An Owl's 2 hoots

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

De ja vu all over again

In my previous post, I mentioned about how the weather was nice in Florida for the memorial day weekend and that I went to the beach on all 3 days. Perhaps I did not touchwood after I said that. Tell you what!

no touchwood Posted by Hello

That mess there is the current cloud cover over Florida. I awoke at around 4:30 AM to a loud thunder clap. I sat there, stupidly thinking - what? must be a dream. Then, a couple of lightning flashes - it was de ja vu all over again. Last year during august-september, I was feeling the same way - hoping that the roof does'nt fly off. Luckily there was no wind factor today. I scampered across my apartment to disconnect my computer, TV and modem (not the AC). Today CNN reported that it would be a busy hurricane season. Sigh!.

Talk about the myth of global warming!.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Holidays in US

Holidays in US are such a farce. People (majority) don't care what holiday it is - be it Christmas or Memorial day - its all the same. Of course, Christmas means that one would get gifts. I don't know how many people actually think of Jesus Christ or go to church during Christmas. Atleast in India we go to temples during festival seasons.

Today is Memorial day (remembering fallen heroes of the Armed forces of the US). Maybe 10% of the entire population (say veterans or family of servicemen) would actually think of them. For the rest? Oh, no sir. Its party time. I think people just need an excuse to party here. It does'nt matter what the party is for. Last year, some people had the nerve to throw a "pre-hurricane" party just before Hurricane Charley and Frances (which hit Florida) and then have a "post-hurricane" (we survived!) party a few days later. What a waste!.

Now, I am not a poojai-vezhai karadi. I enjoy parties when it really deserves to be one - someone's birthday or a sending-off party. Its just when things are taken for granted, it bothers. But all is not bad, since I had a nice time-off in this 3 day weekend. The weather was good and I was able to go to the beach!.

Friday, May 27, 2005



1. you are a trancehead like me, OR
2. are aspiring to become one, OR
3. are feeling just plain bored

check out, Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music. (Note: it has some pretty funky flash stuff - pretty heavy site). The site is categorized into several genres ranging from House to breakbeat to ambient. If you are in that stage, wherein you want to pledge allegiance to a particular genre (or sub-genre!), this would be a good place to start. There are sample audio clips with nice descriptions (almost true) of each. It is almost impossible to look at ALL categories in one sitting, so space out!.

Have a nice weekend!

Fair world

Schapelle Corby has been the buzzword of Australia lately. Apparently she was caught red-handed at the Bali Airport (Indonesia) for smuggling ~4 Kg of marihuana. Bali is one of the popular getaways for most of the youths in Australia and New Zealand. And, Indonesia is a predominantly an Islamic state (not exactly Amsterdam), and they are extremely strict with regards to smuggling drugs. Australia and the world over (read as white, first world) have been outraged by the case (no brainer there!).

Today she was sentenced to 20 years in prison and negotiations are underway for a prison transfer program, so that she can serve her sentence in Australia. Her prosecutors are actually asking for life sentencing for her!. Australia had backed her completely and also had gone to the extent to request people to boycott travel to Indonesia and use Indonesian products. Some Australians also say that they regret helping the tsunami victims in Indonesia. Family members, friends alike have been railing about the "injustice" meted out. What??. Hello, if you have been caught red-handed (circumstantial evidence, for all that matters) you deal with the consequences. As simple as that. Of course, they conveniently ignore harrassment and detaining of several muslims in Guantanamo bay - innocent or otherwise. Wow, that is fair!.

Atleast John Howard, the Australian PM has been cautious in his comments (maybe he learnt his lesson after his gem of an observation regarding Muttiah Muralitharan).

Moral of the story: While in Rome, be a Roman.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Office Space

This is a relatively old movie (1999), but was hilarious. I wanted to watch this one for a long time now, but finally got my hands on it via Netflix.

This is a movie about sterotypical office moments - paper jams, lay-offs, really irritating boss, etc. Right from the first scene, I was ROTFL. Particularly when one office worker (white) listens to a gangsta rap song (No tears by Scarface - solid song!) in a traffic jam. He sings-along with it (the lyrics mentions various body parts and excretory details. Oh, the N word too), but sweats bullets when a brother walks near his car. Amazing scene - so ironical. (I heard Eminem cannot mention the N word in his songs, but I digress...). The VP of the company takes the icing in the cake with his trademark management-style BS statements. The tech people of the office work on the Y2K problem (ha!) and the management decides that some people can be done away with. I cannot give away the plot anymore. Simply superb acting from all, well, almost all of them. I don't know why Jennifer Anniston was needed - probably for the "commercial" factor. In addition to the humor, it also has a good soundtrack - although more towards the rap genre (Ice Cube, Scarface, Geto boys). I also discovered that there is a huge fan following for Office Space and you can also listen to some of the hilarious dialogs. A must-see for cubicle workers!. Mmmkay?

...List (contd.)

Time also mentions noteworthy soundtracks in the world of cinema. Happy to note that Roja has been included (although I can argue for other movies too). But why would they say that the movie [quote] His Tamil compatriot, the writer-director Mani Ratnam, yanked him out of jingle-writing to compose his first full score for Roja (The Rose)....[end quote] is in HINDI?. We all know that Roja was first created in Tamil and then dubbed in Hindi. Remember Janakaraj in the movie?. Recognition has to be made in a proper fashion. This kind of generalization really pisses me off.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nayakan nominated in all time top 100 movies

CNN/Time has nominated Manirathnam's Nayakan in its all time top-100 movies. The list is not ranked, just organized alphabetically.

Some other notable Indian movies:

1. Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy
2. Pyaasa

I was surprised to see Rashomon missing out, however, there are 2 other classics (Ikiru and Yojimbo) by Kurosawa. As suspected, Godfather III was ignored.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We suck!

Finally, the new coach of the Indian team has been announced. Greg Chappell was preferred by Ganguly and was more or less touted to be the successor of John Wright. Here are his remuneration details:

1. Annual Income of US $175,000 (Rs. 75 lakhs. 75/12 = 6.xx lakhs . OH MY..!)
2. 60 day vacation
3. Extra for travel expenses, other daily allowances and perks.

Man, we all suck.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Changes in ODIs proposed

This article in Rediff talks about radical changes to be made in ODI cricket, in attempts to make it more interesting.

Quoting the article, "Though the on-field strength of players must not exceed 11, a captain can substitute a player who he feels is not performing well."
"It could be anybody -- a wicketkeeper, batsman, fielder or a bowler.".

Yea, in India's case, it could be the captain too. Sigh!. Sad, but true.

Personally, I feel the entire issue of ODIs to be too cinematic. As if cricket is to be taken as an "entertainment" and not as a sport (Note: I am not even broaching the subject of twenty20, ten10, etc. They are beneath the idea of discussion). How is that we (as people) are able to enjoy classic test cricket (the real version of the game IMHO) and still feel that we get too bored watching ODIs?.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Evolution of a programmer

This is cool!. I guess this is what is meant by circle of life.

High School/Jr.High
20 END

First year in College
program Hello(input, output)
writeln('Hello World')

Senior year in College
(defun hello
(cons 'Hello (list 'World))))

New professional
void main(void)
char *message[] = {"Hello ", "World"};
int i;

for(i = 0; i < 2; ++i)
printf("%s", message[i]);

Seasoned professional

class string
int size;
char *ptr;

string() : size(0), ptr(new char[1]) { ptr[0] = 0; }

string(const string &s) : size(s.size)
ptr = new char[size + 1];
strcpy(ptr, s.ptr);

delete [] ptr;

friend ostream &operator <<(ostream &, const string &);
string &operator=(const char *);

ostream &operator<<(ostream &stream, const string &s)
return(stream << s.ptr);

string &string::operator=(const char *chrs)
if (this != &chrs)
delete [] ptr;
size = strlen(chrs);
ptr = new char[size + 1];
strcpy(ptr, chrs);

int main()
string str;

str = "Hello World";
cout << str << endl;


Master Programmer
library LHello
// bring in the master library

// bring in my interfaces
#include "pshlo.idl"

cotype THello
interface IHello;
interface IPersistFile;

module CHelloLib

// some code related header files

// needed typelibs

coclass CHello
cotype THello;

#include "ipfix.hxx"

extern HANDLE hEvent;

class CHello : public CHelloBase

CHello(IUnknown *pUnk);

HRESULT __stdcall PrintSz(LPWSTR pwszString);

static int cObjRef;

#include "thlo.h"
#include "pshlo.h"
#include "shlo.hxx"
#include "mycls.hxx"

int CHello::cObjRef = 0;

CHello::CHello(IUnknown *pUnk) : CHelloBase(pUnk)

HRESULT __stdcall CHello::PrintSz(LPWSTR pwszString)
", pwszString);


// when the object count goes to zero, stop the server
if( cObjRef == 0 )


#include "pshlo.h"
#include "shlo.hxx"
#include "mycls.hxx"

HANDLE hEvent;

int _cdecl main(
int argc,
char * argv[]
) {
ULONG ulRef;
DWORD dwRegistration;
CHelloCF *pCF = new CHelloCF();

hEvent = CreateEvent(NULL, FALSE, FALSE, NULL);

// Initialize the OLE libraries

CoRegisterClassObject(CLSID_CHello, pCF, CLSCTX_LOCAL_SERVER,
REGCLS_MULTIPLEUSE, &dwRegistration);

// wait on an event to stop
WaitForSingleObject(hEvent, INFINITE);

// revoke and release the class object
ulRef = pCF->Release();

// Tell OLE we are going away.

return(0); }

extern CLSID CLSID_CHello;
extern UUID LIBID_CHelloLib;

CLSID CLSID_CHello = { /* 2573F891-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820 */
{ 0x9A, 0x9F, 0x00, 0xAA, 0x00, 0x34, 0x28, 0x20 }

UUID LIBID_CHelloLib = { /* 2573F890-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820 */
{ 0x9A, 0x9F, 0x00, 0xAA, 0x00, 0x34, 0x28, 0x20 }

#include "pshlo.h"
#include "shlo.hxx"
#include "clsid.h"

int _cdecl main(
int argc,
char * argv[]
) {
IHello *pHello;
ULONG ulCnt;
IMoniker * pmk;
WCHAR wcsPath[2 * _MAX_PATH];

// get object path
wcsPath[0] = '\0';
wcsT[0] = '\0';
if( argc > 1) {
mbstowcs(wcsPath, argv[1], strlen(argv[1]) + 1);
else {
fprintf(stderr, "Object path must be specified\n");

// get print string
if(argc > 2)
mbstowcs(wcsT, argv[2], strlen(argv[2]) + 1);
wcscpy(wcsT, L"Hello World");

printf("Linking to object %ws\n", wcsPath);
printf("Text String %ws\n", wcsT);

// Initialize the OLE libraries

if(SUCCEEDED(hRslt)) {

hRslt = CreateFileMoniker(wcsPath, &pmk);
hRslt = BindMoniker(pmk, 0, IID_IHello, (void **)&pHello);

if(SUCCEEDED(hRslt)) {

// print a string out

ulCnt = pHello->Release();
printf("Failure to connect, status: %lx", hRslt);

// Tell OLE we are going away.


Apprentice Hacker
$msg="Hello, world.\n";
if ($#ARGV >= 0) {
while(defined($arg=shift(@ARGV))) {
$outfilename = $arg;
open(FILE, ">" . $outfilename) || die "Can't write $arg: $!\n";
print (FILE $msg);
close(FILE) || die "Can't close $arg: $!\n";
} else {
print ($msg);

Experienced Hacker
#define S "Hello, World\n"
main(){exit(printf(S) == strlen(S) ? 0 : 1);}

Seasoned Hacker
% cc -o a.out ~/src/misc/hw/hw.c
% a.out

Guru Hacker
% echo "Hello, world."

New Manager
20 END

Middle Manager
mail -s "Hello, world." bob@b12
Bob, could you please write me a program that prints "Hello, world."?
I need it by tomorrow.

Senior Manager
% zmail jim
I need a "Hello, world." program by this afternoon.

Chief Executive
% letter
letter: Command not found.
% mail
To: ^X ^F ^C
% help mail
help: Command not found.
% damn!
!: Event unrecognized
% logout

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Lesson learnt: Orlando Bloom can grow a beard too.

Review: puhleease!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I did'nt know that using Linux, SSH, identifying Newton, etc. made you a nerd. But this site tells me that I am a mid-level nerd. Don't know if that should make me happy or sad.

I am nerdier than 70% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Try it for yourself!

PS: It's just for fun! Don't take it seriously... NERD!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


This is so frustrating. My car's CD player got jammed again. And the worst part is, it was playing one of my favorite CDs (Hotel - by Moby). This is the second time my CD player has been jammed within one year. To top it, I could not get through the service department of my car dealer. Added to that, I was not able to write even one non-commented code. What is happening today?.

Now what will I do while driving?. I cannot stand listening to the same stupid songs on the radio.


I think I need a break very soon.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Any sincere blogger would include a post about google at some point or other. I am no different.

Google's email service - Gmail broke all barriers when they announced their 1GB space for gmail users. This led to a mad scramble for giving more space by other webmail services like Yahoo! and MSN Hotmail. Try as they might, they could not match Google's magic number. I guess Rediffmail offered a similar space service, but I am conveniently ignoring that fact for reasons I am not going to mention. Yahoo increased the space to 250MB and so did Hotmail (although it is restricted only to the 50 continental states of US). I also read somewhere that users were changing their profiles to a US address (atleast, the zip code should match). Not to be undone by the competition, Google announced that there would be a continual increase of email space for users. True to their word, the magic of number crunching has now brought the space to a whopping 2GB, (at this very instant, the limit is 2171.759757). Seems like when they mentioned G (in gmail) stands for Growth, they meant it. Truly way beyond their competitors.

But, I don't think anyone is going to use up even 1GB of their allotted space. Even if they keep their spams. Contrary to the popular belief, where one imagines dozens of google engineers running with hard disks, SANs, across the server rooms, it could very well be a different picture. Since no one is EVER going to use up so much space, nothing is going to hurt by having a counter that has numbers whizzing. Something like a big bank. The scenario that ALL their customers are going to withdraw their money at the SAME time is very unlikely. So, similarly, google MAY have a whopping amount of memory, which they could have defragmented using a "proprietary algorithm" and would have simply enforced a sharing scheme for all the users. Something very similar to virtual memory of a computer. So, even if there is a case where some person manages to use up 1 GB (google's true limit, say), and wants to use more memory, google can simply take a chunk from a pathetic user's account (like mine) and give it for that greedy guy. So folks, this could very well be the case. Just like a bank. However, having said that, it is not easy to develop such a complex scheme for potentially millions of users. Google definitely has revolutionized the concepts of searching, sorting and now email.

I have this thought in my mind (although, I am sure several people would have thought of the same). Would'nt it be a better idea to allow the users to make use of the remaining space for their own needs?. When I was a Master's student, the university allots 200 MB (say) as my personal space. My university email, web space and a shared drive ALL would be encompassed in that 200 MB limit. I can use all 200 MB for my email, or all 200 MB for my university web page (in which case, I have to correspond to my advisor using yahoo, or have a forwarding scheme in place). This scheme worked fairly well, although there were times when I wanted to post some pictures on my webpage, I had to delete some files. I am sure a lot of us have pictures, videos, etc to share. So, if you have already taken over Searching and Email, why not go ahead with web space too?. Go on, go for the throat.

Even as I am typing this, I came across this:
An enterprising guy by name - Richard Jones has written a mountable Linux File system (using Python, a popular scripting language) using Gmail's space. The actual application can be downloaded from here, although they ask us to be "gentle" with the code. It seems that Google frequently "blocks" the application, since the space is always changing (that is the explanation given by the authors, but I think Google is simply blocking them).

There was an article written some time back, where Google supposedly mentions that it wants to revolutionize the concept of Personal computing, where you don't need Windows (yay!) and Office (yaay!!). All you need is a browser and an internet connection. All the applications would be web-based. Essentially, the desktop itself would be replaced by a browser window. If you need to type a letter in Word, you would use Google's GWord (ok, ok, they can come up with better names than that) and save it to your cyber-drive. I think that would be amazing, although it would be fine-dining for hackers and such. But considering it is Google, they would have already come up with a tool called GoogleGaalli (hee hee) which can destroy all possible strains of viruses, spyware - past, present and future too.


I am sure Google would be coming up with a better way to utilize the unused space (if there is something called "unused space"!!).

PS: lies, lies... space increased to 2171.849265 MB. lies, lies...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Can this actually work?

One thing led to another and I came across this webpage. It gives instructions to create a simple "fly"ing plane.

I was speechless after I read it. Is this possible?. Although, I must admit, you have to pity the engines. Have anyone of you tried this?

And no, slash, I have not done this in my younger days.


Gulp! Posted by Hello - taken by me in front of my apartment

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

kali kaalam

I could'nt believe the news yesterday. It hailed (golf ball size) in here (Florida), in MAY!!. I must admit, the weather was looking pretty sickening for the past 2 days - barely was the sun visible. A huge thunder clap just now!. Actually, given what happened last year (3 hurricanes within the space of 40 days), this is nothing. Amazing thing was that all of the 3 hurricanes happened during the weekend, so we could not get any holidays :((.

On the bright side (BAD pun), the weekend forecast looks good. Hope to do something outdoors during the weekend.

If there is some way to make this rain go to Madras!?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Water on Mars

This image was on NASA's list of Astronomy image archive. Apparently, water was discovered on Mars on April 1st!.

Water on Mars Posted by Hello - courtesy, NASA

Monday, May 02, 2005

Good Old Madras

I came upon the following photographs of Vintage Madras. It is amazing to see how much has changed since.

Pycrofts Road - 1890 Posted by Hello

Madras Central - 1925 Posted by Hello

Madras Esplanade - 1910 Posted by Hello

Marina Beach - 1890 Posted by Hello

Mowbrays Road - 1885 Posted by Hello

Mount Road - 1905 Posted by Hello

Mylapore Tank - 1906 Posted by Hello

Napier Bridge - 1895 Posted by Hello

Parrys Corner - 1890 Posted by Hello

How the "mighty" have fallen

Not very long ago, Shoaib Akthar, the eternal narcissist, believed that he was the greatest and fastest er.. fast bowler. So much so, he said that "When I become the captain, and I would..", so on and forth. All other players loved to hate him, but could not openly state their minds since he WAS performing (when not "injured"). One would really feel for the other Pakistani players when Akhtar whizzed past them in a convertible while they were all in the team bus.

But things changed after they reached Pakistan. A gamble was taken, and he was not picked for the India tour. They were fairly successful (*fuming*), which prompted Bob Woolmer (coach of Pakistan) to state that "Akhtar is no longer an integral part of the team". And now, this:

Of course, we know that "injury" has many other meanings in cricket. Maybe, he would have learnt his lesson in humility now.


calvin Posted by Hello

- courtesy, calvin and hobbes. Thanks, jax.