Monday, July 24, 2006

Refurbished blog...

Q1)Why the new template?
  1. I had been monitoring the traffic to my blog via and Google Analytics. Both were showing a rapid decline in the number of people visiting my blog. Interestingly the readers with the resolution of 1024x768 were always loyal to the blog. The blog looked really crappy at 800x600 and on resolutions higher than 1024x768. I was kindda procrastinating a revamp as my laptop does not support resolution more than 1024x768. The background image which was perfect for 1024x768 appeared too big for lower resolutions and too small for higher resolutions.
  2. My dad and my friends had been complaining about slow internet speed in India and that it took ages to load the page.
  3. I realized that the background was sort of freakish. It looked more like a punk anarchist's blog.
The background(and along with it the template) had to go.

Q2) How did it all happen?
Ans) Well I was trying to give my blog a crumpled newspaper look, sporting a highly desaturated, washed away picture of mine. I downloaded a few templates and one of them had a snazzy AJAX menu in it. So I ditched the newspaper look built my template around those menus.. Weird?? I know, but I don't know AJAX/CSS (ofcourse I can read them) so I didn't want to meddle with them.

Q3) What about the head bobbing on the heading?
Ans) Oh that... I asked my roomy to click few pictures with a highly contrast background which I later edited in photoshop.

Q4) what's with the blue? You have it on your webpage too right...?
Ans) I am obsessed with blue color... cant live without it.

Q5) Roadblocks?
Ans) Hell yeah. The only thing I can edit files in, is VI. The editor made it extremely difficult for me to do anything. It doesn't support even the most basic indentation. Tab key doesn't work. To top it all it has a buggy interface. Half of my code just disappeared once. Had to redo the whole thing twice.

Q6) How long did you take?
Ans) Well 1 long sitting...


Monday, July 17, 2006

Blog ban in India!!

Do you remember your childhood?.. when people used to tell you what to do and what not to do.. You always thought that once you grew up, you wouldn't have to take orders from anyone. After growing up, you realize that you have to take orders from your boss... no matter how high you are, there is always someone higher than you. The mind wants to break free and wants to lead its own life. To stiffle this outrageous mind we have societies, we have government and we have rules. Their sole purpose is to stop the civilization from decaying. They are like the fence on the periphery of a steep cliff. The trouble arises when people start living by the fence, leaning on it and believing that fence is their nirvana.

This is what the current world we are living in is like. People are so scared of their government, yet so dependent on it, it's pathetic. It's like hiring a chef and then believing that you will die of hunger without the chef.

The reason of my rant is the current ban on blogs in India.
The preamble of Indian Constitution reads
We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all.
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation; in our constituent assembly this twenty-sixth of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.
India has joined the "blog-blocking" group of China, Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia. The article was a frontpage article on today. BoingBoing reported this article today and provides ways to get around it. In a nutshell, the action was taken because the DoT believed that the terrorists were using blogs to communicate. I am surprised they did not ban telephone, cellular services, postal services, television and radio. I guess the Indian government finds porn sites to be more educative and more helpful to the society than blogs as it decided to ban blogs instead of porn site. By banning blogs, Indian government is not just blocking some websites but nipping the very form of expression, expression of beliefs,faith and liberty. So much for being the biggest democracy in the world. Many people are claiming that this is just a 48 hour operation and not a complete ban. I hope so too....


Saturday, July 08, 2006

10 deadly sins a C++ n00b commits...

I am a passive user of a lot of news groups and communities. I rarely reply and seldom do I ask questions, but I keep an eye open. In case I have a better answer to a question I do jump in, but that is rare.

Of all the groups/communities I'm a member of, C++ groups seems to have the maximum number of flame wars. The reason: People think that the code their compiler compiles is great. Lately I have found myself clenching my teeth and counting till ten after reading a post. Here is my compilation of 10 great sins you can commit while coding in C++ and posting related queries in C++ groups.

  1. Use #include < iostream.h > instead of #include < iostream > : People are not aware of the fact that iostream.h does not provide you with the namespace goodness. They completely trash the warnings generated by any modern compiler. The standards were introduced in 1998...its 2006 people, GET A BRAIN.
  2. Use the old Turbo C++ compiler: Almost all the Indians (I don't know of other people) are taught programming on this compiler. This was just a toy compiler...meant to be a toy compiler. It does not complies with the standards and introduces its own header like conio.h which were never a part of standard C++. There are plenty of free C++ compilers on any imaginable platform. E.g g++, Visual C++ Express, dev C++ etc.
  3. Asking stupid questions like "What will be the output of printf("%d%d%d",++i,i++,++i)" : It obviously depends on the way the parameters will be pushed onto the function stack. The output will be different on different machines. It is really irritating when they ask the same question again and again and are stubborn about an answer just because their compiler gave them that output.
  4. Posting job vacancies: I don't know which part of the sentence "C++ users group" they don't understand.
  5. Posting links: More often than not you will see postings like "Hey check out this cool link" or "awesome video"... I would punch their faces if I could.
  6. BGI graphics: This library was developed for MS-DOS ... I don't know why on earth do universities in India still make students do project on it. Another Turbo C++ induced crap.
  7. int86(): Hail Yashwant Kanetkar for this. Without doubt it was one of the best book for introductory C, but its outdated. Modern operating systems DO NOT provide direct access to the hardware (which was not the case with Win98 and MSDOS).. It might be a good learning tool but thats that. No body uses it professionally. Beginners are all excited about controlling the hardware... turning the keyboard lights, tuning the beeper.. all of us know about that silly function as much as you do so don't expect any help... do expect flames. Also C queries on a C++ group!!!
  8. System( ): this function is like the fail safe. Windows people do system("PAUSE")... new linux programmers do system("clear"). Maybe your executable looks pretty, but its not portable and makes you code less elegant.
  9. Using abusive words: Well this is acceptable sometimes but I have seen queries like... " I have a @#$%%% program which uses some @#$$ library and the damned thing crawls" also some replies like " Who the @#2! you think you are?"... come on guys this is a @#$%$ C++ user group.
  10. n00b questions: E.g "What is a class?", "Who wrote C++?".... Google it out buddy. We are not your tutors.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another thing to keep me busy..

My life... atleast for the past 5 years seems to be wired with the computer. The first thing I do in the morning is boot my PC and check my mail. Then I check my blogroll (which is really huge.. check out the link on your left). By the time I finish going through all the entries, I become aware of my stale breath and hunger...after freshening up, I dig down to the links and scrap out pieces of useless trivia. Sometimes I ask myself as to how did man survive without computers?... what did he do? If you are reading this blog, then chances are you don't know the answer to that question either. The only topic I can discuss with non-computer people is movies.

To do something besides meddling with computers, I got myself a tin whistle. Now this was not a random foray into the music world. I had learnt tabla for two years and I have vague recollection of learning carnatic music and hindustani music. I like music but don't listen to it often because it stops the number crunching part of my brain (well melodious music does... hard rock and heavy metal turns it on).

To cut the long story short, I have been learning tin whistle (or pennywhistle). I can play few Irish folk tunes. But I must say, its really easy in comparison to other instruments I have tried. It has a really sad sounding melody attached to it that I have grown to appreciate... or maybe its just the notes I am playing.

PS: On a totally unrelated note I got 3.83 GPA this sem. last sem it was 3.4 :( ... so my cumulative GPA is pumped up to 3.667... yay