I am the alpha and the omega
February 29, 2004
Boren's Laws of the Bureaucracy
  1. When in doubt, mumble.
  2. When in trouble, delegate.
  3. When in charge, ponder.
Was tinkering with Swish again.
I had a set of decent illusion images, which I wanted to put up ages ago. But not knowing Javascript, I couldnt make image scroller. I didnt want to put up as a table, and I really wanted to spice it up. So I downloaded the Horizontal Image Transform scroller tutorial from Swish tutorials site and got working on applying it to the 5 images that I wanted to put as a scroller. After 3 hours of work, my third attempt at it became successful - it is slightly confusing.
The Horizontal image scorller is pretty neat. It uses very less space on the page, more slick and more fun to work with. Just move the mouse over the image label that you want. Dont click or anything - it does not have any effect. I felt that any other solution would have looked cluttered on the screen, and this blends in well with the background.
Wait for it to load - 138 Kb. Happy Scrolling.

Posted by satosphere at 10:52 AM

February 27, 2004
Boozer's Revision
A bird in the hand is dead.

Not much to write today.
Got around to deciding the rough hardware architecture of one of the modules to be implemented in my project. (A superficial sign of relief needed here).
Saw two movies in the past two days - The Medallion and Equilibrium (2002).
The Medallion is a nice comedy film. Starring the ever so famous Jackie Chan and the not so famous Claire Forlani (There was no other film in which she stars, apart from Anti-trust, that I have seen). The movie is like a typical Jackie movie that I have seen. Full of stupendifyying stunts, actional comedy or comical actions, mind blowing twists and turns by the camera (and not the storyline) and some amazing fight scenes. Whats different about the movie is that Jackie attains superhuman (also read superman) powers and the directors combine this fluently with his amazing acrobatic stunts. Whats bad about this movie is that, even though it is about 1h and 20 minutes, it runs too fast, and slightly disjointed for my taste. It literally seems to jump scenes, just like Jackie. A good movie overall.
The Equilibrium, on the other hand, is a different genre of movie by itself. It seemingly combines science fiction with extreme action; Mind you, it is not a movie fr the faint hearted. Starring Christian Bale and Taye Diggs (of Ally McBeal fame) with a tagline of
In a future where freedom is outlawed outlaws will become heroes.
It is a slick movie, packed with a lot of amazing action sequences involving mind numbingly impossible gun fights and supreb choreography; Especially the last 10 minute action seqence is beyond compare. If you can get past all that blinding action to the core of the movie - the resistance of the attempt to remove all sensory feelings and emotions - therein lies the true meaning and the message of the movie. The movie is slick, fast-paced and the last half-hour will keep you pinned to your seats. Filled with a scitech and spartan environment, it is a movie worth seeing to pass time (though it si notoriously difficult to get - I dont think it was even released in India).

Apart from that, went to a treat given by one of my friends when he got his job, at Dhabha Express in Beasant Nagar. Which reminds me, there are many people out there and out here to whom I owe a treat.
Was also browsing through Digital Blasphemy. Veteran users of it must surely know of the high quality 3D images - Flourescence, Sky Song, Singularity, Thetis moon, Satori and all that. For others, this site contains some amazing 3D images, seriously [I ran out of adjectives here]. For example, here is a teaser of the Flourescence image.

If you are fanatic about such images, do try that site out. They have some amaaaziiing wall-papers.

Posted by satosphere at 6:27 AM

February 23, 2004
Booker's Law
An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.

Came across this - A ranking of world universities while going through Aderemi's Notebook. This ranking was done by Shanghai Jiao Tong University - Institute of Higher Education. Their exact quotation being
We rank universities by several indicators of academic or research performance, including Nobel laureates, highly cited researchers, articles published in Nature and Science, articles in Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Science Citation Index, and academic performance per faculty. Read more here.

Why would they affect me that much? - Well, because of this fact : Only one Asian university is in the top 20, the rest are American universities. With IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur being ranked between 451 and 500 and IISc in the range of 251 to 300. They also stand pretty low in the Asia Pacific University ranking - about 27 - 36. To top it all, my univ isn't even there.
Mind you - IISc and IIT's are world class universities with standard equalling or even surpassing those of Stanford, MIT, Harvard. Many of you mite have even seen the documentary that glorifies the image that is IIT.
Is it a big deal? YES, it is for ME. And probably for all IITians, even for Indians, maybe. Read this and this for starters. The IIT Org contains all that is to know of IITians around the world.
Seeing this ranking now enrages me a lot more. It hurts the prides that resides in every student when he steps into this dream institution. It wouldnt be wrong to say that the brand name of IIT is one of the most well known ones all over the world. IITians still lead over many prestigious companies over the entire globe.
And this puny ranking system tries to decry it all.
If I was not so restricted on my vocabulary here, there wouldnt be enough space here to depracate all of their rankings.
We'll show them what it is to be IITians.
PB : If I have been extremely biased/boastful/inclined towards IIT's in this post, pardom me. I felt that this was needed

Posted by satosphere at 11:03 PM

February 20, 2004
Boole's Law
You always find something in the last place you look.

Ah, now that the excitement (for me, atleast) has settled down, life has started going back to its normal pace. In any case, the tempo of my life did not change at all. Meanwhile I am waiting for other, probably better, offers to come. Lets see.
I am putting up a forward which I got recently - it is something about thinking out of the box. Read on.

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:
  1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
  2. An old friend who once saved your life.
  3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car.
Think before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application. You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.
He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."

Posted by satosphere at 11:12 AM

February 18, 2004
Bombeck's Rule of Medicine
Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

At Last, A Reply
Finally, after all that effort that I had spent last sem on application work, one seed that I had sown bore fruit today.
Yes, thats right.
I have got one very positive reply.
I again thank all of you who had wished me luck that last time. It was of great help to me, to keep me optimistic during those times.
The details of the admit are as follows.
I have an admit for a Ph.D in Bioengineering, in the field of Bioinstrumentation, imaging and optics.
The aid is as follows: the tution fees are waived. I have a Graduate fellowship for the first year (2004-2005) which will give me $22000. The aid in the succeeding years will depend on the performance in the preceding years. Besides that, I get $500 as medical expenditure.
The surprising thing was that, usually the universities intimate by email that you have got an admission before sending the actual packet. But in this case, all that I got was this packet - out of the blue. Still, I am not complaining.
I have to send a reply before April 15th. There is a lot of time for it, but I feel it is prudent to consider other better offers also.

Also, I have changed the template. The old one didnt look nice at all. So I changed it. This design is based on the late nights design of Blog Frocks. I have modified it a lot - changing many images and css properties. It took a total of about 3 hours of coding, 2 hours of image resizing, one hour of online modification. Hosted some of the images at Ripway. Ripway is pretty good, they provide 30 MB of online space and 5 MB of daily bandwidth for free - the logistics of which is unknown to me. For budding bloggers who want some online storage, this is a great boon. I will probably transfer many of the images later there.

Posted by satosphere at 5:32 AM

February 15, 2004
Bolton's Law of Ascending Budgets
Under current practices, both expenditures and revenues rise to meet each other, no matter which one may be in excess.
Ahh, now the CAT exam is over - I can rest peacufully. You can say that I belled the CAT.
I did pretty decently. I managed to attempt about 82 questions, which is pretty good, considering the fact that I did not go to any class (Call it - Tempting trouble. Thats the past. I dont want to brag about it in the future.
One sad thing was tha that the digit convention that I wanted to go cancelled. The reason being that - I dont know. I so badly wanted to go to it. All in vain.
One the other hand, I went to my friends place to set up his comp. It had an AMAING config. A P IV 2.8 Gigs, 512 MB RAM, 80 GB HD, Asus mother board with on board Geforce II MX graphics card with 64 MB memory, a combo drive, a Creative 4.1 Speaker system and to top it all, a Samsung LCD monitor. And everything in black. Its amazing. U have got to see it to believe it. The price - well its about 53 K, but I say that its worth it. I set up the OS, some useful softwares and other miscellaneous stuff, some games too. Best 4 hours that I spent.
Now, I am looking forward to doing my project - I have to pay some serious attention to it. Till now, for this reason or that, I did my work a little slowly; now I have to giddy up. Lets see.
Many students have started getting admits into Universities. Me, well, I am still waiting for mine, and praying for the best.
And I have an exam tomorrow, the only exam of the First Set of Examinations in the Semester - thats the perks of being in the fourth year.
Have a nice day

Posted by satosphere at 8:33 AM

February 11, 2004
Bok's Law
If you think education is expensive -- try ignorance.

There I am, 3 days from one of the important exams of my life (I have a feeling that I said the same thing about 4 months ago) - the Common Admission Test, 2003 - an incongruity as it is being held in 2004 - because some silly rogues thought that it would be worthwile to leak out papers to undeserving candidates and thence screw the IIM entrance examination. And it has thrown the schedules of many people haywire - the Application process for some was made more difficult, the final year project got affected, and the patience of everybody ran out. But enough of me (or others) berating those insolent fools. What has happened has happened - it is inevitable; and I have to write it again, whether it is to my advantage or not, only time will tell.
My preparation, though abysmal compared to others, is, I feel, reasonably enough for me. The paper will most probably be more tougher this time, but I see many of my classmates not putting the equivalent effort that they had put for the first "mock CAT". I still need some brushing up in certain areas, and I feel that there is enough time for it - 3 more days. If any of you are reading this, pray for my luck. I need lots of it.
One sad aspect is that, most of my Valentine's day would end me up poring over a lot of CAT problems. Nonetheless, I do not usually do anything special on the 14th of February; so it wouldnt be a day wasted .
I also decided that I would go to the Planet Digit Convention here in Chennai on the 14th and 15th.
Yes, YES, I am one of those digital geeks who plays around a lot with computers - I have been subscribing to Digit for over two and half years now.With the CAT on the 15th, I have no other choice but to go after the exam. Which leaves me about 5 hours after the exam to exercise my Right at the convention (If you havent figured it out, my aim there is do Gaming).
That reminds me, I have another exam on Monday.
Oh well, Guess I wont be able to study for that.

Posted by satosphere at 11:16 AM

February 07, 2004
Blauw's Law
Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.

Well, I had taken a course called German Studies, which was supposed to be on study of German culture and political/cultural history. (Why German is at all being taught in our institute - thats a different story. It was because, during the early stages of my college, it was aided a lot by the German Government and its educational system, hence we have certain subjects related to Germany and German. In fact, I studied German language for one year. Enough of the digression)
What I was coming to tell you was this. The prof who teaches that course is too much of a thinker. He has a great command over the English ( and the German language) and wields it to a great extent.
In the previous class of his two Thursday's before, he wanted to, rather, tried to talk about German cultural history from 1750 till 2000. He tried a bit too hard, I must say. He started by saying that ideas and ideologies are the bases behind any culture. Thats it. Whatever he had said for the next two hours went completely over my head. He started talking about bourgeois principles, individualism, communism ,feudalism, adoloscent enlightenment and he kept on going. Everytime he found a new exciting phrase, he made sure that he used it in the next five to ten sentences he spoke.
A most confusing incongrous summary of what he had said :
ยทยทยท"It is a discussion of a proletariat life in a bourgeois egalitarian society doing feudal work in a post-modernistic neo-classical age"
Had it been any other person, he/she would have falled asleep. Being me, I just barely managed to stay awake. All his sayings were so confusing and incoherent that I could not bear it.
I somehow just managed to survive another class of his. It was very fortunate, because, it was in this class that he managed to talk something related to the German Cultural history - the French Revolution. Atleast he managed to get into the rite continent. I was happy about that.
But still, too much droning on the French Revolution can put any body to sleep (which in fact he had already done - by the time the class got over, some were already sleeping). Again, I managed to stay awake. But to finish up, I must say that this class was much better than the previous one.

On a happier note, I am having loads of fun with my writer - what with having to reboot my system many times, and ending up with burnt tea coasters that I would have happily used for some other purposes.

Posted by satosphere at 10:17 AM

February 04, 2004
Blauw's Law
Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.

On a good note, I just got a Samsung 52X-24X-52X writer. Remember that I told that my old CD ROM drive had cupped (stopped working) and so I was using my cowsin's CD ROM drive temporarily. Well, I had to give it back to them. So I went and brought this drive. Costed about 1800 Rs. Pretty Cheap.
I also had my eyes on a Sony Combo drive (which can play DVD's as well, but it was slightly costlier than the amount I had carried. It was Rs 3425 and I had only Rs 2200.
Neways, now I am happy and I also compiled my first CD - I had compiled CD's before, but this is the first time in my computer. So there...
Also, computer hardware has become pretty cheap. When I had originally bought my comp, CD-writers costed 7000 (2.5 years ago) and CD-ROM drives were 1600. Now all prices seem to have hit rock bottom - and may go down even further. The combo drive, I had mentioned, when it was introduced was priced at 6000. Now it has halved. A 40 GB hard - disk costs now 2300, and an 80 GB one about 3300. Graphics cards rate have also come down. A good Geforce 4 MX costs about 2000 only. Pretty cheap.
If anybody wants to buy computer parts and assemble him/herself, it is the cheapest and best time.

Posted by satosphere at 11:45 AM

February 02, 2004

Law of Blissful Ignorance
What you don't know will always hurt you.

Tolkien - the Lord of the Writing Ring
I just finished reading Lord of the Rings. For the second time. Last Saturday.
My God, it is an amazing book. I worship (I will definitely try) J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien.
I started it for the second time about December 15th. And one and a half months to read it is pretty fast, I must say, given that I had host of other engagements, apart from College, Saarang, Project, blogging and on and on.
Tolkien is one of the greatest author that I have ever seen, the most creative one, atleast. For this story, he has created an entirely new world, entirely new types of people (I have lost track of how many - but I think it is five minimum), new sets of languages for each of them, new dressing style... I could go on, but you get the idea. Then, there is the appendix for the book - a good 100 pages of that, where the author has described the characteristics, culture and history of the various, their languages, their calenders, family trees.. (I didnt go beyond that.)
The story itself has a very good plot and has one of the richest descriptive world that I have ever seen (or read). By the time I finished the book, I had this great longing to wander in the valley of the Anduin river, the vales of Rohan, the peaks of Misty Mountains, the flatlands of the Shire, the eaves of Fangorn and Lothlorien, the caves and tunnels of Moria and Helms Deep and sail on to the Gray Havens.
Apart from all this, the author and his son, have written a slew of other books that accompany or precede LOTR. Indeed, LOTR is but a small fraction of the stories of Middle Earth. There are, I think about 20 other books from the duo, dealing with the kingdoms and life of the various people. I definitely want to get my hands on them.
One of the best comments given in the back cover is this :
   "It is quite surprising, that one man, in the span of about 20 years, has created a writing of entire people."
For those who havent started it yet, my advice is first see the The Fellowship of the Ring. It gives you an orientation and faces to the various characters that you may encounter. Finish the book before seeing the second and third parts of the movie, as the second part seems to be very difficult to understand without the aid of having read the book.
Me, at present, waiting for the The Return of the King being the third part, scheduled, I think to be released in March. I sooo much want to see it in theatre that I dont want to see a VCD version of it - it will definitely spoil the effect.

Posted by satosphere at 11:30 AM


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