Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.

kc

Rolls Royce / Mobile Store??

Human ingenuity has given us two great innovations...... gas guzzling beauties like the Rolls Royce Phantom and the ubiquitous innovation we know as the cellphone. So why not combine the two to create a cell phone store in the back of a Rolls-Royce Phantom? Leave it to an Indian to come up with such an idea!! The guys at The Mobile Store purchasing a Phantom instead of a brick-and-mortar storefront, painting it up, and traveling the hillsides hawking mobile phones. Vending mobile phones in a Rolls Royce Phantom is, without doubt, one of the craziest things I have ever come across. Check it out below!!


More attention-getting than Aishyarwa Rai, more convenient than the home delivered Domino's Pizza, eh!! The world is an amazing place, no??

Chandrayaan 2 Design Finalised!! Woot Woot!!

So I guess everyone knows by now that I'm a complete space freak!! I've signed up for literally every newsletter on earth that promises to keep one updated with the latest happenings in the world of space technology....... And today morning I received an email that completely blew me off!! Read it for yourself.... (click on the image to see it full sized)

Woohoo!! Chandrayaan II designs have been finalised!! The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has just made a profit of $ 40 Million by launching the W2M satellite, has gone into top gear on India's own Lunar Expedition.

What makes Chandrayaan II different from Chandrayaan I is the fact that the second expedition includes plans to land a rover on the lunar surface and collect samples of lunar soil, as well as analyze these samples (Chandrayaan I focuses more on the terrain mapping of the moon). Russia's Federal Space Agency Roskosmos is joining hands with ISRO for development of Chandrayaan II Rover. The rover will weigh between 30 and 100 kg, depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. The rover will have an operating life-span of a month and will operate predominantly on solar power.

The launch of the sequel to Chandrayaan is slated for launch in 2012. I simply can't wait!!


The designs for Chandrayaan II have been completed and we hope to launch it by 2012 --G Madhavan Nair, ISRO chairperson


(some) Related Posts:
Chandrayaan-I, Locked And Loaded!!
Send Your Name To The Moon
Coloumbia Shuttle Hard Drive Solves Xenon Mystery
Virus Busting Beyond The Final Frontier
ARES V -An Astromomer's Dream!!
Goodbye Ulysses.....Thou Shalt Be Missed!!

Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack --- It Rocks!!

I'm pretty sure you've heard about Slumdog Millionaire.

If you haven't then I suggest you get out from under your rock and read the next line: Slumdog Millionaire is the film critics are raving about these days. This film is already being hailed as the 'Juno' of 2009.... infact many believe its even better!! The film is set to release in India in January 09. I can't wait for this movie to release, Infact, if quality torrents appear before the Indian launch, I'll even torrent it!! However the movie is all the more special for Indians since its soundtrack is composed by Indian Legend A.R. Rahman.

The soundtrack has gotten a Satellite award and is nominated for the Golden Globe as well. Trying to see if the soundtrack was actually up to its name,I decided to check out the tracks of the movie, and here's what I felt about them:

The album starts off with the song O..Saya, which has been performed by A R Rahman in collaboration with Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. The background is an African drum beat which sounds exactly like an Indian train running across a bridge. A Brilliant piece for the bass freaks, this song has loads of tribal elements in it, including whistles, shrieks and the like. A R and M.I.A complement each other brilliantly. This explosive track sets the pace of the album, and is a must hear if you're a fan of fast paced electronica music.

Following O..Saya is the song Riots which has an eerie feeling to it, very eerie, in fact I won't be surprised if RGV uses this track in his next scary film.

Next comes the mindblowing song Mausam & Escape. This song is absolutely unbelievable... a genre-defining Rahman track!! No one, in India or anywhere else, can pull off a song this complex with such dexterity. The oddly named song ( Mausam means climate!!) starts off slow but picks up speed brilliantly.The tracks starts off serenely with Rashid Ali and Sanjay Joseph plucking at the guitar but at about 40 seconds into the track it shifts the gear to overdrive and takes off on a crescendo of ridiculously thrilling Sitar plucks by Asad.

Then the album moves onto the M.I.A segment, with Paper Planes and the DFA remix of the same song. Paper Planes is, in my opinion, the best song of album. M.I.A. simply rocks!! The song has an amazingly original chorus (almost no vocals in the chorus!!) and everything in the song simply works!! M.I.A.'s breath is heard in quite a few places and this gives the song a very humanish feel. Seriously, rappers need to understand that breathing into the mike is not a bad thing in some cases!!

The DFA remix of the song, which has been used in some of the trailers of the movie, has a catchy feel to it, but slows down a bit too much for my liking towards the end with an unnecessary piano segment.

Following these rocking tracks comes the mindnumbingly stupid Ringa Ringa which is a neo version of Choli ke peeche kya hai, but sounds more like the background music of a bad Dantmanjan advert. This song makes you wonder if you've played a song from a different album by mistake... Its completely jarring!!

But the next song reminds you that you're definitely on the same album.... The song named Liquid Dance is another genre-definng (definite) smash hit. Its one of those sounds you've never heard before and probably never will again. An amazing piece of Indian Fusion music classical Indian vocals from Palakkad Sriram, this song gives me a high even after hearing it for the millionth time!!

Then comes Millionare, which is a fast racy track, which sounds OK-OK but is nothing to write home about, followed by the two slow tracks, Latiqa's Theme and Dreams On Fire, which feature Suzanne, who gives soulful vocals to these more-than-decent tracks.

Following these, comes Gangsta Blues, featuring Blaaze (Of BnB and Ban The Police fame) and Tanvi Shah. You don't really expect an Indian composer to do full justice to such a track but Rahman does a good slick job of it. Too bad that parts of it sound more like the Channel [V] Full On song more than a rap.

The album ends up with Jai Ho and Aaj Ki Raat, both composed by the trio of Shankar Ehsaan and Loy. Both these songs sound nice, but after listening to songs like Mausam & Escape, Paper Planes and Liquid Dance, you pretty much find these songs crappy.... but still better than Ringa Ringa!!

My Final verdict: With his latest international venture A.R Rahman has once again proved his ability to produce tracks which will make you go "woot woot woot!!". Being an Indian, I have known about A.R Rahman all along and am well aware of the musical genius in him. But most of the Western world are unfamiliar with this gem of a talent. I hope this soundtrack will change that.This is easily the best International work by Rahman and will go down in the history as one of the greatest soundtracks ever made. Rahman has many names- Mozart of Madras, Indian Timbaland, Musical Prophet- all of them agreeing on one thing- he is a musical genius who makes music on a level which is totally different from anyone else.

I'd buy the album even if it had only the tracks Paper Plane, Liquid Dance and Mausam & Escape. The addition of Gangsta Blues, Dreams On Fire, Latiqa's Theme and Paper Planes (DFA Remix) add to the CD's VFM.

A definite must buy, in my opinion

I rate this album 4.5/5

What about you??

iPhone 3G Vs. Stone!!

So we've all heard the reviews of the iPhone 3G right?? Its among the crappiest phones to ever be made.... yet it sells like hot cakes, simply because of the oomph factor associated with the Apple logo on it. Any self respecting geek would rather move about with a rock than with an iPhone.... or so they claim!! And to prove this, some guy came up with a comparison between the iPhone 3G and a rock!! You heard that right, a ROCK!! And the results are amazingly funny..... see them below

Haha..... Funny but pretty much true!! What say??

P.S I got this as an email a few days ago and it was just so funny that I had to post it :)

Stuff I Did This Semester!!

Well, my first semester in college just ended a day ago and I spent the last twenty four hours just reminiscing some cool and some not-so-cool *stuff* that have occured over the last 5 months. So, on that note, I come out with this personal post titled "Stuff I Did This Semester".

OK, So here goes:





1) Became An Engico (woot woot!!)
I Joined College this year.....and after loads of pre-admission hoopla, and trips to NIT-K and to MANIT, I finally got into GEC, Goa. I won't lie, I did have my premonitions about the college, but all my doubts were cleared within the first two weeks in the college.

To put it simply, the college rocks, the teachers are pretty helpful and most importantly, the spirits of the GEC-ians (who're called Engicos) are at eternal highs!!

My branch (which I simply wouldn't compromise on to get into a so called "elite institution") is Computer Sciences & Engineering (duh!!) and as such I became a member of the coolest college students association: TEAM CURSOR ( Cursor stands for "Computer Students Organisation"). You can check out the cool video that the third years made about a third year Comp student's college life below.




2) Got Ragged
I dunno if you'd call what happened to me as ragging, but I guess you could call it that....The seniors tried to break me, but I guess I managed to maintain my dignity all THREE times

a) On the bus.... right up front , I ended up laughing at other blokes along with the same guys who "ragged" me!!
b) On the same bus on the same day... at the back ( Read No. 3 in my top 3 bloopers)..... My mistake, I admit!!
c) At the Nescafe, with a chocolate donut in my hand the whole time. The best part was when they asked me why I'd take Computers even though most people with ranks around mine had taken Electronics and Telecommunication (ETC) and I'd told them that I was interested in network security and practical quantum computing. Then I'd been asked to give a short intro to quantum computing, which I gladly did. I guess that I spoke pretty well coz for the next week or two, whenever I crossed paths with that group of seniors, they constantly called me 'E=MC^2'.... hehehe

3) Wrote An Sem Exam Without A Textbook
I'd heard about this kinda stuff happening in college, but I didn't expect it to happen to me in my first sem itself.... the subject was 'Applied Sciences' (Physics And Chem), and I somehow ended up with no text books to study the subject from.... the paper went pretty well... now its just a wait to see if my "tactics" worked or not.

4) Made New Homies
Once again, I had premonitions about the kinda people in GEC, but once I got here it didn't take too long for things to start clicking. I was pleasantly surprised to meet my new friends who're extremely talented and bright and I hope to strengthen bonds with them over the next few years!!

5) Broke Ties With A Really Dear Friend
I dunno how this happened, or why, but somehow I ended up completely shutting out this really close friend from my life.

6) Made Some Moolah $$$
Oh Yeah.... This sem was pretty good to me as far as raking in the money is concerned.
I made a pretty cool amount of cash, around Rs. 13000 (not counting a Rs.2000 prize I'm supposed to get for No.8) through different competitions ranging from technical ones like writing papers on Network Security, to literary ones like essay writing, to the extra curricular ones like quizzes. A special thousand bucks came for No. 12.

7) Got Myself An iPod
As I said in No. 6 I made quite a bit of cash this sem, and after considering buying a cellphone,I finally got myself an iPod nano..... but the sad part was that a month after I got my nano (3rd Gen), Steve Jobs launched the 4th Gen iPods and their price is nearly the same as the 3rd Gens!! But still, it feels great to be part of the Apple family. See my iPod here

A cellphone coming up next I guess :)

8) Wrote A Prize Winning Essay
The competition was organised by the ETC student's association of my college, ASSETS

The topic of the essay was "ENGINEERS AT HEART".
It felt good to get in touch with my literary side, and winning the competition was the cherry on the cake. You can read my essay in their monthly magazine IMPULSE here (Its a download).

9) Joined a Rock Band
Do I hear you rubbing your eyes in disbelief?? Well, its true alright...... At a College fest, my friends had planned to rock the crowd with Linkin Park's "Bleed It Out".... too bad one of the singers, the self proclaimed "e8rNl R0kr" Krishna "Kris" Sehgal had a bad case of Laryngitis two days before the big gig....

And guess who was in Bengaluru for those very four days?? Moi!! This great event occured just before college started but technically in my first semester.

I handled the chorus and with Aneesh "AD" Dhritye on the drums, Swapnil Shenoy in lead and the keyboard, and Riyaz Sheikh on the guitar, and Prakash on the synth, the show went on!!
I had barely 6 lines, 4 of them being " I bleed it out
Digging deeper just to throw it away" but the experience was totally awesome nonetheless, and people actually came up to me and said "well done" so I guess I wasn't really as bad as I'd expected to be!!

Plus, we got a cash remunerance of Rs.7000 , one-seventh of which went straight into my hands......

10) Went The Open Source Way
Somehow I suddenly realised that I had almost zero experience with open source software and so decided to go the open source way.
Starting off with a few live CD's, and slowly moving on to actual installs, I'm finally going open-source!! Even checked out some open source software and games... They rock!!

Just as I completed this post, the doorbell rang, and guess what, the postman handed me the CDs of Ubuntu and Kubuntu 8.10 that I'd ordered a month ago ....woo hoo!!

11) Set Up My Personal Site
Another personal milestone acheived.... I have my own personal site now, and I'm proud of what I've created. Not yet hosted it though....still stuck between free hosting/ paid hosting and some free webspace offered by friends in the business of web hosting. Also, some tiny kinks need to be worked out. But overall, I guess I'm all set to go live with my site.

A good friend from Delhi came up with this great idea for a site name --> Nav.In .... Cool huh??

Else, it'll probably be navinpai.com/.in/co.in/.co.nr/.org

Lets see how that shapes up!!

12) Lost My Grandmom
Not something I did, but something that has impacted me strongly. On an extremely sad note, I lost the greatest, most rocking lady I've had the opportunity to know, my grandmom, Sumitra Pai, who'd lived 84 years of the most amazing life possible. I seriously have been left with a void in my heart since she's been gone.

OK, I guess thats it, but I'd just add a few more lines under the subtitle:

TOP 3 BLOOPERS OF THE SEMESTER:

  • Messed with a senior!! I learned Rule No. 1 of college life the hard way.....NEVER MESS WITH A SENIOR......It was a mistake that ended up with me becoming the butt of some pretty crude jokes one day on the bus. (Read No. 2 in the previous list)
  • Confused a guy with another guy for over two months....... Even called him by the other guys name..... when I realised my mistake, I apologised, and thankfully he didn't mind too much.
  • .::drumroll please::.
    OK, I can't explain this one as such, so I'll just give you the script of the conversation I had ( which is the blooper!!) with two gals, lets call them "A" and "B", in the presence of a dozen other people or so

    Everyone's listening to this conversation
    A: Hey Navin, You were from Peoples right?? (Peoples High School ........ my school till the 10th)
    Me: Yeah :)
    A: Do you know this teacher named XYZ??
    Me: Yeah, I know her..... She never taught me but I completely hated her
    (A dramatic pause.......everyone gasps)
    B: XYZ is my mom!!
    Me:(Oops) Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry.......( Why can't I just keep my mouth shut??)

    This was followed by me trying to convince everyone that I din't mean what I'd said, and thankfully "B" was a darling and sort of understood that I didn't mean to offend anyone!!

So as you can see, I'm having a lotta fun in college and do pray that life continues like this. Next sem will probably be a little slow and uneventful as compared to this one as I have "other plans" which'll keep me pre-occupied!!

On that note, I'd simply quote the great American philosopher, Porky Pig, who's saying the very same words on the idiot box next to me right now,

(eebd-ebde-eebd) That's All Folks!!

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Comments Anyone??

The T-Shirt That Sings!!

Ever wish your life had a soundtrack with sound effects? Now you can! Play our 20 built-in sounds, or upload your own customized sounds and punctuate your life with awesome! For reals!

Check out the awesome video below!!



Cool Huh??

BTW: Got My Semester Exams going on right now, so I probably won't be able to post actively for the next few weeks (Till the 15th Of December). But you can read the older posts on the blog. You could also search through the blog for topics that suit your taste.

Also, I'd take this opportunity to express my deepest sympathies for the guys and gals in Mumbai..... U guys ain't alone, its not just about Mumbai or Maharashtra but about India as a whole. Lets show those uncivilized terrorists that we won't be broken by their despicable acts.

Rock On

Google Goes To Ancient Rome!!

We all have, at some point over the last few years used Google Earth to have a look at the neighborhood from a bird's perspective, accept it!! Now you can catch a glimpse of the ancient Roman neighborhood using the same tool.

While satellites weren't around to give us a bird's eye view of the city in 320 A.D., Google's "Ancient Rome 3-D" offers a 3D simulation of the ancient city at the height of its glory. The new layer for the tool allows virtual time-traveling tourists to fly around the city and zoom in to explore ancient structures as they likely looked at the time, including the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Circus Maximus. Pop-up windows offer historical information, and are written by experts on Ancient Rome. Developed in collaboration with researchers at the University of California and the University of Virginia, the project is the first ancient city to be incorporated into Google Earth.

The computer graphics are based on the Plastico di Roma Antica, a plaster model that was created by Italian architect Italo Gismondi and finished three years before his death in 1974. The digitization project began in 1997 and took 10 years to complete. It then took 15 people the better part of a year to transfer the project on to the Web.

Check out this Youtube video showcasing the Ancient Roman city in Google Earth:



I'm just waiting for Google to come up with a 3-D map of India during the Harappan civilization or during the Mughal era.....Its sure to leave quite a few mouths gaping in amazement!!

Batman Sues Batman!!

Albert Einstein had once said "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." And somehow, the world comes out with ample examples proving him right!! I'm pretty sure you've figured out what this post is about: Batman has been sued. But what is funny is the fact that he has been sued for name-stealing...... now you wonder who names himself Batman. Well, its not a person, but a whole town named after the caped crusader in Good ol' Turkey!!

The mayor of Batman, Huseyin Kalkan, is suing Warner Bros. and The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan for using the Cape Crusader's name without the city's permission.

Kalkan claims to have evidence that will prove the city of Batman was founded much before the 1939 debut of DC Comic's superhero by the same name.

Why the city is complaining now about its name being used for masked justice may have something to do with The Dark Knight having grossed over $995 million worldwide so far. So even a small cut would be more than enough to fulfill the mayor's deepest desires!!

There is only one Batman in the world. American producers used the name of our city without informing us --Huseyin Kalkan

Toshiba's "Upscaling" Technology Is Uber-Cool!!

Wow...Once in a while, there comes a video so mind-bogglingly cool that pretty literally knocks your socks off and gets you glued to your monitor. This is definitely one of those videos!!

The technology is called Upscaling, or in more human terms, Timesculpture. Timesculpture is a stunning progression of the ‘bullet-time’ technique made famous by films such as, no prizes for guessing, The Matrix Trilogy. Rather than showing a 3-D rotation of a still moment, this groundbreaking new filming process manipulates moving snapshots of time using Toshiba technology, redefining cinematic human movement.

The shoot was made possible via the construction of a purpose-built camera rig, weighing over half a tonne and housing 200 Toshiba Gigashot HD camcorders. Over 20 Terabytes – 20,000 Gigabytes – of video data was used, taking over 336 continuous hours to process. And the whole production cost was $4.7 Million!! Whoosh!!

You simply have to watch this



What say??

Check out My Other Videos:
Do The Face-Twitch Dance
First Video Game Turns Fifty
The Rubik's Cube Strikes Back
Now That's How You Dispose A Plane

Haule Haule Lyrics

A few days back I came across this song from Aditya Chopra's new movie Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which stars SRK and newcomer Anushka Sharma

The title of the song was Haule Haule and it instantly caught my attention. It isn't one of those overtly emotional songs but it does convey its message effectively!!

I wrote down the lyrics to the song...do correct me if I'm wrong
. You can use my contact page to do so!!

Related Topics
: Pappu Can't Dance Lyrics

Here goes:

Haule Haule
Haule Haule
Haule Haule
Haule Haule

Haule Haule se hawa lagti hai
Haule Haule se dava lagti hai
Haule Haule se duwa lagti hai naaaaaaaa

haiii
Haule Haule chanda badhta hai
Haule Haule ghunghat uthta hai
Haule Haule se nasha chadhta hai naaaaaaa

[Chorus:]
Tu sabr to kar mere yaar
Zara saas to le dildaar
Chal fikar noo goli maar yaar
Hai din jhindadi de char

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar [2X]

Haule Haule (Haule Haule, Haule Haule) Haule Haule (Haule Haule Haule Haule Haule)

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar

Fiske di galiyaan tang hai
Sharmon sharmile band hai
Khud se khud kiiiiii kaisi yeh jang hai
Pal pal yeh dil ghabraye
Pal pal yeh dil sharmaaye
Kuch kehta hai aur kuch kar jaye

Kaisi yeh paheliii mohe dil mar jaana
Ishq main jaltiiii bada jurmana

[Chorus:]
Tu sabr to kar mere yaar
Zara saas to le dildaar
Chal fikar noo goli maar yaar
Hai din jhindadi de char

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar [2X]

Haule Haule (Haule Haule Haule Haule Haule)
Haule Haule (Haiiiiiiiii)

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar

Rab tha bhi tab koi hona
Kare koi yoon jaadu tona
Man jaya man jaaye hai mera sona
Rab de sahaare chal de
Na hai kinaare chal de
Doorie hai naaaaaa, kaha re chalde

Kya kehke gaya thaaaaa kya yar-vas yaana
Aag ka dariyaan, doob ke jaana

[Chorus:]
Tu sabr to kar mere yaar
Zara saas to le dildaar
Chal fikar noo goli maar yaar
Hai din jhindadi de char

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar [2X]

Haule Haule (Haule Haule Haule Haule)
Haule Haule (Haiiiiiiiii)

Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar chaliya
Haule Haule ho jaayega pyaar

Haule Haule se duwa lagti hai naaaaaaaa

cheers!!

ROFLMAO!! Email Error Ends Up On Road Sign!!

Something that's sure to get you ROFLMAO-ing....This is so stupid, that it makes Homer Simpson look like Albert Einstein!!

OK, so lets start from the beginning:

All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, to help the local population. So when the local authority planned to put up a "No entry for heavy vehicles" sign at a road near a supermarkethe e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only".

The reply duly came back and officials set the wheels in motion to create the large sign in both languages.

The notice went up and all seemed well - until Welsh speakers began pointing out the embarrassing error.

Here's the sign:

Seems OK?? unfortunately you do't know welsh, coz if you did then you'd have noticed that the sign , in welsh, says "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".

It seems that this was a reply generated by the auto-responder of the English-Welsh translator!!

Thankfully though, the sign has been removed from public view following the embarrasing error!! :)

When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh --Journo Dylan Iorwerth.

Do The Face-Twitch Dance!!

Something that can be simply described as
  • Freaky!!
  • Cool
  • Funny
  • Definitely Weird!!
Daito Manabe shows us what low-voltage shocks to the face at various speeds can do resulting in a, well how do I describe this??...... A twitch-fest!!

The end shows the inverse effect, using muscle flexes to control the sound on the computer as well as the muscles on his face.

See it to believe it!!



What say??

Google Gets Into The Halloween Mood!!

We all know that Google constantly crawls the Web with help from spiders... but I guess zombies seriously scare the $hit out of the tech giant!!

Showing some timely techie humor, the search giant has updated its robots.txt file for Halloween. For the technologically uninitiated, search engines trying to index Web sites look for robots.txt files for instructions about whether they're permitted access to particular pages.

The Google robots.txt file on Friday begins with the following term:


User-agent: zombies
Disallow: /brains


Generally this sort of thing it's called an Easter egg. But I guess in this case it's a Halloween egg!!

For more funny easter eggs, head over to eeggs.com

Happy Halloween!!

The First Video Game Turns 50!!

OK, so here's a question I'm pretty sure you don't know the answer to: Which is the oldest video game?? Pacman?? Naaah....... Mario?? Naaah...... Its gotta be Pong right?? Naaaaaaaaaaah ....Well here it is: Its Tennis for Two, a game which was developed by, brace yourselves for this, a Nuclear Scientist!!

After writing about GTA recently, lets now head in the opposite direction.“Tennis for Two” started off as a science experiment, created by William Higinbotham for the annual visitor’s day at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and was never meant for commercial purposes. His aim wasn’t to kick off the multibillion-dollar game industry — he just wanted to “liven up the place” with his invention. And in pure Geek-ishtyle, he did it by modding a oscilloscope that was meant to be used to study stuff like particle projectiles!!

Hundreds of people lined up to play “Tennis for Two” on Oct. 18, 1958. Players saw a side view of a tennis court on an oscilloscope screen and used an aluminum controller to serve and volley the “ball,” a bright dot that left trails as it bounced from one side of the “net” to the other.

To celebrate the game’s 50th anniversary, Brookhaven gave players another shot at “Tennis for Two.” On Friday, the lab opened its doors to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., displaying “Tennis” alongside more modern game hardware, including the Nintendo Wii, the Sega Genesis and the Atari 2600.

Here's a video, of the first video game ever!! Enjoy!!


God bless Prof. Higinbotham's soul!!

Craigslist Used By Innovative Bank Robber!!

Now here's a story that'll most definitely be made into a movie: and I mean a full on Italian Job kinda flick..... Danny Ocean would've been proud of this one!! Here goes: A crook robbed an armored truck outside a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Washington, by hiring decoys through the popular site Craigslist to deter authorities.

It gets even better: He Escaped...... For good!! "A great amount of money was taken", Monroe police said, but did not provide a dollar value. Hmm... must've been quite a few greens eh??
Craigslist is a site that provides local classifieds for jobs, housing,personals, services, events, and anything else you can think of. But this is by far the most innovative use of the classifieds site!!

Here's how it all happened: At around 11:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the 21st, the robber, wearing a yellow vest, safety goggles, a blue shirt, and a respirator mask went over to a guard who was overseeing the unloading of cash to the bank from the truck. He sprayed the guard with pepper spray, grabbed his bag of money, and fled the scene.

But here's the hilarious twist. The robber had previously put out a Craigslist ad for "road maintenance workers", promising wages of $28.50 per hour. Recruits were asked to wait near the Bank of America right around the time of the robbery-- wearing, what else?? yellow vests, safety goggles, a respirator mask, and preferably a blue shirt. At least a dozen of them showed up after responding to the Craigslist ad. As it turns out, they were simply placed there to confuse cops who were looking for a guy wearing a virtually identical outfit.

I guess one can safely claim that the economy really is in the toilet when someone this innovative is robbing banks. I for one say let the guy keep the money. His plan was just too ingenious. Let's call it even. What say you'll??

I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour --One Of The Unwitting Decoys

The Rubik's Cube Strikes Back!!

So you've finally figured out how to solve the Rubik's cube huh?? And now you're the star of every party, showing-off by solving a Rubik’s Cube in under two minutes, eh?? Well, I hope someone throws the Rubik’s Mirror Blocks Puzzle at you!!

As a Rubik's cube enthusiast (I've actually solved it once....the crowning moment of my life!!), I seriously understand how hard it is to get the frikkin' colour combination right!! And this piece of gaming wonder surely makes the Rubik's cube look like a kid's toy. Also known as Hidetoshi Takeji's Bump Cube, the puzzle challenges its user based on geometry rather than by matching color sequences.

To solve the Bump Cube, you must set 27 blocks of nine different sizes into a neat and tidy cube. Unlike the original Rubik’s Cube, you can’t just pull the stickers off this one and pretend you’re a genius (or pull the entire thing apart as some frustrated Rubik's tragics have been known to do [I tried this once]) as all the blocks have the same colour.

Available in Japan, Hidetoshi Takeji's Bump Cube costs around USD$20.

The YouTube clip below shows how its done - in 55.47seconds!! .




A Review of the Bump cube


So get Bumping!!

Virus Busting Beyond The Final Frontier!!

Another day, another competition.....so what makes Symantec's latest competition so special?? Well, how about this.... The winner gets to go into space!! Oh yeah, space, the final frontier, antariksha etc etc etc.

Three competition winners will be first invited for a zero-gravity flight on the 'Vomit Comet', where they can experience weightlessness and all the fun that brings (they've named it the vomit comet for a reason!!), then one of these will ascend to the final frontier.

I'm not sure how Symantec plans to choose the grand prize winner, who will spend around five minutes in space before being brought back down (it's a very short amount of time, but it's space!! Come on). Perhaps they'll be assessing those winners based on a simple fight to the death kind of competition when weightless.

The competition is meant to represent the fastest software from Norton's new software, which can blah blah blah, do you really care about the reasons?? I'm going to register on the website roughly four billion times (unless they block all my ip's by then) to get a chance to see the Great (Fire)Wall of China from the sky.

Less than 500 people have ever been into space, but one lucky virus-fighter will get the chance to join that exclusive club in the sky -Symantec Press Release

The 23 Toughest Math Problems!!

It sounds like a mathophobic's worst nightmare.The folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have put out a research request it calls "Mathematical Challenges". The goal of the research is very ambitious: "to dramatically revolutionizing mathematics and thereby strengthening DoD's scientific and technological capabilities."

DARPA is known worldwide for its Urban Grand Challenge competition for Driverless automated cars in urban areas.

So if you're a super-god in math and want to prove it then give one of these a shot.... be warned, these ain't no math puzzles!! What's more, DARPA has stated it will award research grants for the researches but doesn't say how much they'd be worth. So I'm guessing its some astronomically high amount!!

  • The Mathematics of the Brain: In my opinion, the toughest math problem ever. the aim is to develop a mathematical theory to build a functional model of the brain that is mathematically consistent and predictive rather than merely biologically inspired.
  • The Dynamics of Networks: Develop the high-dimensional mathematics needed to accurately model and predict behavior in large-scale distributed networks that evolve over time occurring in communication, biology and the social sciences.
  • Capture and Harness Stochasticity in Nature: Address Mumford's call for new mathematics for the 21st century. Develop methods that capture persistence in stochastic environments.
  • 21st Century Fluids: Classical fluid dynamics and the Navier-Stokes Equation were extraordinarily successful in obtaining quantitative understanding of shock waves, turbulence and solitons, but new methods are needed to tackle complex fluids such as foams, suspensions, gels and liquid crystals.
  • Biological Quantum Field Theory: Quantum and statistical methods have had great success modeling virus evolution. Can such techniques be used to model more complex systems such as bacteria? Can these techniques be used to control pathogen evolution?
  • Computational Duality: Duality in mathematics has been a profound tool for theoretical understanding. Can it be extended to develop principled computational techniques where duality and geometry are the basis for novel algorithms?
  • Occam's Razor in Many Dimensions: As data collection increases can we "do more with less" by finding lower bounds for sensing complexity in systems? This is related to questions about entropy maximization algorithms.
  • Beyond Convex Optimization: Can linear algebra be replaced by algebraic geometry in a systematic way?
  • What are the Physical Consequences of Perelman's Proof of Thurston's Geometrization Theorem?: Can profound theoretical advances in understanding three dimensions be applied to construct and manipulate structures across scales to fabricate novel materials?
  • Algorithmic Origami and Biology: Build a stronger mathematical theory for isometric and rigid embedding that can give insight into protein folding.
  • Optimal Nanostructures: Develop new mathematics for constructing optimal globally symmetric structures by following simple local rules via the process of nanoscale self-assembly.
  • The Mathematics of Quantum Computing, Algorithms, and Entanglement: In the last century we learned how quantum phenomena shape our world. In the coming century we need to develop the mathematics required to control the quantum world. Something I'll dedicate my life to studying in the future.
  • Creating a Game Theory that Scales: What new scalable mathematics is needed to replace the traditional Partial Differential Equations (PDE) approach to differential games?
  • An Information Theory for Virus Evolution: Can Shannon's theory shed light on this fundamental area of biology?
  • The Geometry of Genome Space: What notion of distance is needed to incorporate biological utility?
  • What are the Symmetries and Action Principles for Biology?: Extend our understanding of symmetries and action principles in biology along the lines of classical thermodynamics, to include important biological concepts such as robustness, modularity, evolvability and variability.
  • Geometric Langlands and Quantum Physics: How does the Langlands program, which originated in number theory and representation theory, explain the fundamental symmetries of physics? And vice versa?
  • Arithmetic Langlands, Topology, and Geometry: What is the role of homotopy theory in the classical, geometric, and quantum Langlands programs?
  • Settle the Riemann Hypothesis: The Holy Grail of number theory. Do read about it!!
  • Computation at Scale: How can we develop asymptotics for a world with massively many degrees of freedom?
  • Settle the Hodge Conjecture: This conjecture in algebraic geometry is a metaphor for transforming transcendental computations into algebraic ones.
  • Settle the Smooth Poincare Conjecture in Dimension 4: What are the implications for space-time and cosmology?? And might the answer unlock the secret of "dark energy"??
  • What are the Fundamental Laws of Biology?: This question will remain front and center for the next 100 years. DARPA places this challenge last as finding these laws will undoubtedly require the mathematics developed in answering several of the questions listed above.
You need to submit your research plan by Sept. 29, 2009. So get going people!!

Lightbulb = WiFi hotspot??

Some fresh news for wireless net users. Boston University's College of Engineering is launching a program, with a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, to develop the next generation of wireless communications technology based on visible light instead of traditional radio waves.

Here's the method proposed to be used: Researchers expect to hitchhike data on light emitting diodes (LEDs), to create "Smart Lighting" that would be faster and supposedly more secure than current network technology.This initiative aims to develop an optical communication technology that would make an LED light the equivalent of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Here's a diagram of what they plan to achieve

The ability to rapidly turn LED lights on and off - so fast that the change is imperceptible to the human eye - is key to the technology. Flickering light in patterns enables data transmission without any noticeable change in room lighting. With such widespread LED lighting, a vast network of light-based communication is possible. A wireless device with a Wi-fi enabled LED could send and receive data though the air at speeds in the 1 to 10 megabit per second range with each LED serving as an access point to the network. Such a network would have the potential to offer users greater bandwidth than current RF technology which is severely limiting. Ultimately they plan to replace LED's by regular light bulbs.

Moreover, since this light does not penetrate opaque surfaces such as walls, there is a higher level of security, as eavesdropping is not possible. This means no more Khalsa college hacks from laptops on the outside. Of course, as long as we eliminate windows from rooms ;) . Also, for you environmentalists, LEDs consume far less energy than RF technology, offering the opportunity to build a communication network without added energy costs and reducing carbon emissions over the long term.

But I do have my doubts:
  1. LED's are unidirectional in the fact that they can transmit data but cannot recieve it......so to enable a two way communication, a light sensor too will be needed which increases costs
  2. Would you ant to turn on thelights just to access the net?? I mean what if you prefer working in the dark?? Ever heard of anyone seeing pr0n with the lights on??
  3. The existing infrastructure is all configured for RF.....new technologies mean complete replacement of all infrastructure even though it is (almost) fully functional already.
The pro's and con's are out....now its time to actually work at this new innovative technology....lets hope for the best!!

Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires -BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little.

Google Has A Third Founder??

A certain Hubert Chang (Full name: Hung Hsien Chang) has emerged from obscurity with the audacious claim that he helped launch the search giant in 1997 along with acknowledged co-founders and Internet demi-gods Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Chang posted his story on the video sharing site Vimeo and it was picked up by the Web site Weberence. It spread virally from there, even to sites like YouTube and Metacafe.

In the video, Chang claims that he met Stanford professor and noted author Rajeev Motwani in 1996 while studying for a Ph.D. at New York University. Motwani, later introduced him to Brin and Page, who were students at Stanford.

Chang claims he helped Brin and Page come up with the PageRank algorithm (that today is the basis for Google's search engine and the reason for its massive success).

Chang claimed he did not stay to help found Google because he had a made a commitment to his father to finish getting his Ph.D. He also said his e-mail correspondence from 1997 was not saved because he exceeded the NYU e-mail quota for messages at the time. Hmm... Something doesn't feel quite right!!

In the video, Chang makes no claim for part ownership of the company. So that sort of rules out the "Hey, I'm Google's third daddy... gimme 1/3rd of its stocks" scenario. He said he exchanged e-mails with Brin and Page after earning his Ph.D. in late 2002, but that the communication became less friendly and only came from third parties until it finally stopped altogether.

He closes the video by noting after ten years he's telling his story. "I feel quite confident about the good side of humanity. If you could, please forward this video to your friends. Thank you."

Google has responded on Chang's claims through the following email:

"Though many people were involved with Google in its early days, it has been well documented over the past decade that Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in September 1998."

It was frustrating and not a very pleasant experience, they're simply in a position of status, where it's awkward to fully acknowledge the past - Hubert Chang on Larry and Sergey

One Pixel To Power The Future??

Sony comes out with a 8 Mpix cam, Kodak has a 9 Mpix model, Nikon went past the 10 Mpix barrier..... Are you bored of hearing about companies boasting about their latest models of digital cameras as being the ones with the most megapixels?? Then this blog post is for you!! In this day and age, when companies are struggling to pack more megapixels into their cameras, one company has dared to think different and go backward on the megapixel path (waaaaaaay back!!). Presenting the One pixel Camera...... but don't get me wrong, this camera surely got my head in a tizzy especially after I understood its intricate details.

Rice University's Single Pixel Camera might very well be the camera we use in the future. The research is based on the premise that megapixel cameras are generally wasteful--while the sensors capture a lot of information, most of it is discarded to compress the image and store it on the memory card. Why collect all that information when you're going to discard it anyway? Instead, the researchers start with only the information that's absolutely essential, then work its way up to create a higher-quality image.

Here's what their site says about it
Our new digital image/video camera directly acquires random projections of a scene without first collecting the pixels/voxels. The camera architecture employs a digital micromirror array to optically calculate linear projections of the scene onto pseudorandom binary patterns. Its key hallmark is its ability to obtain an image or video with a single detection element (the "single pixel") while measuring the scene fewer times than the number of pixels/voxels. Since the camera relies on a single photon detector, it can also be adapted to image at wavelengths where conventional CCD and CMOS imagers are blind.

Didn't get it?? Then here's how Richard Baraniuk at Rice explains it (in human terms):
It's like completing a Sudoku puzzle--you can complete the grid once you have a minimum number of squares filled.

Instead of a sensor for every pixel, the camera uses mirrors that reflect light on to the one-pixel sensor one at a time. The process repeats, and an algorithm finally puts the image together.

Smart eh?? But here are some of the drawbacks:

  • The Time factor: The current prototype churns out pics in seconds, not in milliseconds as most modern digital cameras
  • The Quality Factor: You can visit their site (link below) and see for yourself the quality of the pics generated by the cam......there's a great amount of development to be made here!!
But still, this technology is revolutionary, to say the least....and with time, I'm sure that they'll manage to improve on their designs.

Do visit their site for sample pics : Single Pixel Camera Project

Always remember, Never underestimate the Power of One!!

Security Flaw For Chrome Surfaces!!

Earlier this week, Google unleashed the latest contender for the title of 'Best Web Browser', Chrome, in the beta stage (Aaaaaargh...it seems like Google has been in the Beta stage for 2500 years now), and the hacker community has already begun searching the inner workings of the browser for every possible flaw.

Whats more, noted security researcher Aviv Raff has managed to find a flaw in the system which, if exploited, would allow hackers automatically get a 'Chrome' running computer to download a malicious file.

Generally, A Java (.JAR) file is highlighted when needed for download by the browser, such as Firefox. But with the version of the WebKit Google used to develop Chrome does not include such a prompt. What this essentially means is that hackers could use this to launch an Java-based attack without users knowing what file they're downloading. This could be used to install trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, etc.

Browsers such as Safari or Firefox or even IE 8 use a newer version of the WebKit and aren't vulnerable to such a flaw... but then Google would just say this is what a beta version is for!! Hmm.... maybe beta's not so bad after all :)

The 'Google Phone' Is Captured....On Camera Atleast!!

A Google search for the term 'Android' reveals the amount of hype that Google's foray into the mobile segment has created. Other than a single Wikipedia article dealing with 'a robot designed to resemble a human, usually both in appearance and behavior' every other result on page one is about the software platform and operating system for mobile devices based on Linux that Google has co-developed...... and unlike the Google minus Google post, in this matter I'll totally support the search results thrown up by the big G. After all, the Android project takes mobile OSes to a whole new level by making software development hassle-free -A revolution of sorts for the mobile developer community!!

And now, finally after a looooooooong wait, the first pictures of the first commercial android OS based cellphone have emerged!! Presenting (drumroll please) the HTC Dream G1....

The exact specifics have been kept under covers, but industry rumours have come up with the following list
  • Large touchscreen with haptic feedback
  • Full QWERTY keypad
  • 5 inches long and 3 inches wide
  • Keypad that either slides or swivels for easy typing/texting
  • Internet navigation controls below the touchscreen display
Here are the pics of the HTC Dream/Google phone




Us Indians though might have to wait for a much longer time before we get our hands on the Dream....but with HTC digging its feet into the Desi-mobile markets and with brilliant launches like the Touch Diamond having been well received by Indian users, you can never really say!! Lets all just pray for the Indian launch of the G1 at the earliest!! :)

Now That's How You Dispose A Plane!!

Recently, the British military were looking to get rid of a stranded C-130 Hercules cargo plane, in the north of Baghdad which had some technical error. So what do they do?? They BLOW IT UP of course. In the matter of a few seconds, $50 million were powderized into the atmosphere!! Ironically, The Indian Air Force is in talks with their American counterparts at Lockheed Martin to ink a deal to get 6 of these planes to India. And the deal is said to cost India $962 million!!

Here's the amazing video that shows the Big Boom!!



Video Source: LiveLeak.com

Desi Laptop For Rs.15000 Only!!

Some great news for India's on-the-move populace. Now you can carry your data around with you for the amazingly low price of Rs. 15000!!

If its unbelievably cheap, its gotta be Zenith Computers, one of the largest manufacturers of personal computers in India, and sticking to their philosophy of price is not quality, the company has launched the nation's lowest-priced laptop, at an amazing price tag of Rs 14,999!! Whats more, the PC comes preloaded with Microsoft OS!!

The announcement, made by Raj Saraf, chairman and MD of Zenith Computers; and Ravi Venkatesan, chairman, Microsoft India, is an effort by the companies to further their initiatives in the affordable computing space.


The new laptop, which was launched under the EcoStyle brand name, will be available across India in time for the festive season. The EcoStyle laptop series is ideal for youth as it is quite trendy. The laptop is Net-enabled and comes preloaded with the Microsoft productivity suite. The customer has an option of choosing Windows Vista Starter or Microsoft Windows XP Home. This makes it great for SOHOs and students.

The laptop weighs 2.2 kg and has dimensions of 185mm x 250 mm x 70 mm. The Eco part of the Ecostyle brand comes from the fact that these laptops consume far less power than other laptops. One an average, the EcoStyle laptops claim to consume 30% less power!! Or so Zenith claims.

Lets just hope that the EcoStyle brand of laptops get accepted and do not end up like so many other ambitious schemes launched by Indian companies in the past.....but overall its great to see that Indian companies too are going the "eco-friendly" way.

This initiative is a part of our continuous effort to foster advanced and hassle free computing experience. The initial Rs 10,000 PC was launched with much fanfare, however it failed to perform. With the EcoStyle PC, Zenith is bringing a true low-cost PC which underlines performance and affordability for the consumers. -Raj Saraf

Off Topic: Singh Is Kinng - Fulltoo Timepass!!


I recently was in Bhopal, and with a late night train to catch (at 1:10 AM!!). With nothing else to do, I decided to check out the night show (9 PM) show of the mega-blockbuster Akki starrer Singh is Kinng. Not a multiplex mind you, a theatre (the kind i thought were all dead in this day and age!!). So here's my take on the movie......

Just a word of caution before you watch this film: This movie is not for the intellectuals or those pretending to be one. You know the rules when you watch a leave-your-head-at-home flick: Just don't look for logic. If you do, too bad for you, for you would never enjoy a film of this genre and more specifically, Singh Is Kinng!! And just incase you wondered, the extra "n" in the title is for good luck......sheesh!!

The film starts off with a slick action sequence which sets the pace for the film at a birthday bash for Lucky Singh (Sonu Sood) aka King (should i add an extra "n" here as well??), who's an internationally renowned don based down under in Kangaroo land.Post the James Bond style chase, we cut to a not-so-Bond-ish chicken chase, in which Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) is introduced to us as the large-hearted Sardar, who means well, but causes chaos everywhere he goes. Animal rights activists needn't worry, coz the movie actually starts off with a note that says the chicken chase scene was done using CGI and tht "No chicken was harmed in the shooting of the scene".

So getting back to the movie, the villagers conspire to rid the village of Happy and convince him to set off to Australia and bring back Lucky, who hails from the same place. And so, Happy goes to Lucky, with so called buddy Rangeela, played by a marvelous Om Puri. The duo end up in Egypt after a ticket mix-up (in filmy style), where Happy meets Sonia (Katrina Kaif) after yet another chase, to retrieve her empty hand-bag. Happy falls in love with Sonia but ends with with nothing more than a bunch of memories when she suddenly disappears - Amelia Earhart anyone??

Happy then departs for Down Under and along with Rangeela tries to persuade King to return to his parents in Punjab. If Lucky agreed, the movie would've probably ended within an hour but Lucky says Nahi, thus dragging on the story.

Happy roams the streets of OZ until a motherly rose-shop owner (Kirron Kher) gives him food and shelter. Happy decides to reform Lucky and ensure that his parents get to see him before they make their one-way trip to heaven. But before he can reform Lucky, an unexpected twist of events lands the underworld king into a wheelchair and Happy Singh on the throne of the king. Thereafter, the new king turns the whole functioning of the underworld upside down. Charity and compassion replace coercion and kidnapping. And the don’s henchmen end up getting new duties – like cutting vegetables in kitchen or watering flowers in the garden.

The first half of the movie thus goes by breezily. However, the second half becomes a drag when Sonia re-enters Happy’s life as Kiron Kher's daughter with her boyfriend Puneet (Ranvir Shorey). Once rich, Kher's husband died leaving her bankrupt. But daughter Sonia - who hasn't returned home in 3 years - has no clue of the family's misfortunes. Happy, who has now taken up all of Kirron's problems upon himself, and his henchmen maintain their maali-waiter-assistant-manager fa├žade and try to get the lovers married. But then, ofcourse Sonia falls in love with Happy.The comedy in the second hour becomes a tad too deliberate as Bazmee adopts a no-holds-barred approach and pulls every possible string and tries every available trick to make the film funny.

The climax is fairly predictable in total Aneez Bazmee style, and definitely whacked-out to say the least!!

Performance wise, the movie belongs to Akshay Kumar and Om Puri. The first half is a laugh riot thanks to Mr. Puri alone!! The childish bickering between Yashpal Sharma and Sudhanshu Pandey is near-perfect. Manoj Pahwa is good in his role. Javed Jaffery's talents have been wasted. Katrina Kaif is pure eyecandy- Nothing more, Nothing less. Neha Dhupia is mostly OK-OK, but looks bad lip-synching Hard Kaur's songs. Kirron Kher is motherly as usual. Ranvir Shorey maintains his identity well.

The music of the movie by Pritam is pretty funky but badly placed in the film, and the Snoop Dogg track (which arrives with the end credits) is just, sort of, a launch for Dogg into Bollywood. Hard Kaur does her bit with the vocals but as I mentioned before, Neha Dhupia looks weird lipsynching them. 'Talli Hua' is simply a waste of film-reel. 'Bhootni Ke' certainly brought back the memories of the last few Punjabi 'shaadiyaan' I've attended. The cinematography of the song is absolutely illogical and nauseating, but at the same time brilliant as well.

All in all, Singh is Kinng is not intelligent, nor is it witty, nor is it inspiring!! But, it clearly has no pretensions of being so. On the other hand, it's loud, fast and at times even funny. At the BO, the film fetched a hurricane-like start shattering all known records for an Indian film. Somehow, the movie has managed to rule the hearts of the aam junta (whose verdict matters the most), which , sorry to say, once again pushes a nail into the coffin of logical yet profitable movie-making.

I'd recommend you wait for the movie to be broadcast on the telly. Go to a theater at most, (like the one I was in) but the movie isn't worth spending hard earned $$ in a multiplex.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Main toh sirf Bolta hoon, acchi toh baatein apne aap ho jaate hain -Happy Singh in Singh is Kinng
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