Friday, December 24, 2004

time to travel

I am travelling back to home tomorrow -- after 4 months here in New England in the US of A.

The trip was fun, short and fun, and we are out of here, before the weather really starts to misbehave.

I had a few impressions about the US before I came over (namely everyone or anyone would be carrying a gun) ... well thats not true.. atleast not true in the area that I am in. Nonetheless, there are a few great things about this country.

The roads - civil infrastructure is out of the world. If we have such roads in India, the economy would grow leaps and bounds (yes I know, if we have a great economy, we will have such roads :) ).

The social security phenomenon.... Thats superb again. Everything you do - is tied together, by this one "secret" number.

As Dharmesh puts it together:
"1. I feel the people in general have not faced competition in true sense
and hence the manners and patience.
2. Lacks the lust of freedom. Everybody sounds happy but aren't. Hence
3. On a nicer note, lots of resources but not many users, hence the

But one thing is for sure, this country was made by immigrants who faught to make it happen. The tradition just continues... these are a bunch of hard working people who can achieve anything, if the so deem. A very interesting bunch to live with, work with.

Do I want to come back here...: yes sometime..

Over all there are a lot of impressions -- I am charmed by this place, the speed and the outlook -- the trust and the spirit of ppl. -- but not overcharmed.

and I miss home :)

Will post some pictures of Paris @ Christmas soon.


Monday, December 20, 2004


The last week, was fast.. there were too many things to catch up on.

I leant about the EXIF format: This is a brilliant way to capture image data as a part of the JPEG. The way it goes is, that jpeg is a binary format. Part of this binary file will have the EXIF structure, which holds information like, who created the file, what was the shutter speed, Aperture, ISO, exposure type, WB mode, Flash fired, and a lot of other things that a photographer might need later - when he/she analyses the picture quality.

I wanted to hack this structure, so that, I could manipulate the Camera maker -- so like all "naive" hackers, I opened it with vim, and :%s/Canon/mycamera/gc -- but that wont work.. because its a binary file.. and even though I changed the text, I screwed the jpeg and no imageviewer would open this file.

Anyway, undeterred, I searched google, and it lead me to jhead... (man, what would I have done without google). Jhead is a small application which parses the exif structure, and gives out the info u need, in text. There are a lot of open source image viewers which use the good work that Matthais Wandel did some 5 years back.

I picked up Jhead, and it saved me from reading the 176 page specification for Exif 2.2. Anyway, I found that Jhead does not read all the tags, esp because the code was written in Exif 2.1 timeframes... or even earlier. I added a few things to the code, the tags that it was able to detect, but was not able to identify.. and a few wanted things, like the flash, would now show that flash fired, red eye reduction mode.. and send the changes back to Matthias. (My first serious open source hack :) ). Lets hope Matthias has the time to put it on his website... it was all worth a good time hacking anyway :). Jhead with my changes is here.

The second great thing that I just bumped across was the RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Now I had seen a lot of this rss stuff, but did not know what it was. This is an excellent way to get summarised data, and they use XML for that.

What this does for you can be easily understood by a small application. Say, I want to get news. One way would be to goto the news site, and check for the headlines. The second way would be to subscribe to the rss feed, and whenever the news changes, I will be notified on the change. The best part is that this feed can be put as a bookmark in the Firefox - so all u have to do is click on the bookmark, and it will list out all the headlines.

A lot of things which could work with such changes, like blog, news sites, Slashdot, Linux Journal have rss as a feature. Surprisingly, google news does not have RSS. My suspcions are that there is something going on abt this at google labs, but then thats google.

The snow is here, but lucky for us, we are out of this place, and back in warm India on friday.

Heee Haw -- home, here I come :)


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Anger Management

What is Anger? When do you get angry? And last but not the least, how do you avoid getting angry?

We all know that Anger blinds us from making a controlled reaction; instead we do things that we would have normally not done. But where does all this uncontrolled energy come from ... I mean, no logical person would react ir-rationally -- just because he fancies to. It has to have the same inertia build up - and then in the weakest of moments, there is the uncontrolled release of energy (also known as anger).

The wise would diffuse this build up while it is happening. So u never really reach the point where you can release the energy.

What about the rest of the low mortals... how do we control anger
As I percieve, anger is built of 2 stages
1. when somebody attacks me, I get my defenses high.
2. once i have my defenses high, i would respond aggressively ( or angryly ).

One of the ways to control anger would be to "laugh out", so that the stage when my defenses get high diffuses. but how easy is it?? There has to be something better than walking out of the room, and who's gonna tell you that you have to laugh out now.... its just a devil inside you that tells you to .. $^%*^%&$&@$#@ the @&#(*&#(&@ . And after doing that, while, you might feel miserable, the devil (aka male ego) is happy that you really nailed the (&()&#&@.

But all of us know that this is not right, so it has to be tamed, and controlled. So what to do ?? any ideas are welcome.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

playlist of the month

This is inspired by Ajay:

Alice in Chains, courtesy, Rock 101 @ Manchester
U2, Vertigo (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) -- dont you just love Bono
Velvet Revolver (This is a band with 3 members from GnR, and yes this includes Slash)
Rush (Geddy Lee)
Nirvana (the legend called Kurt Cobain lives on)
Godsmack (I hope I got the name right) - this again is the courtesy of the Rock 101
The Doors (need I say more... )
GreenDay ( the guys who sung American Idiot )
Pink Floyd ( I come to thee, whenever I am blue )
kudos Ajay, u had a big list
I cant think of another band that I've been listening to...

The weekend was a shopping frenzy, in my boss's Pontiac -- this was the first time I was driving a 2 door, not too sure, i liked it as much as I had hoped. Its like driving a maruti and sitting very close to the road.

my ride


Monday, December 06, 2004

Weekend Mania

Some day I gonna own one of these:

If only we had let the batteries to charge, we would have had a major truck mania on our hands.

TODO> plan to plug the rf controller on the parallel port and control the car to find its way from point a to b using the shortest path first... Good old Dijkstra algorithm. If you find it intersting, mail me.

Anyway, the weekend, came and it went by in a flash. For now, I am just waiting for the holidays. :)


Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday -- ah :)

Long awaited friday is finally here. Here is a pic of the parking lot at noon...
Go Home Guys

On Sat the parking lot looks like below ...
I love this country

flamebait -- donot read if u like orkut

I have been tolerating Orkut's lousy design for some time now... but today I just lost it, when I could not even add a second photo. I have sent them a bug report... like a good member. I just hope they respond.

I am not a poineer in software design, but I can tell the differance between good and bad software design.. and orkut is close to the bottom in the list. I really wonder why google ever decide to share their good name with some crap as orkut. I understand guys that the orkut is a beta.. but look at gmail for once.. that one is also beta. The idea of a beta distro is to make sure that it works, and the quarks are abt to be ironed out. Orkut is slow!!

end flaimbait -- read on

Anyway, so the week went past without any significant achievement. I am planning to go thru sicp video 3a and also some MM code.

Appraisals are around the corner.. so best of luck to me :)