November 30, 2004

6 minutes EE footage

Just a quick post, and it’s back to Maths.

This trailer was released yesterday, and it’s great. Download as you may.

Peter Jackson: “Lets face it, Return of the King has always been a little short. I mean, so, we did have to compensate. So we now put an extra fifty minutes, I think, back in it.”

I love that guy. Only an LOTR fan like me would call ROTK a short movie.

November 25, 2004

Ego

A couple of ways to cut your ego down to size that I’ve come across recently.

The first: Play Chess online on Yahoo! Games. Most people with higher rating will murder you. I thought I played pretty well, but not anymore.

The second: Get your hands on a Rubik’s cube. I have a cousin visiting from Canada, and my dad picked up some toys for him. I was just looking around, I saw that he had bought this famous puzzle, and picked it up to kill some time. I was sure of solving it easily, I remember doing it sometime in my childhood. An hour later, I “wanted to tear my head out”, speaking literally.

Any other ideas?

November 21, 2004

DUD: Delay, Uncertainty & Doubt

Just when I thought I could not dislike “the Board”, something like this happens. Today morning I was woken up from my usual slumber by a friend and told that tomorrow’s exam is probably postponed. It’s because some “holy man” was arrested and VHP has called a national strike or something.

I came to know that MSBTE has declared that all of tomorrow’s exams are postponed to 7th December. I checked it online, it’s true. Now there is a big issue of whether MSBTE has jurisdiction over Engineering exams, I know that they control the Diploma exams. The site for DTE does not say anything on this matter. And today being a Sunday, all the colleges have shut shop.

It’s a fact that both Diploma exams and Medical exams have been postponed. But we poor engineering folk have no idea what’s going to happen, and thus are left in a state of doubt. Of course, it does not help that I loafed around the whole of yesterday, and so I have to study today if there is any chance of there being a exam. But here I am, unable to concentrate, and hence typing this.

Update: It was today, and ironies of ironies, this was my best exam yet. When life gives you lemonade…

November 20, 2004

Flash

I’ve been quiet for some time now. What can I say, I’ve been studying. It’s the “last minute panic” that brings it out of me.

The first one, DCOM went as well it could have gone. Actually better than expected, considering I hate the subject and can’t start to solve Maths. But only my fellow IT students got lucky, the Computer Engineering people got butchered (they have a slightly different syllabus, and hence a different paper). The second, Computer Networks, was also good. I like that subject, so studying it was no big deal.

I had decided to not post anything for some time, as I would only have posted another engineering rant. Everyone has had enough of that, even I’m tired of singing the same tune over and over again.

So the subject of today’s post is flash animations. I never liked them before. Most of those them were too irritating to be allowed. But I’ve come to realize that there are people that can use any medium they have and create brilliant stuff.

The first place you go to check out Flash movies is VidLit. It’s amazing. The my favourite VidLit so far is Craziest. A word of caution, these are large files. Craziest is around 8Mb, and will take a long time to load.

Then there are a few other movies that I’ve discovered. Paperwars is a wonderful movie that needs to be watched. Just imagine sitting in your classroom and doodling. Then there’s Ze Frank’s introduction to “alternate” email punctuation.

Enjoy.

Update: Zoomquilt is groovy!

November 13, 2004

Plans

Now that I’m getting a little serious about studies, all other thoughts come screaming into my head. Plans of what to do, small ideas that I’d like to implement. So I’m thinking that it’s time to make my famous predictions about what I’m going to do after the exams are over. Famous in the sense they are famously wrong, just look at a previous one. But hey, whatever keeps me going. I’m mostly putting down the technical stuff, as I never know which books I might get to read. Here it goes:

  • Hack Foxylicious to support “/” sub-directories. It is a bookmark synchronizer, that adds all my del.icio.us links to my Firefox bookmarks. I’m rethinking the whole hierarchy thing. Flat hierarchies look promising.
  • Learn at least one of this properly: Javascript, Perl, Python.
  • Play around with XUL, and maybe build something like the MAB. Use Firefox for that link only, won’t work in IE.

It will be a miracle if I even get one of those done, but that’s never stopped me before.

By the way, I’ve finally got around to finding a great way to write my posts. I use Markdown syntax to write them in plain text, and Smartypants to get all the stylised & typologically correct quotes. Writing them in plain text, I convert them into XHTML using a couple of Perl scripts, all of which is provided by John Gruber. This is a much easier and natural form of writing then my earlier, writing in raw HTML style. I never got around to trusting the Blogger editor to do it properly.

Here’s the original Markdown document that I typed, courtesy Pasta.

November 11, 2004

DCOM

My first exam is on the 17th, and the subject is DCOM [Digital Communication Systems]. I have no way to describe how this subject sucks, so lets just replay a conversation I had with my college's DCOM teach one day while waiting for a bus.

The characters here are my teacher and me. Trying to maintain some anonymity. This is as accurate as my memory is.

“Did [insert bus number here] pass by recently?”

Me [didn't notice her at first]: “Huh?”

“Did [insert bus number here] pass by recently?”

Me: “Uh, I don't know. wasn't looking.”

“Ok. Did you complete the assignment?”

Me [I was thinking ‘Oh shit, haven't even started it’]: “No... A few questions are remaining.”

[Then this took me completely by surprise. All almost in a single breath. The best teacher rant I've ever heard.] “I don't even know why the board has given a subject such as DCOM to you guys. It is a very specialized and advanced subject. I didn't even have the subject when I was doing my engineering. And I did my Masters in computers. So it is very difficult for me to teach this subject also.”

Me [WTF? How do I respond to that...]: “Ya ma'am, I agree. The subject is difficult to understand. Especially the mathematical parts... And my maths is especially weak being a Diploma student. Most of us don't even understand what all those derivations are...”

[Don't remember this line exactly] “But maths is the base of electronics. Studying electronics is more about all learning all the derivations and stuff than the circuits.”

Me [boldly going on]: “But ma'am, we are computer students. Most of us are not that interested in electronics. Especially the few diploma students. We don't even know what Fourier Transform is!”

“You didn't study Fourier Transform! You can't learn this subject without it! All the proofs and derivations I gave you guys in class are based on it.” [She tried to explain it to me for a few minutes then....]

Me [this is the first time that I've given a suggestion to a teacher]: “We can try to learn that stuff... But it probably is too difficult for us. If I could give a suggestion, you should spend more time explaining the concepts in class instead of the maths. We will copy that from the text books anyway.”

[Bureaucracy at it's best. I had no answer to this.] “But I have to teach that stuff! [Insert name of Head of Department here] wants daily reports from me about what I teach.”

Thankfully, my bus came at that point and I left.

November 09, 2004

The fox is out!

Get the browser, now that it's out of beta and we've got a version 1.0 release. There are some improvements over the preview release, and over the two release candidates. But the main point of a 1.0 release is that most of the bugs have been fixed. I'm off to nuke my profile and do a clean install...

Damn I use a lot of extensions. These are just the most important ones that I've got to install [no time for linking].

  • Adblock
  • All in one gestures
  • ConQuery
  • Flashgot
  • Foxylicious
  • Googlebar
  • LiveHTTPHeaders
  • Openbook
  • Sage
  • User Agent Switcher
  • Weatherfox
  • Web Developer

This reminds me of a line from some song: "Excess ain't rebellion"

Carnivàle

Carnivale poster

HBO's done it again. Carnivàle is bloody brilliant. It's a 12-episode mini-series set in 1930's America, and I'm kicking myself for missing the first four episodes. I watched half of the fifth episode last week, and loved the look and feel of the show, even though I didn't understand anything. I made a mental note to see the next episode, and almost forgot about it. But I remembered yesterday night around 2300 hours, much to my relief today.

It looks really great for one, unlike any show I've seen. The acting is terrific. I understood some of the story yesterday, and then went online and read the plot of the earlier episodes today. I just hope that the series repeats, so I get a chance to see it completely.

November 07, 2004

The Box Set

The box set for the LOTR trilogy extended edition DVD's is also going to be released on the 14th.

LOTR Triology

12 DVD's, atleast 70 hours of footage [could be more]. The price is $120, but it's available at $78 on Amazon. That's around 3500 Rupees, and I'm being severely tempted.

I don't remember if I've linked to this before, the trailer to ROTK's extended edition.

November 06, 2004

Jargon

Being a geek means knowing your jargon. Almost all geeks have these things in common [as far as I know].

  • They like naming stuff
  • They hate explaining stuff

Let me be more clear. Here are just a few terms that are fashionable at this moment, off the top of my head. Lets see how much you can recognize. Of course, I can only list the ones that I've heard of. All links lead to Wikipedia.

I know [basically] what each of those terms mean. But don't ask me to explain them.

November 03, 2004

When it rains, it pours

Today is a bad day. It started out bad, and has progressively worsened [is this even a word?]. Lets start from the beginning.

I should begin by saying I've studied a little [Computer Networks] for the past 2 days. I was hoping that today will be the day day when I really kick off with my work.

Yesterday night [tonight, from 0:00 hours, but I always get confused about which tense to use] was too damn hot. So hot that I could not sleep till around 4 am. And I spent most of the night tossing and turning around. When I woke at 8 am, it was a cool 23°, because of some unexpected rainfall. Most of my pent-up frustration melted away at this, I love cool weather.

I had a dentist appointment at 10:30, so I reached there on time. But it happened that the dentist was delayed in traffic due to the rains, and I had to wait a hour without anything to do. Waiting is like hell to me, I should have taken some book to read. The appointment went all right, and I reached home around 1:00 PM.

As I sat on my comp, I noticed a burning smell. After 5 minutes of poking around, I realised that my computer power cable was burning through, and it was a miracle my PC was still working. After a quick shut down, I removed the spike guard and the cord.

After lunch, I slept some and then at 4:00 PM, went to get a new spike guard and power cord. Came home, and the spike guard was faulty. It did not start, and me being the imbecile I am, I did not test it at the shop. Again went out, replaced it, and came back. This time it worked, but it had a slightly different design that did not fit with my hardware arrangement.

So it was time to play around with all those wires, re-arranging them as much as I could. I'm not helpless with hardware, but I hate tinkering with it. And my organizational skills only go as far as files on my PC. These wires are a mess. And as my mom noticed that I've disconnected most of the stuff, and it's around time for Diwali, she asked me to clean the general area around the PC. After a half hour of doing this stuff, I finally booted the comp.

And to top it all off, it seems that Bush will almost certainly win. Just hope that there are no more incidents till tonight, I might lose it.