Friday, May 18, 2007

Shifted loyalty to Wordpress!

So for all those people who don't read my blogs I've got information for you that you might never use ;)
I've moved to wordpress: All my previous posts on Blogger have been imported there.

Bye Bye Blogger!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My new k750i

With myself assuming that I'm gonna get 14k out of working at TRDDC, before coming here, I bought myself a brand new Sony-Ericsson K750i. There were other reasons too - for example, I felt I really needed GPRS and a camera in Pune. My original plan was to take Dad's k510i, however elder bro had already taken it to Delhi by then (Ok, so he's doing a summer internship at DLF).

Anyway, so I'm no longer using my old crappy T290i.

The K750i is a great for its price (probably I used a similar phrase when I talked about my Dad's k510i). At 8.9K its got a lot of functionality. Its a kinda old model - around two years old. But most reviews call it the "old-is-gold". On Techtree, most of the about 10K phones are compared with the k750i (and its Big B k790i) - it was almost as if SE had bribed Techtree to do that! It might not be a phone to boast about in a blog - but hell, I've been using a T290i for the last two years - I've got the right to party!

So basic features? Class 10 GPRS, 2 MP camera with autofocus, nice interface, FM radio, bluetooth.

Probably the major difference between the 510 and 750 is the 2MP camera with autofocus - also the camera lens has got a cover!

For about the same price I could've got other 2MP camera phones with even EDGE. Well, but most reviews talked about the bad camera quality - no other phone in the range has autofocus, so I decided to fallback to the k750i.

While it took some time to get the hang of the joystick, I soon realized how it can make my mobile usage more efficient and fast.

Among the cons that I've noticed is the very bad sound quality - even while talking on the phone. And playing MP3s on the speaker phone is certainly not a good idea :) Well, but thats what the W series is for.

Its awesome to have GPRS and Java. The last few days in Pune, I've been taking 24hrs GPRS for 20 INR. The connection is terribly slow - lot slower than what Rajesh (a friend of mine) used to get at IISc during the KVPY camp. I've not been able to use the GPRS with my laptop - some settings problem - but during the restricted net access times at TRDDC I can ssh with MindSSH on my phone! (MindSSH is a java based ssh client)

Welcome to TRDDC, Pune

Ok, so for those who don't know I've been at Pune for the last few days, doing a summer internship at TRDDC. Thats Tata Research Development and Design Centre, a division of TCS.

I've got lots to write about: Pune Chics (Hrushi and co were'nt kidding when they said Pune chics are hot!), the nice family I stayed with for the first few days, finding accomodation, blah blah blah.. but right now let me just restrict myself to TRDDC.

WARNING: Ranting, Ranting, Ranting.

In brief: I hate it here.

My Project

Ok, I can't divulge much of this - I don't want to break any clause of the four-page confidentiality agreement that I signed before joining here.

But I can assure you that it has nothing to do with Theoretical Computer Science.


Firstly, gmail, orkut etc are blocked. Of course - tech savvy as people here are supposed to be, we use other ways to access these sites. But still restrictions give a bad impression.

The first day I came here, I came in baggy cargos and shirt - typical of me. Second day, t-shirt and jeans. Third day t-shirt and jeans. Through these three days I see everybody wearing formals, and think to myself what a bunch of losers these people are.

Later, I was spotted by some high-profile guy (Brigadier, thats what some of my friends told me he's called) and asked me whether I've seen anybody with jeans and t-shirt in the office, and asked me to maintain office decorum. Formals. Jeans and casuals only on Fridays. Kinda reminds me of the uniformed days of school. A roomie - a guy from IBM - claimed that at his place the minimal restrictions were there are they were not even followed.

So guess what I've worn today: Jeans and the same (unwashed, unironed) shirt that I wore on Day 1.

After all, rules are meant to be broken.

Its also interesting to note the computer usage policy that I have to accept before I use my assigned computer. It asserts TCS's right to monitor everything I'm doing on my comp. And in fact they can do it - we've seen them remotely controlling some of the comps.

So guess where I am writing all this from? ;)

I have signed in for 2.5 months... Hmm... heh heh heh ... *villaneous laugh* more on this a few weeks from now :D

My new room: Good night, sleep tight don't let the bed-bugs bite

So after staying three days at Poumai's place, I moved into my new room for the next 2.5 months.

About 15 minutes and 7 rupees bus ride from TRDDC, and at 2200 p.m. this place sucks. For the next two weeks we (ah, introducing Anurag - an IITM metallurgy guy, so we will be roomies throughout this internship - we are working on different projects though) have been asked to stay in a four bed dormitory, after which we'll be shifted to a perhaps better room for two.

This place has got a bathroom whose taps don't work (the one which works works at a slow pace), a drain thats clogged. Downstairs they've kept corporation water in bottles in an ancient fridge that stinks (and has got a HUGE bag of dogs meat - meat for dogs - stuffed into the freezer non-auto-defrosting), and which people drink.

For the next two weeks, I and Anurag have been given a single cupboard. Well its got two halves to it, one half is sealed. So lets say we've got half a cupboard.

The story behind the other sealed half is interesting and has been passed down the generations of various occupants of the room. Apparently a girl staying in this room commited suicide by jumping down the building a few years back. All her stuff is in this cupboard. Sealed. Ah, I can feel shivers up my spine.

Finally, I slept at 5 in the morning today. Bed bugs. I wouldn't have slept by then too if not for Odomos.

Long live Pune. Long live TRDDC. Short live my stay here!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

She will be loved

A few days back, while I was doing nothing useful, a nice tune gets into my head. It keeps playing in there -- I've heard it before, few times, but can't make out the wordings. Ah, must be something on my playlist, let me play it...

Unfortunately with 7 GB of songs that I don't listen to, my playlist is a big bad place. I decide to use Amarok's random playlist feature - I kept playing random songs, moving back and forth in the song to find out the particular tune.

I end up hearing the crappiest of heavy metals, hard rock, and low-budget bollywood... Once in a while, the songs that I've always loved start playing, but this time I just couldn't stand it... where was that tune?

To make searching easier I deleted 4 GB of the crap that I don't listen to. That had been on my TODO list for months.

But still no sign of my song.

At this time, am getting frustrated, desperate - I really want to hear that song. I searched through my elder bro's collection, on my destop. Its sad you can't search on a tune on Google.

It took me two days to recollect few of the words at the right places - falling rain, will be loved... Ok then "google will be loved falling rain lyrics"... Bingo! I got it. (Actually it turned out to be pouring rain, but Yaay!) Finally, after knowing the songs name, I was able to find it on sl5 in the Siruseri Lab :)

So then, the song is Maroon 5 - She will be loved. As it turns out, I've been enjoying that song little too much in the last few days, I just can't stop listening to it (I have to admit though that the lyrics isn't very meaningful). And my younger bro's threatening me that I better stop humming that tune :P

Project Looking Glass - yet another Window Manager?

In other news (or news which is hard to locate on the net), Beryl and Compiz have merged. So I'm stuck with a buggy Beryl from Ubuntu, and am waiting for the first merged release.

In my search for a better compositor, I came across Metisse and Looking Glass.

Metisse's concept is cool, it focusses on more on desktop efficiency, rather than great looks. Its called a 2.5D desktop. My best attempts at installing it failed, it'll be a while before I try it again. Apparently the Mandriva 2007 Spring Edition comes with Metisse bundled.

So I decided to try out Looking Glass. Looking Glass was a breeze to install, Sun provides a repository for Ubuntu from where I could just apt-get. After install, all I needed to do was logout and login back with Session type "Looking glass".

Looking glass is at the other extreme of Metisse - so I felt. Its more effects and no desktop efficiency. I might be wrong, I haven't worked with it for too long. But at the effects it does a great job! Technically LG demands a Graphics card - technically I have a Intel Integrated Graphics card, and it gave me decent results - not as smooth as Beryl. The cool features are of course how we can write notes at the back of the windows, and arrange windows to the corners of the screen. And the nice application list bar at the botton of the screen (I badly want that in Beryl - oops, compiz). You can do a lot more, which you usually won't want to do. And there are a lot of experimental 3D interfacing apps, which I felt are mostly crap. And by arranging windows in space (which extends to the left and right of your screen), everything eventually tends to get inorganised.

I could probably use it to impress some friends some day, I can't get work done on it;)

Long live Compiz!

(And for those who haven't noticed, I'm back into blogging:P )

Monday, March 19, 2007

CMI OPC 2007 is here

This is just a reminder for all contest coders to take part in
The CMI Online Programming Contest 2007.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Home Sweet Siruseri

For a few days now I've been in the new CMI hostel at Siruseri. Although all our complaints about being far away from the city and all still hold, it appears life isn't going to be so bad after all.

The Caterers

We have quite good quality food, although in taste I can't say that its remarkable (but then thats just because of less choices within a single meal). Loads better than Essentials. And UNLIMITED. Great coffee - Nescafe. Breakfasts are particularly good.

The hostel

The contractors seem to have learnt a lot from the construction of the CMI academic block. Although beautifully designed, its a well-known secret that there have been lots of compromises in building quality in there. We have seen the effect of that during the rains.

But our new hostel is fantastic. We've been given nice cupboards and tables (oh, some complain about the absense of draws).Nice beds. French windows that give nobody privacy (we've been told we'll be given curtain rods in due course of time). It borrows the red and yellow theme of the main building - the lighting looks fantastic at night.

I'm right now sharing the room with Jigar - thats the plan, Jigar will be arriving on 8th or 9th.

Connectivity with the city

One nice thing about living in T. Nagar near Pondy bazaar, would have been the fact that I could get anything I needed with two minutes of walking. Here the nearest decently big stationary store must be kilometers away, and I am yet to get the cycle. However this turns out not to be too big an issue, since I anyway have classes at Matscience twice or thrice a week, and can get most of the stuff I need from Adyar then. And there are many vehicles shuttling between CMI and matscience.

Connectivity (Internet!)

Ok, so as of now I am using a weak wireless signal from the main building. We've been told that wireless routers will be put up in a months time. There's no ethernet connections in the rooms.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Waiting for 2 AM

Here's another reason why BSNL sucks: It spoils your sleep patterns.

The last few nights I've been staying awake late trying to make my downloads start peacefully at the strike of 2.

Automated scripts do exist. But the things you can automate to download are limited. (For instance doing an apt-get upgrade, may require user intervention. apt-get upgrade -y may be dangerous. And how do you go about downloading stuff from a Gnutella[LimeWire] network from a script?) Anyway, I've saved a few nights thanks to Shreevatsa's script that restarts the modem - I then can do wget kind of downloads.

Ok. Its 2. Here I go.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Two days that just weren't my days

This post is about how I travelled to Coimbatore for the ICPC. For information on the contest see my previous post

I had to go to Amrita (its an engineering college run by "Amma" 's devotees) at Coimbatore for the ACM ICPC.

Although I knew I can easily get to go by bus without reserving tickets beforehand, I still went to the transport stand and enquired. There was a Super-fast which had reservation at 6 AM, which reached Coimbatore at 10.30. I wasn't sure whether 10.30 was good enough (I didn't have the ICPC schedule with me), and I'd prefer this bus to the 2.30 AM bus for obvious reasons. So I booked a ticket. Rs. 112.

When I did realize that 10.30 is not enough I couldn't do anything - I didn't cancel it thinking it was a small amount, and I might be able to squeeze it out of CMI.

So I finally took the 2.30 AM bus. Rs. 107.

On the way, from the loud arguments between the conductor and many passengers, I come to understand that this guy does not like stopping the bus at arbitrary places. So early morning when I asked him what time it reaches Amrita, and when he said that there's no stop there, I quietly retired back to my seat and kept on the lookout for Ettimadai, where I have been just once before.

It must've already passed by then, or I must've dozed off, or I just did not recognize the place. Because soon I found myself in the city.

So I get down at this stop called Gandhipuram, and tried getting an auto (yeah, I had had enough of buses for the day - although, as I later found out, Kshitij and Nivedita had just left that bus stop some 10 minutes ago). The tamil here seemed a lot different (as confirmed by Nivedita later, she said she herself had trouble understanding) and I had trouble bargaining - I found myself agreeing to 250 for the auto (and he finally took 270).

So I reach Amrita for around Rs. 500. Almost five times what I should've spent. Its going to be hard to squeeze that out of CMI.

Contest over. Lets get back to Ernakulam

I started my journey back at around 7 PM. Well I take a bus to Palakkad and from there to Trissur. Now things get interesting. I'm a little sleepy, for some reason I was thinking of how I missed my stop at Coimbatore, I suddenly read എറണാകുളം (Ernakulam) on this one bus - and wow! - there did not seem to be any rush for it (The other Ernakulam/Thiruvananthapuram bound buses had a great rush). I got in. On the seat to my right a passenger asks another: ഇത് അമല വരി എലെ പോഗനെ? This goes via Amala?. The reply was something to the effect: Yes. Did you not read the name before entering?

While statements like this should've made me check the route again, maybe ask someone, I somehow did not. Perhaps I felt that it would upset my pride if I show that I'm not sure of what I'm doing. I did not know where the hell Amala was, I just thought it was somewhere on the way to Ernakulam and this young man was travelling for the first time and needed assitance.

Half an hour later the bus started. The conductor took a lot of time to come. In my mind I was wondering whether it was possible to get away with buying tickets on transport buses. Hmm.

The conductor finally arrived. I now had to pay. One Ernakulam, I asked. The look of amusement on his face told me everything. I paid up for a ticket and got down at dear old Amala. Amala Hospital and Research center. The conductor and the two fellow passengers (who were discussing the route of the bus) told me how to get back to Trissur. Ernakulam was in the opposite direction. (So where did I read Ernakulam on the name plate? It could well have been a stop it had already visited)

Since it was almost midnight, the road was deserted. During the long wait for the bus, I kept imagining how interesting it would be to spend the night on the road side if I don't get a bus. Soon I decided to take an auto. This auto guy had come with his auto to eat at the small restaurant behind me. And so when I he took me in (Bah! for Rs. 60. He first said 70. I blatantly told him: I have no idea of the rates, but I'm sure you are asking too much. Lets agree at 60). God then sent a bunch of auto walla's from the nearby auto stand to come and make a hugh fuss (Ah! don't you know the way these auto unions work? They are not supposed to take customers from near auto stands). During the heated argument I get my bus, and run away and save Rs.55.

(As a side note: On the bus, the conductor talks of a hartal [in Trissur, later mentioned by Dad]. Since now, after the day's incidents, I'm very much paying attention to the world around me, I imagine how I would spend the day at Trissur bus stop if it becomes tomorrow by the time I reach there and the buses stop plying)

At 0000 hrs, I finally got my (crowded) bus home. Needless to say, I struggled to keep my eyes open. I've had enough with missing stops, and gettin on wrong routes. I read every board that passed by me.

And finally at 0130 hrs, I spend Rs. 50 for an auto from the ernakulam transport stand back home.

Hmm. Was an expensive journey for a T-shirt and a bag.

P.S. About the title. On Day One of the ICPC, Kshitij, with reference to my expensive journey and a lot of walking I had had to do within the campus said that that wasn't my day.