About

I'm Sunil Shenoy: a programmer, UI designer and a movie buff. I currently live in Mumbai,India.

Namaste. Be Good.

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Travel Diaries: Andaman n Nicobar Islands

I recently took a trip to Andaman with a few friends. If you have never been to Andaman before, I would definitely recommend going there, although I would advice against booking a package from one of the tour operators.

A photo posted by [email protected]@[email protected]@ (@narayanaprasadr) on

This was my first time taking a trip from a tour operator. We got the trip booked from Yatra.com and the operator there did ensure that we did not have a good trip. The hotel we got put up in was way really far from the city centre, the ferry tickets were always booked at the last moment and very little of planned for what we did the entire day.

Should we be blaming the local tour operator or the travel portal? As my friend said, it’s always the person who I booked from who will get blamed, in this case Yatra.com.

Andaman is a good place to to visit, if you want to disconnect
Really, there is almost no mobile reception. BSNL and Airtel are the two service providers, but even they only have a good cell reception with almost no mobile data facility.

Vodafone, although works well in Port Blair(again, without mobile data), but has no service in any of the other islands.

No phone calls and the smart phone battery lasted the entire day.

Beaches and the sea food
This sounds a bit obvious since Andaman is an island, but the beaches were clean and well maintained compared to some of the other beaches around India.

Avoid the food in the resort and try some sea food stalls around the beach. We had some of the best sea food by the beach in a small food stall.

Get a two wheeler and explore yourself
We spent most of the time exploring Neil island by ourselves rather than depend on the tour operator. The two wheeler ride and being able to spend as much time as we wanted at the beach was one of the highlights of the trip.

Chocolate Brownie
If you like chocolate as much as I do, do visit the Barefoot Bar & Brasserie restaurant in Havelock Island. One of the best choclate brownies I have ever tasted.

Happy New Year. Hope this year brings you loads of joy and happiness

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Unwavering Focus

A really good TED talk.

We are never thought how to focus and wonder why we are distracted all the time.

I have started switching my phone to night mode from 12 PM to 5 PM every day and I also turn off notifications on my mac. This is my create time. I do miss a few calls and text messages, but its worth the trade off of getting good work done.

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Three one

Crossing over to the other side of 30’s.

Mayur shared this image with me a few hours ago.



After watching this episode from friends, I used to always think this is how I would feel. Why God?! Why me? Let the others grow old.

But now that I am here, on the other side of 30s, I don’t feel this way. Each year has been better than the previous one and I can’t wait to see what's in store for next year.

I saw this video by Simon Sinek yesterday (you should watch it too) and I agree with a few things he said. Not everything is great all the time. And this held true for me this year. Not everything was great, but the bad outweighed the good and I hope that trend continues.

Work

I did some of my best work this year. Got to work on and solve some really interesting problems with some really interesting people and I did not know how the days and months went by. I even skipped gym for 4 months because there was too much good work waiting to get done.

Brightpod was definitely the highlight and we released some really good features this year. Timer, real time notification, better filters for projects and improved loading time thanks to Redis. Brightpod keeps getting better each week.

My goal this year was to release 2 iPhone apps and although I did work on two apps this year, one of them never made it past beta stage and the other will be released early next year.

Ionic, CakePHP, Redis, Laravel, Node.js(Botkit) and CodeIgniter are the tools I spent most of my time with this year.

Personal

"Exercise regularly" was high on my list of things to do this year. Although not regular I managed to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Getting to spend more time with my niece is also something I really thankful for. Coffee dates with her is a weekly highlight.

Most of my friends are married now or getting married soon(Hi Sanat and Prerna) and it’s great to see them with their partners and getting to spend time with them.

Got to attend a few weddings too this year. Archeet and Nikkis recently and looking forward to Sanat and Prenas wedding on Sunday.

Travel

This year has not been that great in terms of travel due to a financial setback in early January. But I still managed to travel to a few places.

Goa(twice)
Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Delhi
Hyderabad
Mahabaleshwar

Road trip in Sweden, Norway and Denmark was the highlight this year. Sweden and Norway are now on my list of countries I can live in. "How can people be so nice?" are words I kept repeating during the trip.

Context

I had a really interesting discussion with a friend last week about context. Now that I have had more time to think about it, I see what he was getting to. Not everyone will get your problems / topic of discussion, if they don’t have context about where you are in life. Everyone’s at a different stage in their life and when you share your story, the one’s who are able to understand are people who have similar context to you.

Next Year

So much more to write, but this already seems like a long post. Things I want to do in 2017:

Focus on a few things.
Exercise and write a blog post every day.
Launch and maintain one web app and one mobile app
Travel to at least 4 new countries.
Make time to date someone seriously.
Spend more time with family and friends.

Hope you all have a great 2017.

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Migrating from Site5

Following my previous post about server setup for web applications, I have now moved this blog from Site5 to DigitalOcean.

I have been using a shared hosting account with Site5 since 3 years now and 2 days ago the cPanel account at Site5 got hacked compromising my blog and a few other client projects I was supporting.

Since I did not hear from Site5 and their support has been non responsive, I decided it was time to move this blog to DigitalOcean, a service I have been using and recommending quite a lot.

Not being great at customer support is no longer an option. I always wonder why more companies don’t invest resources in hiring the best support staff. Any response is better than no response at all.

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Server Setup For Your Web Application

I have been wanting to write about server setup’s for web application since a long time, but I found this article today written by DigitalOcean which does a better job at explaining common setups.

5 Common Server Setups For Your Web Application

Most of my setup’s today are Separate Database Server, but I am looking into adding a load balancer to the setup soon.

DigitalOcean is my recommended hosting provider. Do give them a try if you looking to setup a server for testing /production of your application. I am slowly moving all my projects there. Here is my affiliate link.

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Last minutes changes

You’ve spent a week or two working on this feature. You’ve spent time testing it and everything seems to be working well. You have a launch date set and it’s finally the day to deploy.

You go over all the updates one last time and discover a few things which need to be updated. Last minute changes are almost never welcome. Do you hold the launch or launch it knowing that the feature is missing a few details?

Facing the exact situation yesterday, I decided to do the latter. Launch, knowing that the feature is missing a few details. If the changes were critical I would have delayed the launch but these were not critical changes.

The good part about software is that you can always roll out the next update the same day. I am updating the feature again today. All the issues from yesterday’s list are now fixed.

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How to run a company with (almost) no rules

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Fighting against a current habit

If you are building a B2B software application you are fighting against a current habit your target customer has. In most cases, it’s either email or excel sheet. These two tools can be used for a variety of purpose and are used every day by a lot of people.

Why would they want to switch from something they use every day to your tool? From something they are comfortable using and don’t have to spend time learning to learning how to accomplish a certain task in your tool? These questions are worth thinking about.

They are indeed looking to switch to something better, but as soon as they face any issues with the new way of working with your tool, they will be quick to move back to the tool which worked well. Email and excel have been around for more than a decade now.

When you say your software is better, makes it easier, helps streamline and provides a unified view, I hope you also consider making it really easy to get started with. As easy as email and excel.

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The most difficult challenge when building anything...

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Reviewing Code

Not sure when reviewing code became a habit, but it is now part of routine before deploying new code to production.

Git diff is really helpful and lets me know of the new code being pushed.

It always surprises me that during review I notice conditions or logging methods that I missed adding to the code. There are less surprises and errors in production environment.

I use Beanstalk to deploy code to production and would highly recommend using this, if you are still deploying code via drag n drop using a FTP client.

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