Archive - 2006

January 25th

calling the electronics lazyweb

I want a system in which, when my headphone plug is accidentally yanked off the speakerset, the speakerset auto-mutes, instead of blaring loud african music into the perplexed ears of my hardworking fellow lab-mates.


January 25th

on research blogging

The Machine Learning weblog wonders if it’s worth it.


January 24th


a non geeky post, in response to feedback from my awesome readers, instigated by the accounts on this wonderful weblog

Pretty women can often keep your brain from functioning. It’s sometimes hard to believe, until you experience yet another embarassment that reminds you of the way things work in this world. Like, for instance, the incident that happened in the great Buffalo Wild Wings down on State Street. Great place, nice ambience, and dark haired, blue eyed waitresses.

Of which one of them comes up to me, and asks me what I would like to drink. “Just food”, I say. Sudden loss of ability to construct sentences, I realize. Maybe she’ll overlook that as a sign of me being, uh, you know, those Asian brown people and all. “What would you like to eat then”, she proceeds, maintaining her professional chirpiness.

“Six Wings”, I say, pointing to the menu’s photo as if to prove that either I am illiterate or she is.
“Would you like sauce with that?”, she asks.
“What sauce?”
“What sauce?”
“What sauce?”
“What sauce?”
“Yes” (thinking, at that point of time, why the hell is she asking me if I want HOT SAUCE so many times?)
“Sir, what kind of sauce would you like?”
“What do you have?”
“Sweet sauce, Hot sauce….”
HOT Sauce!”
“Ok, great”
“Thank you”.
“Will be right back with your wings!”

Turning back to continue the conversation with my friend on the table:
“She said What Sauce, retard”
“Yes, I wasn’t thinking too well”, I say. “Maybe I should leave her the whole ten bucks”
“For a four dollar meal?!”, glaring at me.
“Er, maybe not, then.”

What can I say, dear waitress at BWW… I’m just a little Indian who’s still getting accustomed to American accents, American restaurants and American sauces. And above all, still getting accustomed to those pretty blue eyes that every girl here seems to have.


prof. baeza-yates jumps on the y! bandwagon

(hat tip: solzaire)

Arnab’s Law of Information Retrieval: Every famous researcher in Information Retrieval will eventually be hired by Google, Yahoo! Research, or Microsoft Research :)

While Yahoo’s execs are throwing in the towel for search, I’m quite impressed by the research momentum the Y company is building up. And now they get Prof. Ricardo Baeza Yates on board as head of the new Y!Research Spain/Chile.

That brings the tally of Yahoo Research Locations to:

  • Pasadena (the Overture office, afaik Dr. Pennock sits here)
  • Bangalore (not really Y!R, but there is an R&D group here)
  • Berkeley
  • Santa Clara
  • New York
  • Burbank
  • Barcelona
  • Santiago

I’ve met Prof. Yates, he’s a really awesome guy. Looking forward to some interesting search query log work from him :)

January 22nd

card sorting in the wild

AmEx uses card sorting in their Credit Card wizard (choose Travel…)


January 22nd

phdcomics coming to town!

Jorge Cham is visiting UofM on April 3rd as part of his Winter Tour.

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scratching itches

Was only tweaking things for a website I’ve been setting up, and ended up submitting a core patch to Drupal! Let’s see what the Bryght people think about it.


January 18th

veronika, sixteen

Morning coffee, reading obituaries
Wonder what it took
to get a talented young lass
to plummet 14 storeys
to end up
as a kind story
in cheap ink on cheap paper?
Wonder what she was running from
or looking for
“Unhappy that her life was too boring”, the parents reason
“Ironic”, I thought, emptying my cup
to solve boredom
by attaining a state in which
you can never do anything about it


All my EE friends are jealous of me

I haven’t had time to document this myself, so I’ll let Kaushik do the talking: Our new building.


January 13th

apache virtual hosts and SELinux

Fedora Core with SELinux means that there’s new things you need to be aware of when setting up a LAMP server. When adding virtual hosts to a server, make sure your new directories are accessible according to the SELinux policies. You can do that by checking:

ls -Z *

and then adding httpd access by doing

chcon -t httpd_sys_content_t YOURDIRECTORY

if httpd_sys_content_t isn’t already there.

Man, I spent something like 3 hours trying to figure out why that was happening.