Monday, November 12, 2007

Art, Media, Games

This post is dedicated to all the stuff that awes me with its brlliance. These are a few which in recent memory have caused me to "stop and stare" or just ROTFLMAO =)

toe: I've talked of them before :)

Nine Inch Nails, "The Downward Spiral". Freaky Score. Do Listen.

Audrey Kawasaki: Her paintings are simply bewitching, all the detail is concentrated on the faces and the expressions are of such depth that I finally understand the term "drown in her eyes".

Ramya Shankar: Arun sent me a few songs that she once made (sang and recorded with friends playing instruments). I was really impressed by how her amatuer-recorded songs sounded as professional as songs on which lakhs have been spent. Excellent tunes and amazing vocals.
You can find some of them here.

"renamed_Back_rR" has to be my favourite of the ones I've heard so far, and its right here, below :)

Paul Robertson: He makes videos based on Sprite Animations as a hobby and posts them on his visual blog. His art has various themes, and I like most of his stuff. Here's a video that I adore; It's called "Devil Eyes":

Portal: The. Most. Fun. Game. I. Have. Ever. Played.
More fun than old video games or even The Curse of Monkey Island. It is simply hilarious and has excellent gameplay. The concept is basically that you have a gun which can create a portal between two flat planes (not on all materials however) which you can then throw stuff through or walk through yourself.
It's based on the Source Engine, so the physics is very accurate, and the game itself is designed very well. The fun part are its surrealistic humour, the AI controlling the facility you're in and the ending song.
Installing Windows to play it was completely worth it :D

Here's the ending song, "Still Alive". It's by Jonathon Coulton, sung by Ellen McLain, and is one of the best Game Ending songs ever ^_^


You can download a high-res one here (13MB)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The previous 48 hours

Were eventful to say the least :)
Started off with an emergency puzzle-website-making spree by us on orders from our great Techkriti team. Our work was to design the website and think up puzzles for its content. In 24 hours. :P
This was for the online event TesseracT for which I was supposedly one of the three coordinators (the other two were Utkarsh and Teja). We three sat throughout the night, got questions, made the website, and then went to our normal day-routine without sleep. We thought we'd just finish up some of the stuff left and launch the website at night - pretty much everything was ready.
I asked the students' server admin Naresh to install mod_perl on the server in the afternoon since the submit script between the static xml+xsl pages used Perl to do the checking of the answers. He was somewhat busy, but was able to start the setting up. In the end, the website came up half an hour late due to a variety of problems (and some frantic debugging) on our side and the server side.

The real trouble started when the website did come up.
Now, here I must tell you that the students' server is the biggest piece of crap in the server room in the Computer Center. It has 500MB of.. swap and 256MB of RAM. It runs FreeBSD, and that was probably the reason why it ran at all in the hours of agony that followed.

Within minutes of the site being released, we found that the server had become excruciatingly slow. At first we thought it must be purely because of the sudden increase in hits, but we soon realised something was horribly wrong. The first culprit that came to mind was the Perl script that we were using. We checked the code and came to the conclusion that nothing could be wrong with it; all it did was a foreach over a hash with 10 entries :P Running it on another server showed us no abnormal behaviour, apache never went above 0.1% CPU.

In the meanwhile, the server had stopped responding to anything but pings, and was refusing to initiate ssh connections. And the bloody thing was locked inside a server room, so we didn't have physical access to it at all. The only guy who had an ssh connection open to the server was me, and that too out of pure chance - Praneeth (Flash, video, sound, and overall suckiness warning for the blog) (Praneeth was the other admin) had uploaded my ssh key onto the techkriti account so I could upload the TesseracT website (pure chance because the uploading would've normally been done by the webteam). Unfortunately, the user 'techkriti' was not in the wheel group, and hence could not `su -`, so the user was practically useless. The only thing I could run was `top` which showed us that the machine was out of memory :|

Naresh: are you logged into students
me: Yeah
no commands are working
Naresh: fine
me: they take forever to execute
I have top running
it shows 1% CPU :|
Naresh: ?!
me: Yes.
CPU states: 4.0% user, 0.0% nice, 20.1% system, 0.0% interrupt, 75.9% idle
Mem: 134M Active, 27M Inact, 83M Wired, 608K Cache, 35M Buf, 656K Free
Swap: 487M Total, 483M Used, 3692K Free, 99% Inuse, 1704K In, 332K Out
Naresh: fuck
me: ?
Does it have htop?
Naresh: no
out of memory right?
me: Yeah

Arun called me up after a while asking what had happened. After we discussed the situation, he suggested we try `ssh root@localhost`. That sounded like an excellent idea at that time, but for some reason, we did an `su praneeth` instead (Praneeth had come over to where I was in the meanwhile), and then did an `su -`. Mind you, both these commands took ~30 mins to run. While we were waiting for them to finish, we setup TesseracT on an internal server so that at least the campus people could play it.
Oh, and in hindsight, `ssh root@localhost` would not have worked since the machine was refusing ssh connections :)

When we finally had root access on the server, we issued an `apachectl stop`, which took ~ 1 1/2 hours to run. And when it had finished, something very strange happened; mod_perl stopped working, and the main Techkriti page came back up. This was quite a disaster actually, as hundreds of people who were waiting for to load suddenly saw the file load into their browsers, and thanks to my stupidity, saw the answers as well ~_~
Arun told me soon afterwards (as I had realised to an immense sense of stupidity when mod_perl stopped working), that I should have put the answers in a separate file. Oh well, lesson learnt for the main event (this was just the prelims with no official registration or prize money).

After this, I ran top with root and saw that stocksim (Crappy Java program, run by the Business Club people for online stock thingies) was one of the culprits - it was using >225MB of memory. The other culprit, as Praneeth theorised, was the mod_perl itself. He said he had read that the mod_perl on FreeBSD was buggy and prone to high memory usage.

We decided to kill stocksim and take our chances with the mod_perl again. As Naresh was working on the thing, something happened, and the server went down, and this time, it _really_ went down - I'm not sure what happened, but the end result was that now we could do nothing about the server.

Arun and I decided to give techkriti's IP address to the temporary server till the next morning. Arun did all the vhosts stuff and in 15 mins, was "back up" - it just had the following message:

Okay, our server died on us. This is a temp server.<br/>
While we restore the Techkriti website, Play <a href="tesserac>/">TesseracT</a> :)

TesseracT was back up for the world! ;)

Praneeth had been trying to restore/reinstall the old phpbb that was on the temporary server (which was our Navya server (internal link) actually ;), and had gotten tired, given up, and gone back to his room. After >32 hours of staying awake, I was in no mood to finish his work. All three of us lumbered back to our respective rooms from the CSE deptt at ~3am.

We did, however, have enough energy to take a 60 second exposure picture of a flowering tree behind the CC on the way back ^_^

We found this photo to be such a beauty in the midst of our sullen tiredness, that we decided to make this the last page in the puzzle - which I did right after I got back to my room :)

As things stand now, the students' server is back up, and mod_perl is off on the server. So TesseracT is down for everyone outside IITK. People inside IITK can still play it at .

On a different note, I read this here

The decision to use Tracker by default in Ubuntu rather than the similar Beagle indexing system is somewhat controversial. Beagle can index more content and provides a more functional search tool with features like date sorting. Beagle is already included in popular Linux distributions like OpenSUSE and has been tested more extensively.

I've been wondering for the past few months if this was the result of Tracker fanboyism, Mono-hatred, or Ubuntu's experimentalism.

Update: Pics! :)

Update 2: Utkarsh's flashback on the thing; mostly stuff that I didn't write in detail about above.

PS: New Navya Server = 2 Dual-Core AMD Opteron 2.4GHz Processors, 8GB RAM, 500GB SATA hdd.
Speed = Compiling MySQL (gentoo) takes 6 mins (compared to 25mins on my Pentium M, 1GB laptop).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Today I discovered..

To my extreme chagrin...

That my laptop cannot boot off USB drives :|

Monday, October 29, 2007


An amazing Antaragni just got over, and the semester-end is just around the corner. This kind of thing usually brings about two mixed feelings - the tension associated with the End-Semester exams, and the holidays that follow the aforementioned ordeal.

How would I rate this semester? If you asked me to describe that in one word, I would quote Zero Punctuation and "tell you to stop being such a twap", but if pressed (and I'm plagiarising off of him again), I think I'd go with "Schizophrenic" "Inconsistent".

The semester started off with me boistering with confidence that I wouldn't screw my acads this time again, but I ended up doing that anyway, and in some ways, worse than I had ever done before. However, unlike the previous times I had done so, this semester wasn't fraught with guilt or sadness for me, and on the contrary, this could've been said to be my best semester yet if I hadn't kicked college education in the nuts again. And this is why my first semester remains to be my best semester here yet.

"What could possibly alleviate sucky acads?" you ask? Well, I can tell you it has nothing to do with "love", so you can take that thought out of your mind and stuff it in a sticky petri dish in a dumpy lab in Indonesia for further perusal on students who have a ratio of girls higher than 1:50 in their college.


Now that we have that clear, lets see what made me happy this semester. To be frank, I don't really remember, and my memory of most things before my trip home is incoherent to say the least. One plausible theory is that I reset my memory to forget the unpleasant things that happened to me before my vacation, and now that I dig deeper in my head, I feel bubbles of despair bubbling up again.
Hush. Lest the bubbles grow.

Lets look at what all I can remember without disturbing those friendly-bubbles (yes, they are friendly, even if not in the short term).

Good news:

Laziness news:

  • I've been too lazy to work on the article for Gnome Journal even though I've promised the editors at least one article for the next issue :(

  • After making strides with Necoro on #gentoo-guis on Catapult, I sorta drifted off for a while (thanks to my vacation and Antaragni), and I haven't really thought about the project, not looked at the code, and not even contacted Necoro...

  • I had said that I would be working on a Gentoo backend for PackageKit, but I haven't done monkey balls in that direction :|

  • Slacked off testing/helping out in the stabilisation of the now ~arch GNOME 2.20 in gentoo..

And I'm too tired/sleepy this evening to catch up on these right now. And the cold I have isn't helping either :-/

Monstrously hungry as well; time for dinner.

Maybe tomorrow will be more conducive to fix my acads and my laziness (It'd better be. English assignment due on Wednesday).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Exams and a Questionnaire

Right. So the exams are over, and now I'm too tired to even move. So I'm just sitting here listening to Schubert (I love my speakers, and I love Nodame Cantabile), waiting for tomorrow so I can go home for a week of vacations.

About the questionnaire, I originally found it on Naresh's blog, and thought I'd give it a spin. Here are the results:

Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 38%
Visual : 61%
Left : 52%
Right : 47%

Nirbheek, you exhibit an even balance between left- and right- hemisphere dominance and a slight preference for visual over auditory processing. With a score this balanced, it is likely that you would have slightly different results each time you complete this self-assessment quiz.

You are a well-rounded person, distinctly individualistic and artistic, an active and multidimensional learner. At the same time, you are logical and disciplined, can operate well within an organization, and are sensitive towards others without losing objectivity. You are organized and goal-directed. Although a "thinking" individual, you "take in" entire situations readily and can act on intuition.

You sometimes tend to vacillate in your learning styles. Learning might take you longer than someone of equal intellect, but you will tend to be more thorough and retain the material longer than those other individuals. You will alternate between logic and impulse. This vacillation will not normally be intentional or deliberate, so you may experience anxiety in situations where you are not certain which aspect of yourself will be called on.

With a slight preference for visual processing, you tend to be encompassing in your perceptions, process along multidimensional paths and be active in your attacking of situations or learning.

Overall, you should feel content with your life and yourself. You are, perhaps, a little too critical of yourself -- and of others -- while maintaining an "openness" which tempers that tendency. Indecisiveness is a problem and your creativity may not be in keeping with your potential. Being a pragmatist, you downplay this aspect of yourself and focus on the more immediate, obvious and the more functional

So, they claim to have deduced the above  4 5 paragraphs from 20 questions. Though they sound very 'true-ish', I generally take these kind of things with a fistful of salt.

Hence, IMHO, an utter load of crap.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fancy icons and a launchpad branch

"Fancy" new icon for the Beagle Webinterface! ;)

Okay, yeah, I know I just added a blue "W" to the original logo :P

This is the "flag-logo" of the launchpad team and bzr branch that I created after dBera suggested it. It contains experimental being-worked-on[1] code that might not be suitable for svn trunk. Besides that, it gives me more freedom to experiment and get feedback from people, since my patches don't have to go through dBera to the beagle svn trunk and trouble him each time I try something new :)

Also, Here's a treat for all those who read my blog - Pink by Aerosmith:

1. Midsems coming, which will be followed by a midsem break. So there will be a period of low activity followed by a mega-commit when I get back from home.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Webbeagle, TheOneBackend, PackageKit, and God

  1. Read about Webbeagle.

  2. Read about TheOneBackend

  3. Read about PackageKit

  4. Read about God.

  1. => dBera's illegitimate child, and something I have been hacking on for the past 2 weeks.

  2. => Necoro's illegitimate child, and something that will be hacked on in the future

  3. => Hughsie's illegitimate child, and something I will be writing a portage backend for.

  4. => A very interesting way of looking at everything.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One Backend fer 'em all

I had always looked at Ubuntu's 'Add/Remove Programs' app (gnome-app-install) and wondered whether it would ever become cross-platform and bring its unique simplicity to other desktops. Then, a few days ago, I came across PackageKit on #gnome-journal. At first I could not believe what I was reading, the cross-platform application installer I had always fantasized of was here at last! Over time, my enthusiasm faded.

Discussions with Necoro on #gentoo-guis caused my opinion about PackageKit's awesomeness to lessen as I realised that in its current state, PackageKit's simplicity undermines the main feature of Gentoo -- choice. There is currently no way to map USE flags to PackageKit's UI or its backend (although I think it could probably be abstract-ised in some way). Gentoo without USE flags is... what can I say?

It was after this discussion that Necoro came up with this brilliant plan of having one backend to support all the GUIs for Package Management in Gentoo. He then emailed a couple of people and posted his ideas on the gentoo-guis Mailing List.

His basic idea is that GUIs should be able to concentrate on getting the UI right and not having to worry about the talking with Portage/Paludis/pkgcore part. They all do the exact same thing there anyways (though some disagree ;), so lets save a lot of duplicated effort and give them One (highly optimised) Backend which they can all use, and after that they can happily concentrate on getting the UI to "Just Work" or whatever :)
Another big advantage of this is that any GUI using the backend will then support _all_ the Package Managers supported by Gentoo, a very desirable feature.
Its a great idea, and the architecture for it started out in a DBus-fanboyish style ;)

Package Managers
Provider Daemons
(in the same language as the Package Manager)
Backend Daemon (Python)
GUIs (Any Language)

This kind of crazy architecture was "envisioned" as a solution to the multitude of languages that were being used to make the Package Managers (Python, C, Perl) as well as the GUIs (Python, C, Haskell). Then, araujo brought us back to our senses by thumping us on the head with the proverbial `C_bindings_dammit!` hammer :)
The architecture then transformed into the much much cleaner

Package Managers
($lang-to-C Bindings)
Backend Daemon (in C)
GUIs (Any Language)

And so we come to the point of debate, namely, (???). Should the interfacing between the Backend Daemon and the GUIs be via bindings (in the same way as with the Package Managers), or should it be via DBus?

Some points in favour of bindings:

  • No need for a daemon backend process

  • Probably Faster

  • Might be easier to integrate into existing GUIs

The points in favour of DBus:

  • Interface/Communication becomes very simple due to the nature of DBus. Its communication based model means things can be kept abstract, slim, and trim ;)
    (for an example, see the DBus interface of packagekit)

  • Now that the communication is completely clear, making UIs for it becomes easier, For an example, see this Ars Technica article on DBus + Pidgin.
    Another example would be a (almost trivial) systray applet which could notify you of new updates :)

  • And then, best of all, integration with other apps (like beagle -- tell it to not index when emerging, or deskbar -- install an application by typing its name) becomes possible and opens so many channels of opportunity.

  • Plus, DBus just sounds so darn cool =P

All in all, I'd like to propose the following architecture, which could also - with some work - accommodate itself as a PackageKit backend interfacer for _all_ the Gentoo Package Managers at once :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Gutsy update for Beagle ;)

I've recently started to help the beagle people a little with the testing of the Ubuntu Gutsy branch. Over a period of time, things had started going wrong, and beagle had gotten hit with the much-feared ftbfs bug(fail to build from source). That's when the beagle team went into hyper mode, when I joined in to help, and when after loads of work from the devs and some ubuntu-dev-nudging from kkubasik, the branch is now back in order! We'll be trying to break upstream version freeze for beagle since the current beagle in the repositories is simply broken...

kkubasik has made updated debs for gutsy on his PPA, you can use them by adding the following repositories:

deb gutsy main

deb-src gutsy main

Do remember to remove them when beagle gets updated in Gutsy! (Keep an eye on this blog for when to do so :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A 3rd person perspective.

Imagine you're sitting; doing something - reading this blog. Now, look at yourself from a 3rd person perspective looking at yourself reading this blog. Now look at yourself looking at yourself looking at yourself reading this blog. Recurse, till you get tired of recursion. I do that sometimes; when I want to stop thinking.
It never works :)

I haven't been posting much to this blog lately, and its not because I am too lazy, as I at first thought, nor because I don't have anything coming to my mind, nor that I don't have anything to say. Its because I think every blog post out in my head now. I mean, why do we blog? Or wait, set that aside; how do we feel after we blog about something?

We forget about it.

I have been "posting" in my head for really forever now, but of late it has become a regular ritual. I'm walking, I think of something, think about it for a while, then I think how it would look like in an article for Meander(our college magazine), or as a Diary entry, or just as a blog post. And in doing so, I sort of 'write the article', or the entry, or the blog post, and once its done, I... just forget it.

Right before going for my midnight dinner(from which I just came back), I watched the movie "A Waking Life". Its an excellent movie. If you like excellent movies, and trust me when I say its one, go and watch it now before you read the rest of this post.

Its about someone who is 'stuck' in a dream. Whenever he wakes up, he finds himself dreaming again. Its not the kind of "Groundhog Day" kind of movie, its a movie which starts off as being about what could be anything, and ends with us wondering if the Protagonist is dead. The movie in itself is an experience, it has an abstract plot, an abstract setting, abstract dialog, and an abstract ending.

As the movie progressed, I listened to the dialog intently, all the time being delighted that all that I had thought (and forgotten) over the years was being echoed and mirrored in the movie by the characters. The political, social and anthropological views and opinions, the concept of Free Will, everything, everything was mind bogglingly familiar, all echoes of what I had always believed. And then there were other things that I had never thought of, like the collective conscious, the concept that we might just live the entire rest of our life in the last 6-12 mins before our brain follows our body in death.

It made me think how it would be like to be dead and dreaming. I put myself in such a position, imagined how it would be.
At first, I found myself dismayed that all I was doing was worthless, that it was all for naught. That whatever I do was not going to be remembered, and that it would not really benefit society in any way. Then I realised that everything is about 'me'. Why would I want to do something that benefits society? Because it would make me feel good. And does society really matter? Isn't it all you? You want society to matter, so it does. There is no absolute scale by which to go, it is all YOU.
So I made myself think that whatever I would do in my perpetual dream would be fruitful -- because I would want it to be that way. And I came to the conclusion that it would be bliss; a rare chance to do whatever I wanted.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

In this house we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics.

... said Homer Simpson.
A story was published on /. today about a Nuclear Reactor in Alabama powering down due to increased river water temperature which made cooling inefficient. Here's a sample comment on why the reactor needs so much cooling.

Waste heat? Why not just figure out a way to turn waste heat into energy to avoid heating the river up unnecessarily?

And, its modded 4, insightful.
I mean, WTF!? Did these people go to school or not?!

More such comments here, here, and here :|

Edit: The comment I mentioned is now down to 1, Insightful. It was modded 'insightful' 5 times, modded 'overrated' 3 times and 'troll' 2 times, and everyone starts off at 1 =)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

teh suck

The previous blog post was really... useless :|
Too long, too descriptive, too jargon-ish for the n00b, and not enough info to keep a knowledgeable reader engrossed. Maybe someday I'll rewrite these thoughts in a site somewhere.
Speaking of sites, me and a couple of friends have bought some webspace. But I haven't really gotten around to do anything with it though :P

What is "Free"?

"Think free, as in free speech, not free beer."
    ~ Richard M. Stallman

"Free beer?" you ask. "Think free," Superflex members helpfully explained at the launch, "as in free software."
    ~, on "Free Beer"


"Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry."

"[...] works licensed solely under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license are not free [...]"
    ~ debian-legal


Everyone contradicts everyone else over what is "Free", and what is not. Some have a very broad definition of the word "Free" which includes free food coupons and even gifts, while others talk about the Freedom of speech. This is basically Gratis vs Libre. But, even within Libre, there is a lot of inconsistency and misunderstanding. From here on, I am going to assume you are well-versed with the concept of "Free Software". If you're not, skim through the wikipedia article on it first.

In the above two sets of quotes, the seeming contradiction is of a different nature in both. In the first set, its a misunderstanding (and a play on words ;), while the second is a clash of ideas.

"Free beer" means beer "on the house", because the bartender has a crush on you, just won a lottery, or is simply in a good mood. And then we have "Free Beer". Beer where the recipe is Free, people all around the world contribute to it to make it better, and a new improved "version" of the beer is released every 6 months.

In the second set of quotes, on one hand we have the uber-paranoid Debian (not that that's a bad thing), and on the other hand, we have the Creative Commons people who had a more conservative view of the concept of the word "Free". They have since then (with version 3.0 of their license) fixed the problem and made it more in-line with the commonly held definition of "Free".

"What is this definition of Free you talk about?", you ask. Hmm, I'm not really an expert on that, so I'll just talk about "Free Software" (about which I know enough to blabber for a while at least ;).
"Okay, what the hell is the definition of Free Software then?", you say. Well, a lot of people seem to think Free Software means Open Source, which is incorrect. There are things that are Open Source and are far from free. They show you the source code, but you cannot modify it, redistribute it, or infact do anything with it except use it. That might seem fine to you, but it doesn't really work. The power of Free Software is behind the fact that anyone can edit it and improve it. So Free Software is a subset of Open Source.

Now, even within Free Software, there are several definitions of 'Free'. We have the GPL, the LGPL, the BSD license, the MIT license, et al. They are not just licenses, they are definitions of "Free".

The GPL created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) says

"If any code distributed under me is reused anywhere, and if that work is distributed as well, then it must be under me as well".

This might sound very restrictive, and in fact this is why some people dislike it, but that clause is to keep software free. Kind of like Fundamental Rights, the Right to be Free...

This kind of license is strong copyleft.

Now, the word "reuse" is ambiguous. Does it only mean using code directly in your program? Or does it also include linking to it? Turns out, the GPL applies to both of these. The only thing that is excluded is run-time linking to libraries. For the case of linking, the FSF created the LGPL (Library GPL)

"Use me as GPLed code unless you're just linking to me, in which case, go forth and link."

However, the terms are much more complicated than this overly simplistic sentence. This is mostly for libraries like codecs, etc which are made to be used by a lot of different software, hence the need to make them usable by non-GPL code. However, the creators of the license now recommend you to use the GPL for certain kinds of libraries. See here for why.

This kind of license is copyleft.

And then we have the BSD license

"I am Free Code, use me.".

That's it. That's the gist of the license, the code is Free as in Libre, but you are also free to subjugate it if you want :) Thats how Apple was able to take OpenBSD, make Mac OS X out of it and not have to release the source code for it.
In this sense, it has less restrictions than the GPL. For one definition of "restriction".

This kind of license is called copycenter. Kinda like, copying-center ;)

And finally, we have the public domain.

"I'm just lying around here, use me."

Things in the public domain are "Free" under ALL definitions of free. Its just there, not "owned" by anybody. Examples of things like this are mathematics. No one "owns" mathematics, no one can own mathematics, even if you invent something in it (like, say calculus) you can't "own" it, its all under the public domain.
In most countries, copyrighted/patented works become a part of the public domain after 20 years. However, the laws are complex and are different in all countries. See here for details.

This stuff is copy-everything =)

So, what do you think is Free?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hey, long time no see!

Hello people, hello blog, sorry I've been a bit disinclined to post lately which basically stemmed from laziness (I think). If there is anything to apologize about, I apologize for it. Gah.
Why can't people talk in "mind-talk"? A thought takes a bloody infinite number of words to reproduce exactly. Whoever invented talking deserves to get stuck in an infinite game of pacman :X
I was born too early. I should've been born 40 years from now, or when we became a Type-II Kardashev civilisation.
Why in the gobsmacked world is our net so slow nowadays?
And gaaah, my mood just changed so I won't be completing this post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


This is gonna be an "OMG I haven't posted in almost a month" post.

OMG I haven't posted in almost a month.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Damien Rice..

His songs are beautiful beyond belief; beaten only by the immortal Coldplay. They make me want to curl up and smile :)

9 Crimes, my favourite song and video by him.



I haven't embedded them because flash really slows things down, and my blog is already slow as it is.

Emoticons ^_^

  • [00] (.)(.) - No points for guessing ;)
    Naresh will understand this one (^^)

  • :} - A cute little wide smile.
    Naresh introduced me to this, and its my second most fav. Used frequently by him as well

  • *_* - Smile till your eyes become tiny
    I have only seen Elina use this. And that too under rare circumstances

  • :) - Smile :)
    Immortal. Used frequently by Arun

  • :'D - Laughing till you cry
    Hilarity! Utkarsh uses this when he's ROTFLMAOing

  • :P - Tonguey
    Always applicable :P. Used by me, Utkarsh, Praneeth, SidPrak, Elina, Naresh etc at random :P

  • :D - Laugh
    Misused by Praneeth to the point where I have started hating it.

  • :| - :|
    Probably Chintal's favourite emoticon, he uses it ~88% of his conversations. :}

  • =;=;
    A complete mystery to me.* Used by SidPrak to end every conversation. Which is followed by a ":P" by me :}

  • A lot of people don't have any characteristic smileys. And some never use any at all. But almost everyone has used ":)" sometime or the other...

* Its supposed to mean something in Yahoo, but since i don't use it, I'm not sure what :P

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I concede. Opera is better than Firefox in many ways, though I still prefer Firefox :P
One of these is the way non-ascii URIs are handled in the location bar. Goto - You location bar will look something like this:

Lets look at how Opera renders it.

Better innit? Lets look at the Japanese wikipedia...


Much better.

This said, both display the actual article in the exact same way, and the problem is probably linked to bug #150376 in Mozilla Firefox. Not assigned to anyone, but it'll probably be fixed soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Listening to the song that had been stuck in your head all day on Altec Lansing speakers.
Hearing someone mirror the exact same opinions as you in a group argument.
Listening to one of your favourite songs play at a party/club.
Meeting an old friend/crush after years of no contact.
The smell of the first rain falling on dry ground.
Walking into an Air Conditioned ATM at 1 in the afternoon.
Finding a more efficient way of doing something and having everyone agree with you on it.
Glancing at a pretty girl in the crowd and finding her looking at you as well.
Discovering a hard core Harry Potter fan and talking gleefully about how amazing the books are.

These and more are what keep me going through everything ^_^

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why Linux? - I 1/2 ~ Why *BSD & OpenSolaris?

Why do experienced Linux users want to shift to {Open,Free,Net}BSD or OpenSolaris? They're non-intuitive to Linux users, have in general crappy hardware support (except for the wireless drivers in *BSD), and take up a lot of work setting up and getting used to. I'm not talking about "trying out" new stuff, thats an understandable thing, everyone likes to do that. I do it all the time. I'm talking about shifting to another OS.
You might say "same applies to people who shift from Windows to Linux". And you're right! To a certain extent.
Windows to Linux is an exception for reasons which I'll be introducing later; probably towards the end of this series of posts. All I'll say is that its related to "choice".

We have Ubuntu - A distro any newbie can use. And since any n00b can use Ubuntu, long time users of Ubuntu no longer feel "special", people who use Linux have normally been people with a desire to be "different". And they are no longer "different". So they shift to something a bit more unusual; say Gentoo, Slackware, or, for the truly masochistic, LFS (Linux From Scratch). What about those who've been using Gentoo all along? They don't want to get closer to all those Linux n00bs, they go one step higher. They shift to *BSD or OpenSolaris.

Yes Naresh, I'm looking at you. Gentoo traitor. :P

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why Linux? - I

Why should I?

1. Windows is enough for me, never had any problems with it, why bother?
2. Stuff doesn't work on Linux, I won't be able to do the stuff that I do on windows.
3. Linux is not user-friendly/easy to use. I'll end up spending all my time fixing problems with it.
4. How can software made by people for free even begin to compare with software made by big corporations?
5. I'll have to use the console to do everything, how do you expect me to remember all those commands?
6. Everything will be too alien, there's too much of a learning curve.
7. The installation is too painful.

Why do people?

1. They are fascinated by the concept of "Open Source" and its philosophy.
2. They like hacking code, and like playing around with code. Hence they like Open Source.
3. They have to work on Linux/Unix (Yes, most academic work is done on Unix/Linux).
4. They run servers (Linux/Unix/BSD are perfect for servers. I'll come to this later)
There are two more reasons which I will introduce later.

We(Navya) recently held our semester-ly Lecture Series. The lecture was opened by Ankit Rohatgi, where he talked about the philosophy of open source, free software and choice. After ~1/2 hour, I was on stage. I began my lecture (no ppt :P) with

Okay. I'm an engineer. I don't care about the boring philosophy of Open Source, its intricacies and the hype around it. I'm a simple engineer who has to work on Linux, for whatever reason, and hence has to use Linux. And I'm here to show you how you can do all that. And more.

I then started off with the basic things people do on Windows; listen to music, watch movies, use GTalk or Yahoo!, check mail, surf the web, etc and showed them that it could be done with the same ease on Linux as well. I then asked them what else they do on Windows, and then proceeded to show them how it works on Linux as well (and in some cases, better than windows).

The height of the lecture was when one guy asked me if we could use usb keys/music players on Linux. I whipped out Naresh's mp3 player (which I had borrowed from him) and plugged it into the usb port of the laptop I was using to give the lecture. An icon showed up on the desktop showing the usb drive and a window popped up with its contents. I then opened Rhythmbox, which had detected it as an mp3 player and proceeded to play music from it. Sound any different from Windows?

Some people wanted to know if one can play games on Linux. Here's a list of open source games for Linux. For other games, there's Wine and Cedega. All in all, unless you're a hardcore gamer, you will be able to play 90% of the games you play on windows on Linux.
For completeness, lets list it all out[1] (for Ubuntu, the most popular flavour of Linux):

Daily Use:

  • Web Browsing ~ Firefox*#(default)

  • Music ~ Rhythmbox#(default), Exaile

  • Movies ~ Totem(default), MPlayer*#, VLC*

  • IM ~ Pidgin[2]*#(defacto standard), Gajim, Tapioca

  • E-mail ~ Evolution(default), Thunderbird*#(most popular)

  • Image editing ~ GIMP*#(default)

  • CD-Burning ~ Nautilus[3](default), Gnomebaker, Brasero#

  • Document Editing ~ OpenOffice*#(default, compatible with MS Office)

  • PDF Reader ~ Evince(default), Acrobat Reader*#

  • Photo Album management ~ Picasa*, F-Spot(default)

  • p2p Software ~ Azureus*#, Linuxdcpp#

  • Desktop Search ~ Beagle#, Tracker

  • Desktop Applets ~ Gdesklets

Advanced Use:

  • C/C++ Compiler ~ gcc#(default, the best in the world)

  • Java Compiler ~ Sun-JDK*#(most popular), gcj(default)

  • Integrated Desktop Environment ~ Eclipse*, Netbeans*, many more

  • Vector Graphics Editor ~ Inkscape*#

  • 3D-Modelling ~ Blender*#

  • Computer Algebra Systems ~ Matlab*, Octave*#

  • Non-Linear Video Editing ~ Avidemux*#, Cinelerra

  • Non-Linear Audio Editing ~ Audacity*#

  • Linear Video Editing ~ mencoder*#

  • Many, many, many more.

* Cross-Platform
# Used by me
"Default" means default in Ubuntu.

This obliterates Point no. 2 of "Why Should I?". I'll talk about Point no. 3 in my next post. About Point no. 4,

How many of you have used Firefox? Most of you probably use it everyday. Can you still say that Free Software is inferior to Proprietary Software? If you do, "Why Linux? - III" will elaborate how Free Software is superior to Proprietary Software.

1. I've listed this for Gnome, a desktop environment. Its not something an end-user needs to bother himself about, so I'll talk about desktop environments later.
2. Formerly called Gaim.
3. Nautilus isn't actually a CD-Burning software, its the file manager of Gnome. Similar to "Explorer" of Windows. You can use it to drag-drop and burn stuff.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


And thats how today's morning started. I hadn't slept last night, unlike last night (or was I merely thinking so?), things were going wrong. Sadistically wrong. My best efforts couldn't stop me from making blunders or being subject to them. It was hot, it still is, I was missing something, but I couldn't say what. I felt as though something was wrong; was this a dream?
Then I came across this page. Momentary delight, I was floating. "Surreal", "Leaf", "Interpretive" was what I chose, and it led me to a sight worth beholding. A rush of colour and emotion, I was overwhelmed. And right before that, it said unto me, "Hello surreal leaf, you are who you are (thank you for being here)".
But things are now as they were... If only they would emulate a time further back.

I long for the time when, I long for the time when;
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness releases me.

EDIT: Come to think of it, the webpage actually made me feel worse... No points for guessing why :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Toe - New Sentimentality EP

Some of you have seen this video,

and if you haven't, you should.

Some of you will know that as soon as I saw it, I went gaga over the song and the band. I can say for a certainty that this song has changed my music taste forever. This and the webcomic Questionable Content :P

Now, after months of searching (actually, a month of giving up and not searching), I have finally found the album. Here it is, for your listening pleasure :)

Toe - New Sentimentality EP

  1. The song in the video, Goodbye ~

  2. Tsunagaru Haruka Achira ~

  3. 1_21 ~

  4. New Sentimentality ~

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The river Arun

Arun is a river in Nepal.

And thats all I know about it. And apparently so does wikipedia. Now, since I know as much as wikipedia on this topic, I will surely get at least a B in tomorrow's CE242 (Geosciences) exam.
I mean, if wikipedia can't get a B, I don't know who can. The wisdom of the crowds has to count for something... Right? Right?

<bonecrunchingdryness>Yeah, right.</bonecrunchingdryness>

Monday, April 23, 2007

The other sex.

I was reading panel 508 (SPOILER ALERT!) of "Questionable Content" and the last frame made me realize how utterly complicated girls can be. There was a time when I thought I had begun to understand them, but now I see the futility of any such attempt. You might be blessed by some initial moderate success that could swell your ego at having "Gone where no man has gone before and stayed straight", but thats before the inevitable crash and burn after which you rhythmically bang your head on a wall trying to figure out when the Universe stopped obeying the basic laws of Logic.

Also, you'll find that it takes up all of your CPU cycles to come up with a bad first order, valid for Δt → 0 approximation for what they mean. In O(nn) time.

I have spent hours trying to figure out what to do in situations involving the fairer sex and have always failed miserably. People have told me I don't know how to "be smooth", that I am tactless, that although I see subtle hints, I always misread them, and that I will probably never be in a relationship because of this :P

<in denial>What the heck, not like it really matters.</in denial>


Tweet, tweet. Tweet.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Some changes.

I have thought on this for quite some time and have decided to expand the content I post here to include stuff which would usually go to my "other", anon blog. I've decided to turn that blog into a secondary field of activity, posting only my deepest thoughts there.
Poetry/prose/lit-freak-fodder will now come here instead of going there. Unless it matches the first filter. :P

Also, I wish to streamline the content on this blog. No posts like this one and this one, and more like this one and this one :P

PS: This might also mean much shorter titles in general :P

Monday, April 16, 2007

double-u-tee-eff-maite ~ Procrastination

Yes, that is the only reason I am writing this post. Seriously. Its not because my head is about to burst from 10 hours of Korn and RATM. Its not because I have two English Assignments to submit in 9 hours which I have no inclination to complete. It is not because I have lost interest in everything worth doing or not worth doing as well for that matter. I won't go into a detailed description of what all I have lost to lethargy and how. I think the following five points should suffice to press my case.

  • I have lost Rs ~50,000 in competition prize money this sem just because I was too lazy to get up and go for them.

  • I have lost too many friends this semester (and the last) because I was too lazy. Worse, I don't care.
    Even when I do.

  • I have successfully reduced my grades by one notch in all my subjects because I was too lazy to submit assignments/go for quizzes.

  • When was the last time I did my laundry?

  • I'm gonna end this post here.


So much to say, and so little inclination to do so :P

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Here comes a random post your way! If you don't have anything to say, type away to glory! Let the souls of a million proverbial monkeys fill you! Let creativity go to hell, let probability rule! I love ending sentences in exclamation marks!! Like this!! And this!!! And this!!!!
Okay, I should probably stop. Doing this ie! He He He.

You can have an entire conversation with these words, as I am willing to show anyone who is jobless enough to ask me.
Beware though, if I'm not so inclined as to suffer with you, I might put a chatbot on and go machao bhasad somewhere :P
"Machao Bhasad" is a holy term holier than the ten commandments. Though I believe the words "No Pissing here" on a yellow wall are holier than those most unworthy ten.
The Holy Words mean creating havoc. In basic words, which I dislike, and I would've started up on a long winded slightly humorous, mostly boring, gory description of the term if it weren't for the Open Music Concert for which I'm already late by 3 mins. So adios, ciao and good byeses.

Cya later!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Read me, Like me, Read me not

There are three kinds of literature. One is which consists of must-reads for everyone. Which contain wise thought and will lead to a general betterment of all that read it. The poems of Robert Frost, written in a relatively simple language and essays such as Francis Bacon's "Of Studies" are good examples of these.
The second are those which cannot be appreciated by the lay mind and are purely works of art. They might not even be liked by all connoisseurs of literature. They often contain radical ideas and techniques, and are often intriguing to say the least. Examples include Franz Kafka's Surreal stories and Emily Dickinson's Lachrymose Poetry.
The third kind is that of literature purposefully written in a manner that appeals to only a specific section of the masses. These contains lessons and learnings that would do great harm if they were to be taken seriously by the wrong people.
A case in point is Emerson's Essay "Self-Reliance". If fools were to live by the essay, we would be surrounded by idiots who would abide by their own distorted version of the essay, living out their lives refusing to believe anything anyone says and refusing to follow basic social norms and laws.
For this very reason, I believe that the essay has been written in a convoluted style with curious word play, double negatives, heavy use of Old English and Unorthodox use of current English.
A fool would either be unable to understand it, or else would get frustrated by his constant need to refer to a dictionary.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Okay ~ Part 1

Here goes...
People couldn't care less about anything that doesn't concern their immediate future or doesn't affect them directly. People lack foresight, are too busy living their lives to bother. People go around getting manipulated like pawns by people who do look ahead. People have a short memory, live in the present, caring about neither the past nor the future. The overflow of information around us brought by the Media and the Internet causes our "information filters" and our memory to grow, respectively, stricter and shorter day by day.
How many people remember what they ate for lunch yesterday? What they wore a week ago? When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me there was a time when people did. Those were the times when people had so little to think about, to worry about, and to remember. No TV, little radio, the occasional newspaper.
Look at today. TV with a hundred+ channels, the almost never ending Internet, magazines, celebrity gossip, and everything the media flings at us.
With all the noise, only things that are the most hyped about come out on top.

Sure, thats what news and gossip is about right? The latest? But what about things that DO matter? Like our country's budget? How many people know about that? Or if they know, care about it? Will it affect their vote? Will they even vote? I'm drifting here. Back to the point.
Humans survive change by three means:

  • Resisting it

  • Adaptation

  • Evolution

People have constantly tried to resist change. Its an instinct. When they can't, they adapt for now and start to evolve. But evolution takes time, and when change occurs too rapidly, adaptation is the only way out.
But adaptation has its limits. You cannot change physical capacity with adaptation. You can only optimize it to a certain extent. And that's what's happening. We are getting stretched out. We cannot handle this world we have created.

People are lost.

Democracy will lose its meaning (almost has), Society its point (pretty soon), the Media will become a medium of pure entertainment (already has) and everything will decay (most of it is already is). The powerful will slowly become more powerful while we just sit and stare. It will happen too slowly for much notice, and before we know it, we will lose everything we stand for. Freedom, equality, justice, and life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Blog Post to tell you all that I am still alive.
I just have waaay too much to write about. When that happens, there are two kinds of reactions by people. Either they go on a blogging spree, or they stop blogging.
I'm too lazy to do the former :P

Monday, February 26, 2007

The New Ten Commandments

I recently read this post by DC Simpson on his blog "Bird Brains". He talks about how people have come up with a more moral version of the well-known Ten Commandments. I cannot help but agree with him on this point.

Go on, read the post.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Bleah Bleah Bleah.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


My Exams are over!
A chance to slog harder till the next midsem has arrived!
Hooray for all masochists! =P

You see, I actually end up studying the least during midsems. I finished Quake 4 in two days. Yesterday and day before. I actually finished it and then went to write my TA201 exam in the morning today :x
Now that its over, all I can think about is going to class tomorrow and doing my lab report(s). *roll eyes*
Oh well. Doesn't matter when you study as long as you do study :)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Prof. Noam Chomsky

I think I might just start worshipping this guy...

Also, take a look at this cartoon taken from

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My First Post... a LONG time.