Thursday, December 14, 2006

Remember Shakti Concert was simply awesome. Mind blowing. The concert should have ended with a display of fireworks. That would have been something. ;)
Only problem (as 'Ktk' pointed out) is with Shankar Mahadevan pronounced "Giriraja suta" (daughter of the king of mountains - Parvati) as "Giriraja sudha" (whatever that means).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Remember Shakti

Originally uploaded by Ananth Narayan S.
Remember Shakti on an India tour is playing at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore today. A wonderful fusion of jazz, hindustani and carnatic music, with some really big names in music circles performing.
Go and savor the musical experience. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Google Video - Different browser, different page

Google Video throws me a different page depending on whether the browser is IE or Firefox. For what reason? I have no idea. It's bloody bullshit by Google!!
Take a look at the screen shots below.
[Click on the image for all sizes option]


Observe the listings below the search box, viz Top 100, Comedy, Movies.. etc. Right next to the category name is a small downward arrow, a drop down list actually. Mouse-over on any name and a list appears.

On FF (below) the drop down doesn't show up. Why this 'differential treatment'?

P.S. Hope this not an issue with FF Javascript engine.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Linutop and lost opportunities

Linutop is a Linux based diskless computer whose main purpose, according to the makers is to surf the internet. It got featured on Reg Hardware.
OK. So what's the big deal? Well... I had something similar (and bigger actually) in mind when I wrote this post back in August. I had just replaced a monitor with a TV as the display device and mentioned the whole thing in the context of Ultra Mobile PCs.

I feel like an idiot... and am jealous!! Wish I had a Venture Capitalist as a friend.
Y! Desktop Search doesn't seem to support Case sensitive, Whole word and Regex based query strings. I am impressed with the speed of retrieval though.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The new Yahoo! Desktop Search (YDS) is good. Much better than the (alpha/beta) version I had installed earlier. Couple of problems I saw were installing the extension pack seemed to mess up indexing of my Outlook folder contents. Might be just that some settings got changed.
Another thing is logging in with my Y! credentials failed. This is required to index Y! Messenger archives. I have no trouble logging into Y! services though.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

YM Weather Plugin

Originally uploaded by Anthroponym.

A really strange tool tip that popped up. Why is it showing Sunday's weather (according to the tooltip) on Monday?
Also, the tool tip has partly covered the forecast area. In that it shows forecast for Sunday and Monday. I would expect Monday and Tuesday instead.
It could be that the weather data server is in a different time zone. But the plugin must handle such minor things.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lets do some cooking!!!

Well... the cooking in the video was on an XBox 360.
If you don't like to cook on a gaming console you can alternatively use the 'coolest stove in the world' - A MacBook.

Novell + M$

What does the M$ & Novell pact have in store for FOSS developers? How does the community, which doesn't necessarily love M$ view this? So far there doesn't seem to have been any opinions expressed by FOSS heavyweights like RMS, ESR, Linus etc. There don't seem to be any benefits to the community by this deal. Will this alienate Novell from the community?
Will SuSE be rechristened?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Is it not possible for a Yahoo! or Google to show me online (on IM) whenever I am using any of their services? Well.. Must not be a problem. This is when I am actually not logged into IM using either the IM client (or mail as in GMail).
Now, first question : How will I receive a message sent to me when am not logged into IM? This is where toolbar can come into the picture. The toolbar can show a flashing icon when someone is attempting to get in touch with me. I can then (obviously) choose to either login to IM and respond or switch my status to offline. The default will be to show a person offline.
Second question : Usage model / Users. I have no idea who will find this useful or what usage models can be developed around this. If any readers of this post have ideas, leave a comment or blog about ur ideas. Don’t forget to leave a link. :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Can web based email clients (Yahoo! Mail, Google Mail etc) split large attachments into smaller pieces on the fly when an email is being sent, and at the receiver's side, recombine the parts on the fly into the whole.
There's one feature in GMail that I liked a lot, multiple photo attachments in a single mail are archived downloaded as one zip/tar file. Was cool.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Is there any software that allows one to send SMS using their mobile phone connected to the notebook/desktop? It must allow me to type the message and the recipient's phone number on an application installed on the computer, and send the same using the mobile phone connected to it.
There are sites that allow one to send SMS, but those also allow unsolicited messages to be sent. In this case there is no unsolicited message, just that i type on my 102-key keyboard and not on one that has12 keys.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Google Image labeler.. sequel

In my previous post I had termed Google Image Labeler as a great way to beat post lunch drowsiness. What I seemingly didn't realise is that I feel quite drowsy after lunch. Why? Well... Google says I am 19th in the all time ranking. Might drop, might rise. Who knows.


I just hope my senior management doesn't see this. They will say "We don't pay you to label images for Google!!" .

As usual, emoticons courtesy Yahoo!.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Google Image Labeller, a great way to beat post lunch sleepiness.
Google is attempting to use the "Wisdom of the Crowds" to improve its image search results. This is not unlike initial search engines, where content was classified by human readers and not bots. Only difference, people who participate consider this a game and Google gets the job done free of cost.

Emoticons courtesy Yahoo!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I had discussed some product ideas with a colleague. And then both of us unanimously chucked it out thinking it would not find any users and was a bit cumbersome to engineer, mainly due to external dependencies. Today, I understand it is actually being productised.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Audio CD players, VCD, DVD players etc are consumer devices that can play content off optical storage devices. However, there is a lot of content available on the internet. Movie-On-Demand and streaming models of content distribution also use the internet as the distribution medium.

But I can’t watch these on TV, unless my TV is ‘internet enabled’. And my TV needs to have all the software in place in order to play the content viz. protocols for streaming media (Real-time Transport Protocol, Real-time Transmission Control Protocol ) and codecs for the zillion proprietary and open formats in which the content gets distributed.

So, would be neat if there is a consumer electronics device, which can stream content from the network, and also provide audio and video line-out functionality so I can connect it to my existing home entertainment system. Due to the nature of the device, it might be necessary that the device have a processor of some kind, either a general purpose low power processor or one specific to the application in mind.

Nowadays a lot of noise is being generated about Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs). These are computers that (seem to) fall somewhere between a smart phone and a tablet PC. UMPCs are ‘internet enabled’ and have all the software support needed for streaming media content. So it can get be used exactly for what I just mentioned. Actually what is needed is a modified version of it. We can probably strip the display unit off the UMPC, since the display is external in any case.

It can connect to a network, either home or external to stream content and also provide for any buffering so as to eliminate jitter and give smooth uninterrupted playback. Maybe it can even download and store the streamed content for playback at a later time. This is like the ASUS WL-700gE router, which can download torrents with the PC turned off.

Now, if the device has a normal low power processor and a general purpose OS running, then I can probably have a browser installed on it too. So I can check mail on a BIG screen. :)
And since the device can connect to a home media server, it might also fall in place with entertainment solutions like Intel® ViivTM.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Open Source Company

The Original Open Source Company talks about using the model of open source software ( I presume the author actually means Free Software) in different areas, specifically in establishing and running a company. Will be definitely interesting to see how far this idea goes and what the company achieves. I believe the biggest hurdle will be in decision making, since it wil get tougher as the company grows and the description by the author says 'decisions about the day to day operations of the company are voted on by one ‘n all'.

Open source seems to be the buzzword of today. With people 'Open source'-ing everything, we will have soon have an open source spectrum of products.. spanning from open source software to 'Open Source Underwear'!

Coming back, as the (above) company grows won't a hieracrchy (however rudimentary) tend to establish itself? (Err... is there a name for this phenomenon?). I am unable to think of examples. Even in case of demorcracy, there is the government and the governed. And once a hierarchy is established, there is going to be reduction in the information that flows from level to level (quality/amount/importance).

Consider any existing company. There are enough and more barriers that cut the flow of information from the `higher` to the `lower` levels. If there is a question asked on corporate decision making some kind of half hearted information is given. Why? Because the information requested was 'need to know'. But then everything in such an establishment will probably be 'need to know'. Worse still, information doesn't seem to flow smoothly inside a team in the company, irrespective of the team's size.

If the proposed company does not fall prey to hierarchy-dom, it will be a one-of-its-kind. And I might invest in it. :-)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Linux on USB flash drive

There are many sites providing USB pendrive distros, most notably PendriveLinux. But what I was unable to find was a step-by-step procedure. So began experimentation and I created a Linux installation on a 128 MB USB flash drive. And its pretty simple.
So here goes...
You need :
  • A linux box, with sources, gcc & binutils.
  • ExtLinux bootloader.
  • A USB pen drive (also called USB stick, USB key, USB etc etc).
  • Busybox
Configure the kernel and compile it. Especially, USB support must be part of the kernel and not a module. In my configuration, all h/w support was part of the kernel image. Nothing was included as a module.
Also, this means that we need to specially customize the kernel for the target hardware on which the USB installation will be used. So we have all the necessary support without increasing the kernel image size.

The USB drive needs to be partitioned and formatted as an ext3 partition. I created a single bootable ext3 partition.
Next is to install extlinux on the USB device. Extlinux is a bootloader that can boot linux of an ext2/3 partition. The steps to do this are in the syslinux site.

Once this is done, copy the bzImage and the initrd file to the boot directory on the USB drive and also create the extlinux.conf file. The initrd file gets created in /boot directory of the linux box when 'make install' is run. Once can choose to create their own initrd too.

I extracted the initrd and then copied the directories created onto the USB drive. This had the directories bin, lib, proc, root, sbin, sys, tmp and a init shell script. Linux needs an init (or a linuxrc) which it executes as the first process.

Now that the files are copied, reboot the box and get it to boot from the USB disk. :-).

Busybox can be used instead of the various individual binaries. Busybox is a lightweight console app that provides for the various binaries needed on Linux.

Next experiment: get X server & Window Maker on the USB drive.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Got Yahoo! Mail Beta recently.
And one thing I happened to notice was that on Internet Explorer, an ad would come up on the right hand side. A 'skyscraper' ad. But on Mozilla Firefox, no ad on the right side. Just a blank area. The inbox pane and the reading pane did not expand to fill up the space though. Maybe Firefox Adblock plugin is the reason.
By the way, get your name in the source code of Firefox by getting a friend to download it. How? Details @ Firefox day site.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

One one side is Corporate ( a MUST AVOID under all circumstances), *ing Bipasha Basu and Kay Kay Menon among others ; and on the other side is The Corporation, starring Noam Chomsky, Micheal Moore, Peter Drucker etc.

I am suing my colleagues for making me go through emotional distress and psychological trauma.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lucky Eddie..

Lucky Eddie
Originally uploaded
by Anthroponym.
A colleague of mine reminds me a lot of Lucky Eddie, from Hagar, The Horrible cartoon strip. Both share a few traits including long hair.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


YM Google
Originally uploaded by Anthroponym.
Installed YM 8. And it had an annoying ebay ad. So I got hold of a registry hack that was supposed to remove the ad from the main window.
Now the hack said i need to put a '*', but i put a * followed by a space and restarted YM.
What do I see? In place of an ebay ad, I see a Google page. With a * in the search box. Now I can enter a search query and hit 'Enter' to trigger a google search too, and view the results in the same small rectangular area. The display was all jumbed up though.
And Google is not even my browser home page. :-o
Hmmm... interesting.

Update 1: While Google is not my homepage, it is the default search engine on IE.

Update 2:It seems YM uses IE to render the ad. And the URL i put in the registry was mangled. In IE, bad URLs become searches and a Google search was done.
So it doesn't seem to be some easter egg on YM.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My company has a spacious parking space. So, lets put it to good use. I want to drive to work in a lorry. Pakka goods transportation lorry, an Ashok Leyland one, with 'Horn Ok Please' written on the back.
All this just to see and enjoy the bewildered faces of site security personnel and colleagues. Think it will be fun.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Y! personalized services

I didn't know that Yahoo serves personalized requests :-). At times laziness can be the source of a cool little hackY!ack. If you don't want to add calendar entries for the matches in the Football World Cup 2006, then this cool Y! Calendar thing is for you.
They say 'Be careful what you wish for, You might just get it!'. Next thing in wish list konfabulator widgets for live scores from Wimbledon/Cricket World Cup.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dinner last saturday, a feast for the ears by Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, son Salil Bhat and Ramprasad Mishra on the tabla.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Saurkundi Pass - Part 2

Part 1 was an account of the experience on the Saurkundi trek. Part 2 just has a list of shared photos taken by me and fellow trekkers on the same trek. See them and enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Saurkundi Pass - Mazaak nahin hai!

Originally uploaded by Anthroponym.

The last 2 weeks I was in the Kullu valley, trekking across the Saurkundi Pass in the Pirpanjal range. Atop the Saur mountain, 13000 feet above sea level is the Saurkund lake. And the pass that goes beside it is the Saurkundi pass.

The trek was organised by the Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI). The base camp is located at Babeli village along the banks of the Beas river, which is the lifeline of the Kullu valley.

The first day of the 7 day trek took us to Segli camp at 7100 feet. A climb of 3000 feet. Phew!! The camp was in an apple orchard, and not too far from the Segli village. Next day, next camp at Hora Thatch, 9200 feet, in the middle of a forest. Unfortunately no animals or wild forest people. Day 3 took us to Maylee Thatch at 10000+ feet. We hit small patches of snow and had to walk across them. The more experienced trekkers giving advice to us first timers how to place the leg on the snow so as to get a firm grip and not slide down the mountain face into the ravine below. Day 4 ended with the group reaching Dhavra @ 11000+ feet. This was the highest camp where we spent the night. On the way one smart alec tried something stupid and ended up sliding down the snow a good 100-150 feet before the guides (luckily) caught him and prevented him from going further. That was scary. Dhavra was lashed by heavy rain, hail and winds so strong, one of the tents broke in the middle of the night and the occupants had to be accommodated in the remaining tents.

It was adventurous all right. The greatest 'adventure' was to get up early every morning and go to find a place for egestion. Strict instructions, nothing to be done near water or near the path that the locals took to go up & down the mountains. The worst was at camp Dhavra, where we had to walk across a glacier for 10 mins to get to the place. I pity the groups that reported for the trek on later days.

The water was numbingly cold. One contact and hands would go numb. We had abandoned all hopes of washing our hands, feet, even our lunch boxes and plates. Even thinking of taking a bath was an act of bravery. This was the time I understood the importance of the paper "A greedy approach towards optimizing usage of externally intangible resources". The motto in the tent was to "Share (the antifungal powder, the deo, the talcum powder, the cold cream) and share alike".

We woke up on day 5 to find a fresh layer of snow glowing in the morning light. We left camp to cross Saurkundi pass. Steep climb on the snow took us to the top of the Saur mountain. The view from atop is a sight for Saur eyes. Snow capped peaks all round and the hill town of Manali down below.

The fun part was after crossing the pass. We had to slide down on the snow, 300 feet or so. From the point where the slide started, we could see 4 feet of snow ahead, and the people who had slid down already standing down below. In between was a steep drop. End of day 5, we reach Longa Thatch.


The last 2 days of the trek were the toughest. Descending the mountains on a narrow path takes a heavy toll on your legs and back. Especially the ankles and knees. Day 6, we camped at Lekhni village, in a pomogranete orchard. Day 7, back to base camp, followed by a well deserved bath. Still in cold water.

A bunch of us visited Manikaran, piligrimage spot for both Sikhs and Hindus, located on the banks of the Parvati river. Our main motivation was that we could take bath in the hot water springs. They say it is the journey to the destination and not the destination itself that is more important. Defenitely!! Sitting atop the bus, going on a narrow road, one side you can drop down a precipice, on the other side you can get hit by a large stone protruding from the mountain face. End result...

The field director at the base camp had said 'You are going to Saurkundi pass. Koi mazaak nahin hai. You must always be in discipline'. And I must say, crossing Saurkundi, koi mazaak nahin tha!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I really can't describe the beauty of the article Is God A Taoist by Raymond Smullyan. It talks about free will...but can also be a debate on religious beliefs. So all I would say it yourself.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

if (font face == arial) then person=dependable

Graphology is the practice (no not science) of study of handwriting and its connection to behavior/personality of the writer. This is different from forensic handwriting analysis which deals with matching handwriting samples. The use of graphology is mired in controversy. It is the same brain that caused a financial fraud that later created the best & most famous short stories of our time.

People especially in IT industry have stopped writing and started type-writing. Thanks to email, the primary form of communication. So...the obvious question. each person has their own choice of font face, colour, size and email format ( plain text/ rich text/HTML). Do all these also provide an 'insight' into the personality of the sender of the mail? Is a person who uses Verdana or Arial font very formal, and one who uses Comic Sans a lot more light hearted? Or is a person who uses Garamond a PHB ? ;-)

Friday, April 07, 2006

I liked the idea behind the 'Times Now' promo. The one in which various people say what they are currently doing, like 'I am walking on the moon', or 'I am climbing Mount Everest'. But the ad is incomplete. The ad must have ended with Sourav Ganguly telling 'I just scored a century'. That would have been the icing on the cake. ;-)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just a cut below my lower jaw

Dubare 062
Originally uploaded by Anthroponym.

Over the previous weekend, a bunch of us from office decided to take off to Coorg. A long walk in the Dubare forest on the first day, and some water sports on the second. Nice little stay. Fun outing. The scary part was getting into the water, in the middle of a large lake formed as part of the Kabini reservior. First time I was getting into the water without able to feel the ground beneath my feet. Then I saw people scared to death with just the thought of getting into the water. Irony is when person A tells person P 'You look so relaxed and comfortable in the water' and then goes nuts when asked to get into the water.
Hydrophobics they called themselves. All this inspite of wearing a lifejacket.

While in the water, the instructor gave me a push with his paddle to move me closer to place where the rest of the people in the water were floating. The paddle slipped and hit me right below my lower lip. I fear to imagine how the self-proclaimed 'hydrophobics' would have reacted if it had been them who took the blow and not me.
Well, all that is done and we are back to suffer the monotony of office.
This is my Flickr photo set.
By the way, the image you see is of the only manager in the group throwing his weight around. Literally ;-)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I have had to attend conference calls. And I dont have a telephone headset. That is a pain. It requires me to hold the handset in my hand or use my shoulder to keep it pressed against my ear.

However I do have a pair of computer headphones. So is there a device that plugs into the telephone where the handset connects and provides a line-out on the other side, allowing me to use my headphones? This would be useful gizmo. Telephone headsets are expensive, headphones I can get for Rs.100 also. It can also have a line in and a built in mike that can come into play when line-in is not connected.

Also, I can connect a wireless headphone transceiver to the 'device' and walk around during the call...maybe take the call from the 'comfort' of the loo. :-D

BTW this is the right way to attend conference calls. ;-)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The second worst thing that can happen when you are in slow but constantly moving traffic, driving a two wheeler ( a geared vehicle makes matters worse), with a helmet to get an itch on your head.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No cell phone? You no exist!

It seems to be the case that if one doesn't possess a mobile phone, one doesn't exist. More or less. Or atleast you are not worthy enough to be a customer of a financial service provider. I learnt this the hard way. I happened to provide my contact info with Kotak Securities, to open a demat account. Contact number - office desk phone. No response.
My colleague provided the mobile phone number as contact. Few days later demat account open. The fact that my colleague is now having a torrid time with the customer rep coming to office every other day to get signature upon signature on some arbit documents is besides the point.

ICICI Direct was marginally better. I got a call and was informed that the customer service rep would get in touch with me in a couple of days. After that....nothing.

After this experience I can say one thing with supreme confidence: Customer service of both ICICI and Kotak SUCK!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cult of the DeadCow's simple parody of Google's censorship policies in China. One more link ( on the same.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What next for Google?

Ok...So yesterday search monster Google decided to open up Gmail for domains. Supposedly one can use Google mail server clusters for their corporate email. (This service is not unlike (in spirit obviously) the Google Box that they started to provide to index intranet content). Well, details of how it works, pay or free is not my concern.

Just earlier, G had also announced that they are integrating G Talk with the Gmail application and one can chat from inside the browser window. Cool.

G has a calendaring application in the pipeline.

What does all this mean? To me it only seems that G is attempting to enter the groupware market. trying to take a bite out of Lotus Notes and MS Outlook's market share.

Prior to that G and Sun had announced a web based Office application suite. At least there was speculation. It hasn't materialised yet. It will defenitely not be as powerful as Office application installed on the box, but will be a 'poor man's' suite. More than enough to create documents and presentations.

So is G also looking into causing headaches to MS by developing a replacement to MS Sharepoint services? One that is independent of the OS underneath? All the technologies that i have listed so far being browser based, that is what it seems. All you need would be a browser with AJAX support. No ActiveX so no security hazard etc.....( lemme digress a little..what happened to GBrowser?)

Maybe this is also a replacement to Microsoft Office Live designed for real time collaboration across the globe.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All of my ESOPs are underwater. ALL OF THEM.
I can't believe that my ESOPs which could have given me $8 per stock as little as 3 months ago has fallen so steeply. The actual earning per share was less than the projected earning by 1 cent..and share prices dropped 5$ in a single day. I can't understand the stock market...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Product launch celebration in office; With celebrity singers, senior management, Mandira Bedi, FREE FOOD, psychedelic Matrix green laser lighting...and of course me.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google YUCK!!!

So I had a problem with my BIOS and accidentally set my date to 2007. And Google talk doesn't allow me to login. What SHIT is this?!!
Yahoo Messenger doesn't have any problem.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Intel's new logo has a Samsung touch to it with the swoop above and below.

Hmmmm....Intel's VP Sales and Marketing, Eric Kim was in Samsung before he moved.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mobile phones have become ubiqitous. Rare to find a person without a mobile phone. And like email is the killer application on the Internet, SMS is the killer app on mobile phones, at times preferred to making a call. So much, that Yahoo Messenger IM client supports it.

SMS is pretty reliable, and delivery is not delayed..unless of course the receiving phone is off.
But has SMS usage been restricted to sending mostly silly forwards between friends? I feel SMS can be used for more. A simple example is a self monitoring and reporting mechanism. A device monitors itself...and if it detects a fault then a SMS message can be sent to the appropriate persons to take appropriate action.

One example : The traffic lights fail at some place and the policemen who are currently around the place can be informed. They can then go to the spot and manually direct traffic till such time the lights are restored.

Well now one can say 'what if the person who received the message repudiates'. That is a lack of professionalism to say the least and that is not the point of discussion here.

Second: Consider the case of call centers, where employees are picked up from home. If there is a change in the driver, who is to do the pick up, then all people who are supposed to come in that vehicle can be immediately informed by SMS. Use a simple app on the PC to send the message to a distribution list and then the s/w can handle the rest. Infrastructure? May be needed..i dont know. Maybe this can prevent another Pratibha incident.

Third:Building on the previous one slightly. RFID the vehicles. And when it gets near a certain point the person to be picked up can be informed tht the vehicle is near, so he/she can go the the designated pick up spot.

Issues of privacy, security etc....i have no idea. Maybe there isnt something so critical for someone to be alarmed about.

Rambling over!! coffee time.