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Showing posts from January, 2011

It's Republic Day!

The Republic of India has given us a lot to cherish. The constitution gives us freedom of speech, expression, assembly, freedom to move and settle in any part of India, and rights to equality, life and religion.I am grateful to be born in a country where democratic rule has prevailed.I may speak my mind out and not be afraid of being charged with blasphemy.Our country does not censor the internet.Our country has over two thousand ethnic groups with people belonging to almost every major religion, living peacefully in a society with traditions over five thousand years old.Our country has pioneered the Non Aligned Movement.Our country gives us a safe home, a place where we may stay and work without fear.Our country has prevailed.Republic Day is the day that we should be glad of being Indian. Let the national flag fly high all over the country. Let us make a vow to protect and preserve our motherland.A happy Republic Day to all.

Tomorrow is Republic Day

Hi guys,
Tomorrow is the Republic Day of our country. The day when we gave to ourselves our constitution. It is day to celebrate all the good things that the nation has given us. A day to put aside petty differences and divisive politics, and to celebrate the true birth of our nation as one.Let the national flag fly high tomorrow in all parts of the country!Watch out for a special post tomorrow.

Your private details aren't so private any more

Well, here's another post on security on the internet. Well, there is no security on the internet. With most private details up on the internet, and with Google being as efficient as it is, there is an utter lack of privacy. Anyone can dig up information about anyone. Even riskier are the SNS (Social Networking Services). Under the pretext of helping people connect, they are actually making people reveal the most intimate details about their lives to others. And like in the previous post, I shall go back to Facebook. The recent hullabaloo about Mark Zuckerberg stating that all information on Facebook shall be private by default shows that some people are (at least not yet) agreeable to an open reality show based on their lives. Of course, many don't care. The type of activities which take place on Facebook are worrying too. Now, my friends on Facebook spend hours on useless apps which claim to predict their future, their deaths, and their love. Some of the stupid apps als…

The PSUs are getting efficient

One (of the many) thing(s) I can lay claim to is that a liberalized India and I were born within a year of each other. So, I have seen, since I can remember, the true growth of the private sector and the IT revolution in India. I have also seen a remarkable change in the public sector. When I was a child, I remember about the various public sector enterprises and how hopelessly inefficient they were. I remember of the times when trains used to be late by 6-12 hours, I remember the times when you could not get a telephone line without greasing someone's palm. I remember the times when a private enterprise was considered very efficient. Not any more. The public sector has become extremely efficient. People may disagree and point out many flaws with the public sector, but I sure can find an equivalent number of faults with the private sector. At the same time, the private sector, through complacency or the sheer lack of motivation steadily declined. There were some interactions t…

Making a simple temperature sensor

After a whole lot of posts written out of sheer frustration, here is something you can really do. In this post, I explain how to build a simple temperature sensor.The temperature sensor is a LM35 chip. This is a easy to use 3 pin package. The pins are Vcc, Gnd and Vout. The output voltage (in millivolts) is the temperature in degrees centigrade * 10.I am using an Atmel ATmega8 micro-controller. There really is no specific reason for choosing this micro-controller, except for easy availability (I had one) and previous experience.The third and last major component is the LCD display for displaying the temperature.Now for some quick calculations. My temperature shall not in general exceed 100C. A diode drops 0.6V when it is on. Putting two diodes in series, I get an almost constant voltage of 1.200V. I have a 10 bit ADC. Hence, the temperature in Celsius*10 is ADC*1200/1024, or (ADC*1200)>>10.The final touch is a simple push-button for cycling through day average, day maximum and d…

Windoze! Never trust it...

This post is born out of frustration and panic and sheer anger at what happened to me last night. I decided to reformat my hard-disk because I had a lot of clutter on the drive and my computer was running slow. So, there was the issue of taking backups. This time, I decided to ditch the flash drive and take a backup on a DVD, so that there would be a permanent backup of my files. And because I was too lazy to download a proper DVD burning software, I used the Windows DVD writing software.Well, so here goes. The files were written, and could be read on my desktop which runs Windows XP. Since the files were on DVD, I hardly bothered about multiple backups. Heck, you really cannot delete from a recordable DVD, can you?And therein lay my fallacy. After having reformatted my hard-disk, I tried restoring from the DVD. I found that the DVD was extremely fragmented (yeah, you got that right, the DVD was fragmented), as a result of which my DVD drive went crazy trying to read the disk. I manag…

Facebook is a stupid idiot...

sang the Guitar Man from Central Park, David Ippolito. While he was worried about the stupidity of the kind of exchanges that take place on Facebook, there is another aspect in which facebook tends to show absolute absurdityI am referring to the silly interface changes that Facebook seems to love. Only recently, I opted for the new profile. Now, I can still see the friend requests in the same old place. But when I click there, this is what I see:
This is really stupid. What am I supposed to do with the friend requests have moved box? If that was the case, then the original link should be removed, so that people do not click there. Or if they really had to keep the old link, they should have allowed both links to check friend requests.Try blocking Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. This is what happens:
This is simply juvenile and lacks maturity. Why can I not block someone just because he is the one who created Facebook?And nothing beats the useless apps that come up on the damned websit…

ERROR_SUCCESS

ERROR_SUCCESS. This macro would be familiar to all those who have done some programming in WIN32. It is the output of the GetLastError() function to check the thread's last error state when no error has occurred. Weird, isn't it? I mean, if it is a success, then why is it marked as an error in the macro?This is one example of a badly made API. APIs are considered bad when programming in them becomes non-intuitive. Software is said to be bad (or said to suck) when it seems counter-intuitive to the user. There is one very simple example of this.Start notepad. Type in any text. Click on close. The message that you see is:

This makes no sense to me as a user. Of course, the programmer follows the approach that he creates a temporary file called Untitled, and in that file he allows the user to make all his changes. But how am I, as a user to understand that?A similar disconnect occurs even between two different programmers. That is why it takes a whole lot of effort to make a progr…