Monday 15 December 2008

Show what people want to see and win a golden globe (nomination)

ok... Slumdog millionaire is a decent movie. Especially if you watch it the day after watching TDTESS (read the previous post), it may even look like the movie of the millennium. But it is definitely not worth the reviews it received. The US and the western world in general likes to see India (read: All the third world countries) as a country where you don't find anything good. They like to see people shitting on the road, forcing children into begging and prostitution, devising innovative plans to con foreigners. That is exactly what the movie show. Agreed, the child artists in the movie are really amusing and fun to watch. But the picture of India that is being portrayed is not something I would like to see on the celluloid. I just get the feeling that this portrayal has a lot to do with most of those (except Rehman's) golden globes nominations. Because second of the movie is nothing but good old (predictable) hindi cinema. And what the hell is Anil Kapoor doing there ? His character is simply incomprehensible (to me).

I am not saying that the movie is bad. It is nice movie to watch and everyone should watch it. It's some good fun but it's definitely not up to the reviews/nominations it has received.

P.S. In all these negative things, I must not forget to mention how superb job Rehman has done in the movie. Really nice soundtrack!

How can you (pretend to) likeTDTESS ?

The Day The Earth Stood Still... The name itself suggests something creepy about the movie. We all think that it's a sci-fi thriller and walk in the hall. But We are all disappointed. Even if you get free passes, the movie isn't worth the time you spend. It's nothing but crap.

But... there may be other ways of looking at it. Rather than considering the movie as a Sci-fi thriller look at it as a philosophical movie. All the aliens, there space-spheres(?), which incidentally look like blown up models of marbles I used to play as a kid, are a metaphor to all the evil things on the earth. The representative of The President of the United States (aka "the eyes and ears of the president and the vice-president") is a metaphor for ... The President of united States. Keanu Reeves is a metaphor to the UN and UNICEF etc. etc. who are hopelessly trying to establish peace. jennifer Conelly is a metaphor to few honest people going about their business without hurting anyone. The irritating kid represents the confused "rest of the world". With this frame of mind, if you watch the movie, it really isn't all that bad. Despite the funny iron-man, with a light bulb in his head, which disintegrates into alien bugs (the man not the bulb), the movie MAY still make some sense. So go and try to pretend to like it.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Mumbai meri jaan

And it happens again. One of the biggest terrorist attack rocks not just the city or the nation but the whole world. I cannot exactly put my feelings in words. On one side, I am deeply shaken with what has happened. I feel sorry for people who lost their beloved ones in the attacks. But there is also that hidden relief that my people are unhurt. Every one I know from the city is safe. And that still makes me smile in all this chaos. You can't really avoid being selfish even at worst times like these.

The loss of life is but just one evil consequence of the attack. There are many worse which are not evident yet. As I write this sitting here, I still cannot stop worrying about my family. An unknown fear is slowly taking over me. I am not sure whether I will think of going to Marine drive, the next time I go to India. I am scared of going to my home.

Not only the city but the whole nation is going through tough times. Share market is closed. I read that many tourists have called of their plans to travel to India. England is calling off their tour (And I think they are justified, for once). And Australians are canceling their games. This only is a hint of other indirect consequences, this whole thing is responsible for.

To be frank, bomb blast is something I have got used to(?) hearing about. With bomb blasts, its kind of straight and easy. The bomb is planted. Time is set and Kaboom ! Its all over. But what has happened today is virtually a battle, a war. As I understand, the fighting is going on as I type this. People are taken hostages. Army has taken over some of the operation. WTF This is Bombay, not Baghdad. What has become of my beloved city. And the worst thing is all I can manage to do it write this mostly useless, shitty blog just to vent my frustration,anger and fear.

I have no idea what I have written. Whether it makes sense or not. Thoughts are just coming flying out of my mind. But I had to write this. This is not for me, not for you. This for my city, my home, Mumbai, meri jaan.

Monday 24 November 2008

6 Facts about me

SEV recently tagged me. Although in my opinion, tagging is utterly useless and a total wastage of bandwidth, I liked the idea of writing few things about myself. It's something I believe I am better at. So here are six random things about myself.

1) I am an arrogant, cynical, male chauvinist (I know people who will vouch for that). And I like it that way.
2) Ironically, I am also a very nice person (the SAME set of people will vouch for this).
3) In my opinion, out of 6 billion people on earth, 5.9 billion are living a pointless life. And if we kill these 5.9 billion, lives of rest 0.1 billion will become (mostly) pointless. As a corollary, I am still searching for purpose in my life (hence the blog name).
4) At night I think about things I should be least bothered about and then wonder why am I an insomniac.
5) My hidden dream is drive Dodge Viper Convertible at its top speed, jump over a cliff and do the Vin Diesel's XXX Chevy Corvette stunt.
6) I am a total atheist and no, I do not think I am god.

P.S.
After writing this, I just realized one possible use of tagging. Tagging creates hyper links between pages. If through transitivity you get connected to some bigshot, page-rank of you blog will go up. Which in turn will increase probability of your blog being shown in any of the google searches. If you have "Ads by Google" then this means you have greater chance of making money without earning it. So SEV, you may have just increased your odds for earning some money.

P.P.S. Despite my proposition above I am still not going to tag anyone. I am sorry SEV. You are free to tag someone else :-)

Friday 21 November 2008

Passing the parcel

I am going to do an experiment when I get some free time this weekend. I am posting this in advance just to see if someone has done it already and know what happens in the situation...

Most email clients do allow forwarding email to another email id. Here is a plan to cause Denial of Service (DoS) without having to do anything "illegal". I have two email ids say A and B. I configure A to forward all email to B and I configure B to configure all email to A. Now what happens when the next email comes in ?

Consider a different scenario. In addition to email forwarding gmail also allow sending email using a different email id (if u have valid credentials ofc). Now Both A and B use C to send email. That way any email coming out of them would actually claime to be coming from C. If we configure them as in case I, is there any way for them to detect the loop ?. I am sure protocol engineers must have done something to avoid this. But still this is worth experimenting. If you know how these scenarios are handled please let me know. It may save me some time (or drive me in devising a different plan)

Monday 17 November 2008

Another fit of boredom

It's one of those days when you don't feel like doing anything. For no apparent reason everything around me is looking dull. Outside, the snow is drizzling adding to the melancholy of my mind. I want to take my car and drive till the road ends. I am lost in myself.

Friday 7 November 2008

Obama won... so what?

I am posting on this blog after 1 and a half months. One reason for that is I was busy. But the more important thing is that I have found more important things to do in life rather than blogging pointlessly.

As I look around, I see the euphoric feeling in everyone around because of the sweeping victory of President-elect of United States Barack Obama. The thing that surprises me the most is that even a lot of foreigners including Indians are celebrating his victory. Yes, I too believe he is the better one among the two. And I can understand that people may feel good about what happened on 4th of November. But I find it hard to comprehend the crazy celebration by Resident as well as Non-resident Indians. I don't remember anyone celebrating even when Dr. Kalam became Indian president or when Manmohan Singh became PM.

What I wonder and keep wondering is that at the end of the day as a "resident alien" in United States, how (much) does it matter to me ? Unemployment is on the rise. Considering the fact that Obama too is against out sourcing and he has a economic crisis to manage, there is very good chance that he will make outsourcing more difficult. That means lesser jobs and lesser money in India.

He may try his best to bring the economy back on track but no matter what he does, it's going to take time. You can't just wave a magic wand to fix things like this. Yes policies do affect economy but usually there are a lot of other factors that may play a role in what happens in future.

All this makes me wonder if at all I should be celebrating or not. If we are just talking about a black man being a president, then India is well ahead of US. We already had a female president, a female prime minister and a president from a caste previously considered as "Dalit". And no one ever bothered to cheer that (definitely not to this extent).

I don't want to sound like a cynic (which I know I am), neither do I want to take credit away from Obama and friends. But if you expect me to go out and do a victory dance... I am sorry... to most part I do not care.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Chrome pains

I was quite excited to try google chrome. Thanks to SEV, I have chrome that pretends to run. But In less ten seconds after starting it for the first time, I see serious problems.
1) It runs on top of wine, which essentially means that I should be ready for surprises and occasional crashes.
2) I cannot maximize it... WTF. When I click on maximize button it maximizes only along vertical direction. Actually it appears to have maximized but 30% portion on the right side (which contains ALL the important buttons etc.) simply disappears.... I am unsure if thats intended. Interestingly, I can easily drag it to fit my whole screen. Duh...
3) Support for UTF-8 is pathetic (basically there is no support. i see only blocks in place of special utf-8 characters despite the fact that chrome does detect character encoding correctly)
4) I decided to write this post from chrome and it just crashed. A lot of wine-based applications do that. But it definitely creates a very bad first impression.


So right now, even though I have a chrome shortcut created on my desktop, I don't think I would bother to click it much often. May be I will wait for official release google that runs natively.

Monday 22 September 2008

memory leaks

Memory leak is the scariest thing in a programmer's life. I had a MAJOR memory leak in my code and I was using it for last 8 months without even realizing it. Thanks to GBs of RAM that we are becoming comfortably numb to things like these

Monday 15 September 2008

The Departed

Saw "The Departed" the other day. Nice movie. Keeps you guessing all the time. Even better is the sound track. Most of us seem to know "shipping up to Boston" which is rocking... But the main theme and "the departed tango" just mesmerized me. Not to forget "comfortably numb"

All in all its one superb soundtrack

Friday 12 September 2008

the list goes on...

raghu , ashish , sandeep, rohit, arvind, abhinav, sairahul

Sunday 7 September 2008

Sunday 31 August 2008

Email ids

None of my email ids is really intuitive. I finally feel the need to have the same (and easy to pronounce, understand and remember) email id across all the domains. But as I understand, it is not possible to "rename" an email id. Ideally this is what I would like to have.
1) My existing email id is foo.MOSTLYMEANINGLESSCRAP@gmail.com
2) I change it to foo.bar@gmail.com
3) Ppl who had my previous id continue using it without a problem.

My temporary solution for this is as follows:
1) create a new id
2) Autoforward all the mail from your old email.
3) Set outgoing address of both the accounts to your new id.
The only problem is chats cannot be connected this way. So I have to add all my contacts again in my chat contacts list.

I have set up everything. Let me see how it works. Meanwhile if you have a better solution please let me know.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

How to abuse a C++ memory management system

1) Create hell lot of pointers.
2) Use new to allocate memory for half of them
3) Use malloc for rest.
4) Try to use realloc to vary the memory size allocated to pointers in step 2
5) Attempt to use free on pointers in step 3.
6) Result : Every conceivable memory related crash at the run time...

Enjoy

Sunday 17 August 2008

The world around us

This world is a funny place. It consists of systems and sub-systems. Each of these systems have rules. Rules which govern them, rules which manipulate them and rules that change them. To survive in the system you need to understand the rules. If you take long time, the system annihilates you. If you take very little time, probably you misunderstand them. But once you understand them, you start cynically manipulating the system. And that's where the fun of life truly lies.

Thursday 7 August 2008

Gmail as an archive

Ever since gmail offered unlimited space (and I went broadband), I've been using it as a highly available, reliable and free archiving system. Whenever I want to keep forever, I just email to myself. And it remains forever in my inbox and sent items. But gmail has a problem (? may be feature is a better word ?). It does not let you send executable files. And you cannot zip it to fool gmail. So the other day I wanted to archive this old game called Prince of Persia (Was my favourite for a very very long time... and I would still play it if at all it runs in wine). Buu gmail wont let me send it :-| Solution ? Simple compose the mail and leave it in drafts ;-) Just label it with the same label you use for your other archives. I actually spent a lot of time trying to figure out a mind-dazzling way to email it (encryption and stuff like that). But realized that while I was busy thinking ... gmail smartly saved the draft without testing for the so called forbidden contents. So next time you want to archive something ... Just email it.

P.S. There are two problems with this approach. First - the age old copyright laws. I believe google has all the rights over the stuff in your mail box. But being a ordinary user as I am, I don't think google has any reason to try use my stuff. Second - Maximum attachment size. But it hasn't been a problem so far. And anyways max attachment size has been increasing with time so should not be a problem in future as well.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Its been exactly one year since I first came to USA. How time flies...

Sunday 3 August 2008

Malgudi Days

Finished Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan today. This is my first English book by an Indian author. I still don't know why I bought this book. Perhaps because i was fascinated by the television series. But I am happy with my buy. It is amazing that something so simple can still grip your mind. The stories somehow feel familiar, probably thats the reason I liked the book. Somehow you can identify with many of the characters. May be I should read more like this...
My problem is I get bored of anything after a while. May be I need to see a psychiatrist, but I am sure I will get bored of him as well :-)

Thursday 31 July 2008

Blown away by Mumbai Airport

Yes... Mumbai airport has undergone a change I never expected. It really looks like an international airport now. The most interesting (and uniquely Indian) feature of the airport is the Chaiwala. You can actually buy good old Indian tea/coffee while waiting at the gate from a certified hawker carrying kettle.

Thursday 10 July 2008

Jaane tu...............Jaane tu ya jane naaaaa

I saw Jaane Tu Ya Jane naa the other day. I liked it. For a change i liked a love
story. Imran Khan is good. He looks like an adorable kid but c'mon that's how he is
supposed to look. The movie has a refreshing feel despite almost predictable story.
Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah are simply hilarious!!!!
I must mention rehman's music. All the tracks are enjoyable in the movie (though the lyricist has shat in some places but that's forgivable considering that 90% of the listeners don't care and probably don't really understand lyrics) . The use of Saxophone in the title track is superb. Even the "kabhi kabhi aditi" track is worth listening....

This is one you should not miss if you just wanna enjoy a lovely evening...

Saturday 28 June 2008

I need a break

This has been a busy month. I have actually posted 16 posts this month and I need a break now. I am going home to relax and have some fun. So there will be no posts for a month. But one thing is sure...

I WILL BE BACK...

Wanted - Rajni has competition

Watched "Wanted" yesterday. Its is more of a comedy than an action-thriller. There is some good action. But otherwise it's typical Rajnikanth-type movie. I can accept that a bullet can travel a parabolic path but in the movie they even travel along a circle. WTF ? But if you don't wanna think much, this is a good way to pass 90 minutes.

Friday 27 June 2008

Godspeed Mr. Gates

Today is Bill Gates' last day as an employee of Microsoft. I have kept no secrete of how I hate Microsoft products released after Windows 98-SE (except probably Windows-2000NT). But most would agree when I say that he is one of the most shrewd businessman in the world. And I immensely respect him for that. (hemant, at least now stop calling me his arch-nemesis ;-) ). I want to dedicate this short and mostly pointless post (for most of you) to Bill Gates. I hope he does equally well in whatever he decides to do next.

Good Luck Mr. Gates...

Sweet summer sweat...

Today was the first day in year 2008 when I sweat without doing anything physically tiring.... This confirms that summers is finally here.

Thursday 26 June 2008

Piano is a string instrument

I always thought that Piano works on the same principle as Organ or Harmonium. But today I saw a program on Piano making. They actually put strings in side it which are hammered when a note is played...
That was a news for me :-)

Monday 23 June 2008

Our worst nightmare

There was a very interesting program on CNN today. It just looked at the current oil crisis in a hypothetical "what-if" way. I must appreciate the creativity of the reporter who made that feature. Imagine what will happen if...

1) On some day in September 2009, a category-5 hurricane devastate state of Texas, especially all the oil refineries.
2) Gas prices rock the stock markets as 25% of USA's oil is processed in Texas.
3) Osama Bin Laden sees this and plans an innovative attack.
4) Two days later, Saudi Arabia's two biggest oil-export ports are bombed in 9/11 fashion.
5) Oil prices cross $9 mark in United States..
6) Energy war starts and total chaos ensues.

Isn't our dependence on oil worth the concern....

Saturday 21 June 2008

Not so incredible Hulk

Today for the first time after coming to United States, i saw a movie in a movie hall. Not that I don't like movies but I did not have easy access to a car (and there is no direct bus route to the hall ;-) ) until very recently.

Hulk - The Incredible, the name itself tells you what to expect. It has some good graphics. Creature(s) jump around New York city, causing losses worth a billion dollars. It also has a some ridiculously unbelievable, typical sci-fi stuff (e.g. cells turning from green to red and then green again) which can be passed as "visualization" of script-writer's ideas. On the whole it is an OK movie if you want to enjoy a nice Friday evening with friends. But incredible..... well thats a bit too much. Do watch it though if you have nothing constructive to do...

Friday 20 June 2008

I wanna go home ...

It's been almost 11 months. Longest I have been away from my folks. And I can feel it. A lot of things, good, bad and ugly, have happened in this time. I have been counting down days for last two months. Last few weeks have been few of the least productive weeks.

It is true that there is anything in Mumbai that I cannot get here (except may be "Burf ka Gola"). In fact, life in Lansing is much more comfortable than that in Mumbai. Lansing has pure pollution-free air. It has good people. It has nice climate. It virtually has NO traffic. It has peace. But it lacks the thing I want the most ... my family. And thats what I matters the most.

I don't have slightest idea why am I writing this. Nearer the day of departure comes, more I feel the pain of staying away home... Probably this will just ease the pain a bit.

Monday 16 June 2008

I can drive :-)

This had been dragging on and on for a long time. But finally, it's done. I can now drive on my own in state of Michigan.

Sunday 15 June 2008

I can't live.... With or without you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

I've always liked this song by U2 since I heard it for the first time. But these days it sounds even more touchy... Feels as if it is speaking my heart out. It is something I want to say out loud to someone but I myself have closed all the windows and shut all the doors

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live With or without you

My hands are tied
My body bruised, she's got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose

My Acer Aspire 5052N is no more...

I am not sure how much worse this month is going to be...

My trusted friend of sixteen months, my laptop is dead. And none other than my carelessness is to be blamed for it. After all it was me who did not think once before biking in rain with my back pack on....

I could have lost all of my research work. I could have lost my music collection which was built with fair amount of efforts. Above all could have lost some of the memories I had treasured. Thanks to few good friends who recovered it.

But the fact remains that I have no laptop now. That means I will be cut from the cyber world for 16 hours a day. No more online movies, no more nonsense downloads. Worst of all... no more chatting with friends. i am finding it impossible to imagine life without it.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

स्वर टिपेचा

I could not find lyrics of this song in Devnagari. So I just transliterated them. I am posting just in case anyone else needs it.

स्वर टिपेचा आज वेचा रे उद्या फुटणार काचा
जायचे जातील पाहू सोहळा उरतील त्यांचा

विस्मरुया आज सारे रंग ज्वाळेचा चितेच्या
चुंबनचा रंग प्राशू लाज ओल्या रक्तिम्याचा

देहही नव्हता तपस्वी जीवही नव्हता कलंदर
झोपताना फक्त कुरवाळून घ्याव्या विद्धटाचा

संगतीला दोन हिरवे हात घेऊन चाललो मी
थाटण्या संसार ग्रिष्माच्या शिरेवर पावसाचा

-संदीप खरे
The song is written by Sandeep Khare.

I am not sure if the lyrics are correct. I did not even understand meaning of the song fully. Feel free to let me know for any suggestions/comments.

P.S. I am not sure if this is a copyright violation. If it is then please let me know and I will take this post off my blog.

Monday 9 June 2008

Tornadooooooooooooooooooooooooo

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I was practicing for my driving test, a friend of mine instructing me. I was taking a left turn entering a parking lot. And I saw it. From my left a wall of dust was fast approaching me. It was hardly 50 yards away. I had just entered the parking lot when it devoured us. The whole world around me went dark and dusty. I was unable to see. Only thing I realized was that I was in the wrong lane and could be heading directly toward any car coming out of the lot. I just got glimpses of a vacant space and I parked.

The dust cloud passed us in less than a minute. Everything was clear now and I could see broken branches of trees frantically flying with the wind. It was raining insanely. Everyone else in the lot were equally shocked as us, hurrying toward their cars. We decided to switch places so that my friend can take control of the steering wheel. And I opened the door to get out of the car. Oh boy..... the door was just banged open by the wind. I was feeling the push of wind. By the time I entered from he other door of the car I had realized, this was no ordinary hail storm I had seen so far. And then we heard the sirens ranting. It was confirmed ... this was a tornado...

We took the shortest possible road to my home. Nothing really happened after that. the tornado passed as quickly as it came. It did scared us a bit. But the experience was thrilling. Next time, I want to be ready with my camera.

Friday 6 June 2008

?

Its still Thursday. Each passing day feels like a year. This week is turning out to be pretty turbulent. A lot of things have happened. My entire life has changed upside down. I have taken few painful decisions. I have no idea whether what I did was good or bad. Neither do I want to pass any judgment.Only time will tell...

I did what I did because I had to. Mostly I did not have any choice than accepting what fate had to offer. In some cases, I did have choices but I decided to ignore them. I have no idea what am I going to do now. I often used to say this to a very good friend of mine that my life is like a sinking ship and I am its captain who can't do anything but watch it sink and despair. I have no idea where am I going... or what am I doing...

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Intimations of Immortality

From Intimations of Immortality

what though the radiance which was once so bright
be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find-
Strength in what remains behind

- William Wordsworth

Monday 2 June 2008

Women

You may know them for 20 years but still they continue to puzzle you. And stand in front of you as complete strangers...

Saturday 31 May 2008

Grad student productivity


I know Jorge Cham has done something like this. But I would like to present my findings here...
The graph above shows productivity of a grad student wrt amount of workload. The slopes of two sides of the curve are affected by student's interests, time of year, his dedication and motivation from peers.

Comments are welcome !!

P.S. Is there a journal/conference where I can submit this ???

P. P.S. Its Friday, 30th May 20:50 hrs here. But for some god forsaken reason, blogspot is showing date as Saturday 31st May.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

A new look

For no apparent reason, I have decided to change the look of my blog. I have fiddled with the basic template, changed a few colors here and there. The background image of the main section is my desk clicked on a random day. I see that the font color does not contrast with background well, but my choice of background leaves me no choice but to use white. Expect another change soon.
Meanwhile, any comments and criticisms about the current look are welcome...

Thursday 22 May 2008

Life is beautiful

I am feeling great. Last few days have been really tough. And my stupidity is to be blamed for that. But now all the doubts have gone. All questions are answered. I think I have grown up a lot in last few days. I am happy. Really really happy....

Saturday 17 May 2008

looking back...

sitting alone in my office, i was thinking about my life (which i often do these days). and suddenly i realized that i have wasted precious ten years of my life. when i passed out of school, i was fond of reading. i also liked arts in general. but as time passed by i stopped bothering about nurturing at least one good hobby. i stopped reading altogether. i did not pursue music. i never continued drawing something i really liked back then. i have come to a point in my life where i have a great academic record but absolutely nothing else. if someone asks me what else have i done, i keep searching for words (and excuses). yes, i have traveled. i have been to many places. but all the time i was traveling for something or for someone. never ever have i thought about doing things for the sake of it. i pity myself.... :-(

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Interesting C program

#ifndef __NONSENSE__
#define __NONSENSE__

#include religiousviolence.h
#include dirtypolitics.h
#include popularculture.h

BOOL lesson_learnt = FALSE;


void History()
{
if(Checkstabiity(fanaticism) && CheckCorruption(BoomingEconomy) && CheckPublicDesire(SocialProblems))
lesson_learnt = TRUE;

else
History(); //repeat History
}

#endif



Building....
Link error ...commonsense32.lib missing...
exit..
ld returned status 1..

Saturday 10 May 2008

I am tense...

Thats true. I can feel it but don't know whats causing it. May be it's my qualifier scheduled next week. May be it's the fact that my support for fall 2008 is in jeopardy. May be it's the homesickness caused by the thought of going home next month. Or may be it's just another fit of depression. But I am feeling tense. I desperately want someone to be at my side who I can open my heart to... Unfortunately there is no one...

Friday 2 May 2008

Thats life

"I find it fascinating that our planet still has areas where no modern technology can save you, where you are reduced to your most basic - and essential - self. This natural space creates demanding situations that can lead to suffering and death, but also generate a wild interior richness. Ultimately, there is no way of reconciling these contradictions. All I can do it try to live within their margins, in the narrow boundary between joy and horror. Everything on this earth is a balancing act."

Jean-Christophe Lafaille
Mountaineer

The man disappeared while attempting what would have been first winter ascent of Makalu (a peak in Himalaya).
I was just blown away by his attitude towards looking at life....Hats off!!

Friday 25 April 2008

T20 League in Dubai ?

This is just a test of effect of IPL on International Test Cricket. The success of IPL has apparently triggered similar event in Pakistan. I am just waiting for UAE to host its own version of T20 league. It is quite clear that the amount of money that has been pumped in IPL has a lot to do with its success. And no one in this solar system can compete with Dubai when it comes to spending money on such things. I won't be surprised if the deals cross billion dollars mark if Dubai jumps in.

It would be interesting to see what England and "rest" of the "third world" cricketing nations then do to stay alive...

Monday 21 April 2008

I want everything in my life but am not prepared to do the required hard work.... Hopeless

Sunday 13 April 2008

Yahoo spam filter

I often use self emails (email sent by me to me) as reminders. Few days back I sent an email to myself with something I wanted to the next day. And Yahoo spam filter marked that as "spam". On the other hand it fails to filter at least 5 messages per day which are real spams.

This is ridiculous. I haven't seen a worse spam filter. No wonder Microsoft is offering only $42 billion for the take over...

Saturday 12 April 2008

Even fewer reasons to go back

Accept it. There are much better carrier opportunities in US compared to India. Especially in the field I am in (Computer Science). There are a lot of other reasons as well for me not to go back to India. And in addition to all those, I got this news that our (so called) honorable Supreme Court has ruled in favor of government in the OBC reservation case. So now in addition to SC, ST and women (in some cases) even OBCs will get their cut of the cake. If MNS and Mr. Raj Thackrey had their way, they will also introduce regional reservations. Wow...

Knowing all this, why should I even consider going to a place where I know my children will be discriminated? Why should I even bother about it ? As far as I can see such decisions will be leading to the ultimate doom of Indian people and the nation as it exists today. So why shouldn't I secure my future. Of course, you may say that true Indian should fight rather than running away from battle. But who am I fighting with? They are neither Britons nor Afghan raiders, They are my fellow countrymen. And I see no point in it. Some may argue (reminds me of Madhavan in RDB), that I have to go their and change it. But to be honest I don't have balls to do that. There is a nice quote in RDB that (effectively) says "If you are unhappy with a system, either change it or accept it". I can do neither. So I decide to leave it. And I don't see anything wrong in that.

I know that in this country (US) I will always be treated as "resident alien" but at least my children will not suffer. Whereas in India, not just me or my kids but (possibly) my generations to come will suffer for crimes committed by my ancestors. So it makes all the sense to leave it to its fate.

Next time someone in India talks about brain drain, I will be ready to whack his ass.

And now its a hail-storm

Last one year has been .... funny. I have experienced every damn weather condition. First it was intense Hyderabad heat. Then came enervating Mumbai-humidity. Just before I left for Uncle Sam's land, I saw crazy Mumbai-Monsoon.

Then it was beautiful Lansing Fall followed by bone-chilling winter. Now, the snow has melted and spring is round the corner (some say it has already arrived but I disagree). Today, I was caught in a hail-storm followed by torrential rains. It was fun (yes despite the chilling winds it was fun).

I am blessed !!!

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Finally my laptop is complete

As I had written in one of my older posts, I was facing issues with sound drivers. ALSA was not able to record anything and OSS was recording but not playing anything. I even fiddled with Pulse Audio but had fell back on alsa. Today I installed latest OSS (just because I did not want to study). And to my surprise this version actually does work. I can play and record. That was a pleasant shock. When I first switched to GNU/Linux, a lot of things were missing (webcam being one of those). Today for the first time in last one year, every feature that my laptop hardware offers is being used. I am happy.

Long live Gnu....

Thursday 3 April 2008

The Fellowship of The Ring

Today I completed first part of the great book by JRR Tolkien. Many may consider this absolutely insignificant. But some who know me will appreciate it. I must accept, I am nowhere near a good reader. I don't even read newspaper completely. It took me many months to read this one. So for me it is an achievement. It renews my confidence that I can complete the entire book.

Anyways, Having read it, I must say that Peter Jackson has done a splendid job. He has captured all that is important without hurting the theme much. Of course, he has changed a few things here and there, but that's acceptable as "cinematic liberty". In fact I did find the book boring and uninteresting in places and Jackson has smartly abridged those portions or dropped them altogether. Otherwise, he really has tried to capture the exact words of Tolkien. In fact, I would have never considered reading this book if it was not for the Jackson's trilogy.

Saturday 29 March 2008

Longcat is loooong and ppl are stupid

Some random guy I don't want to know about, sees a picture of cat who is abnormally long (The picture may even be fake...) He then creates a so called "artist's impression" of that cat which happens to be looooooooooooooooooooong.

Half the world goes crazy for that. And then these crazy people try to drive others who are not yet out of their minds, insane by constantly bugging and buddy-pouncing them.

Someone please explain...................................

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Never use a Visa-card operated payphone

The other day I was stuck at the Detroit airport and wanted to let my friend know that I will be late. So I decided to use the pay-phone to call him. Unfortunately I did not have any quarters so I used my card instead. The call went fine. But the bill gave me the shock of my life. First they had charged me $5 for the call which is 10 times ordinary call charge of $0.5. After a couple of days the $5 charge was replaced by $19.41 :-O. The that offered this "service" was ILD Teleservices.

WTH ...... I called up their customer service (luckily this number appears in the credit card statement). First, they made me on wait and I had to listen to crappy ads for 20 minutes. After an almost endless waiting time finally the customer service executive answered my call. I was told that the $5 charge was just to check my account balance and $19.41 is the actual call charge. This is written nowhere on the pay phone box. $19.41 for 3 minutes??? I can call mars at a cheaper rate. I just googled for this so called ILD teleservices and realized that I am not the first one, they have been charging people for unknown or hidden services for quite a some time( check this and this and this). So NEVER NEVER NEVER do any business with ILD.

The lesson I learnt (the hard way) from this is : Never use your credit card for a pay phone. Always carry a few quarters. If you don't have them buy a McDonalds burger for about $4.2, Pay the cashier $5 and get the quarters. Even if you throw the burger in the trash you still save more than $14.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

staying.crap

This is what I call misuse of technology. Fooling the innocent machines and trying to act smart.

P.S.
Some may say thats creativity. I disagree ...

Monday 10 March 2008

Spring break is over !!!!!!! :-O

How did this happen ? We were supposed to have a break for five days... I don't remember more than three days :-O..... This cannot be true.

But it is. Spring break is over before I even realized it. I had made a long list of things-to-do in the spring break. But most of those remained only in the list. It's funny how time just passes by... Even funnier is the fact that while I have realized it finally, I still ain't doing anything productive. Instead, I am sitting on my bed, with my laptop on my lap, typing this almost pointless post.

Procrastinating is fun !!!!

Monday 3 March 2008

The eternal quest

चलने ही चलने में कितना जीवन, हाय, बिता डाला!
'दूर अभी है', पर, कहता है हर पथ बतलानेवाला,
हिम्मत है न बढूँ आगे को साहस है न फिरुँ पीछे,
किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ मुझे कर दूर खड़ी है मधुशाला।।७।

किसी ओर मैं आँखें फेरूँ, दिखलाई देती हाला
किसी ओर मैं आँखें फेरूँ, दिखलाई देता प्याला,
किसी ओर मैं देखूं, मुझको दिखलाई देता साकी
किसी ओर देखूं, दिखलाई पड़ती मुझको मधुशाला।।३९।

दो दिन ही मधु मुझे पिलाकर ऊब उठी साकीबाला,
भरकर अब खिसका देती है वह मेरे आगे प्याला,
नाज़, अदा, अंदाजों से अब, हाय पिलाना दूर हुआ,
अब तो कर देती है केवल फ़र्ज़ -अदाई मधुशाला।।६५।

छोटे-से जीवन में कितना प्यार करुँ, पी लूँ हाला,
आने के ही साथ जगत में कहलाया 'जानेवाला',
स्वागत के ही साथ विदा की होती देखी तैयारी,
बंद लगी होने खुलते ही मेरी जीवन-मधुशाला।।६६।

यम आयेगा साकी बनकर साथ लिए काली हाला,
पी न होश में फिर आएगा सुरा-विसुध यह मतवाला,
यह अंितम बेहोशी, अंतिम साकी, अंतिम प्याला है,
पथिक, प्यार से पीना इसको फिर न मिलेगी मधुशाला।८०।

From "Madhushala" (मधुशाला) By Harivanshrai Bachchan

Friday 29 February 2008

The world is still the same at 25...... but I have changed

I turned 25 today. Unlike my last birthday, this one was a quiet birthday. No midnight parties, no bumps, no cakes and a day full of same ol' work. 25 looks like a big landmark. It's the at which people around you consider you "mature". Your parents expect you to take responsibilities. People consult you for "serious" opinions. Older females in the family start looking for your match :-)

It may be a big day for me. But look around. How many people even bother. Things are still the same as they were yesterday. And thats the way they will continue tomorrow. This makes me realize how small I am in this world. I should have been someone. But I am not....I should have done something. But I haven't...Ahhhh I must do something with my life.

I can't stop myself retrospecting my life so far. I don't really have anything to complain about. Though I may never have had a car to drive me to places, I always had enough money in my pocket to take the bus wherever I wanted to go. I may not have had dinners at five stars but never in my life did I sleep hungry. I will say I got all the basic comforts, millions of people in the world are denied. And yet somehow I never thought about it all this time. I never thanked my parents for everything they did for me. Sitting here, 10000 miles away from them, I realize what I am missing all this time.

Mom, Dad, you may never read this...but I just want you to know that I love you and I just want to say "thanks" for the wonderful life you have given me........

Tuesday 26 February 2008

laloo rocks!!!

The annual Rail-budget was presented today. I just went through the main points of the budget. In the days when oil prices are sky-high, inflation is crossing all the limits, Laloo actually is cutting all the fares. People may argue that he is ensuring his second term by a Junta-Budget, but he also claims that Railways has cash surplus of 25000 Crores. Thats a quite a surprise.

I should confess that I never liked Laloo as a leader. But the things he has been doing with the Indian Railways have left me spell bound. May be he is one of the best Management Gurus in the country. Or may be he is not interfering with the railway officials. and letting the professionals do there job. But as long as it is working in common man's favor (and railways' favor in general) whats wrong in it. At least he has been consistently achieving what his predecessors could not even imagine in their dreams.

Hats off to Laloo Prasad Yadav !!!!

Monday 18 February 2008

I dont want to give title to this

Abraham Lincoln's letter to his son's head master is the biggest piece of crap I have ever seen. If it was in the headmaster's hands to teach all those things to even ONE earthling, he wouldn't have been a headmaster of a school.
I think the letter was written just to waste few precious hours of generations of students that followed........
(Am I sounding like Calvin ?)

Saturday 16 February 2008

Oops.......I did it again..

and I forgot one more meeting today...strike four!!
I must stop getting used to this.
I am sorry for what I did but more than that I feel sorry for the people whose time I have wasted.... I deserve a kick on my a** for this

Saturday 9 February 2008

Research papers

As a doctoral student and a wanna be researcher, research papers are part and parcel of my life. But somehow, I find it virtually impossible read them. One of the famous professors at IIT Kharagpur had once said that a good way to get your paper published is to make it look very easy if it is difficult and make it look difficult if it is easy. I believe this is exactly what is being followed in the research world (I am exposed to...). Many of the papers I go through have relatively easy idea unnecessary made complex by putting fancy symbols and equations and stuff like that. And thats exactly what makes them difficult to read (difficult ones are unreadable anyways). Let me accept here that I am not an avid reader when it comes to reading such works (actually reading anything). But when I gather enough enthu to go though the papers, just because of the cryptic presentation, it becomes hard to concentrate after first few minutes. In fact most of the times when I "read" a paper all I do is go through the initial sections and get the gist. Other than my own (which again follow the rule mentioned above, unfortunately) I don't think I have read any paper A to Z. I've talked to few friends about this, and it looks to me that I am not the only one doing this. May be a general survey of the research fraternity may reveal some disappointing truths.. I don't know.
you may wonder why am I writing all this.... Well the reason is that I am supposed to read about 8 papers as a part of my course and I have started the first one just few minutes back...:-D

Saturday 2 February 2008

My first custom compiled browser

Yesterday I compiled mozilla icecat on my laptop. Its the first time, I have compiled any of the most commonly used softwares. Other than few missing libraries which I had to install, the installation went perfect. It took almost twenty minutes to compile and install the full thing.
Why did I do that ? The main problem I was seeing in most of the firefox family browsers was inability to render indic texts properly. It requires a special rendering support from "Pango" library and most of the ubuntu repositories have firefox binaries with pango disabled. It was funny that kubuntu 7.10 (32 bit) installed on my lab box had pango enabled firefox. But I could not find 64 bit Iceweasel/Firefox binary with pango enabled. I know it had some bugs which manifested themselves by miserably slowing down the browser. But AFAIK this bug was affecting 32/64 bit binaries alike. Anyways, other than this practical reason, I just wanted to compile firefox once on my box. So I did it. I chose Icecat (which is new name of Iceweasel) just because its "all free". Its working great... Even the indic text is rendered beautifully.

Meanwhile, I would like to note that the only broser that currently passes the acid2 browser test is konqueror. None if the most popular browsers IE, firefox or Opera pass the test. And after fiddling with konqueror for a few weeks I think its not that bad...it just has a different ways of doing things.

Anyways, For most of us compiling a browser may not be a big deal but I am feeling great. The joy of having something custom built for yourself is something I cannot explain.

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Perils of inaction

Getting a Michigan driving license was at the back of mind for quite a some time. In fact, I ha decided that I will get it in the winter break. But I am just too lazy when it comes to doing things that are not so important in near future. And this time my lethargy has cost me dearly.
As said earlier, I wanted get the driving license in December but I just slept through the entire winter break. By the time I finally gathered enough enthusiasm to get the license, it was January 14. The writing test went smoothly and I cleared it without much of pain. All I had to do now is go to the testing center and give a driving test. It would have taken hardly two hours. But my lethargy struck back. I had six long months to give the driving test(written test score is valid for six months). So I never really bothered to do it soon. Last week Michigan State changed the requirements for getting a driver's license. Now a person must be a citizen or a permanent resident of USA (i.e.Green card holder) in order to qualify for driving license. However weird the rule may seem, it was a government rule. So basically people like me CANNOT have a driving license.
Ahhhh.......if only I had shown a little more seriousness about getting this done :-( I hate myself.....

Saturday 26 January 2008

Orkuto ergo sum

Renè Decartes once famously said "Cogito Ergo Sum" (I think therefore I exist). Today this may be rephrased as "Orkuto Ergo Sum" (first word is my gift to latin). Day by day, I see that people are becoming more and more dependent on orkut/facebook. They don't ask for email ids or phone numbers... they ask for orkut ids. I was shocked when I came to know that CATA (Capital Area Transportation Authority - Organization which manages Public Transport in Lansing) too has a facebook profile. It is very interesting how technology changes (I wanted to write takes over but may be its a bit early to say that) our lives....

Friday 11 January 2008

So close yet ....

Grad schools usually have no chicks or very few of them... Back in Kharagpur our entire batch of 13 grad-students consisted only of males. So its quite an event to have a nice chick in your course...

Thats why I was quite excited when this nice chick walked in our class the other day. Ahhh, finally there are more motivations to go to the class other than just building strong foundation for research.....

Next day, while I was in meeting with my adviser the same girl walks in. She was going to work under my adviser in the same field. Wow... thats luck. She also happens to have graduated. Is this a divine signal asking me to take some action ?

My adviser decides that I should team up with her for our course project.... Boy...can it get better than this.........

And then Mr. Murphy strikes........ She happens to be happily married for two years...
:-( I think I should rather concentrate on my research.....

Disaster

I have only one course this sem. That means two lectures per week. One of them was on Thursday 12:40 PM...
Here is what happened this thurday :

Thursday 1:00AM - Started watching a movie (dhol). I had some work to finish but I was just not feeling like doing it...
1:30AM - The movie was quite boring...so I decided to do the work instead...
3:30AM - Finished the work ... went to bed
5:00AM - Didn't get any sleep whatsoever... so resumed watching movie.
6:00AM - Second half was bearable... I won't call this total waste of time. Again went to bed to try and get some sleep
7:30Am - Still.. could not sleep....... Got up and had a morning tea with arvind (my roomie). Had breakfast. Again decided to try to sleep for some time. So put an alarm for 10:30AM and slept.
10:30AM - "Ahhh Still 2 hours for the class.......let me have a small nap......"
1:00PM - I woke up with a start .....!@#$%

Worst of all..... The professor teaching the course happens to be my adviser and this was his second lecture of the term....

Thursday 10 January 2008

USB pendrive can be washed!!!

I may forget my wallet , but I never forget to carry my usb flash drive (Transcend Jetflash 1G... not something I can boast of, but still...). I find it handy to have it with me in case there is a need to transfer stuff . It is much lighter than my lappy and It's faster and much more convenient than a CD.
To make the long story short, I always have it in my pocket and last week I forgot to take it out when I laundered my clothes. So it underwent a nice 40 minutes hot water wash. I came to about this only when I was putting my clothes in the dryer. And to be frank, blood froze in my veins for a whole minute, when I realized what I had done. I had few important PDFs some, songs and most importantly my graphics project in it. I literally kept it on my room heater for two full days ......... for drying :-) On the third, I put it in my lappy.............and it worked as good as it ever had. Not a single byte was lost. Now thats what I would call true data-clean-up.

Moral of the story : You can wash a pendrive ......just make sure to dry it before use :-)