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.

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?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Cypress Interview

Days in the last two weeks have been some of the most diverse in my life, for I was busy most of the time (not doing useless things as I usually do), and some important events happened. Well, to begin with, there was Cypress campus interview, function in our native, Passport mela, Shabnur fair... what not?! Between all these, we have also started our project. Let me shed some light on each of these in brief. In this article I am going to write about the Cypress Interview process.

The first one was the Cypress campus interview. It was a long awaited one, for most of us. Although the company is rich, there are not too many workers in it. So, this was going to be a challenge for all of us to get into it. Everyone wanted to get selected, but no one wanted to open the book or prepare for it. Finally, they came on 13th of February, at 1:00 PM (one of those few companies, which came at the time they had told). We had the Pre-placement talk (PPT) which was, if not exhaustive, good enough to get the attention of all. SM, who delivered the talk, was pretty straight forward, and I liked it. Then we had the written test. 30 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. +1 for each correct answer, and -.25 for each negative answer. The test was a mixed bag and consisted of questions from both Computer Science as well as Electronics. It was sufficient for the students to blame that it had only the questions belonging to the other branch. But, in my opinion, it was well balanced, with aptitude questions, C questions, computer science related questions and also electronics questions. There was much time after the test, (they had to check the answer and give the results). So what should we do till then? Some of my friends started playing cricket. But some of us, didn't play, to keep our clothes clean, in case the interview was held on the same day. We sat there watching them play, and due to the afternoon heat, it was sufficient for me to get headache. They had told that they would announce the list at 6:00 PM, and they really had the time sense. A total of 15 students amont about 95 students were short-listed, and I was one among them. I had the interview on the next day, at 8:00 AM. We went home, and I slept. The headache was terrible and I was in no mood to read or even open the book.

I woke up the next day, a little early, but instead of reading, I sat in front of my computer surfing internet. Knowing nothing, what would I do there? Yeah, that was a serious question. But what is lost in trying? I went to the college at about 7:40 AM. These Cypress guys are really chronoholics.. They were there, exactly at 7:55 AM. But the interview started 10 minutes late, because no room was open at that time. (Our college follows Indian Standard Time). There I faced SM, and I was asked about a C question, a puzzle, and about my previous and current careers. The interview was purely based on the resume. I made blunders, one after the other, in that interview. I was sure to get kicked out. They told that they would announce the results afternoon. So we had to wait. So we sat in a room chatting and roamed here and there. We had our lunch and went to hear the results of the first round of interview. Only 3 out of the 15 were selected for the next round. By His grace, I was chosen for the next round too. Really, I could not believe how I was chosen, but it was true that I was chosen. We had another interview in the afternoon. There I faced 3 interviewers and a lot of questions on C and a few on other subjects, and I answered most of them. I was satisfied with this round of interview. We stood outside, waiting for the result of the round. All three of us, me, V1 and SR were called to Bangalore, for the next round. Without any preparations, I was there in the fourth round of Cypress interview. Aw, that is quite an achievement...

On Sunday, I had a small function to attend in our native, Manchale. It was an eventless event. It was announced on 19th that the interview will be on 21st in Bangalore at 9:00 AM. Bangalore, even though the capital of our state Karnataka, was (and is, and may be it will be) quite unfamiliar to all three of us. So we had to have double preparations for that. We booked Airavath to leave Davanagere on 20th night. It came about good 50 minutes late, and left Davanagere at 12:30 AM of 21st. I don't know why, but V1, who generally hates reading novels, was eager to read five point somone in the bus, and was adamant, not to switch off the lights early (Well, I can say, he is like Venkat, if you have read the book). Anyway, we were in Bangalore at 5:30 AM. Courtesy (good or bad?) of the driver, I couldn't have good sleep, even in that Volvo. We then went to Yatri Nivas and booked it for two hours to get freshened. We left it at 7:00 AM, had our breakfast and headed towards the destination. With my little knowledge about the buses and with V1's map, it wasn't difficult for us to reach Cypress.

It wasn't time yet. We roamed around the Cypress office for a while, and entered it around 8:00 AM. Eh, that was too early... Cypress people started coming at 8:30 onwards. We sat there reading newspapers. At 8:45 or so, SM came. He talked to us and went inside saying that the interview would start soon. At 9:10 SR was asked to come inside for the interview. After that we again waited there for some time, before we were taken inside. We sat in the canteen inside. After sometime, I was also asked to attend the interview. I was asked questions mostly on C, centred around Data Structures, by the same panel which had interviewed SR. Data structures! How can an EC guy know about that? Well, Since I had taken CS in PUC, I knew a little about them. So I tried to answer whatever I could. Finishing the interview, I came back to the canteen room. Then V1 went to the interview. He was first interviewed by the director, who had came from US. All three of us sat there after that, chatting and laughing. It was time for the next round of interviews. I and SR were interviewed by the director, and V1 by the panel which had interviewed us. Well, we still didn't know how many more interviews were going to be held before it finished.

It was time for lunch. We had it in the top floor of the same building. After our lunch, we were back to the pavilion, sorry, to the canteen. We were given the Traveling Allowance. Already our friends from our college were eager to know the results, probably more than we three. We were getting calls one after the other. MRM was the topper in that. He was calling every 15 minutes or so. Finally, it was the time to announce the results. We were asked to come to the chamber of SM, where he announced the results. He didn't want to give shock treatment to any of us. So he told many other things, including the fact that only one was selected, before announcing the chosen one. Who was it? Well it was V1. We then all three of us got some feedbacks from SM, and were ready to leave. The Cypress Interview was finally over.

Well, I will leave it here, and will continue with the rest of the things in the forthcoming articles.

PS: I must say, it was a good experience, and certainly better than the interviews of most other companies, which want you to be smart outside, may you be having nothing inside.