Saturday, November 03, 2007

Water by Sine waves

See here.

Chirag Mehta made this java app, which makes sounds of water. It makes, which means it is artificial. Pretty cool to play around with the number of drops, size of the drops and other such variables.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Banks run by Street Kids in New Delhi

See here

Out of New Delhi from where rarely comes good news, a volunteer bank run by street kids. Butterflies is the volunteer aid group which supports children's rights and also helps the Children's Development Bank. Great thing about this initiative is it provides work, micro-loans and a way to manage these kids money, which would rather be spent elsewhere.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Simpsonizeme Troubleshooting

I have been getting traffic through web searches for trouble-shooting of the simpsonizeme site about which I posted earlier. The site does have a very friendly error message system with messages like 'The doo-hickey does not work with the whatchamacallit', which is way better than Error 419. One cannot argue with such thorough explanation.

To be successful in your pursuit of simpsonizing yourself, you need to read the instructions, slowly. The best way is to get a picture in megapixel format and a format of 640x800 or better is recommended. Also a good contrast picture where the background is plain or of light colour is better suited. A prison mugshot would not work for the very same reason, I tried. If you get the doughnut for too long then it is better to start with a better picture. All the best.

Sleeping on the floor

When last week I wanted to watch a movie while trying to fall asleep, I had to sleep on the floor as the couch is too small to hold me comfortably. I retrieved the sleeping bag and laid it on the floor with my pillow and blanket arranged.

While the falling asleep part did not work out too good as the movie turned out to be very interesting, some interesting thoughts struck the rational mind. While the carpet is not very clean with bits of food, nails (results of my bouts of adventurous nail-biting) and other bits and bobs I wonder wherever they came from, I had a comfy pillow and a heater with the blanket rounded things up in the keeping-me-sleeping department. The one discomfort was the shoulder and neck not sitting right as there was no bed to offer any support. When one stares at the ceiling when lying on the floor things look very spacious. I wanted to shout out 'O Captain, my captain!', just 'cause the view was different.

Thoughts went too to the countless homeless people who sleep without pillows, blankets or heaters, no movie to get them to sleep nor a ceiling to wonder how it feels to touch. Cardboard boxes seem very good blankets for them and a shoulder-neck problem would be the last on their mind.

The vibrations of the Earth are a thing to be experienced lying down. Especially when the tram track is just next door. I remember those summer nights in India when all kids slept on the roof and the ceiling fans attached underside would make their mechanical presence felt with each rotation.

I cannot do the sleeping on the floor everyday, but it just one of the little things that make you happy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Simpsonize me

Wired Blog points to Simpsonize Me. Very cool if you are Simpson's fan and wouldn't mind a bit of exploring. The site is to promote the new Simpson's movie. So go and get one. By the way, that is how I would look in Simpsons.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Multiple computers? Synergy can help

I have a laptop and a desktop sitting on my not so huge desk and I particularly hate typing on my ancient (4.5 years old) laptop when few of the keys are missing and the mousepad is sticky. The conveniently placed keyboard and mouse of the desktop are very handy, so when I heard about Synergy it made things very easy to handle.

The small application lets you share your keyboard and mouse across all the monitors and also across multiple platforms, Windows, MAC OSX and even multiple variants of Unix (Linux, Solaris etc).

The small application runs on multiple platforms and is very easy to configure and install. It took me about 5 minutes to install and configure on both my laptop and desktop, but another 20 minutes to figure out how to connect them both. The problem was the firewall client.

The software has stopped evolving after 2006, may be some popularity will help.

Download link -

Saturday, June 23, 2007

You thought your job was bad?

No protective clothing to collect the potent solution of our sins and industrial effluents from the Ganges. Hopefully Ganges will keep his skin clean for some time.


Online Recognition

Reflections of A 90-Year Old Man; At the Mid-Point of His Journey. Looking Back On the Events That Have Shaped a Life. Exploring Dreams Of The Future. How Did You Get Here? Where Are You Going?? Seconds Turn Into Months. Days Pass Into Decades. Time Marches On Relentlessly. These Are The Days Of A Life...

This is what The Lives and Times... of Anthony McCune introduces himself as. And this person stumbled across my blog and listed me without me asking for it. Thank you sir.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ghost riders in Hyderabad OMGWTF!!

I am not sure if these guys are not trained professionals as they don't wear any protective gear. Watch them perform these stunts in the pothole ridden roads of Hyderabad (India) during day time traffic without the fear of other vehicles on the road and as it so happens almost all the time on the streets of India, general disregard for law. But the stunts are impressive. Warning: OMG moment at the end.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Namesake: Review

I normally do not do movie reviews. I don't have much opinion about many things and I certainly do not discuss movies a lot. There is also the fact that almost everyone who maintains a blog does review movies. Namesake is different.

I have read Jhumpa Lahiri's book 'An interpreter of Maladies', the pure joy that is felt from reading the stories of that book not only touches one's heart's emotional strings but relates to each Indian that tries to live in a western country. The need for Indians to really mix into the western world along with the longing to get back to into the company of Indians to celebrate the culture is depicted very well in the stories.

Mira Nair's 'Monsoon Wedding', gave one the warm, fuzzy feeling after watching it. It is not so much as the characters of the movie, but the way the movie was made to make you watch it again and want you to dance in the Baaraat (Indian bridal procession.) at the end of the movie.

Ashok Ganguli (Irrfan Khan) loves to read Nikolai Gogol and is an Indian expat in New York. He is married to Ashima (Tabu) an English major who has to deal with moving to a new country with a man she hasn't met before. The first few days of them being together are really depicted well. At one point Ashok says he would make tea for his jet-lagged wife and the pure terror of this culture shock in Ashima's eyes are felt without any words coming out of her mouth. And I thought there would be more moments like this. Only 10 minutes into the story and this was the high point of the movie.

They name their son Gogol (which is meant to be his pet name) and he wants to keep this name and not his 'good' name Nikhil. It is this name that the story is based on. Why the father names him Gogol and how Nikhil tries to understand his father and his roots later in his life also forms part of the story.

Where the movie disappoints is that the characters are mostly emotionless. When reading most books I wonder how a director would portray the thoughts of each character on the screen. Mira Nair attempted to do this through the expressions of the eyes, but it doesn't show. At one point Gogol tells his wife that 'thats not why I loved you', thing is, we do not know why he did. There was no reason at all why he loved his wife.

Nor does the movie really depict the real issues an Indian proud of their culture would face in a different country. Except for the first real culture shock Ashima felt. There is no longing for them to go to India. The younger Gangulis do not question the differences between themselves and the westerners, which in a story like this would highlight the revelations felt by Gogol later in the story.

If I had read the book before watching this movie, I would have been really disappointed at the portrayal and the screenplay. To really understand how Jhumpa wanted to tell the story, reading the book would be better.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ruby on Rails

I first read it on Wired about Ruby-on-Rails being the next big thing in web development. So, when I went to Borders last week and the geek that I am went straight to the computer's section and checked out the RoR book and bought it.

Most books, actually all books, leave out the error messages that I get. It is never smooth going with me and learning new software or systems. I had great adventures with installing mod chips on my Xbox, installing Ubuntu, installing Beryl on Ubuntu.. the list is long. The interesting thing about stuffing up is the solution is simple and there are many people who face the same issue, but the manuals turn up with blanks for the error messages I get. May be it was because of me not following the instructions (yes, I am the typical male) or just because I say 'Let me try this' and then it goes all awry.

I had to download and install Ruby Interpreter, Rails (the framework), RadRails, MySQL and MySQL Administrator just to start off. The Ruby and Rails went smooth, but MySQL started giving problems.

Errors with MySQL service starting:
When trying to start the service I got this message: "Could not start the service MySQL Error: 0", I looked up and found that running the command, "sc delete mysql" at the command prompt in DOS stops the already running service if it has been installed previously on the PC. I built the PC myself and I am sure that I have not installed MySQL before.

But that did not fix the issue, the "MySQL Server Instance Configuration Wizard" has to be run again, and you will have to select "Reconfigure Instance" and run the wizard all over to start it. That should fix the issue.

Errors with RadRails:
The instructions in the RoR book asked not to use a password, which I did read but did not follow and put in a password anyway. I have to admit I picked up a book in the Dummies series and that meant no password and all the easy options. That threw up a few surprises. When I created the table in the database through RadRails and then run Rake, I got "Could not connect to the database 'root'@'localhost' (using password: NO)", error message, that was simple to fix, as I knew that I did put in a password, when the book asked me not to, I had to go in somewhere and change it. Smart person that I am, I figured it out that the password has to be put in the database.yml file. In RoR parlance it is the yaml file. I had a smug feeling all over after I did that.

But after that I got another error message not letting me go through Rake: "28000Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: NO)". This was interesting, I checked the password and it was correct in the yaml file. It had to be put in three times and all times it was correct. The fix is to leave a space after "password:" and then put in the actual password.

After this, I thought it would be all downhill and then I created the scaffold for my first database and tried to run it in the browser. The browser threw up a nice big error about "Access denied" again. Where do I change the password again? What do I do? I had to uninstall MySQL and MySQL Administrator and then reinstalled them, but the browser still will not run.

The solution was the restart the server on RadRails, so that it gets the new password details in, that did the trick. Now, I have to start my real studying of RoR.

My girlfriend was complaining that I was spending too much time with Ruby, little did she know that I was having so much fun. ;-)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I want Sandy too

Ok, a personal email assistant, who wouldn't want one? Technology, laziness blah:

These are the services that you get for free from Sandy:

  • Turn your “email to self” into an actual to-do — and get it done.
  • Maintain an up-to-date address book without even trying.
  • Get appointments into your calendar without wasting time cutting and pasting.
  • Automatically gather the web addresses friends email to you.
Go over to and she will do the rest. But only from April.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cost Life Game

I have recently stumbled across this site where one has to play a family of third world kids trying to make a living. The game is being developed by game lab and has a very good music running through it. It shows the real issues that the family of kids face and one has to pick one of the four targets to play the game, Health, Happiness, Education and Money. The kids have to be taken through four seasons each year while trying to maintain a balance of all.

Game play is good and the music is upbeat. In my first attempt, I managed to drive two kids to seriously bad health situations, making it frustrating for me, but subsequent tries was good fun. If only it was this easy to actually do something about the kids living in conditions like these.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cricket World Cup

About the only sport I follow is Cricket and the greatest tournaments of all has started yesterday. Not all matches are being telecast on free tv, and the ones I want to watch are the ones India play in. So, no chance of that being aired here in Australia.

The time difference doesn't help much, but I am following it. And so are many bloggers. I am not good in predicting and do not have an opinion about cricket at all. But would like India to win this one and give the Aussies here some looking down and rub it in for them. An India-Australia final with India winning it convincingly would just about make my month.

It has been four years since I landed in Australia, and the world cup was on then when I landed. We did not win then, my spirits are up this time. Go India!!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Microsoft over the ages

I have been around computers for pretty much all my life. The best pastime was when I first bought my own PC, the endless times I formatted and reinstalled the whole OS, for Window 98 installing all the drivers all over again. Misplacing CDs, partitioning hard drives, copying large numbers of music files from one Hard drive to another, changing hard drives from master to slave, upgrading to Windows XP and Windows 2000 and also trying out different versions of Linux. All of this without a cheap internet connection, which was used only to check email.

If I had access to cheaper internet, may be I wouldn't have learnt as much about computers.

So, these pictures from Wired of Microsoft OS have brought back fond memories of my PC adventures.

You can see the whole gallery of Windows history here.

Monday, January 29, 2007

How to get lots of traffic to your site

Ask the Age, they posted a story about a python in Malaysia which ate 11 dogs and it has been in the top ten news items for no less than three days. So, how to get good traffic to your site? Post an image like this one..

or may be porn. I will settle for this.

-Picture courtesy

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Picasa Web Software

I am just back from a month long holiday and had to organise the pictures from my camera. Logged in to yahoo photos and uploaded about 45 of them. It was painfully slow. Then I downloaded Picasa web software available from Google Pack.

The installation file is only 5 MB. And right after installation finds all the pictures on the hard drive, I found a few photos I misplaced and then gives you very easy options to organise them. Also, this free software has image editing options for novices, the red-eye feature is very easy to use. Another feature I found was the timeline which gives an option to view the pictures according to dates.

The best feature of this software is the web connection feature, where you can upload the pictures to if you have a google account. The one touch upload option is cool and very fast way to upload your pictures, beats the yahoo option. You get 250 MB of free space on picasaweb.