Venk.in Vonuts

So Venkster finally got a domain name - venk.in. Between the two of us, we came up with this ridiculous parody that makes no sense but which we found hilarious all the same:

VENK.IN VONUTS
AMRIKKA RUNS ON VENK.IN

UPDATE [2353 18 Dec 2010]: You can find this at http://vonuts.venk.in. Personally, venk.in/vonuts would make more sense but he doesn't have hosting space yet...

Space Invaders

Space Invader made with mouse pads


There was a carton of free mouse pads kept in the common area of the College of Computing - someone stuck a bunch of them on a whiteboard and made this space invader!

What I've Been Up To

This seems to be turning into one of those blogs where every other post laments the lack of new content and then promises to be more frequent with updates! Well, I do have an excuse, sort of. Let me start with about year ago.

I took the GRE last year and after that, was pretty busy shortlisting colleges and completing applications and arranging for the finances to pay the hefty tuition! Once I got my admits (Georgia Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of Texas, Austin to name a few), I had to decide which one I wanted to accept (I chose Georgia Tech) and then get started with the visa process. To cut a long story short, I got done with everything by the end of June, quit my job and then got packed for a stopover vacation at London with a trip to Scotland. That was pretty awesome.

Since I landed at Atlanta in August, it's been a whirlwind of activity - getting settled in, getting used to the education system here, signing up for classes, getting setup with a phone, a bank account and of course, actually studying! Unfortunately (or not), GATech has a policy that requires 12 credits per semester for a student to maintain an F-1 visa status; this translates into 4 courses which translates into a LOT of work (if you try to do it all properly and aim for an A everywhere, which I do,). Most of my friends in other colleges need to take only 9 credits per semester (that's 3 courses) so they've got it fairly easy.

Well, so that's why I haven't been posting. And I'm not going to promise that I'll post more regularly now because I know I won't be able to, at least not until the end of the semester comes by and I suspect I'll be so drained by that time that I'll just while away the entire break doing nothing but catching up on sleep!

On a more constructive note, I did migrate my website content from Google Pages over to Google Sites so you can go take a look at that; it's a lot sleeker than before and much less kiddish. It's also better organized now, with a complete list of projects and HowTos I've created to date.

P.S. I'm working towards a Master's Degree in Computer Science

A Suzuki Hayabusa...Or Is It?

Through a lack of anything new to post, I've decided to post pictures of a bike that was parked in our basement parking lot; at first glance it appears to be a Hayabusa but on closer inspection, gives away it's actual pedigree.

Note the following:
  • The speedometer belongs to the Hunk

  • The fuel tank says Suzuki but it also has the logo for Ferrari

  • There were other less obvious indications like the shock absorbers and the handle bar which wouldn't really be noticable in the pics so there aren't any
And once again, please excuse the graininess and generally terrible picture quality, I don't have a proper camera anymore and have to make do with my phone.
Fake Hayabusa Side ShotSide Shot
  
Fake Hayabusa Side Shot IISide Shot II
  

Fake Hayabusa Fuel TankFuel Tank
  

Fake Hayabusa SpeedometerSpeedometer
  

Fake Hayabusa Length ShotLength Shot
  

Backpack-Style Water Container For Water Gun For Holi

I've said it before, I don't like Holi. But it comes back every year and it's here again. Anyway, here's something interesting I spotted at the market the other day. The pictures are terribly grainy - my phone's camera isn't the best and it was night.

Backpack  for water - IBackpack for water
  


Backpack  for water - IIBackpack for water - II
  


Anyway, what you should be able to see is a reddish-pink container for water (to be slung on your back, like a backpack) connected to a water gun (you can't really see that too well in the snaps) hanging upside-down in a plastic cover. Pretty neat and it's something I've not seen before. Too bad we didn't have this when we were kids and when Holi was still clean and fun!

Why Is It ... Hacking On TV And In Movies

Why is it that on TV shows and in movies, whenever someone manages to 'hack' into the ultra-top-secret target, all the documents on that system open up and populate the entire screen?

I mean, if it's a previous session, who leaves their workspace that way? And if that's what happens on every login, you have to ask, what good would an OS like that be? Every time you login it helpfully opens up every single file you've ever created? Talk about usability.

Animated GIF of the Knight Rider showHacking on the Knight Rider show
Gif was made using gifninja
  


Or maybe, it's a booby trap. You know, open up a whole bunch of dummy files in an infinite loop until the machine runs out of memory and the hackers get nowhere. Check this grab from the current Knight Rider series, season 1, episode 17 to see what I'm talking about.

[Update] 09 Mar 2009
Forgot that Picasa doesn't support animated gifs. Grumble.

Why I Don't Care That Slumdog Millionaire Has Swept The Oscars

Everyone's raving about Slumdog Millionaire and Indian's in particular are celebrating its Oscar wins. And I think that's just dumb. I' mnot saying the movie is bad (or for that matter, good). And I don't have a problem with the fact that it's helped get some attention to the problems of the slum dwellers. Or even the fact that it's got the talent of some of our artists acknowledged on a global stage. But while the cast, the story, the background may be Indian the fact of the matter is that the movie itself is not.

So why claim that we've finally made it to the Oscars (and won) when it's not a Bollywood film? Why not double our efforts and have an actual, through and through Indian movie win (not that winning an Oscar should be given so much importance but that's a rant for another time). The Kite Runner was set in Afghanistan and had an Afghani cast but you wouldn't say it was an Afghani movie, would you? So why this desperation to be recognized in the West? Why this craze over Rahman winning an Oscar when he has been consistenly winning awards and we already say that he's one of the best composers in our film industry? And the funny part is, most people I know are saying that this isn't even his best work! They opine that it's only because the movie isn't Indian that he's got the exposure and the award (which may very well be true but not necessarily a bad thing).

So let's not go crazy about this one movie when we pump out hundreds in a year. And where we have so many indigenous titles that are worth watching. From what I hear/ read, this isn't even a great movie, just a good one.

P.S. You may remember when I posted about why I didn't vote for the Taj Mahal. Yes, I do like to rant about these things and go against popular opinion, but usually just to play devil's advocate.

Delhi-6

We had a company sponsored movie screening today. We'd had the option of watching Delhi-6 or Billu Barber; an overwhelming majority voted for Delhi-6.

The movie was decent - I thought that the basic concept was interesting, taking the Monkey Man incidents and weaving the story around them. The cinematography was really good and all the actors are worth their billing. And this is the first Bollywood movie I've seen where computer imagery and special effects were used (pardon the pun) to good effect. Roshan's (Abhishek Bacchan) dream sequence where his vision of the West and the East amalgamate was especially well rendered.

The first half of the movie was good, nothing great but a relaxing watch about nothing in particular; a light (if somewhat clich├ęd at times) mix of coming back home, the big heart of Delhi, the shortcomings of India and how it all just brings the people closer together. However, the second half transitions into something darker which is followed up with melodrama that is a bit too heavy and preachy. Rakeysh Mehra may have wanted to bring a touch of reality to the tale but (and while all ends well), the magic is lost.

In conclusion, the plot starts off promising but ends up being just average, perhaps even a little disappointing. A good option if you have nothing else to do. But there's no need to rush to the halls.

Folder2Feed

If you've ever wanted to monitor a folder for changes but have realized that it's too tedious to remember to check the contents or to even figure out which files or folders are new then you could give Folder2Feed a try.

It's a Java application that can be configured to monitor a folder and generate a feed (RSS or Atom) of the newest files in that location. It's still work in progress but the basic command line interface version is out. I plan to add a GUI to it soon, work permitting, of course. There are also some other features that I think should be there and I'll be working on them. If you have any suggestions for features, consider leaving me a comment here or on the bug tracker (choose feature request under Type and if possible, leave your email id so I can get back to you if needed).

If you find any bugs, do report them, I'd like to make Folder2Feed better.

For any feedback, mail me at folder2feed[AT]nogoodatcoding[DOT]com (replace [AT] and [DOT] with the appropriate symbols).

UPDATE [21 Feb 2009]:
I've activated Trac for bug tracking, so the link has been changed.

Death Is A Sanskrit Dictionary?



So I was watching Dead Like Me - Life After Death the other day and the introduction sequence had this comic panel. Well, the jar doesn't actually say Contents: Death. It reads Sanskrit Dictionary! I thought that was hilarious! And kind of sad actually, that the filmmakers figured any 'alien' looking script could pass off as God's writing (that they picked the Devnagri script may just have some hidden cosmic significance though!). They might as well have used Klingon!

Scrubs- Windows Media Player Installation Screen
And a couple of days later, I was watching Scrubs and I spotted this on one of the computer monitors in the show. Do you recognize what it is on the monitor down in the right hand corner in the screenshot? It's the Windows Media Player setup screen! Looks like one of the nurses didn't have enough to do :)