All posts by Vineet

Upgrading my Gaming PC with a Solid State Drive (SSD)

It took me years to catch up to the PC Master race when I first started upgrading my PC around 4 years ago. With the recent upgrade to RX 480 GPU my PC stepped into an uncharted territory. But there was still a final piece of puzzle that wasn’t in it’s place but which had the potential to make my PCMR journey to it’s final conclusion. Combine this with the fact that India was about to see a revolution in terms of economy with the new implementation of taxation, that is GST (Goods and Services Tax), I had to act fast. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and finally buy the last piece of the puzzle, an SSD!

I did my research on the forums. I studied the technologies provided by different companies, benchmarks and various kinds of SSD that was available. I studied the price to performance metrics, and price per GB of disk. I watched various youtube videos on YT, including the all too popular channel Linus Tech Tips. All that R&D pointed to me a very clear choice: Samsung Evo 850 250 GB.

Brand Model Capacity (GB) Price Price per GB Link
Samsung 750 EVO 120 4499 37 Link
Samsung 750 EVO 250 7499 30 Link
Samsung 850 EVO 250 7600 30 Link
WD Green 120 3999 33 Link
WD Green 240 6151 26 Link
WD Blue 250 6700 27 Link
Kingston SSDNow UV400 120 3949 33 Link
Kingston SSDNow UV400 240 6499 27 Link
Kingston SSDNow V300 120 4149 35 Link
Kingston SSDNow V300 240 9179 38 Link
Kingston SSDNow A400 120 4200 35 Link
Kingston SSDNow A400 240 6499 27 Link
Crucial MX300 275 7150 26 Link
Damn, it’s deceiving simplicity!

This SSD was one of the most technology superior SSD only below the Pro series of SSDs by Samsung. Unlike the Pro series though, Evo series was way better in terms of Price to performance ratio. But what sold me to finally go with Samsung Evo was the fact that it came with the software Samsung Magician. It has a feature which they call Rapid Mode, which when turned on, uses a portion of RAM (about  1 GB at the moment) as an SSD cache to better utilize the resources that we have, and also to increase the longevity of the SSD which is already very good than other competing drive. No this is not a promoted post, rather I am genuinely impressed by the features of Samsung’s Evo SSD.

I choose 250 GB since I needed to install two OS on the drive: Windows 10 and Ubuntu. I needed ample space on Windows 10 to install various big editing tools like Premiere and development IDEs like Visual Studio. With a 250 GB drive (which actually means 232 GB of usable space) I could use both OSes and even leave 20% of the drive empty (which is recommended to have the drive function optimally).

I waited for few days to see if the price of Samsung Evo 250 GB could go down (from Rs 7599), but eventually bought the drive from eBay where I managed to get the same for around Rs 6700. I think it was a great deal considering the fact that GST was about to kick in, and prices could go high soon.

The day I got my SSD, my happiness knew no bounds. I was surprized by the fact that the drive was so tiny and so light that it was baffling to imagine the power it actually hold. I installed the SSD as soon as I could reach home from my workplace and started to install the operating systems. I didn’t have any spare SATA cables lying around so I just borrowed the SATA cable of my optical drive. (At this moment, I was glad I had an optical drive, and didn’t fall in the suggestion from my online friend to do away with it when I was building my PC).

I faced numerous problems making my PC dual boot with Windows 10 and Ubuntu. I could manage to install both the OS on it, but the Ubuntu bootloader (GRUB) didn’t work. After various trial and error, I realized I accidentally made my SSD an MBR disk (when I first launched the Disk Management in windows). So I turned the SSD into a GPT drive (from Disk Management) and this time around after I installed both the OSes, the GRUB menu worked perfectly. I also did have to make a change in the BIOS boot meny, to allow the GRUB to take priority over Windows  Boot Manager.

I ended up making following partitions on the SSD:

  • /sda1 (150 GB for Windows 10)
  • /sda2 (30 GB for Ubuntu)
  • /sda3 (NTFS drive without assigning a drive letter and configured later to have Over Provisioning explained below).

And of course there are other partitions made by Windows which it creates before installing.

Over Provisioning is a feature which you can set using Samsung Magician and which allows to set aside a portion of the SSD  which will be kept free, since SSDs work best when there is less data on it. After installing the OSes on SSD, setting up over provisioning and running the standard benchmark I was all set to compare some application launch times. Following table shows the comparison of time taken by various activities on my PC before and after installing the SSD.

Activity HDD Time SSD Time Comment
Windows 10 Install 8:00 6:00 From Install start to first Reboot
Ubuntu 16.04 Install 8:00 7:00 From ubuntu installation beginning to first Reboot
Win 10 cold boot to desktop 0:45 0:23 Time from pressing the power switch to desktop. It includes time to select Windows 10 (which is 3rd option on GRUB menu) and login password prompt. So can be made faster.
Boot time to Windows including startup apps 2:14 0:50 Including various applications loading in background (Dropbox, steam, discord, telegram, IDM and more) and till Firefox’s speed dial tab loads.
Boot time of Ubuntu 0:40 0:30 Time from pressing the power switch to desktop. It includes time of GRUB menu and password prompt. So can be made faster.
Applications launch time on cold reboot:
Adobe Photoshop CS4 0:11 0:06
Premiere Pro CC 2014 0:17 0:08
VS Studio Community 2017 0:07 0:03
Rocket League first time 0:14 0:10 Time from launching app till 1st car appears skipping the cutscenes

Note following points regarding above timings:

  1. These are no way very scientific in numbers.
  2. Actual time can be decreased, like boot time, by removing the boot menu and password logins.

Here is the Crystal Disk Mark report of the SSD (which is more scientific):

In comparison following are the result of the benchmark on my HDD (WD 1 TB Blue):

After I enabled the Rapid mode, the results showed around 5X improvements:

This experience of upgrading to SSD has been really fruitful.  Not only I was able to give my PC a big boost in disk performance, but also managed to beat the GST (applicable in India from July 1) due to which (or coincidentally) prices of SSD is now Rs 8295 (up from Rs 7500) on and even better, on, from where the original listings have ended and now lowest price is Rs 7699.

All I now need is a new monitor to make a dual monitor setup, a 1 TB HDD to make a RAID array of disk, another GPU to Crossfire for mining cryptocurrency… Oh, the need never ends. 😉

Year 2016 at a Glance: An year of experiences

So Year 2016 proved to be a year I saw snow peaks for the first time in my life, went to a road trip, ascended to PC Master race and also went on to be a gamer, full throttle. This article is an account of things that shaped the year 2016 for me and the places I traveled to.

Rocket League became Life!

Right of the bat in Jan 2016, I was introduced to this game that was about to take my life by storm. I have wrote about Rocket League earlier. The most played game I played was Burnout Paradise which clocked around 137 hours. But as the year ended I reached a bit shy of 1000 hours playing this mother of a game. This game is the single most constant thing that happened to me in the year 2016. This was the game I looked out to play almost every night after I returned from a busy day at work. This was the game that taught me competing. This was the game with a steep learning curve, that made the wins deserving and the losses feel bad. It’s easy to get carried away, but I can’t ignore my experience of around 1000 hours that I poured in this game. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this game ignited the real gamer out of me.

Ascension to PC Master Race with Radeon RX 480 GPU

During the end of year, when I was completely hooked into Rocket League, I realize the one thing that was holding my experience of the game was that I didn’t have a dedicated GPU to handle the video graphic processing that my PC wanted to do. At this time, AMD came up with its new series of Radeon Graphics chips known as Polaris using the new 14 nm FinFET manufacturing process. It blew Nvidia’s technology and gave it a solid competition. It was here that I finally decided to spend my Amazon’s $90 credit to use and ordered the MSI’s rendition of RX 480 which I fall in love when I saw it the first time. I have wrote about my ascension in this blog. With this new GPU, I could now also play games like Quantum Break, with its time bending premise sure got me dazzled when I first played it.

Amazon’s Prime Video Streaming service:

In December, I came to know about the Amazon’s prime video service, which they launched for India. At an introductory offer of Rs 500 for a year I was lured in to try that. First month was even free. I wrote about Amazon Prime in this post and started with the series “Man in High Castle” and boy did it blew me away. What if Russian had won the world war 2 was an interesting premise and with the hint of Sci Fi, this easily got me hooked. It was a great way to end the year.

Tweasure Hunt in March:

On the evening of 11th Marc, when my friend Ankur told me about an activity being happening on weekend in Hauz Khas village, named “Tweasure Hunt”, sponsored by “So Delhi”. On 12th March, we convinced my former colleague Nasir (with whom I went to a trip to Kasauli last year) and Ankur’s friend Rahul to be a part of. What went on 12th of March was a trip I can’t really forget. The name of “Tweasure” hunt isn’t a typo since it was aptly named due to the fact that Twitter and Instagram was involved in the hunt and to score points. Running around in the market of Hauz Khas village, the four of us went on a trip to explore restaurants and shops and to try to complete activities for most scores. You can read more about the Tweasure Hunt in this blog and watch a video, where sadly we didn’t appear despite the fact that we were interviewed at the end of the day. :'(

Manali Trip in May

Then in May, Me, Ankur and Nasir decided to team up again for a trip to Manali. I just wanted to experience one thing that I didn’t do in my sane life before. That was to experience snow fall in first person. Was my dream going to be true? We had the weekends to find out. So out we went on the Manali trip via an AC bus booked by Nasir on a Friday night, and reached Manali the morning of Saturday. That day we booked a room in a hotel, wandered Manali and the market. The Mall road was a pretty busy street where we got to see a lot of crowd from all over India and even outside India. On this day we also went to Beas river, crossing a park.

Rohtang Pass

The next day we went to where I was suppose to go, “Rohtang Pass”. At around 13k feet, we reached there in a local bus and was astounded to see the peaks of snow covered peaks even before we reached the stop for Rohtang Pass. We had forgotten to rent snow boots and snow protective gear thinking we will be able to get that in the Pass. But we were wrong and no gear was available to rent on top of the mountain. There were no snow sports, or eatable stalls either. We learned that those were removed to make the Pass cleaner. But this disappointment didn’t stop us from making our way to the top of a peak. In our sports shows and no gloves, Ankur and me climbed to the top of a mountain, slowly and steadily. We were holding snow and climbing with our bare hands while taking enough breaks to let it warm. I knew the dangers of Hypothermia and didn’t want to be a victim of the same, hence precautions were necessary. While the excitement was trying to get the best of us, still we manged to safely climb to the top and take amazing pictures.

The 3rd and final day of Manali trip we made our way to Solang Valley, which is popular for various activities like Paragliding. We didn’t actually did paragliding since the price was not worth the 5 min flies they were providing. Yet we enjoyed wandering and posing for weird pictures that will be remembered forever. Overall our trip of Manali was a great trip and a good weekend getaway.

Dhampur Road Trip in October

My friend Ankur decided to celebrate his birthday in his hometown Dhampur, where a Ramayan path was also scheduled. So we went to Dhampur on the weekend on Ankur’s Yamaha FZS v2 bike. This was a road trip one of its kind, since I hadn’t traveled on bike with him for such distance of about 173 km. It was a fun trip. I recorded our journey throughout. We ate in dhabbas and took breaks for photography in between. Ankur’s family welcomed this seemingly alien looking me and I participated in reciting Ramayan’s verses. Together with Ankur we also went to wander the streets of Dhampur and visit temples. I got to eat some famous Dhampur food like, “singade ki kachri” and “moong ki daal“. This trip was such a humbling experience that I am glad I took part in. On our return trip we also made our way to Ganga ghat and we did a ride on a boat.

Road Trip to Dhampur

Dalhousie Team outing in November

This time, as part of the team outing at my workplace we went to the team outing of Dalhousie. Traveling together in a Bus we reached Dalhousie in an overnight. And while we stayed in Snow Valley Resort, we didn’t actually was able to experience snow. The place had a cool temperature though, enough to give chills at night. But that didn’t stop us from taking a stroll in the market in evenings. We visited Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary, which was nothing but a fancy park, no sight of animals at all. We also went to Khajjiar Lake and the sight of it was amazing. It was here that we did horse riding. It was my first time feeling like a rodeo. Riding on a horse’s back wasn’t the most comforting things I did while on the trip. Shopping at Gandhi Chowk Shopping Plaza was also a fun experience. I collected some samples of the taste of Dalhousie like pickles and chutney. Our journey back to Delhi was via train, which if you me at all must know that I loved every bit of it.

Khajjiar Lake

Trip to Nani’s village in early December

The year was about to end with a something unforgettable. The journey to my Nani’s home in a remote village of Bihar. (Nani = My mother’s mother). I took a long leave from my workplace to participate in the marriage ceremony of Alok, my cousin from maternal side in early December. My Nani is one of the coolest person on earth, who is still more active  than me and loves to eat and talk. She was a very active participant in all the marriage ceremonies and put everyone to shame when it comes to get their chores done.

My Nani village – Fish Eye Lens

The marriage ceremony lasted for days, where I got to travel to Patna and back and danced to the beats of Dholak and got to eat delicacies enough to make me reach to ninth cloud. I also payed a visit to Darbhanga with my dad to take care of some personal matters. Together it was an amazing experience that lasted a little too long when our return train got cancelled due to unexpected fog, and we had to book another train which also got delayed by a day. Needless to say, the manager at my workplace wasn’t happy.

In the end, not much changed in my life except that I gave my PC a new breath and got myself new experiences and memories that will a part of me for forever.

Ascension to PC Master Race: 11 years in the making

Its a dream of every PC geek out there to have a PC that they can treat it as their own personal super computer. It took me just south of 11 years to reach from a Pen 3 PC to now a Core i5, RX 480 rig. Two years ago I wrote about how I started working on PC from a Pen 3 PC. I quote here,

It was in my college that my father was able to buy for me a Pen 4 PC in 2005, Internet connection 3 yrs after that, and recently I upgraded to a Core i5 PC after more than 7 yrs.

So here’s a little back story of how I managed to pull off a Core i5 and what experiences lie behind it.

I started with a PC when I was in school that I didn’t own. I owe it to my relative, the PC of which included a configuration of Pen 3, 20 gigs of HDD and a 15″ CRT monitor, on which I use to play Carmageddon Apocalypse and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; and learn to program in C++ by building a program as my hobby.

Later in 2005 when I entered college, my dad bought for me a Pen 4 rig. It included a 512 MB of RAM stick and a 17″ CRT monitor. It was an exciting time. Steam, a much loved gaming platform from Valve had managed to reduce piracy in games and people started to buy genuine games legally. It was that time when I managed to build a good collection of games in steam sales. But the Pen 4 chip started to hinder my gaming abilities and motivated me to upgrade. So in 2012 I finally decided to upgrade my Pen 4 rig. But I didn’t reach to my Core i5 built until now. I didn’t use to earn much. So I assembled a very budget friendly following APU built:

1Mobo+CPUGigabyte E350N Motherboard
2CabinetCooler Master Elite 310 Cabinet
3SMPSCorsair CMPSU-430CXV2UK 430 Watts PSU
4HDD500 GB WD Cavier Blue
5RAMKingston ValueRAM DDR3 2 GB (KVR1333D3N9/2G) x2
6ODDSamsung DVD Writer

[I used components of this PC to make my Core i5 PC later, but the heart, APU remains the same].

But this APU machine could only do so much. Sure it was a perfect blend of processing and graphics capabilities but playing a game on decent quality was still a dream. I managed to play less resource intensive games like Trackmania, Burnout Paradise, Portal, Grid 1 (on low setting) and multi player game like Teeworlds (which frankly could also be run from a Raspberry Pi).

I had a long term plan when I built an APU machine. I was saving up for something big. I got lucky to win a contest from Microsoft and got some voucher on Bought the Core i5 processor from US in 2013 and assembled my primary PC which you can see the specs of below.

1MonitorHP Pavillion 22XW Monitor (1080p)
2CabinetCooler Master Elite 310
4PSUCorsair CMPSU-430CXV2UK 430 Watts PSU
5ProcessorIntel 3.2 GHz LGA 1150 4570 i5 4th Gen
6RAMG.Skill DDR3 4 GB X 1 and
G.Skill DDR3 8 GB X 1
7MotherboardMSI H87M-G43
8HeadphonePhilips SHP 2000
9Graphics CardMSI RX 480 4 GB
10UPSLuminous LB1000UNO UPS
11KeyboardTVS-E Gold Bharat Mechanical Keyboard
12MouseLogitech G90 Gaming mouse
13Optical DriveSamsung DVD Combo
14ControllerXBox 360 Wired Controller
15MFDHP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 printer
16RouterTP-LINK TL-WR840N (V2) 300 Mbps

But it was not until I got myself the beast RX 480 graphics card that my gaming PC was completed in true sense. It was a long journey to reach here. And members from digit forum needs a special mention which helped me to take decisions and assisted with the troubleshooting many nights.

Following is the Timeline for some of the stories from the forum worth documenting, so that it would be easier for me to be nostalgic towards the incidents:

  1. February 2011: I bought got a new Monitor for my Pen 4 PC, but I was having driver problem. Forum members came together and solved it.
  2. November 2012: I moved from my Pen 4 to built a AMD APU PC.
  3. July 2013: Bought Core i5 processor as a first step to build my gaming PC.
  4. August 2013: Bought motherboard as a second step for my gaming PC.
  5. June 2014: My research on buying a MFD (printer, copier and scanner) documented in this thread.
  6. February 2015: Got myself a treat with a new and beautiful fHD monitor.
  7. August 2016: Upgraded the RAM of my PC here.
  8. October 2016: As a possibly last step towards my Gaming PC I got myself the most VFM Graphics card, RX 480.

When I look back now, connecting the dots backward, each year have been leading me to the moment when I could be playing fHD games on my fHD monitor. And with RX 480 graphics card its been a giant leap forward. In Reddit lingo, I have ascended to PC masters race. But this is just the beginning as 144Hz monitor will soon join my PC. This will be followed by SSD upgradation and a multi monitor setup. Things will only get better I assure to my little ‘Super-Computer’.

I would leave you with this imgur album of the unboxing of RX 480 that I did a while ago:

MSI RX 480 4 GB

Amazon Prime In India: My views and a Catalog of Good Content

Important Note: This is not a promotional write up. Amazon’s not paying me to write this.

I always believed Traditional TV to be a very poor medium of entertainment. We want to choose what ‘we’ want to watch and ‘when’ to watch them, instead of letting the TV decide for us. With the pace of modern life, we want greater control on the content and timing.

Thankfully, traditional TV is now officially dead. Before we continue to the rest of the article let us take a moment of silence for the Traditional TV as our parents knew it!

Welcome Amazon Prime Video in India. With all the contents and shortcomings of it (coming below), I think the wishful thinking of a good and legal streaming service isn’t just a wish anymore. The introductory price of the subscription too, Rs 499 for a year comes to around Rs 41 a month, is highly welcoming indeed. Compare it with the most basic plan Netflix provides which is Rs 500 PER MONTH, and you can see why the price provided by Amazon seems surprising.

I have managed to start with the 30 day trial first, just to test the features of this streaming option Amazon Prime is providing. I did hear about some content being censored on Amazon Prime, but I can easily check the length of the video on IMDb, before deciding to add it to my watchlist. So far content wise its a bit of a let down, still I managed to shortlist various good stuff on my watchlist. I certainly hope new content will be added, and also browsing of content would be a bit better in future.

I tried to analyze the content provided under Amazon’s Prime Video. Here’s some from my shortlist. Do note that the genre I like to watch, which will heavily influence my opinion on the content provided by Amazon are: Sci Fi, Action, Thriller, Cyberpunk, Fantasy. I dislike Horror and (only) Drama shows in general.

Note: The direct links to the Amazon Prime website won’t work if you aren’t login to Amazon prime service. I intend to mention IMDb link in future if there’s demand.

Amazon Original Series:

This section contains few shows that I never heard. Some shows which I added under watchlist are following:

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog

The Man in the High Castle
(Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war.

I didn’t add anymore shows from amazon original list, just due to my taste. But worthy mentions in Amazon Original series include, The Grand Tour, Hand of God and Bosch. Do consider that the 4th episode of “The Grand Tour” is highly censored.

TV Shows:

There are many TV shows on Amazon, thought I couldn’t find popular shows like Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow. But I found these good ones (with description from either Amazon Prime or IMDb:

Extant (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.

The World’s War (Documentary, History): British historian David Olusoga, along with other historians, narrates the story of millions of Indian, African and Asian troops who fought and died alongside French and British troops to help win the war against Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Startup (Crime, Thriller): Nick Capelli emerges from prison into a world where his once strong mafia family has eroded, leaving him with no direction, but an uncontrollable need to try to recreate his past criminal life. In the modern world where the mafia doesn’t command respect like it used to, this series takes a look at what it would take for a modern crime organization to rise today. [I JUST ADDED THIS FOR Martin Freeman!]

V (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars in this reimagining of the hit miniseries from Scott Peters, creator of The 4400. “Visitors” appear in every major city in the world, promoting a message of peace … but could they be a threat to our existence?

Britain’s Greatest Generation (Documentary): Documentary series on the generation who fought or lived through World War II.

Fringe (Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi): An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Best of AIB (Comedy, World Cinema: Indian): Do they need a description?

The Storytellers (Drama: Plays/Performance, World Cinema: Indian): Remember the good old days of sitting around a campfire sharing stories? The Storytellers is a modern day take on that. At a time when interactions primarily take place across screens, The Storytellers encourages people to look up and connect with one another by sharing their personal life experiences face to face, without inhibitions and with honesty.

Fullmetal Alchemist (Anime): On one fateful night, Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body in an alchemy experiment gone awry. From this point, Edward’s only concern is finding a way to return his brother to his body. He soon finds himself in the service of the government as a State Alchemist. It is here the amazing story of the youngest State Alchemist in history begins.

Chi’s Sweet Adventure (Anime, Subbed): Cause, Cats!.

People of Earth (Comedy): In this half-hour comedy about a support group for alien abductees, a skeptical journalist investigates their supposed alien encounters. The more he digs into their oddball claims, however, the more he realizes signs that point to his own alien abduction. The onetime outsider now finds himself part of this eclectic group of misfits, while struggling with the idea of life beyond our world.

Mr. Robot (Crime, Drama, Thriller): Follows Elliot, a young programmer working as a cyber-security engineer by day, and a vigilante hacker by night.
I guess Cyberpunk isn’t a genre anymore, but I was pleasantly surprised to have this show on Amazon prime. Although I am sure there will be censorship in this.

Dexter (Crime, Drama, Mystery): When blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is not out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things.

Constantine (Drama, Fantasy, Horror): Seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wicked wit. With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine uses his skills to find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.

Wolverine and the X-Men (Animation, Action, Adventure ): The story picks up one year after the attack on Xavier Institute that caused the disbanding of X-Men and the mysterious disappearance of Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine must reunite his team to find out what happened that fateful night. Their position as mutants doesn’t make things any easier as the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is hunting down and exterminating them.

The Girlfriend Experience (Drama) : Christine Reade is a second year law student and a new intern at a prestigious law firm. Her focus quickly shifts when a classmate introduces her to the world of transactional relationships.
I don’t need to explain why I added this show.

Elementary (Crime, Drama, Mystery): A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.


I am surprised by the fact that I could shortlist only a few movies from the below list, but it goes on to show that movies catalogue is really small. I have added some worthy mentions below my watchlist.

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog

Mr. X in Bombay (1964): Shobha’s dad who is a scientist gets into a difficult situation after an experiment he was conducting goes wrong and kills his employee Manohar.
Indian Sci Fi movie from way back. I can’t miss to watch this.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001): In a future world, humans share aspects of their lives with companion robots called Mechas. But when an advanced prototype robot child named David is programmed to show unconditional love, his human family isn’t prepared for the consequences.
One of my all time favorite from Spielberg. Will watch this again and again until my last breath!

Saving Private Ryan (Action, Drama, War): Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out Of Water (Comedy, Animated): On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours for the first time ever! When pirate Burger Beard steals the Krabby Patties recipe, SpongeBob and friends must unleash their inner superheroes in order to defeat a super-villian.

Sarbjit (Biography, Drama, History): Biopic of Sarabjit Singh, a farmer residing at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border, crossed the border after having a couple of drinks. However, he was mistaken to be an Indian spy and was sentenced to capital punishment.

Worthy mentions for movies (which I have already watched): War of the Worlds (2005), The Godfather, Lemony Snicket’s Series Of Unfortunate Events, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Dictator, Into The Wild, Watchmen, Finding Neverland, Stardust, Paycheck, World War Z, Minority Report and Star Trek series.


The worst movie I could find on Prime: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Just watch the rating and review on IMDb. I do intend to TRY to watch this.


I always thought how a Steam like model can be implemented for video industry, and how I would support it if the price is justified. Amazon’s Prime video seems like a good direction to go into and definitely the one streaming service subscribing is required to.

Resurrecting Soft Bricked Moto E

So I had a Moto E that was showing weird issues. Sometimes when it’s rebooted it stucks in bootloop and fails to finish the boot sequence. The home screen just doesn’t appear. I manage to flash a fresh ROM on it and after which it starts to work. I haven’t been able to identify the problem yet, but the turnaround is working good as of now. So I just want to document the process of fixing the soft bricked Moto E:

Please note that this is just a documentation of the process I followed to fix my Moto E. This is by no means an accurate or official guide to fix your Moto E. If you do mess up your phone trying to follow this documentation, you can't blame me.

The simple procedure for a fresh Moto E is to first unlock the bootloader of Moto E. Which is a simple one time process which includes using the following command in fastboot mode: fastboot oem get_unlock_data. The unlock is complete when you enter a code on Motorola website and they give you a return string to unlock it. The guide is here.

Once the phone is unlocked its time to flash a custom recovery. This is done by downloading the TWRP recovery for Moto E here:

And then booting the phone in fastboot mode and sending following command:

fastboot flash recovery moto_e_twrp2.7.0.0_v1.2.img

Once the recovery is flashed you can reboot in recovery mode manually or by following command:

fastboot reboot

From recovery mode you can do all sorts of things like clearing out the cache (which sometimes fixes issues), and going into adb sideload mode. From this sideload mode, you can send sideload commands which can be used to install a custom ROM. The custom ROM for Moto E can be downloaded from below link: (The one which worked for me was: Retail Dual-SIM (Asia | World) 5.1 ROM (Optimized) v1.1 (287mb) Deodexed).

This ROM can be sideloaded by going into the sideload mode and sending following command:

adb sideload "I:\Moto E\"

After the above command, it will take some time and progress can be viewed on phone. Once that’s done you can reboot the device and the phone should start. First run takes a lot of times since it “optimizes” the app etc.

This ends the procedure. If you want to recreate all partitions from scratch, you may try to follow the following guide of flashing the stock firmware:

The above guide tells to download the stock firmware from following location:

(I choose XT1022_CONDOR_RETAILDSDS_5.1_LPCS23.13-34.8-3_cid7 (Newer Build))

To flash the stock firmware the above guide says to follow the below series of commands:

fastboot flash partition gpt.bin
fastboot flash motoboot motoboot.img
fastboot flash logo logo.bin
fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
fastboot.exe flash system system.img_sparsechunk.0
fastboot.exe flash system system.img_sparsechunk.1
fastboot.exe flash system system.img_sparsechunk.2
fastboot.exe flash system system.img_sparsechunk.3
fastboot flash modem NON-HLOS.bin
fastboot erase modemst1 
fastboot erase modemst2 
fastboot flash fsg fsg.mbn
fastboot erase cache 
fastboot erase userdata 
fastboot reboot

I had to still try to flash the custom ROM instead of stock firmware to get my Moto E to successfully boot.

Commands to Analyze Space through Terminal

This article lists a few ways to analyze the usage space of the hard disk through Terminal.

Space occupied by all folder sorted ascending order:
sudo du -h * | sort -h

The command ‘du’ is used in terminal which stands for disk usage. But the command alone gives listing of all files along with their size. The above command sorts the list, so that the highest space folder appears in bottom of the list. SUDO added since if you want it to run in root folder, normal command won’t have access to system folders.

Space on disk:
df -h

Above command is not path sensitive, which means you can run it from anywhere and also don’t require sudo.

Disk space usage per user:
sudo find . -printf "%u %s\n" | awk '{user[$1]+=$2}; END{ for( i in user) print i " " user[i]}'

Above script (combination of commands) prints disk usage per user and is not path sensitive. The script uses find and awk (extraction command) to give a list of users along with the space they are consuming in bytes.

Viewing first top directories taking space
du --max-depth=1 2> /dev/null | sort -n -r | head -n20

The above command would list top few directories along with their size, sorted in descending order.

Third Party Utility:

On debian, install ncdu by following command:

sudo apt-get install ncdu -s

Once install, you can use the utility ncdu to easily see the size of various folders through a friendly user interface right within Terminal. Here’s the ncdu manual:
If above command don’t install ncdu try forcing the install by following command:

sudo apt-get install -f -y ncdu

With above command you can pin point the folder which is taking up space in little time. Also note that the sometimes you need to go deeper by using the command, sudo su, to view space of files taken up by say, /var directory.

Rocket League : Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars!!!

Rocket League, by Psyonix is a game every racer probably desired, but didn’t even know that they do. If you are also a football player too, this game could be your love you were destined to meet. What’s surprising though, is that even if you are not a fan of sports game, this game will blow your mind.

Conceptually simple and hard to master, there is just one objective of the game. Use your rocket powered cars to kick the ball inside the net of opposite team. The way you do it is what separates the rookies from the pros and the pros from the masters. You can either play as solo, or in teams of 2, 3 or 4. There are quite few training to get your feet wet and to learn some skills and you can even play with bots before you attempt to face online players.

Rocket League Poster

So how did I fare going through various levels in Rocket League?


I still remember the first day I fired up Rocket League In January 2016, I was blown away by the amount of detail in the city around the arena where I spawned. Being a BTTF fan, I had started the game with my DeLorean. I didn’t have a controller. I steered the DeLorean with my keyboard. Boosting the car, kicking the ball in goal. “BOOM”, the ball exploded into a zillion pieces once it crossed the goal line. Little did I knew that it was start of a long journey stretching 4 months and counting. In these 4 months I have had a range of emotions I didn’t express in a long time. Rocket League was about to change my life.

It took me quite a few days before I started to use boost effectively. I just used to keep one of my fingers on boost button all the time and used to ran out of it before I could say “I have boost”. I played with few online friends, who were newbies like me. Together we played possibly the noobiest matches, which in hindsight now looks as if the buttons on the keyboard were being pushed by a cat. Jumping ever so often and getting my car out of position seemed to the best way to approach incoming ball. You can watch that gameplay for your amusement. Spoiler though, it will be painful to watch if you have any idea of how pros play.

Rocket League Field

Semi Pro:

As I started to play more and more of Rocket League I understood the depth of the game. The layers of skills it offered were stunning. Boost management, defending, and even passes contributed much to the success rate of winning. Slowly and steadily I climbed up the levels and became a Semi Pro from Rookie. I could now play significantly better. No longer did I miss ball by arms length.  I thought I am getting good. Boy, I was wrong.

Then I saw players who could just hit the ball in mid air. While my eyes was fixated on the ball and used to stop my car under it like it was a parking spot, someone would just steal the ball away from above and sometimes even made a goal. What I experienced was called, “Aerials”. It was an ecstatic moment. I could Fly! I didn’t just have to believe that I could fly, I could actually do it! It was then that I started the Aerial training. With the DeLorean, flying was eventual. When I first flew, the voices of Dr Emmet Brown echoed my ears. Where I was going, I didn’t need, Roads!

What came later was nothing short of compilation of epic fail montages. Flying was difficult. Making contact with a moving ball on ground was difficult enough. Add to it the axis of height and things just grew out of control. I used to try and try and miss every shot. So I tried and tried more. Watched online tutorials. Read articles on Reddit. Put on everything I learned into practice. It was around this time that I decided to finally buy a controller. Keyboard was not a viable option anymore. And then I faced the worst period as a player.

Dominus and Takumi


The 100 hours I spent in Rocket League all seemed to go down the drain, once I started using controller. I just couldn’t manage to remember the buttons. I dropped controller multiple times and started to play with keyboard. But online friends encouraged me. Watching Kronovi flying effortlessly encouraged me. And I thought to myself if I want to become any good in Aerials I just can’t do that from Keyboard. Finally after countless hours and many losses I became used to the controller.


I was now 200 hours in the game. It was then that I reached the level of “Veteran”. It seemed a big title and I didn’t feel I was doing justice to it. So I hid my level. I couldn’t boast of being a Vet and keep making own goals. Something was missing. I could defend good, make some shots on goal too, but I couldn’t manage to make actual goals. My passes weren’t that effective and mostly my passes used to be more advantageous to opponent team players.

I started to watch gameplays more rigorously. Followed the Playing with Potatoes series by Gibbs. Whatever free time I had after I returned from my job, before I start the game, I used to spend on watching clips on the Rocket League sub-reddit. Watching amazing gif on the sub always used to amaze me. It introduced me the moves I never thought were possible. Though actually trying those moves mostly proved fatal to my games.



I then completed 300 hours. I started to play mostly with an online friend who had helped me initially to migrate to controller. But he was not happy. I used to miss shots a lot. Even when ball was rolling on ground, I used to miss shots by hair length resulting in goals for other team. I used to get disappointed and heart broken when that used to happen. Again I felt something was wrong.

He invited me to 1×1 one day. And then the reality hit me. I was a terrible solo player. I used to take many risky shots. In the solo game mode, that was not acceptable. I used to take every chance to hit the ball, try to take impossible aerials. I became very sad. I realized that in team play my misses didn’t really effect that much but in solo it resulted in epic failures.

I decided to stop playing Rocket League. And I left the game entirely. I started playing some indie and racing games. But my habit of checking out incredible shots on Reddit was not gone. Eventually after a whole 3 days I fired up the game again. But this time I started playing with bots. Unfair match with bots seemed to be a fair way to become good in the game. But more often than not the bots used to give me a field trip, literally.

Playing with bots proved tougher than playing with actual people online. Since unlike online players bots made less mistakes. The penalty for being impatient or a miss, or a bad play used to be instant. This made me learn to play more patiently than before. And once I started to stop and think, I didn’t try to hit the ball at every occasion. This made me slightly better. But even now my biggest weakness is dribbling. These days I am trying to improve on that in free play. I seem to be going backward, since dribbling is such an elementary skill for this game. With dribbling comes mind games. So, once I become good in dribbling and ball control I am sure I could play more patiently.

After around 400 hours, I think I have just begun to understand the basics about the game. Such are the layers of skill required in this game. After 400 hours, where do I stand? I can’t dribble properly, miss easy shots sometimes, can’t make good aerial shots, can’t give good passes to team mates, and its still hard for me to predict where the ball is going to deflect. The only thing I think I am good at seems to be defending and now I could score by hitting the ball by jumping and double jumping.

By the time I reach to Master, Legend and then eventually Rocketeer (the last level), I would be at-least a bit better, but I hope I could make it there despite the overwhelming emotions Rocket League makes me go through.

Rocket League DeLorean


The community of Rocket League players is a mixed race just like with every other online multiplayer game. But so far the players I have played with are mostly at the brighter side. People respond with “gg” (good game) even after loosing. There are occasional sour grapes but they are in minority. There are quick chat options to say things like, “What a Save!” and “Nice Shot!” and are the mostly used phrases in game. Sometimes people tend to use it to sarcasm, and those proves funny too a lot of times.

It have been said that the players are divided as per the rank where they belong. Players at the lower most and upper most tiers are generally good, while in the middle ranks are where the most frustrated player resides. So generally a player encounters players who flame, mostly in the middle ranks. I am not entirely sure if that’s true but it does make the most sense.

Reddit Community:

Significant number of hours I have spent just dazzling over the GIF’s posted by Redditors. The incredible goals, saves and aerials posted on the Rocket League made me motivated to keep trying. When I took hiatus from the game for 3 days I couldn’t stop surfing and I can give credit to these GIF’s for my comeback in the game.

The sub is active with tons of players who post in additions to GIF, their experiences, rants and suggestions on the game. Developers are Psyonix do browse the sub and notice them first hand. Even top players like Kronovi and Gibbs are part of the active members in the sub, and mostly can be seen trolling their own friends. You know devs love the community when they fix even minor issues and incorporate features like Replay name, after discussion on Reddit.

The Rocket League Reddit sub also have been a great part in the form of guides and tutorials that it contains from amazing players. One such post is the compilation of such useful guides.

Car Customization

One of the best thing about Rocket League is the amount of sheer customizations you can do to your car. All of the changes are cosmetics though, so tweaking any of them wouldn’t give anyone an unfair advantage. The variety of cars are less, but with DLC you can choose some of the more amazing cars like, DeLorean, Dominus, Takumi and recently Batmobile. While top speed, boost power are all same for all the cars, the only slight difference is the hit box and turning radius, which a player can choose as per their style of playing. As for the customization you could choose colors (from predefined template of colors), toppers (hat), flags and boost trail. Some of the toppers are quit funny like chick-magnet, which puts a chick on top of a magnet on your car (just as you would expect).

Rocket League Car Customization
Rocket League Car Customization

A word on Wasteland:

Wasteland is the most popular map in Rocket League. RL players have extreme views about this map depending on either they love it or hate. This map was plagued with weird ball deflection bugs and being laggy in nature due to it containing a huge amount of artifacts. But even on my iGPU HD4600 the map never let me face any issues. Personally I really like the change of pace this map provides. Part of the likeness of Wasteland I would admit was due to the fact that due to unpredictable bounces it gave me an opportunity to score against the mistakes of other pro players. With the recent patch though I think Wasteland would be more fixed, but still it would have a good place in my heart for it being the most challenging. Psyonix also released a set of 4 maps seemingly inspired from TRON movie, and those are good to play, but it failed to create a space which other standard maps have done.


This article:

I wrote first draft of this article on 28 Feb. And it took me more than 2 months to get it completed. I have started a new section on my blog for Gaming, and this is the first game which provoked me to do that.

I originally intended to write this guide to have a repository of everything awesome about this game. Tutorials, Guides, Videos montages and a collection of awesome stuff from Reddit. But I will be doing that in an another post. And I will try not to delay it much.

You know a game is good when you don’t get time to write about it because of the game itself. You know a game is good when people keep coming back even after severe server downtimes. There’s a lot to be said about this game and I believe I have just scratched the surface.

In the end I would leave you with a video that shows how players who played the Rocket League beta when it came out for PS, took the server hostage when the server was about to shut down! (It begins at 05:17, but this whole video is worth watching).


The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Below is a list of 21 movies to be released in 2016 that are most hyped. If you love Sci-Fi, Superhero, Adventure, Action, Fantasy and Thriller then this list should be on your IMDb watchlist. The list is arranged as per the US release date.

1. Deadpool

(Release date: 12 Feb 2016) [Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi]

Plot: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool.
Marvel had a field trip with this character since months now, put in place excellent PR campaigns and been preparing for this movie since they got the Deadpool wrong in Wolverine movie. The hype can’t be more real than this and perfect to start the year!

2. Triple 9

(Release date: 18 Feb 2016) [Crime, Drama]

Plot: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.
Added this out of league movie, just because of the tone from the trailer.

Continue reading The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Which Instant Messenger is best for me?

With all the advances that have happened in the world of Internet, one thing is at the core of it. That is Instant Communication. And from the ages of Internet Chat Relays (IRC) to WhatsApp and everything in between is playing a pivotal role in connecting people from all corners of the globe. And if you are confused as to what Instant Messenger is right for you, here is a flowchart that lets you decide between few of them.


WhatsApp: Everyone uses it since everyone else uses it. But things such as dependency on mobile even if you want to chat on browser makes it a very poorly developed IM.

IRC (Internet Chat Relay): It’s the most powerful IM that the netizens have ever used. You can chat privately, in rooms, on PC, on your phone, use bots, leave offline messages.. really the only limit is your imagination and skills to make more functionality.

Steam: Steam being the most popular client for gaming provides a client for both Windows, Linux and Android. So if you are a gamer you would tend to use it much extensively.

Telegram: It’s currently the most versatile IM as of now. With features such as true cross platform (you can run it on command line!), ability to share self expiring secret messages, cloud storage (so that you don’t loose your chat history) and with the introduction of bots, I am in love with this IM. Also the fact that you don’t need to share your mobile number like WhatsApp makes it perfect for privacy conscious users.

So which IM you use the most and what would be your choice, if you don’t have to come under peer pressure to choose more popular Instant Messenger?

Kanatal Trip

Kanatal, a city in the state of Uttarakhand is nearly 300 km from Delhi. I made the trip there in mid December 2015 in hopes of experiencing snow. But alas all I got was this spectacular panoramas instead. I am not complaining since I did see snow, albeit it was possibly in far distance, stretching on Horizon.

In this first panorama you can see the sun about to rise. It was freezing at this time and I was waiting impatiently for little sunshine.

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Finally the sun rose a little more and illuminated the distant mountains in its captivating sunshine.

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This is just enthralling.

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We also went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar on the way back. Ganga river flowing with all its almighty.

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