29 December 2007

Still and Chill

Alps from my Window

It was a very clear day after so many gloomy-foggy days. Alps, which is 80 miles from Munich was visible from my room. StillAfter so many days, today even the temperature was high - zero degree Celsius.


It was not just clear, everything was very stand-still too. The smoke was just staying around the chimneys from where it came. (not very clear in the picture). Actually, the silence and stillness made it look like a horror movie!

My day was just ordinary - nothing special. I am not at all in a mood to blog now. Still, two words before I leave.



Reading - one of the best things one can do to make time worthwhile. When I was at IIT, just in the beginning of second year, we used to go to the lab in the morning, then come back in the evening - without doing anything productive at all. As I was talking about this, a friend (Guru) told me - "dude, just make it a habit to be in the lab. People like us will be soon bored of wasting time. Then we will start doing something creative".

Similarly, you cannot always read _only_the_best_ stuff. But let reading be a habit of yours. Every now and then you will be reading wonderful stuff - the stuff which counts.

By the way, last week, I found myself reading "Harry Potter". I enjoyed it really well. Harry Potter was something which I had always deliberately avoided - thinking that it would be a waste of time. It wasn't. After all, it would be named a classic-series for children by the time I have grand children. Wouldn't it look too bad if I have to tell my grandchildren that I haven't read it? ;)

I haven't finished the series though - that would take quite some time. Eight more days to go before university re-opens. Before that, I have more important things than Harry Potter.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!

Signing off, Sands.

22 December 2007


What I wrote in my last post actually cuts much more deep that I initially thought. Yeah, it ought to be - otherwise anyone could simply have solved it much earlier, right? So, I'll be anyway working on it until I have a clear cut answer.

Now the problem is something else -- I am hungry. I had a Bauguette (some long bread) with some butter and herb-sauce only at 4 in the evening.

After that, at 8:00, I had rasam and rice (from one glass un-cooked rice). I had all of it.

At 10:00 I was again hungry - I had 3 pieces of bread - with quite a lot of cheese and jam. Why am I still hungry?

I am not sleepy either! Let me have some corn-flakes too - at midnight? Have some pottu-kadala too, also an apple which I kept for tomorrow's breakfast! 

It's a known fact that I am an above average hungry person. But this is rare!

Signing off, Sands.

  1. Bauguette - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baguette
  2. My mother's  fast rasam recipe -- Rasam.pdf


12 December 2007

Probably ...

I am excited. I think, I have a result - which could be ground-breaking! - It could be useless too - but that is what you call research. Anyway, I wish "If only it would be a solid result".

The result is still in theory -- but it looks really promising - Even my professor admits that.

It might not be that great too. All of that, now depends on the careful complexity analysis and also on the implementation/results.

Basically, it's going to keep me quite busy for sometime. at least, all of this year! The night outs are to continue.

Things to do

  1. Write down the algorithm - with all the details (write as in LaTeXing)
  2. Analyze the complexity (Document it too)
  3. Implement it
  4. Check for the results
  5. Be ready to take a bad news too

But I really hope to have a good result. Anyway waiting ... fingers crossed.

I'll let you people know ... as soon as I know.

Signing off, Sands.
Mood: Thrilled/Excited.

5 December 2007

Happy and Energetic

I feel quite happy today. I had a couple of night outs in the last few days. Quite a lot of stuff was done. Not just reading.. I did something.

Anyway, I have to draw energy from it. Should gain all the energy and turn it into lot more work.

By the way, Radio Dum Dum and Saarega are worth checking out - both are Online FMs. DumDum is playing in the background right now.

This coming month has half of the days holidays. I am going to make use of this time. There are a couple of classic CS books I have tried to read many times but never read properly/completely. I am planning to direct my attention towards them.

Today, in my class, I could explain them some cool stuff because I had read some of Concrete Mathematics. The same way, reading the classics would really help me out a lot.

So which are these books I want to read? -- mainly the books by Knuth -- Concrete Mathematics, All the three TAOCP (TAOCP - The Art Of Computer Programming)and the available fascicles of TAOCP-4, then the Book by Micheal Sipser.

I know, I cannot finish all these, but try my maximum -- that's it. Parallel to this, I want to read something else too - which is secret for the time being! Once I finish, I shall write here! :)

The other day, I was reading a little from the fascicles of TAOCP-4, I wouldn't claim that it was easy; but was not too difficult either! - That is giving me a little confidence!

That's all for now.
Signing off, Sands.

PS: Listen to Radiodumdum in the morning (IST), they play really good songs!

3 December 2007

A very narrow escape ... from??

I feel really relieved! I escaped from a pretty bad accident - if I had acted some 30 seconds late... I might have been in a hostpital (?) now!

I was outside. Walking against the howling wind itself was pretty hard. Speaking over phone against the howling of it was even more difficult.

There was a stopped DHL van. I thought of escaping from the wind for a moment... at least till I finish the conversation. I went and stood behind the van.

But before settling down there, I thought of the possibilities -- what if the driver takes the van in reverse? There was no chance he would see me. First I thought that I'll move a little further from the van so that I'll have amble time to move in case the van comes towards me. At the same time the wind wont beat me either.

Why to take chance? I moved away. Within seconds the driver came from the front side of the van and took it reverse. It was pretty fast too!

I was watching him: He actually didn't look whether the road is empty - it is always empty; not many vehicles come there!

Just when I saw that, I knew how narrow my escape was. I went and checked the van. It's ground clearance was really very less - that means...!! (Yeah, the clearance would have mattered only if I had escaped from the wheels!)

What did I think first? "Thanks to my father - who always takes care of all the minute details and from whom I've got a little bit of such thinking".

Then I thought, I shouldn't tell my mother anything about this! - anyway she'd read all this very soon and I can expect a pretty long advice - to be careful! :)

Busy day...! Signing off, Sands.

PS: What is with men and God_Father? Last day EVEN I advised a girl with some dialogues from God_Father!

PS2: Windows live writer is definitely worth trying! (Actually I'd stick to it now onwards - whenever I am blogging from Windows - Good bye to blogger interface!)

PS3: I already found out a bug though! (I was always good at testing!)

26 November 2007

This post might be useless!

Last week, I wrote a mail to my long time mentor. Actually I was suggesting him to ask the young students to read! To make them aware of the importance of reading. Students actually DO listen to him!

The reason was this - I just read some blogs of a few of my super-duper juniors! The language I found there was not really up to the mark.

I am talking about students who are doing their BTech at some prestigious college in Kerala (yes, the place where people claim to have great literacy rate!) Some of them have to really improve. I know, they are technically very sound, at the same time should know that non-technical stuff too is important.

I always wanted to read so much. But never had enough time to read what I wanted to read. I regret for not reading enough during my under-grad days. Actually I never cared enough during those times. At least I used to read quite a number of Malayalam books. :)

My first English book was when I was at IIT -- The Godfather! As the first book, I found it too long and was surprised by the explicit stuff! Later I knew, it was normal!

Then I have been through a few good books! Not always novels, some stuff which makes you think too. Reading is so much fun!

One good thing I have found in me is that I really don't differentiate technical books and non-technical books (old story). Now technical stuff is really getting tough! :)

So, back to reading - it is so much fun. Your language improves, you gain knowledge and start thinking different. And still, so many people who don't ever read even a few books in whole life! Yeah, their choice - what can I do?

Let me go and catch up with some reading!

Signing off, Sands.

PS: The ones who really read the post completely are the ones who have the habit of reading. The ones whom I wanted to read, wouldn't have read it as they are not interested in reading! Hence the post might be useless.

14 November 2007

Small mess up!

Just came from the class. When you have a set of students of which some of them are computer science graduates and some are civil engineering graduates, and you are teaching algorithm analysis - it could be a night mare. There are about 22 students.

The moment I write down something, the experts give out the answer. Then I tend to go fast, and the newcomers to comp-science would find it difficult! And the ones who already know the subject, they are frying me in the class. And once in a while, I am pretty good at messing up too.

Today, somehow, I swapped the names of selection sort and insertion sort. Just after I started, I realized the mistake. Immediately these guys started attacking me with in vigor. For like 2 minutes, I went pale and confused myself. Later I did it really coolly.

I guess, this is good. Next class, I will be wonderfully prepared. :)

Anyway, at the end, when I asked one of the guys, he told me that he understands more from my class than from the other teacher - and hence he comes only to my class!! (Isn't that delighting?)

Gotta go, signing off, Sands.

12 November 2007


Today I am somehow filled with lot of energy. May be because I am going to be terribly busy this week. Anyway good.

Last week, I got a new system here, at college. A dualcore 3.0GHz system with 2 GB RAM -- with Suse-10.3 installed. Not bad actually :). A new monitor too - which is a 24 inch widescreen from Samsung. I don't know, what great thing I am going to do with these. Do I really need this great stuff for checking emails, browsing and a little programming?

Anyway, the system is working wonderfully. [LG system, Samsung monitor, Logitech mouse and Cherry keyboard -- what a combination]

The thing which I am most happy about is the new keyboard. The old one was a little difficult. This one is really soft and feels good. And the keyboard is the only thing which is white in color!

Let me then get to my work.

Signing off, Sands.

10 November 2007

Short Updates

It is just a few days since I put the entry "How to educate them". Today, when I came home, I found a notice from the student-hostel-management, in my mailbox. Everyone in the hostel has got one such notice. It ran like this:

Dear Housing Residents,

In view of higher operating costs and i9n particular for ecological reasons, we ask that you make not of the following tips. In adopting them, you make a personal contribution to a more responsible use of resources and do your part to lowering the operating costs of your residency facility.

It was followed by a list of tips for saving water and electricity, and also instructions for separating the waste products. There was nothing new there. Something like, don't let the water be running while soaping/brushing, turn of the electric equipments while not using, etc.

I was pretty much surprised and was happy too. I reached my room and sent a "thanks for such a step" email to the hostel-management team. I also requested them to put some posters in the wings so as to remind the inmates always.

Otherwise, there is nothing special. The winter is already here. It is snowing right now. The temperature is 2 degrees above zero (feels like -5). The wind is howling, at a speed of 40km/hr. Very good time to lie in bed, read some book and fall into sleep. :)

Signing off, Sands.

5 November 2007

How to educate them?

A small anecdote first.

When I was staying at Balaji's room, after all my day's work, I used to lie in the bed and read for sometime. Once I become sleepy, I would just close the book, switch off the light and dive deep to sleep. The thing I'd hated most was getting up from there.

Unfortunately, on most of the nights, just when I switch off the light, through the small gap below the door, I'd see lights from the corridor. Cursing myself and the person who never bothered to switch off the light, I'd go and switch it off.

Many times, I had decided not to get up - what may come. Still, I'd be not able to stay and not switch off that light.
(The thing to notice here is that the lights in the corridor were actually sound/movement sensitive - when there is someone in the corridor, they turn on automatically. It was on top of this, they wanted to keep it burning all the time -- even during day time!)

Nothing has changed since then - except the place I live.

Every evening, from 6-11 whenever I go to the kitchen in my wing, I switch off a minimum of 3 lights. Anyone who's coming there first turns them on and never turns them off!

Many of the days, I'll have to do the same in the morning too. Since I am the one who gets up first in the wing, the burning lights mean that they were "on" all the night.

How can I educate my wing mates? Do you think some poster(s) can do the trick? If yes, please give me a few links to some good posters - against energy wastage and also for anti--global_warming.

I confess that I have a couple of lights in my room - I want my room to be very well lit. Especially during the winter times when the days are too short and also gloomy. Not all of them are power saving bulbs (they are way too costly for me right now).

At least I make sure that they are not in use when I am out. I make sure that my system is sleeping most of the time. I don't keep my heater on when I am not there.

It's already too late to take measures against all these. Educate your friends/family/neighbors everybody -- and yourself too.
Save energy -- save yourself. (My home in Kerala is in the tropics and it is expected to have about 5-10 degrees of temperature rise in a couple of decades there in the tropics. The majority of the readers of this blog should have to think of relocating themselves and their near&dear to some cooler place ... OR start rescuing the planet right now.)

Signing off, Sands.

I am just against wastage. If you need 100 bulbs burning in your room while you are reading, or if you want a car for transportation, go ahead do it. But make sure that those lights are off when you are away and also the car is in perfect condition so that there is no wastage.

26 October 2007

Books by Indian(Mallu) Authors

I had picked up a tag from Asha. It's time to put the post. The post is supposed to be about books by Indian authors. In my case, when I list out the favorite ones, they end up being all by Malayali authors. It doesn't matter anyway.

  1. Driksaaskhikal (Eye Witnesses): By Unnikrishnan Thiruvazhiyodu. The factual fiction is a story which starts on the day Indira Gandhi was murdered. He describes well how things started going wrong after her death – about the riot. I want to read it again. He even mentions about the initial inability of the "Chief of Crisis Management Department" at this crisis… in a nice way.. (a small incident in the novel).
  2. Randaamoozham (Second Chance): The celebrated novel by MT. The novel which changed the way I (and many millions in Kerala) interpreted Mahabharata and especially Bhimasena. Wonderfully written… Can't explain more.
  3. Oru Sankeerthanam Pole (Like a Symphony – actually I can't say what a Sankeerthanam is… so I say symphony): One of the best novels ever. I was doing my Pre-Degree Course. One afternoon I saw the book with Sujith, I borrowed it. I started reading while I was in the bus to home. I didn't stop reading until I finished the book. It had this wonderful flow.
  4. Yanthram (The Machine): The IAS case diary kind of stuff – written by a late IAS officer – Malayattoor Ramakrishnan. I wouldn't say that it is that great or anything. But it still stays in mind.
  5. The God of small things: Read the English version itself. The author is Indian, happens to be Malayali too – Arundhathi. This was really a wonderful novel. More than the novel/plot/theme, what I liked was the way she explained things, the description, and the imagery – simply too good.

I'd say that this list would do for the time being. Except the first and the last, I've read all of them more than once.

All regular reader of mine are encouraged to leave a note and take the tag! ;)

Signing off, Sands.

16 October 2007


For some time in future, this blog might not have very frequent posts. I am not saying that I'll stop altogether. The frequency might go down a little bit. Then I shall be back with full power.

Signing off, Sands.

PS: In case I feel like blogging, I might as well post more than one entry on a single day itself. But chances are less.

12 October 2007

Am I being Human?

It must be certainly a human tendency to feel that what others do are so simple and silly... what I do is the most important and difficult thing.

May be it is what makes me feel that German is the most difficult one of all the languages. The only relief is that every other student of my German class too agree with this (WOW, they too human!).

There are situations when you feel that you are almost done, and then you figure out that there is a whole lot of stuff more to be done. Something like you are cleaning your room and are happy that cleaning is almost at an end.

Alas, then you open the almirah and realize - there is just another universe of chaos inside it - yet to begin with. This is what I feel, just in a large scale.

I was happy when I could understand quite a bit of the news which I found in the newspaper. I was excited when I understood the whole of the notice pasted in the hostel. I was beginning to think that it is time I am more or less finishing with the German course.

Unfortunately, the good feeling did not last long. Daniela started with the a new topic yesterday. And as usual, the topic is completely logic-less and full of exceptional cases to be learnt by-heart! Of course, pretty important too, if you don't want to look like a fool while speaking in public.

Then I knew, the end of my course is still very far. I have quite a long way to go before I reach there.

Well, I am concentrating more in reading/writing. Converstions will automatically follow. Time to update my German blog.

That's all then.

Signing off, Sands.


1 October 2007

National Language and Malayalam

A quick post... but might be long!

Karthik was here during the weekend. It was great. I am again filled with lot of energy. Real positive energy. As he says, it's true that the chances to pick negative energy is very large here in Europe. I guess that I have been taking up lot of negative energy lately. Anyway it was always unnoticed. Now since I am aware of it, it wont happen anymore.

A lot of my questions were answered. Or I realized that some questions are not to be asked ;). More about that later.

Now to the topic. As a matter of fact, Hindi is NOT the national language of India - as every (north)Indian says. [hey, no grudge against anyone here... just wanted to write the fact]. Hindi is the official language of the central/union government. It is one of the national languages of India - just like Tamil/Malayalam/Kashmiri/Punjabi etc.

Have a look at THIS_PAGE of a government website. Specifically read the 1959 and 1963 developments in the event list.

And incidentally, Tamil is declared as the classical language (See 2004) - actually it deserves the honor.

A little about Malayalam too - I used to profess that Malayalam is a very easy language to learn(ONLY from grammar point of view) - because of the lack of gender-cases and also because of the absence of conjugation depending on gender/respect etc. (There is actually conjugation based on respect, but not that important)

But, I am changing my opinion here. Malayalam could turn out to be the horror of horrors to a language student - just by the way we connect words together - two things called Samaasam and Sandhi - could turn out to be the most complicated stuff ever to learn.

Readers who can read Malayalam might want to have a look at THIS_LINK. The author explains a lot of Malayalam grammar - with the support of Sanskrit scriptures and the history of words too. A treasure among Malayalam websites.

Thanks for reading till here.

Signing off, Sands.


21 September 2007

Time Slowed Down

Was it 1989 or 1990? I would think it was 1989. It was our first trip to Guruvayoor in the bike. Yes, Hero Honda 100 CC – the good old bike. As you can guess, bikes weren't as popular as they are now. The traffic was not as bad as today either.

My parents were in their thirties, the society had started accepting the inter-caste married couple. The kids were small (I was 7, my sister was 1). The new house was planned/under-construction. The midlife crisis hadn't started. Altogether, it was very good time.

Hey, I am deviating from the topic. So, we went to Guruvayoor in our own new bike. While coming back, we visited my mother's colleague and our family friend Venu. The plan for the day was over. We (my father) were riding back home.

We entered the main road from the small pocket road. We crossed the main road and we were already on the left side. There was this "Ambassador" car which was overtaking some other vehicle. It happened to be on the same side of the road as us, but in the opposite direction.

Let me move to present tense… [I am going through the event-accident]

I can see the car coming against us. I am the one who is sitting in the utmost front of the bike (literally speaking, on the fuel tank).

The time is slowing down. I am seeing the car, it is sure that the two vehicles are to collide very soon – just a matter of time (a few seconds). They are colliding… head-on.

I am flying in air, just a free flight… towards the car. My head hits the front glass-pane of the car, I can feel the hit but I don't feel pain at all. Now I am on top of the bonnet rolling towards the front of the car. And finally I fall from there to the ground. I feel that the glass is broken and I can see blood flowing from my head….

Back to past tense … back to my explanations..

Yes, I saw and felt all of it … very vivid. What happened after that was just usual – a good man appeared from the crowd, took us from the accident place to the hospital, 2-3 days there in the hospital and finally back to home. We all had injuries, with the exception of my mother. There ends the story.

I have many times explained the whole thing to my mother and she never seemed to believe that I really could see all these so vivid. Yes, all of it happened in a matter of fractions of seconds. But I only knew that I had seen all this really well. I too was not able to explain how do I remember all this so clearly … that too when the situation was really tensed.

Now, after realizing that mind (brain) has the ability to slow down the time during high adrenaline situations – it makes sense that I had really experienced the above explained in full detail. The brain makes it all look like a slow-motion movie or something similar – when adrenaline is pumped in.

And in my case, I remember all of this. :)

Brain is simply great, isn't it?

Signing off, Sands.

PS: I was down with fever for the past 3-4 days and to be honest, it was one hell of an experience. I don't remember being in such a bad situation in the past 3-4 years. :(

12 September 2007


I am overwhelmed with the stuff I have to do. One week away from home and the whole world seems to have turned upside down.

186 mails of which one tenth of them only need real attention and that (18) itself is too much to look at. Well let me start from one end.

Blogging too is one of them and have to do in 2-3 days! – about my trip.

Signing off, Sands.

7 September 2007

Blues... Reds Yellows Pinks Violets

The conference is over. I have 3.5 more days here in Dublin. I have to go around in Dublin and actually have lot of time. I definitely would do that. Have to plan things well.

I am going to think a lot... I feel that I am in a real thinking mood - away from home, away from friends, away from Internet (most of the time). I have a couple of books with me of which I already finished one and have 3 more. I plan to finish two of them before I get back to Germany.

So, the coming 3 days are only for traveling, reading and THINKING: I already feel a little suffocated - with some inexplicable feeling. I always feel this when I think deeply about my PhD. I don't know how to put it - but definitely one of the worst feelings. Get used to it :) [I know that most of the other PhD students can understand it]

So, Now is the break I needed.. desperately. Break from everything, as for the coming 25 days, I have to burn my butts off -- 1) My Interim Report, 2) A small paper 3) Workshop organization 4) MentorING 5) Karthik coming and 6) Oktoberfest.


Most of the scars fade away as time passes. Even the scars made directly on your heart. But there is this single one made by a deep cut - it doesn't seem to disappear. Every time I start forgetting about it, something reminds me of it. This is really surprising that I, of all the people have this kind of a thing.

I take _almost_ everything quite light and also forget (bad)things very easily. This one is still staying.

I would have wanted to ask my readers' help - but I think I am tied. :(

At present I have other things to do... so let me move from the "blues" to other stuff! [read the title]

Dublin is pretty expensive. I already feel that there is a hole at the bottom of my pocket. Money is flowing. But I cannot avoid the unavoidable - enjoyment, fun :)

Let me go ahead and freak out.

Signing off, Sands.

6 September 2007

Fish out of water!

Reporting from an Internet cafe.

I don't have much time today to write all the details. In a hurry to go to hostel.

Today I had my dinner in the dining hall of Trinity College Dublin. A huge hall - about 400-500 years old. I think I was the only Indian in the whole group of roughly 100 mathematicians. I am not sure I am a mathematician.

I don't know --- what am I? mathematician or computer-scientist? whatever .. that's not the question here.

I was sitting among these great people and I was feeling very uneasy; like, whether I deserve to sit among them or not?

I know, those people are really like gods in cryptography and I am nobody. Compared to their knowledge, I am even worse than illiterate. I felt very odd while sitting there.

We were discussing quite a lot of stuff. At the end when the mathematician-couple left, the wife wished me - "You are very young... Get married and have a loooot of children". Just 5 minutes back they were telling the problems they faced while parenting! I mentioned this - just to prove that they were really very friendly and also were like common/normal human beings.

Hey, gotta go. So in a nutshell this is it. I am very proud to have been able to go to such places and dine with great people whom I respect a lot. At the same time... I feel really very odd and kind of inferior when I am there with them!

I should work more and earn it.. earn more than this. A mixture of feelings..! Let me get back to Munich... I have lots to write. I am physically very tired and mentally very energetic... and right now, body wins - I have to get to my room.

Signing off, Sands.


5 September 2007

I am thinking.... - from Dublin

For the first time I am outside mainland Europe. First time in a country where I can simply speak in English - to any stranger/bus-driver/shopgirl etc. This is the farthest I have come from India. I am in Dublin.

For the first time in my life I really followed all the instructions literally - in the flight. Still I was a little worried. :)

It is no wonder they say "ignorance is bliss". After seeing the documentary on plane-crashes and all, I was educated about the precautions to be taken in a flight and hence I was a little concerned. Also, the flight from Munich to Frankfurt was a little rough.

Anyway, the flight from Frankfurt to Dublin was really cool. After sometime in the flight, the pilot announced that we will be crossing the English Channel soon and then fly over Liverpool and Birmingham.

My thoughts surprised me. I related English channel with "Satanic Verses" of Rushdi - the plot begins with the flight from London flying above English channel. The school story of "Cheeses from Liverpool" came to my mind when I heard Liverpool.

And the name which I thought about, when I heard Birmingham was nothing other than "Sherlock Holmes". He had been there for a couple of cases.

All the things I connected with these real places were some novel/story/character. That really surprised(s) me.

I reached Dublin at the scheduled time.

It is bad to compare cities - that too just with the initial appearances. Dublin looks not as clean as Munich. Dublin is a little dark too. People are not really following the traffic signals. Public transportation is OK. More about Dublin and the conference would come later - in a special "Dublin + Conference Edition post".

Now to the title. I was observing -- that I was thinking a lot while flying.. I was even thinking about thoughts -- kind of meta thoughts? Lot of things flashed through my mind all through my flight... and the trend is continuing even after I reached here. You know what? - I am seriously thinking about Philosophy and all those stuff - real serious! [What happened to me? Suddenly?]

I am sitting in an Internet cafe (Dublin has a lot of them). Now it's already too late to get back to my hostel. My feet are killing me - from the long walks .. that too the new pair of shoes is not that comfortable.

Let me make a move.. should reach my hostel by 9:00.

More interesting details later.

Signing off, Sands.

31 August 2007

Just Crap

  1. I don't like it when large major roads slowly turn into small streets. The big roads should come to an abrupt ending ... without losing their importance.

  2. I hate this : To popularize the film songs, the actors giving a lecture in the cassette. For eg. Mohanlal gives a lecture "Hello friends, I am Abdulla... His highness Abdulla". Then some crappy explanation to the song which is going to come. Sathyan Anthikkadu does the same for "Achuvinte Amma" - and it is 2:14 minutes. Why can't they simply play the songs?

  3. I feel uncomfortable in getting a call while traveling in the UBahn. That is time to relax - at least for me... I want to be away from the network.

  4. I am surprised, when in a crowd or something, when my hand hits some one.. or when some clash with somebody... or similar situations, I say "Entschuldigung" where as they say "Sorry". Well, I don't have any issues ... but always surprised about it. Actually, I should be saying English and they German... it always happens the other way around..

  5. I feel odd (later) when I stand and watch some HOT beauties I see on my way. Today there was this burning hot girl standing in front of the library ... while I was coming.. I just stood there for a moment.. - just to look at her. [ithoru rogamano doctor? ;) -- is this a disease, doctor?]

Happens to be the 10th post in August. No wonder people stopped commenting for my entries. The blog stinks probably -- with SO many posts.

Signing off, Sands

29 August 2007

It was fast

Just now I got my new battery (NOKIA) delivered. When the package came, I was wondering what it could be.

After registering with NOKIA last week, I was not sure whether I'll actually get a battery replacement – as they didn't send me any confirmation email. For the same reason, I thought the registration to be failure and did that once again.

May be I'll get one more battery!

Signing off, Sands.

27 August 2007

The whining baby!

Warning : Contains bragging.

In my childhood, my parents never forced me to study. They left me free all the time. My father used to tell my cousins and all other children - that they should study English and Mathematics very well. All the other subjects came along automatically. Apparently, I was good in everything except Hindi and Social-sciences.

Today I was with these 3 PhD students from maths department. We had to do some calculations - very simple ones - a few multiplications, additions and divisions. I was surprised by the speed at which they did it. They were way too slow.

They all had to take paper and pencil to do the calculations, they took actually much longer time that I took. I know there is nothing to brag here - doing basic math with 4 digit numbers, in your mind - is one of the simplest things. But when I out-did 3 PhD maths students, who had done 4-5 years of formal math courses, it really surprised me. Made me happy too :).

So the basic math which my father used to emphasize - was actually very important. I knew it always :) ... [There was one more thing he used to tell - that one should always _DO_ math. Only by doing homework/exercises one can gain expertise. Since I was too lazy, I always pretended as if I haven't heard that part :) ]

And about the title : Yeah, that's me. Lately I had been going through quite a bit of tension. I have been cribbing all the time. Not that everything is smooth now.. just that I am getting used to things. Don't want to crib anymore. As the saying "A diamond is nothing but a piece of charcoal which did well under pressure" is true, all is good for me.

Actually, for the first time, I confessed my feelings/worries to a colleague. Then only I realized that he too is in the same boat! So, let me stop whining and have a jolly trip in the ocean of uncertainties, with my colleagues who share the boat of tension with me :)

Signing off, Sands.

PS: News Update : German improvement by leaps and bounds. Had the first full-German conversation without any English word nor an unnecessary pause between words/sentences.

26 August 2007

The Obvious

As anyone would guess, this year too I invited my friends and gave a small "sadhya"/feast. It all started like this.

Then with the hardwork of Rajee, Anup and Myself, we prepared Sambhar, Kalan, Olan and Aviyal. Of course, there was Payasam too :)

This was the last moment I remember, after that whatever were in the bowls ... simply disappeared. I am happy that all of them liked the event and food.

Not at all in a mood to write!

Signing off, Sands.


20 August 2007

"The" Mistake

Asking a lady her age... unforgivable mistake. So what is that I did just now? This was even worse.

I was coming through the main hall of the building. I saw this man and a lady sitting opposite to each other and having tea. From the first glimpse itself I knew they were from Pakistan.

Went over to say "Hello".

I: Hello, I'm Sandeep.
He : Hi, I am xxxxxxxx.
I: So, this is your mother?
He : No, She's joining here for her PhD....

I turned blue/red/white/pale... and all fifteen colors of the rainbow.

I started cursing me... why on earth did I ask that? I could have very well asked - "who is this lovely young lady?"

Somehow I found myself getting back to the conversation and asking her about when she's starting and all those stuff! Just normal conversation.. and I escaped fast!

Lucky me... she was not his girlfriend!

I know this is a very common mistake. I know someone who asked the same question about some one's girlfriend. Still... did I have to?

Signing off, Sands.


16 August 2007

Payment for having fun!

When I went with the summer university students, I had wanted to write down my experiences. On second thoughts, I felt that it might be a little boring for my readers.

Now just after the farewell party, I cannot avoid writing. It was so good to be their tutor. I really had so much fun with them during the trips. Even today too... :)

Today at the hotel, as I went in, they all welcomed me so well, and the way they behaved to me literally flattered me. I didn't find any reason not to believe them when they said (praised) Karolin and I were the best tutors and they were expecting us for more trips.

Yes, of course there would be a good share of exaggeration and all - still even 10% of what they said ... is more than enough to make my day. Below is a picture of the whole group.

Now I am looking forward to the Indian students who will be here in another 15-20 days. I am going to be their "mentor" .... that scares the hell out of me. Indian students who come for sandwich program usually fight a lot (for girls) among themselves. Especially this time they have a girl among them... I hope, I would be able to keep peace. Also that they will be good to me as long as I am good to them. And I always will be. :)

There is a mallu (person from Kerala) too - I am a little worried about it. Because that would give others a chance to think that I treat him special - that is exactly what I don't want them to feel. I should be really fair.

Bitter experiences... : Even when I was really fair to all my classmates at GEC, many of them thought that I was an agent working for BVB-Gang! :(

Signing off, Sands.

PS1: I was paid a not-so-bad amount for tutoring these students. I was actually having loads of fun with them.

PS2: I am seriously thinking about a trip to Morocco - may be in a year.

PS3: [Album Here]


Sun rises late

Two months back, sun used to rise pretty early - about at 5 in the morning. And I used to wake up at 6 in the morning. Now, sun rises a little late - about at 6. Should I too get up late? at 7.00?

Yes or no, I too have gone one hour back, about which I am not very happy. Time to revamp.

The weather is pleasant today. There is a small wind, 19 degree temperature, a little cloudy. I went to jog - lately I am really serious about my tummy. My plan is to reduce at least 80% of it before September 27. I'd have to struggle.

With the new keyboard, I am a little slow. Typing takes longer time. And right now, I am busy. Or else..... I'd have written lots of boring stuff! ;)

Signing off,

PS: Do all bloggers have a word verification - before publishing the post?


13 August 2007

Applying for a VISA!

It's been 9 days since I blogged last. Didn't feel like blogging at all. There weren't many things happening either.

I finished my German 4th level with flying colors. Went to the largest Beer-house of the world which sells largest number of beer per year.

It was fun - teacher and 5 students. Unfortunately, there weren't any girls/ladies in the course this time. We went to the beer-house, had lot of food, beer and fun! I guess, teacher and yours truly were (very) slightly drunk.

I should say, this was the major event which happened last week.


I am planning to attend a workshop to be held at Dublin in September (5-7). I need a visa to go there. I am a big failure in these bureaucracy related things. May be not a failure - because I always do things successfully. But definitely not good at it - very unprepared.

Yesterday morning I suddenly decided to apply for it ... without postponing further. Went ahead and started doing the necessary. I was totally upset the way I was unprepared(not anymore). Even though I struggled to get all the necessary documents properly, I managed to reach the office/consulate just 15 minutes before it closed (12:00). Successfully finished the work.

After all I wasn't that bad :)

Time out. Gotta go to the university. More later.

After a long time, I am going to contribute to the FSF... Hooray!. Details later.

Signing off, Sands.


5 August 2007

Mera Naam Saara Hein!

It was in the train, I saw her. All members of my tour-team were getting introduced to each other. She said "mera naam saara hein". Wooh!!! I was surprised - just because she comes from Morocco and I really didn't expect her to know Hindi. Of course, I had underestimated "Bollywood-effect".

Yesterday, I went as one of the tutors for the summer university students. There were actually two small groups in the team - Arabic and Russian ones. My colleague took care of the Russian group. She was from Ukrain, so she knew Russian.

The Arabian group was with me. Should I mention it.... all of them were girls. ;)[why don't I change?]

To my surprise, despite of their Arabic origin, they kept speaking in English. (What I have noticed is, most of the Arabic speaking people keep talking in Arabic even when there are persons who don't understand it).. Hint : GULT

The whole thing was good. The Englisher garden visit, the meadows, lake, beer garden, Chinese tower and hmm.... yeah, the beauties lying around in the garden (in bikini ;) )

I have a lot to write. But running out of time. Today we are taking the students to the Castle of Herrenchiemsee. Have to move now!

More details and pictures later.

Signing off,

2 August 2007

Programmer's Dilemma

Guess what? After a long time, I am into full-time coding. For the past few days, I am coding for about 7-8 hours a day.

The language is MAPLE. It is actually a mathematical software system or for the beauty of it, let's call "a computer algebra system". To be frank, I haven't liked the syntax/grammar that well. I guess, it's just a matter of getting used to.

Programming is not easy too. Because you need to know quite a lot of math to use this. Till now, I have managed fine.

I had to use some finite-field stuff - which is incidentally very poorly done in Maple. I just thought of writing a wrapper class/module. Started with it and got defeated badly. The reasons for failure were - 1) I am not crystal clear with all the details of finite fields. 2) I am still not an expert in Maple.

Now, coming to the title.

Whenever I have to write a reasonably big function/program, I think for quite some time. Even after I am done with thinking, I would be hesitant to start. I will just go around and around for quite some time. It takes a lot of energy to pull me back to write it. I guess it is like "chewing the cud". Taking the program structure from mind and chewing and re-chewing it - to confirm everything.

Another funny thing is that, after writing the code, I will read the code very many times - checking for syntax/logical errors. Again I am hesitant to try compiling and running. I want it all to go in a single go. Rather, I don't want the compiler to find the smallest silly mistake.

What would the compiler think about me? - if I don't find and correct it myself? ;)

Just now, I am done with a big chunk of code - a set of functions for core of the program. I finished it and waiting to get enough courage to run it. I have read it a couple of times and it looks perfect and is shining after the polish.

Still... shall I try it now or after a break? This is my dilemma. If I try now and find some mistakes, then I wont be taking any break. Anyway I'm running it now.

I guess, cross-checking the algorithm and code, before giving it to the computer is what makes me a good programmer. Careful coding is always better than trial and error. Less bugs more fun! :)

Signing off,


29 July 2007

Internet Reservoirs

For the past few years, a couple of websites are providing online music services. The movie songs in most of the major languages (Indian) are available - to listen online.

There (is?) was the website coolgoose even provided the downloadable mp3 versions.

Since the huge growth of band width, there are sites offering video - either parts of movies or even the full length movies. The second wave of music sites are even uprooting the old music sites like raaga/music-india-online.

In case of video-sites, the major ones are videoduniya/videoraaga/videomasti etc. These websites are just a collection of well organised links to the online reservoirs of YouTube and Google-Video (both are actually the same).

This is in fact a very good business. Since I live abroad, I know how much do people want to see Indian movies here. And this kind of websites is a blessing for us - especially in Europe.

Now comes the problem of piracy. Even Sivaji (the latest Rajni movie) is available online. And as far as I know, the real distributors of the movies are not happy about it. Still I am surprised, why don't they act?

All these online sites are providing very low-quality videos. At the same time, if the distributors want, they can setup good servers with good quality video - let it be streaming or even download (which expires after a couple of hours/days). This is what is happening with amazon-video right?. People rent the movies and watch them. (I don't know about the patent/legal issues)

Even if they charge about 3-5 Euros, I am sure there would be quite a lot of people to rent and watch the movies. If you consider the whole of Europe, I am sure you'll get quite a number of people for that.

I would definitely watch 2-3 Indian movies at the cost of 10 Euros a month. I am sure, I am not a movie-freak in this aspect. There are people with LOT of time who would watch at least 8-10 movies every month.

Am I overlooking something? Some legal issues?

Now since Indians are smart, they would download the stuff, record it new, and the sell it off for lower price. In that case, I am sorry.. you cannot help it! Let the online piracy continue!

By the way, I watched Sivaji and liked it. It was fun. I am becoming an ardent fan of Thalaivar ;). [Reciprocating for another post ;) - from a dear friend]

Signing off,
PS: From a Malayalam daily (online version) what I could understand is this. The following image is of a health centre in Kerala - How is it?!


25 July 2007

Inferiority Complex? Not really!

Lately, I am watching some documentaries about Cosmos/Wildlife/Human-mind etc. The documentaries are so good that they sometimes point out some of my prejudices. Especially about human-mind. They say most of the thoughts/fantasies of adult people are closely connected (or even root from) the child hood experiences.

I am not sure which experience of my childhood gives me this feeling! The people who know me wont believe it - that I have a complex. Actually I don't have one - expect for a small thing.

I always feel a kind of reverence towards those students from MIT/Stanford/Berkeley etc. I feel that they are way too smarter than me. May be they are, but why should I feel it when I meet them?

Earlier, I had the same problem with IIT-ians. When I went for Shaastra 2001 at IIT Madras, I had looked at the student who was our hostess - with an awe - "WOW she's an IIT-ian".

Later, when I went to IIT, I had similar feeling for all IIT-Bachelors. After a few months of life there, I knew, they too were normal humans with a few exceptions :) .

I guess, it might be that I could never make it to the above mentioned places. That makes me feel they are superb. But when I achieve it, things are cool. For eg. When I reached IIT, the respect factor faded away :).

So, some day when I reach Stanford (:?) this respect factor too would fade away! (WOW, what a dream!)

Actually, I was at this party last night - where I met a bachelor student from MIT (mathematics). This "awe" struck me on face and hence the post.

But there are some people, not from such great institutes ... whom I respect quite a lot. They have shown me the quality and hence I simply respect them and try to learn from them.

I should stop respecting just the "brand" without knowing the quality of the person.

My sister has started attending PCEs classes. I envy her now - for being not able to attend PCEs classes. :)

signing off,

PS1: I know a couple of IIT-Bachelors and Masters who are good for nothing.
PS2: I have seen this "awe" towards me from some other people when I was at IIT/M$. It used to make me laugh since I knew very well about me. ;)

16 July 2007

Heat Kills

The temperature has gone up - to 34 degrees! The humidity is so less that it is all dry heat. Feels like being roasted.

There is no fan; even with a fan you get only HOT air. Getting a room cooler would be stupid - as it is not cheap and all the other months when the temperature is pleasant/cold, the cooler would take up a good deal of real-estate of my small room. What to do? - just suffer!

The main reason is that all buildings are made in such a way that it traps all the heat coming inside. Yes, during winter, that is very much needed. Hence, all houses are basically green houses.

I planned to sit in the library the whole day - as it is air-conditioned. Today they stopped the AC after 2 in the afternoon. WOW!

Anyway it's nice once in a while. We realize the importance of rain - even though when it rains for days we curse that too. Human - what a creature? Keeps complaining. ;)

There is something which should not be left unsaid - the girls. Oh boy, to fight the heat they are in their smallest clothes - simply awesome. Micromini? Spaghetti-strap? - whatever it is called! :). Really seducing.. and lovely. ;)

Today, Firefox has crashed at least 5 times. I haven't visited any crazy web pages. Why don't they make the browser stable?

I want to write a couple of *real* stuff. The heat in my room is irritating me. Let me get out of here. Going to the library again. Shall write later.

Signing off,


5 July 2007

A quick entry!

The wind is howling outside. I expect a heavy rain tonight. My dinner is being cooked in the kitchen. I just got tagged from some secret blog. A tag for which, I am supposed to write 8 things about myself.

Here I go.

  1. I am a man of pretty strong character. Normally, I am able to take things lightly. And when once in a while a volcano erupts inside me, hardly any sign of it comes out.

  2. I am an extrovert and hyperactive – this needs no explanation.

  3. I am an egotist. The number of "I"s in the post must explain it.

  4. I am a friend who believes "Friendship is a sweet responsibility, not an opportunity" – I am indeed a friend in need.

  5. I always (almost) do THE RIGHT THING. The right thing is decided logically.

  6. I am a good cook. Especially, Kerala cuisine.

  7. I am very much interested in Gadgets and new software. At present, I have an iPod, a Nokia N70, a Nokia 6131, an iMac 17'' which runs both OSX and Vista, an M$ wireless mouse, an M$ ergonomic keyboard, M$ office 2007 and Cygwin running in Vista …. The list goes. Crazy about LaTeX, Vim, Pstricks etc. I love M$.

  8. I am a good programmer and problem solver. Both technical and real-life problems. I always have someone coming to me with some problems of his.

I have lot more to write. Eight seems like a very small number! Anyway, my food is ready, let me go and eat.

I don't like tagging. So, I am not passing it over.

Signing off, Sands.


4 July 2007

Something missing

The browsers we use need to have two more features in my opinion. It would be very useful for people who have many tabs open at the same time.

  1. Send/Email the addresses of a set of selected tabs (or all tabs).

  2. Scenario: You might be doing some research on something and have got a couple of useful links. You want to send these links to some friend/colleague. Copy paste is irritating.

  3. Close a set of selected tabs. (or at least, options like "Close all tabs to the right(left) side")

  4. Scenario: You research on something and get distracted by some site (eg: Wikipedia distracts me a lot). All the unnecessary distracting pages are on the right side. You cannot do a "close all" as you'll lose all the useful pages too.

    Sometimes you search a lot and finally get a couple of useful pages. You want to close all the pages on the left now.

I hope, these issues would be addressed when IE8 and FF3 come out. (or already available?)

Signing off, Sands.

27 June 2007

Should there be bottles of Champagne?

And a huge extravagant party?

Should I celebrate? Wondering... why?

This happens to be the 100th post in this blog. As the blog was growing in the past 15 months, I was growing too - my thoughts, ideas and the way I present things.

May be not for you, but this is definitely a special post for me. I had a few fellow bloggers who started blogging even before or almost at the same time as I did. Many of them don't even update their blogs now, many have lost the blogs completely. I am happy that I came this long way.

Am I gone crazy? This is just a blog, I am blabbering as if I have reached moon!

Hey, you know what? I have a meeting with professor in another 15 minutes. Let me prepare for that now. Will be back from there and continue with my *bragging* :)..

Please stay back.. I'll come in 45 minutes. [12:15 PM]

Back [01:00 PM] - after 45 minutes. The meeting went well. I might be taking a student assistant to help me with some programming and stuff. My complaint that I am alone has to be changed to "he doesn't know programming" :). I shall write about that later.

I shall tell about how I came to blog-land and why and how I continued to stay very active here.

I was actually very late to start a blog. After seeing Kathik's blog, I had a sudden impulse and started with a colorful "hello world" post. Initially, I didn't know what to write. It was just simple ramblings of mine.

Later I knew that this blog would really help me to improve my presentation skill (has it improved?), to improve my English (yes it has improved) and also to focus my thoughts (also has happened)

What I usually do is, when I talk with someone or read something, I register the thought and keep it in mind. Mostly in two-three days, the thought gets processed and would be ripe enough, then I am ready to write. There were situations that I kept some thought in mind, it stayed there too long, got decayed and the posts were stinking!.

On 2-3 occasions I've written something bad about others[Even though what I wrote was true].

Basically, when those 2-3 people did some utter non-sense and hurt me (from my perspective), I tried to put it down here. I was not sure why I did that. But all those 2-3 times, I was very uneasy about the posts which criticized someone and finally withdrew the posts - within a few hours.

I've always tried to be more or less regular with the blog. I have tried to have at least one post a week - because of two reasons.

1) Otherwise I'll lose touch with the blog and the idea of being regular wont work.

2) The readers who come to my blog: A normal person would think about once in a week - "let me checkout some blogs". When she comes, I should have something new for her. Otherwise she'll be bored. Or If I have too many posts for her, she'll be scared of reading lot of crap and will leave .... and will never come back.

And the people who check out blogs daily (people with no other work) and the ones who check blogs in two months - I prefer not to have them as my readers. So one post in 5-7 days was the best.

I think, that's pretty much about it. I should stop now (gotta go for food)

Signing off, Sands.
PS: It really feels good to see this 100th post! WOW!

22 June 2007

I have lost count.. still again.

I don't know how many times I already have written that I am so happy in life. Today, I repeat it.

In life, one plays many different roles at any given time - son, brother, friend, student, employee, neighbor, teacher, employer, husband, father .. etc. A man might have to play all these roles simultaneously. And how well he does it - that performance should tell how good he is.

At present, I have a couple of these roles to act. You know what? I am actually doing them quite well.

As far as I can think, my parents are happy. I am a good son!

I help my sister with her small problems and confusions. I help my friends to learn German (I am learning myself). I help my friends with CS-Theory. Not just helping with learning, I am a good emotional source&sink too ... for them.

I am a good student to my German teacher, a good neighbor to my wing-mates ... etc. My professor also seems to be happy with me.

May be I am not perfect in all these things. Except for the last (professor) thing, I am satisfied too. When it comes to my real research, I am lagging a little bit.

Even otherwise, I was never a great student. Towards the end, I finish well. But I always have been too lazy in the beginning. Half way through, I wake up and start working. I am in that stage now! :)

Anyway, this will be the last time I am having this *slow-starting* trouble. I just took things too lightly. So, at the end of day, that problem too is getting solved - because I've found the root cause!

Personally too I think I am doing quite good. There are many things which I want to do, but have not accomplished yet. It's just a matter of time. I am moving slowly and steadily towards my goals.

There are some days which are completely non-productive. I don't have time to cry for such bad days. It's a part of the game - but the daily-grind has to continue.

Two weeks back, I simply sat and wrote down a couple of things to do... to improve my life. I have slowly started with 2-3 of them too - the surprising fact is that... the 2-3 weeks of change is really showing the difference.. in the energy level and the whole happiness. Let me see how well can I manage.

The following are a couple of them from the list.

  1. Continue to be an early bird

  2. Learn to concentrate for 3+ hours

  3. Avoid procrastination

  4. Exercise half an hour every day

  5. Read for one hour everyday / A book every week

  6. Learn German

  7. Socialize more

  8. Write letter to friends and relatives

  9. Start saving money

  10. Improve LaTeX, Vim, Shell abilities

  11. Maintain blog regularly

  12. Learn Fast typing

I have started with only a few of them... It will take a long time to go the long way!

Here is a picture from my today's walk.

Should not I be happy?

Signing off, Sands.

PS1: Last but not the least, I am not-so-bad a blogger too!

PS2: These are just a few things from the big list of things which make me happy. For example, I have tension about my research... and I enjoy even that! What's wrong with me?

PS3: Post dedicated to Yadhu and Arun.


20 June 2007

Another Change

On May 21, I had an entry regarding the changes I am making in my life. The first one about becoming an early bird and the next one was for gaining the ability to concentrate for 3+ hours without fearing any deadline.

Early bird thing worked out very well and it is going on fine. The 3+ hours of concentration thing also is working to an extent. I still cannot say that it is a complete success. I am not able to do it on a regular basis. For early rising, I can give 10/10, where as for 3+ hour stretch I'd give only 6/10.

My complaint was that I was not able to work uninterrupted when there was no deadline coming up. I do not have that complaint anymore. I am able to read and do things for long 3 hours - except for being a little sleepy in between, for which I take a small break.

The DO IT NOW thing is working out to an extent. The results are actually quite visible in my life - my room - which is quite clean and arranged almost all the time. And in case it's not very clean, it takes a maximum of 5-10 minutes to clear the mess. :)

Now the coming month is the time I have to reinforce on the habit which I am cultivating. Next month 20th, when I put another entry, I should have made it strong - to a level of 10/10.

This month I am going to take up 2-3 small things to work on - to improve. They are:
  1. Morning exercise / walk / run - just for 30 minutes

  2. Increasing my typing speed from 30 wpm to 60 wpm at least - this has to be a daily exercise

  3. Reinforcing "DO IT NOW"
These are things which are not directly related to my work/studies. The one I've to improve there is to learn Maple, gain expertise in that, learn how to create new packages - and finally do the small project in hand.

To code something without having any person to guide you is scary. If it were "C" or something, I'd have been cool. Here, more than the language, it's the methods which is scaring me. There is no good documentation - there are many which are 3rd class though. There lies the fun.. isn't it?

That's it for now. If possible, I should go for TOLL WOOD tonight - the summer festival in Munich.

Signing off, Sands.
PS: After a long time, this is a post without picture nor song! [Reason: I am blogging from office]


16 June 2007

Moved - New Office Space

Earlier I had put a post with the pictures of my office. Last week, I had to relocate to another office room. After arranging everything, it really looked awesome. I couldn't resist the urge to show off my new office space.

Everything is very beautiful, just that I should work as I really deserve such a great office.

This is how it would look from the door. I should have kept the windows open for a better lighting. Or may be this darker one is better.

The view from another corner. Don't bother the books... it's all I have got. Haven't even touched many of them.

This is exactly where I would sit. There are two computers of which only one is mine. The other one belongs to Peter, who would come once in a month or so.

The corner with some plants! Peter owns all of them and now in my custody. I would take care of them well. :0

Signing off, Sands.


12 June 2007

This is a little technical post

I started reading slashdot when I was in my BTech itself. It was the times when we had 3kbps connections in real life. It was supposed to be 64kbps connection, but the average speed would have been well below 10kbps.

Well, that doesn't matter. I used to use "lynx" to browse through slashdot - without understanding much of it though. Anyway, I was never a regular reader. I used to visit it once in a while.

It was only one year back, I discovered "digg". Looked and sounded cool initially. The more regular I became in digg, I found the community is very partial. The majority of them (I mean, the majority of active diggers) are apple/mac maniacs.

Slowly, I started noticing that they were very partial.

1. They are apple maniacs
2. They are neutral to Linux/Open-software
3. They are anti M$.

The third one in the list makes them actually a little inclined towards the FSF/open-source community. Now I dont have any problem with that. But the quality of digg is degrading. I am more-or-less a regular reader and I guess my opinion counts.

All the anti-MS stuff get more digged, all the apple-praising stuff gets digged. Digg was slowly becoming partial. It is very much partial right now.

But the good old slashdot - of which also I am a regular reader, remains impartial and factual - THE STUFF THAT MATTERS. Anyway I have always valued slashdot above digg. I am seriously considering of boycotting digg.

This morning, I went to both the sites and the top news in both of them - depicted in the picture. Isn't this a good proof? (You might have to click on the image to see it clearly)

The bug-report was anyway there in digg too - with about 900 diggs!

Signing off .. from here and digg too,

PS: Now please don't argue on this thing. It's not my M$ love makes me say all this. That's a different thing altogether.

http://www.digg.com/ - DIGG
http://slashdot.org/ - SLASHDOT

4 June 2007

This is Race, the Rat Race....!

IT definitely is funny. The more you (try to) organize your life, more chaos are detected. I am gradually structuring many things which were left untouched for years, and I am discovering that I've to do much more than I had imagined. A smaller example would be reading - the more I read, I realize that I have to read much more than I had imagined.

Very frequently I come across quite interesting articles and books. I read them carefully and at times while reading I think. "Oh yes, I should read this again".

Sometimes it is some technical article which I am not able to grasp completely in the first go. Then I definitely have to come back and read once again. But I know, re-reading is a phenomenon which occurs very rare - whether it is a technical article or not. By the time I am ready to read something the second time, I would have added at least another 5 articles to the pile named "TO READ".

That basically boils downs to this - whenever I read something, make sure that I get everything out of it. And it is not very easy!

When you do not have enough time for vision, how to think about re-vision? Still I keep a set of stuff to re-read.

This is the problem of getting exposed to the world of knowledge. Look at many people out there who have never read even a single book, have never been to BBC website more than a few times, have never heard "slashdot" and many similar stuff - yes, those people who are not in pursuit of knowledge.

They are happy in fact. I do not think they ever feel that "Oh! I am missing out so much of stuff". Where as I have a constant feeling that I've to catch up a lot.

Daily visits to BBC, trying to read a book every week, trying to solve some problems which are by no means related to my discipline, learning about human anatomy, attending physics classes ... nothing is quenching my thirst!

(Sometimes these are done at the price of my real work... got to increase that part.. by reducing the rest)

Yes, I get it now. I am trapped in the rat-race. And there is no way to escape. Actually I do not want to escape. This is fun, pure fun.

I was not in the rat race a couple of years back. The transition was gradual and I did not know it happening. It just happened. Now, my sister is getting ready for her entry to it. I can see that coming. I should try my level best to NOT influence her. I should even restrain myself from correcting her when she makes mistakes... that would teach her more.

In another few months, she will start interacting with PCE, the one who gets you addicted to the CS world (lately electronics though). That interaction should take care of my sister's entry to the race. Life is peaceful outside the race, but once you are in.. it's fun!

If it took 5+ years for me, it would be less than 2 years for her. Thanks to computers and Internet.

I can keep writing about this for quite some time. Why to get my readers bored? Let me put an abrupt end here.

No, something more... :)

I went for a walk in the city this weekend. After taking a couple of pictures with my mobile, I went down to the subway station.

I was listening to some song from my portable media player. Suddenly I noticed a very beautiful young lady. It was involuntary; I exclaimed "Oh Boy!!". She was really hot, I was looking from behind her, enjoying the simple harmonic motion ;)

I realised that my exclamation was a little too loud. Since I was listening to the song, I did not know how loud I was shouting. The two macho-men who were with my sexy lady turned to me! My heartbeat stopped for a moment. Then suddenly I started singing with the lyrics and walked past them very fast. :)

Can you guess what is there in this picture? Do not think naughty! ;)

Signing off, Sands

PS : DidYouKnow.wmv - a good presentation (wmv file - mplayer should play)

28 May 2007

Unable to resist the temptation

For the first time in my life, I am working on an oil-paint. It is not yet complete. Still I am not able to resist the temptation to put it online.

There are a couple of things you should take care if you are into oil-painting

  1. The paint takes quite some time to dry up. If you are not careful enough, you’ll spread the colors all over the sheet and will use a couple of 4 or 8 letter words. I normally never ever use swear words. Still when I see that I did spread the paint carelessly, the very basic swear words pop out of my mouth – involuntarily! What a pity!

  2. It is actually very easy to paint compared to the traditional water color methods. Since the oil takes time to dry and since it won’t spoil/wet the background as water does, we can take all our time to give the shades.

  3. Don’t try with some complicated stuff for your first painting. I did this mistake and am struggling!

  4. Make sure that you have ample time… I mean a minimum of 3-4 days. You cannot finish one picture in a single day. Paint some part 1-3 hours, let it dry for 1-3 days, then the next part. This is the way to go. At least I guess so.

Now, here is the first draft of it. I am really so excited. The finished picture will go as a gift for my beloved Deutsch teacher!

So far so good.

Let me go and have my rice-soup. (In malayalam "kanji")

Signing off, Sands.


21 May 2007

The Motto is: DO IT NOW

We all have heard that "necessity is the mother of invention". Necessity seems to the mother of change too.

A couple of weeks back, I had written about "the mother of all decisions". To be honest, I was not really able to stick to the decision to its full extent. Anyway it doesn't matter. Now things are better.

After realizing that changing myself completely by a single decision is going to be very difficult, I decided to stick to very small small decisions. The only capital investment I had were my faith in myself, my willpower and the dire-strait situation.

So, the first decision was to get up early every day. For the past 32 days, I've implemented it pretty well. There was not even a single day on which I woke up after 6:00 AM.

Even on weekends and holidays. The average sleeping time has fallen down drastically. Earlier it would have been 6+ hours. I am sure, now it is well below 6 hours. This is just a byproduct of the new decision. Most of the days, I went to bed at 12:15, and woke up at 6:00. Those days I went to bed at 11:30, I woke up at 5:00.

After this successful implementation of my first decision, I am going to my second decision.

One major problem I am facing lately is lack of concentration. That is not true. When I am really near the deadline, I am able to concentrate well. I can finish even 50 pages of hard-core math in a single day, without burning the midnight lamps. I consider that to be really cool. (Of course, the exercises not included)

But on other normal days, the variety of umpteen tasks which I have to finish, seem to make me switch from one task to another very frequently, thereby reducing my productivity. This is the main problem which I am facing.

When I do a proper analysis of this problem, I come to a conclusion that, it roots from my habit of postponing things.

For eg.: I have to type in a single page of writing to my computer as a part of some official work. I have the page with me for the past 5 days, and it would take at the most 15 minutes for me to type it in to a latex file, and store it in the proper place. I myself find it hard to believe that I would have spent more than 15 minutes thinking about when to do it.

The solution is simple, the next time I think about it, simply go ahead and finish it off. Otherwise, it will continue to haunt me during everything I do – till I finish typing it off.

It is not laziness, it is simple procrastination of those things I don't like but are important. This is what makes things go wrong. This is what takes away my concentration by reminding me about the things to be done.

Next time I come upon something to be done, I am simply doing it. NO MORE POSTPONING of things.

Following "30 days to success" of early rising, I have learned and made a habit of getting up early and making use of the early hours of the day. Now it is the time for something new. The coming 30 days, I am practicing myself to "procrastinate procrastination". There by making myself able to stick to a single task for 3+ hours without switching to something else.

Yes, that's it. Let me finish typing it in now J

Signing off, Sands.

The picture was taken by me with the camera on my mobile phone. Cool.. isn't it?


16 May 2007

The Paper Day, Kids and their teachers too ;)

A couple of days/weeks back I had written about switching to complete digital life. I was mostly successful in that except that I had not cleared out the mess of old papers, the very old leaflets, notices etc.

I am planning to sit and clean up the whole mess tomorrow. I was planning for it now. As a part of cleaning, I thought of taking away the other mess of the past two days too. While washing the broken cup, I got a decent cut on my right thumb! So, I cannot do stapling or similar organizing work tonight.

Anyway before I move to the serious stuff, let us enjoy the picture I took from my window. It was raining and I found it very beautiful.

Hey, no need to worry. Today, I am not going to write about something controversial. I am into a real baby thing. I cannot say 'baby thing', but I say it 'kid thing'.

I love kids. Aren't they cute? I am not talking about the small babies one has to carry all the time. I am talking about the children of the age 3 - 10.

The place where I live is a developing area. New apartments and buildings are coming every 3 months. Of course, the new apartments are always taken by new families. The people are about to settle in life.

That means there are quite a number of children in my area. To give you an idea of how many children are in my area, I shall tell you something. If I look from my kitchen window, I can see 4 kindergartens. Yes, I say FOUR kindergartens. This is except the baby-care place situated in my building itself. That is mainly for the real babies.

Do you believe me now, that there are a LOT of children in my area?

I cannot tell how many hours I have spent watching those children playing in the kindergarten just opposite to my kitchen. There are times during which, more than children, their teachers attracted me ;). Why don't you too have a look?

Sorry guys, blood is dripping on... from my thumb to the keyboard. I am making an abrupt stop here. Wanted to write more about kids and the kind of girlish feelings :)

Finding something/someone "cute" is only said for girls? Is there anything wrong if I find kids to be soooooo cute?

Signing off, Sands.

PS1: I could say that this post was written with my blood ;)
PS2: The cut is very small; I love to exaggerate

13 May 2007

It's Dangerous - They are still there

TATA group is coming up with a cheap car. Cheap means - just one lakh Indian Rupee for a car. It will hit the market in 2008.

This news is a little old, but I came to know about it very recently. My first response was WOW!, that's cool. Cheap cars sound like a nice thing. More people can afford; the ones who always had dreams of owning a car can fulfill their dreams; The economy will boom more.

It was shocking to know that there are some people who think this low-cost car is not good for India. Actually, the reasons are quite nice. Let's have an analysis.

  1. The motor cycle industry will take a hit

  2. Does the argument look similar to this? - When computers were introduced to the market, many people were worrying about the people who would lose their jobs. Should we have let computers enter Indian business/market/life.

    The point is, the product which is needed/wanted by more people will survive the market. Let's change things - Good movies are not supposed to be released because it will make the bad ones run in loss. No good books should be sold more than 10,000 copies because we do not want those lousy writers to be bankrupt.

  3. Traffic on the roads will increase

  4. There will be HUGE parking problems

  5. If increase in the number of cars is a problem, why do not we simply stop selling *any* car? Let us wait till the government builds up enough roads and other infrastructure.

    I do not understand. How long will we wait? It is when more vehicles come on roads and there are problems, then only the government will open its eyes. We cannot wait on someone to wake up. Let's go ahead and do things, that has to get the government to wake up.

    There would be problems. But problems are to be solved. We cannot avoid them.

    Otherwise, stop selling cars/trucks everything. Let's wait... wait indefinitely.

  6. Crude oil consumption will go up

  7. Wonderful. What is wrong with that? Why do we actually have crude oil? To use or to save? It is to be used.

    The real issue I can think of is pollution/Global Warming. Yes, that is a valid point. In that case too, we would have to stop doing anything which creat pollution. Why only against the one lakh car? Even here we'll have to stop selling other cars, setting up industries and all. The solution would be to have much more strict restrictions and controls and of course to IMPLEMENT them.

There were two other points which are against the one lakh cars.

First one was this: The companies are bothered only about making profits : What else should be they doing? Should all the companies turn into charity institutions? If Narayana Murthi was doing charity instead of Infosys(for profit), he could not have done this much to the country. It is his personal motive which turned out to be good for millions. Companies aim for profit, which turns the society and makes competition in the market, which in turn makes better products, which will benefit the society. Or else, let's start advising the companies to stop thinking about profit. Let them run in loss and get out of the market - so that we do not have anything to use. The best thing we could do is to make sure that they do not do any evil in their pursuit to make money.

Another point was this: There would be people who cannot buy a *real* car, but this one-lakh car would be almost in their reach. They end up buying the car with the help of loans and finally will struggle in life because of their debts.

I have three questions regarding this.

  1. Is it the car manufacturer's fault that somebody was not smart enough to manage his funds? If someone is investing on something which he cannot afford, he ought to suffer. He has to think before doing it. Nobody can help him. It could be a one lakh car, or else he will always find something else which he cannot afford. It is his problem, only he has to solve.

  2. In the other case, if we are really planning to help, why not we help the ones who cannot afford the two-lakh car but planning to buy it? - of course with the help of loans, which would make him struggle in future. This new car would be a real relief for him. This comes completely in his reach, so this car would be saving him. Would it not be?

  3. Or should we put it like this? - do not let anyone reduce the price of computer (for example). There would be people who cannot afford it, but would go and purchase one because it is almost in his reach; but would suffer later. Let's keep the price of computers high so that the poor wont get trapped in it.

Now coming back to the un-touched part - Global warming. My question is only this - No other cars do anything on this issue, only one lakh cars contribute to it? [True, introducing this car would see a sudden rise in the number of cars which would be not so much otherwise. Still, while planning to stop this new car, we should think about other cars/trucks/companies/AC/Refrigerators too and stop manufacturing them]

Machines, including cars are made to help man. As time goes by, we see better and cheaper products. They make life easier. If they would create some problems along with making the lives of millions easier, let's solve those problems. The action should not be to ban them. Problems are not avoided, they are solved.

Now, the dangerous thing : There are people out there who think that I am crazy/stupid, they think that man is below society. He is made to serve the society. That actually scares me, the thought is dangerous. Let me tell you, without man there is not society, but man can survive even without society.

The funniest thing is that they would be thinking too that people like me are dangerous.

The only drawback is that their thoughts are not completely based on logic! The fundamental theorem is wrong!

Signing off, Sands.

PS1: Am I eleigible enough to write this? I guess yes, because I was once one among them.
PS1: Today the whole thing I discussed is against the ideas of two people, whom I respect a lot. I feel a little uneasy about it.
PS2: What has to be said, has to be said.
PS3: Why the Rs 1-lakh car is not good for India - the trigger.

6 May 2007

Coincidence? Telepathy? What should I call?

Notice: I hate putting links in a post. Links in the text could interrupt the flow of reading. Apparently, I had to put a couple of links. To get the flow, it is not necessary to follow them. You could simply read through and finally click on them - which are given at the end too.
During my IIT days, Saturday was the best day of the week - because of three reasons. The first and foremost was that Hiran used to visit me on Saturdays, second one being the variety dinner on Saturdays and finally the movie at Open Air Theater.

The very last Tuesday (May day), my day was more or less similar - or almost the same, except that Hiran came only to my mind and I didn't watch a movie. I was thinking about him, the night walks and all - a lot. I also thought about that it is a long time since I talked with him. And is it simply a coincidence that now I have to call him for some reason? I really need to call him for getting something done. I know it is, still not able to believe it as a coincidence that I was thinking about him.

On 30th of April, last Monday, I was coming home in bus. My friend was with me. We were discussing about the future of PCs Vs Internet. While telling her my opinion and the way I see it, using Moore's law and my calculations, I predicted something. Is it a mere coincidence that on 3rd of May came THIS article? Of course, the author has thought through it more that I had. But more or less it was the same I talked about... just 3 days back.

Now let's have a picture.

One day I came home from university to see that. How many days I've come home like that? Still that very day, the way I saw my room, I wanted to take that picture. The straight line created by sun's rays and the reflection on the book really looked good to me.

Is it again a coincidence that the name of the book on which the reflection happened was "Mathematical Reflections"?

I am a regular blogger. I read a couple of blogs regularly. The post which was planned for today was a post on Reading. Last night, to be precise, at midnight came an RSS feed from one of my regular reads - HERE - Is this again a coincidence? or is this telepathy? Anyway, someday I'll write about reading for my own satisfaction.

The very same thing had happened once HERE too.

These are just a couple of incidents or co-incidents (coincidences) of the many happening to me. Initially they were very surprising and now I find them really amusing.

The kind of parallel thoughts I get with my friend living 4 buildings apart - they are so frequent that they aren't coincidences anymore. Again, since we live in similar environments we might be thinking alike.

Does this happen to everyone? or am I developing some ESP? :)

Signing off, Sands.

  1. Link 1 - Prediction

  2. Link 2 - Reading

  3. Link 3 - Time blog