Friday, December 21, 2007

Nahh, this is not a review of some new web 2.0 company but a question that I've been asking myself for last few years. It's been more than 6 months now since I quit my day job and decided I needed some time to introspect and find out what I really want to achieve in my life; maybe; try to find out something new which helps me get my motivation and focus back. Sometimes, when you are part of a circus and have been running around in circles; it's best to get away from it all and get a view from outside. The fact is I still haven't started missing having a day job; but then I guess it's high time I find something that gives the satisfaction that has been missing for so long! It's not that I've been doing absolutely nothing for last 6 months, I now have some new found interests like plants, trees, wild-life (something, which made me visit Jim Corbett National Park) and photography (no, I still don't have a DSLR) and have learned few more things the hard-way like; losing your wallet is not fun! Unfortunately; all these interests don't give me any cash inflow and don't help me in paying my bills. The only issue is I don't want to get back to living pay-check by pay-check. In the good ole' days I didn't really care about my job and job satisfaction; I had something more beautiful and special to keep me motivated and happy. Now, since the ole' days are a thing of the past; I need to be a little more judgmental in what I do with my professional life. I know how I would love to live my life but then; only some of us get to decide how they want to live their lives; rest of us just have to be a part of those decisions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I generally don't do any travelogues but since I haven't been up to much off-late (read, absolutely nothing) and had a chance to visit Varanasi, I felt I should scribble my thoughts on the travel and the city in general. I always had the wish to visit Varanasi as I had never been there before; it's one of the oldest continually populated cities of the world & as Mark Twain put it:

Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.

I guess the biggest charm of Varanasi are the river Ganges , the ghats (steps to the river), the temples and the yogis (some real; some fake)! The first thing that I noticed after (while) arriving at Varanasi was the chaos of the city: the amount of traffic in the narrow lanes is simply killing! I don't know how local people have gotten used to so much of traffic; there's no dirth of locals and add to that the huge hoards of tourist who visit the city every day! I was also a bit surprised by the number of tourists from foreign country who flock this city; perhaps; Varanasi and its glimpse of (very) old indian history intrigue people from far off land. Ghats are again full of people but have some kind of calmness about them, maybe it's due to the calm Ganges that flows alongside the entire city. A morning walk along the ghats and exploring the ganges on a boat during the evening (along with the aarti on the dashashvedh ghat at 6:30) are something that I would recommend any would-be-visitor. All in all, a nice trip with some good experiences and memories of the holiest city in Hinduism. Would I recommend a visit to this city? sure, yes; you need to visit Varanasi once no matter where you are from but just keep in mind it might be a little shocking to begin with.

There are a lot more places that I need to go next in India, hopefully am gonna cover them all one by one. After my visit, I don't think I could have agreed with Mark Twain more!

By the way, the photo pile was not done using Picasa; more on that in some other post

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

School days

Many moons ago, when I was still flirting with GW Basic et al in school, we had a computer teacher; who would always come up with what we used to call "crazy" problems. I don't think most of her students had enough brain powers then; to write those programs (and I doubt, most of them; including myself; have the requisite brain powers even now)! One problem which always has bugged me is this:
Given a positive integer, find the series of lower integers which add up to it. Here's an example:
assume the given positive integer is 5, so the series of lower integers will be:
  • 1+1+1+1+1
  • 1+1+1+2
  • 1+1+3
  • 4+1
  • 2+2+1
  • 3+2
  • 1+4
IIRC, none of her students were able to solve this problem, and I don't think it was even possible in GW Basic, cause most of the series problems generally require recursion (maybe, you can implement recursion in Basic using labels and Go To). Now, that I do know quite a few languages which allow recursions and have more brain powers, I still haven't been able to solve this problem (granted; I never really spent too much time on it). Anyway, I'll take the lazy way out and see if anyone reading this is interested enough in taking this as his/her weekend project.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of butterflies and flowers...

Off-late, I have started taking interest in a bit of gardening and the butterflies that frequent the nectar-flowers; maybe I have just too much of spare time at hands! The baby butterflies seem to have a liking to the purple Zinnia flower, I can almost always see 3-4 butterflies munching on it. The bigger yellow butterflies love a red flower (I don't know the name of the flower plant) that blooms daily and the marsh marigolds. The more colored ones seem to like the Crepe Jasmine, though they don't stay/sit on it for too long. I also read somewhere that butterflies like the Hibiscus family's flowers, but even though I have 3 Hibiscus family plants; I don't see any butterfly sit on its flower for too long.
Maybe, I should plant a lilac (butterfly bush) to attract more and more but then it's gonna be winters soon, so all of 'em gonna disappear anyway.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

In Search Of The Lost Chord

As I play, The Moody Blues on my Zune, I just wondered which of their songs I love the most, so in no particular order, below are my (as of now) top 10 Moody Blues' numbers (most of these songs are post Pinder era and are written by Justin Hayward: someone who's song writing talent is almost unparalleled)!

  1. Your Wildest Dreams: once beneath the stars, the universe was ours; love was all we knew, and all I knew was you...I wonder where you are, I wonder if you think about me; once upon a time, in your wildest dreams... (now you know from where is the title of this blog is inspired).
  2. I Know You're Out There Somewhere: The mist is lifting slowly and I can see the way ahead; I've left behind the empty streets that once inspired my life... (a sequel to Your Wildest Dreams, these two songs always have me thinking which one of these is their best: I am still undecided).
  3. Never Blame The Rainbow For The Rain: Keys of the Kingdom (I recently got hooked onto this song, and I just simply love it).
  4. Love Is On The Run: when your love is on the run, don't waste your time closing doors. you'll be the last to know when love has gone...(by the way, Sur la Mer means "On The Sea" in french).
  5. Never Comes The Day: Think away today, think away tomorrow; never comes the day for my love and me.
  6. Lean On Me: Lean on me; I'll be there whenever you need someone to share; in every prayer, in every dream; you've left somewhere.
  7. Bless The Wings: The more life keeps us apart, the more love will grow...if I could touch you now my darling; and love you once more...if I could hold you, hold you, hold you; I know you'd understand...
  8. For My Lady: my boat sails empty seas; battles oceans filled with tears, at last my port is in view; now that I have found you...oh' I'd give my life so lightly to my gentle lady, give it truly and completely for my lady...
  9. Candle Of Life: something you can't hide, says you're lonely; something deep inside, of you only...
  10. Question: between the silence of mountains and the crashing of the sea, there lies a land I once lived in and she is waiting there for me...

The Bridge Across Forever

Once upon a time there was a boy, 18; and like every other boy in his age-group was carefree and aimed to be on top of this world, and that's what his problem was: he was unsure what really being on top of the world meant and felt like. Then, one day he came across a book called "The Bridge Across Forever" by Richard Bach, a book which changed the way he looked at things and changed him forever. From a carefree and someone who paid absolutely no attention to relationships, he was transformed into a boy who started waiting for his own soul-mate; was it the book or the subject that the book covered, which transformed him; or did the book just aided in making him think and acknowledging certain aspects of himself which were buried deep down inside which he had ignored for so long? Soon, he started realizing that "being on the top", is all about way you feel inside; it's all about doing something which makes you feel satisfied; it's about having the feeling of oneness, and calmness from within; it's about joining and completing the missing bits of the thing called life. He learnt from the book and started believing firmly that only things in life that matter are the things that you can share with someone special, he started watching & waiting for that "someone" to come into his life, someone to grow old with; someone who made the journey more beautiful than the final destination. I remember, how he felt "cheated" when he read about Bach and Leslie's divorce, how could soul-mates decide to go their own way? Isn't being soul-mates all about learning and sharing together, and he started doubting the entire idea of soul-mates. Then he realized, soul-mates is not about living together and sharing within this time-space continuum; it's something that transcends both time and space; there is no such place as far away; no such time as too long: overcome distance and all you are left is "here"; overcome time and all you have is "now": And in the middle of Here and Now, it's just "you" and "I" that really matter. So, are soul-mates perfect, and completely compatible? No, if you are perfect there's nothing to share, there's nothing to learn from the "other" person when you are fully compatible, if you don't learn; you stagnate, if you stagnate; you stop exploring a world so beautiful both outside and within…and yes, soul-mates doesn't mean living together; it's about learning from each other; either within this time-space or something which operates outside their realm, the fact is: you may stop loving someone, but you will never stop loving the time when you loved them. Why am I writing all this? Maybe, we teach best what we need to learn the most…but then, everything in this post maybe wrong.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Future in the stars, stars in my hands

At times, there are certain questions for which we can't find the answers by "logical" thinking; "logical" thinking only works on issues that we face with in this physical world, but then there are certain facets of life which are not bound by the time-space continuum; to find answers to those burning questions we need to explore non-newtonian "sciences" which are not bound by time and space. Astrology is one such aspect of meta-science which acts within the realms of ketheric plane, a plane which is more abstract than the emotional-mental plane. In my life, it's been quite often where it looks like some unknown force is driving my life and I am a mere spectator; for instance: relationships...and quite often, when we are not able to find by mere "logical" thinking itself the reason behind it all, we turn to more abstract ways of finding the answers. Human mind has been trained since time immemorial, to only accept answers which are arrived at by using the laws of inference, observation and exclusion. Now, the question comes, why are people scared of meta-physics (or don't believe in it at all)? Is it because, the laws of inference and observation don't behave well within this realm, or is it because we; humans have been told that we all have free will: will to change anything and everything about who we are and where we're headed? Free will is one aspect which arguably doesn't gel that well will all the "predictive" sciences. I strongly believe that though all the meta-physics are great for finding the "challenges" a person might face in this lifetime, they are often not the right way (actually, there is no other way, either) of predicting the future. Why is that so? Remember, meta-sciences operate on the ketheric plane, but the manifestation of those events happen on the physical plane and quite a few things are lost in the translation (free will, anyone?). Does it mean, we can change everything about us, defy everything written in the stars? No, free will only can change the way you allow yourself to percieve those events and their manifestation, life is all about perspective: what a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly!

Coming back to the law of relationships as per the stars, the things to look in a natal chart for relationship promise is to look at position and strength (using Ptolemy's dignity) of venus, moon and their aspects with any outer planets.

I have a libran (ruled by venus) ascendant and venus becomes the chart ruler (i.e. venus becomes quite prominent in defining who I am and hence, all things venusians become quite significant to me). Venus is only dignified by face in Aquarius and is conjunct by Sun (Sun: I, the very being, the ego) Since, Sun and venus are conjunct; they are fused together and act as one and now again, who I am is greatly defined by venus (Sun in aquarius being debilitated, I'd say Venus "wins" between the two planets). Also, since Venus is in the fourth house, it means these are aspects of my life which are not very apparent to others, they are buried deep down inside and very few will have a glimpse of this side of me. Now comes the moon; moon is all thing feminine, our emotions, our ability to feel safe in a relationship, our feeling of nurturing and being nurtured. I have moon in scorpio (in fall), in the first house. Having a first house scorpio moon means emotions play a good part in my life: also scorpio moon has this uncanny knack of reliving the painful past, till it conquers all the demons. My moon in scorpio "squares" venus in aquarius: a quite "challenging" aspect, which means these two energies act at cross-purposes to each other, which kind of explains why sometimes, I had this feeling of being "unsafe" in the relationship. Coming to outer planets (uranus to pluto); anytime there is an aspect between the outer planets and the moon or venus, you can expect some drama; how the drama is going to unfolds depends on the kind of aspect: easy (trine, sextile) or challenging (square, opposition, conjunction or inconjunct). I have uranus (planet of surprises and unexpected events) conjunct my moon and squaring my venus. Uranus is a sudden flash of lightning, which seems to strike almost unexpectedly and lead you to completely unchartered waters. Uranus, moon conjunction means there will be quite few sudden interruptions in one's ability to feel safe and so will be one's emotional ups and downs; and uranus-venus square means again sudden and unexpected interruptions in a relationship (you bet!). I have a sextile between neptune and venus, making one very dreamy and imaginative in a relationship: someone who is a true romantic at heart (sextiles are dormant aspects, they need to be activated). I also have a trine between pluto and venus, which means relationships will play a big part in ones "transformation" (since it's a trine: I guess the transformation has to be for the good) and also suggests certain power issues in a relationship. Since, we are it; I also have Chiron (the wounded healer) in my seventh house (house of serious one-one relationships); anywhere you find Chiron in the chart, you can be pretty sure that's one aspect of your life where you will face most of your "lessons", so no doubt, everything that I've learnt in my life has always involved a partner.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Last Sequel: Mutually Exclusive Radiobuttons in INamingContainer

If you are still bitten by the non-mutually exclusive radiobutton bug; and don't want to go the long way of creating your own custom radiobutton class, here is a quick and dirty way of achieving the same result by some simple javascript. The idea is to walk up the DOM chain on click of the radiobutton and uncheck the other radio buttons. The javascript works great for DataGrid, DataList and GridView controls, controls which spit out the final html as a table; and as with any javascript code, will only work if javascript is enabled; here's a working example and below is the page's source:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Joke of the day

Once, there was a competition between the police departments of all countries to find out which country's department is the most efficient, the deal was that each police dept goes to the forest and tries to catch a lion, whoever catches the lion in shortest period of time; is the most efficient department of all. First, it's russian police's turn; 2 officers go into the forest and return after 5 mins with a lion tied; everyone is impressed by their efficiency...many other police departments try their luck but none is able to beat the 5 minutes record set by the Russians. Finally, it's the turn of LAPD; LAPD's officers go into the forest in search of the lion; tournament officials wait for their return; first minutes,than hours pass by, but the LAPD officers don't return. The tournament officials start getting worried and they go into the forest in search of the officers, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Finally, they arrive at the scene where LAPD officers were beating a now half-dead bear; and shouting: "accept, you are lion!".
What's a joke, without any moral? Moral of the joke: You can't fit a square where a circle should be (not unless you are a policeman)! Guess, I would have learnt from this moral, but this has been my problem off-late, I am trying to push myself to start taking interest in things, which I know are not that important to me; trying to convince myself that this is the right thing to do, when I myself know that I am no policeman!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We never stop working for you

I recently got my Verizon phone a/c disconnected, the customer support rep asked me if I wanted the a/c to be X'fred to somebody else instead of canceling it? And I told her smilingly, was that this number has been really "unlucky", so I don't think anybody would be interested. I remember when I came to the states couple of years back, I blindly chose Verizon as my service provider; not because of their exemplary service but because the in-network calls are free! Now that I think about it, I find it kind of funny how at times: our mind has its own reasoning and rationale behind everything that we do; we don't put any conscious effort in reasoning such things out, they just operate within the realms of our subconscious mind...perhaps, our subconscious mind knows a lot more about what we really yearn for inside.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Download Audio from esnips Bookmarklet

In case you are not interested in running a Process Monitor Tool and copying the media file from the temporary internet cache, I wrote a quick and dirty bookmarklet to download the media from within the browser itself. Installation of the bookmarklet is quite easy, make sure that the Bookmarks Toolbar is visible, drag the (below) link to the bookmark toolbar or right click on the link and select "Bookmark This Link" and select "Bookmark Toolbar" in the "Create In" dropdown. Once installed, once you are on a particular media file page on esnips; which you would like to download, just click on the bookmark link.

Fine Print: The bookmarklet is only meant for and has only been tested on Firefox, I will try to test it out on IE7; once I log on to Vista sometime tomorrow morning.

The Bookmarklet:
(esnips)Download Media

Edit 7/19:
Tested it out on Vista using both Fx and IE7 and realized that due to the plugin, the media will start playing within the browser itself after using the bookmarklet. You can then either, use "Save Page As" from the file menu or use the below bookmarklet. This bookmarklet will add a "Download Media" link to the page just below the "Tags"; right click on this link and select "Save Target As..." on IE7 or "Save Link As" on Fx.

Doing a "Save Target As.."

The In-Place Bookmarklet:
(esnips)Add Download Link

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Junk Muzica

You know you have lotsa junk songs on your portable music player, when you delete few of them by mistake and don't remember which ones you deleted. This is what happened to me today, I wanted to delete a playlist which had around 10 songs from my Zune, so I clicked on the playlist in the Zune Player and hit the delete button; the player was "smart" enough to figure out that if you want to delete a playlist, you would also want to delete the songs that are in the playlist and without any confirmation or message of any sorts, it went ahead and even removed the songs from the Zune and also removed the playlist from both my system and the Zune. I still have those songs on my system, but I don't think; I'll be able to figure out which songs were those unless one day I feel like listening to a particular only find it gone missing. I really hate it when software try to outsmart the user, a good software in my mind, is a software which doesn't try to "out-think" the end-user and perform (unwanted) actions on his behalf!

Morning Another Morning

It's been around a month since I left the states forever and came back, and I still haven't figured out what I need to do with my life. Sometimes, I feel I should just let it be, and let life take me where it will. I think the more important question for me is; what is that I want from my life now? What will make me feel happy and satisfied? I guess we all go through this phase in our life, where the same doubts complicate our minds; where we feel kind of run down and burned out...a phase when time flies but life stands still! Maybe, as of now there's nothing that I really love doing (lack of motivation plays a big part in that), and I'll end up bitching irrespective but then, life is not about what should be, or what could be. Sometimes, I wish I could fast forward my life by 10-20 years just to see where I'm headed. At least, one thing I am very sure about, I am gonna get there...where? Who knows, who cares, anyway?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Download audio from esnips

Without getting into the moral question about why would you want to download audio from esnips, here's how I've been doing, it's kind of crude but it works.

Tools required:

  • Windows Vista (or any other windows OS).
  • Firefox (or any other browser).
  • Windows Media Player 11 Plugin for Firefox (I guess any browser+plugin combination will work).
  • SysInternal's Microsoft's Process Monitor (or FileMon, if you are using Win XP).


  • Search for the audio on esnips, and click the preferred search result, the song should automatically start playing within the browser.

  • Once the song is being played in the browser via the plugin, start ProcessMonitor (or FileMon).
  • Set the filter in ProcMon to include the browser in the filtered list.

  • Voila! the path to the cached mp3 is there in list, browse to the temporary folder and copy the mp3 to a desired location on your system.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Question of Balance

Quite a few people; including the ones who care, to the ones who really don't or shouldn't; have asked me what next i.e. what I'm gonna do from now on (this is one question that I've asked myself so often over the last years that I even thought of buying I still haven't figured out yet, and I don't want to jump into something in haste which doesn't interest me. All these years, relationship and sustaining the relationship was something which I was (the past tense is not by choice) passionate about, every decision of my life was filtered through my relationship and every thing which didn't matter to the relationship (including my day job) didn't matter to me; I was doing them just because I had to. Now that I have this window period, I want to make sure that I get involved in something which I can feel passionate about, something where I am not just doing it but also enjoying it....hopefully, I will figure out something soon enough.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hot Indian Summer

It's been a week since I came back and since then have been experiencing the North Indian Summer at its peak; the last time I visited this part of my world during the summertime was about 4-5 years back, and the summers over here can be really hot and humid; with frequent power cuts adding to the woes. Anyway, am not complaining…it's an experience of its own kind! I want this window period where I am so called between jobs (in true sense, I am not between jobs as I don't have a job to move on to) to do some introspection and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life all along, I know the easiest way out is to do what I've been doing for past 6 years and find another "IT" job but then for past 2 years; I've been getting bored with my job very fast, either the quality of work has not been great or it's just me who isn't interested in doing the same stuff over and over again…but then, the biggest "issue" for now seems to be figuring out what I want to do.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Look Ma, no sound!

Ever since I upgraded Dapper to Edgy, I have this weird issue of no sound in Vista (yeah, I know it sounds kinda unrelated but this is what I've zeroed in on). The problem is if I boot into Vista after a previous session in Edgy, there's no sound in Vista at all and the only way to restore the sound back is to reboot the system, looks like Edgy updates certain register values of the sound card which Vista is not able to understand. I don't know whether the bug is with Vista or Edgy; but given how fast MS folks are at fixing the "bugs" due to incompatibility with other OS, I'll most probs submit a bug with Ubuntu folks. Edit: Submitted the bug on Launchpad, here is the bug link; in case you're interested:

In other news, Vista also doesn't recognize my Pan-digital photo-frame; and I don't see any drivers for Vista on their site either.

Monday, June 18, 2007

June 18th, 5:30 PM

Sitting at the airport, about to board the flight to Delhi; listening to "Nights In White Satin" by Moody Blues and thinking about the last 3 years; it's been nearly 3 years since we met last; did I then think that it for next 3 years we won't even meet once? I don't know, maybe I did…today, are things according to my plans? Well, no…that's why I have stopped planning, things never go according to the plans, so the best is not to plan, at least that way you can blame yourself for not planning anything! Sometimes, I wonder is this a quarter-life crisis (I am not (maybe) old enough to have a mid life crisis, yet)? At times, I really am not sure where I want to head, what I want to do and I have no motivation to find out what is that I need at this point of time…at times, I feel I just letting my life drift away, and have this urgency to sort out things within myself and then at times, I feel life's gonna take me where it has to go, so there is no point in fighting it, let's just go with the flow. I guess too much thinking has really cluttered my mind, too much thinking about things that don't matter any longer to the ones who matter to me. Anyway, got to board in next 15 minutes; am I leaving nothing behind or am I leaving everything that defines me, behind?

A Sort Of Homecoming

Finally, I wound up everything and in another 6 hours will be catching a one-way flight back to India. It's been more than 2 years since I came to this country, hoping for the best; but expecting the worst and I can say now, that expectations always win over hope. Almost everyone has told me that it's a "bold/strong" decision or that I've lost my mind and other blahs but I don't really care: what's a rhyme or a reason; to a fool or a dreamer? I still haven't really figured out what I want to do once I go back, since I am going to be "jobless" and have no inclination as of now to find a new job in India, I know I need to think about something soon, you just can't sit at home and do nothing, when you are not sitting pretty on 1 million dollars in your bank account. Anyway, I remember somebody telling that I should save 5 grands and I made sure that in these two years I do save that, never interested me anyway; perhaps, it has something to do with having Neptune in the second house in my birth chart! Lot of people also asked me, how do I feel about it? Honestly, I don't feel anything, maybe; the feeling is yet to sink in or maybe; I have spent so much of feelings/energies in the past; that I have run out of them. Will I ever return back? I will return no more; I will take my heart and let it fly....but then, if "somebody" needs me; I am with her, for her, always....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

flickr & Popfly

I played a little with popfly to create a carousel stack of my images based on tag(s) from flickr, and well, had quite a few issues...firstly, the built in flickr block doesn't allow returning user images based on tag, so I ripped the flickr block and created mine. Had some issues with the block not allowing me to enter the flickr key for this block, so I hard-coded the key in the js file itself! The other thing is you can't pass querystrings to your mashup; so there is no way you can customize the mashup at runtime (well, in a way you can by using the user-input block; but that doesn't solve my problem). Anyway, creating the mashup was really straight-forward and given that popfly is in early alpha stages, I guess it will only get better.

Update 6/12: Played around with popfly a bit more and learnt quite a few things, which you might want to know:

  • There is no way to pass querystring parameters to a mashup currently, this means that the mashup cannot be dynamic w.o. requiring user input: this will be implemented in next release.

  • Some blocks like Carousel and Photo Sphere have rendering issues in fx and don't display at all on that browser: again something which will be fixed in next release

  • You cannot really "rip" a block which requires a developer key and extend it, or more generically, you cannot create a block which requires a developer key unless you are willing to hard-code your key in the javascript itself.

Here's the link to the mashup.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Weather update

Since past 3 years; I'd been thinking that one day I will write a post titled above, it's just that this post is going to be very different than what I'd hoped for then. Well, so the weather update is that I quit my job today; I had already decided and given hints on that couple of weeks back and this morning; I officially resigned. Now, that means I am going to be jobless as I don't have any other job opportunity; in fact I wasn't even looking for a new job. I have been feeling so burned out and run over that I think this break is something that I really need. These 3 years have left me emotionally and mentally drained off; where now; I don't have any motivation to achieve anything with my life. So, where I am headed? I wish I had the answer to such questions; there are few things that I always wished I could do; but responsibilities and living on the "materialistic" plane made sure that I was always skeptical to try them out. Now that I have nothing (left) to lose, I should very well give them a full go. Firstly, I have to write the book I promised Chhavi that I'll write, long time back: the book on us and our relationship. I don't know how many people will be interested in reading such a book; well; I don't even know whether she'll be interested in reading it now but I am still going to write it for whatever it's worth. Secondly, we always wanted to open a charitable organization for homeless children; I need to figure out the logistics for opening one: I know it's not easy to do fund-raising and sustaining such a organization but at least I can give it my best.
When I look back at the last 3 years that I've spent of my life; I have no regrets that I tried so much; that I spent all my energy on just one person; in having her back in my life; she deserved every little thing that I did for her if not more. Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamed about having that one person in my life; who understood what it means to be me; for whom I didn't have to change myself, in front of whom; I was equally comfortable laughing and crying. One person, in whom I saw a part of me: a part of me that was always missing in my life, a part which made me complete. I don't care who was right or wrong, in a relationship it doesn't matter who was right; it's just whether you're together or not; whether you get to share your dreams and pains with each other or not. I know all through my life, she will be the missing bit in me; a part which will again make me whole but then somethings are not meant to be...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lightbox and google maps

I've been very infrequent in updating my Google Maps prototype; had been thinking of improving the image transitions that I use on the slideshow for a long time, but lack of motivation ensured that I only updated it last weekend. Rather than writing something on my own, I updated the Phatfusion's version of slimbox to play well with my code. Next set of "upgrade" includes, adding a location search box and restoring the randomness of flickr images. In case you are interested with how the prototype was implemented, most of the grunt work is done in two js files: functions.js and images.js; & I guess they are easy enough to follow; the only server side code is for MapPoint and wrappers around flickr and fotolia to avoid xss issues.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Y! Mail

In my last post, I mentioned how spam is ending up in my Y! Inbox and though; no matter how much it sucks; I prefer that over false positives (where legit mails end up in your bulk folder). Well, just couple of days back; I had a legit mail delivered to my Bulk Folder and today, somebody told me that he didn't reply back to my mail earlier because it was delivered to his bulk folder! Now, this is something which is completely unacceptable (yes, I know I get what I pay for but remember, free email is a very competitive area with gmail, aol, live mail and yahoo! fighting it out); it's unacceptable because it creates doubt in the mind of sender; I don't know for sure whether the mail that I just sent will be delivered to the recipient where he has a chance to read it. Remember, mails delivered to bulk folder don't bounce back to the sender; so there is no way for sender to know what happened to his mail once he hits the "send" button; and I am not going to call every person whom I mailed asking for an ACK (well, that very much defeats the purpose of emails anyway). Maybe, I am tech-savvy enough not to rely on Yahoo! Spam filters and check my bulk folder regularly; but how many of my recipients check their bulk folders? So, one thing's for sure, every time I send an email, I would always wonder; did it get to the recipient? A not so pleasant situation to be in! Yahoo, please get your act together, you've been my primary email provider for last 12 years and I don't want to change that!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Liar! Liar!

Disclaimer: This post is another one about life and the way we live it and there is tons of unstrung thoughts of asymptotic nature. If you're not interested in reading philosophical musings of a 29 year old, you might want to stop reading now.

There are so many times when we lie about something, either we lie to somebody or unfortunately, we lie to ourselves. The lies could be as small as lying to our parents about how the toy was broken when we were kids or as profound as lying to make someone else's day; and then there are lies; which we tell ourselves; so that we can convince ourselves that the decision that we don't want to make but have to make; is what makes sense. We come up with so many "practical reasons" just to convince ourselves, even though those "practical reasons" don't actually mean anything to us; we try to validate our new found "practical reasoning" abilities by throwing our reasons at different people; where all the while we are only interested in finding one listener, who tells us that no your "reasons" don't make any sense; then we can do what we really wanted to do, deep inside. Sometimes, we lie to others about why we took a particular decision, we again come up with those "practical reasons" which don't mean anything to us; so that people cannot find "flaws" with our decisions cause we know that they can't understand what it means to be us.

Y! Mail Spam

I am just about done with the amount of spams that is slipping through the Y! Mail Spam System. I get around 5-6 spams in my Inbox every day (given that I only get about 10 mails in a day, the signal to noise ratio is really poor), I do agree that this is a lot better than what used to happen with Y! Mail earlier; when even legit emails would end up in Bulk folder but still Yahoo! needs to get its act together. I don't want to win Million Dollar lotteries every day!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Smoking kills...

Whenever someone asks me why don't I quit smoking, I just tell them:

Once upon a time; I had a reason to smoke,
today; I don't have a reason to quit.

Past perfect, future tense

Almost everyone knows how much I love The Moody Blues; and when someone told me that they will be touring in July; they expected it's one show that I won't miss. The fact is; Moody Blues is a band, I won't even mind traveling miles; just to see them live. But then I said no; I've come to realize that in life it's not the activity that matters but the person who you can share it with; that matters. Once upon a time, I would just be at home and talk on phone for hours and still find that life is so beautiful and now even doing things that I "love" doesn't get me involved. Sometimes, I wonder can people really forget their past; a past that they only created, a past that was so beautiful; if they can; then why can't I? If no, then why do they pretend that there is no one they left behind? Someone; who you would like to share all the beautiful moments of your life with, wasn't it the same "someone"; who made the life beautiful at first place? Perhaps, I'm too old to search for answers to such jigsaw puzzles of life...and yes, I will never see Moody Blues live ever.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some hard to find 80s numbers

I recently stumbled upon "Shadows In The Night" by Kay Franzes; a song which I have quite vivid memories of: it was aired on a show called "Eurotops - Musikladen", a show that I would religiously watch when I was a kid. Listening to this song reminded me of those other ones that I would love to have:

* Never Ending Love by Cartoon (I do have this in a very crappy recording)
* Hold You by Zig Zag (crappy recording)
* Helen In Your Headphones by The Dots (I want this song badly!)
* Walking On Ice by Lisa Nemzo (I actually traded quite a few emails with her for this song; but somehow it didn't work out).
* Rock Me Baby by Johnny Nash(?)
* Time To Fly (sing my song) by Kenny Masters (again in very crappy recording)
* Say you will, say you will be mine (no not the one by Foreigner: this one is actually not from Eurotops: I had it in one of the recorded cassettes that my brother's friend gifted to him).

Does anyone have any pointers to any of these songs? online streams, mp3s, iTunes, Zune Marketplace anything would do!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Today, I lost something which was perhaps my most prized possession: something that I had savored for last 3 years; something which though small meant a world to me, it's just the small things in life that make the big difference.

Ignorance is bliss

Couple of years back, I was oblivious to what was happening in "outside" world; I was just completely happy with being in my private universe, in my own beautiful world. Things changed, the private universe disappeared and I was left with spending all my time reading "news" from the outside world. There are quite a few feeds on my BlogLines and I would read most of them everyday but then I got tired; life was so enriching even without having to read what was happening around, and off-late I've decided that I'll only read Bloglines every alternate day and not to read it altogether when I am at home: spending so much time online hasn't been very kind on my back and hasn't helped me in making my life any better anyway. Sometimes, I feel ignorance is indeed bliss! Isn't that what we do in our lives every time? We turn our backs to our past as if there's nothing that we left behind; as if the dreams that we dreamed then; don't mean anything any longer to if we didn't leave any one behind alone, whom we wanted to be with; all through our lives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Yahoo: Review

I have been using the new My Yahoo since few days now, and as I said in my last post I'm quite impressed by the overall redesign effort. There are few things that I wish were implemented though:
  1. The Mail widget is a nice way of getting previews of your latest mails but surprisingly lacks a "Compose" link (even more surprising cause Yahoo! does have a shortcut for that), that way I don't have to click on "Mail Preview" to first go to my mail inbox and then click on Compose.
  2. The individual mail previews within the widget should also have a delete icon: given that these days I get more spam in my inbox than legit emails (which by the way is better than getting all legit mails delivered to the Junk folder: the issue that I earlier had with my Y! Mail).
  3. Perhaps mail previews should also have some kinda "Quick Reply" which pops up a div with a text area from where I can send a quick & short reply (honestly I haven't sent anyone a long reply since ages).
  4. The individual widgets need to have a refresh link so that I can just refresh one feed rather than having to refresh the entire My Y!
  5. Provide a keyboard shortcut for adding a RSS by URL and make it more prominent, right now it's buried deep inside some Advanced Settings: it took me a while finding that one.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Faces in Picasso's notebook

Most of the people who know me, know that I love photography. Once upon a time I had a use-n-throw camera, then a Pentax roll camera and now a Canon A95. Everyone asks me that if I love photography so much, why don't I get myself a DSLR and I always have one answer: I don't have a subject worthy enough a DSLR (...and when I had one, I coudn't afford the camera).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Time traveller

4 years back on this day, being in a train on a 36 hour long journey to meet someone for the first time after 13 years, so many thoughts pass through your mind: what if it doesn't work out right; what if we don't even know what to talk about. Then the moment finally arrives; and you are standing in front of each other, seeing the other person in flesh, someone to whom you've talked over the phone for about a month before this day and you finally let the feeling sink in and realize it''s kind of different, different in a good way. You talk, you laugh together, you share things you'd been doing over the last 13 years and try to hold on to the moment before they slip away from you again....4 years later....only two words: Happy Birthday!

My Yahoo! makeover

It's been more than 5 years since I've been using My! Yahoo as my home page; so it is nice to know that they finally did some makeover. So what did I do? well, I played around with it for sometime and it sure is way better than its previous incarnation. The mail preview is there ala Google Home page, the RSS posts can be read in-place (I still prefer something like bloglines over Google/Yahoo/Live Home Page as in case of start pages, you have to click on individual posts to read their summary/text; unlike the real RSS aggregators where you can read all the posts in one go without having to click many times). The interface is slick, fast, with tooltip previews to get quick summary about a post and integration with Yahoo! Reader.

All in all, quite impressed with the end (beta) product, and in case you're wondering how it is different from Google Home page or, well; it's not different from either of them though eye candy wise I'd rate: My Yahoo!, then and then Google Home page.

PS: The screen clippings were taken using Office One Note (even though Vista has a built in Screen Clipper), something that I'm really impressed with.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007


I just feel like writing something; so this post is not going to make any sense...just like all other posts on this blog...

Sometimes we find it so hard to convince ourselves that we're done, we're done trying, done hanging on, done waiting for things to happen; no, the things we've been waiting for; still mean a world to us, it's just that we accept that we can't do anything to change the way life is just one manifestation out of the infinite possibilities; and most of the times it's not us who choose the outcome. That also reminds me about us and our free will, yes; we absolutely have free will: it's akin to: "you can choose any color (manifestation) as long as it is black (outcome)."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes

I'd been using feeds to get one consolidated feed for slashdot, digg and popular bookmarks, one of the main usp of feeds being direct link for digg stories instead of the landing page of digg (I'd consider digg's page to be a landing page given the very poor signal to noise ratio of the comments on digg). But since all good things must come to an end, decided to drop direct links and started using digg's landing page as RSS url. I couldn't find anything on their site which suggested this change and I hope it's something temporary. Anyway, now that feed is broken, and that I hate subscribing to digg's own feed, I searched for a feed which would provide a digg feed with direct links, a simple google search and I found a customized feed for digg with direct links to the story dugg. Using Yahoo! Pipes, combining the three feeds to get functionality was easy, all I had to use was the union and the sort operator.

The big small thing...

Last weekend on my way back from Long Island, the TSA agent asked me to throw away all the liquid that was carrying in my carry-on (quite crazy as nobody asked me anything on my way to Long Island), which included one more than half empty Adidas perfume and another small Vaseline moisturizer. I didn't care about the perfume but I felt kind of sad that I had to let go of the moisturizer bottle (not the moisturizer), it was the bottle that had been with me for more than 4 years, I'd always fill it and carry it with me on short trips and though quite silly, I'd become attached to it. I tried my best trying to convince the TSA agents so that I don't have to throw it away but then I let it go. I felt strange inside, as if the bottle meant a world to me, there are so many small things that make such a big difference in our lives, we wait for big things to happen though it's the things that we do everyday and the small but precious (at least to us) things that happen around us that make all the difference.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Piping the output to a variable in cmd

Some time back I had written that in Batch Files on XP there is no way to assign a variable to the output of some program/batch file, I was incorrect...there is a very convoluted way of doing it using FOR.
Let's say we want to get the names of all services hosted by svchost which has a memory usage of more than some MB:

FOR /F "tokens=*" %i IN ('tasklist /nh /FI "Memusage ge 10000"^|gawk "/svchost.exe/ {print $2}"') DO @echo %i| tasklist /nh /SVC /FI "PID eq %i"

The pipe needs to be escaped by ^; tokens=* means get the entire line and gawk is from unxutils. Before you start thinking how cool this particular example is or how dumb I am, you might want to know that this could have been achieved by just using one command (the example was just to show that you can pipe an output to a variable):

tasklist /SVC /FI "Memusage ge 10000"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The theory of reincarnation

Preamble: Most of this post is from the comments that I wrote on Sumit's review on the book "Coming Back: The Science of Reincarnation". Since, I kind of liked the comments that I wrote, I decided to string them together as a post.

The question that I asked was how do you define reincarnation, if soul and mind are indestructible, how can they be reincarnated (be born again)? Isn’t time and our three-dimensional linear perception of time (present, past and future) an illusion? Since there is no way to differentiate "past life (lives)" and "future life" without having a reference point of time to begin with, doesn’t the theory of reincarnation itself stand moot? Classical science is all about experimentation and observation in the space-time continuum and hence it can't explain something that is not bound by that. Re-incarnation or for that matter most of meta physics operate on the ketheric plane (a.k.a. the sahasrara/crown chakra or the higher mind) which is outside the physical body. The only thing that is destroyed with our linear perception of time is the physical plane that we live in(or the chakras that operate within our body), the point of reincarnation doesn’t even arise; you can’t reincarnate something which was never destroyed to begin with.

So then what is reincarnation? Reincarnation is the manifestation of the higher mind by (re)connecting with the lower mind (physical plane). Actually, the connection always happens the other way round, the lower mind has to (re)connect with the higher mind.
Reincarnation (based on above definition) in some form or the other does happen and we all go through it (it’s just that most of us don’t experience it as we are disconnected from our higher mind). Our life learnings (we are all here to learn) can be broken into two categories: 1) Growth, 2) Evolution.
We grow by learning something new everyday or learning the same thing in a new way, this learning lasts a lifetime and is associated with lower mind. But then, there are certain pieces of puzzle that we just can’t solve no matter how much we try, dots that we just can’t connect, wounds that we just can’t heal, this is the learning process of our higher mind and this is how our higher mind evolves and since the higher mind is not bound by space-time, it can obviously span lifetimes.

Trivia: astrologically, the evolution process is associated with the Moon’s Node (Rahu and Ketu). Looking at the moon’s node placement (by house and by sign) one can find the lessons that we need to learn in this life-time...more on that later.

Monday, February 12, 2007

as the hair fell down...

You know that you've long hair when strangers start looking at your not-so-old pictures and comment that you don't look the same, this has happened to me twice recently: once I was told by my old Apartment manager when I'd managed to lock myself out and then by a TSA agent. I indeed have quite long hair these days, it's been more than a year since I got them chopped; I don't know why I have been growing them though, perhaps one more of the silly things that I do so often.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Vista Experience - II

[Contd from here...]The first thing that I noticed after installing Vista on my laptop was that it was hot (no, not Vista but the laptop), the hard disk seemed to always spin and a quick temperature check with SpeedFan showed my hard disk was running at around 55o C (generally hdds are rated to operate between 40-55 C). I checked with someone who has been running Vista on a "high-end" laptop and found out that his disk's temperature was around 43, so it was definitely something to do with my system, first I felt it was maybe due to the Search indexer trying to index the existing data (I had around 20 GB worth) or because the disk itself was brand new, anyway, since I had no inclination to either fry eggs on my laptop or fry my hard disk, I got myself a cooling pad and since then the temperature hovers around 43-47, which I guess is acceptable. Anyway, back to my impression of Vista, the UI is really polished even without the Aero interface, the new icons are a welcome change and quite a few small niceties thrown in here and there, looks like the attention was indeed on getting the small things right. Two big features touted in Vista (apart from the eye candy) are the Instant Search and the Side bar gadgets, honestly, I've never found any use for gadgets on desktops, how many times do you look at the desktop while you're at your system?
During XP days the only Konfabulator gadget (widget) that I would run was the "Calendar", since on Limited User Account the date time widget on XP doesn't even display the calendar, since, that's been done away with in Vista, the first thing that I did was turn off side bar and gadgets. Search is definitely good and quite responsive, though again I don't have much use for it, I tend to remember where I file stuff and generally find them without much hassle. Other things that have improved quite a bit are task manager, the ActiveSync (a.k.a. Mobile Sync center).

All hasn't been that rosy though with Vista for me, firstly the external hard disk enclosure that I got for my internal hard disk doesn't seem to work with Vista, it's detected but well no drive letters show up in explorer for the drive (it does work with XP still, I tried on some other system just to make sure that I didn't get the connector wrong again!). The other thing was after getting the cooling pad, I wanted to see how my hard disk behaves under process intensive applications, so I popped in a DVD of The Moody Blues, CyberLink PowerDVD auto-started and well, crashed with a very helpful OK button and no error message, tried playing the DVD in Win Media Player, and it refused to play the DVD suggesting that I reduce my system resolution and/or Color Depth, changing either of them didn't have any effect whatsoever: Media Player kept on refusing and PowerDVD kept on insisting that I decipher the error with just a OK button and no message (to be just to PowerDVD, the version that I was using was one which came with XP and was retained during the upgrade). Couple of google searches later, I figured out that Vista Business along with Home Basic don't come with DVD codecs (neither did any versions of XP for that matter), so that's my Media Player wasn't able to play the DVD (again the different error would have helped a lot) and CyberLink had released a Vista version of PowerDVD for which you are supposed to contact customer support, anyway, one good thing about Vista (and for that matter even XP) is they allow you to run misbehaving applications by running them under compatibility mode; just right click on the app, select compatibility tab and choose Run Under XP (SP 2) to run in compatibility mode, at least that fixed my PowerDVD and DVD played without any jitters after that.

Final words: Vista is a positive move forward by Microsoft and has some nice stuff; would I recommend buying a Vista off the shelf? no, I guess the best time to get Vista is when you're planning to buy a new system (or maybe if you have a relatively new system with good horse-power, you might want to wait for sometime and get a Vista upgrade after Vista SP1 is released), XP, even though not as polished as Vista gets the job done and I don't think it makes much sense to shell out some hard earned cash just to get bleeding/cutting edge technology, well that is, unless you're a hard core tech who loves playing with technology.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Vista Experience

I recently participated in the Microsoft's Viral Marketing campaign: Power Together, which got me a free DVD of Vista Business Edition. Honestly, I wouldn't have bought Vista and installed it on my system as I was quite happy with XP but given that I got the free DVD made me feel a lot more tempted, so I finally decided to install Vista as a weekend project. Unfortunately, my laptop was bought about 1.5 years back and came shipped with a 40 GB hard-disk and a built in (*gasp*) 32 MB ATI Radeon Graphic card (along with a 1 GB RAM and 1.8 Intel Dothan M Processor), given that Vista requires at least 128 MB of dedicated VRAM for its Aero interface, I had no choice but to live without it. The other issue that my laptop had was; I have a tri-partitioned (actually 4) hard disk with a dual boot between XP and Linux, with a 27 GB (about 6 GB free space) NTFS partition, a 6 GB EX3 partition and a 3 GB Fat32 Dell System Restore partition. Since Vista requires a minimum of 40 GB hard disk and 15 GB of free space for installation, I figured out I can't install Vista without upgrading my hard disk.
I searched around the net for some decent and *cheap* hard disks and finally settled on a 40 GB, 5400 RPM Samsung, since the biggest pain with upgrading your hard disks is having to re-install every program again on the new hard disk (and in my case even Linux), I felt the easiest that I could do would be to ghost my existing hard disk onto the new one and then do a upgrade on XP to Vista (even though every one whom I talked to suggested that a clean install is recommended, I just didn't have that much patience). I searched for some ghosting/cloning tools, I even created a wiki for changing the hard disk and cloning (update: links removed to the wiki; unfortunately the free wiki that I was using seems to have been deleted & the links were redirecting to a parked page), so that I don't miss any of the steps involved (different story I still missed one of the steps, more on that later). With the new hard disk and a USB enclosure in my hand, I started with the cloning business using Partition Magic, and after about 3 hours of frustration, I gave up on Partition Magic which for some reason would crash while trying to copy my ex3 partition with a very helpful error message: "#21, Invalid Handle or out of handles" (which is kinda ironic given that I'd created the ex3 partition using the same tool)! So, I only could copy my NTFS partition and expand it to 44 GB. Then, I used GParted's live CD to copy over my other 2 partitions and that went like a charm. I also, deleted my Dell's hidden partition and created a fresh 4 GB Fat32 partition so that I can use that to access files from both Vista and Linux. After the cloning was over, I swapped my hard disks, just took me around 5 minutes and I booted up my system, which gave me a message saying no bootable devices found. I thought that maybe copying over the hard disk doesn't copy the MBR, so I inserted the GParted to see whether that detects my new hard disk and well, neither did it...I take out the hard disk again, check the screws and put it back in bay and power it on again and well still no luck! Just then a thought struck me as to how dumb I'd been, I didn't remove the connector from my older hard disk and put it on the newer one (even though I've that step bolded!), put the connector on the new hard disk and booted again and viola it booted right into XP (which makes me believe that Partition Magic does some kinda jugglery and writes to the MBR if you're trying to clone a bootable partition).

Next step: I uninstalled the applications on my XP that are not compatible with Vista (Norton AV, Private Folder), pop in the Vista Install DVD and couple of hassle-less hours and reboots later I have the shiny new Vista (well again, without the Aero) installed. So definitely a plus point to Vista for having a near flawless install, I'll sum up my experience with the new OS in some other post but at least till date I've found Vista to be more responsive and faster on my laptop than XP.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

29 Day after

I'll turn 29 day after, well that means one more year left before I touch 30; the year at which I feel you can no longer call yourself young. Looking back at the last year, it was a forgettable year, maybe even more than 2005. I realize that I have lots of questions to answer to myself, lots of decisions to make (given the state of my current life I don't think there are too many choices when it comes to making decisions), off-late I've been letting my life drift away, allowing it to make all the decisions for me and I've been just meandering along. Sometimes the harder we try to hold on to something, the more it eludes us, it reminds me of that saying about trying to hold the sand in our palm; the tighter we close our fists, the more we try not letting it go, the more it slips through the cracks. Maybe, we are just not supposed to hold on to something as if it was ours, maybe we are not supposed to live our life knowing that there's always someone whom we can run to when we are feeling burnt out and outright dejected, maybe we are not supposed to take someone's material presence for granted, heck, we are not supposed to take anything for granted. Isn't life all about sharing? Isn't it all about sharing your ups and downs with someone who understands what it means to be you, and why you chose to be the person you are? Would you rather have someone with whom you can share your dreams with, someone who will put up with you and your eccentric ways and still love you or would you rather have all the riches and fame of the world? I know we draw people in our lives and at times when we need to learn something and they go away once our learning is complete, but what's the point of learning when you can't run to the person who taught you and tell them victoriously that you've learnt and learnt well? If you are reading this post and have someone who's been with you through your thick and thins, give them a hug and tell them how much it means to you to have them in your life, do it tonight cause tomorrow might just be too late.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Zune: A Review

Now that I've played around with Zune long enough, I think I can write about its virtues & vices quite confidently. While reading this please keep in mind that the review is written from my perspective, things that I *think* are must-haves for a PMP v/s things that I think are *nice-to-haves*. Anyway, without any further ado here it comes:

I don't care too much about how something is boxed, so I won't delve into that at all. The s/w installation was pretty much painless though I did find it rather weird that the first thing the installer did was to check for updates and download them! As a general rule of thumb if I get something new, I want to use it now (and I guess that's pretty much true for almost everyone), so having to wait till a 30MB something patch is downloaded is definitely not on. Zune doesn't have the shiny look like the iPod and looks a lot more retro, so if you really care about how your player looks like and that's the must-have for you, iPod is a better pick, I'm in no way implying that Zune looks ugly (even the brown one for that matter) but iPod with it's shiny metallic sheen wins over Zune in aesthetics and looks (when the players are switched off). Now comes the fun part, once you power on Zune, the large screen grows on you, and Zune comes with some pre-loaded indie content which you can play without having to sync' it to your system library. And that brings us to the most painful experience of mine with Zune but I guess I'd quite a uncommon setup: installation of Zune requires admin privileges (quite obvious) but I run my Windows under a Limited User Account, so to install Zune I had to login as an admin and during the process it asked me to connect the Zune and asked me some questions about setting up a MarketPlace (online store) account etc. Once the installation was complete and I logged in back as the normal user and plugged in Zune, it told me that I've already associated my player with another system (basically another user account on the same system) so I had two choices (if you can call them choices, btw, can you just have one choice?), either connect as a guest or remove the existing media from Zune and create a new partnership, since I had to create the new partnership, I deleted the existing media and in the process lost all the pre-loaded content. Now, to the synchronization bit: another one of my peculiar situation, I've a dual partitioned 40GB HDD on my system; so I only keep a subset of my music on the hard-disk, the rest is on my iRiver. I plugged in my iRiver and added the root folder(my iRiver is a UMS drive, which basically means it acts as an external drive when you plug it in) to my Zune library (which automatically picked *My Music* folder on my local disk); and any attempts to remove the local *My Music* folder from the library proved to be futile, Zune s/w would keep on adding the folder behind my back! The syncing was quite fast which you would expect given both of my external drives were connected via USB 2.0. So once the player was loaded with my library, I gave it a whirl and that's where Zune is at its best, playing media on the device. The screen is large and vibrant, the firmware pretty slick and responsive and quite crisp and loud music. I think the biggest usp for the Zune is its large display and the prominent album-art. Another nice-to-have is the built in FM receiver, I've read a lot of people online talking about who needs a FM anyway? well, maybe I'm from old school but barring the commercials; FM channels are generally nice way of discovering new music and the surprise element about which song's gonna be played next adds even more to the fun. The good bit about Zune FM receiver is it also displays the artist/song information that is being played (provided the channel is broadcasting those information) so you are not left wondering about the song that you just listened to. I can't write much about the video capabilities of the player as I haven't watched any video on it! Most of the videos are on my iRiver PMP which supports a much higher resolution than the iPod or the Zune and suppots xvid/divx codecs. The picture viewer is quite nice and it automatically flips the screen orienation to landscape giving you a bigger real-estate. By the way, MS touted wireless as their usp for Zune, if you're planning to get Zune because of its wireless capabilities don't even think about it, the wireless is useless in its current avatar and most probs you will turn it off permanently to save some battery juice. All in all, I guess Zune s/w has quite a few rough edges (minor quirks albeit sometimes frustrating ones) but the player is really nice! Accessories wise even though iPod has more partners than Zune, Zune almost has all the accessories you would really care about (for me the biggest pet peeve with my iRiver was the lack of a wireless remote!)
So would I recommend Zune to someone over iPod? Well, if I am not desperate to get a media player I would rather wait for Zune 2.0 or the next-gen (touch?) iPod. Zune also lacks quite a few additional frills that are part of iPod (which don't matter to me) like a clock, a contact list, an alarm and direct podcast support (if you're into podcasting you can try the freebie called FeedYourZune) etc etc., in its current state Zune does best at what it is supposed to do: playing media (audio, FM).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Popping the first line from a file

Another trivial issue, how do you remove the first line (pop) of a file and read it's contents in a variable. Here's what I did:

head -1 somefile > sometempfile
set /p var=<sometempfile
echo %var%
tail +2 somefile > sometempfile
mv -f sometempfile somefile

I could have also used sed instead of head & tail, it would have been something like:

sed -n "1,1p" somefile (instead of head -1)
sed "1,1d" somefile > somotherfile (instead of tail +2)

The temporary file is required in XP for setting the variable value, cause XP batch files don't allow setting the variable to the output of another command, which is kind of lame!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Getting contents of a file till some text

Some time back, I wanted to parse a web page to get some images from it (as part of my album art fixer), instead of writing a full blown c# application for it I decided I'll use do some QnD hack using linux shell commands (I use unxutils on windows). Retrieving the web page was easy using wget, I'd already done it for retrieving "A Brief History on Time". The problem was that I was only interested in parsing the file till some particular text, i.e. I wanted to ignore nearly half of the file. I tried sed but couldn't find anything working, so ended up doing it the long way by using grep, cut and head, something like:

set var=
fgrep -i -n "ignore from here onwards" file.htm | cut -d: -f1 > rm.txt
set /p var=<rm.txt
head -%var% file.htm

Does anyone know of a better way of doing this?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Once upon a time...time-line tags

From the desk of "Because I have nothing better to do".

Another one of the mindless exercise that I did last night...I recently was reading on /. about the Microsoft-Speak time-line over last 30 years, in a nutshell it uses a php script tagline which generates a chronological tag-cloud of the words and helps you visualize the change in priorities/feelings as you grow and evolve. Well, I just thought off running it on my blogs to see which words I've used a lot over the time (it's been nearly 3 years since I've been blogging and though I'm quite irregular at updating the blog, I still have managed to do 100+ posts) and which words have dropped off. The only requirement for the tagline generator is that you need to organize your data in a xml format and feed it to the php file which does all the grunt work for you. To get the data in the required format, I first used Blogger Backup to get the local copy of my posts, then I wrote a QnD C# app which stripped the escaped html entities like < etc and collated all the posts into the required xml file. I generated tagline first by post and then one by month where I clubbed all the posts for a given month. I found it quite interesting to notice that in the beginning of my blogging most of my posts touched upon my personal life, sometime mid last year I started ranting a lot more about technology (check the words with large fonts) and from late last year I've once again started blogging about my personal experiences more often, anyway, without further ado here's how the time-line tag cloud looks for my blog:
  1. Per Post
  2. Monthly

Monday, January 01, 2007

Updated Blogroll

Here's the updated blogroll, ideally I should have it somewhere on the side-bar but the template that I use doesn't provide that much real-estate. I'll see if I can pin this post somewhere in the side bar. There are quite a few feeds that I don't read that often including BBC World News, Dilbert and Scoble Shared Items but they are there in case I've nothing better to do.