Monday, December 8, 2008

My brain is dying

I look back into my past. I was this amazingly inquisitive, sharp kid. Now, I am such a douche bag. Did I do exceptionally well at deteriorating myself (my brain) or does it happen to everyone?

I feel this amazing laziness in myself. Interest to do nothing. No more of that fighting spirit to achieve stuff and meet deadlines. What contributed to this? I see these options -
  • Age (Natural)
  • Internet addiction (Easy way to while away time)
  • Easy life (no need to fight it out hard to earn the basic needs)
  • Alcohol (though I drink only socially, I read somewhere that alcohol kills brain cells and that they are not created again)
  • Peer-pressure (learnt from undergrad that the one who doesn't work is the cool dude)

Media, You woke up the leaders of the country!

First up, I am extremely sorry for everyone who suffered from the Mumbai atrocity.

It is interesting to see the political leaders take this issue seriously and trying to press for some quick action against those anti-social elements, who inflict pain on the innocent. Then, I wonder why we did not do the same earlier when other terrorist attacks happened in India. Most of them were blasts which happen just in a flash and what you see is only the aftermath. By the nature of the damage, they are no less compared to the latest attacks. With all due respect to those sincere hard-working authorities, for some reason, the political leaders of India never felt the pressing need, as much as they do now.

The media has taken us through the attacks and everyone felt the pain through the attack. And, I would say that it definitely played a part in this timely action to solve the major issues. Thank you, media.

Though it is sad that it took an attack like this for the authorities to wake up, corrective measures have started and we should all unite and fight it out against these terrorists.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Deer hunt - should it be allowed?

One day, on my way from UIUC to Purdue, I hit a deer at about 60 mph. It was a pretty bad blow to the car. Apparently, there have been a lot of deer hits during that time - the car rental guy and the insurance guy said so.

The reason for the hits is supposed to be that the deer are running around to evade the bullets. It was the hunting season. While some are having fun hunting animals, there are others on the roads suffering brutal accidents.

I would support not allowing hunting and cutting down on such accidents.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Internet or Drugs?

Theorem: Straight and simple. Internet is more addictive, more than drugs.

Proof: I have heard of people who go into rehab and consequently get out of drug addiciton. I never heard anything similar for the Internet.

Example Scenario: I have an hour to kill before the class. What do I do?
pre-Internet age: Shall go say Hi to this guy and probably go to cafe. Or shall workout. Or catch some sleep.
Internet age: Shall go change my Facebook/Orkut/MySpace/IM (read '/' as 'and') status. Report the same on twitter. Check mail every 2 minutes. Blog about the prized 5-minute conversation with someone.

Remedy: No Internet connection at home. Go for this mode where people can't access you that easily. No Internet, no mobile phone. This helps you realize what you are losing otherwise. :D

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wait Less

How to stop a baby's crying in 2 seconds? How to peel the shell of an egg in 2 seconds? How to parallel park in 2 seconds? These and many more here

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Can social networking sites make substantial amount of money through ads?

Facebook is dubbed as the next big thing in the IT industry. It is supposed to be on the verge of going public. There are many people moving to Facebook to make obscene amounts of money as and when it goes public. People who missed the previous bus (Google) want to get on board. Let us look at social networking sites in general and Facebook in particular (just coz it is dubbed as the next big thing).

It always intrigues me if social network sites can make money. If you see other ad companies, they bank on other things. Take Google Search for example. When Googling, people are looking for information and there are higher chances of they being interested in the relevant ads. Clear money.

On the other hand, on any social networking site, people go to socialize. Meet old friends, reunite with family members, keep track of what others are doing etc. So, they are definitely not looking for any serious information. I agree there are people who, on seeing ads, would go click and buy stuff (even if they are not looking for it) but how big is this number. Ads clearly do not suit these kind of sites. And, I don't find any other way by which they can make money.

When I mean money, I am not talking about money to break even. It seems Microsoft has valued a part of Facebook for a huge sum. And, extrapolating, Facebook is valued apparently at ~ 16 billion USD. Also, it doesn't bank on any strong technical finding. It just has a huge user base. But history has been showing - it might take long to divert the user base but it is very easy to do that.

Needless to say, it is the same with any social networking site. It is very very hard to make obscene amounts of money. The existence of more of these is just cutting the small cake into many more pieces. With this said, I open the discussion. People are welcome to discuss/argue on this.

Disclaimer: This is total speculation and as the blog title reads - Random Thoughts - it doesn't use any specific knowledge about any company internals. It is totally based on assorted discussions with friends - who again speculate.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Point & Shoot camera

Hi guys

I have been thinking of buying a point and shoot for a while now. Though it is not very slim, I liked this one - Canon PowerShot A720IS

Let me know if you have any extreme opinions/reviews for this camera.

Thanks a lot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Are movie reviews true and reliable?

Are movie reviews true and reliable? In other words, is the current movie reviewing system correct?

My friends and I were contemplating going to this new movie - 'Iron Man'. I decide to go see how people have reviewed it on IMDB. It says 8.3/10.0. Sounds like a good movie, given the fact that the best review for any movie being 9.1 and only 73 movies having a better review than this.

I watched this other movie - 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' recently and didn't like it much. (I would have personally rated it at 6, my idea of a movie rated 1 would be 'The Golden Compass') I check the rating and the rating happens to be 8.0? Wait a minute. Isn't American Gangster also rated at 8.0? Ain't this strange? 'American Gangster' and 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' equally good???

Of course, I do understand that different people like different movies and the rating shown on any of the review sites is mostly an average opinion. Also, I have this feeling that people get this urge to vote only if they have some strong opinion about the movie, particularly when they have a strong positive opinion.

This skews the whole opinion and makes the whole review process pretty useless. So, can't we have a good review system which helps everyone.

When each voter votes for some movies, it is pretty possible that he is close to some other person's votes. Two people might have similar tastes, and one's review might make sense and be useful to the other. This correlation factor can be very easily computed and can be updated whenever someone adds a review.

After this, each user would see two kinds of reviews. One shows average review and the other weighted review based on his correlation factor. Wouldn't that be cool and so useful?

I don't understand why people do not have these kind of reviews.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You weren't meant to have a boss

I received this essay on my undergraduate group. Good read and I recommend it to people.


The essay talks about the disadvantages of working for a big company and mainly in those creative jobs (where you need to build something new daily). Though I do not find his suggestion of joining/starting a start-up. It might be a good thing to think twice before joining big companies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Skype video and webcam on Linux

I know this is kinda out of place.

But, I had this huge problem of switching OS whenever I want to get on cam :)

Here is the recipe that I followed on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon

1. Got a logitech webcam

2. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list to add this line at the end

deb unstable main

3. sudo apt-get install easycam2

4. Check if your webcam is working with camorama

5. Go here - to download the beta version of skype which supports video

What are you waiting for? You are done. Go ahead and just use it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why don't U die in Ur dream?

My previous post on dream has paved the way for a few discussions with friends. This post is on one of those discussions.

Why doesn't one die in his/her dreams?

If you observe, our body reacts to the situations in dreams as if it would react to those in reality. Think of some of the dreams that you get and how your body reacts to them. Suppose you get a dream in which some animal is after you, it is common that people sweat. Now, suppose you get a pleasant romantic dream, again your body reacts as if it does if "it" happens in reality.

Similarly, if you dream that you die, your organs might actually react to that and stop working. So, basically you wouldn't wake up the next day to tell people that you dreamt of you dying.

Disclaimer: This is totally my guess. It has more chances of not being true. Though I never heard of anyone who dreamt their death, I would really appreciate it if people can update me of such living people. I would happily delete this post and urge people to venture dreaming their death ;)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What is man running after?

This is one of those other questions that props in my mind every now and then. What am I really after in life?

It all started when I was traveling alone from Vizag (home town) to Bangalore (then, place of work). I was gazing outside and I noticed two dogs playing happily in the mud. I was pretty sure the dogs were having loads of fun and enjoying life and are happy. Immediately, I ask myself, am I as happy as those dogs? I know I am happy (definitely compared to some people) but am I as happy as the dog?

I had no clue - we have no metrics to compare who is happier. I thought I can look at the worries that each of us has. What are my immediate worries? Would I reach Bangalore safely? What do I eat on the way? Can I get my work done by the time I meet my manager? Would my manager like my work? Would I get an admit at a decent grad school? More than worries, they are all uncertainties. What all does the dog worry about? Food - I was pretty sure, it would find some food somewhere - its own hunt, or some one would feed it (directly or indirectly). Shelter - I agree that is a problem.

So, what did man achieve as such with his so-called intelligence? One thing that he earned is all these uncertainties and tensions regarding what would happen later. It is true that we have made huge scientific and technological advances. But, everyone doesn't even have the cushion of three meals a day. Not even what the dog has. We have hatred, communal strife - which animals also might have. But, we go a step further and spend time on building nice weapons for use on others. There is this constant race for power. One thing that we have definitely achieved is inequality among men. Animals too would have inequality, main factor being physical ability/power. We are a few steps ahead on this front.

The other day I had this huge argument/discussion with my friend about colonization and how it has affected countries like India. Isn't it sad to see one group of people play with the basic needs of another group. Would any animal hurt another animal of the same species that badly?

It is true we made huge scientific advances. We can cure diseases. We build machines with/without AI and let them do the work for us. I am damn sure, this makes us happy. But, I just have this feeling that it would be nicer not to loose out on certain things - like strife and competition.

Can we actually achieve that? The answer seems to be no. But, if we nurture this feeling of the need to reduce such traits, we might end up being a lot happier than what we are now.

Let us try to be happier!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Truly, Necessity is the mother of invention.

K: Very hungry - Time: 2 AM. Let's have something.
A: It is okay, we will cook something.

K goes in to the kitchen. There was not a single washed dish.

K: अरे यार! एक भी बर्तन नहीं है...
A: धो लेते हैं.

A realizes that they dont have a scrub. What to do???

A: We cant wash the dishes! No scrub.
K: चलो! Wal-mart चलते हैं!
A: Car नहीं है.
K: Okay, भूके मरते हैं!

A finds this:

K & A use their unwashed dishes to follow the video. Omelette बन गयी.

Watch, follow and be happy. Truly, Necessity is the mother of Invention (Discovery)!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Are we living or are we being dreamt?

Are we living or are we being dreamt? - a question that has been bothering me since childhood.

We all have dreams. And in dreams, we see different people, places, things and settings. The laws of time, speed, gravity do not hold in our dreams. But, things do happen and we generally make sense out of them.

Just think! Are we living? Can't you be a character in the dream of someone else. Can't it be so that your life and universe be a part of his/her dreams.

We have so many unanswered questions about the formation of universe and beginning of life। It might be perfectly fitting to say that - the person who is dreaming us has full knowledge about his own existence. Just because we are his dream, certain rules are being defied just as certain rules are defied in our own dreams.

Keep thinking about this and you would find lots of daily occurrences supporting this idea।

Your thoughts, observations and deductions might
  • Prove that this is true and explain our existence better. You would be given a Nobel prize for finding our existence and also establishing a connection between the dream and the reality.
  • Prompt you to write a brilliant book series like the Harry Potter. If someone can enter a 9 3/4 platform and earn a whole lot of money - you too can.
  • At the least it would give you enough fun.
Think well!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why and how do women think?

I was recently talking to a friend of mine. We, accidentally hit on the topic of women thinking a lot. I had this opinion that there is something wrong with females, they misuse their brains by thinking about arbitrary things.

Sadly, this friend of mine was one from the thinking-too-much-species. And she had exactly the opposite opinion about men. She says, "We think ahead for both of us in a conversation and these guys find it hard to think for themselves". She went on to say that women keep track of most of their conversations and kind of defer their judgment of the other person and their own liking for them for a while. They would form intermediate impressions. But, they would keep updating them with every conversation. One wrong statement (different from what they expect) might form the basis for their understanding of a conversation that would have happened a week ago. Truly surprising and irritating. Isn't it?

Understandably, this might be on of the reasons for their high levels of insecurity. Or is it the other way round? Is insecurity the reason for their weird way of thinking.

Anyways, for those from the thinking-too-much-species. Men don't think about every arbitrary thing. As far as I understand and experience, we do take history into consideration. But, mostly it would be in the way of summaries. Immediately after a conversation or a ride or a date, we come to one conclusion - it was good/bad. And no changing it. We just use this and build on top of it. Sadly, we don't notice what you are wearing, unless you are very special to us or we are busy with our hobby of bird-watching. Is your pendant a real/fake diamond? Are you wearing studs or hangings on your ear? These are questions too tough to answer.

Done with the conversation, being as jobless as I am, one would definitely muse over it. I too did.

I went on to think about womens' preferences and likings. Would they like those men that behave exactly as they expect? My man brain suggests otherwise. I feel that one should like surprises and people who bring them. But given their weirdness, I couldn't come to a conclusion as to whether they would like surprises. I went on. If they like surprises (the typical programmer comes in here with his if statement :-( ), would they like people who give them pleasant surprises(turn out better than their expectations) or would they like those who sweep them off the ground completely by being completely different.

I need to know this to anticipate and behave accordingly. But, I had no examples to make this inference. My brain started analyzing movies that I watched. Movies seem to be contradicting each other with regards to this principle. But then, most of the cine-people are men. So, their movies seem to be their expectations.

Conversation: She went on, mentioning about their multi-thinking abilities. It seems women think about things arbitrarily. One second they would be talking to their boyfriend about those sweet moments that they shared an year ago. At the same time, they (still in the conversation) think about that dress they didn't buy yesterday night and wonder if it was a good decision. The very moment, they would be assessing their conversation with their boss in the elevator that morning. All this while ( 2 seconds) being in conversation with their boyfriend. Poor guys.

Later, I went on to think about programs being like female thoughts. They wouldn't have spatial or temporal (time) locality - the driving force behind many design and engineering decisions. Programs are definitely male.

I am pretty sure, you think that I am being random. Thinking about multiple things at the same time. No, I am thinking about random things but one after the other, not all at once.

For my random thoughts, only if I could have a thought recorder... people could have found transformations to find perfect randomness and random numbers.

This all began with Why and how do women think.

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