Archive - 2006

March 19th

foodburn

Bad day today. Underestimated the water in capsicum ki bhaji while heading off to have a bath, hence burning it and setting off the smoke detector. (It’s good that I have lots of experience with that device, from various prior experiments.) Came to the office, 10% of the popcorn I just made in the microwave look and taste like carbon.

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parental abuse

Is your son becoming a hacker? — Go find out, and take action!.

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apt.itude

Paul Simon & Arthur Garfunkel: I Am A Rock:

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark december;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

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March 18th

write like you talk

Kathy Sierra writes :

Your sixth grade English teacher warned you against writing the way you talk, but she was wrong. Partly wrong, anyway. Then again, we aren’t talking about writing the way you talked when you were 12. Or even the way you talk when you’re rambling.

For me, I try hard to do the reverse; i.e. talk like I write. This is because my writing is quite informal and accessible, or so I choose to believe, based on what people have told me. My speech, on the other hand, suffers from the same problem most communication networks have these days: network congestion with bottlenecks. My brain comes up with a more than a million things that I would like to eventually communicate to the listener, something that is theoretically not possible given that there’s a physical limit to how fast I can speak. Also, all these thoughts are not neccesarily in order (for example this sentence was inserted after I wrote the next two sentences), hence a lot of reordering needs to be done. Adding to this set of problems is another part of my brain which decides to do a lookahead analysis of the responses my audience might come up with, and then precomputing retorts and rebuttals to them.

This overwhelming of thought packets on the mouth buffer drives me into an incoherent mumble which often makes people think I’m a socially inept, dumb retard of some sort, saying all the wrong, inappropriate things at the wrong times, for example:

Girl: People tell me I clean up quite nicely.
Me: Oh, do you? That’s quite surprising.

How I wish I could use backspace while talking.

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Pandora vs Last.fm

A comparison of the Pandora and Last.fm services.

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March 17th

computing history browser

A neat proposal on the Ubuntu wiki about a Computing History Browser.

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turning off gmail chat

I’m not a big fan of the AJAX chat feature in GMail, and noticed there were 2 fairly non-obvious ways to get rid of people seeing me “online” whenever I signed in: The first way was to set the status as “Sign out of chat”; which GMail thankfully remembers the next time you login. The second way is go to the bottom of the page, and select “standard without chat” as the view option. GMail also remembers this when you sign in the next time, so you get to use the email services in private, without being bogged down by the chat javascripting.

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March 16th

vldb insanity

The db lab has been unusually active in the last 48 hours; the VLDB paper deadline is less than two hours away; everyone’s plugging away at their LaTeX, proofreading others’ papers, running up and down the hallway to meet the professors…

Fun!

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March 14th

soc engg on the basketball field

An interesting story on how Cal beat USC.

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March 14th

rahman in michigan

…along with Sekar, Kailash Kher, and Vasundhara Das! At Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. Poster, Press Release, and (expensive) Tickets.

I’d love to go, but it’s right when my finals are, and the tickets are forbiddingly expensive anyway.