Timer App – My First Android app

Timer App – My First Android app

On last count Google Play store has an approximate 2 million Android Apps listed there. Apple store has another million… and million other app stores have millions more. But I have always wondered how does the app developer feel when he completes an app and uploads it to the app store. What sort of accomplishment do they feel? Is there a background story behind that app, or was it just cos of professional contract?

I got the opportunity to experience all these feelings in the last 10 days. I work in a Mobile Ad network as as part of the Ad Operations team. Though I delve with apps day in and day out, I am not the technical guy. I am a quasi-tech guy, who can understand what sort of discussion is going on within the Product team. One of the few advantages of working in a Product startup. I am also a person who gets intrigued with any new tech challenges. That has led me to get my own domain names, my own self-hosted WordPress blogs and so on.

Now coming back to the story, it all started when my wife went to a Reiki course. She came back and said that she wanted to practice Reiki everyday and she need a timer app for it. I checked the default apps, but they weren’t helpful and the appstore had 100’s of variations, but my wife wasn’t satisfied with any of them. She challenged me to get an app done for her specific requirement.

The requirement was, it should have a timer that counts down from 180 seconds. After every 180 second, the timer should reset. Each 180 seconds was 1 Task for her.

I was already dabbling with MIT App Inventor, initially developed by Google, but later open sourced and taken up by MIT. Since I know the basics of programming, it was easier for me to set up the logic. And the App Inventor’s WYSIWYG editor was very easy to set up the interface. After 3 hours of dabbling, I got her basic Reiki App ready. She was happy with it.

Then an idea stuck me. Why to restrict this to 180 seconds only. This sort of timer app can be used for any exercises. This is my golden opportunity to work on my full-fledged Android app. Another 4 days…and 8 hours later… I had my first prototype of Timer App. On May 30th, on my Dad’s 64thBirthday, I released the app in Google Play store.

The Timer App is available for download here.

That moment, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was very happy the entire day. My wife’s requirement was met. I have published my first Android app. I have learnt a new semi-skill now. On last count, My app had 21 installs (in a span of 4 days) and 5 uninstalls. But, I am very happy that my app is still useful for those remaining 16 users.

P.S: There is a known issue with this app. The screen will not turn off during the usage of this app. The reason is, since this app was created using App Inventor, it won’t be kept alive in the latest smartphones that have the Doze facility. So, I had to create a workaround such that the app stays live for the entire duration of the app usage.

To Be(lt) or Not To Be(lt)

To Be(lt) or Not To Be(lt)

seatbelt14th March 2016 – The day was ending like any normal day. Usual bucket load of work in office and a slight drizzle of rain on the way home. Couldn’t wait to reach home, so that I can take a bath and get ready for dinner with family. At around 7.50PM, near Doddabelle cross, Mysore Road, Kengeri, my entire night went for a toss, literally.

In one of the medians, a lorry was taking a u-turn and I braked my car when there was a distance of 10 feet. The lorry driver was following all the rules correctly. He had put on his turn indicators, was showing his hands as well when taking the turn. Any decent driver can easily see what’s happening and can safely stop.

However, a Bolero pickup goods vehicle came at full speed from the back and rammed my car at the back. The force was so much that inspite of me jamming the leg brakes, the car went forward and hit the lorry’s fuel tanks. The only thing that saved my ass that day was, when I saw the rear-view mirror and saw this vehicle come in full force, by instinct, I jammed the leg brakes immediately. I believe this slowed down the impact in front. Else, the fuel tank might have burst in flames : who knows!

I am writing this not to share the horror of this accident, but what I learnt and What I believe saved my life:


You never know when Mr. Death would want to have an appointment with you. Like I said earlier, only two things saved my life that day – I always wear seat belt when I drive. This has become a force of habit, as I driving around 50 kms everyday in NICE expressway. So, it has become a force of habit. Second, by chance, I saw the Bolero coming up in full speed behind me a fraction earlier and I could hit the brakes. This might have slowed the impact.

My humble request – Always wear seat belts when driving. You might have a family/wife/friend waiting for you when you reach your destination. You wouldn’t wanna miss that appointment, would you?


In case you are wondering what happened to my car after the impact, check the below photo gallery:

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My Passport Renewal Process – Shocked by the Experience.

This is one of my longest post. So, bear with me here…

I had taken my Passport in 2005 just for namesake but it was used for the first time when I travelled to USA when I was working in Google. Got a multi-entry visa thanks to that trip and eventually went to Dubai and Nepal, though I didn’t get stamps in my passport. However, after that, there were not any trips planned and eventually I even forgot I had a passport.

The end result – my passport expired in April 2015 and I didn’t even notice this until early January 2016. This shows how much I used my passport. 😉  I wasn’t even using the passport for address proof as the address used was a old one, that of Coimbatore, where I was staying in 2004. Now that I found out that my passport has expired, an urgency crept in, as if I might go to USA in the next fortnight… hahahaha…

Anyways, this was a good opportunity for me to update the permanent address, Spouse details in the passport. So, I went to the online portal — passportindia.gov.in and created my account with my details. Gave as much information as possible and then submitted an online application under Passport Reissue cos of Expiry category. I got an appointment in the Lalbagh’s Passport Seva Kendra for February 2nd, 2016 at noon 2.45PM. Anyways, that entire week I had planned to take my paternity leave, so that wasn’t a problem for me.

I landed at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) at around 1.50PM and the previous batch was being called there. We stood in a queue and a lady came up with a megaphone and called up my batch number. She checked the appointment details and asked me to enter the PSK office premises.

The way this works is – First you enter a row of counters, where they verify your xerox copies of your documents and give a token number. Then you have to enter the counter’s zone. There are 3 counters to cross – A, B, C and then exit. That’s all.

My token number for A counter came within 10 minutes. Here they verified my xerox copies again, asked me to confirm all the details, took my biometrics and then my photograph for the passport. This hardly took 15 minutes. Once done there, I was directed to Counter B. This is where I had to wait, atleast one hour. However, once my turn came, they verified my original documents and cleared me for counter C. They took hardly 5 minutes to verify my original documents. Another wait of 15 minutes and my token number was called for counter C. Here they verified my originals again and the process took a maximum of 10 minutes and that was it. I Just had to collect an acknowledgement which had my file number for reference and then I came out of exit.

The entire process took hardly 3 hours. I was really amazed by the efficiency of the process there. Thousands of people coming in for new passports or getting their passports renewed but, there was hardly any process related issues. Your work is relatively easy if you carry all your original documents and xerox copies correctly. You are supposed to carry 2 copies of all your documents with your attestation.

The list of documents I carried were:

  1. Expired passport
  2. Aadhar card
  3. PAN card
  4. Voter ID card
  5. Marriage certificate

I had 2 xerox copies of all these documents and took all these originals, that’s all.

Now the kicker:

I had submitted the online application on 3rd week of January. The appointment was on 2nd February where I submitted all the documents. On 4th February, I got SMS confirmation that the passport is being printed. On 5th Feb, I got confirmation email that my new Passport has been dispatched by Speed Post. On 6th February, I got  my new passport on hand. The entire process taking hardly 15 days.

Who would have thought this is possible in India. I remember how I got my original passport done in 2005, where I had to run pillar to post to get basic information. Now, here we are in a system, where we get a passport within 15 days.

Way to Go, INDIA…


I Am Deepak and He is my Legacy

November 25th 2015 – the day started like any other day; an hour of shuttle in my apartment; once back home, a quick shower, breakfast and almost ready for office.

Got a call from my in-laws that my wife has started feeling the pain and are taking her to hospital. By the time I reached hospital, she was already taken into the labor ward.

The next 30 minutes were the most excruciating moments of my life. I could hear the shouts of my wife from inside. All I could do was pray, that the ordeal get over fast. I wanted both of them to be healthy when this was over.

At 12.33pm, my legacy was born; my bundle of joy, snucked inside the folded bedsheets, I could see a nose appear.

My life has changed forever…


Google – When did you first use Google?

Google – When did you first use Google?

In today’s world, Google is synonymous with Internet and instant knowledge. Google search on your computer, Google search on your phone, in your TV and everywhere. Have you ever thought about the day when you were first introduced to this simple website called Google.com?

I keep going back to the day when I first heard the name Google, in 2002. Until that day, I was searching in Internet like everybody else. Open the browser, whatever default search engine shows up in that session, enter your keywords and hit ‘Search’. However, one fateful day in 2002, during my 3rd year in college, I was introduced to this magic world of Google. How I wish I knew then that this one word will change my life forever.

Thanks to my friend in CSE branch in college, I first heard this name. However, like people at that time, I couldn’t pronounce the name correctly or remember the URL. I ended up noting the website on a piece of paper and put in my pocket. When I reached the local net cafe, I opened the browser and enter the magic letter – www.google.com and viola, a simple page with a box shows up.

I was totally confused on what to do next. I entered the keywords next. I wanted to research on my 3rd year project, so entered the relevant keywords there. I will never forget what happened next – Whatever information I was looking for, showed up in the first 4 listings. this had never happened before. I was out of the net cafe within 15 minutes. Usually these visits used to take more than 2 hours everytime. But this time it hardly last quarter of an hour.

That was the day I fell in love with Google. Who would have thought that Google would move from being a simple search engine to a Global Digital behemoth that handles almost my entire digital life? Who would have thought I would end up working in Google for ~4 years and thereby transforming my entire career?

Do you remember the day you first used Google?