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Showing posts from 2011

I don't like people

A few days ago, I changed my tagline on my Google profile to "I don't like people".This tagline has helped many people ridicule my comments with Your tagline says it all and has got a good many people who know me and care about me extremely worried. Hence this blog.The inspiration for this line came about from a Dilbert animation, wherein Dogbert says this at the start of the animation. Somehow, this line resonated very well with me.Why, you may ask. Good question, but the answer may not be to your liking.Actually, as I write this post, I wonder whether I should just hit the delete button, as it is extremely difficult to put in a coherent and cogent answer on a post which is available publicly.People, I find can be just as mean as they can be magnanimous, with more people tending towards the mean side. Consider the Milgram Experiment or the Stanford Prison Trials. However, I don't need psychological experiments to prove my case. Even in everyday affairs, we see peopl…

+1 to Opensource

This post is about a philosophy, nothing more. I had tweeted the title months ago. I thought that I'd better write a post too.Apart from Windows, my antivirus and Microsoft Flight Simulator X; you'd be hard-pressed to find any proprietary software on my computer. I like to use FOSS everywhere.Call me a geek, my reasons for using FOSS are simple. I just cannot pay for all the proprietary software I'd require. Consider that Adobe Photoshop costs close to $ 1000, Lightroom costs $ 100, Photomatix costs the same, MS office costs around $ 500. I cannot pay so much.But this does not mean that I compromise on quality. As I've recognized in my various experiments with FOSS, free does not mean poor quality. Why is FOSS so successful? Simply because it is open, in that everyone who uses it can modify it to suit their needs.Let's consider an example. Say you are interested in a word-processing software (assuming you are one of the many idiots who do not use LaTeX. You downloa…

Elements of a Story: The Whispers

I'm compelled to begin each post with a meta. That way, my blog posts seem less like essays or dissertations, and more like diary entries, or web logs. So here goes...I started this blog a little over a year ago. The main purpose of this blog was to experiment with styles of writing, and find an effective outlet for all the subjects I wish to rant about; saving my classmates the agony of having to listen to them. As I wrote this blog, I've experimented with so many styles, and have received comments claiming that my work is a shameless copy greatly inspired by so-and-so author/work. Fact is that I simply chanced upon that style. I read, so obviously, my work shall reflect the styles of those I admire, but I've worked out so many styles without even knowing that they exist, only to be informed of them later.Recently, I've been struck with the seeming absence of whispers as an element of a story. The more I've thought of the subject, the more I've been convinced …

Too Much Information

The internet has changed the way we access information, no doubt about it. In school, I had to rely on the library, on encyclopaedias that I possessed for information. It was a long and arduous task, looking up indices, and hoping that the keywords within would lead me to what I sought.Fortunately, or unfortunately, I got internet access around the same time my demand for information increased. It was not necessary to store too many of those heavy books any more, I could just access the internet for any information I needed. However, slow internet speeds still forced me to rely, for most of the time, on an encyclopaedia that I had on a CD-ROM.The amount of information on that single CD-ROM amazed me at the time. The encyclopaedia had over 70,000 pages, video, music and much more. The internet, however, contained much more information than I could have ever stored in my house. While my copies of encyclopaedias grew out-dated, forcing me to buy newer copies, Wikipedia came up, and I had…

On being politically correct

This is one issue that has been nagging me ever since I became aware of social propriety. Propriety demands that our words, actions and every facet of our living must be politically correct, that is, should minimize any offence in gender, race, religious beliefs, ideologies, age, and every other aspect where offence may be caused. The image below is an example of a politically correct image.
This is the issue with blogging. If my posts were to be politically correct, then they'd all be similar. They'd all have 0 words. So, we can assume that all my posts so far have been politically incorrect.My intent however, has not been, and shall never be to give offence. However, the moment I express my views, which may be unique to me; and which are not shared by someone else, I have given offence to the person who does not share my views. In most cases, the offence is minor, and is hardly noticed. Sometimes, it is major. For example, my post on why I dislike the Harry Potter series caus…

The Inheritance Cycle

So, the much awaited inheritance cycle is here. I thought I liked the series, but the last instalment has brushed aside that misconception.Read this review if you were a fan of Inheritance, but are disappointed by the last book, titled "Inheritance." If not, you may read at your own risk.So, to give an overview of the storyline. Eragon is a farm boy who happens to find a dragon egg. The dragon hatches, making him the first of the next generation of the dragon riders, the first destroyed by Galbatorix, a rider who went mad and seized the throne. Since dragon riders are immortal, Galbatorix, the tyrant, has to be killed. The same story of black and white, where the underdog is pitted against the mighty tyrant. Oh, and romance is thrown in for good measure, as Eragon is, for the entire cycle smitten by the elf Arya. So, even before the book was released, I had guessed some aspects of the storyline. Eragon would kill Galbatorix, Arya would get a dragon and become dragon rider, h…

20 years hence

As he walked across the road begging for alms, Page could not believe his fortune. From being the CEO of the world's biggest company on the internet, he was reduced to a lowly beggar barely able to make ends meet. A lifetime of dedication to developing better and better software was rendered meaningless in one swift blow.Yes, he could remember as if it were yesterday. The Congress had passed bills, many bills funded by big corporations (his was a big corporation, yes; but he did not believe in such lowly tactics) that suddenly changed the way the law viewed copyrights. Suddenly, before anyone knew it, display of copyrighted material became an offence, which needed no proof, only a single complaint by any of the 420 organizations who were the sole copyright owners. Suddenly, Page found his company shut down for violations of copyright.Tim was one of the 1001 great bloggers of yesteryear. Yes, he was the same one who walked out of the 13th storey window. Assailed with copyright infr…

Say goodbye to punctuation

over the past few years i have often seen people talking in netspeak which is the annoying language without any vowels or punctuation but what is punctuation i cannot understand languages without vowels much less speak them because according to my knowledge we humans need vowels to speak a language but then this language is typed and i dont think its meant to be spoken though i think we can really do away with punctuation because its a useless artefact in language and never spoken see even as you read this post you are managing remarkably well in understanding whatever i have to say without the pesky capitalization that requires my pinky to press the annoying shift key or the periods or commas or semicolons hyphens and what nots best part i dont have to keep typing the html tags for new paragraphs every time saves my time yet i find this more difficult to type because i have to make sure that i dont accidentally repeat my bad habits of typing punctuation when i type but the same way i…

It happens only in India: We struggle to remain "backward"

This is a post I have been wanting to write for the past six years, but have finally decided to shed inhibitions and write it now. Shed inhibitions? Be warned, this post is not politically correct; I have never strived to be politically correct, though I always wish to be morally correct.Politics in India is dirty. There is no going around the fact. When given a choice to vote, I find myself between a rock and a hard place. None of the manifestos appeal to me. Some political party, which I shall not name, had in its manifesto declared that it shall ban computers from India. How can I, an educated person, and an aspiring engineer ever stand such blasphemy? No computers! Say goodbye to all transport, elevators, microwave ovens, mobile phones, and everything else associated with the past half-century, 'cause all of them rely on microprocessors, or as the layman calls, computers. Yet, in a country with a population over a billion, housing over a seventh of the world's population, …

Silly LinkedIn

I joined LinkedIn, simply trying it out, because I was told about how important it was to maintain a professional network. Being a rather private kind of person, I generally do not like the plethora of networking websites that have started up, much less the ones that expect you to pay for premium features, mainly because I never use those premium features.But, LinkedIn has a strong policy against spam. It wants to ensure that I do not spam too many people with requests to connect. Apparently, since the time someone declined my request to connect, I was marked as a potential spammer. Weird, because I take care to connect only with people I have talked with or met at least once in my life. It seems that amnesia is all to common in today's world.To cut the long story short, LinkedIn has enforced certain protection measures against my spamming. Like asking me to enter the email address of any person before I can send a request to connect. This means that I have to dig through business…

Deemed guilty of copyright infringement

No, I have not been. But someone I don't know is probably being deemed guilty of copyright infringement this very moment, as you read this blog.This post came about from a rather wild reaction on Google Plus. As might have been hammered into your skulls As you may have guessed from reading the previous n posts, I follow a number of photographers whose work I enjoy on Plus. Recently, there was a frenzied reaction amongst a large number of them about a guy from I-don't-know-where stealing their photographs. What with frenzied requests to Google to take down his profile, with calling him a thief, I felt like the poor guy was in a mob about to lynch him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sympathising with him, I'm merely stating the almost animal like tendencies of all the civilized folk when they noticed a relatively minor infringement of their copyright.Why minor, you may ask? Well, the person uploaded extremely small prints, the type you'd get from screenshots, left t…

Integrated with Google+

Google is aggressively promoting Plus. This means that all services are now going to be integrated with Plus. Picasa Web Albums exist, but are no longer the default photo management service. Instead, clicking on photos links me to the pictures from my circles on Plus. Reader is soon to go, and be merged with Plus. Buzz is to go, and Blogger too has been integrated with Plus.The networking aspect is the goose (that lays the golden egg) of the day. Whether or not Google wants to take on Facebook, Plus looks like it's here to stay. Why should it not? Google has learnt its lessons from the Buzz fiasco, and have the USP that relations in real life are much more complex than the friend/not friend status that others offer. In fact, I think that Plus is closer to Twitter than it is to Facebook, but without the character limit, with the option to comment on posts, something I enjoy. The ability to follow random people with interesting posts and engage with them in a meaningful way changes …

On what I think about Intellectual Property

This may easily be the most difficult post I've written. For once, I cannot take recourse to the meta-element, or to meaningless digressions, but I need to stick to what I think, hard facts and personal opinions. So here goes...What exactly is intellectual property? Ideas? Seems so, in the most general sense. Of course, lawyers would have their own definition, but who here speaks gobbledygook lawyer-speak? So, if you have an idea, is it your intellectual property? Or do you have to state an assertion towards your ownership? Or, for that matter, can an idea be owned?Let's say I have an apple and you have an apple. I give you my apple and you give me yours. We both have an apple each, still. Now, let's say I have an idea and you have an idea. I give you my idea and you give me yours. Now, we both have two ideas each. And that is the fundamental issue with intellectual property.Unlike other forms of property, intellectual property does not terminate its ownership. It has the …

Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot

Some months ago, I had written a post on why Mark Shuttleworth never fails to disappoint. Today, I installed Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot on my computer, and it managed to last for just 5 minutes. This post should give a good overview of the five minute experience that is Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot.I recently bought a new computer. I need Linux on it, so I decided to install Ubuntu. However, I realized that Natty Narwhal was just too old, and that I had to wait for just a week to get my hands on the brand new Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot. The promos promised a lot. The very name, Oneiric, which is associated with dreams seemed extremely enticing. Moreover, it was not really all that worth installing Natty, then updating it within a week. For some reason, I have never had a good experience with Ubuntu upgrades, and hence I prefer clean installations.So, today, I finally downloaded Wubi and an AMD64 iso of Ubuntu 11.10. I ran Wubi, installed the system, and rebooted into Ubuntu. I was impressed with the e…

Dennis Ritchie

No, this blog is not meant as an obituary blog. However, this is one post that I have to write. Since the death of Steve Jobs, the computing world has lost another influential personality. Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language. Yes, the same C programming language that is used to program almost all electronic devices with a microprocessor. The very same. Does this code look familiar?
/*My first C program*/ #include <stdio.h> int main(int argc, char** argv) { printf("Hello World!"); return 0; } Ritchie's contributions go far beyond the C language. He contributed greatly to the development of UNIX, one of the world's first operating systems. You may not be aware of it, but UNIX defined many of the parameters on which today's operating systems are based upon. Linux is a UNIX clone, which means that it behaves in the same way as UNIX. Macintosh, which Steve Jobs is known for, is nothing but a UNIX derivative. I wonder what Jobs may …

Steve Jobs

This post may be a little late (two days to be exact). I would not really like to write an obituary, that can be done by people far better than myself. Rather, this is about how Steve Jobs has affected my life, and those of everyone across the world.I must admit, I'm not an Apple fan. In fact, I'm an Apple hater. More than anything else, I hate the Apple fanboys who keep harping about how cool Apple products are. I have never used any Apple products so far, except maybe tried out some that my friends have. Yet, Steve Jobs and his vision has affected my interactions with the technical world in many ways.Take for example my phone. I use an Android, and it's awesome. I just love the multi-touch gestures on the phone. But then, that's something Apple came up with on the iPhone. If it were not for the superior touch screen capabilities of the iPhone, we would still be stuck with boring single touch resistive touchscreens which had to be worked with styluses. Not only that, …

Follow up: A failure of intelligence

The only comment I received over my earlier blog post criticized me for digressing too much and not presenting an opinion. So, in this post, I aim to give my views on the filtering of search results by services we trust, like Google and Facebook.So, what is the issue with filtering search results to make them more specific to the user (searcher)? As discussed in the video, the main issue with this mechanism is that it isolates a person from the web, where a person might go in to spot views contrary to his own, some views can challenge a person's often limited and biased understanding of matters, thereby helping in the overall development of a person. By filtering those views, Google and Facebook end up showing us views that we like, instead of views that we ought to see, which essentially leaves our world view unchanged.Take for example the concept of my personal blog (this one). I end up sharing links to my posts on Google+ and Facebook. I shall refrain from discussing about Face…

My computer is ill

Barely a month after I posted that my computer is aging, I now have the painful duty of informing that my computer is ill.I cannot state that this is a setback. Essentially, it means that I have to put a halt to all the work I had planned for a week.Rather like the comedian, I must say, I tend to find humour in different situations. What's humourous about this one, you ask? Well, what I find funny is that all this while when my computer performance was deteriorating, I kept on grumbling, Oh, either get well, or shut down completely, don't keep me hanging on with this poor performance and flickering display. That was until my computer suddenly decided to not wake up from sleep one fine afternoon.I remember the day like it was the day before yesterday (and it was!). A rather ordinary afternoon. I went to the lab where I'm supposed to work on my bachelor's project, worked a bit on my computer, then I left to grab a snack, putting my laptop on sleep mode. Then, when I trie…

The new dynamic view on my blog

Hey, I'm trying out the new dynamic views on my blog. I hope that they enhance readability and viewership on my blog.Do leave a comment about how you find the new look. I shall of course try to incorporate any changes that you may deem necessary (provided I can implement those changes).

A failure of intelligence

This post came up from a discussion... No, it's not important to inform you of the origins of this post. What finally matters is the content. Is that not why you read the blog. Who cares about all the emphasis on telling a story about the post with the post itself? I mean, I'm not really into meta-blogging, really.So, what is this post about. No, it's not about the most common excuse raised by some baldies with grey hair (really, since when did baldies have hair?) when some of our neighbours decide to travel over 500 nautical miles to pay us a social visit (with guitars) and try to act in our films (it may be cheap bollywood, but it is much better than the quality of stuff they get at their home, I believe). No, it's about companies with mottoes of Don't be evil deciding what is or is not useful for me. It's also about a website that gives a crappy blue colour to the entire world.The internet (whatever it is, I really don't understand all this tech jargon) …

Stop using the IITs for your political gains

Dear Politicians,As I write the first line, I wonder why have I ever included the Dear. Let me assure you that I believe that there is little that you have done that would evoke a feeling of fondness within me. I am writing this letter wondering about how myopic must one be to become a politician. At the same time, this letter results from an explosion of anger and despair over the way in which you have determined to utterly destroy certain good things for your own gain.The newspapers over the past few days have been exceptionally full about what the minister for HRD plans for engineering colleges including IITs. Of course, newspapers have always been full of news about IITs. Take for example the issues of LGBTQ groups at IITB, and the corresponding issues faced by the straight people at IITB. Or about how 600 odd students fell in for an April Fools' prank carried out by someone on the campus. Which again makes me wonder: why the obsession with the IITs? How do things that happen …

It happens only in India: We see "Hands" everywhere

For a change, let me actually try writing a good post. This is in relation to something contemporary to the two day old housefly that has been pestering me in my room until my heart hardened enough to turn on the UV light attracting it into a 340VDC mesh, where it rests in peace. Actually, the post may also be considered contemporary to the two year old dog that keeps befouling my hostel wing, who loves to sleep outside just one particular room in the wing. Also, this is a move towards fulfilling a promise that I had made on the 21st of March this year, when I started the It happens only in India series.I shall refer to the latest book that I am reading I have been forced to read through my Reading Fiction course, and that is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. A motif in the book is the pointing finger that Salim Sinai keeps seeing everywhere. Of course, 30 years since that book has been written, the finger has to evolve into something bigger.And that is the hand. Some people …