Monday, August 31, 2009

Somnolent Bliss

Hey all, I finally am out of the wormhole after scotty beamed me out. Now, for rest of my arbitrary contemplations and happenings, here goes...

Six hours sleep is a man's sleep, seven hours sleep is a woman's sleep, eight hours sleep is a child's sleep, nine hours sleep is a baby's sleep and TEN hours sleep is a FOOL'S sleep was what I was taught by on of my teachers at college but what I have done last night will clearly tell you that I had not paid attention in class to those lectures.

Usually weekends aren't complete and satisfying without a good amount of sleep so, typically, I would sleep during the Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours and sleep late that night. This would always make me late the next day and I would have to hurriedly get ready on Mondays, but yesterday was different.

My friend told me that whatever business I had with him, I was to finish it by 6 o' clock because he planned to sleep at 7 on Sundays. Then, another friend of ours listening to our conversation said "7 pm? That's early!". So, my friend replied to that saying "If I plan to sleep at 7pm, it would invariably become 9p.m. because on other days I sleep at 3a.m."

Taking inspiration from this, I thought I too would sleep by 7 and I followed it through. I went to bed at 7, though I didn't get sleep at 7. I finally slept by 8 thinking that I'd wake up really early. And guess what, I did. I woke up at 4 but went back to sleep thinking it's too early. I finally woke up at 7 and felt really refreshed. That's 8..9,10,11,12,1,2,3,4,5,6,7... 11 hours of complete somnolent bliss. So, according to my teacher's saying, that makes me what? I wonder.

Unlike a typical Monday morning, today was particularly peaceful and I reached office before time. So, whoever says sleep makes you dull.. "in your face!".

Got work now, so, later folks...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Swooshing in a wormhole!

Managed to gather a lot of dope (owing to a lot of protest, I'm changing this word :p ) content last weekend but I'm caught in this wormhole of the space-time continuum and am not able to post it all. Waiting for the weekend when I will be able to get myself the molecular transporter and ask scotty to beam me out of this. So, see you all then folks...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is it an insect? A grasshopper? A spider? Nah...

Just found this interestingly shaped fiber of coconut stuck to my indoor water tank in the bathroom of my house:

Coconut Fiber

I think my mom had washed coconuts for tomorrow's Ganesh (what we tamils call Pillayar) Chathurthi. You may ask why wash the outside of a coconut. Well, you know how Indians do somethings calling it tradition but the actual practice had got modified so much that now it makes no sense at all, but we still do it.

Looking forward to the fest as This is one occasion where "Kozhakattai"  - the item with sweet, inside a cocoon of rice flour,baked, is made. Mmm... yummy!

Colleagues, don't drool already. I shall get you some on Monday. Although, don't blame me if it is too less. My mom's not a factory you see.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BSNL EV-DO Experience Update

Finally got my connection activated and am using it right now to write this. I must say Murphy's law works flawlessly. "When something can go wrong, it will". I just did my very first speed test on this connection. As expected the ping time was extremely high, but the worse part is that the speed test.net site itself took about five minutes to load. LOL!

My very first EV-DO Speed test result:



Considering that 0.14Mbps =144kbps. I think my card is in the CDMA mode and not the EV-DO mode. Will go through the threads on India Broadband Forum and try to figure out a solution. Too tired to look through it. Will update again tomorrow morning. Watch this space.

Friday, August 21, 2009

BSNL EV-DO Wireless Internet, Yay!

All you poor souls out there on slow internet speeds, welcome your new envy - Me! :evil laughter:

I got myself the BSNL EV-DO 3G CDMA Wireless Internet connection today. Yay!

I never even looked at wireless internet as an option as I had BSNL Broadband at home and at office had Airtel line linking me up to the multi-verse. Well, I call the internet that as it has multiple avatars and serving different sects of people. Religions of sorts, if you know what I mean. There are fan boys of this and that all over the place. Enough of digressing from the topic, back on track...

The reason for me to get this sprang from the fact that I needed it for my work and my company said it'll get me one. They proposed Tata and they have a tie-up with reliance but both didn't offer unlimited plans. I proposed BSNL and for some reason or the other, the idea just got grounded on the run-way, never took off. I waited patiently for a week and then yesterday, I lost my patience. Couldn't resist the temptation. Spoke to a few people. Went online, did some research and was satisfied with the reviews that peopl had posted online about the service. Many thanks to Broadbandforum.in members for clearing a few apprehensions that I had. Buying the modem was a better option as, then, I didn't have to pay the modem rent every month, but then if I don't get the promised level of service, I wouldn't be able to return it. I bugged my friend with my dilemma of whether it was a good idea to get the connection at all in the first place to bother about all this. He said, he required it anyways so if I don't like it or if it did not work in my place as it is supposed to then he'll take it. So, it is win-win all round. Given that backing, I got the application yesterday on the way back home and went back today to submit the required documents.

People had mentioned that I'd have to jump through hoops to get a BSNL connection with all the bureaucracy involved but I must admit that my experience was pure exhiliration. I was amazed at the kind of service that I got from the Customer service centre (CSC). BSNL has evolved a lot from its former form of being the old and dusty Public sector organization. It has metamorphosed itself into a customer centric organization. Although there are a lot of kinks to be ironed out, it is a step in the right direction.

Here are a few shots that I took at office using the Canon digital SLR that was generously offered by my colleague. (Thanks Avinash).

[gallery link="file" orderby="title"]

The experience I had was pure amazement. Now just hoping that the activation will happen withing the promised 24 hours. Watch this space for some speed test results once its active. Post in your experiences with this service if you have/had subscribed to it.

P.S.: I've described my experience at the CSC here: http://broadbandforum.in/bsnl-evdo-broadband/50851-apply-new-bsn-evdo-connection/

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Open sourcing Text Books! and the future of Human Kind?

We've all seen the computer industry fight it out with the big corporations such as Microsoft (the most famous that comes to everyone's mind) to make software freely available to everyone. The Open source community is not against people making money from their efforts. It is very much for it, but what it preaches is for the source of the creation to be public and freely available for anyone to modify. Well, all this works for something like software but for TEXT BOOKS!?

I came across this thread on slashdot where an author of a popular text book was initially happy about making money in the form of royalty but became very frustrated by the fact that the publisher hiked the price of the book when it gained popularity and became THE choice of the students of that subject. He felt very bad at this dramatic price hike every year although he was happy because he considers what the students earned from it was worth it.

If everything is copyrighted and kept writing a confined limit, then we as a race would not progress much. There needs to be a revolution of sorts to change this attitude of content creators and they need to start thinking like this author did. Text books are a source of knowledge and this knowledge will help humanity achieve greater heights. And whatever knowledge is attained by one's experience needs to be shared for the common good, don't you think?

Revolution

I imagine a world where every child born will be born with knowledge of the things that its parents have already learnt, like language, experiences, mistakes that they've made and the learning that they got from those mistakes. This way the baby doesn't have to start from scratch. It shouldn't have to learn A...B...C... again. it shouldn't need to go to school and college to learn the things its parents had learnt already spending their entire life. All that time spent by its parents need not die along with them.

Yes, I understand that this thought is out of the world. You may consider me to be a moron to have such thoughts and some of you might also have ethical issues with such things, but all these issues are secondary and we can sort it out with a proper system and proper guidelines, but we need to start somewhere. Think about it... a baby, born already with the knowledge of its parents, can spend its childhood learning a lot more advanced technologies and you know what, it might even grow up to discover a way to time travel or traverse the universe like we commute to work today. The key behind all this would be the incremental knowledge from generation to generation. No knowledge dies with a single generation. Think of what heights the human race can achieve. Think of the problems of illiteracy, poverty, health etc that it would solve. WOW!

And at the end of reading this, you may wonder how is this relating to open-sourcing text books. Well, that would the stepping-stone to such a revolutionary approach. The first step in making knowledge freely available to everyone would make the know-hows of each generation exponentially higher hence making us the only and the most intelligent species in this universe to have performed humongous feats and achieved great heights.

Put in your thoughts, even the critical ones... Looking forward to it, so that I can gauge the response of the general population on this concept. Keeping my fingers crossed for you guys to, if not accept it, at least acknowledge the fact that it is possible.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Benchmarking your machine

How many of you guys actually do it? You might think everyone does it. The retail consumers like you and me do it for bragging rights. We compare our benchmark scores with those of our friends and peers and it is sort of a competition. Some of us are adventurous enough to overclock it to insane levels and post the scores online. The big enterprises do it to compare performance with their previous set-ups and evaluate the savings/return on  investment that they get out of the new hardware, but despite all this a poll conducted on an AMD blog that I stumbled upon speaks differently.

The blog talks about the different ways in which performance is measured and also how it affects buying decisions. The poll so far has the most votes for "Don't use benchmarking tools" which means not many people actually bother. People buy their computer for their specific use and just dump it at a corner of their room which humbly serves its master. The main emphasis lies on the experience they get out of it and not the numbers that these Benchamarking tools give. It does not matter to most of the population if their computer renders the Blu-Ray movie 1 second slower than their neighbour's does. Although this is an international blog and the votes are by an international audience, I feel that it speaks the same language here in India too.

So, go ahead check it out, cast your vote and don't forget to leave your comments here on what you think about the benchmarking tools, which tool do you prefer and whether you benchamark at all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hardware graphics boost for Windows 7 by MS

Although the thought of an "OS" using the GPU made users wary, the concept needed time for general acceptance and that time has come. It is here and now. Windows Vista introduced this concept, but its insanely large hardware requirements that were ahead of its time made it an utter flop.


Today, the hardware world has caught up with the technological evolution with M$ playing Big brother for all that has happening around us. Microsoft needs to be given credit for necessitating the standards and minimum requirements to go up. It has done this to such an extent that even the linux world has started to accept these requirements.


Most mainstream Linux distros also require almost the same level of hardware requirements as Windows in order for the user to utilise all the features that the OS offers.


Now, Microsoft is trying to improve the visuals in Windows 7 by working with hardware makers on a software interface that maximizes the use of graphics cards. With the release of Windows 7 comes the latest iteration of its API for multimedia - The DirectX 11. This allows the OS to take advantage of the latest hardware with utmost efficiency.


The eye-candy that comes as part of Windows 7 now is a given to the end-user. One doesn't have to get special hardware to get this feature. Pretty-much all mainstream hardware support this. And for the ├╝ber cool enthusiasts, it is not just about the eye-candy. It is about the overall multimedia experience. With the clarity of videos/TV on Media Centre, the realism in games, the ultra-fast response times enabled by the level of detail, the right shade of colour for designers etc. Windows 7 tries to improve all these dramatically.




With the increasing number of cores on consumer processors, DX11 drivers enable the OS to break up the tasks and provide for division of labour effectively. It not only is going to use the CPU but also the massive parallel processing capabilities of today's GPUs for performing many of its tasks that were until now only done using the CPU. This will improve the gaming and High definition experience on PCs by leaps & bounds.


The DirectX 11 enhancements could also encourage more developers to build games for Windows 7 and help the company keep pace with competition. Competition to M$ isn't keeping quiet either. Apple's upcoming OS codenamed Snow leopard has radically changed the base to take advantage of graphics and CPU cores. It comes with built-in support for Open CL too. Open CL is a set of tools enabling the management of parallel execution of tasks. (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCL)





"There are plans to make native DirectX 11 hardware from AMD in its ATI Radeon GPUs available when Windows 7 is released" said AMD's Robin Maffeo, a Microsoft alliance manager on a blog post.


As users demand heavier graphics from PCs, it is in Microsoft's best interests to offer an operating system that breaks up tasks across multiple graphics cores and CPUs


Nvidia and AMD have said they would support DirectX 11 and OpenCL. Intel, which offers integrated graphics on chipsets, in June released updated graphics drivers for Windows 7, but it carried support for only DirectX 10.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Windows 7 - Worth the wait

I am one of those who shifts to the latest OS just for the heck of trying it out. I must confess that although the wait for the latest iteration of Microsoft's Windows 7 has been the least, it seems like I've been using the OS for eons now.

Windows 7 Packaging

I shifted to the beta Build 7000 when it had released and later upgraded to RC (build 7100) when that had come out.  I must say that right from the beta days, it felt like a very complete OS. Not for a moment that I felt I was using a pre-release or a beta OS. This first-hand experience led me to immediately to think that this is going to be a huge success and that Vista was supposed to be like this which it never did.

Now that the versions, the packaging, the pricing and the release date is announced, it has created a whole lot of buzz around it and has got me and many others excited to find out what's in store in the final RTM. How is it going to handle the DX11 graphics and how it is going to run on old or low-powered netbook hardware.

The pricing is lower than its Vista equivalent and anything about it has managed to garner a lot of attention. So, even hardware companies like AMD are associating themselves with it to piggy-back on its news for publicity. GPU makers ATI and nVidia have announced drivers for their cards for the new OS. Every Technology Forum, every technology blog worth its salt is talking about something or the other.

So definitely, 7 is worth the wait. Steven Sinofsky's decision to keep the name simple and straight forward, to keep everything under wraps until it was completely ready unlike Vista and the Engineering that has gone behind its design to make it draw the least juice out of the hardware has made it the darling of the masses. I have no doubts that this will make a great purchase for anyone looking for a new refreshing computing experience.