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!