Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world... Be happy.
Friday, October 27, 2006
There was some discussion on Time Travel, Deja-Vu and Precognition in a Bullitin Board. I'm posting some snippets from the same. It's pretty basic but interesting. I replied twice and my responses are marked in Blue.
The basic point that I'm trying to make there is that Time Travel would be Change in Time w.r.t Change in Time and thus absurd. Obviously I understand nothing of Time Travel and thus may be grossly mistaken.
As I pointed out earlier one should not think of traveling through time, but instead, being in a particular time frame.
Motion is tricky business as it carries an implicit reference to Time. As everyone knows, motion is a change in location over a change in time. But what is not so easy to comprehend is that time itself carries an implicit reference to motion! Have you heard of the famous one liner – “Does a falling tree make a sound if there is no one present to hear it?” Similarly if all motion were to cease completely, would time have any meaning? The connection between motion and time is much stronger than it appears.
To measure the amount of motion (say Km/Hrs), we need to measure time, as speed is given by dx/dt where dx is change in distance and dt is change in time. Similarly, to measure the amount of time (say Hrs) we need to measure motion, be it motion of the hands of a clock, motion of the earth around the sun or on its own axis, or the motion of photons as radiation.
A person traveling to D from B via flight will reach there in 4-5 hrs whereas a person traveling via train will take him 48 hrs. And thus the man traveled via flight has gone to the future. Is that correct? Does it make sense?
Also if the person returns to B from D via the flight, he would be still in the present. The only relative comparison is with the person who is traveling to & fro by train that wud delay his journey time. Nothing other than that has changed. Neither the time nor the age of the ppl. His age is same as the ppl who live in B. The only change I could see is the age (measured in time) diff between the person traveled by flight & train to reach the destination (D or B).
You are stuck in a traffic jam, you look at your watch, it is 8:30pm, wait for some time, look around, people around you are the same, same location, same vehicles around you, nothing changes, all coordinates are the same. You look at your watch and it is 8:55pm. That is the only coordinate that has changed. Isn’t this Time Travel.
I know this discussion is flitting into the absurd but just to add one more point that is pertinent here –
There is nothing illogical with considering Time as another dimension, that’s a part of a 4D space-time continuum, but then you cannot speak of “traveling” through time. To travel is to change your dimensional coordinates over time. So to time travel would mean to change your time coordinates over time, which seems meaningless.
If you travel to the future, then you are gone physically from the timeline you are in, right. Take Time as Parallel lines separated (This is for simplification so do not think about what divides these lines) and you travel though the lines normally. So when you jump into the future you leap many such lines and reach the future. So you could not exist in the intermediate lines. Therefore you cannot die :-).
Your life would not be extended if you do not return back as technically you would still age. And you’d still be of the same age as you are of now but you have technically lived the past 50 years now, have you?
Assuming that somehow I manage to travel to the future.(say 50 years from now). I might have died by then so will not be available in the future when I go there. What will happen if I don’t return back from there then? My life is extended? Also I shall be the same age I am today 50 years from now? I think traveling in time is not at all possible and impractical. Only way I can think to travel is in dreams :-)
Lets take things literally. Isn’t time really a “concept” created by man for his convenience? It doesn’t seem to be as real as space? What seems real is NOW and logically the only time that exists. To travel to past means that I assume that somewhere all of the present is being stored as some snapshots and we can travel there again! To go back to a time when I was 6 seems outrageous…’coz my 6 year old body has changed into what I am now….that 6 year old body does not exist anywhere. And to go to a time when I will be 60 seems equally unthinkable ‘coz my body has yet not withered to 60 yrs!
I think there is a subtle difference between the two. Looking from a time perspective it is. At time T you think/feel something is going to happen in T+x (where x is a small amount of time). Now when you actually move to the time of T+x you feel you had thought abt it in time T. So when the dream happened it is precognition and when you actually executed it it was a deja-vu. However it might so happen that you never think about it but when you are actually executing you might get a feeling you had thought about it.
What exactly is Precognition?
What is the difference between precognition and De-Ja Vu.
Can some body explain?
Is precognition for real? Is it some kinda power that some people have (due to some inexplicable reason). I had experienced exactly such a thing at least 3 times in my life, and felt bewildered that such things could happen. Any folks here who had some similar experiences?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
SyntaxVsSemantics Exclusive: Indians make optimal use of the degrees of freedom present in the neck!
I'm not sure if it is a prevalent everywhere too but I've noticed that most Indians make full use of the three degrees of freedom offered by the joint joining the torso with the head (also called the neck-joint) to communicate various common responses.
The results are summarised in the handy diagram presented above.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Super Tux - One of my favorites! I like to think of it as a beaked reincarnation of Super Mario Bros. ;) The gameplay and the levels are awsome. I'd especially recommend the levels from Matrix' domain in The Bonus Island, as they offer more of a challange than the other usual world levels.
Pingus - Another favorite! An enhanced Lemmings clone. Enjoyable, addictive gameplay and tonnes of levels!
Liquid War - The game gets boring after a while but it is here in the list for its innovative gameplay! Basically you march into battle controlling thousands of tiny 1 pixel soldiers using only the cursor keys on your keyboard! It has to be played to be understood!
Enigma - Basically you control a marble (with the mouse) as you solve puzzles, traverse mazes etc. Incredibly tough to play on the laptop touchpad though.
Chromium and PlanetPenguinRacer (formerly Tux Racer) are other cool Linux Game offerings but sadly my Laptop came with a wussy graphics chip (SiS M760GX) that refuses to run 3D accelerated apps. Bummer! I'd elaborate on my escapades with the SiS chipsets in another post but till then heed my friendly warning - Don't ever ever buy any machine that has a SiS Chipset!!!!! Not unless you don't value peace of mind and the ability to play Quake..
I'll post info about some Free Linux games that come with a stock Debian Distro, that I've played n liked (KUDOS to all the great people who create such quality stuff and give it away as free software). Here they are (in no particular order) -
Wesnoth - awesome turn based lead-your-army-to-victory-on-a-hex-board game! Very professionally done IMHO. (Wish someone would write something similar to Populous though!)
Scummvm - Okay okay so it's not a game but actually more of a VM that runs many of Lucas Arts' Role Playing Games but it makes the list for letting me play Flight of the Amazon Queen and Beneath a Steel Sky. Both are fantabulous! It also let me play Day of the Tentacle, which alas not free (You need to buy the original DOS based game to get the data files) is the best Role Playing Game I have ever played.
Atanks - a.k.a. Atomic Tanks is similar to Pocket Tanks on Windows, though Pocket Tanks is admittedly a little better (and also infinitely more expensive). Goood Fun! Wormx also seems promising judging by its homepage but I haven't tried it and it does not come bundled with Debian. (BTW the pic above is a screenshot from Wormx.)
Another similar game included with Debian is XScorch but Atanks is more enjoyable, has a better user interface and has saner default settings. By far the most irritating features in XScorch are -
- If you get hit, your firing range decreases drastically, making it mostly impossible to hit anyone else for the rest of the round. This (mis)feature reduces the contest to a matter of who gets hit first and reduces playability to a nought.
- You get 100,000$ to begin with! This means that you can start with such Weapons of Mass DestructionTM as DeathHead and Annihilator and destroy everything in sight with a single shot. Fun the first time but gets boring real fast.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
To make sure that the header of an excel sheet stays visible at all times, select the cell just below and to the right of the last header row i.e.
HEAD1 | HEAD2 | HEAD3 | |
| | | SELME |
And click Window > Freeze Panes
To Undo click Window > Unfreeze Panes
Saturday, October 14, 2006
iCon - On the life of the inimitable Steve Jobs!
Odyssey - On John Scully (The former CEO of Apple who ousted and was later ousted by Steve Jobs). It is especially interesting to compare the same sequence of events from two opposite viewpoints (John's and Steve's). The book is choc full of management lessons and is still a great read!
Losing My Virginity - On Richard Branson! This guy is FUUUNNN!
Starting Something - A book on entrepreneurship, the story of Neoforma (a medical software startup) and its journey through the Dot Com boom and bust. The opening sentence sums it up - "I made a few million, I lost a few million".
How to Get Rich - On Donald Trump, whose last name is synonymous with wealth! Has some good advice (if you filter out things like "don't shake people's hands").
Business @ the Speed of Thought - By Bill Gates. It's a surprisingly good read!
I'd love to see my name in that list as soon as possible!
Next up on the Pixar radar - Ratatouille (pronounced rat-a-too-ee). Can't wait!
During a meeting at work this morning, for some inexplicable reason, I suddenly found myself remembering my childhood Sundays - mildly chilly (that lasts for about 3.5 days jammed between sweltering hot summers and bone freezing winters in Delhi) weather, Disney cartoons and the scrumptious breakfast of bread & butter/french fries/omelets/french toasts and plenty of ketchup AND most importantly the feeling of complete freedom, of having nothing to do, and not a care in the world.
These associations formed during my formative years are strong enough to change my mood completely even now. Slightly chilly weather still lifts my mood no matter if the world is about to end. I still love all food that can be eaten with tomato ketchup AND the strongest association of them all - I just absolutely love animated movies, still. Making an animated movie is still the topmost item on my agenda for life.
I just finished reading the book Why Not! by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres (Harvard Business School Press). It's awsome! The authors (and they acknowledge that fact in the book) take most of their inspiration from Edward Do Bono's Lateral Thinking, but they have some very nice ideas of their own. The book has a website at whynot.net which is seems to be full of new unimplemented ideas. Another good website for new ideas is www.halfbakery.com.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Found this here Thought it was damn funny :)
None shall pass without formally defining the ontological
meta-semantic thingies of their domain something-or-others!
None shall pass without using all sorts of semantic
meta-meta-meta-stuff that we will invent Real Soon Now!
I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight, but I must get my
work done on the Web. Stand aside!
None shall find anything on the Internet without semantic metadata!
So be it!
HACKER and SEMANTIC KNIGHT:
Aaah!, hiyaah!, etc.
[HACKER chops the SEMANTIC KNIGHT's first argument off by building
efficent statistical/heuristic search engines]
Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
'Tis but a scratch.
A scratch? Your argument has been cut off!
No, it isn't.
Well, what's that, then?
I've had worse. None shall have an effective syndication network
without RDF Site Summaries!
[HACKER chops the SEMANTIC KNIGHT's second argument off by
building the blogs/RSS/Aggregators/Bloglines/etc. network ]
Victory is mine!
Have at you!
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
Oh, had enough, eh?
Look, you stupid &^%$# You've got no arguments left.
Yes, I have.
Just a flesh wound.
Look, stop that.
You won't be able to get machine-machine services without an
ontology to formally describe all the relationships!
[HACKER chops the SEMANTIC KNIGHT's third argument off by building
SOAPy and RESTful services with only implicit semantic descriptions]
Right. I'll do you for that!
What are you going to do, bleed on me?
You're a looney.
The SEMANTIC Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then. I
have an battalion of KR theorists on my side
[HACKER chops the SEMANTIC KNIGHT's last argument off with an
army of actual code writers]
Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.
Come on, folks, let's go.
Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow ^&^%$s! Come back here
and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!
NLTK tutorials - Reached Part I, Chapter 3 for NLTK Lite Tutorials (Version 0.6.6 Draft). URL- <http://nltk.sourceforge.net/lite/doc/en/words.html>
IndianLawExpert.com (indianlawexpert.com) is still active! The home page is just plain beautiful! I really need to do something more with this site.
Reading a Calvin forward I just got - Calvin is damn funny! Puts life in perspective.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
During installation of netbeans bundle on my debian system yesterday, SJSAS installation aborts with an error message saying that is was not able to locate libstdc++ 6.2.2. My Debain system has libstdc++ 6.0.3 installed so I just made a symlink from libstdc
Sometimes DMA is not enabled by default on some laptops (not mine thankfully!) Working without DMA can be a real pain as HDD data transfer becomes excruciatingly slow! The problem is compounded if you are low on RAM (<512MB) and frequent swapping takes place.
DMA can be checked using hdparam. for example run hdparam /dev/hda to check if DMA is enabled on first IDE HDD. hdparam -t /dev/hda does timed disk writes and reports the data transfer rate in MB/s (which will normally be over 20 MB/s if DMA is enabled).