Wednesday 26 December 2007

Time management

Every morning I wake up and say to myself, 'There are 16 more hours of the day left so I have plenty of time for everything I want to do today'. But by the time the day ends I realize that I have managed to do hardly 25% of the things I wanted to..... I just don't understand where does time fly ....
I need to learn time management.........................................................................

Friday 21 December 2007

ALSA pains

They say that ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is the future for multimedia sound systems in linux. But somehow, I am yet to see a fully functional and elegantly installed ALSA system. The problem is not installation of the basic system but upgrading it. More than once, I have seen ALSA just falling apart during an upgrade. First, it happened with my Suse. But I was doing a manual upgrade back then. Yesterday, I did an automated upgrade of my kubuntu (I wanted to play with adept and friends), and ALSA just broke. And this time it wasn't me.... I did what adept suggested me to do
Invariably I ended up compiling my own ALSA which is a PITA. Anyways, Now I have a working sound system but for some reason flash plugin has been muted. God knows how to fix that. I believe flash plugins use esd instead of alsa or oss. And I have absolutely no experience with esd. In fact I never had it installed on my box (but my flash had sound until yesterday). One thing is clear though ... youtube is not all that fun without sound...

P.S.
Meanwhile to all those who are suffering because of unavailability of 64 bit Flash player and Java plugins, here is the simplest way to get it.It simply installs a 32 bit browser and related plugins. The best thing about it is all you need to do is answer a few questions. This should keep us happy till the official 64 bit software is out.

Saturday 15 December 2007

32 or 64?

Let me accept that. I had always fancied 64 bit processors. 16 billion billion .... Theoretically thats the maximum integer they can handle. How many of us can even imagine a number that big. In fact, the reason why I have 64 bit processor in my lappy is ..... it is 64 bit :-D

But I must say, the world is still not prepared for it yet. And also may be as individuals people like me never really need that kind of processing capability, at least not in near future (I should take a defensive stance here... even god almighty may not predict future of technology considering the mind boggling speed it is advancing at). Anyways, the point which I am trying to make is you may have a 64bit processors but they may still be no better their good old 32bit counterparts. For two reasons :

1. How many applications really need 64bit processing ?
2. Even if they do, do we have a enough softwares around ?

Though I am not a expert in microprocessors and do not how exactly a 64 bit processor functions, but I cannot think of a particular application that is made for a normal PC user and requires really great processing power in terms of word size. What does a normal PC user need ? Word-processors, Spread sheets, Mediaplayers, Internet....I can't think of anything more. Multimedia is probably the only field where we may use 64bit processors to actually enhance performance. I will not include the networking applications here because the available bandwidth is still a more important issue than the processing power of the equipment, in my opinion.

And as a result of this, we still don't see many 64bit applications around. Most of them are probably recompiled versions of the same source code. Because I do not see any significant performance gain in general... In fact, just a few days back I realized that Adobe Flash Player does not have a 64 bit distribution (not at least in GNU/Linux, I don't know about Windows) and they haven't yet given any expected date of its release either. In fact, I haven't seen many Windows 64 bit distributions around. And I daresay, the only reason for having a lot of 64bit GNU/Linux distros is that most of GNU/Linux users happen to be geeks or techo-freaks.

All this makes me wonder whether it makes any sense to put in more and more bits in the wordsize ? Won't it be rather useful to have more cores and more processors. Because we definitely need more parallel-processing power. As I type this, I have at least five applications running on my desktop in addition to all those daemons running in background.

Intel, AMD, Sun.......... I am waiting for quad-core PCs.

Comments, Criticisms are welcome....

P.S.
I cannot think of a good title for this post.... I will appreciate if someone can help me with that

P.P.S.

Day by day,the length of my post has been increasing. May be I have started liking blogging or may be I just love writing about technology :-D

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Alvida Suse

Suse had been my preferred linux distro for last three years. Though there were a lot of things I did not like, it was only distribution other than Fedora and Mandrake which had entire off-line RPM based installation kit. People who have grown up without internet or with dial-up network (whose optimal connection speed does not shoot above 128Kbps) will understand importance of having an offline installation kit. I usually find Suse much intuitive and easy than Fedora. But I should agree that I never had any opportunity to use Mandrake. But Suse had its drawbacks. I think their release cycle is slow and they for some reason do not distribute RPMs of a lot of popular softwares. In fact, I found that Suse RPMs are most defficult to get (if Novell themselves do not distribute them). And if you are using a x86_64... God bless you.

I had made up my mind to replace Suse with kubuntu but was being lazy to do so. The final nail in Suse's coffin came when I decided to update my Suse distribution including the kernel. I was expecteing graphics drivers and Alsa ro break (because I had custom-compiled them) but no that was not enough. My wireless lan (I was usinf ndiswrapper) collapsed. Despite reinstalling Alsa, Amarok kept crashing. And today evening,even my ethernet went down. It wasn't really a problem in Suse, but I had a scapegoat already infamous for previous crashes :-D

So finally my favourite distribution of three years was laid to rest. I installed kubuntu. The main reason being large user base (which just increased by one :-) ) and ease of updating and maintaining stuff.....

So here I am, writing this post from freshly installed kubuntu system. The most amazing thing about linux systems is if you just keep your /home and / on separate partitions, you can just keep changing the distros without affecting any of your personalize settings. I still do not understand why Windows does not allow to have "documents and settings" folder on separate partition. It will save Windows use a lot of trouble. Not that I care about it... Just a passing thought.

Alvida Suse...May your soul rest in peace....

Saturday 8 December 2007

Chaiiiiiiiiii

I just realized that the university dairy store (besides cheap and yummy Ice-creams) also serves chai tea (i.e. Indian tea with milk and cream). And to my surprise it is good in all terms of acceptability.
I never really appreciated this amazing drink due to its over abundance India. But now coming to think of it, I realize how I miss tea. Somehow the black coffee (which is the "default" coffee here) doesn't appeal to me.
Oh how I missed chai.....

Thursday 6 December 2007

Swiftweasel

For quite a some time I was looking for a 64 bit version of firefox/iceweasel. Though I did not find any, I found this and this. I decided to experiment with swiftweasel. And I must say it does run a bit faster. The difference is not too much. But some websites do load few milliseconds faster. If you test with something like google.com you will never feel the difference. So choose your test cases wisely. Besides, It also has many customizable features, which are attractive.
One small issue (which may not be an issue, who knows) is that the 64bit version is compiled for AMD Athelon and I have Turion X2 (64 bit dual core). The websites recommends Athelon64 build for AMD 64x2. But I am curious to know if a fully custom build can still save me a few milliseconds....

Wednesday 28 November 2007

ती परी अस्मानीची

I was searching for lyrics of a marathi song "ती परी अस्मानीची" from एका लग्नाची गोष्ट for some time but didn't find it. So I have decided to post it myself. Enjoy....
Comments/Correction are welcome!!
Also, If someone know chords for this, please let me know so that I will publish it here....

Ti Pari Asmanichi Ti Pari Asmanichi
Ti Pari Asmanichi Ti Pari Asmanichi

Dole Tiche Salsalti Mashyanchi Jodi
Oath Tiche Santryanchya Rasrastya Phodi
Galavar Thartharte Saay Dudhachi
Angavar Chav Dharate God Madhachi

Ti Baghate Teva Hridayat Dhad Dhad Hote
Hasate Teva bhovatiche Saare Bhirbhirte
Valate Teva Baglyanchya Udati Shubhra Mala
Saptarangi Indradhanu Yet Ase Abhala

देवनागरी लिपिमध्ये

ती परी अस्मानीची ती परी अस्मानीची
ती परी अस्मानीची ती परी अस्मानीची

डोळे तिचे सळसळती माश्यांची जोड़ी
ओठ तिचे संत्र्यांच्या रसरसत्या फोड़ी
गालावर थरथरते साय दुधाची
अंगावर चव धरते गोड मधाची

ती बघते तेव्हा हृदयात धड़ धड़ होते
हसते तेव्हा भोवतीचे सारे भिरभिरते
वळते तेव्हा बगळ्यांच्या उड़ती शुभ्र माळा
सप्तरंगी इंद्रधनु येत असे आभाळा

Sunday 11 November 2007

Why does tea spill ?

We all know why does milk spill when overheated...Apparently the layer of cream formed on the milk surface is to blame.
Well I do not fully agree with it but then it is the most plausible reason so lets accept that as an axiom.
Now, do a small experiment. Heat water in a small teapot. make sure teapot is at least 50% filled with water (not that this is a mandatory condition for the result but it will make result sufficiently clear coz you will have to take the pain of cleaning up the stove after this :-D). When water starts boiling add tea powder. Of course, be reasonable while doing this. Don't empty entire box but don't be frugal either (best option do this when u r making ur evening tea). Don't bother to reduce the flame. You will see that tea does spill just like milk. Now keep stirring the tea while its boiling. No matter how fast you stir it still tries everything to spill out of teapot.
Any guesses why this happens. If you know the answer, please be kind enough to share it with me. I am dying to find it out.

If you think this is a totally pointless thing to do....then.... may be it is. But don't forget a similar observation had resulted in the invention of first steam engine.

Monday 5 November 2007

The Indian Mentality

I remember reading somewhere (ok, that somewhere happens to be here) that Indians are privately smart and publicly dumb. They cannot really think long term. Over the last couple of months I came across few situations which repeatedly highlighted another similar aspect of the "indian" way of thinking. We often tend to think that as an individual one person cannot change anything. And we believe it so hopelessly that we just stop making any effort of changing. But we forget that if each of us decide to change it, we no longer are "individuals" and any effort we make is going to have its effect. In fact, every small thing Indians do is going to get amplified by a billion times (because of the sheer number of Indians :-) ).

I agree there is a possibility of failure despite out honest attempt to change things around us. But there is a (small but non-zero) chance that we may succeed. But doing no effort, just because you think you will be the only one trying it would ensure that things don't change. Because a zillion multiplied by zero is still zero. However, I did not see this kind of attitude in people from other parts of the world.

This makes me wonder whether this is the reason why India is still a developing nation even after 60 years of independence (despite being richly supplied by resources). Look at Germany. The country was devastated twice in the same century but in spite of all the destruction it is among the countries with maximum GDP. (Germany is ranked 5th in terms of overall GDP and 18th in terms of per capita GDP). Although these figures are not absolute the indices for growth but it provides us with something to think.

Think fellow Indians, Think....

Monday 22 October 2007

Just saw this (apparently) new option to transliterate in "hindi". This totally pointless post is dedicated for testing it.

माझे नाव आलोक आहे

Damn ....... This is cool

Hats off to Raikkonen

This week's F1 results have a mixed effect on me. One one side, I am happy that Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari have won their respective championships, on the other, I feel sorry for Hamilton. He did deserved the championship. If only McLaren had stayed away from all the controversies and played it honestly, who knows, We may have had the first debutant champion in the F1 history. Hamilton had everything right except the team.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Cookies.......

Disable cookies in IceWeasel or Firefox 2.0. Try to open mail.yahoo.com or log on to blogger.com and see the fun.
Both the websites go crazy. They keep refreshing themselves without giving user any chance to do anything ......
I don't know how many people have experienced this... But this is irritating and is definitely a bug in Yahoo! or blogger websites...

One more reason to stay away from Yahoo.......

Saturday 15 September 2007

Few old friends....

Today I chatted with Sukrit Khera. He was my classmate back in RAIT. Was one of the best programmers in the class. He was working in L&T last time I had talked to him. He too is in US on H1B. A lot of things change without us noticing. People move ahead in their respective lives.

Thinking of old friends, one more name that comes to my mind is Ashish Shah. Arguably my best friend in RAIT. We were like Jai and Biru for four(well three actually) years. And now it has been months since I have talked to him. All I know is he is in good health and is doing fine... Sometimes geographical distances ARE responsible for emotional ones....

Thursday 6 September 2007

Back to the past

It was back in 2003 when I did my last program in C++. Was mostly working with C, Java and Perl for last three years. And now, Here I am.....working in C++ again.
The 3 years' time has taken its toll. I can't even remember how to declare inheritance in C++. A work that should ideally take three days is taking almost a week. Hopefully I will have everything in control pretty soon...

Saturday 1 September 2007

Funny video from gmail

Google does it again...This one is a truly amusing video.
mail.google.com/mvideo

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Group meeting

My first meeting with my research group. Attendees: Myself (M) , My adviser (A), my co-adviser (CA) and a doctoral (D) student who is working in the field for last four years.
Situation: A is totally frust with D. CA sympathizes (may be because he was in D's place a few years back or may be he understands that D's major problem is lack of sufficient command over English to understand A)he but knows A is right in a way. M is not fully aware of situation but understands something is wrong. D knows this would happen and is buried under pressure.

A: D, These conclusions of yours.... I think we can trust them assuming the data you generated is correct.
(D remains silent)
A: And I do not trust the data you generated. So I want you to recheck the algorithm for data generation before we send the paper for the BIGSHOT conference.
(D fumbles for words)
CA: I see that results are not uniform across all the data sets even though the data sets are statistically identical.
D: Yes, The results for data set 1 and that those for data set 2are not matching.
A: I want you to understand one thing...As you have spent more than four years here, after this publication, I want you to get degree and get out of here.
D: (With a feeling of bliss) Does that mean that I have almost finished my PhD work?
A: Yes. We can add everything you have done in this area and put it in your thesis. I want you to understand that the resources are not infinite. So I want you to take the degree and leave by the end of next semester.
D: What do you mean .....
A: You are on RA this semester so dont worry now. We will talk about it later,
D: (Realizes the situation) What do you want me to do next ?
CA: Why dont you give your data generation algorithm to M. Let him go through it and check if there is something wrong. That way we can rest assure that we are generating the correct datasets.
D:Hmmm.... OK I will do that.
.
.
.
By the end of meeting D's tensions have increased many folds. M can feel the mental pressure he is going through, from his words despite his oriental accent.
.
.
.


Welcome to Doctoral studies....

A new innings

For the reasons still unknown to me I am back to bloging. When I first started it I was hopelessly depressed and it helped me get out of it. Probably this time its just going to provide a means of expressing myself (which I suppose is the right use of it). Anyways this time it is mostly going to act as my journal of experiences.

Monday 19 March 2007

Last post

Probably this is my last post in this blog. My blogging enthu is over. :-)

Alok

Thursday 22 February 2007

Hats off to Kiwies

Long live Fleming and his men...
They have done something I wanted to see for years. Hope aussies will keep quite for some time now. It was really great to see the mighty aussies being whitewashed for a change.
Millions of Indians (rather hopelessly) believe that India can win this world cup. One more name was added in the list yesterday :D
No harm in thinking positive, rite

Friday 16 February 2007

Life sux

Arguably the most tiring (both mentally and physically) and painful week in last few years. Nothing's going my way :(

I am screwing up every single thing I am attempting...

Saturday 3 February 2007

The feel good factor :-)

Things have suddenly changed... for better
My parents had come here. I was roaming around in Hyderabad. It's one fine city. Ramoji film-city is a must see. I had a very happy week.
They have gone back to mumbai but I hope the feel good effect persists...

Wednesday 24 January 2007

Paisaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Finally something to cheer about....
My salary is revised
I love my job :-D

Friday 19 January 2007

Hypocrisy

Everyone hates it but everyone practices it. It is very well said that "Survival and lack of hypocrisy cannot co-exist". Not many days ago, I heard a young man complaining about corruption in the system, comfortably forgetting how had he bribed a transporter to get fake bills of expenses that were never incurred. What right does he have to complain about corruption when he himself does it ? But.... people do and they will continue to.

As I write this, I should confess that I myself am no exception. And I think none of us is...

This makes me take a look at one more thing which I hate (and off course practice ) ... 'lying'. When other people do it, it's called 'prevarication' but when I do it it's 'handling a tough situation'. I think it should be called 'saving one's a**'. Exactly an year ago, I was giving my job interview and was asked whether I had any plans for higher education. I remember how well had I explained why it is not
possible for me to study any further (while I had already applied for higher studies). Although my brain says "I was just being practical", the inside me knows I had been untruthful.

I keep wondering why can't we be true to ourselves. Be honest atleast with our own soul. I think the problem here is that the nature is an analog system. And our soul to is a part of it. There is no zero no one; no black no white. Everything is grey. Each on of us is a shade of grey. I just want to try to be as lighter grey as I can.

Monday 15 January 2007

About the blog name.... It's french. It means "sadness will last forever".
These were the last words of Vincent Van Gogh.
For some reason, they just touched my heart.
I still cannot believe I am writing a blog. I have always believed that ppl who do not have any other work in life write blogs.... and I still believe it. Conclusion: I do not have anything to do in my life.
I don't know how long I will have the enthu to keep updating my blog. Going by the degree to which I know myself, I think that even if I keep bloging for three months, it will be a reasonable achievement.