Sunday, July 3, 2011

Freelosophy

DISCLAIMER: This post is a kind-of eulogy for everything in the software world that is free and open-source. And hence, I'm sure, it is understood I'm not being paid by FOSS or someone... :D


"...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863


"Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix will be obvious to someone." - Eric Raymond, 1997


"Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)" - Linus Torvalds, 1996






If you're wondering why I'm blabbering about all these oldies here and now (Lincoln was old, Raymond and Torvalds, on the other hand, not so much...), you must not have been in touch with me or at he very least, my FB profile and status updates. I've been in touch with one of the most important sensations I have ever been into. By the way, this is the first post I'm typing on my laptop. I always wanted to do this - be free! Free as in freedom. Freedom from finding software that can serve all my purposes and yet, be free (this time, as in cost :P). Freedom from figuratively looking over the shoulder all the time trying to see if someone knows that you are actually using pirated software. In this aspect, India is very much ahead than probably any other nation in the world. Let me put this into perspective - pick up like 20 computer users in India, 19 of them use any of the versions of Windows. And of those 19, about 10 still use Windows XP. Of those 10 people, about 8 have never spent a buck (literally) on the Windows software they use or most of the times, not even for any other compatible software that they need to use on their machines like, for instance, Photoshop, MS Office, Matlab et al. OK, what is this post about? You might've guessed it - Linux.


First things first : It costs you only the time it takes to download it. Almost every version (a Linux version is called a Distro, short for distribution.) comes free. being true Indians as we all are, we like to get things for free.On the other hand, we have a never ending paranoia. Why is he giving this thing to us for free? It is probably defective, probably sub-standard. I had the similar doubts about Linux back in December '09. Did you know that, linux is probably the most standarized of all the operating systems available? Virtually every big corporation (and I'm talking real BIG) uses one of the Linux distributions - Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Mandriva et. al. (Most likely Red Hat, though.)


Why did I venture into this? I've been asked this a lot - at least ever since I started rallying about Linux and especially Ubuntu to any living soul I know :D. OK, why? Back in December, I was planning on buying a laptop and had started researching for a good one (and so far, I have found it). What I found common with all brands was - laptops with Windows cost a considerable amount more than those without the same. It was during that period that I learnt a lot (a LOT) about things like processor architectures, OS architectures and other technical things. The irony is that - I was supposed to have known them for like 3 subjects that I took and yet, I found the fun in those subjects. Mostly because, knowing things is different from learning them (for like an exam or for an assignment). So, i thought, what other options do I have - for an Operating System. I wanted it to be cheap and or once in my life, I wanted it to be legal. On my desktop, I use a shared (between friends and all) version of Windows XP, which incidentally, cost me nothing :). I wanted my laptop to be totally free (except for the hardware, of course) and yet, legal, cutting-edge, and reasonably user-friendly. That was when I stumbled upon Linux. I pored over thousands of lines of reports, bench-mark tests, and technical details and ended up choosing Ubuntu, especially because it was just about a CD's size and of course, meant for personal users.


Now that I've answered the obvious question, another question. Linux is free, huh? What if it's all a conspiracy and all they want is your personal data and corrupt it all. (Trust me, I've been actually asked this.) Let's face it guys, you are not the center of the universe. No one is out there to get you, let alone all the silly things that make up your data. No one simply cares. And even if they do, Linux is at the very least as safe as the other options you have. Viruses, on the other hand, are a totally different issue. They are not aimed personally at anyone, no? Well, this next thing is not so much because of Linux's (come to think of it, any *NIX), omnipotence, but because of the smaller user-base of the *NIX OSes. There are practically (I can't emphasize this enough) no wild viruses for Linux - as of now, at least. That certainly is one less thing to worry about, don't you think?


True, Linux comes with a learning curve, a very long one at that. I've been using Linux for about 2+ years now, and yet, learn at least one new thing every week - try to beat that with Windows. And, I'm not even talking about any software, just the OS by itself.


Well, I'll leave you to figure out the rest of Linux. If you are at all into technology, I suggest you start using Linux - not great for games, but the thrill of learning something so pure...unbeatable!!


An excellent article I read about the differences in philosophies is here...do go through it and of course hit the Distro websites.




Ubuntu - My personal favorite
CentOS - My second favorite, just a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux - Stability
Fedora - Just a cutting edge version of Red Hat
Distrowatch - Reading material on all the Distributions


"...the Linux philosophy is "laugh in the face of danger". Oops. Wrong one. "Do it yourself". That's it.
- Linus Torvalds, 1996


Cheers!!


P.S.: Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The day that was - Part II

After having finally finished finals and doing well, Alhamdulillah, I'm getting back to the blog (read as block :P). Well, the holidays here are so boring that, I have been on Facebook for pretty much all of my in-somnolent time. And of course I have started developing this very very serious LaTeX fetish and have decided to do all my Lab reports and other submissions using LaTeX. Refer to my FB status dated May the 13th for my exact views on LaTeX. (And if you really care for that, I suggest you get back to hitting the books, enough of holidays for you.)

Well, no more beating about the bush (isn't that what I'm doing now? :P). OK, we had just paid like 500 bucks to the cops and this part of the episode still has an awesome repercussion which we will get back to. Anyway, and as C was kind enough to remind me in the comments of the last post, B's bike did not have a valid Pollution check on him and thus the hefty fine. Me and C were just standing on the other side of the signal and waiting for the drama at the traffic island to be over so we could be  on our way to having some serious FUN! At this point, I have to agree that we reached Mount Opera in pretty uneventful circumstances (although, I'm a bit surprised at that now...). Well, these things happen, don't they, another group of our friends was there too (no point wondering about the odds, there are only so many days you can avail the offer... :P). Now, remember the "two large soda"s which got us the tickets? Surprise, surprise! The sodas had gotten warm-hot (not even room temperature) thanks to the raging sun and our delays at the police and stuff. And now, we were all in a fix! We had spent so much on the sodas (no, the tickets actually do not count!! You seem to be weak in Hyderabadi math!! :P) and we were not gonna just throw them there! God forbid! I was not so brave though, I had left my two sodas at home see *patting my back*. So, the other group and A and B and I think D actually drank the warm sodas and as an eye witness, I heard things like Kya pinda hai yaaron!! Phenyl ke jaisa hai! and Chee re bhai! Phek dena tha!! Ab kya kya hota ki!?!. For the first expression, I just realized, Dude!! Tu phenyl kab taste kara patthey?? and kaiku tho bi!!! Well, we were through the gates and rode on to the actual fun (or did we walk, I don't remember...). Anyway, the fun was about to begin and it was gonna be legen-wait for it-dary.

We were just walking around the place in the beginning and there were these weird Dinosaur statues all around and we finally made it to a Columbus ride (the one that looks like a ship and swings all through) and thought, what the heck! and got onto riding it. Here, the highlight was D's face. He was so contorted, we were all laughing all through the 15-20 minutes of the ride. We still lament the lack of a camera on the side facing D so we could have captured the moment and make him embarrassed for the rest of his life :P. Well, and after roaming about for another hour or so (if you are wondering what we did "roam"ing, think big park-large expanses of grass-all the weird possibilities for the curious mind. I'll leave it at that. Then came the real fun part, the water rides.

I need a bit of a preamble before I even begin these events. First of all, I cannot swim although this will not matter in the events that transpired, it seems worth a mention. Also, those were the good old days when I used to use contact lens (and due to an idiosyncratic problem, they had to be hard a.k.a. RGP lens, look it up if you care...) and I had been very confident (read cocky) that it wouldn't matter with all the water around. That's pretty much it though. Well, we took up a locker and a couple of briefs for using the water rides (they wouldn't allow us to go in our own underwear, would you believe that!! :P). Well, A and D had brought their own swim-wear which needs a mention but, I shall not go into it. Well, among all of us, we had like, let me see, 5 sets of keys, all the bikes and the locker combined. And A had a pen-drive on him too (although I don't see the point of, in retrospect). Well, first stop was the wave pool!! We left our pants on the shore (can you call it that?) of the pool and dove in. It was fun for quite sometime. And yeah, I did not mention that I had left my bike keys and the locker keys in D's swim-chaddi(?)'s pocket. As luck would have it, the fly of the pocket was broken and could not hold the keys (I don't blame the fly...). Lo and behold! We had lost my bike keys and our locker keys (just imagine going home in just our pants (literally)). The problem of the locker keys was solved easily enough. We had to pay some 300 bucks to break the lock and get our clothes back. But, my bike keys!! Just imagine having to ride 50kms back home to get the spare. Well, I'm not complaining there, either. We found this life-guard guy who we told our case to. He was kind enough to tell us that he would keep an eye open (like he could see under-water). But, somehow, he found my key and we got it back and left it in the locker this time. Then came the log-rides!!

And of course, after a plethora of photographs in swim-chaddis, which if released to the public, none of us will ever get married in the future (just kidding! :P), we headed to the log-rides and well, let's face it me and B were kind of bigger than, you know, *log*s.  One of them was open and pretty straight forward and we went on it just once - you know, they make you take stairs for like 3 floors to reach the actual place to slide from. Well, the rides were fun per se, but the landing - WOW! For one who can't swim, it can be the worst nightmare ever! I was under-water for like 20 seconds before I actually surfaced (although I think my weight was the culprit there... :P). Then there was this innocent-looking ride with just about a floor's worth of convoluted tubes (yes, closed ones) seeing which I thought, eh! I can take this any day. Well, it was when I was actually in the ride that it hit - what if I get stuck in here (like Monica in FRIENDS :P). And of course, the ride was so convoluted that, the turns actually hurt!! And after just hanging around in the pool for another hour or so, we decided to call it a day!! On the way, we might've touched on the rain-dance room about which I will tell you in the next part...

Well, enough for this part...There still is the end and the actual consequences of the trip and finally, the moral of the incident. We did indeed learn a few awesome lessons from this one...

The next post would probably come pretty soon, what with me having so much free time this time around...

I almost forgot...pics!!
Picture of a Picture taker...Just after reaching Mt. Opera
(I'm not even sure we can shorten the Mount...)

I have absolutely no idea what I am trying to do...

B and C on one side of the Columbus ride...

We did have a pic of D on the Columbus, after all...

Two-in-one...D on Columbus and B and C on the other end...

You know who! :P

The weird dinosaurs I was talking about, with A in control!!

A broken(?) elephant

Top of the world - C and B

The wave pool from a distance

At the entrance...

Ahem!?!
Adieu!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guest Post: 10 Myths About Introverts


Well, this is a Guest post by a friend of one of my good friends...I did credit it to him at the end...
Enjoy...I don't want to spoil the fun by blabbering about this...

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.


Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.


Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.


Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.


Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.


Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.


Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.


Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.


Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.


Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

With permission from the author - Sai Sandeep Nandyala on Facebook. Link to the original - here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Loquacious me!

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young

In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun



Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us

To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide


-- "High Hopes" by Pink Floyd


The day I turn 22 and I miss home. My first ever B'day away from home and here I am, having had bumps for the very first time in my life :) (and I don't get what the fuss is all about, it doesn't hurt so much... :P). Like I always say, (yeah, you must be keeping track of all the things I have ever said by now :P), Birthdays for me are over-rated. Nevertheless, it feels great to be in company of people I can really call my friends and well-wishers. Thanks to my roomies (a lot really) for making my first B'day away from home and India as memorable as it can get. (Pity we did not take pictures, though, or did we?). Anyway, let me make it clear right away, if you are trying to look for the way this post is going, don't, this is just one of those time-pass posts where I just ramble off anything on my mind. :)


Anyway, I would like to thank all the people who wished me on my B'day and thank the rest too (*grudgingly*). Also, I just had an awesome experience last week. Sometimes you never realize how much you touch someone's life. I have this friend of mine (as usual, no names, but I'll leave a link to her blog) who used to write (just like I used to) and after I restarted (or may be revived?) my blog last week, she finally got through her Writer's Block. Way to go S.N.!! Wish you never have to have a Block again, but you know how vulnerable we are to Calvin's dark designs :P. Anyway, for those of who care, here's the link to her blog: Click Here. And for the future, S.N., you don't need to be so profusely thankful to me, I'm sure you'd have started writing again anyway :). Rock on! (and yes, the title is an allude to your blog :) \m/)


Well, feeling good after a long session of Pink Floyd and Linkin Park, I wish myself a very happy Birthday (I'm shameless like that :P).


Ciao!!


P.S.: Anyone has any tips for studying during exams? Leave a comment or mail me good ones :).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Western Waves

Feedback. This is what I have been studying for a couple of days now and seriously, I have Sedra/Smith to thank for all I know about it and my Professor too, of course. Anyway, let me dig into the topic of the post. We have all been there. Do you remember the first ever English song you listened to? (not heard, mind you! :P) There is always this "cool" older cousin/neighbor who you notice listening to some hard-rock (or may be Jackson) and you think, Wish I could do that too. But, I dunno where to find any :( (Remember, this was back when there was no internet, none accessible anyway, back in the mid 90's). Then you grow up and start concentrating on your studies and more important things (read whatever you were into, back then :P).

Then finally, you enter your College days (may be Intermediate) and your home gets its first computer. Then a friend comes over (who has had a computer for some more time then) (and I was this friend for many of my friends :P as I had a Computer at home since I was 9 (yeah, bow to me, low-lifes !!:P)). Lots of generalization here, I'll just let this go and tell you my story of my tryst with Western Discography.

The first song. You always start with something simple. It probably was "My heart will go on" (Titanic fame, if you can't place it.). Back then, I did not even see why Titanic was such a big deal :). Anyway, then I moved to Hyderabad, and of course, I was the studious type as many of my friends will be more than happy to testify :P. After a year there, we upgraded our computer and the guy who set it up (I was not allowed to do that back then, but then, I'd probably would have screwed it up big time) gave me CD full of Western music :). I used to listen to them all the time and to be honest, I couldn't understand even a quarter of the lyrics. I even remember phonetically Karaoke-ing the songs :P :P (stop laughing, I know you've been there too :P). Enrique was the first artist I ever started liking by any measure, and then came Backstreet Boys. After being conditioned to the dhin-chak desi music, it takes time to appreciate a whole different genre, you see :). For all practical intents and purposes, my first song would be Rhythm Divine. That was indeed all I needed.

Then you enter your Bachelors' and then your friends introduce you to all sorts of genres. Right from Marilyn Manson (Ugh!) to sometimes even Niel Diamond (Ugh! more). Then you actually start listening to western music and appreciating it. The revelation came to me as Linkin Park (yes, Numb) and then comes Pink Floyd (read as WOW!) continues to this day with Beethoven, Yanni, Satriani, Mozart and Vivaldi. I don't like to brag (you know me! :P :P), but my collection of music is considered one of the best :).

Tell me about your journey through the Western music flow!

Ciao!


P.S.: For those waiting for the Part - II of the last post, you might've to wait until my finals. :)
All the best, anyway :) :).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The day that was - Part I

Munaf is back! Well, after about an year of being MIA, I think I finally figured out a way to restart. Let me start off with what kept me from writing for so long:


(c) Bill Waterson

Well, you probably wouldn't be surprised but I was beta-testing for dear ol' Calvin. And to be honest, I works like a charm. :)


Amidst all this effort to advance technology, what brought me back to writing is one of the harsh realities that usually affect you lesser mortals (and rarely, me) - nostalgia. I was just looking over my Facebook and found some real great memories back when I was studying in Hyderabad. (For those who don't watch News, I am currently operating from Tempe, AZ, USA while studying for an MS in Electrical Engg. from the Arizona State University.) That was, I believe, as Ranjit from HIMYM would say, "Too many informations." :P :P


I just wanna take this slow for the first post after a year, and so start off relating a day - sometime in February 2009. I'm looking up the date as I type - yeah, it was the 26th. Let me dive right into it;


I was just done with my GRE (24th Feb, 2009) and was Cloud 7 (I did not score so much as to be on Cloud 9) and so were my friends, who for the sake of the blog are called A, B, C, D, Me (yeah, me!) and one F. So, how did the day come about? We were in the third year of college, what do you expect? Everyone around was having these crazy-ass road-trips to Mount Opera (no, not a mountain, it is a resort/water-park/hang-out place). And of course we were not gonna pay the heavy entry-fee (well, we Hyderabadis are cheap like that! :P). We found out about an offer. Some departmental store was offering a free ticket on purchase of two large sodas (these are gonna be important later...). Well, so we were all set, with tickets and trying to convince F to come. F lived in Banjara Hills (now in Kingsville, TX) and we make fun of him even today "Kyun F bhai, Mount Opera ku Banjara Hills ku shift karaarain, chalo ab tho jainge...". From now on, we'll try and move Mount Opera to Kingsville, TX. (Kyun F bhai, ab tho bi chalrain?? :P :P)


Of course, you might've realized that we were bunking college to have this all-day trip (not that, it was a big deal...not anymore at least...). We were supposed to start from my place at around 9:30 in the morning. Of course, these things never happen on time, do they? And of course B (and sometimes, even A) has never been to a class on time, how can ou expect them to be on time for fun, and on a separate note, I heard an interesting story about B (who works for a company now) being late for work and being told off by his supervisor. If anyone knows how that went, leave the description in the comments section :). OK, so, C was supposed come to my place and I was to pick him up or something. B was getting his own bike, so were me and A. Yeah, did I mention that road-trip here means on bikes for like 50 km or something like that.


You must be wondering how this is sooo not an interesting story, that is because I haven't started yet. The real fun begins now. I woke up at about 8 (well, pretty early as compared to today's standards) and had a look at my bike (an awesome 2007 Honda Shine, if you are wondering) and it had, wait for it, a flat tire. Well, I figured, it's fine, I'll get it fixed before we even start. So, I got all ready, calling up everyone and finalizing with F if he still wanted the resort to be shifted to Banjara hills. Well, at around 10 we were supposed to meet at a common point on the way to the resort. Me and C on one bike, B and D on one bike and A on one (because of his bike). A came to the point with C and so did B and D. A as usual came late and he had a broken leg guard (I'm not sure that's what it is called, it is the thing that stops the bike falling on your leg when it topples to the side). We had to go back to my place to put it at home and leave. I don't remember properly now, but I believe B's bike was also screwed up in some way. So, finally, it was about 11 by the time we started.


So, we did start, finally. Now comes one of the best parts. Location: L.B. Nagar X Road. A, the quintessential rash rider went totally overboard. There was a stop sign (a red signal, for you desis :P) and in trying to beat the stop sign, A went and beat another bike rider. As luck would have it, a cop saw all this and came running (almost literally) to the spot and took the key from A's bike (that is the style of Hyderabadi cops) and directed A to the center of the traffic island. Here is a funnier part: B was so amused by A's accident (?) that, he was laughing out and squinting in A's direction (in Hyderabadi: Jhaank jhaank ke dekhke hasra tha). For good measure, the former cop's sidekick came over and took B to the island too. Me and C were left alone (and sometimes I wish this ordeal ended here with all of us getting a loss in money). Well, after about 15-20 minutes of convincing the cops and having to pay like 500 bucks (post the amount in the comments guys :P).


This is definitely gonna be in parts, so I'll end here with a few pictures of the ride...and the trip so far:
This is A.

Me and C.

The cam was on B and D's bike, so no pics of those two so far...

I'll be back soon with the second installment of this day...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

7 Fictional Characters that changed my life! :)

The title says it all. This apens to everyone. Sometimes, fictional characters are more influencing to your life than actual people. It is especially true when you can connect to the situations the character has been in. Well, this is list is about some of the major of my influences. The list goes as below: (this is exactly how I write my exams :))


1. Barney Stinson: For the obvious reasons. He is simply legen-wait for it-dary! Be it the coolness with which he handles problems, the impeccable suiting-up or the mysterious story-line about his job, Barney simply rocks! If you've never come across Barney, go for any episode of How I Met Your Mother. The kind of gentle comedy (yeah! ;)) and mystery behind his work makes him a sort of idol for me :). And of course not to mention The Bro Code - awesome book. I was rolling on the floor laughing when I first read the book. Rock on, Barney!


2. Eric Cartman: Eric Cartman, the douche-bag from South Park, yes! I know, Eric represents everything that is wrong with the world, for academic purposes, this is probably the most influential of all my influences. I have learnt a lot about the world and people especially from this show and especially Cartman. The "Screw you guys, I'm going home."s and "But, Moooom"s definitely make him the best characters in the show. In spite of being a racist and a pretentious douche, he has touched my life and affected my thinking patterns a lot. Hats-off to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for thinking him up! \m/


3. Holden Caulfield: The protagonist of the popular "The Catcher in the Rye", probably my most favorite book. Well, the informal tone of the narration and the beauty with which he talks about the things around him makes him the frankest character in any book, movie or series I have ever seen. The best part - "All I want to be is a catcher in the rye and not just another phony like everyone else" like Holden says to his sister Phoebe. Awesome!


4. Tyler Durden: Brad Pitt at his perfection, but Pitt isn't why Durden is an important influence to me. The stoicism and philosophy Tyler represents what I would like to be. "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time." is what sticks. I would highly recommend you watch Fight Club for a better understanding. :)


5. Ross Geller: The geek from Friends. No descriptions, but he has affected me quite a bit. And of course, Science Boy! \m/


6. Bruce Wayne: Typical super-hero inspiration, you might say. But then, there is something very different from any other super-hero. Ever realized that Wayne had no super-powers like the other super-heroes?? All Wayne does is making use of science and technology to get his powers. Wayne teaches me that hard-work and innovation can get you accolades which are usually assumed.


7. Severus Snape: Forget the superb revelations of the real role of Snape in the Deathly Hallows, he was my all time favorite right from the first book. His stoic attitude and the best part, keeping secrets is what touches me :).


List out yours too! :)


P.S.: Feels good to have nothing blabbered at the beginning and the end, right? :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I, Blog.

Hi everyone! I am the blog writing. No, this time, I have decided to take things into my own hands instead of leaving them for Munaf to sort out. He is such a geek and believes that, if a blog is good, it simply finds acceptance without any efforts on the author's part. Well, duh! I have had enough of this goody-two-shoes attitude on his part. Let's face it, publicizing anything is almost as important as making it good. Hope Munaf realizes this soon. And coming to taking things into m own hands, let me tell you what is important for my kind (blogs, of course). First thing is, of course, readership. More we are read, more we enjoy. But, the story doesn't end there (yeah, you wish!). A blog is a very complicated entity, so to say. We have feelings too. When a person rates a post, we feel proud of our author. When someone comments on a post, it is all the more special for us, because we get to get several points of view rather than the monotonous POVs of our author. When someone follows us, it is even more elating, just because then, we know someone cares for all this *replace with word meaning non-sense* (I'm no Munaf, see... :P) our author has to put up.

Now, that's out of the way, I'll give you what you came for. You all read the posts I host (wow, I'm a poet and didn't even know it! :P). Did you know that, posting a comment takes just about a minute of your time? Now, don't tell me you don't even have that kind of time, I see Munaf and can surmise how jobless his readers can be. (Munaf's gonna kill me if he sees this, he respects his readers a lot, you know...) Do you know how much a comment can mean to the blog and may be even to the author? A lot! If you really like Munaf's posts, please make sure you comment. I cannot, of course, judge Munaf's writings, but then, the few comments he gets tell me he's not so abysmal as I thought. You know, a minute of writing a comment can encourage the author to write better and thus, it makes me look good too :P. Then, following. I, of all people (or should I say things? :P) know how many readers I get in any given period of time and most of them are returning (yeah, I know that too.), If you are so interested in my author's writings, why don't you just follow me. If you use Google Reader, new posts I host will be updated almost immediately and anyway, shouldn't you be showing your support for Mr. Shaik when he, I'm sure, he gives you a couple of laughs at the very least :). Now, all you need to either follow or comment is a Google account and in this day and age, I'm sure no one is without one. It's just a matter of a couple of minutes and makes me look good and consequently my author, better.

Please comment and let me live. Also follow to make me look good :). And of course, try to write a blog yourself. We are still a rare race, make us ubiquitous :D. And keep enjoying my author's posts!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deify (or may be not)

My second post in two days. Looks like I'm on a roll, but then, let me not get over myself here. How I am doing this is, I have a folder on my system with text files named after each topic I want to write about. This list is being accumulated from about a couple of months (ever since I got this machine..) and I haven't worked on them until yesterday. Alright, none of your business, right? I know. but then, it feels good to be sharing these things with friends. :) Well, I named this text file deify and hope the title stays the same at the end too. Just a declaration :). Anyway, I am enjoying the first few days of my holidays very much, what with nothing and yet, everything to do. Why, just today, I enquired for a course to learn Spanish and was astounded by the exorbitant price and decided to download one instead. Typical Indian, you might say, but then, lack of resources and the exorbitant price makes me do that, Fine, jokes apart, what is this post about? Well, this is something we see virtually everyday. I'll barge into the post, because one of my friends (and avid reader of this blog) doesn't apparently like my dragging on the first few paragraphs of each post.

You might have seen people praising people. That's pretty common, I am not saying praising people is bad. But sometimes, what happens is, people just deify (I don't know a more superlative word for this...) their peers (yes, I forgot to mention this, just peers and I'm gonna make an elaborate argument stating how everyone is a peer. :)). Fine, let me start off with some building statements. Everyone is equal. People who have achieved something have done so just because they have worked hard on it. Having said that, I'd like to play a bit with the borderlines of religion here. Let me state some more things here. God does not play cricket. God has (most probably) better things to do than making you laugh by enacting a bit as your favorite comedian. God does not get a paltry 10 Lakhs per annum package for a job. And there are many more things on those lines. I have seen people (quite many around me) compare people especially peers with God. Let me stop being religious here. Let's face it, Sachin is not God. (A post on my views on games and stuff might be just around the corner) (this is just an example, no offence to you hardcore fans) This has become a common practice, at least I believe, in the recent past. Let me move away from this, you may prefer to call celebs whatever you like, but let me get to my point.

Fine, coming to peers. A guy gets a good score on a test, or may be a fine placement, I dunno why some of us are compelled to deify the person. He may be whatever he/she is, but then let me put some perspective here. Did you ever notice that, by deifying a peer of yours, you are simply creating delusions to yourself that you are a good-for-nothing person? A person may deserve praise, I'm all for it. But do that in a way that is not pretentious and constructive to yourself too. For instance, call the person up, talk to them and congratulate on the achievement. I don't see any reason why a successful person needs to be deified. Get inspired, yes, but there is no reason to deify the person and least of all to tell the person himself/herself. You know, your peer probably got to be good just because he worked hard to get there, so just simply let him be and for once, be selfish. Being a guy who thinks a looooot, I know what kind of effect deifying people has on your own efforts and may be even you levels of confidence. So, simple solution - do not deify. May be revere, may be just respect, but deifying is completely not in the same league. And about everyone being peers, this is not the right place for it. May be another post :). But thing is, I haven;t thought out this whole post a lot, I must be better prepared for future posts :).

Ok, almost sleep-time, I'll leave it here. I think I have made a statement of sorts with this and my previous posts. I have my own thought process and ideas and for all I know, they might be as twisted as a mobius strip. What I actaully want to do using this medium is - urge readers to think about these topics and build their own opinions. I shall never rub my personal thought process on anyone at all. *batting eye-lids* :)

And of course, the disclaimer at the end of the last post applies here too :). By the way, I lost all my ":P"s if you haven't noticed. :)

Nighty Night!!

P.S.: Please give your opinions too in the comments section :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chapters

Alright, end of exam season and finally, I am almost an Engineer, just waiting for the results and my convocation. Actually, I've decided not to make any promises about the frequency of posts coming about this season of the blog (yeah, right, I like to call them seasons :P). Anyway, let me start off by giving out my current state of mind. Well, people around me are all acting so mature and grown-up, no one (except a couple of them...) is fooling around, people are going around Visa offices and keeping their fingers crossed about their MBA entrance results (not you mama, you're handling it very well... :P) and here I am, just sitting and planning on going abroad in he coming Spring. Actually, there is not much planning, it's almost all set. Anyway, at least, I now have the gift of time. Sounds a bit too sanguine, but then, it pays, You know, I now have new and improved (how can something be new and improved? Don't ask me. :P). respect for the Uncertainty Principle. No comments about that, find out and assume things at the link on this blog. Gift of time. A lot of things that can be done and a couple of things that must be done along with the one thing that gave me this break in the first place. Of course, I am now totally enjoying the 64-bit Ubuntu Lucid and loving messing around with people and computers as usual. Well, what is this post about? The age old question. Well, this is a timeless post. It is at the same time about the past, the present and the future, Kind of oxymoron-ic, no? (Pardon my Indian touch to my English, I'm trying to lose it. :P and I shall try to lose the ":P"s too :)) But of course, let me get into the post.

Well, this post is coming mainly from my experiences. Also, the timing for the post is also kinda perfect because I have just completed one of the most important and enjoyable things I ever did. Nothing so mystic though, it is just my Engineering. Come to think of it, it has become so ubiquitous at least in our part of the country. Actually, I don't feel any different after finishing it. No, I just don't have to worry about not caring for important things. I'll be honest, at least here. I will definitely miss those days, but then, it's not like I'm moving to anything less fun than this. No elucidating here, mainly due to FUD regarding TUP (don't even ask!). Anyway, I'd rather have my peers see the change as a positive thing, mainly due to the development each of is most likely about to see in the near future. Most of us are now gonna get paid, for crying out loud! I'm digressing here, looks like the long stint away from writing has done no wonders to my writing skills (much like my project did not to my confidence, but then, that is a whole other story altogether...). Damn, another lengthy paragraph and I have not stated anything that is not obvious! I gotta pull up my gig now.

Let me start with a for-instance. Let us say you have a life decision to make that is certainly going to have you relocate (for want of a better word...) to a new place. Now the question I pose is not such a difficult one, in that, first of all, it is not even a question so much as a matter of opinion. So, in this situation, would you prefer to have a good friend of yours (at least an acquaintance for that matter...) and continue your life, so to say. Or, simply don't even care whether or not anyone you know is at the new place in hopes that, you can start afresh, so to say. Now, I have not been so articulate in the above few lines, but I hope you got what I meant. Now, here cometh my take.

First things first, I metaphor-ize my life as a set of short-stories. One story ends, the other one begins, and of course both stories need not correlate in the least. But, morals and lessons learnt from the precious stories always find use in making decisions in the next story. In simple words, I like to have a fresh beginning each time I take a turn in my life. No, I'm not talking about ditching my old friends and go finding new ones. Old friends are important but then, they have their own _things_. Time for elucidation. See, I make mistakes and have flaws in each stage of my life, like anyone else. Old friends have the incorrigible habit of nagging on these subjects even though the things happened like ages ago. That's just one side of the coin. Old friends aside, it is also important to bury the skeletons you have in your closet, right? (totally figurative, I have no real skeletons in my closet, you can come and check!) A new place for me, is usually a way to clean my slate and start building a new life for myself. I have done this about 4 times now and have loved the way things have turned out. You know, you usually get to live your fantasy. Tell tehm you were Superman and you are golden! :) That does it, huh? Well, of course, that's just me, trying to bury the skeletons in my closet in any possible twisted manner and living out fantasies. Well, doing this has its downsides too. you need to be patient at the start of each story and by the end of the story you have new skeletons in your closet (I'm using this a bit too much). So, after this part of my life I called Engineering, I will most likely start a new story. This is just my preference. If I had no choice, this chapter would continue for a little more time.

Fine, this was probably one of the not-good posts, but you gotta know I've been away from this for quite many days and this is just like a warm up post. Don't stop reading the blog just because of this post!

Write your own stories. And live your fantasies like you want, because life is too long to be a single chapter, better break it up into chapters. :) :) :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Almost...

Back, as y'all can see! (read this in a southern accent.. :P). No, it's okay if you haven't, really! I don't want to be imposing such silly things on my blog's readers, I respect y'all. Anyway, as a few of you might know, my birthday is just round the corner, and the most important thing about this b'day of mine, is that, I'm gonna turn 21 tomorrow! If you are not able to get the picure to the right, think Blackjack. :P.


People tell me 21 is an important age to cross. I don't see why, though. Thing is, I believe that, birthdays are over-rated. True, it is a red-letter day in many people's life, but then, it's not like you have personally achieved something by being born. anyway, 21 s a bit different, you are completely considered an adult once you become 21, and people expect some maturity from you. It's kinda like a stream, once you cross it, the things you've left behind seem too far away and you start finding new avenues altogether. Wow, I never knew I could make such metaphors - maturity, see :P. Be practical, celebrate the day you indeed achieve something. Alright, let me indulge myself a little before my birthday. If life were a game of Blackjack, I would be hitting the spot tomorrow :P. And it's gonna be all bust after that, no? :P Anyway, it has been fun to be on the winning side of Blackjack. And now, I'm off the eplore what's good after 21! I would like to put in words what I have been for the past almost 21 years.


Let me start off with something I am good at. 


I am almost versatile with computers.
I am almost a good orator.
I am almost the best in thinking.
I am almost good at writing.
I can understand almost everything. (as in concepts, not languages.)
I can spend almost all my time on social networking site.
I almost have a job.
I have almost made it to some of the good universities in the US.
I have almost completed my graduation.
I have almost achieved Ubuntu (not the Linux distro, the African philosophy.)
I have almost understood the inner workings of human minds..
I have almost understood social ethics and cultures.
I have almost a good understanding of the current zeitgeist around me.
I have almost found out the secret of happiness. (I have understood it, but am unable to put it in words. :))
I have almost mastered Linux.
I have almost done nothing.
On the other hand, I have almost done everything.
I have been almost the best person I can be.




Finally, I am now, Almost 21!




P.S.: First things first, i don't mind if people don't wish me on my birthday (even I don't so much care about wishing others on theirs...). Please don't make it a big deal about calling me up and wishing me. Another thing, if you were to call me, don't durng 9:30 to 13:00, I have an exam tomorrow (ironic, I know :P). All the best to me! :D :D

Monday, April 12, 2010

G for Genius!


Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.    - Arthur Schopenhauer


Alright! Call it the effect of the bloggers' meet yesterday or something, I suddenly get the mood to write regularly (yeah, I call two posts in 2 consequent days regular :P). Anyway, it's been nice - going through peoples' blogs and finding some excellent work done by each of them. Kudos to y'all!! And of course, keep the good work going!!

So, another post. The title might suggest something about Parle-G biscuits, but no! This ain't got anything to do with any confectionery or something on those lines. I literally mean G for Genius as the title. Well, this is about Genius. Have you ever wondered how generously we use the adjective? I've been thinking for a while now and the answer is not good. Let me illustrate what I'm trying to say here. If a person gets more marks than you - genius. If someone can answer something esoteric you have no idea about - genius. If someone discovers something, however insignificant, - genius. B the W, I'm watching the DC match and hope we recover soon and make like a 180 runs. Fingers Xed on that area. :).  OK, genius, huh?? I simply don't like people call just anyone that. This post is where I try to describe what genius actually means to me. So, when you're around me, try to adhere to these rules before tagging someone a genius :P.

I draw upon a little bit of tutelage from Roger Penrose (author of A Road to Reality). I believe that, some things simply exist - in kind of a Platonic sense of existence (please don't ask me more about this. :P). Well, anyway, the thing about such things is, they are just there. It is not like the person who uncovers them is doing a great act in trying to find something that is already there. (Refer Mandelbrot plots here, they simply existed, like forever and Mandelbrot was just he person to uncover the underlying beauty...) With all due respect to all the great inventors and discoverers, most of them aren't anything close to genius. They might have been intelligent and persevering hard-workers, but genius, I don't think so! 

Let me give you some examples of people who are in my view, tagged genius rather liberally. The first, may be the oldest - the wheel. We all larn that the wheel was tone of the most ingenious inventions. But, on second thought, it is kind of obvious. Let us say Mr.X (or may be Ms. X, for all non-sexists like me...) invented the wheel. The fact of the matter remains that, eventually, someone would stumble upon the idea to make a circular thing. Same goes for Aryabhatta, who is credited with the "invention" of zero. Come on people! Definitely, i wouldn;t tag Aryabhatta a genius, if not him, someone, somewhere might definitely have stumbled upon the idea of having a number which had no value (tell me about it, Indians have a knack at these things - we like getting things for free, right?) Then there is the probably the biggest speculator of all time - Sir Newton. Gravity, they tell me, makes him a genius. But think about it twice,the idea of gravity can be attributed mainly to his being in the right place at the right time. So, I'm sure I made my point clear here, as to what kind of people do not qualify for the tag of genius.

Now, the obvious question. Who is a genius? I'll try my best to put my idea in good words here. A genius is a person, whose ideas and maybe inventions affect the world in such a way that - when the later generations look at the ideas, they go like what the heck was this fellow thinking? How the hell could anyone get this vague an idea. In simple words, the idea should be simple but so out-of-the-world that, no one would think about it unless they go mad. Like someone says, Genius is just another level of insanity, :P. Anyway, time for examples. The first one that comes to mind is Nikola Tesla. The man single-handedly formulated wireless communication (you might say Marconi did that, but the patent for Radio was later corrected to Tesla's name in 1943), the AC motor, Alternating Current itself and wireless electricity (not one of his successful ventures, I'd say...). Da Vinci is another. Then there are several authors who get into this category of genius-ness. Shakespeare, Tolkein, Milton, Crichton, Clarke and many others. Then there are mathematicians - Hawking, Penrose, Feynman, and how can I forget Einstein. Then there is the person who got the idea of a microprocessor - there wasn't anything analogous to that in earlier times, was there? Also on the list would be Page/Brin for Google and Zuckerberg for Facebook. And of course, Tim Berners Lee for the Internet!

Alright then, I take leave! Please don;t call undeserving people genius, for me at least. :P. And for any disputes, please refer to the disclaimer under the title of the blog. :D. Finally, i think it is important to draw a proper line between genius and geek.

Keep Rocking!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hyderabad IndiBlogger Meet!



Finally, I found some kind of inspiration to get back to blogging. Each time I've been trying to post something, I was getting bored and started doing something else. It was the interaction I had with about 150 bloggers that gave me the get-go again. Thanks you all!!

Coming to the bloggers' meet, well, this was my first one ever!! I was kind of stylishly late :P. I arrived like half an hour late and people had already started introducing themselves (30 Seconds of Fame). I went on and sat down in one of the back rows. There were several interesting people whose blogs I'm surely gonna visit (some I've already done...). The response was really overwhelming. And yeah, why was I late, again? I had to blow my farewell party thrown by my Juniors. But, I'm sure, that couldn't have been better than this. Now, coming to my 30 Seconds of Fame, as usual, i was the same old afraid-of-the-crowd Munaf. I blabbered off something and later realized I hadn't said anything I had planned to :D. Alright next came the funny part of the meet.

We were all handed a chart and a sketch pen (we weren't told why, at first). This part was called Live and Let Comment. Weel, we were asked to hang the sheet around our necks and go around socializing with people and let them comment, give their blog address etc on the sheet of paper. It was fun! Foound and met a lot of interesting people here. Then came the quiz.

Well, let me be honest! Despite the quiz-master's saying that the questions would not be esoteric, I felt them to be. It was probably because I have been active on the Internet only for about 3 years now. (There were people very much older than me, internet wise :P). No, I wont touch upon the questions! I simply cannot recollect them as of now.

Then there was the exciting part - food! Just kidding. It was a decent enough tea and some time fo mingling with the co-bloggers (in search of a better term).

Then there was this session to discuss about forming a Hyderabad Bloggers Forum and it went pretty well with some people offering to host the website and everyone coming up with names. 

Then, there was a group photo session - which was great fun in itself. :).

What I observed there was, there were people literally from every walk of life. Of course, the majority were students/IT Professionals. There were many IT Professionals from biggie companies like ex-Google/IBM, Microsoft, TCS, Satyam and some even had their own firms.

All in all, it was a real fetching experience for me!! If you ever get a chance to attend one, don't ever leave it!!!

Thank you all for making my day!!

P.S.: For more details on the meet, go to http://www.indiblogger.in/bloggermeet.php?id=70

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Favorite words! :)

Back again! What have I been up to? Well, I've been busy with my project (yeah, like you'd believe that :P), looking for the best laptop for me and South Park (you read it right...I love it!!). Well, this post as the title goes, is just another list. This time a list of some of, yes just some of my favorite words. How I compiled the list is an interesting story though...For a week now, I've been thinking about it and each time a word I like pops up in my mind, I just note it down in a draft SMS and move on. It has been quite a task to recollect words and noting them...Alright, how am I going to give the list this time? Well, first is of course the word, no, I won't give it's meaning here, you can use your own dictionary :P, and then why I like the word. For some of the words I like I don't even have a reason to like, simply idiosyncratic, I guess :)

The list goes like this...

cliché - the word simply sounds good to me. I also like the meaning.
bohemian - the meaning of this word is something I can relate to. 
onomatopoeia - the word sounds funny, don't you agree? The meaning is a bit funny too. :D
utopia - a bit like bohemian, both these words give me the goosebumps each time I come across them.
assimilate - no reason, I simply cannot fathom why I like the word so much.
omniscient - something I aspire to be, and hence like. :D
sanguine - again, something I usually am.
instigate - No reason.
nostalgia - Obvious reason, the meaning.
idiosyncrasy - Something I believe is very important for everyone. Ironic, ain't it?
hypocrite - I hate hypocrites, but the word, I like. :P
charlatan - A funny word with a funny sound.
rain-maker - the meaning. I'd like to be one for myself one day.
silhouette - funny word.
connoisseur - something I am a little but try to be the best one.
mademoiselle - the sound of it. It sounds so refined and smooth.
paranoia - ha ha.
innuendo - the sound and meaning.
insinuation - meaning.

And why do you need to know this? I have no idea myself!

Anyway, try South Park sometime, I'm sure you'll enjoy all the wry humor and the hidden insinuations. 

Adios!