and media.navigator.permission.disabled. This should have you all set for the demo and voila! Your first look into WebRTC! (*Any bugs or problems you have, we would be happy to hear about them and fix them asap – you can report on bugzilla or just add a comment to this post*)

To get a better idea on how to write code check out the source of the demo on gUM that I had previously mentioned. Now, let us walk through the code or rather the part that matters the most and help you get a better idea on how this works! I am sure you’ll manage with the rest of the code. (My explanations might sound naive to a first time user but you are welcome to mail me or catch me on IRC)

    try {

The gUM function starts here. You can specify the parameters you want to pass through the param argument. A valid set of parameters would be the ones which determine the values of video_status, audio_status and picture_status bool values used later on.

window.navigator.mozGetUserMedia(param, function(stream) {
message.innerHTML = "<p>Success!</p>";

Depending on the bool value of video_status the video stream is obtained and played or the code in the if block is ignored.

if (video_status) {
 content.appendChild(video);
 video.mozSrcObject = stream;
 video.play();

Depending on the bool value of audio_status the audio stream is obtained and played or the code in the if block is ignored.

} else if (audio_status) {
content.appendChild(audio);
audio.mozSrcObject = stream;
audio.play();

Depending on the bool value of picture_status the picture is taken and displayed or the code in the if block is ignored.

} else if (picture_status) {
content.appendChild(picture);
picture.src = window.URL.createObjectURL(stream);
picture.onload = function(e) {
window.URL.revokeObjectURL(this.src);
}
}

The function and catch statements are used to display error messages in case gUM fails due to some of the commonly known ways of incorrect usage.

 }, function(err) {
message.innerHTML = "<p class='error'>" + err + "</p>";
stopMedia();
});
} catch(e) {
message.innerHTML = "<p class='error'>" + e + "</p>";
stopMedia();
}

For more info on gUM you should check out the following links –
W3C Draft

First part of WebRTC landed

gUM has just Landed

gUM still image capture for Android has landed

Talk on WebRTC