Saturday, May 31, 2008

DELL

All DELL laptops ordered in India are now assembled within the country. The cost savings will be substantial.

@home projects

Remember SETI@home, the scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)? It runs on BOINC.

According to Wikipedia:

The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is a non-commercial middleware system for volunteer computing, originally developed to support the SETI@home project, but intended to be useful for other applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics. The intent of BOINC is to make it possible for researchers to tap into the enormous processing power of personal computers around the world.

Though I believe SETI@home (or indeed SETI) is a grossly misdirected scientific effort (it's a matter of personal opinion and I would wholeheartedly support its enthusiasts), its most pragmatic outcome must be BOINC.

I downloaded the BOINC software today to lend support to the LHC@home project. Unfortunately, there's currently no data to be worked upon (project is expected to gather steam once CERN goes live with LHC in the mid of this year). I then turned my attention to Einstein@home, which works full throttle. The reporting deadline from my computer was the 16th of June and Andromeda would need 86 CPU-hours of data crunching on the downloaded material. However, the total hours I would accrue by then would be nowhere near 86.

I guess BOINC is more tuned towards desktops and servers that remain on for extended periods or have enough idle time. I'll have to wait for my first desktop to join the BOINC fraternity.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chlorine Gas Leak in Telco Colony

29jhachlorine-3Chlorine gas leaked from the water treatment plant near Truck Park a couple of days ago. Some residents of the area were admitted to the Tata Motors Hospital.

I remember visiting the plant on an excursion from primary school. 

The enigma continues

We had an airport shuttle for #33 today!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Expense Manager

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I initially used Google Docs to design this expense manager to help keep tabs over my daily expenses. Then DocSyncer happened (it doesn't really synchronize, just sends a local copy to Docs each time an update happens-provided you are connected to the Net...else waits for the next time you are online) and I happily switched to Microsoft Excel.

The mouse has a defective tail

How long would a cheap mouse last? The cord has become a source of trouble over the past 3 days.

"Highlighting and Lowlighting"

Trust Indians to stretch English! An extremely annoying blabbermouth spoke aloud on the phone all along the way from office to home. Each sentence was a gang rape (effort was solo but effect was communal!) of my favorite language as I tried in vain to muffle the 50 decibels blaring from right behind me.

Some breeds simply forgot to trudge up the evolutionary curve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The archive

I'm building a huge music archive that's far from reaching the set 100GB cap. The burgeoning collection (I'm still fanatically select) is already so large, it'll easily last me more than a year of 1-hr per day listening. If you add the currently live marathon downloads of Fitzgerald and Verve, that figure woud increase substantially. I'm made to wonder, however, if it's worth the effort.

 

Isn't streaming audio a better alternative? The archive is even larger, there's nothing to download, you're not bogged down thinking of suitable storage media and you get to discover new music all the time. I remember how much more interesting our radio looked than the cassette player. It was like comparing an ocean with a tub.

 

There could be a very obvious drawback though: when I'm in the mood for Rach 3, I could be forced to put up with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring! Case in point: I'm listening to Ella's The Very Though of You for the nth time as I type this post. It was particularly mesmerizing when the power went away!

I am admittedly jealous

Why can't I be happy for my friends?

Undecided

I rejoined office only today as I needed the buffer time to rejuvenate myself. Shuttle #33 looked differently similar and I couldn't decide if it was the same bus with a different inside or a different bus with the same outside.

The engine rumble was clearly louder (or was I imagining), the seats were less meaty and didn't recline (they were unevenly reclined and unadjustable), we now had curtains and the entrance looked similarly damaged.

Twin from a parallel world?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Favorite Present

18052008197 Everything that Diyasha does is instantaneously elevated to her favorites list.

  • Whatever she watches on TV becomes her favorite.
  • Whatever she's eating becomes her favorite.
  • Whatever she wears becomes her favorite.
  • Whatever she's drawing becomes her favorite.
  • Whatever she reads becomes her favorite.
  • Whatever she writes (grammatically impeccable...almost) becomes her favorite.

One thing is certain: she's my favorite!

Monday, May 26, 2008

love 2 leave

I would love to leave Bangalore as soon as possible. I've had enough of this city. There's something about this place that makes it repugnant.

Hanged

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My new hangers have been pressed into service. The oldies now have vital company.

Putting a semblance of order among my clothes seemed more daunting than solving the most complex triple integration. Add to that my eternal disinterest towards anything wearable and you'll know why I've lost track of many a trousers, T-shirt and socks. I'm sure many of the lost-and-never-found ones have joined the nitrogen cycle by now.

I wish the wardrobe had more room.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Interpreter of Maladies

That's the doctor, not me. Mom's condition had deteriorated suddenly and that necessitated her admission into Hindusthan Health Point (that wasn't a spelling mistake) on the 12th. I'm leapfrogging the morbid details and highlighting the lighter facets.

SpiceJet was late by almost 3 hours and I reached Kolkata on the 14th @ 1:45am. The cab driver was an affable chap and we sped for home via EM Bypass. Spotted two ladies of the night. One was fair and strikingly dressed in knee-high boots and miniskirt. Unprepared though I was for it, I did manage enough of a glimpse to conclude that she was pretty and kinky. The other was tall and very skinny, hardly the type to appeal to non-perverts. Probably she was pimping her partner.

Reached home @ 0230 hrs, went to sleep @ 0300hrs, woke up at 0530hrs, reached the nursing home before 0630 hrs, waited for the doctor (we had an appointment) but in vain. Then began the routine of daily visits...which I'm not delving into.

Diya asked for a few seconds of fame shooting for my camera and I was only too glad to oblige. We managed to shoot many of her recitals and stills over the next few days, all of which are available on Youtube and Flickr.

Bought a few hangers, cheap T-shirts and ate plentiful, one of which was at a humble egg-roll corner. The wait was long but I didn't mind a bit as one of the waiting customers was a pretty lady with stunningly beautiful eyes. How intoxicating they were!

Mom returned home on the 23rd. I left for Bangalore yesterday via Air Deccan(I remained oblivious as my bus crossed the airport and rectified my mistake only after overshooting by a great distance...a lucky cabbie charged me Rs160). I was unlucky not to get the window seat. I was doubly lucky, however, as I fell in love with a gorgeous air hostess. The plane soared and so did my heart, we traveled SSW but I only knew North. Her flawless diction wafting through the cabin in-flight address system sounded like it was meant just for me. Her smile was fatal and I was reborn time and again just for her. Another day, another time, another dimension (and possibly another Big Bang) and we could have been pronounced man and wife!

We landed at the brand new Bangalore International Airport (inauguration day) precisely @ 7pm but our aircraft was allotted a parking space a good 15 mins later. As if that wasn't enough, we remained stranded in the cabin for another quarter-of-an-hour as that's how long the stepladder took to dock to the exit. My wife of few hours divorced me with one final killer smile.

Baggage claim was the next hurdle. Most people waited for over an hour for the conveyer belts to bring their luggage. There was chaos all around, logistics was unplanned, manpower fell way short of requirement and my anxiety grew with each passing minute. Can we do anything right? Excellence may be alien to our way of doing things, but do we even strive for mediocrity?

Embarked for JP Nagar from the bus stand at 8:20pm (fare Rs.80)and reached home at 10:30pm.

Consider this:

  • Kolkata airport to Bangalore airport: 2hrs 40 mins
  • Bangalore airport to JP Nagar: 3hrs 30 mins

It's a crazy world!

 

I've always had trouble putting my thoughts in order (undiagnosed dyslexia?). But it's only over the past few months that the malady has become rather acute (am I sounding familiar here?). Blogging has been a conspicuous victim of the debilitation. Putting my thoughts down now seems as tall an order as asking an impotent guy to star in a porn flick. I'm seriously worried. I'm afraid my blog has gotten worse for good.

 

Why did I choose Interpreter of Maladies as the title for this post?

  • This was the only one ambling across my head during my Kolkata visit.
  • A serious ailment was reason for all the experiences chronicled above.
  • The doctor's (interpreter) importance was amply accentuated over the past few days.
  • I discovered Jhumpa Lahiri's famous book with the same title at the Kolkata airport lounge yesterday. That sealed the deal.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Leaving for Kolkata tonight via SpiceJet

Thanks to all the people who've shown concern. I'll probably be back in a week or two.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Emergency

Mom is in ICU and I'll have to leave for Kolkata tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Microblogging

  • Got up @ 8am
  • Brushed
  • Shaved
  • Washed a bedsheet
  • Went out, had breakfast and bought a chocolate bar
  • Brought Andromeda to life
  • Bathed
  • Called home
  • Washed some clothes
  • Watched One Fine Day on TV
  • Had lunch
  • Updated my expense manager
  • Watched IPL
  • Ironed clothes
  • It's 8pm now

Andromeda occupied at least 60% of my time. The sequence listen above may not be chronologically in order.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fascinating stuff!

The End of the Solar System

I just can't wait!

Art

daring

The WEB!

imageI've been a devotee of Click Online for long. However, since the TV is mostly inaccessible for my viewing pleasure (it's hooked on to desi streams that cater to the tastes of my roommates), I never get to see it nowadays.

Satya stumbled across today's episode while channel surfing and lingered just long enough to grab my attention. Today's was themed on video blogging via the mobile phone. Wanting to watch it in full, I sprang for my DELL and streamed the entire episode at 100kbps. It was more than satisfactory though the image quality wasn't anywhere close to what the TV could offer. Most gratifyingly, there wasn't a single 'freeze' throughout the 20+ mins even though ours is a shared connection. The only sacrifice: Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald had to be put on hold.

 

Earlier in the day, I party saw a webisode from the Danica McKellar starring Inspector Mom. I remember how smitten I was by her during my teens, thanks to her rivetting role as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years.

 

The Web is coming of age.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Q&A

Question: How do you buy briefs when 2 female colleagues accompany you?

Answer: You don't.

In the storm

Shifted from Bay 7 to 10. My seating couldn't have been a greater strategic disaster.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Whoa!

Santosh has quit his job! I'm inspired...and this is no joke.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Figure this

April was more than 7 times as expensive as February!!

No news is good news

There are two ways of taking that: optimistically and pessimistically. Either way, the implication remains exactly the same! Paradoxical, isn't it?

 

News from home nearly always gives me cold feet. It's my great fortune that I got to stay away from home for all these years since Dad's demise. I wonder when I'll run out of luck.

Near-Perfect

image

Being a music junkie, I've tried quite a few audio players in the past few months. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

 

  • Windows Media Player has looks to kill for. But it's system heavy and too fussy about file formats.
  • RealPlayer is fantastic with streaming audio but has a reputation for being heavy on the CPU and memory.
  • Yahoo! Music Jukebox is great for LAUNCHcast addicts and integrated well with Yahoo's Music Store. But it lacks features and with Yahoo! deciding to outsource its music business to Real Networks, this client isn't too appealing anymore.
  • Winamp integrates well with the fantastic AOL Radio, has a small footprint and a very powerful interface, too powerful and confusing in fact.
  • VLC plays anything, no matter how corrupted the file or outdated the format. But the vanilla features let it down.

I never tried iTunes. It's worthless if you don't have an iPod and have no intention of buying music from iTunes Store. It probably has the worst reputation for being a PC resource hog.

 

Enter the best audio player: MediaMonkey. It has an amazingly powerful interface and yet remains simple enough not to intimidate the average user. Best of all, it allows you to browse through your archive natively (original directory hierarchy). So you don't need to create playlists (I HATE them) if your file hierarchy is intuitive enough. Review sites all over the web have sung songs on praise of MediaMonkey and I can see why. My only gripe is that its support for audio streaming is almost non-existent. Thankfully, I still have Real.

 

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I also tried the G-string of all music players today: foobar2000. It's so cute!  

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Joost

Tried Joost on Andromeda today. Simply didn't work. With the sort of bandwidth we are gratified in having, that was the height of optimism.

Our safest bet remains BitTorrent.

Microsoft abandons Yahoo! bid

This came as a complete surprise to me. Maybe Yahoo! was bargaining too hard and Microsoft finally had enough of it, especially after the recently sweetened offer proved insufficient to satiate Yahoo's ask.

 

I hope Yahoo! knows what it's doing and doesn't blow things up. Recent indications are symptomatic of Yahoo! being totally clueless about the course it's supposed to trudge. I feel giving up Panama in favor of Google's AdSense would conclusively prove that Yahoo! doesn't have enough faith in its home-grown technologies. Merging with AOL would be disastrous, as Time Warner learnt the hard way.

 

I pray for Yahoo! and hope Microsoft doesn't return anytime soon with a diminished offer and an I-told-you-so look on its face. Worse, I hope Yahoo! doesn't need to meekly knock on Microsoft's doors. How insulting that would be!

Roman Holiday

Image:Roman holiday.jpg

Saw the movie in bits and pieces over the past few days and managed to conclude today. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn gave stellar performances. Loved it.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Future Posts

Blogger.com has finally added a vital 'feature' that users of other blogger services like Wordpress have been enjoying for quite a while now.

 

Scheduled post publishing is now live for everyone. If you set a post’s date into the future, Blogger will wait to publish until that time comes.

 

While this could be used in more ways than presently imaginable, I guess suicide notes would be a favorite. Or people on the euthanasia queue may send post-mortem messages to the world in this manner. Suddenly, blogging would look all too enticing to people who have something to say after going out with a bang!

 

Maybe this is how my last post to this blog will happen.

 

This is a future post...scheduled for 15 mins hence.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fly me to the moon!

Untitled Get yours here

What's Lunch?

I've not had lunch (at work) for over a week now. I'm beginning to forget the look and feel of cafeteria hum during lunch hour.

So what have I been surviving on? Junk food and juice!

The browser aficionado replies

I've used Nepscape Navigator during my initial years of falling into the web. I wasn't really opinionated on browsers back then since web pages would grab all my attention. Still, differences in rendition were sometimes apparent although I never really understood why some people showed strong browser preferences. That was before I became a power user.

 

Things changed pretty drastically once I got the hook. I took a keen interest in the browser war and saw the fall of Netscape (felt sad) and rise of Opera and Firefox (felt happy). You may be surprised to know that I installed and ran Flock the very day it was made public (before the official launch). It's built on Firefox (thus the close resemblance) but I never really found it appealing.

 

You may visit my blog archive to read my perception of Flock.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Samsung

When Mantu left for Pune and his TV followed suit a few days later, I was under the brief but mistaken impression that peace would finally prevail in our dwelling.

 

Satya's B&W TV soon moved in to fill the gap. IPL happened and you can well imagine the consequences. Since the TV was a vintage and tuning archaic, I hoped this would be dissuasion enough and the  number of hours spent in front of the TV would reduce. Wrong again!!

 

Enter Samsung TV. The catastrophe happened today and with it vanished my already flickering hopes. I think I'm turning deaf.

Empty Mind...My Dream Workshop!

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Life Sucks

Really.