Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Absolutely random thoughts

Some mine, some that of others...
Read at your own risk, I'm not responsible if you are lost in potpourri of thoughts... And feel free to share yours.
  1. Whenever I see the light at the end of tunnel, I just fear it's someone with a torch bringing me more work
  2. If it's not broken, you probably didn't build it right!
  3. It doesn't matter how bad your performance is, What matters is whether your boss likes you or not!
  4. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished
  5. Software people would never drive to the office if building engineers and automotive engineers were as cavalier about buildings and autos as the software "engineer" is about his software. -Henry Baker
  6. Good algorithms should be like bikinis... It should save people a lot of guesswork
  7. I hate deadlines to the CORE! Because it's not the end result that I'm interested in, it's the journey that's more exciting to me! That's where the learning happens
  8. There's no such thing as watching too much movie, nor drinking too much tea and playing too much football!
  9. Just say NO!
  10. There's a HUGE difference between coding & programming
  11. What matters is how you show HOW MUCH work you have done, and not the actual work done
  12. If there are 2 ways to solve a problem, only the third one will work
  13. Cricket sucks, and so does Indian cricket team
  14. Football is my ultimate saviour
  15. Real programmers code in vi
  16. If you want to get some work done, the company network is always down
  17. There's no such thing as a Stupid Question
  18. You will always get called from office when you least want it to happen
  19. I'm very optimistic about my pessimism
  20. You only see what you want to see
  21. Believe your instincts, it's far superior than a conditioned intellect!
  22. Everyone who doesn't agree with me is my friend
  23. No good deed goes unpunished (link)
  24. I love Huffman Coding
  25. Smile can work wonders (link)
  26. I need a break (read this loud, a 101 times!)

Those who think I've gone nuts a%%%%%%%%
Segmentation Fault! Core dumped

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Movie Review: 300

300 is the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army, brought to LIFE: Prepare for Glory!

What impressed me the MOST is that almost everything is polished and finished to perfection. Every finer of the nuances, be it expression, dialogue, war scene, or costume, it has been meticulously attended to. Visual effect is just toooooo good. The confidence shown by the Spartans as protrayed in the movie will definitely have a positive impression on you even while you are walking out of the theatres! And not to forget the examplary leadership but Leonidas and loyalty of his armymen.

Xerxes' Persian army has extraordinary force comprised of physical oddities, brute strength, wild African animals, magic practitioners, and his elite guard, called the Immortals. Featuring some of the best battle scenes ever, mere 300 Spartans fight'em all, proving to be the most formidable fighting force known to man. Forming an impregnable phalanx – where each warrior's shield protects the man next to them – the Spartans live by the code of no retreat, no surrender. And they sure don't take any prisoners when it comes to awarding out the punishment!

And yes, it's WORTH watching in theatre, on your small computer/TV screen, sans surround sound system, you will miss the whole essence of special effects. At least I didn't regret watching it, esp. when I predicted some time back that this is one of the movies to look up to as a great entertainer! And oh, I missed Deja Vu & Blood Diamond already. But thanks to holiday last Monday, I could catch up with 300.

Worth a watch for any FX-fanatic and even war-movie fanatic alike.
My rating: 9/10

Note: For people who say the movie is very gory, please have a glimpse at Apocalypto!!! It's just disgusting :-( I could barely watch through the end! But 300 is differnt. Some scenes do have graphic dimemberments of body parts and blood spurting, but it's a part of any war movie and it won't hit you too hard. But do consider it, if you are a little faint hearted!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Regatta at COEP boatclub

Staying for about a decade in Pune, I hated to say that I didn't watch Regatta yet!!! A spectacular performance of boats at COEP's boat club! But not anymore! For last weekend, I just washed myself off that guilt:
79th Regatta at COPE's boat club.

While the show was wonderful, individuals showcasing their prowess at skillful handling of difficult and clumsy looking boats, there were 2 things that just overshadowed all the joy I derived there.

1. The organization was pathetic. The sitting arrangements were not well constructed. The temporary sitting arrangements that were built were of pathetically poor quality. At least 2 of the planks broke off, forcing spectators to vacate their seats :-( Maybe they could do away with little better quality Civil Enggs :-) And not to mention that by the time the show was over (after what I would call 5 gruelling hours!) my butt was aching like anything, and had to stand for few minutes before I could regain full control of my lower body muscles!!!

2. More serious of the flaws was the agenda of the program. The time gap between 2 performances was frustratingly high!!! As high as 20 minutes for 2 events of 5 minutes each!!! That was single most thing that spoiled the whole fun of watching Regatta!

Besides, the water is hopelessly filthy! When the water splashes off the frenzied motion of oars, all you see is algae!!! Yes, the color of water is completely green!!! My buddy says you have to give a swimming test before you can participate in Regatta, I wonder how they manage to take a dip in such dirty water! Please COEPians, see if you can do something and clean up that lake!

But whatever I suffered, I really liked the performances. The guys and gals out there must have really slogged hard to strive for perfection. My personal favourite is manoeuvring the most difficult, Kayaks!

There are some videos that you can see. But sadly, all are poorly shot and leaves you with a desire of seeing more. None are complete and as a collection they don't cover all performances. Leaving out the most exciting ones :-( Here's that sad page, nonetheless: http://www.coep.org.in/regatta07/downloads.html

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Movie Review Operation Takedown: Kevin Mitnick

I had gotten my hands on this movie sometime back, but it wasn't until this weekend that I actually got a chance to see it! And I saw it twice in a row!!!

If you read or have read about cybersecurity, you must have heard of this hacker (turned cracker) Kevin Mitnick. He was known to be the MOST wanted FBI cyber criminal. Now whether he really was a cracker or a hacker (if you understand the difference between the two & give a damn about it, I personally do) is really debatable. Some say he was a hacker whose image was tarnished as a bad guy, cracker, by the New York Times writer John Markoff. I haven't studied this eposide enough, so don't have a personal opinion yet. But there are many books and documentaries towards that end. This movie in particular portrays him as a cracker, which is based on book by same title: Takedown (by Tsutomu Shimomura John Markoff).

Some research revealed book venturing on the Mitnick's side of the world as well. This is a brilliant look at a compelling individual and also the manufacturing of media events and the inept efforts of law enforcement to prepare for the next wave of high-tech crime.
The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick
The Cyberthief and The Samurai
Freedom Downtime: a feature length documentary on Kevin

Takedown is really gripping from start to the end, and all the whole of cast is amazing, my personal favourite is obviously, Kevin Mitnick in the movie.

Mitnick, now, is no more chased by feds, he has his own security consulting firm: Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.

Now I'll go to a bookstore the first thing this weekend and buy some of these books!

If you have read any of these, please be generous to share your reviews & opinions.

Additional resources for the curious souls:
1. http://www.takedown.com/coverage/own-web.html
2. http://www.takedown.com/bio/index.html#Kevin
3. http://www.mitnicksecurity.com/
4. http://www.eweek.com/slideshow_viewer/0,1205,l=&s=25956&a=188213&po=1,00.asp
5. http://www.takedown.com/
6. http://imdb.com/title/tt0159784/

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Holi: The festival of hundred colours!

It was only last year, after almost 4-5 years, on insistence of my family and friends that I played holi, the Festival of Colours (which takes place on Phalgun Purnima or Pooranmashi, Full Moon). This year too, friends were insistent that I come over and play. This time it was on Sunday! In the morning I had an amazing football session, and it was SO much more fun as last week I couldn't go for the game. Missing 1 week implies 14 days without football!!! And that's REAL bad, for me. I was not very eager to play holi after tiresome game. But as soon as I returned from the game, I changed and ran downstairs to celebrate.

It was real fun: all organic colours, and mud!!! Nothing that's too harsh on your skins. We had made a nice BIG puddle in the lawn where everyone had to pay a visit, either by choice or get forcefully dragged. Once you are made to lie down in there, you are expected to be there till people splash mud and colours on you to their heart's content. Should you get up before that, you are forced down again!!! And you have to have multiple rounds of this kind :-)

With loud music playing, tea, thandai and chocolates served, the environment was really charged up in the society lawn. After the holi session, all of us retired to have a bath (and wash clothes, my jeans had at the lest 2-3 kg of mud! My maid would run away if I made her wash that!) Then at 1401 hrs we went to have lunch, at Up and Above. The place was stinking as if we were sitting inside a wash room, and food wasn't great either :-( Too tired to move out, we had lunch there itself.

Back at Karishma we had orgasmic Bitter Chocolate Thick Shake, CadB, as it is famously called. After having a short(???) nap, we played TT and then had some cold coffee before signing off the day! This Sunday was a real routine breaker!

L-R: Moti (Richa), Kiddo (Mithila), myself, Snehata, Baboo (Aarti), Dentist (Vaibhav) & Gunnu (Anusha). Yes, everyone's expected to look as if they just ran off the stage while performing a horror scene!

Wishing all my friends a Very Very Happy Holi, and may this festival of colour make your life only more colourful. Esp. to my buddies, who are not here in India to enjoy this wonderful festival!

Photo credits: Arpita, Kiddo's younger sibling, with Fuji FinePix A345