Dec 31, 2005

Mallik: For a music freak - The Music Genome Project

'Premium Member' of this blog, Mallik, is honoring us with this guest-post. He became a 'Premium Member' by being the Top Commenter of this blog. Guest-post is one of the perks :)
Thanks a lot Mallik. --Kirubakaran.

If you are a music freak, you sure will like this.... Online Music Radio... this is no regular radio.. it allows you to create your own stations in less than a minute... if you like Britney Spears, just type the name .. it will create a radio staion with songs that contains Britney's songs as well as from other artists whose songs sound similar... I tried creating a Britney station, I got songs from Britney, Christina, Madona, Jennifer Lopez (JLo) and other artists who I donno... thats the fun part of it.. you get to hear from various different artists ... the music quality is excellent, no ads, easy of use and excellent user interface... With all these, too good to be true

Enjoy.. www.Pandora.com : This site is created as part of "The Music Genome Project"

Note: This is a free service, no disrupting ads, so, don't forget support those guys by clicking on the ads you see on their webpages...

Dec 29, 2005

Wrap Up

Alert to participants of the Share Trading contest.
Make sure you sell all your shares before end of trading day tomorrow.
I'll decide on the winner of $25 after market closes tomorrow for the last time in 2005.

Dec 28, 2005

Python

Kept my word on spending 30min exploring Python. This is not dabbling. Starting point.

Why Python? Coz I know absolutely nothing about Python. Coz I am a PERL fan and Python is the rival. Feeling happy about what I explored today.

If you like to join me in self-learning something new everyday for 30 min, as mentioned in my earlier post, do so consistently and comment here about your 30 min each day. It will keep you going and others going too. When it takes off, we can create a seperate blog for it. Like Mani said, treat it like spending 30 min for oral health.

Its just 30 min. Its not much! Please share your thoughts....

[Tomorrow... more Python]

Thoughts Of Paul Graham

I got introduced to Paul Graham's thoughts through the beautiful podcast - Great Hackers.

I am delighted to bring you these really excellent and valuable articles:
On Procrastination
On Wealth Creation
Please don't put off reading those articles. It is not something to be postponed. Serious.

You may also be interested in his talk about Open Source. This guy is awesome!

As always, I am eagerly expecting your comments...

Read O'Reilly Books For Free

Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to read O'Reilly Hacks series for free!

"O'Reilly Hacks" are my most favorite books. I just lovvvvvvvvvvvvvve them. You can use this 'feature' of Google's Book Search to try a book before you buy it and, I humbly request(=beg) you, not for piracy.

It is one of my 'goals' in life to read as many of the "O'Reilly Hacks" as possible. Whats your favorite one?

Here is a podcast from Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly media. I really liked this podcast and recommend it.

[Credit: KirubaShankar->MicroPersuasion]

Dec 27, 2005

Pepper Chicken

I am now making South Indian style Pepper Chicken from this recipe.

[will update about the result]

[i am back!]

My roommate (Shan) says that it turned out really well. I think I kinda have to agree with him there :-) Yep - I found it to be tasty :-))

00:30 Steroid

What if you spend just 30 minutes every day (20min/40min... whatever you decide) CONSISTENTLY towards learning something totally new? It won't get in the way of anything else and it won't require a huge commitment. It will be easy.

What are your thoughts?

All-Day Skiing

If someone asks me "When is the last time you did something for the first time?", I can say "Yesterday" :-) I skied all-day yesterday. Shan showed me how to attach the skis to the boots, how to walk uphill with skis on etc. Then I went to a 2-hr class which was a part of the package I purchased. They taught very systematically. But it was really gruelling. And boy! I've never worn/seen/imagined boots that heavy. I practised and got pretty good at it in the beginner slope. After much practice, I was able to go where I wanted to go and I was able to turn and stop as I wished too. I tried really hard and resisted the temptation to ski down the big slope Shan was skiing on (he has prior experience). Thats for next time.

This is where we skied!

My legs were hurting really badly from skiing the whole day. When I came back, I turned the heat up, settled down in the living room with a comforter, pillow, couple of chocolate chip cookies, DVDs and all remotes. Shan cooked the dinner :-)

Dec 25, 2005

Challenge Yourself

"You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library."
- Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting
(one of my most favorite movies)

Here are some resources:
Personal MBA
Computer e-Books
Berkeyley Lectures
MIT OCW
DataPig

If you are not what you want to be, only YOU are to be blamed. And it is never too late.

Dec 24, 2005

Done

Just conquered the world. World domination is simply natural, isn't it? Employing several careful strategies, I managed to win in the game of 'Risk - World Domination' now. The game went on for just five and a half hour this time (9:00PM to 2:30AM) (my second time). Last time it took eight hours. As I said before, I love this game.
Made Aloo Cauliflower Korma + Egg Fry - to be eaten with paratha(reheated frozen) & rice. Cleaned up the living room too. Lax was on the team. We completed the project in 45 min. Success.

Dec 22, 2005

That Gnawing Feeling

You know the gnawing feeling from not being on top of things? I will be blogging on it tomorrow. Meanwhile, please do check this out:

Painless Software Schedules

This will help you with getting things in the non-programming part of your life too.

Dec 21, 2005

Para-Sailing in Miami

[Dec 10 - 13, 2005]
"Winter" @ South Beach!
3... 2... 1... Lift-Off!
We Came From There!
Thats Us!
To Give An Idea...
The Jet-Skiers

The rightmost is Gopi - who set the high-score among us at 47 mph on water - which is real fast. He looks much better in person than in this pic :)

Anyways, here is the JetSki winner Gopi, close up:
[Yo single girls out there!!!]

Dec 20, 2005

KKK: Thought For The Day

[From our mysterious guest blogger KKK]

"There is cream in cream-biscuits. But there is no dog in dog-biscuits".

"If your life is in darkness, don't give up. Just pray. But, after praying, if your life is still in darkness, then don't be stupid! Go & pay the electricity bill!!"
{KKK}

Share your original 'Thathuvams' (philosophical gold nuggets) here!

Dec 18, 2005

Guns, Gadgets & ... no, thats it.

With Glock-19 9mm




[Mallik & Jagan, I have added this after reading your comments...]
We went to Wade's yesterday. It has a recreational firing range. The gun that we rented was a 9mm (Glock-19), since it is known as 'easy' for newbies like us to learn. Even then the recoil was pretty strong and really impressive. The gun was a semi-automatic. You take the cartridge out, insert the bullets (maximum of 14 at a time), slide it back in and release the latch. Now the gun is loaded and armed. The gun had no 'safety' (the clip). You can fire 14 rounds in quick succession at the target, if you so wished. I tried to take real careful aim and 'gently pull the trigger' as recommended. But I shot pretty lousily, I have to admit. Not too bad for a first timer though! ;))

The feeling I had when I was there is really hard to describe. One of the 'top of the world' experiences. The recoil from the first shot of my life took some skin off of my left hand:-) Now I understand that what they show in movies is absolute bullshit.

Dec 15, 2005

KKK: 'When Evil Cats Attack'

Enjoy this post by our guest blogger, the 'Queen of Satire', KKK:

When Evil Cats Attack

Her entrance is no secret, as she walks into the room with an unabashed grin that punctuates her jovial attitude. Though she appears to be a very conscientious, considerably sane lady: she is the very definition of cat-phobia. An emblem for those around the world who shudder at the sight of the feline. I beseech all cats to stay outside twenty-five feet of this person, unless they want to be startled out of their fur skins by the many squeals and terrified cries that escape from the mouth of Mrs. Jaya Ramesh.

Many a time have I witnessed this wonder of a woman’s habitual routine when a cat is within human sight. I can tell you, to witness the happenings when she and a furry feline are within eye sight of each other, is one one-of-a-kind experience. Believe me, I know. The following is an example of how a hypothetical event would take place when The Cat meets Mrs. Ramesh.

She would probably be seated, extremely engaged in a story, interestingly animatedly narrating it to her fellow comrades, when out of the blue, a piercing shriek cuts through the air! By the time, everyone around her has recovered from the shock of the sudden loud noise, they discover Mrs. Ramesh standing on a chair and/or table, pointing at some foreign object, declaring in loud incoherent utterances that the ‘evil cat’ has come to gobble her up. Oh what trauma!

This is followed by many shivers and shudders from the lady, and if you happen to be standing next to her during this moment, you can be sure to be used as a human shield against the ‘evil cat’: she will grab you and spin you around until she is positively sure the cat has absconded from her sight. In the midst of all this haa-hoo, spectators finally realize this woman is not clinically insane, she is just afraid of the lounging feline that is seated on the ground ten feet
away from her. But of course, the cat is nowhere to be seen at this moment – the earth shattering scream has frightened away the poor thing, tail between its legs!

By the time the feline is removed from the sight of Mrs. Ramesh, she is comparatively calm, now seated on the chair rather than standing on it. Although, you can see it on her face – the utter fear that the Monstrous Cat has struck her with, as she glances around rapidly, frightened for her life that it will return to bring her to her doom.

I know many who have been subjected to being used as a Human Shield against the Evils of a Stationary Cat. It truly reminds one of how the warriors of ancient times used metal shields in front of their faces, to escape the deadly arrows of the enemy: let us assume Mrs. Ramesh is the warrior in this scenario, the Evil Cat being her enemy. The warrior slowly approaches the enemy, Human Shield forever in front just in case the Evil Cat decides to pounce on her in a vengeful rage.

She peeks and ducks behind the said Human Shield, until she finally reaches a point of five feet from the enemy. This is followed by many exclamations of how ‘scary looking’ and ‘terrifyingly spooky’ the Evil Cat looks. And then predictably, the warrior retreats! Mrs. Ramesh flees the scene immediately, completely appalled that the Evil Cat had dared to look so Evil.

Oh what an outrageously unbearable trauma Mrs. Ramesh has to go through when a cat appears! Woe is she! If law permitted it, she would sue the cat in court and order a restriction order of twenty-five feet minimum. Or maybe it would be the other way around, now wouldn’t it.

{KKK}

Other pieces by KKK:
In comments to 'Angel Eyes'
In 'Poor Men'

Please do comment copiously. I am sure she will want to know.

Dec 14, 2005

Catching Up


Guys&Gals... plz give me 1 more day. Lots of ideas are bubbling - but I had to tackle several other things before I could blog.

If you get a chance, do see the movie 'Little Manhattan'. Wonderful movie.

Dec 13, 2005

Apartment, Sweet Apartment!

Just reached here 10 min ago.

I couldn't keep you updated during my trip due to the lack of internet access. Totally unlimited access now :) All I need now is some cozy sleep. C'Ya!

In the mean while, this might interest you:
Roll Your Own Google (Public access to web-crawl data)
This is a big development. The possibilities are enormous.

Back To Civilization

We stayed in a place that had nothing but dial-up. I will tell the whole story in a day or two. Did para-sailing and jet-skiing.

Here is what I typed offline:
[morning in Tampa]
We are now in Tampa, FL in my friend Maddy's house. We came here like 4AM.

[10:58AM South Beach - Hotel Shelly]
Sunday. Second day in Miami. I am typing this offline. Only dial-up available from this hotel. I'll probably do some war walking tonight and get this uploaded for your eyes.

We reached Miami yesterday night. Eleven of us, as I probably said before. We checked in. I saw game theory[link] at work when eleven of us had to occupy three rooms. Often, when you view things like that, it simply amuses you about how predictable the whole thing is - although it looks random behavior. I had a hot and relaxing shower. Did some catchup talks with my ex-roomie Sudhakar. Then We tried to walk around. It was like a procession, with eleven of us going as one group. To avoid the hassle of a police lathi charge and to save the government few rounds of tear gas shells, we split into three groups. Or may be a more significant factor was at play - different people wanted to go to 'different places' based on their 'special interests'. Once again with game theory at work, we ('we' as in the group with 'me'in it) got reduced to five guys. We roamed around in the place that was almost as crowded as Ranganathan St (in T.Nagar, Chennai, India). It was a lot more fun though. At least there were not three people pushing at any given time with a resultant force of zero. We just had to squeeze past people with extra helpings of 'excuse me's. It was nice and warm and we ate outdoors. I was in a little Englishy mood and went for fish and chips. By the time we were done with comsuming several species of dead animals, it was past midnight here.

Dec 9, 2005

In Denver

We are in Denver airport now. The next flight is delayed by 1.5hrs... so its going to be a 2.5hrs wait here. But no issues - internet access keep you un-bored.

People! Some of you have registered for the share trading game but you are not doing any trades! Please get your feet wet.

Going to eat and top up my battery now. C'Ya later.

Going To See Some Palm Trees

Leaving now to airport. 4 days vacation in Florida. Will blog from there.
I have a guest blogger here. I will post that article from the east coast. See you then!

Dec 8, 2005

Please bear with me!!

You will definitely see a new post within 12 hrs!!!

Meanwhile, enjoy this link sent by Mani: http://www.angelfire.com/wa/zzaran/calvin.html

And, KKK has written a beautiful poem for my 100th post!!
Here it is!

Dec 5, 2005

Is This Real?

videoeyewearMust be the evening of coincidences.

My mind was bubbling today with ideas for applications utilizing virtual reality. And I see that Dave Pollard has written just about that!

I am thinking of some interesting applications. The price of the hardware is a bottleneck though. Even if I developed a killer application, will people want to dish out so much money? May be if it is useful enough...?

Interesting Evening

I got down in a bus stop this evening at around half past five. It was dark - you know how it is in Seattle in winter. There was a guy and a girl in the bus stop. He must be about 30 and she must be about 15. As I was getting down from the bus, that guy screamed 'hey how ya doin' to no one in particular! I think even the bus driver was startled - as he didn't close the door for some time.

I thought that it must be some regular freak. The girl was like a kid. So I was concerned. She was sitting on the bench in the bus stop. The guy and the girl were talking - it was obvious that they were together. I looked at her to see if everything was okay. She mouthed something to me when that guy was not looking! Mean while, the guy jumped on the road - apparently trying to see if the bus was coming. And the girl started mouthing words directly looking at me in the eye. He saw her and looked at me and asked her a bit loudly what she was doing. She simply shook her head. Whenever he turned in some other direction, she would look intently at me in the eye and mouth some words to me. This happened I didn't understand what she was trying to say.

I called 911. He told her 'come on lets go!' and they started walking away from the bus stop. I gave the 911 operator the location and explained the situation to her. She said that an officer would be on the way and she started collecting all the smaller details from me. I started following the pair from a distance. Within two minutes a cop car appeared out of nowhere! The car turned into a nearby apartment complex and the lights blinked - so I noticed then. So I ran to the car and pointed out the suspicious guy. The cop went to the guy and talked to him as well as the girl and came back after a few minutes. He also collected the details from me. He said that everything was okay.

Now I feel silly that I called. But it was a kid and I couldn't forgiven myself if I didn't make sure. The guy was definitely freaky though. At least if he was up to something, he would have been deterred - given the cop noted his ID and everything. Sigh.

Everything was done with such a quiet efficiency. Impressive. I apologized to the cop for bothering him. He talked really politely and said 'You never know. Appreciate you calling'.

Dec 4, 2005

That Thing Of Beauty Called 'Pay Check'

Yesterday - Before Salary:

Today - After Salary:

[Credit: Lax]

Setting Ourselves Up

Ignorance is a temporary bliss.... Heard of the turtle that was put in a pot with cold water and placed on a hot stove? The turtle was so happy when water became warm. But warm water was a temporary condition, wasn't it? Please read on...

You are a small businessman. You have few computers to help housekeeping. Your disgruntled employee (you can't avoid that!) makes an anonymous phone call. Police will come to check if you have complied with all software licenses. Even if you did (from your point of view), it is highly likely that you will be ruined for something else. I request you to read this article.

You are an artist. You use Flash or Photoshop. Now why do you do that? Did you buy it? If you pirated it, rest assured that it will come back to bite you sooner than later. I don't know why they teach Photoshop in India while GIMP (available for Windows too) will do the job equally well - perhaps even better! India is a developing country - we have so many other problems to tackle... Why teach a costly piece of software and tie our talent in to it? I just simply don't understand. It is okay if you are going to only work for a company all your life. But if you want to create something on your own, you should either switch to open source or be really really scared.

You are an ordinary person. Chances are, you pirate left, right and center - whether you know it or not. Don't. You are not a bad person. You are just not able to afford costly pieces of software. Nothing wrong with that. So make the wise choice of switching over to open source.

I've been harping this for 6 or 7 years now. I hope you will switch before it is too late. Or at least, please spare 5 min and read this article.

Dec 3, 2005

On Selling Snow...

[Please refer previous posts 1 & 2]

When I was browsing the web on this question, I found this article and decided to share it with you. I know that this is not the point and the question is more of a fun question rather than a logic question. But it is an interesting article nevertheless.

Here it is. Enjoy!

Just the crux of the article for the impatient:

Eskimo Recap:

  • Don't sell snow.
  • If you don't have anything that the Eskimo needs, head back home.
  • Next time you go to Alaska, don't forget to bring a generator, Twinkies, portable DVD player, chocolate, Gameboys and plenty of batteries. You will have a much easier time selling those things than snow!
But I still think we should sell snow to an eskimo in a way that is really useful to the eskimo, like I said in my previous post :-) Innovation can be the key differentiator.

Building An Igloo

I believe that a worthless product should not be sold. But the marketers assigned to the task of selling those products have no choice. They have to resort to hype (created by interruption advertising or even conned word-of-mouth). Every time I think about it, I am astounded by the corporations managing to sell cola.

If you refer my previous post, you will see that I am pondering on the possibility of selling snow to an eskimo. Now we don't want to sell her a product that is useless to her.

I read a story when I was in school that talked about eskimo culture. A typical eskimo shopping goes like this: (in my own words)
A trader (also an eskimo) is travelling. An eskimo potential customer calls out - 'Hey do you have stuff in your bag that you want to sell?' The trader says 'Nah! You will not find this stuff useful. It is trash'. The eskimo customer-to-be says 'Lemme have a look.' You will have to note that it is the customer-to-be who initiated the sale. It is highly unethical in an eskimo's point of view to hawk a product. Serious. It will also amaze you to know that the buyer offers a higher price than the seller asks and insists! The seller tries to bargain down. Thats what I read.

Okay we know something about eskimo culture. I am reading about igloo construction now. It might come in handy some day. Hopefully, it might help us sell some useful snow to an eskimo!

If you are interested:
http://pweb.jps.net/~prichins/igloos.htm
http://home.no.net/gedra/igloo_bg.htm

I've been inside the apartment all day. I am going to bike to the grocery store now and inhale some fresh air in the process.

My related LJ posts: [1] [2] (by design these are coarse)

Selling Snow to an Eskimo

This is a pretty good post about selling snow to an Eskimo :-) Thought provoking too...

I liked the idea of selling purple colored snow. But this will need to be used only on the outside of the igloo as a layer. If an igloo is entirely made of purple snow, they may need more lights inside and may be the igloo will melt sooner as the snow will absorb more heat with that color. Is it safe to have a purple igloo? Will it attract a polar bear attack? May be seals will get mesmerized and come walking to check it out - this will make hunting easy! (ouch!!)

May be capitalists-gone-wild club might 'persuade' the military to detonate a nuke in the artic 'by mistake', melt away all snow and then sell strawberry flavored artificial snow to the Eskimos.

Anybody up to the challenge? Comment away!


[UPDATE 03:32AM] Now that I think seriously about it, I feel it IS possible to sell snow to an eskimo. How do eskimos make igloos? It must be hard work I think. Can we sell them interlockable snow bricks? If we can make snow bricks, which are strong as well as have a hollow space inside, the igloos might be warmer (although it will be still below 0C) - air being the best insulator. Also this might result in safer igloos as outside temperature rises in summer - no blocks of ice will 'peel off' and smash an eskimo's head as the bricks will be interlocking now... I don't know if I make sense...

15 Minutes

Just finished watching 15 minutes. I am a big fan of Robert De Niro. I don't mean that I am big and that I am his fan. I mean, I am a great fan of Robert De Niro. Aw! Now you are going to think that I am a conceited guy who just called himself great. I didn't mean that either. Just when we tend to conclude that English is unnecessarily complicated, English has this beautiful expression to fix it all - "You know what I mean"! Don't you think? :-) Yeah! You know what I mean? Of course you know what I mean!

:-) I got you a little tired there, didn't I? It was fun for me though! :-))

Good movie. Not in the 'great' category though. But I enjoyed it. Now I know what people (12,067 of them) in IMDB mean by 6.1 out of 10.

I like to watch movies where we don't know what is gonna happen next. I hate it when it is predictable. I loved Napoleon Dynamite for this reason (plus some more reasons). If you can patiently listen, I'll rave for hours about Napoleon Dynamite.

Dec 1, 2005

Adorable Video

You will absolutely love this video. Check it out! If you know Tamil, you will absolutely positively love this. Even otherwise, I guess you can get a pretty good picture. Don't miss this one.

What are your thoughts? :-)))

[Credit: Srikanth Peddireddy]

Snow!!!

Here it is! Its snowing now. We came home early from work.

Here are some pictures from today. I am serving them through flickr. There is a sad 20MB monthly band-width (upload) limit on the flickr.


Downloading Freshness
(not a blurred pic - snow flakes are in focus)



Welcoming Snow



Hope For A Holiday?



Christmas Lights & Snow