Friday, January 26, 2007

Orkut - Inside out

We have been orkutting for a long time now. But most of us do not know some of the features of orkut, and many of us do not bother about them either because we just scrap or send messages, and do nothing else. Orkut has some features which are unfamiliar to most of us. I will try to explore some of those now...
  • Just click the Media link at the top of the orkut page. It takes you to where you can see a whole bunch of new links and information. It is somewhat like a blog directory. People post and discuss their thoughts, experiences and photographs. If you are interested, just try it once. You will get almost all kinds of information you need. Sky is the limit.

  • If you are a regular orkut user, and check all mails regularly, you must have been fed up with a spam mail asking you to forward that mail to all friends or else your account will be deleted. That's just a crap! Goto News link at the top of orkut page, which takes you to where you can read about new features and recent advancements in orkut. Also notice the post named Is it true? Inactive accounts will be deleted? I have copied that here for some of you lazy fellows who still don't want to take the pain of going there and continue to spam...
    We heard there's a rumor going around orkut that says will delete your account for inactivity. We've even received this notice from someone pretending to be Orkut himself! This is not true and you can safely disregard these messages or scraps.
  • If you have really gone to the News page, you will notice another link at the sidebar to the left, named Demographics. Just click that! You will be taken to where you can see some graphical statistics about orkut. You will see Brazil is way ahead of other countries...

  • There are some less-known features like Hot list, Crush list, Ignore list, Teasers etc., which are explained in detail in Orkut help pages. However, this is the gist:
    If you happen to have your eye on another orkut member, here's how you can take action. Find their profile and click on the "personal" tab across from their name. From the left-hand side of the page, click the appropriate button to send them a teaser message or add them to your hot-list or crush-list.

    Your hot and crush lists allow you to flag an orkut member that has caught your attention. These lists are for your use only, and nothing happens when you add someone, with one exception. If you add an individual to your crush-list and that same person adds you to their crush-list, you will both be sent a message indicating that there's a match. The rest is up to you!

    You can block another user from sending you scraps, messages, invitations, and testimonials by adding that user to your ignore list. The ignore list is visible to you and other users will not know who is on your ignore list.
I will post many other tips and tricks of orkut whenever I see them... Till then, happy orkutting!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A trip with Hera Pheri

As the project fever began, we were seriously thinking of starting the project. So, we decided to go to Bangalore to get the required components. It was a mess right from beginning, as each of us (project-mates) were in different places and some of us were out of contact. Finally, after a lot of this and that, we settled onto the plan of going to Bangalore on 17th Jan 2007 morning, by intercity train.

We thought that it wasn't necessary for all of us to go, and hence V, who was in a far more distant place, didn't come. J planned to take off from Davanagere. C, who was in his village, came to my home the previous day and halted. Both of us planned to go from Harihar. We should be thankful to V2, who agreed to come with us to Bangalore to help us find the right areas to look at, as all of us were strangers in Bangalore. All went fine upto this, and only upto this...

The next day, we (I and C) had our breakfast in a hotel. In the mean time, V2 sent a message asking us whether to take train tickets or not. As we had much time, we said no. Then I realized that time was nearing, and I sent a message to V2 asking him to take three tickets. We finished our tiffin and headed towards the railway station.

V2 was waiting there. I asked him whether he took tickets. He said no (The message I had sent was not delivered yet). So I stood in the queue to take three tickets. S, who was also going to Bangalore for his project work, came to the station at the same time. So I had now four tickets to get, and I took them. All of us started chatting, waiting for the train to come.

I had the train tickets, and I asked them whether I shall keep them or someone else will take the responsibility. Only then, V2 told that he had his ticket. We had already started our day with a mess! We were four passengers from Harihar, and we had five tickets with us!! What to do now?! V2 and S came with an idea, and we asked J, who was yet to take the ticket in Davanagere, not to take the ticket. Thanks to the distance metrics, difference in charge to Bangalore from the two places was only 2 Rs...

During the same time, we met some other friends, who were going to Tumkur and Bangalore. Train arrived at about 8:25 AM to Harihar. After reaching Davanagere, J and some more friends also joined us. So we had nothing less to enjoy and we had a full compartment for ourself (Totally we were 10 friends). We spent most of our time chatting with each others, enjoying the best part of the day...

We had tiffin again in the train, after Arasikere. As we neared Bangalore, it was time for some FM stuff. Those who had FM radio enabled mobile phones were in two minds, whether to hear to it or save the battery!! With a little bit of music and a lot of chatting we reached Bangalore at about 1:50 PM. It was time to depart, and some of the friends headed to their destinations, and we headed towards the places where our destiny led us to...

We decided to have our food, and the roam around. While we were trying to find the place to go, a friend of C, R, came and joined us. We went to hotel Kamath and had our lunch. Then we came back to the city bus stand and took the daily pass, thinking that we have a lot to stray. But we were wrong, as we shall discover later...

We went to Sadar Patrappa (SP) Road. It is a street full of electronics shops. You can't even get water in there. We searched for the major component of our project, the Bluetooth module. We searched many shops, but in vain. The main purpose why we had gone to Banaglore, was not served. No shop in such a big city had a component we needed. I contacted BCS consultancy to query whether they had any Bluetooth kits which may be of use for us. But they told that it wasn't available in whole India itself, and the project we have undertaken is next to impossible one (I know it is an utter lie, but can't argue with them, eh?). V2 purchased some components he needed for their project and other purposes. Apart from that, it was entirely unworthy. For having come, we thought of purchasing any peripheral we needed. We searched for DVD writer in nearly 5 shops. All we could get was either a white LiteOn writer, or a black Sony or LG writer. I wanted a white LG or Sony writer. After a much exploration, we found a shop where they had a writer with replaceable front panel, and I purchased it. Then V2 I purchased a Bluetooth dongle each. (I needed it for project, and V2 for experiment). He also bought a 2 GB pen drive. Our next aim was to get the books of eight semester and hence we headed towards Avenue road...

Many of us, who were seeing it for the first time, were astonished by the number of second hand books available there. V2 was seriously indulged in getting the books. Rest of us spent much of our time seeing here and there, and sometimes towards the books. And finally after two hours, we went to Sapna Book House. We needed some reference books for our project. Closing time was 7:45 PM, after which no one is allowed to enter the shop and we went inside at about 7:35 PM. Fortunately we were able to find two books we needed and purchased them. Then it was time to decide where to go. All of us were in dilemma whether to stay there and search further in other places where we had left, or to come back. I thought it won't help to stay there and decided to come back. V2 was also of same opinion. J and C decided to stay there to meet their relatives. Both of them didn't know where to go, and it was already 8:30 PM!! J called his sister, and after a lot of thought, decided to come with us thinking that it would not be good to search the home in the night. So we were three now who settled to come back. C went with his friend to his room.

After having dinner, we three went to the bus stand. Since it was too early (we thought we get ended up in Davanagere at 4:30 AM if we leave Bangalore at 9:30 PM). I desired to have an ice cream (yeah, it is funny... but I myself am funny). Each of us had a pineapple flavoured softy. OMG! What a tasty one it was!! I wanted another one!! Both V2 and J refused to take another. So I alone ate the other one. But it was so tasty that I couldn't stop with two. (After all, you won't get it whenever you need, right?). So I decided to have one more. V2 seemed furious and headed towards the bus. I hurried to get the ice cream. When I came back, both of them had vanished!! I searched all around, and couldn't get a hint about where they had gone. Thank you mobile, I called J. I didn't call V2 because V1, twin brother of V2, was fed up having called V2 five times, without the calls being received. I don't think V2 is deaf either, not to hear the phone ringing. So V1 had called me twice instead. (Sometimes we can't tell why people use their gadgets, just for show off or for real use). J didn't receive the call, but came towards me seeing me. Couldn't the mobile operators wait? The call was being forwarded!! So I cut the call. And we met again.

We got on board of the bus. Aw! There was a smell of desi liquor!! Rules are meant to be broken. Liquors are meant to be drunk, no matter where and how. Unfortunately the bus was almost full and we got seat in the last but one row. V2 didn't seem to have noticed the fragrance!! (Did he have cold on that day? I don't think so... He hadn't refused first ice cream). I kept insisting to get down, but even some intelligent people act like silly at times. So, we didn't change the bus and continued the journey. The bus left Bangalore at 10:15 PM.

Both fortunes and hazards seem to strike in bursts. That person who was spreading the aroma was sitting just in front of us! So I and J started to contend for the window seat (V2, who is a third generation incarnation of Gandhiji, didn't bother about it at all). Then I and J had a agreement between us. I should sit there till Tumkur, and then we should interchange our position.

All of us took tickets to Davanagere, since I and V2 had student pass from Davanagere to Harihar. The journey wasn't bad, as we had all topics in the world to discuss about. J had a cat sleep in between, and was struggling to sleep properly. He didn't seem to have noticed Tumkur passing (Actually, none of us did, since the bus didn't go inside the city at all). At 12:20 AM it was time for the bus to stop for dinner!! (Some are weird, and some are more). There was some time, and we did what we needed to do. I got a biscuit pack, and V2 brought a chilling water bottle. (Where in the hell did he get the idea of getting cold water in that late night?!). But it was useful in a way, and the bottle was emptied in five minutes by three of us. By this time J had come to know that Tumkur had passed, and sat next to the window. (Thank God, that aromatic person was sleeping with his mouth shut, and there was no smell as such now). I and J started recalling the moments of our engineering life. V2 was sleeping. After Chitradurga passed, I and J got sleep. But V2 was awake by that time. Making all our calculations wrong, the bus arrived at Davanagere at 3:30 AM!! We distributed the books among ourselves, and waited for the bus to come. Both of us, I V2, were thinking whether student pass will be allowed at that time. We caught the bus at 4:00 AM. Unfortunately, we had to no place to sit other than the last seat. The bus was literally hopping, and we got free horse-like-ride!! Yes, free, because the pass was allowed...

Finally we reached Harihar at about 4:20 AM, and V2 took an auto and took all the books with him. I came to home, but and opened the gates in silence. I realized I was offline for too much time!! So I switched on my computer. But then I remembered the DVD writer and shut the computer down to put it. I had too many surprises to come along my way. The tray of the DVD writer was not opening at all. Cursing it, I went to bed, at 5:30 AM.

PS: The Hera Pheri hadn't ended yet, but the journey had. I will be jotting all of those shortly...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Makara Jyothi

As usual, it happened again. The famous Makara Jyothi was observed on the day of Makara Sankranti. There are many legends as to why this light appears and there are many arguments telling that it is a hoax. Whatever it may be, but the light was seen on the eastern hills of Sabarimala (Kerala). It is truly amazing to see the light at the exact moment on that place.

The Makara Jyothi

Also it is interesting to know that a vulture flies over the sky, when the procession takes place

The vulture that flies over the procession


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Do you know about your system?

Sometimes ago, I came across a utility in Windows XP, which allows you to see many details about the system. This is systeminfo command, which is run in DOS window. It shows detail about Operating System, processor, network, hot fixes etc. It is a really a good utility that is not known to many people. It also gives information like when the operating system was installed, for how long has the system been on etc. To use this utility:
  1. Goto Start --> Run
  2. Type cmd /k systeminfo
  3. Click OK
Or, goto DOS, and just type the command systeminfo

[See the details of the command here]

Friday, January 12, 2007

Road Destruction

It was hard to see good roads in India a few years ago. Thanks to the development, we can see them in many areas now. But there is a problem. There is a road destruction board, which digs the roads within a few days after they are constructed. No one takes the responsibility of repairing them or reconstructing them for the next 15-20 years. That board can be named Bharateeya Sadak Nirnam Limited (BSNL).

Yes, I am talking about that same governement company, Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited, which provides telecommunication services throughout India. It has been undertaking this work (of digging roads) from quite a few years now, right from the moment when the cables were replaced with Optical Fibre Cables (OFC). But the annoying thing is that they put the OFCs only after the construction of a new road, never before it. They dug the National Highway 4 (the famous PB Road) after 2 weeks after construction. They dug the cement road in Harihar just after 2 days. I can't guess whether it is intentional or they get the idea of putting OFC only after the road is constructed or whether there is any aggression between the BSNL and the PWD (Public Works Department).

We have to just wait and see when there will be a co-ordination between these two government bodies and when India would shine!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Project - Conjuring the idea

Once the struggle began, everyone was searching for the project. Some got it from seniors, some decided to go for consultancies, some tried to get from the companies they were recruited to and some others tried do something new. Our batch is of last category. Everyone in our batch inclined towards doing it on our own. And one more important thing is that everyone in our batch, in one or the other way, wanted to do a project on embedded systems!! V wanted to do a digital electronics project, I & C wanted to do embedded systems, and J was one step ahead, he wanted to do a remote control like project.

So, it was not difficult for us to find the domain of the project.. "Embedded Systems". But the real hard thing came next, finding the actual project.

At first we had an idea of doing a water level controller. We had even sketched the basic things about it. But it was just an idea, not the final one. Everyone was peeking at every place for any project ideas that may come to their mind. Not to mention, I was also looking at everywhere, where I could find a good project idea...

One fine day (actually night), I was about to sleep, and I forgot to put on the fan. Being a little (err... a lot) lazy, I thought of doing something which makes me control the fan from the bed itself! But how? Putting the switchboard near the bed is not an option in my home. So, I thought of any other way, and I got it! Controlling it using a remote controller. But having that remote controller near you always isn't feasible. So what? Having a mobile phone certainly is!! So, the idea is to control the switch using mobile phone. But again, how? Using Bluetooth!!! And that became the basic idea for our project...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Project - The beginning

It is a known thing that every engineering student needs to do as a part of his academic career, a project work. And I am no separate in that. So, I too need to take up a project in the coming semester. The project should (ideally) be related to our branch, and my branch is Electronics and Communication.
The completion of the project consists of these phases:
  • Searching the project
  • Writing the synopsis
  • Doing the project
  • Submitting the report

It is a common practice to have a group of students (project batch) conducting the project (Although there are some one-man-armies). I am one of the four, others being C, J and V.

We were told to search for a project well in advance and submit the synopsis as early as possible. But you know, engineering students are the laziest fellows when it comes to academics (Perhaps that's why India is still developing). So we kept it pending, and didn't bother to search for anything at that moment. But it was only then, when a deadline was given to submit the synopsis within two weeks, that we realized that we wasted two months doing nothing! Hence the struggle begins...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Engineering and Law

I don't know who got the noble idea of keeping Constitution of India as a subject for Engineering students.

Do all students (not only engineering) really need to know about all the rules and regulations of the country? Is it so much a necessity in today's world?

Well, before coming to those topics, let us know what we are taught of: We are taught about many articles regarding freedoms, rights, duties and about the union and the state governments, emergencies, amendments, commissions, case studies etc etc.. Then what do the law students learn? All of these in detail, plus some more case studies.

So, here is an indigenous idea: Why don't keep the subject for two or three more semesters and award a law degree also?! Well, it is certainly a notable point to be considered! After all, this is not new for VTU to provide two degrees if the student studies one more year...

Now on to the necessity of the subject: It may be necessary in the minds of some people. But I tell you, perhaps no student learns it as a means of learning, but as just another subject. So, nothing to be gained, either by students or the university.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Modern Education

There is a verse in Sanskrit:

न चोर हार्यं न च राज हार्यं न भ्रातृ भाज्यं न च भारकारि ।
व्यये कृते वर्धत एव नित्यं विद्याधनं सर्वधनप्रधानम् ॥

A rough translation would be:

Knowledge, which can't be stolen by a thief, which can't be seized by a king, which can't be shared with brothers, which isn't heavy either and which goes on increasing as you spend it, is the most important wealth

Let us discuss this in the current situation. Knowledge can not be stolen by thief, and it is true. But in modern education, it is being stolen by copying in the exam and other means. As per the next condition a king (or the ruler) can't seize it. But nowadays, it is common for the government to take control over the educational institutions and ruin the students. (You know what a government college means, eh?).

Now on to the next one, sharing with brothers. It is true that the knowledge can't be shared directly. However due to monetarization of education, if your sibling goes for medical or engineering, you are certainly deprived of higher education if you are not from a rich family. It is bitter, but true.

Knowledge is not heavy(?!)... Ask engineering/medical/or any other graduate/post graduate student, and you will come to know. There is so much of cramming that no one can probably finish the entire prescribed syllabus. When this is the case, remembering them for a long time is a distant dream. And there remains no question of telling it to others, when you don't have the time to read and understand it yourself.

Hence, in my opinion, education has entirely lost its meaning. However, it has emerged as the wealth in its entirety, not in the true meaning, but because it can be exchanged for money.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

India Shining ?

There is going to be Viraat Hindu Samaajotsava in Harihar on 8th Jan 2007. Literally it means a huge Hindu community fest. I don't know about the purpose of this event, but I guess it can cause enough commotion. Hope this doesn't turn out to be a havoc...

It is said that it is going to be a fest for all Indians, with the tag-line "When you are born in India, why do you hesitate to say you are an Indian?". Well, of course, it is a good theme in hand. But is it really necessary? As we are seeing it now, there is nothing going to change by such events. If it all if anything needs to be changed it should be done by politics. Instead of conducting such events, if the same amount is invested for the development, India would really shine... What do you say?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Distaster Management

Now the exams are coming to an end, and I have something related to them to be shared among you. Well, not about the exams, but about the preparations. Majority of the students reading for the exams can be classified in three main categories:

  1. Regular readers: who remain up-to-date with the portions covered,

  2. Those who read during the study holidays: category in which majority of the engineering students fall and

  3. Eleventh hour readers: those who do not open the book until a day before the exam

Unfortunately, I can't describe the first two categories in detail, because of my scarce cognizance in them. However I can tell many advantages and many more disadvantages of the third kind...

I can't tell whether it is a hobby, or has become a habit. As far as I can tell, it was neither, until that fine day when I joined this engineering. I used to study the books well before the exams. But this technical course changes the way you live! And I can tell, I am not alone in this minority category...

Many of my friends wonder, how I manage to be online for the most of the time. It is not a problem at all when I have nothing else to do! Yes. Since I fall in the third category, I won't be reading at any other time. So I have all the time in the world to be online. One more advantage of reading at the last moment is that you don't have to do revision (In fact, there will not be time for it)

Now on to the other side of it. It has some serious disadvantages. If you are not mentally fit, or don't have the capacity of reading more than 80 pages per hour, be ready for the disaster! You can't finish the syllabus. Also, health adds to the consideration. If you get headache or some other problem at that time, having read nothing, it would be better not to go to the exam. So beware! this is not for the faint heart!

Having said this, it is time for me to go for disaster management... It is up to you to decide what not to do.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A day to call it a day...

Three of the glittering stars of world cricket have announced their retirement. Justin Langer, a great opening batsman, Glen McGrath, a greater paceman, and Shane Warne, the greatest leg spinner the cricket world has ever seen, have decided to call it a day.

Whitewashing the Ashes series with 5-0 after 86 years, the Australian team formed the perfect moment to bid farewell to the trio. Langer remained unbeaten in his last innings, McGrath claimed 6 wickets in the match, and interestingly, Warne hit a half century in his last innings.

With over 700 test wickets, Warne has already been a legend in the cricket world. McGrath and Langer have also given their best for the team.

Legends Leading the way

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Examination point of view

This is exam time for VTU (Vishweshwaraiah Technological University) students and I do have exams going on. But as I said in my previous post, it doesn't make the difference for the netizenship.

The reason to post this is neither to tell how the exams are going on, nor to discuss how the preparation should be. On the other hand, it is just an overview of the process of VTU that makes every (every should be read as almost every, since I am not considering nerds) student feel like going out of the college as early as possible.

VTU has the tendency of discouraging students, in as many ways as possible. Some of the oxymorons can be listed:
  • It has started Edusat, a distant learning program, from the last two years, in which you can ask questions directly to the professors via SMS. They will answer them online. But you know what ? Mobiles are banned in colleges ! VTU has even seized mobiles in many colleges.
  • One of the goals of VTU (as I understand it, and it is my personal opinion) has been to provide cutting edge education in every field. An obvious way to make it is to keep books that give detailed and in-depth coverage of the subject. But the time for that ? Hardly 100 days, and the students should read 6 subjects of that kind in that period.
  • VTU is following the One for an over rule of cricket promptly. If the cricket rule deals with delivering a maximum of one bouncer per over, our VTU has adapted in as a minimum of one bouncer (insanely difficult paper) per over (exam). But, ridiculously, it is apparent that the result will always be 10's complement. When you expect 65, you will get seal (35) and vice-versa. And one more thing, every student is guaranteed to pass, if not the in the valuation, certainly in revaluation!
So, with all these considerations, I can say I was born intelligent, VTU ruined me !

Disclaimer: If you are a VTU student, you don't have the right to oppose it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Google Bug!

Well, nothing is perfect.. Not even Google !

It was found that there was a bug in Google script which could easily reveal all your contacts when you are logged into any Google account such as GMail, Orkut, Blogger, Reader etc.

Jeremy Kirk of IDG News Service London, had found this bug. Google stored its information in a Javascript, which could be called by any website by manipulating the function "google()". This could very well have been a bug of the new year...

Did I say could have been ? Oh well, Yes... The bug has been fixed. Google fixed the bug within 30 hours after being notified about this. And there is no threat now.

A bit of relief!

[Find more about this here]

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Just another day...

Another uneventful day...

It is the tendency of human (well, according to the definition) to be in touch with everyone. This is by means of email and sms now. But being a new year day, how can this be so uneventful? Exams? Nah.. that's not a problem for engineering students.

It is the Hutch dog that made it so inactive by charging 1 Re per SMS on two days successively (and successfully). A day which should have been full of flowing messages had the silence of graveyard. The reason they gave was absolutely absurd. According to my friend, they said that it was TRAI regulation to impose 1 Re on national holidays.

Only a network that follows is not sufficient... customer satisfaction is more crucial...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007

Wish You & Your Family a Happy & Prosperous New Year

May all your dreams come true…