Monday, December 10, 2007

Relations - Last or Lost?

"There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't".

Robert Benchley
must be really witty to quote such a statement. When it comes to relations, there are two kinds of people: those who really understand the relations and those who get involved in such relations just as a time pass activity. In the former, the relations last, while in the latter, they are lost.

I remember a statement told by our teacher. A person tells his/her spouse: "Your children and my children are playing with our children". Do you think it's just a joke? When we understand this sentence properly and think deeply upon this matter, it becomes obvious that it is perfectly applicable, especially in Western countries. But the relation need not only be marriage. It can as well be any other relation, such as friendship.
Friendship
Coming back to the categories, I am sure, we all have seen both kinds of people. The people whom we met right in our childhood days, who still make us feel "Oh! Life is so beautiful" whenever think of them. We don't have to be with them forever to get such a feeling. It's just their presence in our minds that make us comfortable, even in the most critical situations.

Let us not forget the other category. When they were in our life, no doubt they made that part of the life lively. But now? Do they really remember those days or was it just a time pass activity? Did they really mean it? People whom we met, with whom we interacted for quite a long time, with whom we shared everything - if they don't want to share a single moment with us now, then what are we supposed to understand?

It is not the absence of a friend that annoys, but it is the silence. As someone has said, making 100 friends each lasting for an year is not a great thing. But it is really appreciable to make even one friend who lasts for 100 years... What do you say?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A formidable process: Indian Postal Service

Last week, as a part of our general training, we were being introduced to Software Engineering, wherein we came across the three most important things which render a project successful. They are: people, process and technology. The instructor gave an example of how a formidable process can make the entire organization superior. He took an example of the Indian Postal Service (officially known as India Post), which, in spite of a lot of difficulties, has been giving a promising service for over 150 years. I think that example is extremely thought provoking, and that is the reason I'm jotting down this article.

Let us quickly review the conditions under which the Indian Postal Service is working:
  • Letters can be sent to any place in India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari, from East to West, from metros to remote villages and delivery is ensured.
  • With 20+ official languages and 24 languages being spoken by more than a million people, the diversity itself is a serious problem for India Post. But there is no rule that instructs people to write address in a particular language; you can write a letter to Uttar Pradesh writing address in Kannada, and still it reaches.
  • Address in any part of India (excepting a few regions) is messed up, with "near" and "Opp." taking most of the address lines and sometimes only name and city is mentioned (Yes, it's hard to believe, but I am not exaggerating. It happened with my father, in which only the surname and city was mentioned in the address). As against this, for the postal services of other countries, door number/street is compulsory.
  • Most people sending letters will not know the PIN (Postal Index Number) of the destination or they won't write it. Even worse, they sometimes write wrong PINs, but the people in the Post Offices are generous enough to correct the PINs and send it to the correct recipient. Contracting this, postal services in many other countries require PIN or ZIP codes specified, or the post will not be delivered.
Had we ever thought about all these? This is not a era when someone discusses why a postal card or an inland letter is not reaching properly. With telephones and mobile phones becoming a necessity and the Internet being the medium of fast communication, no one bothers about the snail mail. Also, when it comes to the public services, India is considered to be a close competitor for the last position. But, as I said, the example of the Indian Postal Service instantly changed my mindset and made me think and rethink.

Apart from all those constraints mentioned before, the number of posts undelivered is just about 5 per million. Very close to Six Sigma quality. And all this happens with no written rule. Such a quality service is possible only due to a formidable process and equally eminent people working in India Post who adhere to this process. There are a very few other such systems in the world, which always provide their 100%, yet remain unnoticed... Shouldn't we be proud of such systems?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shortcut to Success?!

Well, it has been quite a while since I posted an article in this blog. That's due to the change in my dwelling place as well as my entry into the corporate world. Now I'm residing in the beautiful garden city, Bengaluru (Bangalore). I'm not going to write more about that now, but let me discuss an issue in which the current generation is getting attracted towards: finding shortcuts to success.

What is the most sought thing today? Probably, for most of us, it's money and nothing else. A more important issue regarding this matter is that everyone wants money, but without or minimal effort. But is it achievable?

There have been a lot of organizations which offer a huge money for a small investment, and there are a lot more people who go for them. With the advancement of the Internet and the means of online payments, it is growing even more rapidly nowadays. From offline firms like Amway to the online communities like agloco, from the antiquated firms like AllAdvantage to the emerging ones like eBiz and GISH, each of these firms has its own claims as to how the customer is able to earn a lumpsome amount. They promise to make you a millionaire in a year or two, but none of them has succeeded in this regard till now. Has anyone seen a person who is competing for a place in top 100 in the Forbes magazine just by participating in such organizations and making people members?

I'm not here to accuse these firms as frauds or to compell people not to join them. Each one has the right to do what he/she wants to do. Then why am I writing this article? I just want to share my yesterday's experience here.

My friend called me up requesting me to come to ITPL yesterday evening. He didn't tell any reason, but still I made sure that I went there. It was only after I met him that I came to know that he had called me to give a presentation about GISH, and now, I know that it has turned out to be a very good reason for me to write this article.

It was all about joining this organization by investing some amount initially and then urging others to be a part of it too. For every pair of members that you make, they give you 1000 bucks. And if you are able to have a certain fixed number of customers downline in a prescribed time period, you are eligible for some extra privileges by GISH. But that's not what matters here. An interesting figure he told was that even if you do only one pair of members in a month and consider the same rate of logins by those members and their downlines also, you'll end up with 212=4096 members at the last level in one year. So it's not a big deal to have a large number of people down the line. Seems interesting right? Just think, can you continue with the same growth rate for the next couple of years?? You'll have to have 230 pairs, which means 68,719,476,736 people. Current population of the world is just 10% of that. Where on the Earth do we find those many homosapiens then? Do we have count and include ancestors too and make them members?? There is no shortcut to success. Hard work can only fetch you what you want.

I forgot to mention, the presentation started with the expansion of GISH: Goals, Income, Savings and Happiness. According to the presentor, achieving Goals brings you Income, which when Saved, will give you Happiness. But does money alone ever bring happiness? Every insightful word or adage or Shloka tells that money is the cause of all the sorrows of man. As Adi Shankaracharya has described in Bhajagovindam:

अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं
नास्ति ततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् |
पुत्रादपि धनभाजां भीतिः
सर्वत्रैषा विहिता रीतिः ||


arthamanartham bhaavaya nityam
naasti tataH sukhaleshaH satyam ||
putraadapi dhanabhaajaam bheetiH
sarvatraiShaa vihitaa reetiH ||

Meaning:

Wealth is problem - think deeply on this
There is no true happiness from that
A rich man is afraid even of his own sons
This is true everywhere and forever


Now tell me, do you still think that you can become rich overnight? And even if you do, does that bring you happiness? It is up to you to think and decide what you want to go. Whichever path you take, I wish you all the best!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What do you think of yourselves, MindTree Minds?

They were humble, elegant and more social than they are now. They had never shown this frog-in-the-well attitude until that fateful (?) day they got recruited to an Indian multinational company called MindTree. I'm talking about my own classmates and friends who got entitled MindTree Minds when they got selected.

I have been observing this attitude not only in my classmates, but also in friends in other colleges and juniors too. There are a few exceptions, nevertheless. But I stress, only a few are still the same as they were before. What makes me post it here? Because the so called MindTree Minds:
  • act as if MindTree is the only IT company in the world.
  • don't generally combine with people other than MindTree recruitees as they used to be.
  • show off that they are recruited to MindTree.
  • talk about the company all the time.
  • think that they are superior to others, while the truth is that some of them got selected by sheer luck.
I don't know what they think of themselves. Are their minds rotten to the core to be unable to understand the simple fact that they may not be in Mindtree forever? The sooner these vain mindtree minds understand the reality and come out of this dangerous egocentric syndrome, the better. As MindTree tag-line itself says, a tree is known by the fruit it bears. Mind it and get a life, folks!

Your honest opinions are welcome.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free SMS for Karnataka Spice Customers!!

With all the Cell phone operators increasing the charges for SMS, it has been a difficult time for the students and those who rely upon SMS for the communication most of the times. Spice, Airtel, Hutch all have increased their tariffs to 5 paise or above. But a week ago, my friend RJP sent me a message telling a trick to get free SMS. This works only for Spice customers in the Karnataka circle.

Change your message centre number in the message settings from default number to +919810051913 +919840011055 +919810051873.

A few notes about this trick.
  • It works only for Karnataka Customers.
  • All messages are completely free.
  • This works only for Spice numbers which start from 9964.
  • You can't recharge your mobile by sending SMS with this message centre. You have to revert to your old message centre, recharge and then put this number back on.
  • The specified message centre is Broadway II Gateway number.
  • Even interstate messages are also free.
Just enjoy the free messages as long as Spice finds this out and corrects this bug. I owe you a lot RJP :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wonder at the Wanderers!!!

First things first. Congratulations India for winning the first ever Twenty-20 Cricket World Cup. Congratulation Pakistan, for posing a spectacular final at the Wanderers stadium, Johannesburg.

Champions: Indian Team celebrating after winning final of Twenty-20 Cricket against Pakistan

It had all the ingredients to be a tooth-and-nail fight, a treat to watch out for anyone, even remotely connected with cricket, in and around the Subcontinent - a dream contest between the traditional rivals.

Let's set aside the result for a while and look how it fired up every one in the contending countries, especially in India. Even the fussiest roads were cool and calm as country-yards, even the money minded IT companies, which want its workers to work on Saturdays too, had allowed its officials to call it a day a bit early. And, everyone, no matter interested in cricket or not, watched at least a part of the match. After all, that's how it works in a country where cricket is a religion!

Now to the result of the match. Who in this world has imagined that the team India would win? A team which had no veterans playing, which had no regular coach, which had just got a new captain to lead the team and which had a bunch of novel players half of which hadn't played even a single international T20 game. What a wonder! But that's cricket for you! Anything can happen until the last ball is bowled. India somehow clinched the cup, but the real winner was the game, as Sunil Gavaskar told after the match.

The aftermath? Celebrations in India at least for a week, a warm and grand welcome and pouring cash prizes from each corner of the country for the players forgetting the past performances, and what not? The players can sigh a breathe of relief after what happened in the World Cup earlier this year.

Foot ball to start with, then hockey and now Cricket!! Can this be a CHAK DE INDIA magic?!

A final punch: Forget cricket, former President APJ Abdul Kalam's dream has come true. India has become a strong power in 2020!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One-liner ABS Function using Binary Operators

A few days ago, my friend TJ, who always keeps finding innovative programming challenges, asked a question: "Can you implement abs() function without using any relational operators in C?". But he also insisted to do it without using if, for, while etc., any control and loop structures for that matter.

I immediately came up with this:
abs_x = sqrt(x*x);

But he is not a guy to get contented with such an answer. He told that sqrt() internally uses relational operators in its implementation. Well, true. The sqrt() function that is included in math.h uses series expansion methods, which use if() statement in one or the other way. So I had no choice but to find some other way. After struggling a lot, I came up with this which uses only binary operators and arithmetic operators:
abs_x = (x^((((x&(1 << (sizeof(int)*8-1))) >> (sizeof(int)*8-1)&1)*-1)) + (((x&(1 << (sizeof(int)*8-1))) >> (sizeof(int)*8-1))&1);

The sizeof() opeator is necessary only to generalize the expression for any size (16 bit or 32 bit) of the integers. Otherwise a smaller version of the same would suffice.

For 32 bit integers:
abs_x = (x^((((x&(1<<31))>>31)&1)*-1))+(((x&(1<<31))>>31)&1);

or
abs_x = (x^((((x&0x10000000)>>31)&1)*-1))+(((x&0x10000000)>>31)&1);

For 16 bit integers:
abs_x = (x^((((x&(1<<15))>>15)&1)*-1))+(((x&(1<<15))>>15)&1);

or
abs_x = (x^((((x&0x1000)>>15)&1)*-1))+(((x&0x1000)>>15)&1);

Does it seem complicated? As we know, in C, numbers are represented in Two's Complement method. In 2's complement method of representation, the most significant bit represents the sign of the number. This bit will be 0 if the number is positive and 1 if it is negative.

The idea is to first check the most significant bit of the number. If it is 1 we need to negate the number. To negate a number, we should find the one's complement the number and add 1. That is what is done in the above expression!!

Do you think it's a great piece of one-liner code? It would have been, if it was impossible to simplify it further like swapping code posted before. Yes! It can further be reduced! Look at this code:
abs_x = x*(-2*(((x&(1<<(sizeof(int)*8-1)))>>(sizeof(int)*8-1))&1)+1);

For specific length, it looks like (for 32 bit integer):
abs_x = x*(-2*(((x&(1<<31))>>31)&1)+1);

All this code does is to multiply the original number with -1 if it is negative and with 1 if it is positive! Short and sweet one-liner, isn't it? But I can't say it's the shortest like I did in my earlier post. Feel free to express your opinions!

UPDATE
I guess thinking a lot certainly helps! I was able to find a still shorter one-liner!!
abs_x = x+2*x*(x>>(sizeof(int)*8-1));

Can I say this is the shortest? I still doubt!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

This is an era where everything is concluded with the result of a contest or a poll. Beauty isn't an exception. Beauty pageant, however, is not only based on the external appearance, but also the wit of the person. Nevertheless, errors happen and wrong persons get through various phases in the contest and, sometimes, even emerge as the winners despite having no brainpower. One such example happened in Miss Teen 2007 contest in USA:

Miss Teen South Carolina 2007, Lauren Caitlin Upton, screwed up her response to the question:
Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?


In case you are unable to follow what Miss Lauren Caitlin Upton said, here it is (What she might have intended to say, is emphasized using bold letters)
I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.

In spite of going through this quotation many times, it makes no sense to me! But to err is human, and she has admitted her mistake and also has tried to correct her answer in a recent interview:
Well personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on our map. I don't know anyone else who doesn't. And if the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography.

Looks a bit cleaner, isn't it? Well, the real irony is that she went on to become the third runner-up in the Miss Teen USA 2007 contest!! As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and the judge must have seen something special in Miss Lauren Caitlin Upton, may be humor, to pick her as Miss Teen South Carolina 2007!

PS: This blog crossed the landmark of 10000 visitors today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

How to use Web Feeds? What is RSS? What is Atom?

By now, almost every netizen knows the usage of RSS Feeds. Nevertheless, there is a multitude of users who are still ignorant of the concept of Syndication and its advantages. There is nothing arduous about it. Called Really Simple Syndication most of the times, RSS is really really simple to use. You don't have to be a technical hotshot to get wind of the feeds. So why not give it a try?

What is a Web Feed?: It is better to know the answer to this question before moving further. A web feed is, according to Wikipedia, a data format used for serving users frequently updated content. Technically, a web feed is a document (often XML-based) which contains content items with web links to longer versions. News websites and blogs are common sources for web feeds, but feeds are also used to deliver structured information ranging from weather data, search results, top ten lists of hit tunes etc. The two main web feed formats are RSS and Atom.

What is the use of a Web Feed?: Suppose that you have a large number of news sites and blogs, which you like. How often do you check them? May be daily, weekly, monthly or even more than once a day, or at your will. But many a times there won't be any new articles in those sites. Isn't it a waste of time? Yes, and that is where the concept of web feed comes into picture. Instead of visiting each website, you can subscribe to the web feed they provide. Whenever there is a new article to the website, you will be notified by the feed aggregator.

What is a Feed aggregator?: A feed aggregator, also known as feed reader or feed client, is an application which regularly checks the subscribed feeds and collects any newly posted articles. An aggregator can be a software (like latest versions of Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook) installed on your PC or a web application (like Google Reader and BlogLines) that can be accessed anywhere in the world. There is a large number of aggregators available. The choice is yours.

How to subscribe to a Web Feed?: To subscribe to a feed, you've to give the feed URL of the website or the blog you want to subscribe to. For this blog, it is:
http://mgharish.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
or
http://feeds.feedburner.com/mgharish
But what about other websites? To subscribe to a feed, just look around the website for an icon similar to:

and click on that. It is as simple as that! Latest versions of browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari and have built in support for web feeds. Firefox shows the RSS logo in the navigation bar itself, whenever a feed is available for the page you are viewing.

What are RSS and Atom?: RSS and Atom are, as mentioned earlier, two of the most popular web feed formats. Both are similar, with slight differences. Both are based on eXtensible Markup Language, or the XML. But the technical details behind these are unnecessary to subscribe and enjoy feeds.

Nowadays, blogging is becoming second nature to almost every Internet user. You might be having many blogger-friends. You can save a lot of time and stay up to date by subscribing to their web feeds.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Annoying Pop-up: ilead.track.it

What can be more annoying for a blogger or a web-master than a pop-up that appears out of his web page, without him being aware of it? Nothing, probably. Recently I was experiencing the same problem. Advertisement window of ilead.track.it would pop-up occasionally in my blog, displaying some ads. I haven't put any ads purposefully on my blog so far, and hence, each time it protruded, I kept thinking that it is the result of some other web page I have opened.

Some of you might have experienced this already. A pop-up would show up with address ilead.track.it and display ads which won't facilitate the owner of the web page in any way. What is more disgusting about this irritating ad pop-up is that, it would show up only sometimes, not always and hence making it difficult to track where it originates.

Thanks to Nirmal T V, a fellow blogger, who informed me that the pop-up is caused by WebStats4U traffic tracker. I just had to remove the code pertaining to that tracker to get rid of this annoyance. Thanks to all those who had informed me about this pop-up being displayed in my blog as well.

The webstats4u website doesn't say anything about the resulting pop-up while registering and offers ad-free service for quite some time. It only unveils its true colour when your website has got significant number of visitors. It can really be a pain in the neck if you do not notice it soon. Now that I have removed it, there should be no pop ups arising from my blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nokia Battery Replacement

Nokia, the largest mobile handset manufacturer, has announced that it will replace certain defective BL-5C batteries, free of cost. Some of the batteries manufactured by Matsushita Battery Industrial Co. Ltd. of Japan between December 2005 and November 2006 were affected and experienced overheating while charging, according to Nokia Product Advisory.

The models that contain BL-5C batteries are:
Nokia 1100, Nokia 1100c, Nokia 1101, Nokia 1108, Nokia 1110, Nokia 1112, Nokia 1255, Nokia 1315, Nokia 1600, Nokia 2112, Nokia 2118, Nokia 2255, Nokia 2272, Nokia 2275, Nokia 2300, Nokia 2300c, Nokia 2310, Nokia 2355, Nokia 2600, Nokia 2610, Nokia 2610b, Nokia 2626, Nokia 3100, Nokia 3105, Nokia 3120, Nokia 3125, Nokia 6030, Nokia 6085, Nokia 6086, Nokia 6108, Nokia 6175i, Nokia 6178i, Nokia 6230, Nokia 6230i, Nokia 6270, Nokia 6600, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6630, Nokia 6631, Nokia 6670, Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681, Nokia 6682, Nokia 6820, Nokia 6822, Nokia 7610, Nokia N70, Nokia N71, Nokia N72, Nokia N91, Nokia E50, Nokia E60

Approximately 100 incidents have been noticed globally and the battery malfunctioned only during charging in all the cases, Nokia claims. The company has identified that the batteries could "potentially experience over heating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge".

So, if you have a handset of any of the above mentioned models, goto Nokia Battery Replacement page and enter your 26 digit battery identification number. If your battery is  recognized as defective, you will get a free replacement.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Secure your Computer - The Best Things in Life are Free

Lately I have been hearing a lot of complaints from my friends about virus attacks. We all know that precaution is better than cure. It is easy to protect our PC from malwares than scratch our head to get rid of them after they get in. So here are some tips which won't cost you anything, but make your PC as safe as it can be:
  1. Web Browser: Most of the malwares and adwares find their way into the PC from the Internet and if your browser application is not good enough to block the harmful contents, what good is that for? Almost all the browsers have pitfalls, but Mozilla Firefox is the most secure web browser till date.
    Download Firefox here

  2. Antivirus: A good antivirus will always keep your PC clean. But it should not eat up most of the PC resources scanning each and every wanted/unwanted files. Avast Home Edition is a simple and easy to use antivirus, that has automatic updates. Its requires a key that is obtained by registering in the site for free.
    Download Avast here

  3. Antispyware: There are many antispywares which brag about their features. Honestly, most of them are useless. SpyBot S&D is a good one, which provides immunity from known threats and registry tweaks. It also has update feature, which enables you to be insusceptible to the most recent vulnerabilities.
    Download SpyBot S&D here

  4. System Optimization Tool: Registry Cleaners, Duplicate / Unnecessary / Temporary File Managers, Internet History / Cookie Managers all fall under this category. But CCleaner and EasyCleaner are two such tools, which provide almost everything you want.
    Download CCleaner here
    Download EasyCleaner here
You can protect your PC from 99% of the attacks if you have the above mentioned softwares. There are some other tools such as Firewalls and Internet Security Suites which, I think, are unnecessary for personal use. Trust me, I've not got any virus in the last two years, apart from w32.USBWorm which can be removed manually using the steps given here. All these tools are freewares, which means you can download them from their site free of charge. The best things in life are free.

If you have anything to discuss about these or have a better solutions/tips, you are welcome to share them.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wise to be unvoiced

In the recent past, I've quarrelled with those I shouldn't have fought with, I've remained silent with those with whom I should have spent this time with and leant towards those who were better off without getting into my life. I don't know why I have been doing all this and I don't understand even the cause of it. This is the period of metamorphosis. Being myself for two more months, just two more months, would have restrained my life under my control. I guess it is too late and enough damage has been caused to last for years.

Few days ago I happened to chat with my friend after a long time, just to tell him Friendship Day wishes. In the middle of it, when I was, as usual, discussing about these boring holidays, he said something: Enjoy the last vacation until your retirement. Don't know what made him tell that, but it certainly stirred my thoughts. Already a month is over after I have been officially declared an engineer! So what I am wasting this time for? After all, time is the most precious thing in the world, and I seem to have plenty of it!!

The real reason that made me pen down my thoughts in this post now is the quote I read in my feed reader: It is not how old you are, but how you are old quoted by Jules Renard. It made me retrospect and realize that I haven't done anything useful recently, instead, they have all been bearing poisonous fruits. Two months are over since I finished our exams and I can't find anything which I did in these two months that is worth mentioning!

I tried to find the solution for this. Am I lazy? Certainly I am. Wait, may be I am not. I do all these online stuff for almost 16-18 hours a day. Someone has rightly said, the only solution for all your problems is yourself. I found 20 biggest online time wasters and it is a really pathetic to find most of them to be the causes of my problem as well.

Well, I can follow handful of those suggestions. I would certainly be happy to see my life back on track. I'm certainly going to cut down the time I remain online. I don't want to be out of the frying pan to fall into the fire. A final word, again from Jules Renard:
Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Friendship Day - A Contemplation

The first Sunday of August. Yes, today is the Friendship Day. A happy friendship day to all of you, regardless of whether you are my friend or not.

According to FriendshipDay.org,
Friendship Day celebrations take place on the first Sunday of August every year. The tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends began in US in 1935. Gradually the festival gained popularity and today Friendship Day is celebrated in large number of countries including India. On this day people spend time with their friends and express love for them. Exchange of Friendship Day Gifts like flowers, cards and wrist bands is a popular tradition of this occasion.

Fine, but who's a friend? According to a dictionary, it means a person you know well and regard with affection and trust. Do we behave affectionately with all persons we know well? Do we trust all our so-called-friends? All of us know, we do not.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, they say. Think of all those incidents in which you have been helped by somebody. Consider the position of that person with your own, at that time. If your positions were different, then you can't consider that person to be a true friend.

As an example, assume that you help a begger. Does that mean he is your friend? Certainly not. Because your situations are not the same. You have enough fortune for yourself, that by giving a part of it to the one in need won't cause any damage for you at all.

Now consider another scenario. You and an unknown person are both very hungry, and you only have one piece of bread. What do you do at that time? You can either share it with him, or eat it yourself. If you share, you might suffer from hunger for some time. But if you don't, you surely will suffer from the guilty conscience for the rest of your life, whenever you remember that moment. So if you helped that person, does it mean that you are friends?
Not necessarily. It is your humanity that made you help that person.

Then how can we define a friend? I think we can take the help of this Sanskrit Subhashita:

पापान् निवारयति योजयते हिताय
गुह्यं निगुहति गुणान् प्रकटीकरोति ।
आपद्गतं च न जहाति ददाति काले
सन्मित्रलक्षणमिदं निगदन्ति सन्तः ॥

paapaannivaarayati yojayate hitaaya
guhyaM niguhati guNaan prakaTIkaroti |
aapadgataM cha na jahaati dadaati kaale
sanmitralakShaNamidaM nigadanti santaH ||


Meaning (taken from MadhuraMurali.org):

The Sants (noble men) say that a good friend is one who discourages (you) from sinful acts, recommends good deeds, conceals the secrets, publicises the merits, does not depart in distress and helps at the time of need

Frienship Day

It is now time to retrospect ourselves and find out whether we make good friends. If we don't, no problem. It is better late than never. Let us try to develop those qualities and get ready to celebrate the Friendship Day in a meaningful way.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

If you are thinking that it is another review of the famous movie The Pursuit of Happyness, you've got it wrong. It's about my own experiences and a little beyond.

What can be called a happy moment?
Is that when you learn a new art? Is that when look at your old photos and smile unknowingly? Is that when you giggle naughtily over silly jokes? Is that when your eyes are filled with tears after laughing? Is that when you win a lottery? Is that when you venture a great risk? Is that when you recall a good long conversation you had with your friend? Is that when you get a hug from someone you really love?
Or, probably, each of them and many more?


Life is really a balanced mixture of both joyous and sorrow moments (don't think I am being too philosophical, but that is what it is, right?). But it depends on someone's attitude, may that be positive or negative.

Currently, I am in the process of transforming from a student to an engineer. But I am still an Amul Baby for some of my friends and childlike for my parents. I haven't set off to know why, so I can only guess. My guess is as good/bad as yours, so I would be more than happy to know the reasons.

As we all know, life is a peculiar teacher, who keeps the tests and then teaches lessons. It is in the midst of the most difficult times, when you learn the lessons. In these holidays, which are as boring and useless (for me, that is) as they could have been, I've been taught some lessons. For one thing, I now know that every person is selfish in one or the other way, more or less. I'm not an exception, of course. You can neither blame anyone for that, nor can you stop being friendly with those. The more you know about someone, the more you explore the darker side of that person. It is just the amount of selfishness they possess, that helps us decide whether to believe them or not. Trust is a bond which keeps us bound together. As long as there is trust in friendship, the brighter side overrules the darker side and there won't be any problem. Once that trust is lost, misunderstandings begin. Trust is easy to gain, difficult to conserve. Here is a dialogue from the Kannada movie Mungaru Male:



For the other, many people seem to believe that anything can be gained by doing a little wrongdoing. One has to choose between what is right and what is easy, as J K Rowling says in her book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The right path may not be easy and the easy path may not be the right one. They also forget that a truth is more powerful than a bunch of lies and a lie is more evil than many truths. Trying to make people understand this fact is both useless and unnecessary. They will be used to what they have done in the past. But it is a pity that they argue sometimes and claim what they have done is right. What did I learn from it? As long as one doesn't poke his nose into others' matters, he an be as happy as he can. If you don't ever bother about others, you'll be named a selfish person. If you don't bother about yourself, you'll be named a careless person. If you bother about everyone, people think you don't have anything else to do. So it is better to do whatever you fancy, as long as it makes you happy and doesn't make others unhappy.

But it is a human tendency to do things which are absolutely unnecessary. Sometimes I wonder, why does life keep teaching us lessons when we have no intentions of learning?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Life on Fast track - Coffee or Cup

It has just been one month since our BE exams finished, but the life thereafter has been boring and confusing enough to worry about the future! It has been really hard to say Good Bye to the friends who were together for four years and all those conversations, teasings, tauntings, parties, treats will surely haunt, at least until we get drenched in the undulation of the real world.

However one can't keep lamenting! Destiny takes everyone where one supposed to go. But the problem is, life is a teacher who teaches lessons by giving tests.

Learning from experiences is good; but learning from others' experiences is better. I want to share a mail I got from my friend SN, who told he received it from a Swamiji of Ramakrishna Mission. Although it is not exactly an experience, it does allow us to previse the bitter truth of life:
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups. Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Some times, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."

Don't let the cups drive you... Enjoy the coffee instead


I enjoyed and learnt something from the mail and I hope you did too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why can't we create a folder by name CON?

I've been asked this question many a times: Why can't we create a folder by name CON? Although it seems a wonder or magic that we can't create a folder by that name, in reality, it is not so. It has a definite reason, and in fact, a folder can be created using that reserved name.

Gone are the days when computers had only CUI OS, that is, Character User Interface Operating Systems, like MS-DOS. When I joined my first computer course nine years ago, Windows 95 was ruling. You could see Windows 98 here and there. We were in 8th standard, and working on a computer was like a dream coming true. Microsoft's Paint Brush was the only known (for us) GUI software and was the greatest means of entertainment. The instructors taught us only MS-DOS commands and how to Shut Down the computer. Remembering such weird names as DIR, CD, MD, RD, CHKDSK, FDISK, VER, ATTRIB, REN, DEL etc. along with their syntax and usage was a great accomplishment. But I had a problem understanding this: DOS has a separate dedicated command for every action; literally every action, except... creating a file!

Yes, we used COPY CON filename to create a file with name filename. Anyone can say that it is a form of COPY command. So, why was creating a file different than all other commands? I didn't understand it, till I found out how to print using DOS, almost four years later.

DOS uses different names for the attached devices, I learnt. PRN was one such name. TYPE filename would display the contents of a file and TYPE filename > PRN would print it instead of displaying. Curiosity brings many hidden matters out. PRN would surely mean Printer and will redirect the output to the printer instead of console. Console (monitor) is the implicit default output device, and it can be bypassed if needed. So, how to put it explicitly? There must be some means to do that. Yes, there is! TYPE filename > CON performs exactly same function as TYPE filename. These special names for the devices really mean something special for the operating system and those names can not be used as folder or file names: CON, PRN, NUL, COM1 to COM9, LPT1 to LPT9, which stand for CONsole, PRiNter, NULl, serial COMmmunication ports, Line PrinTer ports.

The time has changed and Operating System can also be fooled! But still, many people think that it is not possible to create a folder by name CON. Using the path of network drive, these special names can also be used as folder names! Here is how:
  1. Goto DOS
  2. Type MD \\.\C:\CON. The folder will be created. You can check it in Windows Explorer also, but you can't access it
  3. To delete the folder, type RD \\.\C:\CON
In short, use the network path syntax instead of absolute path syntax.

Now on to the practical aspect of this. Why can't we create it directly but using the network path syntax? The answer is simple. A computer can have only one default console, printer, null etc. So, if it is accessed from a network, theoretically, the console should belong to another node in the network. Since that node may not have a device which can be referred using the name CON, it will no longer be considered as a reserved name. Hence, the folder can be created.

The next time when someone asks the question why we can't create a folder by name CON, say with confidence that it is not true...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hidden Files Not Shown

Recently virus programmers are becoming smart. A worm w32.USBWorm which attacked and banned Orkut, has left one more problem. (Here are the steps to remove w32.USBWorm). You will not be able to see the hidden files. Even if you change the setting in the folder options, it will not show the hidden files. So here are the steps to remove that problem and make the hidden files appear as before. I got the solution from one of the comments on my previous posts.
  1. Go to Start --> Run, then type Regedit
  2. Navigate to the registry folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\
    CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\SHOWALL

  3. Find a key called CheckedValue.
  4. Double Click CheckedValue key and modify it to 1. This is to show all the hidden files.
Now you should be able to view all the hidden files, and also to alter its status from folder options.

This is where I found the solution.

UPDATE
If the virus is still present, this solution may not work permanently. Once you restart the PC, the hidden files will be concealed once again. I recommend using Avast antivirus, but remember to change security level from Medium to High after you install it.

You can see more tips about securing your computer here.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Somewhere, something went terribly wrong

There are some pictures which are equivalent to thousand words. Some pictures are just for fun, and some put you in serious thinking. Here is rare image belonging to both of these categories, which I saw first on my friend's (MAP) T-shirt:




Then I googled for more of this, and found many websites. Also a colourful image:




I found it wonderful. In this world, in which everything is being be forgotten because of the Internet, in which the difference between man and machine is becoming narrower day by day, I think the title Somewhere, something went terribly wrong matches the present condition and the image reflects the situation. What went wrong? Whether it is really wrong? We might never know. What is your opinion?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Download Yahoo! Messenger Installer to PC

It may seem as trivial as it can. But have you tried to install Yahoo! Messenger? Read on, and you will find the problem. Yahoo messenger installation, as given in the website, involves the following steps:
  • Save msgr8us.exe to your desktop
  • Once downloading has completed, go to your desktop, double-click the msgr8us.exe icon
  • Follow the instructions to finish the installation
Well, what's the problem with that? Consider that you want to install messenger on multiple PCs. Of course, you can follow the same procedure on every PC, why waste bandwidth on every PC?. But consider doing it on a dial up, or a slow connection. At that time, it is really a pain to download it every single time. Instead, why not have a direct installer? Sounds feasible right? Here is a little hack just to do that:
  • Save msgr8us.exe to your desktop
  • Once downloading has completed, go to your desktop, double-click the msgr8us.exe icon
  • Now, don't just keep watching till the wizard finishes the installation. Instead go to C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Installs folder on your computer
  • You will see a temporary file. As soon as the download reaches 100%, that temporary file will be renamed to ymsgr8us.exe
  • Now you have to be really quick. Just copy that ymsgr8us.exe file and paste it somewhere else. You have to do this as early as possible, because the wizard will delete that file soon after the installation
Now, you can use the copied ymsgr8us.exe file to install it on any PC. If you have a fast connection, you can share it with your friends who have a slower connection, so that they don't have to wait for an hour to install Yahoo! Messenger

Monday, May 14, 2007

I DNT HATE MOZILLA! ORKUT IS BANNED!!

I was asked by my friend that he is the only user in his computer, his account is having administrative rights, but he is not able to open Orkut, and it says Orkut is banned. Another friend had told that he is not able to use Mozilla Firefox and it asks him to use Internet Explorer. I just told it must be some virus, but really didn't care much about that. But none of the antivirus software could detect or remove this malware.

My friend had given me a pen drive. I remembered it while browsing net on Firefox. When I put that in my PC and double clicked, it didn't open. I knew at once: I had activated a virus. But I didn't have any idea about the kind of virus that might have come to my PC, until I switched back to Firefox. Immediately a message box was displayed: I DNT HATE MOZILLA BUT USE IE OR ELSE... with title as USE INTERNET EXPLORER U DOPE. I just remembered the experiences of my friends. I tried to locate the virus by running the Task Manager. But there were no suspicious entries there. I had to bow the owner of the virus. I used Internet Explorer to search about it. The first entry in Google took me to the Mozilla Forum page, and after going through some pages, I came to know that the same virus also displayed another message when you opened Orkut. Orkut is banned you fool, The administrators didnt write this program guess who did?? MUHAHAHA!! with title ORKUT IS BANNED. Well, a similar message was displayed for YouTube also. So I went through all the posts, and finally found a solution given here:
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and go to the processes tab
  2. Look for svchost.exe under the image name. There will be many but look for the ones which have your username under the username
  3. Press DEL to kill these files. It will give you a warning, Press Yes
  4. Repeat for more svchost.exe files with your username and repeat. Do not kill svchost.exe with system, local service or network service!
  5. Now open My Computer
  6. In the address bar, type C:\heap41a and press enter. It is a hidden folder, and is not visible by default.
  7. Delete all the files here
  8. Now go to Start --> Run and type Regedit
  9. Go to the menu Edit --> Find
  10. Type "heap41a" here and press enter. You will get something like this "[winlogon] C:\heap41a\svchost.exe C:\heap(some number)\std.txt"
  11. Select that and Press DEL. It will ask "Are you sure you want to delete this value?", click Yes
  12. Now close the registry editor.
Now the virus is gone. But be sure to delete the autorun.inf file and any folder whose name ends with .exe in the pen drive.

UPDATE
It seems that they have named this malware as w32.USBWorm and according my friend, Avast is able to detect and remove it. I hope the other antivirus software will also be able to remove it soon.

This virus is not responsible for disabling Folder Options in the Tools Menu and not allowing hidden files to be shown. It is some other virus, and the solution is explained in the post Hidden Files Not Shown

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fair Fun with Fun Fair and Murphy

Fun, once again. Yes. We are enjoying our last days at the college, regardless of our pressing internals and the final exams coming in just about a week. Yesterday (12th May) we had project exhibition in our college, and everyone was to exhibit the project they have done. After that we decided to have some fun in the fun fair in the ground opposite to Aruna theatre.

We had internal test in the morning. After finishing it, (how was it, is not the question to be asked, since it was by no means a test and having not read even for ten minutes, I returned an almost-blank paper) we went to the hostel and checked our project. It worked fine. So we packed it in a box and brought to the college and set it up. But there is Murphy's law which can be put as if anything can go wrong, it will. Yes, our project was not working at all! The same hardware we had built from scratch and which was working properly just 10 minutes ago, was showing no sign of giving some useful output. We struggled for about half an hour in the lab. But being unarmed (not with guns and bullets, but with multimeter, soldering guns and all), we couldn't debug it there. So we decided to go back to the hostel and test it again there. Instantly we were able to figure out that the microcontroller was getting reset repeatedly because the reset pin was having a voltage of 3.5 volts. But why, was still a mystery. We suspected about every component and even replaced a capacitor. It took us about two hours to find that the wire connected to the output of an unused timer was given by mistake, to the reset pin of the microcontroller. If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it, says the Original Murphy's law. Our CNG had done it during our pack-up earlier. In the mean time, the power supply connector got disconnected. We had to do everything which we shouldn't have been doing at that time. We had to device a power supply. By that time, the exhibition was half over. Ensuring that the project is working again, we went to the college and it gave no further problems. Being one of a very few projects done in the college, it wasn't below par, even though some finishing work needs to be completed. After demonstrating it to the judges and others, we packed it up and many of us gathered at the juice centre. Another Murphy's law applies whenever we go there. No matter what is the direction of the wind, when people smoke, the smoke always goes to the non smoker

After having a glass of juice, we decided to go to the Fun Fair. I, V1, V2, SS, MAP, CNG, VBK, PKS, MB, SBS, BVP, LDA, TRM, NRS, BA, MG, ARH, ABN, RA, LDA's brother... our gang was big. No sooner than we entered the fair, ARH was invited by a small boy who called her aunty. It was sufficient for us to tease her for some time. Then someone purchased popcorns, and all of us shared it. We went ahead. It was time for the play.


Myself enjoying Tora-Tora

All of us played the Tora-Tora, which was given the name Break dance. Some of us opined that it wasn't any better than Harihar-Davanagere city buses. Then we went to play Columbus. It was much better. But we had to wait for it more than the time we played. We then headed towards the Slant wheel and then to the Giant wheel. This was the first time I was on a giant wheel, but I didn't feel any fear. Probably I was phobophobic than altophobic, which is a good sign. Those who didn't land on the giant wheel were having juice and other chats on the land. We had our time. I called my home while on the giant wheel and informed that I would be late. After the play was over, we had everything which others were having when we were on the wheel and a little more. It was already about 9:30 and we backed towards home.

All in all, it was a good outing just before the exams. We follow, once again, Murphy's philosophy: Smile... tomorrow will be worse. But tomorrow (14th May) happens to be my birthday, and I hope it won't be worse.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Interview with the God

Earlier in my blog, I had written about Questions from God where the user was asked some questions. While browsing the net, I stumbled upon another flash movie, in which human questions the God. The answers are really inspiring and reflect the mindset of any common person. Watch it and decide whether it is true or not...



True, we wanted to grow big like others when we were children and now that we have grown up, we want the golden life back. With our college life ending in a few days, I feel it is more inspiring. Student life is Golden life

Courtesy http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com/

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Magic - What's behind it?

Magic - Everyone gets fascinated by the very word itself. Does it really exist? I don't know. But most of the tricks involve deception in one or the other way, or some strong mathematical foundation known to not many. Let us go through both of these...

Just try this mind reader:



Well, if you are wondering how it works every single time, just get to the mathematical basics

Assume xy be the two digit number, x being the first digit and y being the second. So, the total value of the number is x*10+y. Now, it asks to subtract the sum of the two digits from the original number. That is, x+y should be subtracted from 10x+y. What is left is 9x. Which means, the answer is independent of y and will always be an integral multiple of 9, that is, 9, 18, 27 etc.. up 81. Now see the flash again, and go through the symbols of 9, 18 etc.. They are all same!! And every time you click the crystal ball, it just displays the corresponding symbol. Since x can not be greater than 9 (remember, it is the first digit of the two-digit number you take) the answer can not be 90 or 99.

Now go through this video showing glass illusion:



Wondering how it is possible? Go through the video once again, or till you get the clue. If you are still wondering, I will give a hint: Observe carefully when 42 seconds are remaining. You will see there is another cylinder inside the glasses, and obviously it is filled before in hand with water!

Don't you agree that there is either mathematics or cheating in every magic trick? If you don't, go through this one to know it! Enjoy...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mallika - College function of GMIT

This is the final semester, and nothing should block us from enjoying - some of us have decided. In spite of being busy with the project, I happened to visit GMIT college on 30th April to attend Mallika - their college function. You can take it either way: To just watch and enjoy or to compare it with our college function, Davana (You can read about our college function Davana here). Well, I got the information from my friend that the function would commence at 5:00 PM. But we are Indians! I knew when the program was going to start. So after doing a little project related work in our college hostel, I went to GMIT at about 6:45 PM. The program had just begun and the chief guest Pranesh, was about to start his speech.
Pranesh is popularly known as Junior ಬೀchi

He started his speech in his inimitable style. But one thing that I noticed was that he had the students as the primary audience throughout his speech, unlike his other public talks. He took off by telling that young age, when we study in a college, is the right time to decide what you want to become. He also insisted on going through the books, which are being neglected because of the popularity of the television. He gave himself as an example. He is a B.Com graduate, yet he is so popular that he has traveled around 220 cities and the program in GMIT was his 993rd. Exposure to the literature, especially that of Beechi, is the cause for his current status, he explained. Truly inspirational.

After his addressing with the light comedy, there was prize distribution, which we were not much interested in. We went to the canteen and had an ice cream, as a birthday treat of my friend whom I met there unexpectedly. We then explored the surroundings of the college going to the top floor. As the cultural programs began, we came down to watch the proceedings.

Well, the sound system here was certainly better than that in our college function Davana. But the programs were only handful, may be due to the fact that there were cultural programs on the previous day too. The major difference between Davana and Mallika was that Mallika stressed more on Kannada, when there was no sign of Kannada at all, in Davana. Good going, GMIT. A folk dance with drums was exceptional. You can't expect engineering students to know how to beat the drums, and in my opinion, it wasn't less to any professionals. Apart from that, the function was quite standard, with some songs, dances, poetry and a fashion show.

One more thing which I came to know was that there was bus arrangement from GMIT to Harihar and Davanagere to assist the people who attended the function, since it was already 10:15 PM and you can hardly catch a bus at that time. Again a good thing, GMIT. I wish our college granted us some similar facility. I have seen about four times our college bus moving in this duration of eight semesters, that too once in Harihar.

Well, coming to the comparison, as I said, Mallika emphasized on Kannada, and the sound system was good. But going by the numbers, Davana was far big, being an inter-college fest...

Monday, April 23, 2007

It happens only in India!

Do you know why India is called developing country? Neither because it has lagged behind a lot, nor because it is really developing. It is just because it can't be given the status of a developed country. Not now, not ever.

There have been a lot of happenings in Karnataka itself, which is just a medium sized state in the country. Some people can't keep quiet even for a small period. Kannada should be given the status of a classic language, all boards should be written in Kannada, all the government forms should be in Kannada and everything should be Kannadified . All in all, one group of Kannadigas (whom we call fighters-by-birth) is fighting very hard for something (It doesn't seem to be anything good).
(Fighters-by-birth = ಹುಟ್ಟು ಹೋರಾಟಗಾರರು,, FYI)

Now that I don't feel like remembering them, I don't go through their details. But I can't keep myself out without mentioning some of their brave deeds. They start ringing bells in the Legislative Assembly, they ride bicycles in and around the capital (if you are wondering why do they do that, I don't have any answer. Of course they do all such things, but nothing to improve the state of the language). To be told in a line, they can do anything to improve of Kannada, except improving it.

That is just one side of their Kannada movement. On the other side, there are some people, who are born to destroy their mother tongue. Whatever you do, they won't refrain from talking in Kannada. Do you think that is great? Wait, the problem is that they simply can't talk without making mistakes. (Put in other way, they don't know Kannada)

Why am I talking about all such crap now? There is a reason. Long back, I had gone for a morning jog. (That's only for a single day, if you are wondering). I saw a great sign board which asked people not to swim. You again say it is a good thing that they have put it? Wait again, I will show the sign board. If you know Kannada, I am sure you will immediately start searching for that person who wrote it.


It took me and the techno-twins a good five minutes before we could decipher the message -
ಈ ನದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈಜುವುದು ಅಪಾಯಕಾರಿ

Now say, isn't India developing? I can just say "It happens only in India!!!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Davana and e-utsav

Life had once again been a lot busy. Our branch forum function e-utsav and our college function Davana just made me so busy that I even had to switch my computer completely off on two occasions!!

The gem of a function: e-utsav: Our branch, Electronics and Communication has been conducting this function e-utsav for many years. All this years, as I have seen, it was just an intra-branch activity. But this time, it went a step further by extending it to surrounding colleges like BPS, UBDTCE and GMIT. There were many events like Paper presentation, IT Quiz, Bluffmaster, JAMs, Coding Contest, Antakshari etc. But the most important thing which was included this time was the NFS Most wanted Gaming contest. A lot of contestants played and enjoyed the contest. All in all, e-utsav was a great success.

The sign of our culture, the soul our college: Davana: There were many events like mock press, skit, creative writing, dance, singing, mimicry etc., which were all good. It was great to see the competition between various colleges. But the much awaited cultural function was lame. The sound system was just terrible. The whole function got affected because of that. But keeping that one thing apart, looking as a whole, Davana was great, as always.

I hoped the life would be as usual after these two. But I was wrong. I got flu and had to rest four more days. Now I am OK, enjoying the life once again. Hey, wait! internals are not leaving us to enjoy!! But then, who cares?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Online Radio - A wonderful experience

I have been wondering why I didn't explore it earlier. It makes online experience great, and you never get bored. I am talking about Online Radio or Internet Radio. I knew it existed, and even I had heard two three online radio channels some time ago. But it was only recently, that I became a fan of it...


I had thought that online radio was available only in English and other major languages. But once I came to know that it is available in local languages like Kannada, Hindi etc., there was none stopping me. Yes, there are thousands of languages, and there are many more radio channels. You just have to be patient to find the right one for you!!

Finding the right radio channel itself may not make you a radio-junkie. You also need a software which makes it easy to listen to any radio channel easily. My friend, VRGS, introduced me to Screamer Radio just two days ago, and I found in it, every feature that I needed: Hundreds of preset channels, which are neatly classified into several groups based on Genre, Language, Network, Region make it easy to find your desired channel very easily. It even updates the list of channels frequently, thus keeping you in touch with the latest channels also! It keeps history of the recent channels played, and also it has the feature to open your desired radio station by giving the streaming URL directly. You can easily add any channel to favourites, which comes as a menu by itself. So you can always find the channel you love at the click of a button. It can even record radio station being played and save it into the folder you specify!!. Versatility in setting the folder, name of the file etc., is simply superb. One more feature which I liked too much is minimizing to system tray. Yes, it is very convenient to have the player running as a system tray icon than having it as a button on the taskbar. Organizing and editing the channels and favourites is also very easy, since they are stored in popular XML format. It is a nifty software, and also compact. Best of all, Screamer Radio is a freeware.

Screamer Radio
Screanshot of Screamer Radio

There are many other features also, which I am yet to explore completely. All in all, I give 5/5 for this software, SCREAMER RADIO. Be sure to download screamer radio if you want to judge it by yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Creativity with Treadmills

What all can be done using treadmills? Walking, running, reducing weight and ?? Well, I found this video in YouTube:


This is just an example to show what all can be done if you are creative!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nehru Family Tree - Trait of Secularism

Ever wondered why India is the largest secular country? It is sheltering people of all religions including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and so on. How do you think this is possible? What motivated India to become house of all these religions? The picture below might help you get the answer for all such questions.




Nehru Family Tree

If you observe the above picture which shows Nehru family tree, you are sure
  • to get an idea of the reasons for India being so secular, or
  • to know about how vast Nehru family tree is, or
  • to get confused!!
Honestly, I was confused. Just watch it and move on!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Questions from God - Don't miss it

One thing that I tend to do without fail is checking mails. Yes, I check mails and I see the titles of even spam mails. Nothing to lose, if not anything to gain. But I can give you live examples of those who don't even open the mails, just because they see single arrow gmail indicators instead of double arrows, and suffer a lot because of the same. Well, it is their personal preference, and hence I am not going to tell much about that. Coming back to myself, I got a mail sent to an orkut community by one of my friends, AB. I thought it to be somewhat interesting, so I thought I would share it with you.

Just click this link and see: Questions from God


Questions from God

I don't know whether you like it or not, but I enjoyed everything in that, including the background music...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bob Woolmer Dead - The Price of Passion

I was about to push myself on to the bed, before which I visited CricInfo for the last time in day to get news about the World Cup matches. Instead of the scores, there lied the headline Bob Woolmer collapses and dies. Just about three hours ago, I had read that he was found unconscious in team hotel and was admitted to a hostpital; and now, he is dead. I am stunned. Oh My God! He has been the best mentor ever since he became the coach of South African cricket team. All fingers are not alike, and all days can't be same. Pakistan lost to Ireland yesterday, and were thrown out of the World Cup. But was that so depressing for the former English cricketer? Couldn't the Pakistan coach withstand this shock?


Bob Woolmer: Master of masters

I am none to answer all these questions, but the truth remains the same, Bob Woolmer is dead. A person who developed South Africa into a strong team as it is today, an expert computer analyst who gave a new dimension to the position of a coach, shouldn't have met his death in such a way. He was very much passionate about the game, and unfortunately, he paid the price. I don't know the details about his death yet, but there is no doubt that the cricket world lost a scholar of cricket. He is not only a person belonging to England. He was born in India, played for England, coached South Africa and Pakistan, and died in West Indies.

Links:
Bob Woolmer's death stuns cricket world
He gave his life to cricket and died for it

The Moon is causing Solar Eclipse here in my place in the morning tomorrow, but the death of Bob Woolmer has already caused eclipse to the whole cricket world.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Men in blue, beaten red and blue!!

Do you remember when Virender Sehwag, so called Najafghad Sachin, scored a century, or made a useful contributution to the Indian cricket team? Don't worry if your answer is no; neither did I, until I investigated his stats before writing this article!! He has been unable to hit a triple-figure score in the last 60 matches. But still he made it to the World Cup squad of India, thanks(?) to the lobby made by the Wall of India, captain Rahul Dravid. Yes, it is miserable, but true. Although I like Sehwag's batting, after watching his play today, I couldn't keep quiet anymore, and hence writing this article.



Story that never changes

Sehwag's pathetic form continued in the warm up matches also. Voila!! Still he was included in the playing eleven for the first match against Bangladesh. He gave a perfect start for the world cup tour of India, by getting out for a low score and putting India under trouble. I doubt whether Sehwag understands the responsibilities of an opening batsman. He played today, as always, without any footwork, just as one would play against school boys. I was thinking why Dravid was making such decisions as playing a completely-out-of-form batsman in the World Cup, when my friend, SN, came up with another indigenous thought: Dravid may be trying to end the career of Virender Sehwag, once for all. No one in the right mind would recall Sehwag. Ganguly at least performed, he has the technique, Sehwag doesn't have that. Good thought, I would say.


Will he ever be able to stand again?

Forget Sehwag. Why am I calling it a perfect start? You might want go through this article to understand how well it may help the people in the country, especially students, if India gets out of the tournament in the first round itself. Hmm, sounds interesting, eh? Well, let us also see on the other side of it. What if India still manages to go to the Super Eight level? For that, India will have to beat Sri Lanka and Bermuda, by a large difference, and I think it is a fat chance. I like to quote a comment made by someone after the match against Bangladesh:
Indian Team, thanks a TON, No doubt you are out of WC and hence I can sleep well, my electricity bill will be less, at least for few months won't be seeing your face in advertisement.... Rediff/AajTak will stop putting blogs/news about Cricket, and all those who were saying yesterday GIBBS hit 6/6 against minnows, by now you must have realised playing against minnow is not as simple now a days. See Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland... Once again Thanks a Ton Team in Blue...for saving billions of rupees.
So, what is your opinion?

Photos from CricInfo

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caught in the Web - Internet Addiction

I have been using the Internet for quite a few years now. At first, it was a wonder. After a bit of use, it became an interest, then it became a hobby. Sometimes, I have asked myself: Can I be there without internet? My answer, fortunately, had always been positive. Yes, I can still manage myself without internet. But this question became more evident when my friend, SN, sent me a link to a Deccan Herald article. Having read that article, I think it is time for me to reconsider the question.

Namrata Iyengar discusses some situations and comes up with some of the symptoms of web obsession.
  1. Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer
  2. Craving more and more time at the computer
  3. Neglect of family and friends
  4. Feeling empty, depressed or irritable when not at the computer
  5. Lying to employers and family about activities
  6. Inability to stop the activity
  7. Problems with school or the job
She also quotes words of Maressa Hecht Orzack, director of Computer Addiction Services: Excessive Internet use should be defined not by the number of hours spent online, but in terms of ‘losses’; If it’s a loss where you are not getting to work and family relationships are breaking down as a result around it and this is something you can’t handle, then it’s too much. I found this opinion to be more realistic than many others she has quoted.

Now, back to the question about myself. Looking at the above symptoms or the opinion, I don't think I am addicted. Yet, I have to admit, I have had been addicted to a web site Experts Exchange before. I spent myself active in that site, answering questions from people all over the world. I don't say it was a waste or it didn't help me at all. In fact, it has shown me the width and depth of the Internet, helped me get idea about the recent advancement in the ever-changing technologies and more importantly, taught me how to be patient while interacting with people.

You might ask, what on the earth made me decrease the amount of time I spent there? Yes, everything has a reason, known or unknown. I started feeling addicted, and decided to decrease the amount of time I spent there. But, you know, it is easier said than done. It is not possible to come out of any obsession so easily. I had to wait a very long time, even after making the determination, to bring it under some level. (Have I left it completely? Not yet!!). Many other activities helped me get out of that. But one thing is true, I haven't decreased the amount of time I spend online, even though I am not logging into Experts Exchange regularly. But, now I am having a new question in my head. I am wondering, whether these new activities have caught me again? May be, may be not. If they haven't, it is well and good. And if they have, then? For the moment, I am unable to think beyond that...

PS: I am having internal test tomorrow morning, in less than ten hours and I haven't read anything yet. Might this be a clue for my question? I hope it isn't.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fair and Fair - Passport and Shabnur

After the Cypress interview, I thought I would be free. But there were some more things which kept bugging me. One of them was to get Passport. I had got the form from the post office, somewhere around July or August itself. I had even the DD ready with me, but was lazy enough to fill and submit the form. There are many reasons for that, and I don't want to tell all those now. Many of my friends who got the suggestion to fill the form from me, have already got the passport, and I am right here, describing how I submitted the form...

Anyway, our placement officers did something good. They kept a Passport Mela to help the students of the college. Any student could submit the forms in the college, on 27th of February. We had to be ready with
  • The Passport form
  • A DD of Rs. 1000/- taken in favour of The Passport Officer, Bangalore
  • Six Recent colour photographs (3.5 cm x 3.5 cm)
  • Address proof (ration card, telephone bill to show one year stay, bank passbook or a certificate by hostel warden - anyone would suffice. But, interestingly, DL is not accepted as a valid address proof)
  • Proof of Date of Birth (SSLC or Class X marks card is sufficient for this)
  • Proof of Education (marks cards of the highest education achieved)
  • Two photocopies of everything we submit
I make blunders at some critical times and I did it here too. I made a mistake (it was a small mistake, and a bit of whitener would have been sufficient, but I thought it wouldn't be a good idea to use it) and I got a new form, on the same day, afternoon. Thanks to SBS for helping me get the new form from the post office. We had a lot of things as lunch together (When it comes to eating, I say just Main Hoon Naa).

After coming back to the college from the post office, I filled the form. But it was lunch time for those who had come. So we waited in the reading (chatting) room, and submitted in the afternoon. There was no queue. I just went and gave whatever I needed to give. The passport form was submitted.

I didn't have the faintest idea that I would be having one of the unforgettable events in that evening. While we were in the reading room, LDA invited us to the Shabnur fair. Many of us agreed, and planned to leave to Shabnur at 4:30 PM.

Time had come. We waited for some of our friends to come, and left college at about 5:00 PM. It was perfect time to assort. I, LDA, RDA, V1, V2, PKS, LU, ARH, ABN, NRS, VBK, MB, MG, MAP, CNG, SBS, SM - oh it was quite a large group. Probably the shopkeepers hadn't seen such large group ever. It was just fun. We first went to the Aanjaneya temple, and then started our campaign. Whistle, balloons and some coloured glass rods were the things purchased first. The real amusement was about to begin.

Someone asked MB what gift would he like. It all started when MB gave the option to bring any gift to him. He got a clapping doll. It became a craze, and almost everyone was given a gift. ARH got a kitchenware set to suit her, ABN got a Japa Mala. It was fun for others, but at the same time, a bit humiliating for the person who got the gift... Well, it ended with MAP getting a ladies' ribbon!!

In the mean time, V1 got snapped by some small girl, asking why he acted like a kid. He complained that someone among ourselves had told that girl to ask like that. You should have seen his face then!! PKS found a shop to fill our tank (stomach) and then we headed back to the college. Better luck next time, if ever, for those who missed it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Six nought four, triple six - Cricket Sledging

I recently got a mail from my friend. It was about sledging, which often takes place in cricket. (Not as much as in soccer, but it will have enough impact). I really liked some of those, and couldn't resist myself from posting them here:

  • Viv Richards & Greg Thomas: This incident took place during a county championship match between Glamorgan and Somerset. Glamorgan quickie Greg Thomas had beaten Viv Richards' bat a couple of times and informed the legendary West Indian ace: "It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering" The very next ball was given the King Viv treatment and smashed out of the ground, into a river - at which point Richards piped up: "Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it"

  • Ravi Shastri & Mike Whitney: Its common knowledge that Indian's usually don't resort to sledging, and the Aussies swear by it. In this rare occasion the tables had turned and it was the Aussies who were at the receiving end. Shastri hits the ball towards Mike Whitney (the 12th man in the game) and looks for a single, this guy gets the ball in and says: "If you leave the crease i'll break your head". Shastri didn't bat an eyelid before replying : "If you could bat as well as you can talk you wouldn't be the 12th man"

  • James Ormond & Mark Waugh: James Ormond had just come out to bat on an ashes tour and was greeted by Mark Waugh: "Look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here, there's no way you're good enough to play for England". James replied: "Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my family"

  • Daryll Cullinan and Shane Warne: As Cullinan was on his way to the wicket, Warne told him he had been waiting 2 years for another chance to humiliate him. "Looks like you spent it eating", Cullinan retorted.

  • Sachin Tendulkar & Abdul Qadir: Sachin, not even old enough to get a driving licence was facing the best bowlers in the business. As the Pakistani crowd jeered and mocked Sachin holding out the placards saying "Doodh Peeta Bhachcha.. ghar jaake doodh pee", (Hey kid, go home and drink milk), Sachin sent the then young leg spinner Mustaq Ahmed hiding for cover (he had hit two sixes in one over). Frustrated mentor of Mustaq Ahmed, the legendary Abdul Qadir, challenged Sachin saying "Bachchon ko kyon mar rahe ho? Hamein bhi maar dikhao" (Why are you hitting kids? Try and hit me). Sachin was silent, since then we all have come to know that he lets his bat do the talking. Abdul Qadir had made a simple request and Sachin obliged, and how. Sachin hit 4 sixes in the over, making the spinner look the kid in the contest. The over read 6-0-4-6-6-6 and a legend was born. (Sachin made 53 off just 18 balls in that match and it was his first series).

Legends are legends, and they should be given the respect they deserve... What do you say?