27 November 2006

Indian Spices

Looking for that elusive spice that your mom keeps talking about, but can't figure out the english name to check out at the local Korean or Asian market.... ok your problem can be solved here.

20 November 2006

Kajra Re - This is so not my style of blogging..but what the heck !

Ok, now I ain't no fan of dance sequences and running around trees. But I did like this one song from a film that itself was lousy to say the least. Some fella on you tube had posted this up, so am just linking to it. This is more of a demonstrator of the way the Youtube site has taken the internet into a broadcasting explosion of sorts. I commend that democratization rather than anything else.

Get a life ! I mean second life.

"I can feel the eyes staring at me, I know she is watching, but I can't be sure if she is unless I turn back. If I do turn back, I would have given away the fact that I am curious about her intentions. Is she really watching me ? Hmmmm, wish I could see through the back of my head. How cool would that be ? Well guess what, it can be done and it is possible on Second life. I was checking on Second Life today. I had heard a lot about them over the past months, even read an article in Popular Science about them. Never thought much until I read about the concept and the massively distributed gaming theory that they employ. Also read about the matrix like bug that infected it causing objects to be cloned. Wow, that is so uncannily matrix like.

18 November 2006

A new security products group

Hey, I got this recommended via a friend. A security products company that hands out products for home users for free. It is not some run of the mill stuff either. I have it up and running on my home network and it is amazingly professional stuff. I like their verification engine that works with all my browsers to define the authenticity of sites I browse to. I know FF 2 does it, but IE does not and this one covers all those bases. Great work guys...

The Comodo Group.
The free Products

29 October 2006

Fall colors, a book and of course the browser wars.

I am currently reading the 'Lexus and the Olive Tree' by Thomas Friedman. We wound up the fall color gazing trips to New Hampshire and the Shenandoah valley. So that accumulated quite a bunch of photographs. Am trying out the new IE 7. I know, I know, but I have to see what they are upto to gauge what new quirks programmers have to code against to support it. So far haven't been thrown off my chair by anything earth shattering... I would say IE 7 is what Firefox 1.5 already is. Oh, by the way, the Firefox guys are already out with a 2.0 which is again one step ahead. Now if this ain't no browser war..what else is it my friend ? Go figure.

10 September 2006

Retrospective Series : Part 9 : Malgudi Days - Swami and his friends

This weekend, we were watching a DVD rented from NetFlix called "Malgudi Days". Yes ! Yes ! the same Malgudi days... remember the Shankar Nag directed saga that derived its inspiration and stories from R. K. Narayan's collection of writings about a fictional town in Karnataka called 'Malgudi'. It frankly brought back some very fond memories of childhood. I would be riveted to the screen watching episodes of this series as they aired once a week. I don't remember the exact day of the week on which they aired, but Swami and his friends were a real thing those days.... Read more.

09 September 2006

Just switched to Blogger Beta ! Yippie !

Just switched to the newer blogger beta... things are a little different, let me see how this fares better than the earlier version. This is a test post with an image to see if they still have problems posting images...

22 August 2006

The Alchemist - An excerpt

An excerpt from the Alchemist....very interesting piece..

A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the desert for forty days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.
Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part of the world. The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man's attention.
The wise man listened attentively to the boy's explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn't have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.
"Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something," said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. "As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill."
The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.
"Well," asked the wise man, "did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?"
The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.
"Then go back and observe the marvels of my world," said the wise man. "You cannot trust a man if you don't know his house."
Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.
"But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?" asked the wise man.
Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.
"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise man. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

16 August 2006

Xena, welcome to the family !

Yippeee.....three more...yes, we have three more kids added to our existing nine. Ok before you read too much into it, I am talking about our planets. He He He. The national geographic talks about it here.

30 July 2006

The British Museum

While on a quest, I found a link to the British Museum's online gallery. Very nicely done site with lot of interactive stuff to read and explore. I knew a little about Panini, but this story opened my eyes about his quest to write the correct grammar for sanskrit. Here is the story of how the Astadhyayi was born.
A very tastefully done online library about Mughal India is also something I found there.

The main site itself covers the most important civilizations of the world as we know it.

28 July 2006

Ever wanted to climb atop Mount Everest ?

I know this is an ambition that shall remain unfulfilled for a large number of us. Standing atop mount everest is a dream that only a few fortunate folks among us can ever accomplish. Rodrick Mackenzie and Hans Nyberg bring us a cool QuickTime based 360° view from atop Mt. Everest here.

27 July 2006

The world at night

The world at night ?

Gems from the google archives....

Good evening everyone. The web grows by leaps and bounds every day and it is very hard to look for stuff on the net. Then came the search engines....booo...slow..unrelated junk would be thrown up. And then came google..... I will be posting links to websites that I find googling my way through this maze...literature, music, photography, tech sites will be some of the categories, but otherwise anything goes..even news and of course politics.

In light of this, presented are a few good ones I came across today.

We all have read short stories growing up, especially in school. Ever wanted to read all the ones that you never got to read ? Here's your chance.
Classic Short Stories

Some of my favorites are
How the leopard got its spots - Rudyard Kipling.

Saki and his memorable short stories
The Mouse - Saki

The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe

Have fun reading.... remember, short stories are the hardest to write.

15 July 2006

Am back after a brief outage

Am back baby !! Ok so whatz been happening in the world the past couple of months. Hmmm let me see, the usual, oil prices going up, trouble in the middle east, pakistan playing the game of thousand cuts..... nothing really has changed has it. Well what did I expect, everything would magically cure itself. Hell, this ain't no heaven... this is plain old earth, populated by plain old "social animals" called humans. Hah aristotle, if only you were wiser, you would have left out the word social from your famous quote.

Come to think of it my retrospective series has'nt been out since december of last year. Wow that is a 6 month hiatus. Anyway, hope to rectify that soon.

My deepest condolences to the bombay blast victims. The irony of a bomb blast in a third world country hardly can be escaped while living in a first world country. There is hardly any editorial about the incident, couple of back pages, the first day saw a front page cover in the Washington post, then the Israel-Hezbollah snafu caught the headlines and then we haven't heard anymore from the Mumbai bureaus.

Anyway, this is an old tune that I am singing, there's no point in playing it back again.

The G8 sessions are back, with lip service to world poverty reduction and world health. The post talks about the doers and the non doers here.

13 July 2006

Thought Waves

At last good riddance to the carpell tunnel causing mouse. The first steps in thought wave based device control is here.

12 July 2006

Summer Breeze

Its raining like crazy here in the North East.... the summer has been blazing hot. Some snippets that I came by this week.

Firefox reaches 13% market share. Long live the browser wars !

An inflatable satellite launched.

And to the big tv fans out there...at last the long awaited 100 inch television is here.

07 June 2006

Hectic Summer

Man, this summer is turning out to be one hectic rollercoaster. Lots of things happening..both professionally and personally both of which can hardly be disclosed in a public blog. For the umpteenth time, we went to New York

03 June 2006

Meteors and the birth of Australia.

Woah....this is interesting stuff. I knew the continents formed from Gondwanaland and that India separated from the african chunk...but this new discovery has thrown some neat facts up, thus ending a lot of speculation.. read this if you are a natural history buff...
How was australia born ?

04 May 2006

Chandrayan I

Chandrayan....Sounds like a good name, logical, mythological.... but will it fly ?. I am not concerned about the talent of the scientists, but I am pretty skeptical about the other guys called politicians who run the show. Looks like two american instruments are gonna hitch a ride atop this expedition.

You know for someone who has first hand experience in BEL labs (India), not the american BELL, I can say that there is enough expertise to send people to the moon, except the people are stymied in so many ways. Here's to hoping that there is more opportunity and the Indian dream is no different from the American dream.

The NASA chief pays a visit

31 March 2006

Metro - politan City

Bangalore, at least on paper is vying for a place with the big boys...take a look at this...photo, courtesy my friend K in Bangalore.

23 March 2006

Why doest thy pen fall silent o valiant blogger

The millions of readers out there who were perplexed about the nature of my silence over the past month can have their question answered now.
It was plain old laziness...our old friend

Yeah that should sum the reason why I did not share my trivia with the unheard millions visiting the site everyday. ;)

20 February 2006

Hotel Rwanda... must see movie

A must see movie that I have blogged about in my movie blog...Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda

This weekend we saw this movie that has been on our wish list for a while now. 'Hotel Rwanda' starring Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina, just blew my mind. Apart from superb acting and the fact that it is a true story, the movie really had some very touching moments. Nick Nolte beautifully portrays the UN colonel Oliver, helpless but at the same time empathizing with the refugees. The way the world ignores africa is a stain on all of our consciousness. This movie only goes on to highlight it.

Hotel Rwanda.
What the Wikipedia says
Col Oliver in the movie is a fictionalized representation of the real Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire.
Paul Rusesabagina's real story at the Wikipedia.

14 February 2006


Something for Valentine's day... courtesy Sting...

If I caught the world in a bottle
And everything was still beneath the moon
Without your love would it shine for me?
If I was smart as Aristotle
And understood the rings around the moon
What would it all matter if you loved me?

Here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
With a million dreams to fulfill
And a matter of moments until the dancing ends
Here in your arms when everything seems to be clear
Not a solitary thing would I fear
Except when this moment comes near the dancing's end

If I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon so we could ride
Until the stars grew dim, Until...

One day you’ll meet a stranger
And all the noise is silenced in the room
You’ll feel that you're close to some mystery
In the moonlight and everything shatters
You feel as if you’ve known her all your life
The world’s oldest lesson in history

Here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
With a million dreams to fulfill
And a matter of moments until the dancing ends
Here in your arms when everything seems to be clear
Not a solitary thing do I fear
Except when this moment comes near the dancing’s end

Oh, if I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon and we would ride
Until the stars grew dim
Until the time that time stands still, Until...

Change the world.

St. Valentine did really start a revolution of sorts did'nt he ? You know it is not as if this is the only day that people in love have to share their feelings with their loved ones. Its just like a project deadline, because it is designated, people use it to collect their thoughts and express it out. Otherwise, in this mad rush that we call life, we all go about our lives, taking everything for granted, even love and become completely oblivious to the fact that life and love are part of the journey of life and not the final destination.

Many years back, I got down from an auto rickshaw, a suitcase in hand, looked up at an apartment, that was above a bar. Yes it was this day, I set out to change the world. I did manage to change.. not the world, but myself.

02 February 2006

Skipping Stones

This is probably a guy thing and the gals reading this are gonna go...what is with these guys, but bear with me anyways.
How many of you have walked beside a lake or a pond, then bent down to pick up a pebble, have thrown it level against the water and eagerly counted the number of skips it does before sinking in ? If you have'nt done it, then you are out of this universe. If you have done it, then welcome to the stone skippers club comprising of 99% of the guys in the known universe.
In case you belong to the club and have been wondering how to improve your skip count, the answer is in this equation.
τ = (MRS)-1/2/U

Simple ain't it ? Looks like its all in the speed and the angle of delivery. Ok for the detailed explanation look at The Physics Web

25 January 2006

Ethnopharmacology: Medicinal plants of India with anti-diabetic potential

I recently experienced a first person account of how by eating the leaf of a medicinal plant on a daily basis, the person was able to lower his blood sugar levels. Some research on Ethnopharmacology produced this snippet from a published paper.

Since ancient times, plants have been an exemplary source of medicine. Ayurveda and other Indian literature mention the use of plants in treatment of various human ailments. India has about 45,000 plant species and among them, several thousands have been claimed to possess medicinal properties. Research conducted in last few decades on plants mentioned in ancient literature or used traditionally for diabetes have shown anti-diabetic property. The present paper reviews 45 such plants and their products (active, natural principles and crude extracts) that have been mentioned/used in the Indian traditional system of medicine and have shown experimental or clinical anti-diabetic activity. Indian plants which are most effective and the most commonly studied in relation to diabetes and their complications are: Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Cajanus cajan, Coccinia indica, Caesalpinia bonducella, Ficus bengalenesis, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Ocimum sanctum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Syzigium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia and Trigonella foenum graecum. Among these we have evaluated M. charantia, Eugenia jambolana, Mucuna pruriens, T. cordifolia, T. foenum graecum, O. sanctum, P. marsupium, Murraya koeingii and Brassica juncea. All plants have shown varying degree of hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activity

The abstract is provided courtesy of
Authors: Grover J.K.1; Yadav S.; Vats V.
Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 81, Number 1, June 2002, pp. 81-100(20)
Publisher:Elsevier Science

20 January 2006

The Hydrogen Economy

The Hydrogen Economy is here

Hydrogen Economy

Quite a debate rages the world over about the Hydrogen economy and its potential to wean a ever oil hungry world away from the depths of assured depletion. As I was browsing the web, I encountered some very interesting articles, including some on India's attempts to jump ahead in the race. Intersting read all of them. I list them in no particular order

India's initiative
First Hydrogen Station in India
India's Villages powered by Hydrogen
Hydrogen Forecast
Stanford Initiative
Hydrogen Auto Show

Guilt Mail with some substance

Thanks to G for this titbit....even though it was a chain mail, I gleamed the metaphorical information from it without succumbing to 'guilt mail'.

If we reduce the population of Earth to a small town with 100 people whilst still keeping the proportions, it will look like this:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (northern and southern)
8 Africans

52 women
48 men

70 colored-skins
30 whites

89 heterosexuals
11 homosexuals

6 people will own 59% of the whole world wealth and all of them will be from the USA

80 will have bad life conditions

70 will be illiterate

50 will be under-fed

1 will die

2 will be born

1 will have a computer

1 (only one) will have higher education

If you look at the world from this point of view, you will see how big the need for solidarity, understanding, patience and education there is.

Think about this.

1) If this morning you've woken up healthy, you are happier than 1 million people that will not survive till next week.

2) If you never survived a war, the loneliness of the jail cell, the agony of torture, or faced hunger, you are happier than 500 million people in this world.

3) If you can enter into a church, mosque or temple without fear of jail or death, you are happier than 3 million people in this world.

4) If there is food in your refridgerator, have shoes and clothes to wear, have a bed and a roof, you are richer than 75% of the people in this world.

5) If you have a bank account, money in your wallet and some coins in the money-box, you belong to the 8% of people in the world, who are well-to-do.

Does put things in perspective, doesn't it ? Next time you crib about missing out on the iPod, think again.

19 January 2006

Retrospective Series: Part 8: The Trekkie

Its winter, so the hikes are down to a bare minimum. In spring, summer and fall, we make it a point to hike more frequently. The woods in this part of the country are amazing for trekkies. Although devoid of exotic creatures that might scare say someone trekking in the amazon jungles, they do make up for that with enough bugs that seem to have a particular penchant for my blood. No amount of deet seems to make any difference, while my wife hikes along, blissfully untouched by the nasty bugs. I console myself thinking, it must be the sweetness of my blood.. ahem.

This trek fever is nothing new. I remember the time when devoid of the internet, summer holidays were filled with loads of free time and nothing much to do. One such ... Read more

17 January 2006

Cross country :Indian subcontinent.style.

I have been following these two american girls through their journey from Sikkim to the Southern tip. Pretty bold initiative considering that I haven't heard of many Indians who could take time off on such an endeavour.

Lindsay's Blog
Katie's Blog

16 January 2006

Introspection... good even outside the world of computer science

I copy a snippet of my response to a debate that Atanu has initiated on his blog. If you haven't been there, it's here.

Ok, I agree that there are a lot of traits in Indian voters which should lead one to conclude what Atanu suggests.... BUT, how can we change that ?

1) India has a large population of under literate , pseudo literate or illiterate folks that outnumber the rational, literate or logical reasoning driven individuals.
2) Our democracy is based on a linear system where every person's vote counts as one and hence a crook standing for election, in a district with 70% illiteracy can muscle his way into an elected position.
3) Any person once elected, can be "chosen" as a minister, prime minister, whatever.

Some Remedies
1) Lets not do this one man one vote business. Let us add weightage to votes.
2) The weightage must be applied based on a large number of factors. Monetary background of a person should NOT be one of them. Education definitely should be. I leave the other parameters open for debate.
3) Now coming to the elected personnel themselves, just because one got elected, doesn't make you eligible to be "prime minister", you have to have certain weightage yourselves, including the weightage of the people who voted for you to garner your own index to reach different power positions.
4) Politicans cannot change constituencies with their own will and fancy. They have to run from their native or adopted constituency with proof of residence.

It is quite complex, I know, but the incentive for an aspiring politician to improve his power position would be make sure that his constituents grow in their own weightage and he in turn grows closer to a ministerial chair.

My two cents,

The Machinist

Saw the movie 'The Machinist' on DVD. WOW... this is a movie that will change you. Guilt as it is known to you will reach an extreme breaking point. Seriously, it takes guilt to the ends of reason. Christian Bale does an amazing portrayal, wow and how did he manage to lose so much weight. Man, some actors take their roles, damn seriously. Hats off to the director Brad Anderson. The movie details are here.

11 January 2006

Attention Deficiency

You see, one of the problems with attention deficiency is that, a 24 hour day seems insufficient for all the exploration that the world around us provides. Jumping from browsing about the features of the new intel based iMac, the philosophical traditions of the Buddhist community, the latest political whirlwind doing the rounds in India, visiting that site about bangalore pot holes to see if they are fixing them, checking my email to see if there was anything from amazon.com, jumping back to my design document... Phew, where was I, oh yeah I was on the design document and that is when it hit me ! I seriously ought to see Sidney Friedman. Now Sidney is the quintessential shrink from MASH. That reminds me, I need to complete my review of the latest MASH episodes on NetFlix, oh did I change the subscription schedule ? Oh wonder what is next in the queue... hold on, did I finish that design document ? I have to send it to the team before noon. Did I have lunch ? My stomach is growling, let me check my lunch tote. Ah, of course I did not have my lunch, no wonder I was feeling a little down, probably because of the lower sugar levels. Lunch is done, something is nagging me, can't put a finger to it, hmmm, oh I did not drink any water. Got to get up and go to the fountain to fill the bottle, hmmm, may be in a few minutes. Hey, when did I start writing a new post for the blog...must have been between the lunch and the "staying-a-few-more-minutes-to-grab-some-water" moment. Oh that reminds me, I got to make a phone call...

10 January 2006

My blog in French

I have decided to start publishing my blogs in two languages...english and French.
Try the French version here.

02 January 2006

Happy New Year: 2006

Happy New Year everybody ! This year feels different, I can already tell. There is something about it. I can tell. The reason I can tell is because I made my digit countable resolutions at least a week in advance and would you believe it...even started observing them before the new year was born. How atypical of me ! So I can tell. If it were any different, and I had behaved like I usually do, like missing all of my resolutions on the first day of the new year, then I would be thinking; "Ah, another typical year".

Someone loaded my brain with an urban myth when I was in middle school saying "What thou doest on New Year's day, thou shalt do all year round.". So I would desperately try to study something, do some homework, on New Year's day so that I could put at least the studying part of my life on auto pilot. If only.

At least I don't believe in it anymore, but my wife still does and she enticed me into cooking breakfast on New Year's day hoping that I would make it for the rest of the year. Hmmm, interesting experiment. Results are awaited.

Trainspotting & Of Mice and Men

Saw Trainspotting the other weekend. Black comedy really, what with all the junkies and stuff... took some getting used to. Really wierd about the Trainspotting name though, because the only time I saw them going to a train station was when they were planning a hike to the mountain.

Of Mice and Men starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich was different as a movie goes too. Mental retardation in the period depicted must have been a very hard endurance. Both actors played their parts very well.