Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Second Life Denied

There has recently been a lot of talk about Second Life. It is a huge simulator, with a grid of computing muscle in it. It simulates 3D life, and it has a decent business model too..

From whatever I have read in Wikipedia and several blogs, it goes like this:

They have created a virtual world, which you can enter by launching their client (after installing it in your system). They stream the 3d Content to your client, which renders them on your screen. Each user might be playing around in some part of the Second Life.. It seems to be a good engineering marvel, as they will have to simulate the 3D environment in their Grid, render them and then stream them to the client. The client has to reconstruct them and show it..

It seems that of recent it has been receiving massive attention across the globe and access to the second life is getting difficult. I instlaled the latest binary from their site and launched only to see that SecondLife.exe was running 100% all the time.. On my desktop it wouldnt budge to connect (it loads the first screen where you enter First Name, Last Name and password) and says Unable to connect due to protocol (some thing)... and possible reason attributed for that is Internet connection does not exist. I m sure I m connected to the internet in my desktop.. Second life denied!! :(

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Star Gazing with Stellarium

Today, I did star gazing. My room mate, Rajesh accompanied me. I used Stellarium for Star Gazing. The sky was better. There were only a few cirrus clouds, which didn’t deter us from seeing at least a few stars. The last time I tried seeing, we had Rain clouds. So, it was difficult to spot even a few stars. But this time it was lot better. This time too, I made the mistake of not taking any compass with me. But, to my rescue, the Moon was bright and shining. The first thing to do was to orient the direction of Moon in Stellarium to that in the Sky. Once that was done, things became easier. Sirius was very bright and was the first star to be spotted easily. I was also able to find the Orion constellation, along with Betelgeuse, Canis-Minor. It was cold at the terrace, with the temperature around 15˚C. The best part I liked about the software is its maneuverability.

I am pasting the screenshot of Stellarium position of the stars below. All stars that I was able to see are marked with a white square. I gazed only with naked eyes; no sophisticated instruments were involved in star gazing except the laptop.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

School Invitation

Enclosed the invitation for all josephites..

The mokkai/movie called Sivappadhikaaram

There are several ways in which you can waste your time.. The one way I got myself caught into was to see this movie. It is called Sivappadhikaaram (also spelt Sivappadhikaram ) .

Let me first tell you what is great about this movie:
  1. It has some good story concept - based on Nattupura Paadal ( )..
  2. The film is only 2.5 hours :-)... You really dont have to commit suicide for the predicament at the theatre, after all, just like every good thing has an end, every bad thing has an end too :D.
Nothing else...

The pre film events were great, I paid Rs. 70 for the movie at Vetri Theatre (went with my sister). While going to the theatre, I took an auto. I had a fight with the auto guy, since he demanded Rs. 15, while it was normal for me to pay only Rs. 10, because my house was so close to the track. That in itself was a bad omen, I should have taken that seriously and went back home. Pity me, I never minded that and I assume that was one of the biggest mistake I made before the movie. Another big mistake i made was swapping the movie ticket. I actually got the ticket for Rendu, then later decided to watch this movie and swapped the ticket.

The guy at the theater sold me saying that it was a back seat and not a front seat in the balcony. First After getting to the theatre, I found that it was irrelevant. After all, there were less than 20 people in the balcony.. huh!

To give you heads up about the film, we have 2 parts. The first part is supposed to show Nattupura paadal in the most interesting way (which it does, but makes you boring to the core). The second part is supposed to be action packed, but it ends up being fun packed (although I would say, the saving grace was the hero Vishal). I have seen Vishal's first movie, which was hit, and I think he deserves a good position as a "casual" hero in the Tamil film Industry. His acting was awesome in the first movie, but in this movie, nah! his acting cudnt save the sinking ship :(.

It all started great, the first to have entry in the film was the heroine. There was great whistles for her. I for one was perplexed to see how much popularity she had, only later to know that she was one of the saving grace in the first half. At the end of the film, you go out confused why the hell they needed a heroine, whose role in the movie ends unclear.

The hero entry is great, with a nattupura song. I generally skip songs.. and I hoped I had a remote when the songs came so that I can skip them :(.. But lemme tell you the truth that there were a few songs that were really good.. (but they dont find themselves significantly saving the movie when you watch).. I really wished that they also provide ropes for free for all those who want to commit suicide... seriously.. (it shdnt be more than Rs. 20) and they charge Rs. 70 for a ticket.

It was great fun actually commenting on the story.. After sometime, I felt something was troubling my leg; and yes it was a RAT. I probably think that the rat really wanted to find some place to hide itself from this "bleeding" story.. :(..

The second half was even better. All that it looked to me was comments on the film were more hilarious and intersting than the movie. In the story, Raghuvaran actually wants to compile a book on Nattupura Songs. There is a group of people, with Raghuvaran the father of heroine and Raghuvaran's childhood friends. They ask him what is the reason of publishing the book when no one would read. I think the script writer would have become enlightened, had he applied the same sentence on the film.. There is also a place where the hero says that there are 12 parts in the book and one of them was bereavement. I just hoped that they had it, so that I can cry out as much for sitting and watching such a movie..:((

I really wished to get out before the interval. The only reason I was in the theater was that I paid 70 bucks. :(...

Returning back from the film, I decided not to take Auto because i really dint want to spend even a penny more, even indirectly related to the movie :-).. and yes I walked home all the way
hoping that mokkai is not everything in life, and there exists a life beyond that.

I still swear that it is a great movie, although the script is flawed to the core. The hero is totally under utilized and I really pity the Producer. Coming out of the theatre, you get the feeling that they copied similar movie's script from Gentleman till Ramana. Makes you yawn..

Caveat: This review is my personal view of the film. It in no way is the final view.. If you really want to know how the film is, please goto theatre and see.. Tamil Film Industry needs people to see in order to improve its quality. Hence, you should consider my review a second thought, if you want to support the industry.

The film also has some good review. You can read that here:
Hindu's Review

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stellarium - Really Stellar Open Source Software for Astronomy

Yesterday I installed stellarium-0.8.2 from . I should tell that it is the best software regarding Astronomy that I have installed.

How to use it?
Install the software. Launch the software, then define your observation location (like Chennai, Bangalore etc). This sets up the location, Time from GMT, current time (which is picked up from your System's time). Now it will basically show your sky. It shows the sun, if its daytime currently. My current idea is to take the laptop today night and goto terrace and then basically try to figure out the stars and the constellations. The software also has a feature that allows to show the graphic (figure) for the constellation. Thats an awesome feature.

Update 1:
The first day I went to star gaze, it was really a nice experience. It was as well disappointing. There were lot of clouds and I didn't have a clue of the exact directions, which made me guessing all the time. There was only one star that was bright and unfortunately it was not North Star. It was between North and East directions at an angle of around 60 degrees from the ground (i dont know how to technically give the values)..

The first lesson that I learnt was this: Never go star gazing without knowing the directions, or better take a magnetic compass, until you get yourself familiar with the directions. This really makes sense because, in the beginning, even though you have a rough idea of where east is, it wont help you much, if you see several bright stars (excluding me ). If its mostly cloudy, then you dont have great issues.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Convocation Photographs

I had my convocation this monday (6th November). Governor Shri. SS Barnala gave me Gold Medal. To his right is Shri. Vishwanathan, Vice Chancellor, Anna University and Registrar of Anna University, Shri. Jayaraman. I received a Gold Medal, Cash Award and Certificate indicating me obtaining the Gold Medal. I had high fever when I attended the convocation (around 102 when I got the medal).. It was a very different experience on the whole.

Scanned copy of the convocation Photographs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tamil Movie tricks

Tamil film industry is known to do acts that defy laws of Physics, including gravity. If at all Newton or Einstein see Tamil movies, they would commit suicide, knowing that all that they have invented could be wrong (assuming they are unaware of the fact that it was graphicified ;) )...

One good example:
(thanks Balaji for forwarding the link)..
It seems, latest movie Dharmapuri, tamil hero has hit 50 people in one shot (i have not seen the film, and I dont intend to after seeing the reviews)..

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My first flute class

Finally I joined the flute class. The first class was great. I told my flute teacher that I learnt something on my own.. tried playing Titanic Theme Music. He heard it and said it was wrong, showed me how to play it properly and said that the period that I learnt on my own was helpful in the context that, I now have good breath control (and nothing beyond that)... Well, in the right sense, it was true, since, I never had professional touch, and the way I played was RAW.

He pointed out some places where I had issues:
  • I wasn't holding the flute properly, my left hand thumb was way too close to the blow hole, which shdnt be. He said that I should be able to hold the flute with left thumb and the index finger.
  • My left hand little finger was always below the flute, which shouldn't be.
  • I was never using my right hand little finger.
I am now learning to play "Maya Mala Gawla" Raaga. I m learning to play each swara in one full long blow. It seems that this is the first lesson. I had problems in over blowing notes, which I m practicing...

After that the next practice was to play two successive notes in a single blow. Then it is to play four successive notes in a single blow. The whole idea of this seems to get familiarized with the swaras and ability to switch between swaras seamlessly, which gives great playing speed..

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cycling....Going Environmental friendly

Of recent, a lot of things have been happening. I recently got a cycle ( Hero 18 gear cycle) and use it commute to office (which is around 2 KM from home)....

First Day: Entry into office basement, security asks: "Do you work in this company?" :-).. I show him my ID, he enters my cube extension, registers my cycle and I park at basement.. Things have gone better now. I explained to few of my friends..

There is one main reason why I took the cycle. I am not a sport buff, who thinks a regular GYM going keeps good health, or atleast, all these take lower priority with work.. So, it made sense to get cycle, to alteast have some work-out. I am sure if I didnt have a cycle, I wouldnt even have this basic workout...

Another guy in my PG also got a cycle (I am not sure if he was inspired from me, but he bought after me.. so I take false credit, even though I may not be the reason ;) )...

Another friend @ my office (Krishna) also now bought a cycle..alteast I am not the only one going by cycle to office now..

Monday, September 18, 2006

Playing the Flute Video II

Playing the flute video part II.

I just tried my hands at another song :-).. more on the cards soon, as I learn to over blow properly...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Playing the Flute - Video

I recorded a song that I played in my flute and uploaded to google video. You can hear it at:

I took a picture of me playing the flute and have added it as the image.
The second line of my playing didnt go well, since I was too conscious that I am recording my play and made me a bit nervous :p.

Learning to Play the Carnatic Flute Part III

Lot of help pouring in for learning the flute.

Mr. Ramachandran gave me a legend of the 12 swaras ( 7 ordinary and five half notes ) and their mappings on the flute.

I am pasting it here so that others who are searching for the mappings like me would benefit.

Please see my handwritten pdf here for the right one.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Learning to Play the Carnatic Flute Part II

Recently, I started to get myself much more organized to play the flute, but in vain. I created sheets where I drew this and filled them with black color if it has to be closed and uncolored(white) if the hole has to be open when playing the flute. Unfortunately, I dont know what holes should be closed for which swaram. I have been able to understand that for Sa , the first two holes need to be closed and everything else open. My learning has improved to play any song to a decent extent that the listeners can understand that I am trying to play that song and can play comfortably quite a few songs.

I have also learnt a few things:
1) The eight hole (the right most) is never used .
2) The first three holes are operated with your left hand fingers and your right hand fingers takes care of the remaining 4 holes.
3) If you are in Ga in which you dont close any hole and want to move to a note/swaram above it, close all the holes and over blow. This is something that I have been having trouble with/havent mastered. I get overblown notes when i try to get to the lowest note (closing all the holes), but never when I really want to play the overblown notes:p..
4) Most of my song control comes from my breath, ie., controlling the blowing, rather than by closing/opening the holes. In other words, my playing ability in terms of controlling the opening /closing of the holes need improvement, which I hope will be done as I practice more......
5) I am seriously looking for someone who can give a flute legend mapping for the swarams, like what holes should be open/closed/half closed for which swaram.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Learning to play the Flute ( Pullankuzhal)

Last saturday, I bought a bamboo carnatic flute which has 8 holes (+1 to blow) at a Handicraft emporium here at Bangalore for Rs.75. I have just been hunting all round for good carnatic flute tutorial / tutorials. There arent any/many that tell you how to map swaras to the flute. There are however a lot of tutorials that I found on the Western Flute... The only thing that was close to being helpful was . A nice soul has tried taking pictures of how to hold. Its a good effort, though I would wish that there are ones that show the mapping in a way that can be printed out and tried at one's will...

Any good pointers appreciated.

Last, but not the least, I now know to play the Flute a little, learning of my own to play Cileon Dion (sorry if this spelling was wrong) Titanic Song, Malgudi days starting music and a few others.....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Back to Blogging

Its been a long time since I blog.. There are several things that have happened since I last blogged. I joined a s/w company. My wrk atmosphere is great, great team.. I have already started real work..

I have been commuting to Chennai and back to Bangalore every weekends, enjoying my time back home... Hope this continues (which seems less probable as work gets better)..

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tour Pictures

I didnt put the tour pictures here. Instead I have uploaded them to two spots:


2) Yahoo! Photos

Please have a look at them :-)

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Trip to Manali

This should be the first time I am writing kind of journal in my blog. Kind of new to me as well, but thought it does make sense to write about the Trip. It was certainly one of THE BEST trip I ever had. In fact, not only was it cheaper (around $125 USD), it was extremely well organized, thanks to guys from our class, Mani Parthasarathy, Miennah Raja, Sathish and so on.

We started off to Chennai Central Railway . I started a bit early at around 2 PM for the trip, reached Hostel, joined Saravana Kumar (a.k.a Venna thalayaa) and reached Central. We were an hour early for the train and were the first to reach the platform :D... Slowly people of the trip started coming. It was also great to see a lot of other guys, who came just to help those who came for the trip and to bid them farewell, notably Senthil Nathan (a.k.a Senthil Maddy - Senthil don't think u are endorsed with the nick maddy - we know how you look :p ). I just had 2 bags and was pretty comfortable with my luggage. The first place we visited was Agra. The train started at around 4:30 PM on 25th Apr. We got 40 seats contiguous and the 5 coupe was full of our trip people. I was in the third one, with Balaji, Saravana and others... We had a great time.. Though the temperature was soaring, it was awfully hot inside.

We played cards, 5 cards, Ass and so on. Ass was the only game I knew, but enjoyed learning 5 cards, and it was a great time pass game. It was fun to get 50 points with a wrong deck :)). We also played a mutated 7 cards, which was same as 5 cards, but the number of cards are more and the penalty of a wrong deck is 70. :-). We had lot of time, so playing 7 cards meant we had more cards and time pass. When we reached AGRA, it was 1 AM morning. We went to a hotel there. There were 4 in our room (including me), Balaji, Me, Sai, Saravana. Sai and Balaji went (unintentionally) to some room which was not allocated to them, slept for a while and ended up being asked to leave that room (that's euphemism for you :p ). We then started at around 9 or 10 AM, went first to Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal was great. I admired it a lot for its architecture, but my personal opinion was that it was too much a cost for the King's love. Spending up the tax payers money for his personal ends is typical Monarchy, but this seems to be too much of that sort. May be, the king could have built a dam there, making the area fertile. But of course, had that been done, we would never have got one of the wonders of the world; just my thoughts......

The next place we went was Agra Fort. It was the seat of power of India from 1000 - 1800 (well the years are approximate). There was mention about water in it. Aurangzeb had blocked Yamuna and the king there surrendered because the ground water/well water at Agra fort wasnt drinkable. True, when we filled water there, it really wasnt that good. It was too salty. Myself and Saravana went to the fort early, sat at a quite place and "bird watched" everyone entering the Fort :D.

Also, I shouldnt forget to tell about the Black Salt (aka Kaala namak). The road sellers there use Kaala Namak for Water Melon and Cucumber. It is a salt that is obtained from fertile water springs in North India, as opposed to normal salt, which is obtained from sea shore. The biggest deal of it is that it is very enticing. If you have one sip of Lemonade with this salt, it would entice you to have another. I got suspicious that it might possibly be a DRUG added to salt and called as kaala namak (just like brown sugar, is this Black Salt?? :)) ). I asked a few people there, who said that it was not so. I got relieved only after that. After seeing Agra Fort, it was time to do some shopping. I bought Agra's peta. It was supposed to be something special of Agra. Its a sweet made from Pumpkin. I bought one for home. But its kind of irony that from the date i came back , i have tasted only little (bad stomach).

After Agra fort, we went back to rooms, cleaned up everything and left to Delhi. We had a second seater when we went to Delhi. I should surely mention about the Soup matter here. I had a good hot soup abishekam. (Abishekam is a Hindu ritual that they perform to god, where the priest pours oil, sandal etc on the diety). We went to delhi at 1 AM and immediately entered the waiting bus. This is where we met the Tortoise master. He is the Tortoise driver. The bus never goes beyond 60 km... when we were back to Delhi, people from our crowd took video talking in tamil, which he didnt know at all, telling him that he was the slowest driver that we saw (well euphemism here too... just censord out other tougher words they used). The vehicle moved to Amritsar. It was long and tiring one.

After we reached Amritsar, we went to hotel had breakfast and then visited the Golden Temple. It was very very hot when we went there and was very crowded as well. The best part of it was that they poured cool water on the floor so that the people can walk on the tiles without heat. I came to know that people do this as a service for a day. I also saw a lot of golden fishes there at the temple tank. In all the floors of the temple, the priests there chant verses from holy book. I also heard that it happens 24 x 7 (except a few hour break every day). People take turns and do. From Golden Temple, we moved to Jallianwala Bagh. It was the place where the British left red scars (rather Red big scars) in the minds of Indians. A brigidaire by name Dyer, ordered dispering of 2000 people gathered there by firing them. There was no place to go and 2000 people died. Some jumped into the well and died. Others faced the bullet directly and died.

More details about it here

From JWB, we left to Wagah Border. Its the border area between India and Pakistan. I learned from the people there that parade happens every evening for sure, whether there is tension in the border or not. Very interesting.... we also saw some pakis on the other side of the gate. We took some snaps. Mani parthasarathy shouted "Long Live mother India" and there was a swift acknowledgement of the same from a Sikh military person there. Well, this reminded me of my opinion that the Sikhs are the most patriotic people.. When we went to Wagah Border, the parade was just over.. we missed it, though we took pics of Wagah Border. I was as usual telling some stale jokes like -
Q: Is Amritsar male or female ?
A: Its male since its Amrit'SAR' and not Amrit'MADAM' :-))

Nee thinnu(thinnu in tamil means eat) illenna thin aiduva

At wagah border, we met jawan(s) (jawan is a soldier in hindi). There was one jawan who was from south india (thirunelveli). We talked to him in Tamil, took some photographs, asked him if he saw Tamil Films and so on...spent some time...
we asked them how do they protect our nation's borders. They said they have high tension cables 100 meters from the international border line... and there are three levels of security . The Border Security Force (aka BSF) does do patrolling till the internation (buffer) border...

From Wagah, it was time to move to Manali. The superb driver (sarcasm) drove very well... He slept the night ...the bus dint move..and if at all he drove, it was as slow as a bullock cart. Though I should tell that he drove the vehicle very very safely. That guy drove the vehicle, stopped at a lot of places, and finally took the vehicle to Manali, by the evening. The first day evening we just spent time at the room.. It was great! It was really "cool" (cool in the sense of both temperature and place). We went for a small shopping with a few of my friends... While most of them spent their time looking for something, I didnt have any idea to shop for stuffs. So, went to browsing center, browsed for half an hour, chcekd mail. God, it was really slow.. they had a dialup and it seemed way too slow, since I am now kind of used to my 256 kbps broadband. Also, it was very expensive. While average cost at any browsin center is around Rs. 20 for an hour(40 cents), it was around Rs. 30 for half an hour... and it was terribly slow...goddamn.. I checkd my mail, mailed Mitch, a junior .As usual, i was forgetful when my friend gave username and password to check mail...goddamn, when will i remember everything?

The next day we woke up to goto the so called Snow Point... It was really really superb... We rented some Fur clothes for Rs. 100 (around 2.4$). They gave fur cloth, gloves, shoes for that amount. It was tough to go by bus to the snow point. So the guide had arranged Sumo ( a vehicle that looks like a jeep). I took skeeing shoes from the shop we rented the fur clothes. Unfortunately, i didnt use it, had to shell out a hundred bucks uselessly. It was the first time i saw snow.. so it was kind of very very interesting....we talked to the people there, who said that it was around 2 degrees centigrade when we went up at 10 AM in the morning.. We returned at around 3-4 PM from the snow point when the mercury had dipped to - 10 degrees centigrade. When we talked to the driver (who surreptitiously stole one mobile phone), he said that it is not recommended to stay at snow point for more than an hour, since we were seeing snow for the first time.
There were six of us when we walked the 2 kilometers to reach the snow point.. The vehicles dont directly go till snow point, since it would cause a lot of vehicles(traffic jam) at snow point making it lose its splendor (well thats my reasoning). They were, myself, Saravana Kumar, Balaji, Priya, Nithya and Jayanthi. The first thing we went was (kind of skating) on the bus tube...From the road, we skatd to the river below, it was kind of steep and enjoyed..(I am rolling on the floor and laughing about my skating..:-)) ). When balaji and saravana skated, they both flew when they left their hand, after almost reaching the end of the skating. Each one took individual photos before a rock, and then we left to the snow plateau of the snow point (well, slow plateau is my terminology :p). I first went for another Tube skating. Then i went for a Yak Ride. ride.

Then we took for skating with bala, karthik, kartheeshwari, sairam , sathiya narayanan , jayanthi, raja vikram (and a lot more people, i dont remember). It was Rs.100 for skeeing till we get tired. I skeed for an hour. It was great skeeing.. I fell a lot of time. If you fall down, it its really tough to get up. After an hour, 1) i really got tired 2) It started to rain/snow and the temperature started dropping. So I decided to QUIT ;-). It was terllibly cold, got a hot tea (which actually was a HOT water, though it dint matter, the hotness of the drink only mattered). After a hot tea, I had some noodles. It was all hot and great at that weather. Then me, balaji saranvaa formed huddle, putting each other's hand in other's Fur coat so that we get warmth. The gloves didnt have any fur or something in it. It was plain leather gloves.. so it was great doing that. Priya had a tough time, since her legs started to frost too much.. They poured Garam paani (Hot water) several times on her legs. She really had a tough time. While there were some people like this having tough time with frost, some guys of my class took photographs with no shirts (just trying to be brave :D ). They also found some alumni students of my college(MIT) and had a chat with them. I missed them.. though it was nice to know that our class pals met MIT alumnis. By that time we started leaving, it was getting tougher...the weather became inclement. We started walking towards the vehicle, which was parked 2 km down. I was almost felling that I wouldnt make it, since it was slippery due to the rain and my legs had long lost sensation. If i had a fall, it would have been really tough for me. I chanted Hanuman Chalisa. I usually never remember more than 2 paragraphs, accidentally I chanted 3 of them :-) ...It gave a lot of mental strength. By the time I finished chanting, the Sumo(jeep/car) driver had started driving towards the Snow Point and we met them half way. Kulanthai, his mom, nithya, priya, saravana, sai, jayanthi, me, balaji were in the sumo and we went back to Manali.

The next day we went to the two temples. I had a bad stomach. So I went to Hadimba Temple and came back to room, slept till 2 PM had lunch and then the vehicle started at around 4 PM to Delhi. climbing down from the hill, it was dizzy and I already had bad stomach. So it was kind of
food leaving the body in both directions :p. The next day, we were at Delhi, Karol Bagh.. We went to Qutb Minar (QM). QM was boring. May be, if I were a muslim would have admired it and enjoyed it much better. Then we went to Lotus temple (of Bahais). It was great, the architecture was great and it had news for all the religions of the world that it is harmony between religions that is required.

That evening we went to shopping at Karol Bagh. It was the first time I did serious shopping. I had called my relative at Chennai about Karol Bagh, who said me to start bargaining for any item at 1/10 of its price. It was rediculous to hear at first, but I understood it when I started bargaining. There are two markets at Karol Bagh, one for whole sale market. It is also called as Tank Road market. Jeans, T-Shirts are available ther. The other is the Karol Bagh market, which contains all retail items. It was funny and puzzling at first to bargain a product which he first said as Rs. 400 for say Rs.40. After sometime, It started to get boring... aah! I got a travellers bag and a belt for my dad, a purse each for my mom and sister. It was simply great. When we were back to our rooms and talked with our friends boasting on how great each's bargain was, we found that each one had been cheated/duped in atleast one bargain. :)) :))

The next day we made to Metro train. Took metro train from Karol Bagh to Rajiv Chowk. I also got a Souvenier ticket token to show to everyone that "yes yes, i went in Delhi Metro train". It was fully air conditioned. It had LCD screens and audible messages saying which was the next station and which side the doors will open and so on....was certainly a new experience... We went from there to Paalika Bazaar. Me , Saravana, Balaji, Priya went there. We did some shopping. We almost would have been duped by a duplicate 50 rupee note. We went to Jantar Mantar, a place where there were several instruments of Astronomical importance (of which I could comprehend the sundial and a few others). From there we came back to our rooms, had food and then everyone started to the train at 6 PM. Before going to the train, we went to India Gate. I went boating with saravana. Sairam, Nithya and Jayanthi went for a three boat ride. Priya and Balaji went for a two boat ride. My boat(with saravana) had a nice dashing game with Balaji's and we took some pic there. When we reached Delhi Railway Station, it was all fun...people took videos with the bus driver (which I wrote earlier), took some snaps and we moved to the platform (IIRC it was platform 10).

There was only one person who's relative had come to Delhi station to give a send off and it was Jayanthi's cousin. We had chat with him for sometime the same morning, when he came to meet Jayanthi. He took her, Sairam , Nithya with him for showing them Delhi.... Well I should tell lucky Jayanthi and unlucky him :p.

The return journey wasnt that comfortable, since the whole 40 tickets got split in 2 compartments, and the whole students became two discrete groups rather than one. We had slam books, each one spent the time in the train filling other's slam books and exchanging addresses and contact numbers...With that the whole thing ended, and we reached the day after at chennai morning 7 AM...

There are a lot of positives from the trip. First, my level of interaction with friends has increased considerably... Though late, its the latest from my side... I made a few good friends(notably Jayanthi, with whom i have never talked much before the trip), Karthik (who has become fan of my mokkais), extended my depth of friendship with others (Saravana, Balaji, Priya, Nithya). I have been in touch with them always, much closer after the trip. With saravana, i have always been much much closer. :-).

Well I think i have written much more than what I would have typed in a week... This is a really great experience writing a BBBBIIIIIIIGGGGGG journal.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Cisco Trip

During transit to ITC Hotel Posted by Picasa

The Cisco Trip

Morning Break Fast or the next Fast? eh! Posted by Picasa

The Cisco Trip

The cute guy at the right in Blue shirt is Varun Posted by Picasa

The Cisco Trip

Varun is somewhere in this picture....Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cabtain at his best

I was reading the review of Cabtain's sudeshi film here:
Just thought why not google for his party "Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam"

I did google up, but the result was very very funny. I was laughing like hell on the result...the snapshot is below.. have a look at it..

I was really tempted to click Did you mean: Desiya Murukku Dravida Kazhagam link .. :p


Monday, March 06, 2006

MSN Hotmail Banner Ads suck

Recently the standard of banner ads that appear in Hotmail have gone for worse/worst. I saw an ad that i really thought was inappropriate (was kind of semi n&*^) and offended me. Another reason why I should never care to check my HOTMAIL and instead continue using my GMail. I think the email providers should seriously think of avoiding those banner ads and instead go for text ads like GMail. I really love them. Also they are more appropriate. When i send a mail about my project, i always see something interesting and relevant to my project (in the links on the right side). I am just hoping that some day these banner ads die for the good of mankind :-).


Sunday, January 29, 2006

My first Gaim plugin - எனது முதல் கைம் ப்லகின்

This is my first GAIM plugin. I wrote it in 'C' with glib. I hope it is helpful for at least a few.

1) Install GAIM first. See here->
  • If you use windows download the gaim-1.5.0.exe link. After downloading, install gaim.
  • If you use linux get the source tarball here gaim-1.5.0.tar.bz2 .:). After downloading do
    • ./configure
    • make
    • make install
2) Once you install GAIM, the next step is install the plugin. Download the plugin here ->
First unzip the file.
  • In Windows, you have to copy paste the engtota.dll file to C:\Program Files\Gaim\Plugins directory (assuming you have installed Gaim at C:\Program Files\Gaim directory).
  • In Linux, you have to copy paste the "C" file to the plugins directory in source tree and compile. :).
3) The next step is enabling the plugin. Choose the plugin first.
4) All done... lets start தமிழ் typing....

This is what you type. When you press enter, this is what you get:

Thats it!

What could go wrong?
Gaim doesnt compile in linux, Gaim doesnt work in windows, can you help?

The short answer is that you can hunt at #gaim for help. Installation is something that I never had great luck with. For compiling gaim in windows cygwin, i got help thru #wingaim.

The gaim plugin that you have screenshotted isnt being recognized as a plugin even after i copy paste the plugin DLL in the plugins directory. Why?

Please restart gaim. That should make it appear in the list of plugins available for gaim.

I am not able to see the transliterated tamil text..I think there is some problem with the font. Can you help me?

This is very common problem. If you have linux, you usually have some UNICODE fonts, or you can install one. The same applies to windows. It comes free with a font called Latha.ttf (in windows XP). Have a look at the README.txt file in the zip file, it should help you out, or see here for help installing UNICODE fonts for windows.

I cant understand the tamil text. Can you tell me how the transliteration is done?
The transliteration is based on the tool here -> I have also attached a pdf file showing the transliteration. You can take a printout of it and use it for reference. After sometime, once you pick up some speed, i am sure it wud be easy to type. But initially you will have problems on how the transliteration is made. For example in the above snapshot, you must have seen the english text to be "vaNakkam". the capital N is because you want "moondru suzhi naa". If you want "rendu suzhi na", you can use small n. Before you start typing just have a go through of pdf file. That will be of immense help.

My problem isnt documented here. Can you help me out?
Sure, you can comment in this post, or at, where I have submitted the plugin. You can also mail me at {initial}.{name} where my {initial} is "s" and {name} is "varun". Of recent, I have been receiving hits on how to compile gaim plugin from Google. If you are stuck with some step and are unable to proceed, you can mail me. I will try to reply/debug the issue.

1) Sridhar Ratna, who gave me inspiration to write the plugin.
2), the transliteration tool i use often. I usually used to type in english, get the tamil text and copy paste in windows (texts like காலை வணக்கம் etc).
3) thomas at #wingaim, who helped me out to compile the plugin properly.
4) seanegan, whose codeinline.c plugin, i have made modifications.
5) last but not the least, people in my messenger list, talking to whom I tested the plugin, which includes Karthik(crescent), saravana, priya, nithya, senthil, vijay(jr). All of them were victims of some unreadable tamil text, which I too could not understand :).

Thanks to all of you who are using this plugin and giving me feedback.

Sunday, January 22, 2006 Fun Tests - Computer Geek / Nerd Quiz Fun Tests - Computer Geek / Nerd Quiz

My computer geek score is greater than 96% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Check this out and tell ur score :)

தமிழ் ஊடகங்கள் கூடுமிடம்

தமிழ் ஊடகங்கள் கூடுமிடம்

தமிழ் எழுத்துருவம் எழுத இதனை பயன் படுத்தலாம். இது எப்படி இருக்கு? சூப்பரா கீதா?
I typed "thamizh ezhuththuruvam ezhudha idhanai payan paduththalaam. idhu eppadi irukku? suupparaa kiithaa?"

to get the above tamil text. :). you can use this to type and create all tamil text quickly on the go. I use it to type something and paste it in messenger(yahoo,gtalk supports unicode, so tamil fonts will work).


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bug vs Feature

I saw this in sridhar's computer. "A picture speaks 1000 words". :)
My interpretation goes like this "Features are dressed up bugs"

GMail adds Delete button

When there was no Delete Button directly, i had it using the GreaseMonkey Script here . But now google has updated that in Gmail itself. Thank you Google.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

SiteAdvisor blog: The Web's Download Disasters, Inaugural Edition

SiteAdvisor blog: The Web's Download Disasters, Inaugural Edition

This site is great. It has the list of internet's worst spywares. They have automated testing and have tested around a million spywares. The top five software sharing the honor are above. I came to know that those silly IM emoticons were spyware only after reading it. I see it often in most sites as ads. (i can remember greetings site showing them often).

Saturday, January 14, 2006 - projects - mini-itx cluster - projects - mini-itx cluster
This one is certainly cool. It is a 12 node cluster, however, its total power consumption is comparable to what our desktops are. All hardware are off the shelf... so its very cheap too...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

This is a great one! i really enjoyed, hope you can interpret what it means.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Firefox 1.5! The Bloatware

I am writing this post from Mozilla Firefox on Windows. It is the browser that i really love! I love it not only because it is an OSS, but also because it has a gamut of scripts that i can add to customize to my taste. I use greasemonkey scripts to add delete button to my gmail threads, remove Google AdSense Ads and add MP3 player to all links that are MP3. But after upgrading to Firefox 1.5, things have changed a lot, though i still love it. It has become like a one sided love affair. Its trying to become bloat ware no.1. Previously IE used to be the top contender for Mr. BloatWare.It is probably because of some memory leak or something like that and I hope it would be corrected soon. (Firefox developers, anybody there, echo!). The worst thing happens when i run Java over it!. It bloats to 70MB odd, once i have even seen it at 100+MB :( . Have a look at my task manager.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Windows WMF exploit

This is a nasty bug. Details of it was out at on dec-28 itself. It was due to the age old WMF format. During those days of Win 3.11, people thought it was easier to add executable code inside WMF file so that in case the WMF didnt render the file properly, the code is executed that takes remedial measure. This ability to add executable code to WMF still persists, as a part of WMF standard, in the age, when VIRUSES comes free with Windows ;) . The worst part of the exploit is that when you download an image from a site, its extension doesnt matter(as in UNIX there was nothign called extensions). It is based on the file headers and the magic value in it. So even fi the file linked to is a .jpg file, it just needs to have WMF's magic value and the virus/adware payload. In other words, you simply have to goto to and see the site. The <img> link in the page will load exploit.jpg, which has the WMF file in its contents, with the adware/virus payload in it. Once the page is rendered in IE, IE calls Windows Picture and Fax Viewer's dll file (shimgvw.dll) to render the WMF file.

When the DLL fails to understand the WMF file, it issues a callback command and executes the executable payload in the WMF file and voila, your system is infected. What does this mean? your internet browsing itself is not secure! you simply have to visit sites to get infected. While this is the case with IE users, Firefox and Opera people dont have a breather either. For firefox and opera, the only thing that favours them is that, since WMF is an external component, firefox will ask you if u want to open it with Windows ... and Fax Viewer, if u say yes, you will get infected. Perfect way to get infected and u can curse yourself for clicking YES.

What is the quick but dirty remedy? Unregister the shimgvw.dll file. It will cause u not to load any WMF file (or rather view them or their thumbnail). Its like since you have dirt in your nails, you should cut off your fingers, so that there is no more nails to have dirt. :)
The command is:
regsvr32 -u %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll

If you want to re-enable the WMF viewing for legitimate purpose other than infecting your system ;), you might want to re-enable it by issuing the following command:
regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll

Microsoft, as it has to support helluva lot of versions of IE, obviously needs time, and it is taking its own time while the exploit is wild. :-( . I also read that an individual has made a patch for it and it seems to work!. Thats certainly not good news for Microsoft. I installed that exploit from here:
although i have not tested with a vulnerable site and i dont want to do!.

I have summarized in my own words what this exploit means for us here. I read them from the following URLs:

Linux and Mac users are not vulnearable. Please post your comments too in this blog...

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