Monday, March 27, 2006

Impetus n Concepts: Judging Projects @ Alma mater

This week was pretty eventful, had an opportunity to go to my Alma Mater. It was so much fun, the instant I touched the gates of my alma mater, I got nostalgic. I reminisced myself carrying drafter in first year, getting bored to death during electronics lectures (2nd year), having ball in microprocessors lab (3rd year), and not to forget the endless slogging nights in the lab to get the final year project working. All this came flashing in just an instant, and overwhelming feeling of belonging engulfed me. Also met the great person who's instrumental in helping me develop uncanny liking for microprocessors and assembly programming, Joglekar Sir. Glad he still remembers me and my buddy, Arun.

I was invited there to judge the projects at the most revered event @ PICT: Impetus & Concepts. Students from all over India are invited to participate in this event. This is one of the best times when students get an opportunity to showcase their abilities and talents. It is also the GREATEST chance for companies looking for hiring people with specific skill sets. I myself got a good job offer from my first employer after my group won the first prize sponsored by the same company. I make it a point to visit this exhibition every year without fail, and for past 2 years I've been invited to judge the projects. I never miss this opportunity which makes me feel 'I want to learn more'.

It's so much fun and exciting to see what students can do. The reason to go there is try and give something back to your college, and at the same time learn about new technologies and concepts. After judging allotted projects (on Wednesday and Saturday) I spent all the time looking and understanding other projects. Though drained at the end of the day, I was feeling very ecstatic.

I recommend that everyone should go and have a look at few projects during this event, you will be flooded with wild ideas and imagination. You will realize true meaning of the phrase: 'You never know enough'.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bram Moolenaar @ Google!

Usually I don't post news, but bieing an ardent lover of VIM and religiously following 'no vim no programming', here's the latest for the author of vim...
Googles hires Vim author!

I don't know how to take this news, but I still expect vim to remain the best programmer's editor!

(P.S. Thought it 's worth mentioning that this is not the Vim Washing Bar that you use at home to wash your utensils!!!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Weekend Update

Well, last week was fun, for most part of it!

Started with Wed 0.00 hrs, our group went to buddy's house to wish him Happy Birthday. It was a pleasant surprise for him. I had taken my handycam and managed to record every moment out there. It's sooooo much fun to watch it over and over again! The birthday boy was a little shy in front of the camera, and it only that thrilled me even more to shoot him. After blowing the candles, we bathed him in cake and cream! After eating some (which we managed to salvage) we headed home.

Come morning and my mates insisted that I come downstairs and play holi. Incessant calls with my bro constantly pusuing me to play, I still refused to budge. My mom stepped in and switched off my PC, point blank!!! I conceded and thought of going to play holi.

I used to play holi like a maniac when I was a kid and used to stay in mumbai. Ever since I have come to Pune, I only played holi once in hostel, and that was 6+ years back! Seeing me downstairs, everyone was thrilled and I felt very nice.

Colours, water filled balloons, mud, water... everything just kept flying, hitting me once in a while! Since we were to play only with colors provided by our society cultural committee, I wasn't worried about allergic reactions. But the greatest fun was playing in mud. We created a BIG puddle and every once a while we dragged someone in (me included) and poured a bucketful of mud mixed with water!!! It was so much fun that I vouched I would never ever miss playing holi in future.

Though physically exhausted at the end, I was mentally rejuvenated. Thanks to my Mom, bro and mates who were adamant that I should play!

Sunday, of course, football. Then I went to a small lunch party at my mate's place (Boney). His mom is an excellent cook and his lunch box is always the central topic of discussion in lunch room at office. Boney's mom was more than a warm host.

We had Pasta, Singaporean noodles, some Bengali dessert, roti, vegetables and some snacks. What's so special about her cooking is that she manages to cook everything with absolutely no or little, without compromising on food quality and taste. And this was the primary reason this party was organized. Female colleagues were eager to learn the technique (though, only one of them managed turned up in time!!!). I can't forget the taste!!!

Post lunch, we played carrom. Everyone of us out there were playing after LONG time and so everyone's unique style (read mistakes) entertained us throughout the game. We kept cheering and commenting at the top of our voices, as if there's no tomorrow!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lord of War: Movie Review

Lord of War: Some time back I managed to watch this fantastic movie. And was just thrilled! This is not like most Hollywood flick with lots of actions or chicks. It's a completely out-of-the-band movie, very unconventional. And only a handful few would like and would be able to appreciate it.

The screen is completely ruled by Nicholas Cage. With movies like Con Air, Face Off & National Treasure under his belt, it shouldn't be surprising that his acting and cast is par excellence in this movie as well.

Based on actual events, this is an ordeal that Uri Orlov (Nicholas), a Soviet immigrant, goes through to become the most dreaded arms dealer. Starting off small, he eventually starts selling off stockpiled arsenal of post-Cold War Ukraine to many, but most notably to the eternally sadistic African dictator: Andre. While on business tour, he falls in love with beautiful women: Ava Fontaine (Bridget Moynahan), whose heart he eventually wins & marries her.

Uri starts living a good citizen, moving away from his dreaded business of arms smuggling. Everything is perfect in his world...

But past has returned to haunt him: Andre! Problems compound when his brother (also his partner) gets addicted to cocaine.

This riveting journey through 3 decades of global carnage, you are mesmerised by Nicholas' magnetism which gradually changes polarity. By the end of movie, you find yourself in ruthless moral dilemma, at one point you really go mad seeing how circumstances force you into something you don't want to go into!!! To top it off all, constantly running commentary plays a magnificent role in making move more fun and filling in all gaps that action/dialogues can't.
I rate it at 8/10.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I had a whining baby... I got her silenced!

But not anymore!!!
My baby had been whining incessantly for past 3+ months. Initially I shrugged her off thinking it's a transient problem, maybe it's coming from harddisk (HDD). But the sheer thought of HDD giving out such an audible noise sent chills through my spine. Since I was too much bogged down by workload I thought to let it go. But soon it became real PITA, I couldn't switch her ON when anyone's sleeping in the room! If you have ever heard Dell/Cisco switches in your IT department or hundreds of PC running in a server farm, you will understand pain I'm talking about. After much deliberation, I called up my dealer and explained him my grave situation. He insisted that it cannot come from HDD, it must be fan and added that he would send his engineeer to look over.

I knew modern HDDs have a S.M.A.R.T. technology built in them: Self-Monitoring Analysis & Reporting Technology. Thanks to numerous harddisk and laptop reviews, I knew they use HDTune to measure performance and benchmark drives. I gave it a look and found it does read HDD's SMART report and present it in human readable form. Phew! Only I know how relieved I was when HDTune reported that my HDD was in good health. It was only then it occured to me that I should look at fan! How the bloody hell I ruled out fan noise to start with??? Fan noise, the *most* frequently discussed topics in notebooks community, is usually unheard of in the PC world.

The hunt for good utility to find/tweak fan speed ended in SpeedFan. All processors provide information about it's temperature, volatages, etc., and additional instrumentaion on mobo gives information about ambient temperature and fan speeds. Whenever the sound was too loud, I noticed that fan spun at very high speeds, reaching 5000 rpm at times. Though I didn't know normal operating rpm, I was convinced that fan's spinning at unusually high speeds and is the culprit!

Instead of calling the engineer home, I hand carried the PC to my dealer. After looking at the problem, he said that he would order a replacement processor, because fan alone is not available. Thanks to his keen observation, when he was unmounting the heatsink, he noticed that there's a *thick* layer of dust between Fan and the heatsink. All pieces immediately fell in place in my head. The thick layer insulated the heatsink, and also sheilded it from fan's blow, forcing fan to spin at unusually high speeds to shove heat off the processor! He cleaned it and BINGO! My baby was silent as never before!!! I ran SpeedFan and confirmed that even under 70% CPU load, fan never crossed 2900 rpm mark! I then wanted my PC's front panel USB & mic/headphone jacks working. That too were resolved (problem: wrong connections on mobo!!!). The complete ordeal took well over 3 odd hours!

My happiness knew no bounds, as I can now switch my baby and talk to her without disturbing anyone in my room :-)