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IoT on Google Cloud Platform

Google wants people to use its Cloud Platform for connecting and managing IoT devices through IoT Core and use other GCP components like BigQuery to analyze data produced by those devices. While these products are fantastic, they also have some real world challenges.
IoT Core provides a managed service for connecting IoT devices. It talks with both HTTP and MQTT protocols and features one-click integration with Cloud PubSub easing most of the infrastructure tasks. However there are some limitations:
You cannot use any random MQTT topic to send/receive messages as you would expect on a custom MQTT bridge. There are special topic formats to send messages and also to receive commands.IoT Core uses Public-Private Key cryptography to secure devices. All IoT devices must first authenticate using the Public Key in a JWT token and then start sending and receiving messages. While these may seem like reasonable restrictions, one has to keep in mind that hardware vendors are still stuck in the 9…
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Book Review - The Girl In Room 105

There are couple of reasons why I pre-ordered Chetan Bhagat's latest - its price is less than a cup of decent coffee making it an impulse purchase and more importantly the book's claim that it is an "unlove story", whatever that means. Bhagat had pioneered the trend of bubblegum IIT college love stories targeted at teens and college-going population which inspired a generation of wannabe writers. But you can chew bubblegum only for so long. After some time you have to spit it out. With this book Bhagat threw away the bubblegum only for it to stick to his shoes.
The story starts the same way as have Bhagat's previous books - in a college and more specifically in an IIT. For initial few chapters you would be forgiven if you think you have picked up one of Bhagat's previous works by mistake. Bhagat is still obsessed with fair skin, women's churidar kurta and how she arranges her hair. The English is still pedestrian which Bhagat justifies as this is how rea…

The IKEA Pilgrimage

"Hez!". If you were in Hyderabad for the opening of first IKEA store in India, you would be forgiven for thinking that it's a religious chant for followers of a religion who are trampling over themselves for getting into their place of worship. Except they were visitors to the new IKEA store.
For the past few days, the news had been carrying multitude of articles related to IKEA opening. The marketing by IKEA team only hyped the situation. Since I was looking to buy a bed, I made the unfortunate decision of going to the IKEA store for a quick in-n-out shopping with my wife on my way to office. The first red flag should have been when we couldn't get parking at 10 am in the morning of a weekday and were asked to park at one of external parking locations. The IKEA folks were kind enough to handout a map of the same.

We were asked to park near ITC Kohenur. From that location, like every well organized pilgrimage, there was a shuttle service to IKEA after every 30 minut…

Centralized Configuration for .NET Core using Azure Cosmos DB and Narad

We are living in a micro services world. All these services are generally hosted in Docker container which are ephemeral. Moreover these service need to start themselves up, talk to each other, etc. All this needs configuration and there are many commercially available configuration providers like Spring Cloud Config Server, Consul etc. These are excellent tools which provide a lot more functionality than just storing configuration data. However all these have a weakness - they have a single point of failure - their storage mechanism be it a file system, database etc. There are ways to work around those but if you want a really simple place to store configuration values and at the same time make it highly available, with guaranteed global availability and millisecond reads, what can be a better tool than Azure Cosmos DB!
So I set forth on this journey for ASP.NET Core projects to talk to Cosmos DB to retrieve their configuration data. For inspiration I looked at Steeltoe Configuratio…

Resignation - A Negotiation Tool?

Imagine getting into a fight with your partner. Perhaps you are not happy with something your partner has said or done. What do you do next? Do you talk things out or do you threaten to divorce your partner unless they agree to your demands. Even if they agree in the short-term, do you really think that your relationship would be same as before? Same goes with resignation.
I have seen many of my colleagues stomping feet, saying that they will resign from the organisation if their wishes are not fulfilled. Sometimes these demands are justified, sometimes not. Either way, before resigning or threatening to resign have you talked to your manager about your concerns? Have you gotten no support or only empty promises from your manager? Do you feel that there is no scope of things improving in your workplace? If your answer is yes to any of these, please by all means resign.
This applies to managers as well. If you are not able to support your employees during their tenure; don't offer…

Tyranny of the minority

According to a study, it takes only 10% of the population to remain committed to an idea for it to become majority opinion. In India, we have for so long believed that the minority needs to be protected from the majority that we are now unable to see the majority being reduced to second-class citizens in their own country.
India has a long history of minority appeasement or more correctly that of pseudo-secularism. Indian politicians from the Nehru-era believe in doling out gifts to Muslims at the cost of majority Hindu population. A shining example of this is the Shah Bano case in which the Indian parliament overturned the decision of the court to grant alimony to protect the so-called Muslim personal laws.
In recent years, this appeasement has increased to nauseating proportions. In December 2012, the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh launched a scheme to give Rs. 30,000 to 10th pass girls for further studies or marriage. But this scheme only applied to Muslim girls! The …

Demonetization - The New Normal

Much sewage has flown under the Yamuna bridge since Modi announced the demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. After the announcement, people thronged to banks and ATMs as if a new Sunny Leone movie had been released. People experienced things which they had never experienced before - like withdrawing cash using cheque and getting beaten up by the family members of their estranged lover. Wonderful times.
This demonetization has also left the country deeply divided. On one hand there are Modi Bhakts for whom Modi is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu and on other there are AAPtards for whom everything is a scam. There is nothing in between these two extreme positions. Even the media is going berserk. If you watch Zee News, you would believe that Ram Rajya has been established in India while NDTV will tell you that situation is equivalent to Mad Max:Fury Road. As Immortan Joe said in Mad Max, so is Modi telling us "Do not, my friends, become addicted to watercash. It will take hol…