Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Apple iPad, Black Eyed Peas Concert in Sacramento & Others

This April has been full of events for me already. Let's see how I can put those together in words in a simpler manner than the way it happened.

The first thing was the hype of Apple iPad finally got me. Apple released it in a Friday and as the nearest shop from where I could buy was 17/18 miles aways from my home, I decided to wait for the first weekday. Hence Monday April 5th I purchased it from San Francisco near my office during lunch break. It's almost the same size as my Kindle DX (a little shorter in height, a little wider). It simply looks fabulous! I purchased the lowest priced version with Wi-fi only that costed $554 with tax and when I bought the cool cover for it the total came to $600. It's okay as my Kindle DX costed me $539 almost 9 months back anyway. I didn't buy the higher storage and didn't wait for the 3G version to come out next month as I didn't want to add another monthly data plan fee and couple of hundred bucks for the device. The most important usage of iPad for me is the Calendar as I am able to sync all my Google Calendars events as well as adding new events in my iPad Calendar. The Google Contacts and iPad Notes made me think now I have really got a bettter replacement for the plain old day's diary/journal that I used to carry around when I was in school/college/university.The iBooks application is beautiful; even better than Amazon Kindle App for iPad. Both of these apps will make iPad a perfect e-reader except that it's not good for your eyes (it doesn't use e-ink like my Kindle). Shusmita will be using the Kindle for now. The one paid app I am happy about using is GoodReader which makes managing files and web pages online and offline very handy. The other regular useful apps are Photos, Maps, YouTube, Netflix, Cricinfo Mobicast, Yelp, The Weather Channel, Chess Free, Facebook, TweetDeck, Twitterific, Wikipanion, Pandora, Flickr, Photobucket, Google Mobile Apps (including Google Talk), Shazam, Skype, Barnes & Nobles, Voice Memos, Yahoo Messenger many of which are the iPhone version that I am using currently until the iPad version becomes available.

As I had to skip the Balck Eyed Peas Concert in San Jose due to my office works in 2nd April, I compensated it by joining the same Concert in Sacramento at 7th April with Shusmita and Ahyan. As we are expecting a little brother or sister of Ahyan, I was not sure if Shusmita can make this 250 miles round trip in 2 days very easily at this early stage when she feels very tired even staying at home. However she gave it a good try as this concert we were seeing solely for Ahyan as he is  big fan of Black Eyed Peas - I gotta feeling... tonight's gonna be a good night, boom boom paw... etc. We stayed in Ramada which is within 5 miles of Arco Arena where the concert took place. I  bought Garmin nüvi 780 4.3-Inch GPS Navigator from Amazon that I recieved 2 days before the trip so it was fun to drive. Although we went a bit late starting after 5 PM in the afternoon, we found ourselves in the concert comfortably before Balck Eyed Peas came to the stage.

I took leave from office for the 8th April so we visited Fairytale town, Sacramento Zoo that day before slowly coming back to Fremont to meet Tanvir Bhai. It was a relaxing trip for us.

Nitol called the Fremont crowd to Tandoor House to meet his elder brother Tanvir Bhai, The Director of Networking Department of Spectrum Engineering Consortium Ltd. Ezaz, Shahriar, Ashfaq, Sayeem and their families (except Shorno) were there. After dinner we came for tea at my house and had some nice discussions on present status of IT industry and VOIP in Bangladesh.

Shusmita's happy birthday crossed 2nd week of this month and our freinds gathered on a surprise potluck at our house at night.

I made some improvements on my paper works as I got my passport renewed from Los Angeles Bangladesh Consulate. They renwed it only for one year so that I apply for the Machine Readable Passport within a year. I also got my PERM/Labor (Green Card Step 1) approved 16th of this month. It took almost 7 months as my lawyer applied for it last October. Now I hope to finish the rest of the paper wroks as soon as possible so that I get the travel documents and see my family, relatives and friends in Bangladesh after a long gap. I am also following up the papers with Farmers Insurance for the car accident last year. I paid off some of my credit cards as well as all the Palo Alto Medical bills. If I continue in this shape, I will hoit the magical zero balance by this year.

Shusmita's Khalu came for a sudden short visit to SFO and went back last week. We took him to Golden gate bridge and Muir beach overlook. He was in a visit to Washington DC from Grameen and all on a sudden had a quick trip assigned to visit Kaiser Parmanente setup in San Francisco Bay Area to see if this model can be replicated in Bangladesh.

I finished a few books recently. Neel Manush, Shuvro Geche Bone and Himur Neel Jochna by Humayun Ahmed were not upto the mark although the last book made me laugh a lot which often makes me read all his books. The Stars, Like Dust from Empire Series by Isaac Asimov took me long to finish as I was reading other books in between. But my best read recently is The Three Mistakes of My Life by Chetan Bhagat and I liked it for cricket references as well as simple writing style and capturing the 3/4 years time of India as a plot during the early 2000s. I am also overwhelmed by watching The Bucket List and started thinking "the mountain has it's own voice".

As we won our hiking date in lottery for Mount Whitney set to 5th June, I talked to Shusmita on how we can make it at her current condition. By 1st week of June she will be able to freely travel and hence Shahriar and Tanjeem also got interested to atke along their families. Sayeem won't be able to take Shorno as they will have their very lilttle baby by that time. This way we can go a little earlier than our hiking date, visit Death Valley and Giant Sequoa Forest in Arizona and California. So after a long long gap, I Started practice hike for Mt Whitney last Sunday evening. I thought I am out of shape due to long gaps and irregular hikings since my Yosemite Half Dome hike last year. However, I am vsurprised with my performance when I came back from the hike alone. I took the Mission Peak Stanford trail at 6:08 PM, used a timer in my iPad and my Blackberry watch to make sure the time counts are accurate. I reached the peak in 1 hr 13 min, first 53 minutes to reach the fork of Stanford   and Ohlone trail near the restroom (beating my previous record by 10 minutes) and another 20 minutes to ascend the peak. After taking a mere 7 minutes rest on top to make sure I am back to parking lot before it's too dark,  I returned in 45 minutes downhill almost running more than half of the times. Just while coming down I found one guy taking picture of a little snake and stood beside for a few minutes. How nice it was! It came towards me and when I moved it started crawling to the other guy. I also saw some other small wildlifes that makes hiking a real fun.

And Asha Bhabi gave birth to Omera Mushfiqa Islam last week at Kaiser in Hayward, the newest little girl in our Fremont Bangladeshi Community.

Thoughts on Life, Death, and Overcoming Fear

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