Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ego Search

One of the advantages of having a rare name is that you don't have to come up with 'stupid' usernames for your email or any other web account. The other advantage lies in zeroing in on what others think of you via a simple ego search through any search engine.

I stumbled across what one of my not-so-close colleagues thinks of me while doing one of these routine searches to see how far and wide my fame has spread. Well, though it hasn't spread much, I must confess I was pleasantly surprised at how highly this individual is opined in my favor. And this even though we've conversed only on a couple of occasions. I won't embarrass myself by quoting him verbatim since it's hardly worth the effort and easily overshoots what yours truly truly merits. Still, I revel in the thought.

Either he's too gullible or I've mastered the art of presenting a persona better than the real me!
Saw MT after a looooong while. I'll build a temple in her name. I'll rescue her from the fires. I'll rescue her from the goons. I'll keep her in a museum. I'll break bones for her!

Damn, I must stop these thoughts from flooding my mind each time I see this heavenly beauty. If only she could be mine. I wish something could bring us together.
I thought I hated pizza, but that's what I've been having for the past two days in the after-lunch hours since I feel so starved having leapfrogged lunch.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Washing Revisited

I really must shake off my lethargy and wash my clothes more often. I can't even put to words what a horrific discovery I made this morning while donning my formal trousers. If procrastination can be near-fatal, this must be it!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I was so close!

A lot of Digging has helped me come across some very interesting stuff on the Net. Stumbling across two cracks for ALLOFMP3.com's DRM protected free music downloads was one of them. Of course, the folks at ALLOFMP3 have been in the news for a long time for its confrontational stance against the media bigwigs, payment gateways, governments, ISP's...well, the list is virtually endless. I'm sure they couldn't afford a crack adding to their woes.

I downloaded an mp3x (mp3 with DRM) file yesterday while queuing a host of albums to be downloaded later. The two cracks that were downloaded were a real pain and I ran out of patience trying to make them work yesterday. I finally figured out today how one of them works and was about to crack the DRM when I realized that ALLOFMP3 was now forcing a patch to its audio player (only through which can you play its mp3x files) which renders the crack useless.

All my fantasies of owning some great albums for free are now up in flames! Well, it was too good to last anyway. I was expecting the ALLOFMP3 guys to spring into action soon, though not this soon!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Party @ Golden Palm


I'm currently going through a bankruptcy of words...and consequently can't post a companion elucidation to the above video. I've also muted the clip audio since I discovered (much to my consternation) that I kept blabbering to myself during most of the shooting!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Issues @ Work

A lot of frustration and blood-boiling happened today. But in the end, the problem was solved. I've learnt a vital lesson about people...and I'm not about to share it with the rest of the world. There'll be a secret post published later.

And IE7 has been a real memory guzzler. I had used it barely for 30 mins this morning when I realised that it had consumed over 200MB! Here's a tip: To keep the memory footprint of programs under check, keep minimizing them to the taskbar regularly. It helps drastically reduce memory usage. Maximizing to the original size inflates memory occupancy once again, but not to the original levels. Strange, but true.

I love the facelift Yahoo! Bookmarks got recently. I've been regularly using these bookmarks since ages and I'm handicapped without them.

I'm contemplating reconciling with the blogosphere soon. I rarely post...and when I do, it's mostly crap.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The day was spent almost entirely in subscribing to podcasts. What a waste. The task of continuing with A Suitable Boy seems daunting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Late

I was late for school only once when classes started earlier.

I was late for the office shuttle only once (today) when it arrived at our stop earlier. I managed to catch it before it left.

And we reached our facility in record time...24 mins to be exact. 0821 hrs was when we reached our destination.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've forgotten...

...the feel of a book! Must start reading something.

The very thought of you

Hey, it's fun intimidating my colleagues! They keep begging me not to write anything about them in my blog...but the thought is so tempting, I'm seriously thinking of getting the ball rolling. My first victim will be MR.

Buddy, your days of relative obscurity are numbered!

It's been 10 years...


...since I last heard Willis Conover! I managed to download a 2-minute live introduction to a jazz band by him today. It was divine hearing him after so many years. Old memories flooded my mind.

A dirty trick

Just why do some people think they are smarter than others and that their techniques of deception won't be detected?

I've been at the receiving end of one such cheap shot. What happened tonight was way too debasing to the culprits. I'll retaliate in time. I know it doesn't sound too benign, but it's time I put my foot on the ground.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Diwali

The frenetic pace of life during the 4 days of Durga Puja is followed by a period of stark lull, when people look forward to the festival of lights, Diwali.

Today was Diwali but it failed to enthuse me. Mani & folks had decided to veil the facade of our building with strings of multicolored lights . It looked very nice. A misdirected rocket launched from the street below headed straight towards me and exploded just 2 feet away. The escaping sparks didn't burn me though. It would have been a very different story had I failed to duck at the right moment. The careless guys below had conveniently fled to escape our wrath!

Well, danger was all around. You should see how dangerously some people play with fire. I saw yet another rocket narrowly missing the door of an apartment and hitting the wall instead. And it was very apparent that the guys were in no mod to learn to be cautious. The crackers were sometimes too noisy and painful on the ears. And if I complained, who would listen?

I sent SMSes to my friends and my Nokia sent me confirmation messages in reverse order (it uses a stack). Antara & Saurabh actually called back. Correction...Antara called twice and twice did I miss hearing my mobile ring, so deafening was the noise outside. So I had to call her back. Mani & friends snapped more than 20 photos. I refused to have mine taken, and I won't reveal the reason behind it. Had some sweets, downloaded some music, did some reminiscing and smelt the air of burnt crackers (I love it). A sedate Diwali this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A revelation

Since I've had above-average time to kill today, I did some research on the memory efficiency of IE7 viz-a-viz FF3. I put the two browsers through a series of duplicate motions and the results were startling. I must confess I've got to contradict one of my earlier observations.

Startlingly, FF3 was at least 26% more memory efficient than IE7. As if that wasn't enough, the memory occupancy of IE even immediately upon launch was much higher than Firefox's. This was astounding since the higher lever of FF's abstraction forces it to rely on its own services rather than on the services provided by Windows. IE, on the other hand, is tightly integrated with Windows services and was thus expected to have a lower memory footprint. Any explainations for that?

The test obviously wasn't exhaustive enough and thus can't lend sufficient credibility to the conclusions. Perhaps using them for hours on end under strictly similar conditions would yield different results. The fact remains, however, that my test proved me wrong. My only gripe against FF should now meet its rightful end.

Well, I wasn't about to junk FF anyway!

Even Windows Live Mail desktop works!

It seems to be my lucky day today, notwithstanding the leave I failed to win. I had received an invite for Windows Live Mail desktop a few months ago. Though I downloaded it successfully, the installation would always fail. Multiple attempts yielded the same result.

I tried lady luck today and I must confess she's in a flirtatious mood! WLMD worked flawlessly and I'm currently using it to access my primary Hotmail account, though it can equally well be used to access multiple MSN, IMAP and POP3 (including Gmail) accounts. In fact WLMD is a hybrid download that even allows you to access newsgroups, subscribe to newsfeeds and do a host of other things. I guess Microsoft is finally rising to the fact that it has to collaborate with other services and assume a more symbiotic role if it needs to survive in the Web era.
Subhasish just called. He's back in Mumbai after this 3-week stay in Bangalore and I deeply regret not being able to meet him. Anyway, he's slated to be back shortly and I hope things are different then.

IE7 actually works!

IE7 was finally launched by Microsoft yesterday and since than it has been hogging so much of media attention that I finally decided to give it a try today. This, in spite of the fact that I have installed and subsequently uninstalled the betas of IE7 on this machine at least 6 times. Each time I tried to use it, an error message would pop up within 5 seconds and terminate the session!

Today's installation had not proved to be futile though. I've been running IE7 for the past 10 minutes and my session is yet to terminate. That's a first!

I love the leaner, meaner and slicker interface, but I guess page renditions are better via Firefox. Or maybe I'm just so used to the open-source browser's renditions that anything that appears slightly different on IE7 is being deemed flawed.

But, really, the Blogger edit window definitely looks a lot better in Firefox. I've been running Minefield 3.0a1 (Firefox's nightly builds) for the past few months both at home and in the office without facing any glitches. The only problem lies with its very bad memory management. It gobbles memory in no time, especially if you are watching videos. Just look at its memory footprint after using it for a few hours and you'll really how RAM hungry your browser is. And I'm sick of open-sourse evangalists tauting this flaw as a feature. They're really not helping the open-source community by praising a flaw when it ought to be blamed.

Another thing, I already miss the online spell checker of Firefox as I type this post!
The office wears a deserted look on account of most people opting for a holiday. Just the ideal condition for people like me. Even the roads were vacant.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sebastian reached the US on the 17th. I discovered this after he left me a message on my blog asking me to visit his for news. His blog service is absolutely pathetic...which is what happens if you try to patronize nondescript sites that are not in the mainstream.

I managed to read his blog only after letting my newsreader feed on his RSS.

Correction

Diwali is on Saturday, not Friday. And the vacation I tried hard to earn remains unearned.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I open my newsreader each morning to quickly sift through the major & minor events that happen all over the world. The one I most look forward to is the folder that contains the blogs. The one that most disappoints me is the folder that contains the blogs. Posts are scant, literature is shaky, grammar is screwed, content isn't enriching, facts are twisted, straight-from-the-heart confessions are rare and thoughtful posts are non-existent.

But I really wouldn't blame the bloggers since they have far more pressing obligations to fulfill. After all, most people don't blog for a living...and they shouldn't even try.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I think we should all revert to Assembly Language! Computer Science was a beautiful thing until high-level programming happened!
I'm racing against time to win myself the much coveted holiday for Diwali.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm too busy to blog these days but hope to borrow some time this weekend. I may have to come to office even on Diwali when the rest of India is celebrating the festival of lights. It may be darkness for me.

When I get time to spare (which is increasingly becoming a rarity), I quickly browse through my 30-odd sources of news. That's how I remain in touch with the rest of the world. It's my only relief and solace.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It seems like I've leapfrogged the weekend. Saturday was working day and Sunday is sullenday anyway!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spoke to Sameer for over an hour after office. His talk-time was exhausted mid-way and he quickly got a refill before we continued.
Since most shuttles of IT companies were off the road, I reached the office in half-an-hour instead of the usual one hour.
Mom's operation is successful.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This Friday feels like a Thursday

We have to come to office tomorrow to compensate for the day-off we got on account of the strike called a few days ago by a political party with sinister support by a few other equally zealous but perverted affiliates.
I'll try to contribute.
This is how many of our arguments would end when we were kids.

Didi: You are mad!
I: Every great man is mad!
Didi: But every mad man isn't great!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mom's gotta have a minor operation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reached home @ 2200 hrs. Gave Santosh his much-needed book on C#. The downloads are on in full swing although Mozart's Symphony #39 (in mp3 format) is proving to be frustratingly elusive.
It was Nilotpal's turn last night to be the target of a gang interested in robbing him of his phone and cash. The way these goons diligently prepare before converging on their unsuspecting victims is astounding.

Bangalore isn't a safe city.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt take a ride thru Pune

Bribe

We had halted at the traffic signal near Silk Board. Right next to our shuttle was a truck. A traffic policeman walked up to the driver and gesticulated at his watch while saying something. Apparently, trucks weren't allowed within city limits during normal traffic hours. The policeman extended his palm. The intention was conspicuous. The truck driver, without a moment's hesitation, reached for his purse, extracted some cash and gave it to the policeman who took it keeping a straight face, slipped it into his pocked and swaggered off.

I wish I had enough presence of mind to shoot a video of the incident. But it was too late by the time I realised what was happening and to make matters worse, it was very dark although activating the night mode in my camera would have been sufficient to capture the incident for my blog.
Rhymer's face is shrunken after she recently recovered from her brief illness. That's what she thinks! And now her nose strongly suggests that everything is an onion!
Nilotpal confessed to having achieved a personal milestone last Saturday. The way he was relentlessly pursuing his objective, it was only a matter of time before he achieved success. Congrats, boy!

Google buys YouTube &...

here's Soapbox for you!

Video: bill gates comedy part 1

Monday, October 09, 2006

DOR
What a movie! I see the renaissance of meaningful cinema in India.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Nokia 6681 is EDGE enabled. Should I get a connection to the Net via my mobile? I'm considering my options. Downloading via the bittorrent protocol slows down our LAN at home.
Subhasish called. Let's hope we can meet next-weekend.

Some Gandhi

An industry that's a world beater in producing movies can't score high on the quality front. But it can't be an all-crap producer either. The occasional jewel does come your way...and Lage Raho Munnabhai happens to be just one such jewel.

The plot in enthralling without resorting to ridiculous make-believe maladies and their solutions though I'm hardly convinced on the efficacy of Gandhism in the situations his ideals have been pitted against. The gaping flaws are all around you. How can a thug who makes a living by breaking bones and kidnapping hapless people suddenly gain enlightenment by reading books on Gandhi for three consecutive days? If the overwhelming benevolence of real-life's myriad manifestations have failed to influence him in all these years, could reading a few books help cleanse him? I think not. Is knee-jerk Gandhism sustainable? I think not.

People hallucinate, but not in the way as portrayed in the movie. Gandhi's views on non-violence have their limitations and are just not applicable in many situations. A son confession to losing money in shares would surely incur the wrath of his dad who may have just lost his life's savings. A radio DJ can't lay siege to a show just because she has a personal score to settle.

Sending flowers to someone who has forcefully thrown you out of your house is equally incredible. Your adversary could start a tertiary business selling all the flowers being sent to him! In fact, he could be tempted to throw even more people out of their homes. Had I been the erring adversary of Munnabhi and had he resorted to his brand of candy-coated non-violence to win the house back, all I had to do to defeat his schemes would be to turn a deaf ear to his antics. Surely nonchalance couldn't hurt me. Instead, it would only frustrate Munnabhai's efforts. And who would finally win? Take a guess!

The turning point in all this sweet antagonism was the wedding ceremony. The bride returns to confess on her dad's guilt of lying about her status as a manglik, a crappy figment our omnipotent fraternity of astrologers has invented to stay in business. Munnabhai and his sidekick do a splendid job in ridiculing the astrologer and his clairvoyance...or the lack of it. The only thing the high voltage drama proves is that astrology is a big lie. Where does Gandhism come into the fray? The groom holds the key to bringing justice to the much-wronged bride...which he does with great aplomb. Munnabhai's adversary (the sardar, whatever his name) finally has a change of heart...not because of Gandhi but because the bride isn't penalized for being truthful.

But we have too many weak links here. What if the bride hadn't been manglik in the first place? Or what if the bride hadn't decided to rebel against her parents? What if the groom had been as superstitious as his father? What if the astrologer hadn't been there at the ceremony? I don't think Gandhi's ways are as universally applicable as is often made out to be. Gandhism is more about winning the subtle battles within than winning everyday battles against your neighbor.

Ours is a nation of idol-worship, not ideal-worship. Our fixation is with Gandhi-the icon & not Gandhi-the idealist. In being enamored by his spartan lifestyle, we fail to the see the principles he lived and died for. Our myopia limits us to him and we fail to see beyond him...the realm he always steadily marched towards.

Lage Raho Munnabhai can be excused for all the flaws in its script given that it's exceedingly tough to send a social message to a people long divorced from the basics of love and compassions. In its own little ways, LRM manages to momentarily sway its audience into believing that there are better ways of doing things if we overcome the great barrier of evil that's resident in us all. How long the conviction remains remains to be seen.

I only hope the lingering can be prolonged till eternity.
A concerted effort by Santosh and Mantu finally got the exit cleared. The sink's working fine now though we need to be very careful. We has a scare last night.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Reflections

That personal looks would gain such precedence that it had the power of preempting everything else in your life when you were in your early 20's shouldn't be surprising. Kaushik and I exeplified this perfectly. Kaushik, my roommate in Pune, wasn't exactly obese, just slightly overweight with an emerging pot-belly, something that caused him immense consternation. He became most conscious of it whenever he was walking and found a pretty girl looking at him or anything within a radius of one mile.

Pune streets, unlike Jamshedpur's, were lined with a lot of cars. Kaushik would make use of his reflection from the window glass to see if everything was in place and impressionable. So each time a pretty babe would come nearer, Kaushik would frantically start admiring his reflections on all the car windows. His bulging belly would suddenly disappear as he would inhale and hold breath till the girl crossed, after which the suffocating Kaushik would 'collapse' back to his original self.

I used to be as thin as a string in those days and was desperate to gain weight. The horizontally-flat, vertically-convex windows tended to make one look shorter and fatter than he actually was...perfect for my ego. So I loved looking at the reflection imagining how handsome and irresistible I would seem to the ladies if I managed to gain some weight. I flattered myself often this way. So each time Kaushik and I walked together, we wouldn't spare any of our reflections each time we saw a stalled car.

Cut to the present. I've gained the much needed weight and some more. In fact, I've overshot. If I dare look at those reflections again, I'm sure I'll look more wide than tall. Unfortunately, escaping reflections isn't always possible. Our company lifts have interiors so shiny, they double as mirrors. And I just can't get used to what I see on the other side. There stands my alter ego, disdainfully staring back at me. And I guess the interiors of the lift are just as convexing. How else could I look this fat?! I compare the reflections of others with their actual selves. I haven't really draw any conclusive judgment yet on my suspicion.

Here's what makes the situation all the more pitiable. I often take the lift to reach the cafeteria for lunch or a quick snack. But each time my ominous reflection meets me in the lift, I lose my appetite.

After helping myself anyway, I feel infinitely guilty on my return trip. I swear I'll starve myself to death before adding another pound of flesh.
The drain was choked and water from our sink flooded our kitchen. Since there was no other exit, our kitchen looked like a tank. All the poking by Santosh was in vain.

Money matters, yet again

I've been in innumerable pecuniary problems ever since my net banking account was disabled owing to five consecutive wrong guesses at the password. Getting a new password itself became an issue and it's only today (2 weeks later) that I've finally been able to apply.

The latest glitch to hit me lied in paying my LIC premium. I tried to make the payment today through the Net but was taken aback to realise that it didn't accept credit card payments through the gateway. I had no choice but to go and make the payment over-the-counter. As usual, I preferred paying by my card, but had enough presence of mind (luckily) to ask...just in case. Therein lied an elevation of my worldly wisdom. LIC didn't accept credit card payments at all!

Life Insurance Corporation is India's largest life insurance company and is fully owned by he Government of India. It currently contributs around 7% of India's GDP.

And we flatter ourselves into believing that we are a software superpower. And we are all set to send a probe to the Moon next year. Way to go.

Santosh & I @ The Forum & Big Bazaar

Who would have thought buying CD's at The Forum or Big Bazaar would be an issue! At The Forum, there were no Moser Baer CD's. The other brands were too expensive or available only in packs of 50 or 100. I bought a CD pouch instead. Big Bazaar was worse. After being redirected from one floor to the other, we finally figured it out for ourselves that there were no CD's at all.

We had also planned to buy curtains for the door and windows. Too expensive @ Big Bazaar. We ended up returning home only with the pouch. I had to bribe Santosh en route with a chicken roll for giving me good company.

BTW, The Forum is a beehive of activity nowadays. Is western-style aggressive marketing here to stay?! Most impressive was a young girl -must be a college goer- trying to cull people from the crowd and asking them to come up with impromptu, nonsensical performances. Our young friend meanwhile blabbered all the while why Aquaguard was the greatest invention since sliced bread and why you are a criminal if you endangered the life of your family if you walked away without buying one. I'm sure she could have just as easily launched yet another sermon had I asked her to enlighten me about the various types of quarks and their role in the Microwave Background Radiation (MBR)! Some people can talk...and talk well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Marathon Downloads

Blogging is momentarily playing second fiddle to downloading music off P2P networks. I've already managed to get some fantastic tracks by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Nat King Cole and Julio Iglesias. John Coltrane, Yanni, Ben Webster, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and a few others are still in queue!

Blogging will restart in all its glory on Friday. Of late, I haven't been able to apply my thoughts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dhyani called up. We spoke for over half-an-hour, mostly about work.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday

It's not the usual sullen Sunday today. Tomorrow is a holiday owing to Gandhi Jayanti. Like other Sundays, however, it was the usual lazy morning that most of my friends woke up to.

Abhishek (my colleague) paid us a visit in the afternoon and exploited the opportunity to check the alarmingly infectious Orkut besides his email. The bandwidth was very low and the poor guy was disappointed not to be able to surf to his heart's content. To compensate, we let him watch Lage Raho Munnabhai. The scene where an innocent student is slapped in the college canteen by the protagonist's friend for reasons that remain totally oblivious to the assaulted was absolutely hilarious!

Subhasish & I were scheduled to meet up in the evening to visit a few Durga Puja pandals and we were eagerly looking forward to it. The rains played spoilsport. We instead Google Talked for some time before bandwidth stifled it.

It was Manilal's turn to throw a dinner party in celebration of his new job. Enjoyed it.

A tiny BitTorrent Client

uTorrent is incredibly tiny with a directly executable download of 172KB! Its memory footprint is negligible and it isn't a resource guzzler like the venerable Azureus.