Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mac v/s Vista

With Apple now shifting to the Intel platform - the Mac has become another shark hungry for the market share being doled out by the beleaguered Microsoft Vista.
To quote from the Apple web site:
Why upgrade to Vista when you can upgrade to Mac? Especially when you can move all your stuff from an old PC to a shiny new Mac in less time than it takes to add the memory, hard disk space, and graphics card you’ll probably need to install Vista. Here are three easy ways to make your move.
That's a pretty strong statement coming from the Apple stable and yet another indication of the poor feedback offered by Vista users. Personally, I feel Vista is still just as secure as Windows XP from the user's point of view but more secure from the programmers viewpoint. The whole crux of the matter being that Microsoft forgot its end users while trying to implement new revolutionary (read: proprietary) technology for its programmers. With the .NET platform still stuck onto Windows due to the poor help offered by M$ in porting it to linux (for obvious reasons), Microsoft's credibility with the Open Source guys is going to the dogs - so much so that they have started an online campaign at http://badvista.fsf.org/blog. This is hot on the heels of Microsoft signing pacts with LG and Xandros that state that M$ will not prosecute them for any (perceived) patent violations for a period of 5 years, a deal that is similar to the one signed with Novell last year. IMHO, this is yet another tactic to prevent linux adoption by implicitly spreading false and misleading information (also called FUD) about linux. Have a look at http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2140955,00.asp for more info.

On a side note, its quite likely that Google is funding a hush-hush compilation of a linux distro to gain a foothold in the desktop space so more fireworks are likely soon. As it is, Google's new Google Desktop provides a sidebar for Win XP users, a combination with a good theming engine will give users lesser and lesser reason to upgrade to Windows Vista.

For people interested in more technologies (muck?) coming from the Microsoft stables, have a look at the Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas) beta 2 and Windows Server 2008 beta available for free download from here and here respectively and decide for yourself. However, don't forget to check the minimum system requirements, most likely, your PC is obsolete for these "revolutionary" technologies. (And I thought the most basic function of an OS was interfacing between the user and the hardware at minimum resource cost. Guess I was wrong... ;-)

ऑनलाइन video editing

Planning to make those college videos into cherished masterpieces? Have a look at the great online tools for editing video. Check out this site. Give me a feedback on how you liked these tools.

Friday, July 13, 2007

AJAX और हिंदी

हाँ! अब आप हिंदी में भी भी ब्लोग कर सकते हैं। गूगल में तो कुछ अलग ही बात है। इतनी आसानी से मैंने कभी हिंदी नही लिक्खी थी। चलो, इसी बहाने मेरी हिंदी कुछ और शुद्ध हो जायेगी।
इस लेख का मुख्य उद्देश्य है आपको AJAX नामक टेक्नोलॉजी (इसे हिंदी में क्या कहते हैं?) के एक अंग से परिचित करवाना। AJAX का पूर्ण नाम है Asynchronous Javascript and XML और इसी के मध्यम से मैं अभी इन्टरनेट के द्वारा ब्लॉगर के इस सुन्दर यन्त्र का फूलपूर्वक इस्तमाल कर रह हूँ।
दरसल AJAX द्वारा हम Desktop जैसी look aur feel web applications को दे सकते हैं। पर आज के लिए बस इतना ही। अगले लेख में मैं इस टेक्नोलॉजी पर ज्यादा विस्तार से बात करूंगा। तब तक के लिए शुभ रात्री, शब्बा खैर, और अपना ख़याल जरूर रखियेगा। तब तक के लिए नमस्कार। ;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Firefox in Firefox!
Here's something of a "Do you know?" variety.
One of the great things about Firefox is that its interface is highly modular and creating an extension or a plugin is as simple as editing xml files and writing Javascript code (things most web designers do on a daily basis). Firefox renders its interface with the appropriate theme by evaluating an xml file. So effectively, Firefox renders itself by evaluating its own interface file and placing widgets as defined in it in a blank application window. Well, I just came to know that it's possible to load Firefox within itself by asking it to evaluate its own interface using a chrome:// uri. Don't be surprised - just try typing chrome://browser/content/browser.xul in the address bar and see the results. The new interface is a fully functional Firefox!
Now, for the more curious among you - the reason why this works is because the chrome:// uri is interpreted by the firefox engine as a reference to its chrome directory and the subsequent paths provided are used to navigate the inner tree structure. The xul file is interpreted as an interface and rendered as such, complete with all event handlers - giving you a complete browser within a browser. To see the innards of Firefox, open up the browser.jar in the chrome directory of your Firefox installation using any standard unzipping utility and look at content/browser/browser.js and content/browser/browser.xul to have a feel of how flexible my favourite browser actually is!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Looking at my blog, it just occurred to me that I have become very tardy in posting here. Its been over a month since my last post! Anyways, this is just to post the fact that my Bhawan Day concluded on 20th March and my room got trashed. Apparently, there is an age old custom of ensuring that the inmates atleast bother to clean their rooms once every year.
In a nutshell (for those of you who don't know), every hostel on campus organizes an evening of cultural events and a DJ. All inmates are allowed to invite 1 other person to the Bhawan Day (held at night, of course ;). Oh, I almost forgot - girls are also allowed to enter the Boys hostel on this day.
Coming back to the point, most people give their passes to their "Room Baaps" (seniors who have stayed at the room last year) and they end up coming with a few friends to their ex-room and trashing it. It only helps if you are a member of any student group like IMG or Watch Out. They come and finish off whatever is left of your room. Of course, the authorities have a field day after all this and they end up making a pretty penny from the fines imposed in the aftermath. I hope I escape a fine (The warden did read a quote written on the wall in fluorescent marker by one of the IMGians, so its all upto him now). I'll be putting up "beautiful" pics of my room here soon. It will make an interesting study - the Apocalypse and subsequent clean up. Suprisingly (or not, depending on how you look at it), my room looked cleaner after I ended up removing all the mess than it did before it got trashed.
Before I cleaned it up, it had quotes written on the walls with unconventional materials - red Close Up toothpaste, green Lifebuoy soap, white shaving cream, fluorescent marker (to name a few); the floor was littered with torn newspapers and water was on the matresses and quilts. Needless to say, I have to buy a lot of toiletries quite soon. After things quietened down around 10 PM, news came rushing over the airwaves - The Chief Warden is conducting a surprise check of all the rooms. All inmates are requested to be in their rooms or face automatic fines. Out came the dusters, the pail of water and off I went scrubbing... After the inspection, the day wasn't done - time and tutorials don't wait for trifles like Bhawan Days and finally, I went off to sleep, exhausted, at 2 PM...
This is my story, but let my faithful friend - the reader be a part of another one. IITJEE, the world's toughest engineering entrance examination, is going to be held once again to select another batch of students for the premier institutions of India. I give all those students giving this examination my best wishes and I wish them luck. Just spare 2 minutes and mentally send your blessings to all of these hardworking students, and don't forget to send a special small "best of luck" for students from my school - Loyola. Go Loyola!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Big Brother of the Internet: Google.
So you really like Google, use it for searching, check your mails on it, link to your friends on Orkut, blog away on Blogger, create web pages on Google Page Creator, organize images using Picasa, shop using Froogle, read news using Google Reader, publish scraps of info using Google Notebooks, edit documents using Google Spreadsheets, find maps using Google Maps, view your home using Google Earth, soon you will be operating on Google OS....

Doesn't this sound like a monopoly of sorts? Not that you are forced into opting for Google products, its just that there are no good alternatives. So, what does all this mean for an average guy? It means that everything about your online "personal" life has a record on some Google server and you and I can't do anything about it. (I mean, I doubt that sending a mail to Google, asking them to delete all your private data would even elicit a response.) It all depends on how much you value your privacy. For me, I value it a lot but because of Google's sterling track record, I'm comfortable in entrusting private information to it. But that doesn't stop people from worrying about what "computer analysis" can be done to your private data in order to "catalog" you in the pecking order of the internet. Anunay was bothered with the same thought and came to more or less the same conclusion.

Anunay has posted a very nice reflective article here and if you bother to "Google" - "Google as Big Brother" , there will be plenty of good articles that will tell you why you should be wary of Google. Check out this article on google-watch.org(there it is again, the 17th time in this article) that I liked because of its objectivity, though I don't agree completely with all its points. In the end, you have to decide about the level of trust you are willing to put into a "monopolistic" data warehousing company. For the more privacy inclined, have a look at Scroogle. Oh, and don't forget to educate yourself here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ekta Kapoor had a reason when she named her serials with a K. K has a universal appeal. Have a look at Gopal's Blog on this topic: http://k-gopal.blogspot.com/2007/01/k.html
As far as I have been able to discern, there is no law that states that momentum must be quantized. It is defined to be a continuously varying function dependant on the velocity of the particle according to the relativistic equations derived from the Lorentz Transformations. However, this article: http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/MOMEQUAT.htm on the web puts forth on first glance a convincing argument for the quantization of momentum. I haven't analyzed the mathematics in detail but can anybody spot some flaws?
I recently received a forward mail from Utsav that has generated some debate. I am posting it below.

Forwarded Conversation
Subject: Fabolous Article abt India!!!Are we dreaming the correct future for ourselves!!!!!! DO read
------------------------

From: utsav kumar
Date: Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 5:41 PM

I belong to life's batch of 1979 and as I grew up through the 1980s and early 1990s I was deeply embarrassed about India. About everything, our movies, our cricket team, our athletes, our products, our infrastructure, our poverty, our politicians and the whole damn system.

No matter what we did, we fell painfully short of potential. Time and again! It hurt because I wanted to belong to a big, strong nation that could kick some a** and not to some laggard.

But the story has changed, and how! Here I am in a brand new 2007, miles away from sweet home India, yet still closely following her story. Now they all say that it is not so much 'whether or not' as much as 'when' will India become a superpower, a world beater.

India is shining, India is poised and India is everywhere, so I hear. Now the embarrassment and the heartaches have been buried with the 1990s.

Instead now there is a swelling pride and a sweet anxiety as we roar back into being a nation in fashion. And I am very happy for India and for all of us Indians. I am 27 now and I pray that I can see India fly highest before I kick the bucket.

But here comes the twist in my tale. I no longer want India to be a superpower in the manner I wanted it to be when I was naive and without a broader perspective. I no longer want it to be another big and brawny US. I don't want it to be a superpower that is just made up of brain and brawn, that is GDP performance and military might.

Rather and more pressingly, I want India to have a heart. The heart of a superpower, a civilised country. Now what is the heart of a country? Let me try, humbly:

Having a heart, unlike GDP growth and a military beef-up, does not just relate to the macro-economic and political issues. Having a heart of a real superpower essentially has micro implications, for each of us. Each of us can soon belong to a mighty nation and all that but then what is the point of belonging to one if we indulge in or turn a blind eye to child labour?

Are we ready yet to ask for the age of our servants or avoid and report restaurants where the cleaners are boys who should be in school? I ask again, what is the big thing about belonging to a superpower if we continue to pelt stones at speechless stray dogs and cows? What is the big deal?

We can spit on the roads and throw the banana peel from a travelling car and still India can turn into what the world calls a superpower. The two are not corelated but then do we just want to be a mighty country and not care about our manners? We can buy a multitude of cars, bikes and look down on public transportation and still become a superpower. All our trees can make way for ultra modern townships. But then do we just want to belong to a superpower and pollute without caring about our environmental legacy for our children?

Are we ready yet to smile freely at random countrymen on the streets? Or if someone's car rams into ours are we ready to get out and ask, 'Are you ok?' instead of fisting the aggressor?

Are we poised to replace brutal ragging at our educational institutions with warmer welcoming gestures? Are we there yet, when we care to build local infrastructure that can also be used by handicapped people? Will we ever care enough for our country that we pick up our dog's poop when we walk it on the streets?

And will we dance on the streets again if India successfully tests another nuclear weapon? Are we ready yet to have a heart?

The time has come for us to become an economic powerhouse of the world. There is no stopping us now. But the time is certainly not here as yet for us to claim that we have a collective heart, the heart that makes a real superpower beat soundly. That's going to take a while.

Till then let us not kid ourselves at the prospect of becoming a superpower.

The task at hand is a lot bigger than the mere achievement of becoming an economic powerhouse and having destructive weapons. Let us be aware, lest we stop and rejoice as soon as we become the world's largest economy and stagnate.

Let's keep moving onto bigger things. Let's become a real superpower. A superpower that beats to a super heart.

Ravi Bhaskar is a software consultant based in Calgary, Canada.



--------
From: Indrasen Bhattacharya
Date: Thu, Jan 25, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Hi

That article has been written by a typical example of what the
BIGGEST problem with our nation is today. The guy who wrote this is
based in Canada. Why doesnt he come back to India like and do his job
for the country if he really cares instead of sending out emails like
that? He is one of those disgusting people like Arundhati Roy who said
- "If India becomes a nuclear power , I will give up my citizenship."
Would you rather have it, as this person seems to, that India
should have remained nuclearly handicapped and in a position to be
blackmailed by just about any rogue country like Pakistan or North
Korea ? AND this guy doesnt care even about the smaller problems like
poverty, illiteracy or child labour else he wouldnt be in Calgary. Its
very easy to send emails like that. Its hard to come here and do
something.
So, next time please exclude me from your prestigious list. Oh, by
the way "fabulous" is spelled in this way.
-Yours indignantly,
Indrasen

--------
From: Divye Kapoor
To: Indrasen Bhattacharya
Date: Sat, Jan 27, 2007 at 5:27 PM
Hi indi,
It looks like you feel really strongly about this subject. So do I. But my viewpoint on this message differs from yours.
To quote you:

"That article has been written by a typical example of what the
BIGGEST problem with our nation is today. The guy who wrote this is
based in Canada. Why doesn't he come back to India like and do his job

for the country if he really cares instead of sending out emails like
that?"
My opinion on this point is that you need not be in your country in order to participate in its upliftment. Take the case of the massive PIO and Indian diaspora present in the US that is flexing its muscles in order to ensure that some pressure is brought on the US Senate to ensure that Indian interests are preserved while passing the Hyde Bill. Their contribution is behind the scenes but it plays a part nonetheless.
Another case in point is the flourishing Indian culture in the UK. Not only has it helped remove the stereotype about India as a land of nakid fakirs and snake charmers, but it has also proved to be an enormous source of Repatriation of foreign currency to India, thus contributing to its booming economy.

"Would you rather have it, as this person seems to, that India
should have remained nuclearly handicapped and in a position to be
blackmailed by just about any rogue country like Pakistan or North
Korea ?"
Firstly, nowhere in this mail has he opposed India's testing of a nuclear weapon. He has used the fact that the testing of a nuke brought people out on the streets, rejoicing in our technological development. He has asked people in general whether they would rejoice with the same fervour if India tested another nuke. The real question being whether testing another nuke brings us any closer to the emancipation of the large mass of human society that lives below the poverty line in our country. The first nuke test served the purpose of a deterrent to nations that intend to use their military might to suppress us but any subsequent tests serve no purpose at all except as signals of our increasing proficiency in nuke tech.
"AND this guy doesn't care even about the smaller problems like
poverty, illiteracy or child labour else he wouldn't be in Calgary."
Note that he has mentioned child labour and our careless attitude towards our country in his mail. That would definitely not support your assessment that has does not care for the smaller diseases ailing our country. Also note that he categorically states that he has been following the "Indian story" ever since the 80's, so you can't brand him as an unfeeling expatriate.

"Its
very easy to send emails like that. Its hard to come here and do
something."
Again, I don't agree with your viewpoint. You don't need to do things on a massive scale in order to do something to help your nation. All you need to do to make a difference is to pay some conscious attention to the finer details in your day to day life and coach others to do the same. After all, you are the future of this nation. The bad guys will not be at the helm of this nation forever you know. You too can enter politics but I don't think you will. Why's that? Its because you don't want to fight the system. Sitting here in this country too, you can only crib about politics but might not even go and cast your vote (not now but when you are eligible) simply because you don't care about which bad guy heads the government. To phrase it in your words, its really easy to send such a mail expressing anger at an Indian settled abroad for not caring but it does pay a little to have a look at what you can do for your country, irrespective of your location. This mail is his way of stirring up discussion and its doing its job fairly well.
That's my humble opinion,
Please comment,
Divye

Huff!!! That is a really long post....Which side of the debate do you lie on? Do post your opinion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I recently posted a very intriguing and irritating problem with a C++ program on the GCC help group. A certain piece of (incorrect) code was returning a defined answer when compiled with DevC++ and g++ on linux. Have a look at the problem and the solution here.
If you are really interested in competing with the best at the highest level, come for Cognizance, IITR's tech fest. Plenty of programming opportunities (multiple programming events and great cash prizes). Make sure you check out the E&C department's and Maths Department's list of events.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Yippee. A new template for my blog. I seriously got bored of the previous one. How do you like it?
How many times have you wasted hours in finding good website templates? Google searches for "web templates", "free html templates" and the like give terrible results. I found a really good site that hosts a lot of Open Source Web Templates. Its really terrific and I'm not kidding. Kudos to Open Source and all the people who actively support it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A lot of people have been asking me about what they should make for the ISC Physics project. Well, all I can tell them and those who are here looking for more info is that I made a full wave rectifier. Its really easy and fun to make and the concepts of a diode are really cleared up. For more info, consult Wikipedia or Google: full wave rectifier.
While on this topic, I came across some good explanations about the internal working structure of a transistor. Its by an amateur electronics hobbyist but he does a good job on the whole. Check out his site.
Also, if you want to keep up with posts on this blog, you can add an RSS feed to your browser. The instructions to do this vary from browser to browser but in the case of Firefox, look for an orange icon in the title bar. In case you find any broken links, don't hesitate to send me a comment stating the problem.