Monday, December 29, 2003
The Last Week of 2003
Being stuck in the United States, Seattle in particular isn't turning out to be as bad as I made it out to be. Nothing matches being in Bombay of course, that city is beyond comparison, but some nebulous plans and interesting ideas are beginning to take shape that can make these next couple of weeks in Seattle very promising indeed. To begin with, Apu and her friends are coming up to Seattle to spend New Year's eve and day here in the Emerald City. We are going to this Absolut Party that has a view of Elliott Bay and all that - I think views are for birds that fly up in the air - view hua toh kya hua - jaise paed khajoor...
I am going to go visit Ishmeet and the gang in Chicago a couple of days after the New Year rings in - Chicago is a cold, cold city right now but I can weather that to hang with Ish, Shaif and Ish's buddies in Chicago. It's interesting how my friend's buddies automatically become my buddies... I want 2004 to start on a good note because 2003 started with us being deserted on a stinky pier in Bombay fighting to get on to a boat that wasn't destined for any party. Vibhas, Rach and I spent the rest of that night driving around and finally ended it with a serving of Pav Bhaji and juice - that debacle set the tone for the rest of the year but I'll reflect more on 2003 come it's last stinking day. For now though, 2004 presents many opportunities to revitalize myself... Time to send out the usual New Year's greeting - any change in fortune for me you think...
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Disappointment, sadness and tears...
In the past 5 years, I clearly remember the occassions I have broken down and cried my heart out. On both occassions, I cried because an important person in my life was not going to be a part of it anymore. One passed away, another moved on and got married...
And then, I cried last night... I can't find my passport on the eve of my flight to Bombay. I was to fly tomorrow evening, the 26th of Dec, at 7:25pm. It's an event I've been preparing for since the middle of August. Plans were finalized to go to Goa for the New Year's; all the shopping was complete; the adrenalin had just started surging through my system and I was getting emotionally ready to meet my parents and brother. They might be thousands of miles away but I realized yesterday that they are the most important people in my life. I couldn't stop crying while I relayed the dismal news to my mom and true to her nature, she cried too. My dad and brother calmed my frayed nerves, I'd been searching for eight hours straight before I caved in, and made me resort to reason and logic. It's time for the fire-fighting crews to step in and take care of the damage. It's going to be an expensive and elaborate operation, getting a duplicate passport will be. I need to get my US Visa re-stamped, I-94 card number (it's required for everything in the states) and that's only the tip of the ice-berg. I am also going to have to go to SFO to apply for the passport in person - how tough can they make this process!
I'm going to continue searching but I know myself - I'm organized and pay too much attention to detail - if I haven't found it after a thorough search last night, I have little hope of finding it today. But I have nothing to lose and only to gain so contrary to my own intuition and better judgement, I'm going to keep on looking...
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Saturday, December 20, 2003
The Biggest Problem with Open Source
The Colour of the Bikeshed:
"This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated"
Ironically, this post completely reflects my opinion...
Friday, December 19, 2003
New Team, New Challenges
New enlistment into the sources of the product, geez, there are too many new things going on in my life. There are definite advantages to this job - it's a fresh start to say the least but more than that, I have to go through the entire process of getting to know new people, new methodologies, new organizational structure. You tend to fall into a rhythym of sorts once you are in the same team/position for a while - I'll have to work on re-establishing that. But as they say, what is life without change! As regards adapting, I don't think I'll have any trouble, that doesn't mean I'm not going to make a big deal about it though :)
Just finished talking to Karand about the NTLM issue we've been tracking. There are enough implementations and revisions of the protocol to make our heads spin. The timing of this investigation is perfect though, there is precious little going on at work what with everyone out for the holidays. I can actually expend time and energy on this and not feel guilty. Besides, I'd be learning something interestingly new, so I'm going to dig deeper, for sure.
Physical therapy last night was intense, enough for me to be sore all morning. I've got a workout spanning 2 pages that focuses entirely on muscles I use while playing squash - I can't wait to see the results. The exercises are kinda aerobic too, I was puffing and panting after every one of them lunges - so it's going to be a double whammy, much like the circuit training program I was on earlier with Nikhil. A leaner Manoj is on his way. Have a fun weekend...
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The Return of the King
10:20 show - couldn't make it in time. 11:20 show - was in the auditorium waiting for the movie/previews/anything to supplant the dark screen. There is something about the Lord of the Rings trilogy that stuns the entire audience into complete silence. The movies have been very true to the books and people respect the effort that has been invested into making the epics - I'm one of them... There is no point drawing parallels between this trilogy and others because unlike the others, the movies are backed by 3 of the best pieces of writing I have read. Enough prelude, now to the movie.
We all know the story, good prevails over evil in the end - Sauron's ring is destroyed in the depths of Mount Doom and Aragorn is crowned king of Middle Earth. It's the nuances in the storyline that kept me glued to my seat till the very end. Unlike the 1st two installments of the trilogy, this one has the perfect mix of emotions and kick-ass battles to appease every viewer. There is meagre character development but I guess it's too late in the game to waste time on introductions - there is a story to be told and many loose threads to be tied up within 3 hours.
We begin with scenes of Smeagol's first encounter with the Ring, establishing the fact that he will do anything to get his hands on his "precious". Frodo progressively sinks deeper into the chasm of suspicion and self-doubt, the burden of the Ring becoming too heavy for him to shoulder alone. This is as much Sam and Gollum's movie as Frodo's, their individual contributions ensure the Ring is finally destroyed proving once again that some things are better done in a team.
Parallel to Frodo's voyage towards Mount Doom is the battle to save Minas Tirth. Gandalph, Aragorn, the Rohirrim and their King march towards Gondor to save the citadel. The battle scene is breath-taking; the cinematography perfectly depicts the darkness surrounding the battle-grounds and the scenes with the Nazgul attacking the hapless warriors are extremely graphic. There is a definite eeriness imparted to the whole setting reminiscent of the march of the clone army into their carrier crafts at the end of Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Trust me, if you thought the battle in The Two Towers was inspiring, it was pedestrian compared to what I saw this afternoon in ROTK. Just the last hour makes it worth the admission...
There is some mush and gush at the end but the story has to be taken to it's conclusion and to this, we must give credit to Peter Jackson; I felt a sense of closure to the tale and for now, I'm sated. Till I go to India that is and watch the movie again with my brother, friends, etc, etc. Highly Recommended viewing for anyone who can sit through 3 hours of intense entertainment...
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
If you haven't heard of India's historic victory against Australia yesterday at the Adelaide Oval, I suggest you point your browser to any cricket website and you will find that India WON, India WON... This snippet is a fine description of the Indian attitude during this last test from an article in the Times Of India - once a venerable source of news and information, now only a tabloid, but that's another discusssion all together. For now, read and enjoy...
"But skepticism about India's grit has evaporated in the blazing Aussie summer. And no needless aggro involved either, in the transformation, just steely resolve and focus. Why, even Ganguly showed restraint, and did not tear off his shirt as a metaphor of joy. Having caught Steve Waugh with his pants down perhaps he didn't have to. "
Friday, December 12, 2003
The "Buying a Digital Camera" Guide
With the Internet at my fingertips, buying a camera became a research project more than just a simple chore of walking over to the nearest electronics store to select out of the limited options on display. After hours in front of the computer, long discussions with current owners and peers in the market for cameras too, I decided to write up my entire experience as a guide to others in my shoes. Here's what I'd consider are the first steps to go about drilling down possible camera options. This guide is by no means definitive and if you want me to add to it, send me email with your comments!
1. Determine the resolution of the camera you want to buy. I chose to go with 4 or 5 mega pixels (Mega == 1 Million).
The higher the resolution, the higher the cost of the camera, which brings me to the First Law of Digital Camera Shopping: Cost is directly proportional to Maximum Image Resolution
2. Now that you have determined the resolution, determine your budget. For a good camera that doesn't become obsolete before you've even received it in the mail you should look at spending anywhere between $300 and $400.
3. There are four extremely popular, respected and established companies in the market today making digital cameras: Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. The first three come from the conventional camera world and are included in this list not only because of pedigree but also because they've been the pioneers in the digital camera world. Sony, though a late entrant has improved it's line of cameras extensively. I decided to go with Canon - respected, best sales and service network and strongly recommended by friends.
This brings me to the Second Law of Digital Camera Shopping: Cost is directly proportional to Brand
4. Select 2 or 3 models from maybe one or two camera vendors and start comparing their features. I used many sites to do this comparison after which I came up with my definitive list of review sites:
a. Digital Photography Preview
b. Digital Camera Resource
c. Steve's Digital Cameras
d. CNet Camera Reviews
5. You want to consider the following features before you decide on the camera:
a. Lens Aperture
b. Lens Focal Length
c. Max Shutter Speed
d. Digital and Optical Zoom - the higher the Optical Zoom rating, the better the Zoom is. Digital Zoom is over-rated
e. LCD size
f. Battery life
g. Video recording mode and maximum video length
h. Included Memory Card Size
6. Now search for deals on the final 2/3 cameras you have short-listed. Here is the list of some of the cool sites I found:
a. Infinity Cameras
c. Bizrate @ Lycos
e. Froogle :)
Hope you find the right camera at the right price. The buzz is that the prices have been going up and up on the 5 MegaPixel cameras so if the person you are buying the camera for can wait till after christmas, you are sure to get a better deal on your purchase. If you can't wait, oh well, what's a few more dollars for the one you love...
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Science proves, hot women are trouble!
Me and my kind have been vindicated. For the longest time men have been ridiculed and chastised for becoming irrational when it comes to women. This new study published by New Scientist proves that it is decoded in the male DNA to become irrational when it comes to pretty women. As the title says - Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future... 'nuff said :)
I've shied away from expressing how I feel; about situations, people and life in general. People expect reactions from me - exultation, excitement but hardly anyone sees into the inner core. When I started writing updates (what people call a blog), I did it primarily for myself - to give a future me a window into how I felt weeks/months in the past. I don't see how reading about The Looking Glass or what Microsoft did to overcome Blaster is gonna give an idea of what I was feeling when I typed what I did - or maybe it might or it is (since these events occurred in the past) and is open for interpretation. I can't decide but I can sure continue writing about how I feel right now...
I'm listening to a new song by Dido right now - White Flag - interesting lyrics - about breaking up with a person and the emotional aftermath. I've experienced a whole gamut of emotions these past coupla weeks: acceptance after all the job offers, ennui from the lack of things to do at work, excitement and expectation from the impending trip to India, happiness from being around such nice people - the good stuff. As I sit here and type, I can't quite justify the feeling of being alone; though it's been here, ironically, like a loyal companion all along. It's been many years since I had a meaningful relationship with a girl and I'm reduced to now wondering what it all felt like. Could that be it? Two of the guys I hang out with are dating girls now and they are different guys all together - it's a metamorphosis that women bring about in men - nothing else comes to mind - my thoughts are in suspended animation - how do comparisons help?? Maybe this will pass and come haunt me some other day or maybe it'll stay! Maybe it's time I actually went out and found myself a girl...
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The Looking Glass
A Demo of one of the Desktop related projects at Sun completely blew me away. It looked similar to the work being done in Longhorn but this was completely UI related. There is this one part where the presenter, Sun CTO Jonathan Schwartz, rotates a Mozilla window to make a note about the page he is currently viewing - Check it out...
Monday, December 08, 2003
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Of note today
BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Miserable failure' links to Bush - :)
First Test Between India and Australia heading to a draw
And finally, Manoj Mehta is now #2 on the Pro Club squash ladder :)
So yeah, the Windows Core Team's Christmas Party was held last night at the Union Station in Seattle. We reached around 10pm and the festivities lasted for another couple of hours before Geni, Arun, Jeff and I headed to the Fenix Underground for some more partying. We had decided to get a little bombed at the Windows party before we went clubbing because the BOOZE was FREE! :) A kamikazi, B52, Vodka sprite and shot of tequila later, I was pretty buzzed. Since I had to drive back home though, I had to lose the buzz in quick time - don't want a DUI on my record - no no! Going to Fenix afforded the perfect opportunity to enjoy and lose the buzz at the same time, since we were definitely going to spend a good 2 hours at the club.
So the said two hours were spent dancing, drinking water and dancing some more - the buzz was all but gone, or so I thought. Arun was totally bombed, the Liquid Cocaine hit him like a rocket, much to the viewing delight of all voyeurs ;) He was so bombed that he had to be woken up when we reached his place - he had totally passed out in the backseat (sounds familiar). The buzz really got to me once I got home and sat in front of the computer - not only was I buzzed, I was also totally awake! The mix of driving to Tacoma and back, playing 7 games of intense squash on a short supply of food, drinking and dancing was wreaking havoc and I was loving it! I called Ayesha and spoke to her for nearly 90 minutes after which I took a hot shower and passed out. I can't reveal what I said to A but it sure was HOT...
Saturday, December 06, 2003
My future at Microsoft
NGSCB is what I have chosen to work on for the next coupla years at Microsoft. I'm going to work on the kernel team for the product, it's called the Nexus and I can't wait to get my hands dirty! Making a choice wasn't easy; as I highlighted earlier, I had 4 very good offers from great teams. It was tough, trust me; on the one side I was tempted to stay in my current team and work on Driver Quality for the simple fact that I wouldn't have to prove my credentials. Network Security was another serious contender because of my experience in Networking and the fact that Network Security is always going to be a problem in our world - us being enforcers of security and all.
What made me then go the NGSCB route was that the project interested me more than any other I had interviewed for. Working on the NGSCB kernel will be like a class in low-level operating systems with a special onus on security. What more can a geek ask for? :)
All I'd like to say is that I am extremely fortunate to have been made 4 great offers. There are also some people I'd really like to thank for all their help during this past month, in no particular order:
Karan - He came back to work at 2:45 on the morning of my Palladium interview to explain how MM worked to me - and that is just one instance of him helping me out. He's awesome!
Shawn - I couldn't have asked for a better manager in the current situation. Shawn has been completely supportive of me interviewing and has given me the freedom to make an educated decision of where to take my career.
Landy Wang - For the best introduction to the Memory Manager I could've heard before my interviews. He's my idol!
All the managers who offered me positions in their team. I hate turning 3 offers down but...
So here you have it, the summary of my life these past 2 months. Studying, interviewing, studying some more - it's been educational, stressful and exhilarating at the same time. For me though, there is no better feeling than being technically rewarded - and this experience is fair compensation for the lack of accolades received last year!
Interviewing at Microsoft - continued...
This is an update to an earlier entry. I've spent this past month finding out if the work of disparate teams at Microsoft was of interest to me. Determining this wasn't an easy task and now that I have, lemme enlighten those who want to do this in the future:
Step 1: Informational Interview
You tell the interviewer a little bit about your past work (after doing this 3 times, it does get a tad irritating), he (I ain't being sexist here, 6 out of 6 HEs) tells you a bit about his team, he asks you a coding question, then the team's HR representative (5 out of 6 SHEs) sends you an email about the interview details.
Step 2: The Actual interview loop
On an average 5.5 people interviewed me for the teams I choose to interview with. I interviewed with:
NGSCB, formerly known as Palladium
Step 3: Wait to receive offers.
I received 4 :)
1. Wireless Networking
2. Network Security - the manager of the team was an interviewer on the Wireless loop - enuff said!
4. Driver Quality - this didn't require an interview since this project is being executed by an arm of my current team
Step 4: Determine which offer to select...
If you got none or want more, revert to Step 1
Interesting isn't it. This is the 1,000 ft view of the entire process. To find out what to expect from an interview, google "Microsoft Interview Questions" to get a plethora of questions, puzzles and interview details...
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
For all ya fair-skinned "brown-skin wannabe" peeps, a suntan is now a pharmacy-store trip away! The news link is part of the title and can also be found HERE
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Interviewing at MS
I've got an interesting statistic for you. Here is a rundown of the 5 teams I've interviewed at Microsoft complete with teams and number of interviewers:
- Summer 2001 - Internship - Networking - 6 interviews
- October 2001 - Full Time - Base OS and SMS - 5 interviews
- October 2003 - Full Time - HTTP and WinInet - 7 interviews
- November 2003 - Full Time - Palladium (NGSCB) - 5 interviews
- November 2003 - Full Time - Wireless Networking - 5 interviews
That's a total of 28 interviews - now how many of these interviewers do you think were women? If you didn't think ZERO, you are wrong. What can you conclude from this... Mind you, all the teams are in some way related to the Core Windows Team! And people wonder why I'm single :)
Saturday, November 29, 2003
The video I linked to earlier misrepresents the issues presented by the iPod's battery having a limited lifetime. To quote from the article:
"As it turns out, it's possible to replace the battery for as little as $49 using third-party kits. Apple itself offers a battery-replacement service for about $106 including mail"
I guess people love taking pot-shots at the market leader in any product category - take the example of Windows itself. People might say whatever they want about the operating system but I don't see the common folk buying anything else but Windows - now that might be because there isn't necessarily a viable alternative that runs on all the crappy hardware that people decide to buy in order to save money but what does that say about the competition?
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
As indicated in the article:
Microsoft has yet to patch the flaws. But users can protect themselves against the flaws by disabling active scripting or by using an alternative browser.
Viable alternatives till the flaws are patched are Mozilla Firebird and Opera. Though who knows what vulnerabilities those browsers contain :)
Geek Sense of Humour
"Linus Torvalds has released his final 2.6.0-test kernel, calling it the Beaver In Detox. Following this release, Linus says that 2.6 development will be led by Andrew Morton. The kernel's name refers in jest to the previous release, which Linus had named Stoned Beaver"
Now that's funny ain't it? :)
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Apparently the iPod's battery lasts only 18 months after which the user has to spend $255 on replacing it - this sucks in the goat ass - if this is a known issue, apple should either do something about it or make replacing the battery a trivial expense. This might be a gimmick on their part to make people keep buying iPods but it's outrageous. If Microsoft did this, they would get so sued, it's not even funny. EU, US Justice Department, blah blah - are you privy to this?
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Haa - I was part of the team that did this - and this is peppered all over the news! :)
Monday, November 17, 2003
That the two (Nintendo and Microsoft) might co-operate against Sony has been the subject of rumour for some time. It may even herald an attempt to create a licensable platform on which both companies build a high-margin software business while others commoditise the hardware.
And BTW, India kicked NZ butttt
Krishnan and I sat up all night Friday and watched India kick some butt in maandow style - the highlight of the night being - this is a tough decision - Dravid's 22 ball 50. He scored runs employing copy-book cricketing strokes but the knock was so effortless I dare to admit that it was more of a treat to watch than Sachin's ton or Sehwag's measured 130. No point watching the finals though, the Aussies are going to send us packing like they have time and again in the past. And no, only Morpheus believes in miracles :) - I'm Manoj!
To work we shall come...
After a fun-filled and eventful weekend I'm back - at my desk figuring out how to best use my time before the next project begins. I've decided to read up on all the OS related details that till now I either chose to not read or skimmed over. Was reading KnR last night and discovered so many new things, not new, but just things I could've learnt in 2nd year B.E. (sophomore year for the uninitiated), take for instance, KnR has an implementation of Hashtables (simple but the seminal ideas have been provided, this could've helped me in my last interview) and an requested implementation to find the number of 1s in a ULONG. That's the deal with KnR though <link> - everytime I read it - I learn something new :)
Now for what happened this past weekend. I got 2 games off Karan (the first 2) and was coasting along on my way to my first ever victory when he dug deep and found the resolve to win the next 3, the last one in convincing fashion - I had started giving up on points for want of energy. I barely walked off the court Friday evening and took 15 minutes in the steam/sauna/whirlpool to recover from what had just been dished out to me. Dinner with Sandy and Shilpa at the Cantina Marina was a pleasant throwback to times spent in Pilani and times spent last year in Redmond. There were no jibes made but I still laughed all night long and no one was hurt. Each of us got singled out over the evening with the other two deciding to gang up but it was all innocent and entertaining. Most everyone I knew in college has gone through a metamorphosis of sorts - in some cases the change is drastic, in others it's inconspicuous (unless you really want to notice) - I'm glad most of my friends fall into category 2...
Master and Commander wasn't as swashbuckling as Gladiator or funny as Looney Tunes (this I wanna see) or dramatic as A Perfect Storm but as Voyage related epic stories go, it held my attention for most of it's seemingly unending reels. I didn't understand some (sorry, most) of the Seaman lingo obfuscated more by Russell Crowe's more than authentic English accent. I'd give the movie 3 stars, no more!
Hung out all of Saturday, studied a bit, worked out a bit and prepared myself for the arrival of Vijay on Sunday. The mandatory visit to Karu's, dinner with the boys later and the routine Coffee shop trip later, we returned back to find Vijay an apartment. He's gonna work in Samm-D till the end of January after which it's all open ended. I hope he ends up living somewhere in Redmond so we can hang some nights of the week. Though most everyone has changed after marriage/engagement, Vijay has managed to retain some of the spark of yore. But Anu isn't here yet so the litmus test would begin on her arrival...
Sunday, November 16, 2003
This is an update to an earlier blog post I made...
I don't know how much of this is FUD from the Open Source/Free Software camp. But this isn't the first article that has speculated about Microsoft having made a bid for Google. At the company meeting this year, we were informed of the investments being made into MSN Search, so I don't see how these rumours can have any substance whatsoever. Why invest and hire people into making MSN Search better if all we were going to do was buy off Google?
On another front, I am glad that Google is what it is - a one stop shop to research stuff on the Internet. Though Google hasn't yet indexed the entire web (my homepage for instance) but I know I have my work cut out for me if I can't get a hit for a search query on Google. All I know is that if you challenge the Microsoft juggernaut, more often than not, you are crushed in it's forward march...
Friday, November 14, 2003
Insomnia once again
It is becoming harder and harder to go to bed every night. I've taken a hot shower tonight to facilitate the lids from deciding it's time to shut down. Tomorrow is a big day - I have to wake up in time for an 8am training that will last all day long. In between, I've got a tonna things to co-ordinate, go to the lawyer, buy S/W for my dad, geez how much can one guy do! I'll do it all though, do it all ;)
I've started ending my sentences with eh these days - an affliction of my friends from across the border up North - Canada yaar! Lots of exciting things happening in my life right now on both the work and personal front. Things are coming together, plans are in place for New Year's - I can't wait to be in India baby - India. But hold on, everyone's getting married, will my parents force me too - I think my dad might but my mom, she's not gonna bother me with such trivial details - now's the time to party she says - yeah right Mother! :)
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
New Host - More of the same Manoj
Hey all, this is my brand new URL - and this hosting is Microsoft internal - so there are perks that most others just won't and can't enjoy - hmmm - what can I say, the charmed life we Miicrosofties lead... ;)
Aite, more posts soon - stay tuned!
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Home Espresso Maker - $27.99 at Target
Coffee Bean Crusher - $12.99 at Target
Coffee Beans in a bag - 1/2 lbs - $3.44 at Fred Meyer
1 gallon 1% Milk Carton - $2.69 at Trader Joes
Freedom from the Starbucks Establishment - Priceless
There are somethings money can't buy, for everything else, there's ANY credit card :)
Friday, November 07, 2003
A Must Read - the guy has completely taken off on the movie, sarcasm being the norm rather than the exception. He does say one good thing about the movie though:
Still, if all that doesn't trouble you, having your senses bombarded by special effects and action sequences isn't a bad way to spend a couple of hours.And the masterpiece:
So Neo has no idea what to do. Goes to his room aboard the Mjolnir. Hangs out. He and his sweetie take a trip to see a man about a robot or a robot about a man. Whatever.
I haven't won a single squash match this week. It' because of my shoulder, I am trying to compensate so much for the injury that other parts of my shoulder are starting to hurt. And the lack of any exercise to the biceps is causing my right hand to lose a lot of strength. I can't get the ball to the back of the court, especially on the backhand, my biggest asset has been my backhand - and now, people are exploiting this new found hole in my game. I want to recover and will pay any price so I'm glad I'm even able to play, but one must complain.
We were supposed to go out for a movie this evening but the geeks have decided to install Longhorn on a machine and check out the cool, new effects. So I guess the rest of us who wanted to get dinner and a movie are bound by this fate... Time to go sleep, very tired, very hungry!
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
The Second Coming, oops Going maybe!
Neo being the Messiah and all - his sacrifice saves humanity (albeit not for long) and gives it a second chance
Star Wars hangover
The "Good" battleship wards off the attack of the "Evil" battleshipS (numbering close to a thousand) through sheer ammunition and maneuvering skill
Hindi Movie hangover
Two lovers, separated right before the movie ends, only difference, this time the feud is virtuous not between families
End Result 1
Manoj Mehta has a severe Matrix Hangover - I can't get over the twisted fate of Trinity and Neo; over the fact that there are still so many unanswered questions and over why they just didn't stop after making the first film (sorry, had to slip that in somewhere).
End Result 2
Work has piled up, gotta stay this head of mine (the one on my shoulders) in front of the monitor and do some serious catching up. The morale is high, time to produce some results now or else...
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Revolutions... Here today, history tomorrow
Will The Matrix Revolutions leave a mark in the cinegoer's mind - this question is as hard to answer as the ones that buzzed through my head through the major portion of the Matrix Revolutions experience this morning at 9am. Would I be doing justice to the movie if I said that the Starbucks cup sitting by my seat was what helped me get through the first couple of reels, maybe not. Don't be fooled here, it's an above average flick but then again, so is the batting of Sachin Tendulkar or the tennis of Andre Agassi or ... What a Matrix geek like myself expects to see when he dishes out his ticket admission is so much more than "average" fare that it can be hard to satiate my appetite for "MATRIX"ness. I came out of the hall pretty sated and excited to see the flick again with my team tomorrow afternoon (after lunch at some local silly carb-laden restaurant). So here's my summary...
First up, dress down your expectations. In my opinion, there can never be another movie like the original Matrix - Revolutions neither has the philosophical insights that made you sit back and say "Wohh" of the original nor does it have the breath-taking action sequences (which I personally thought were prosaic) of Reloaded. What it does have though is a mix of action, character development and story progression that provides a sense of closure to the trilogy. Most every scene taking the movie to it's eventual climax except of course the protracted battle between the humans and the sentinels (I'm all for blood and gore but come on, this wasn't even in bullet time!). There are some intriguing aspects though, especially the presence of Monica Bellucci, the point of the whole "why are humans driven by emotion" and the elaborate explanation given to the new appearance of the Oracle. But the most poignant concept of the movie for me was the end-game: sometimes one must embrace evil in order to vanquish it. Alas, whither can Neo fly, the awful thought still follows me that even Kings must die...
Intel's Not Inside anymore...
Wired News: Xbox to Switch to PowerPC
IBM in, Intel out of Xbox?
There was much speculation leading up to the official announcement by Microsoft that an IBM fabricated chip would power the next generation Xbox game console (Xbox 2). IBM now has secured contracts to fabricate chips that power the big 3 game consoles - the GameCube (G3), the PS3 (Cell) and the Xbox (who knows what). It's a good thing IBM is a conglomeration of smaller business units (companies in themselves) otherwise there would be a lot of conflict of interest in the chip manufacturing plants.
This announcement is a victory for all parties involved, directly or indirectly. Vendors of PowerPC based computers stand to benefit from this development since mass production of the chips will drive costs down. Game consoles will have superior processing power at their disposal so game designers can give their ideas flight. And the consumer, lower costs, more powerful systems, surrealistic gaming - what more can one ask for.
Monday, November 03, 2003
Friday, October 31, 2003
Economist.com | The next hot internet stock
How Good is Google?
Can Google fend off Microsoft?
Can Google not make the mistake of another revolutionary company, aka Netscape?
Can Google sustain it's dominant position?
There are so many questions in your head - this might answer some of them!
Security Holes in Mac OS X Jaguar
It's not only Windows that has security holes - the venerable Unices and their direct descendents, ala Mac OS X, have their own share of holes. This article intrigues me because it alleges that the Macintosh maker is not going to provide fixes to patch the holes in the earlier release of it's OS, version 10.2 purportedly because it wants people to upgrade to 10.3 (Panther). Panther released only last week to ooohhs and aaaahs in Apple Stores all over the country. The enthusiasm and hype was redolent of any other Mac event because the company has some devout and rabid fans - fanatical I'd say.
The public outcry was quick and scathing. Panther isn't a free upgrade, it costs $129 for a single license and $150 for a home license (up to 5 computers). People equated Apple's actions as daylight robbery, heresy and what not...
It turns out that the Mac company got a lot of flak for nothing or maybe, the flak made them re-think their original plan. Whichever way, the consumer has won again. Here is the updated article, courtesy Slashdot and MacWorld: Apple will fix security flaws in Jaguar
As the poster of the original story said: Next conspiracy please...
Ohhh My Goddd
Google considering partnership with Microsoft
So what's next?! This is just speculation and a lot of people have thought about the eventual buyout of Google by Microsoft (which would end the search engine race) but I am sure that another search engine will rise to become worthy competition...
Hope this isn't the death knell for Google - actually, any company that Microsoft has taken over has flourished, so this could be a blessing and a curse. Okay, I've read more of the article now - interesting snippets:
Microsoft as a search competitor could change the market's assessment of Google's value. Moreover, if Microsoft attempts to integrate Web search features directly into its coming Longhorn operating system, it could restart the bitter feud that led to the government antitrust case that grew out of Netscape's failure.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
I struggle, fight dark forces In the clear moon light
But there's no release, no peace
I toss and turn without cease
Like a curse, open my eyes and rise like yeast
I can't get no sleep
I've been trying to sleep since 12:24am this morning to no avail. It's strange, it's not one single thought that is keeping me awake but a whole flurry of myriad, random thought-provoking interjections into what should be an instruction-less pipeline in my head! Damn geekness...
So what is on my mind? Pay bills, get cheque from Mumtaaz, pick up mail from the post office, repro issue in Digest Test, eat healthy, take multi-vitamin tablet, why is my hair falling (oops, inside secret), how does a user mode buffer get written over by data received by the kernel from a driver, what does the IO manager do, why is my right shoulder hurting... I'm trying to answer some of these concerns (some by reading, others by planning my day tomorrow) and am going to go see a doctor before the end of the week. But still, I can't get no sleep!
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
The iTunes saga
Choice links from the web, as I know it, revolving around Apple, iTunes, Windows, File-sharing, RIAA and any related razz-matazz. The shenanigans, umm, they never end...
Wired News: PC User Whistles a Happy ITunes
Buck a Song, or Buccaneer?
Microsoft Lassos Music Customers
Apple whistles a happy 1 million iTunes
Windows iTunes sparks mixed reactions
Apple adds iTunes DRM to one million Windows PCs
And more to come... Watch this space.
Microsoft monopoly says Apple monopoly is too restrictive
How ironic is this statement? The article is funny and satirical but I must say iTunes is here to stay - I am very curious to see where this power struggle goes, but as a consumer, my choices have more than doubled, and the games have just begun...
Thursday, October 09, 2003
It's just an illusion
As was customary till around 3 months ago, Karan, Darwin, myself and a varied set of people saw every new big movie the first night it released. T-3 was a movie we were all waiting for expectantly; Arnie back as the android that saves the world from total annihilation - how can one resist that? A surprise member of our bunch that Friday evening was Suzanne, the iSCSI Team PM. So yeah, the movie got over, we saw that the world actually does get destroyed, that Judgement Day couldn't be stopped, even by Arnie. I hadn't got any sleep the previous night (was at work on the impending iSCSI RTM release), so I wasted little time in getting set for bed when I got home. That's about when Karan called asking me to accompany him to a party with Suzanne. I was tempted, but my exhaustion got the better of me and I passed out...
I wake up the next morning to news that Karan tells me that he was totally buzzed the night before and that he was badly hung over. I wondered about what made the professed teetotaller crack and knew exactly who to ask - Suzanne - she was there at the party too right, she should know right? But I had to wait till Monday for her to tell me, Karan had met a girl - Cassidy, and they had hit it off pretty well. The weekend was eventful, Karan and Cass went to a movie Saturday and got some dinner - so there was something brewing and I was hella happy for the guy - he's intelligent, smart and pretty good-looking (some girls don't think so but what the heck) and now he was hitched!
Two weeks later, I was informed that Cass was going to be in town and she and Mr Karan were gonna get it on, at Suzanne's place. Karan made elaborate plans and we decided on a sign that would indicate to me that she was around, so I wouldn't knock or use my copy of his key to get in to his place. Also, no one else seemed to know about this, so I was to keep it under wraps - I didn't, I teased him about it in front of a couple of our friends. But all in all, I was glad he was getting some - he needed the change from a very hectic work life.
Cass came to Seattle a couple more times before things started getting rocky. She wanted to move to Seattle to be closer to Karan and they started fighting - he didn't want to commit but she had started developing strong feelings for him. Eventually, they decided to break up because he wasn't quite ready and she was 3 years older than him. It surprised me that he could resist the draw of the white girl, blonde hair and buxom breasts package to garner peace of mind, but I sympathized with him and sincerely felt bad that the relationship came to a premature end.
Time went by, he'd make sporadic references to their telephone conversations, especially when he was late to get some place where we'd decided to go together. I'd immediately understand and not object, sucking up my anger at his tardiness. And then, finally the night before, I figured something out...
Cassidy doesn't exist - she's a figment of Suzanne and Karan's imagination - they made up this elaborate hoax to get back to me for all the dissing I subjected Karan to. Karan is pretty proud of his achievement, so must Suzanne - they had me convinced for 3 months and it was only after Karan told me that he had lied to me about something that many others had conspired about did I figure things out.
So I guess I was at fault for giving Karan the credit to go out with a girl - to actually get somewhere with her after the first date. I was also at fault for trusting him - I might become the object of ridicule for believing this for so long, I can live with that. I considered Karan to be one of my closest friends in Seattle and now, I doubt everything he has done or said. He was up there in my eyes, for his stellar performance at work and his virtuosity - suddenly he seems to be in a glass house whose walls have been shattered. My trust might be easy to earn but once it's lost, it's hardly ever regained... I'll never find out how he feels about that - but I sure hope he enjoys it! And Suzanne, I'm just glad that we aren't going to have a working relationship for much longer...
Schwarzenegger's new role may be most demanding
Can you believe he actually won? I don't think there was much doubt about his winning though but there can be many a slip betwixt cup and lip. He proved that an immigrant can rise to the helm - only in America!
Okay, enough said about Arnold. It would be unjust to write him off before having given him a fair chance at governance. California is in dire need of a turn around and if this is what it takes, so be it. I'll jump on the bandwagon if things go right - it's all about the opportunity and then, you get married :)
So there is other stuff I wanna write about, which I will once I am done working. Just finished rambling on the phone with my parents and brother, fun becomes when you talk to your folks in India, doesn't it?
Oh well, I'm done for now - till later...
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Agenda Setters 2003 - Setters
The impact of IT outsourcing in the computer industry can no longer be over-looked. In fact, two of the top 10 on the Agenda Setters list are Hu Jintao, President of China and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India. The role these 2 visionaries will play in the future of IT is paramount. From the buzz I've heard in IT circles round and about is that Americans are terrified of losing their jobs to their Eastern counterparts. As I see it right now, the West has an edge, outsourcing companies in the East are still minnows when it comes to the reliability game, but how long will this gap exist? If there is anything I know it is that people adapt and improve.
Dinner conversation on Dassera this past Sunday revolved around outsourcing and how it would be a boon for some of us Indians to go back and work in Hyderabad. That seems to be an interesting thought, I might ponder over it in a couple of years. But right now, I wanted to be firmly planted where I am - Redmond is home away from home...
Friday, October 03, 2003
Can't Figure anything out
My brain is fried - I can't figure out why a problem is occurring. This has become the bane of my existence with iSCSI and the windows device model. Sometimes things just work and other times, they fail - for no logical reason. I'm trying to get the Device Instance Name from a Device Number (in this case a Disk) but the results I get are flaky - sometimes I get the name and at others, I don't. And what I get depends totally on whether I compile with UNICODE or without, but there is no conclusive and deterministic answer to my problem. I hate it when I am reduced to a babbling fool, adding and deleting tiny breakpoints to pinpoint the actual problem - why can't it be intuitive?
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Girl: My petname is Bizo
All else: Do you know what Bizo means?
Girl: OHHH yeah, Bizo means Bitch
All else: So you don't care that the guys call you "Bitch"
Girl: Oh no no, they don't call me bitch, they call me Bizo
All else: Ahh yes, the technicality...
Girl: No No, you've all got this wrong. I know what they mean when they call me Bizo
All else: So what do they mean?
Girl: How do I explain this... Hmmmm, in some context, Bitch can be a term of endearment
... tumultous uproar, insane laughter followed by uncontrollable rushing of blood in cheeks - such a tongue in cheek, sorry, foot in mouth statement!
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Can anyone please explain this sudden surge in the bourses to me? Everything I read in August pointed to a bear market but it has been anything but since September showed up on our calendars. You'd wonder why I'm complaining since MS stock is going up up and up - doh - I don't have any :)
Monday, September 22, 2003
My first tournament victory
I came out on top and earned my prize - a brand new squash bag. The Pro Club had it's in-house tournament this past weekend and I played 3 matches to win it. This was the first time that I had been pitted against the top 3 players on the Pro Club squash ladder (this includes Microsoft and non-Microsoft employees) and I beat the Number 3 and Number 1 player en route to the finishing line. The final was a humdinger, I lost the first 2 games and was down in the 3rd game. With nothing to lose, I started playing tighter and played every point on merit and, it worked. My opponent got progressively frustrated while I strung together a chain of good shots and lucky breaks. The final score read: 7-9. 4-9, 9-5, 9-2, 9-5.
I've been at work since 5pm last evening and it's only 2pm on Monday. Another 2 hours and I'll be outta here, off to bed - my fingers aren't moving that fast in fact, they are kinda numb. It's strange this phenomenon of fingers freezing - my office is hella warm, enough to make me wanna take my clothes off but my fingerrrrrrs are brrr - what's up with that?
Thursday, September 18, 2003
The birthday weekend
The dust has finally settled and I am back in my senses, a 100%. Rather than be pedantic, pathetic, prosaic and verbose, I'll state just the facts - and how I felt at every juncture this past weekend. So let me push the clock back to last Friday, the 12th of September and relate the story...
I visited the lawyer on Friday morning and he's going to help me out the rest of the way. One thing off my head. Spoke to my manager about the future and how I fit into M$'s scheme of things. So far so good. People had already begun calling since the weekend would be tough for most to get in touch with me (families, other engagements, whatever) but I couldn't meet 'em because I can't remember how little time I spent in my office. This though has become the biggest problems for me, I'm spending so little time on my seat, it's a big cause for concern - more on that in another update... But a big thanks for all who remembered and for those who didn't, you know who you are - you should be ashamed of yourselves ;)
After doing my bit at work, I duelled on the squash courts that evening but was denied victory in a close encounter. Karan was to swing by later in the evening and drive me to the party that was being thrown in honour of my birthday and the departure of Nitin to the Big Apple. I thought this like other Indian parties was not going to start before 11, so I planned my evening accordingly. Adana stopped by and gave me my present - a smart black jacket after which I got dressed and waited to be driven. To Seattle we shall go!
And what a night it was... The party had started at 9, I reached at 11:30 and by 1, I was totally smashed. 12 shots of random alcohol within an hour, no dinner and a piece of cake. The buzz was good while it lasted and everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves when I made my first trip to the bathroom - what I know of the remainder of the night is through vague memories and random stories I've heard since. But to sum it up, I wasn't a pretty sight. I flirted, gave a speech without speaking and then threw up - everywhere... You'd think turning 26 would be wizening - NOT!
Hats off to Karan though, he took really good care of me that night. And his gift - my new iPod - is yet to be surpassed in thoughtfulness and sheer grandeur - he knows I am a total Apple fan boy. Honeslty, the biggest take away from this weekend was the fact that finally, I have found myself a bunch of friends that are on the same wavelength as I am - in Karan, Arun, Geni, Wes and the rest of the gang, there is reason now to have a social life!
Saturday was the real day - hung with the boys and watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico - total time-pass and highly recommended. Dinner at Geni's was fun too, she was the butt of all our jokes and this time around, Karan joined in too. Of course, the joke of the evening, even later at Chirag's house warming party, was my drinking binge and my unslightly subsequent state but oh well, as the birthday boy, it was my birth-right ;)
Sunday was the day it all sunk in - you're 26 now Manoj - you're gonna have to settle down Manoj - and then I went a shopping with Karan :) When that didn't help with the brooding, I turned to Adam and Sam's invitation to dinner, drinks and a movie to lift my spirits. The Lonnberg cinemas feature the best movie screen in town. What enriches the experience is that admission is restricted to a privileged few - the guys were really generous - we had dinner at Spazzo's (we didn't use the Prime Card though - dohhhh), drinks at Adam's and finally ended the night with the Basic - John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson - a fitting end to a great weekend. Things can only get better...
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Patch unpatched :)
The vulnerability in Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 exploited by the Blaster Worm wasn't a 100% patched by the earlier security update released by MS. If you are running any of the OS' mentioned above on your PC, you're better off installing the new patches that are available from here:
If you need help, send me email...
This is hilarious...
Switching on PC is too technical for many users
"A staggering one in seven technologically challenged employees needs help even switching their computers on and off, according to research commissioned by City "
'nuff said - the very fact that you have navigated this far, to this blog elevates you to the next level of computer literati ;)
It's air, no water, no it's the untouchable screen
Wired News: An Untouchable Video Screen
The Heliodisplay prototype display system, invented by a 29-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student, modifies the air above a video projector, creating a working, 27-inch screen that can display any kind of video.
Cool or what? The possibilities are endless...
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
RIAA decides it's time to punish all them swappers
12-Year-Old Sued for Music Downloading
But suing a 12 year old, that's taking it a little too far now isn't it? Sometimes I believe that stuff in the US doesn't happen in the correct spirit, like how we were once denied food at the Drive Through counter because we weren't driving a car but were walking instead. I think about India and about how people will do everything they can so that they get your business - oh well! Back to the original topic - so you like downloading songs, so you think CDs are a waste of money but are now scared that you might get sued too? There is a workaround. The RIAA is suing only those people that have a tonna songs shared out - the object at fault is the "My Shared Folder" on your computer. You can continue downloading as much as you want if you keep a lid on the size of this "My Shared Folder". Easy does it - and ofcourse, don't download a 100 songs a day, keep your bandwidth usage down to maybe 2/3 songs a day and you'll be golden... No RIAA but still, free downloads :)
Monday, September 08, 2003
Hi-tech solutions for India's train crashes
I was reading an article on the use of GPS in India to prevent train wrecks and a quote made right at the end of the article caught my attention. Here goes...
Hi-tech solutions for India's train crashes: "So it seems like Indian Railways has come up with a good strategy to keep its trains and drivers on track. But it remains to be seen if their plan stays on track too."
The story of progress in India is best summarized by the phrase, There is many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip. It's not that plans aren't put in place or that the government is unaware of the problems plaguing it's people; it's just not in the best interest of the powers that be to actually do something about them problems. But for them to keep their jobs, the common man needs to be appeased, so plans are drafted and promises are made. You'd think that being lampooned by the press would have an effect on the politicians - and of course, you'd be wrong... If you are a politician, you learn to ignore the press ;)
Thursday, September 04, 2003
I have spent a handful of hours working since proceedings began after the labour day weekend. The spark is gone, the motivation is lacking and I don't feel the intensity that drove me through the first half of this year. This has a lot to do with my review and I know I should invest my time in preparing for the interview onslaught - but I'm unable to. As I said earlier, too much is going on for me to get a grip, on anything! This isn't a new phenomenon, I've been through this before and one must wonder, I should be a professional at dealing with this now that it has happened so often - NOT. Every time is different from every other time except that the cause of void, the hole is elusive - and then, the phase passes.
Ate dinner with Tazz this evening at a relatively non-descript but pretty authentic Indian restaurant - Sahib at Redmond Town Centre. I'm going to spend the better part of this coming weekend just catching up with all the studying that is pending. I'm also going to talk to Karan and harness any resources he has at his disposal. I am kinda happy about one thing today though, I've successfully completed the chore of informing every party of the change of address, and now, I'll inform the rest of the world...
17751 NE 90th St, Apt D-123,
Redmond WA 98052
Since Mars is at it's closest proximity to Mother Earth (and won't be this close for another 60,000 years), I decided to bite the bullet and go see what the hoo-haa surrounding the Red Planet was. There was a lecture at the U of W and the local astronomy club had set up a bunch of telescopes on campus to facilitate the viewing of the planet after the lecture. We were late for the lecture (of course) but got a glimpse of the planet. What an anti-climax, Mars looks white through the telescope :) We stood in line for 2 hours (a whole bunch of us) and saw the planet through 2 telescopes, the sneaky way the first time around and the legit way (standing in line) the second time around. Do you see a theme here, sneakiness is just not as palatable as before - earlier, the sneaky way was good enough, now I compensate for having been sneaky by being legit - what's next, only being LEGIT?
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
So much is happening ...
and so little time to write all about it. Ishmeet came, saw Seattle by night and left, ready to take on B school with recharged batteries and a bucket load of expectations, most his, some ours. Malakv, a friend from RPI, visited me this past weekend. Great timing for me I say, because I moved to a new apartment on Saturday - I owe him one because he helped me move in to the wee hours of the morning. But the star of the move was Karan - his insistence on arranging and organizing things over-rode our desires to go to bed after we were done with the move. He stayed up with me till 8 in the morning, by which time most of the living room, kitchen, bath-room and bed-room were all organized.
So about the new apartment - it has 9 ft ceilings and is now set to become the next P.I.M.P. house. It was interesting to note how the place got arranged - the living room got set up first with the TV and cable entertaining us while we arranged the rest of the apartment. Poor Vishal though, he was dead tired at the end of the ordeal, I did everything I could to make it up to him - bought him dinner at a swanky Mediterranean restaurant on Sunday night - best way to appease a man, buy him food ;)
Now for the random tidbits of this past week:
- We stayed up till 5:30 the night Ishmeet departed for Austin - next time I have a party at my place, I'm charging $$ for admission
- We rocked the town on Monday night at Baltic Room - the place was seriously packed and hella fun
- Indian chics at Porta on Friday night were so stuck up, it was as if they had a rod up their corn holio ;)
Writer's block precludes further creative outpourings...
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Right at the outset, I'd like to thank some people for helping me out in organizing this - Rob for coming through with the lighting at the very last minute, Geni for covering the bases I forgot about or just couldn't cover, Arun for getting the party started (he's gonna gloat at this till the end of time regardless of my mentioning it) and everyone else for showing up. Ishmeet really had a BALL...
So yeah, the party was all set up by 9 (NOT, I got dressed at 10 with guests in the house) and everything was quiet till around 11 when a whole bunch of people showed up. Somewhere between then and 15 minutes later, the place was rocking. People were swinging to some great old school hindi tunes but the place went amuck when I switched to hiphop. The music was loud but didn't hinder conversation so there were tiny transient cliques forming all over the apartment - the smokers, the couch talkers, the kitchen alcoholics and the dance-floor hogs. For my part, I shuttled between making martinis, DJing and dancing - talking can be done at other times, can't resist foot-tapping music now can we? And yes, what is a party if it doesn't get BUSTED by cops. Apparently, around 1am, the cops finally decided that the 911 calls they were getting from the apartment complex had hit critical mass - it was time to tone the party down... Instant fame! But I wish the residents here weren't so tight-assed and that the sound insulation in the apartments was a little better. I never complain when I can hear my neighbours go at it till 3 in the morning, so why rain on my parade? Oh well, people hung around till 3 maybe and I did most of the cleaning up tlll much later. And Ish, he's got something more to remember now...
Friday, August 22, 2003
Life goes on...
and with the passing of every day, I feel a void larger than the previous day. Maybe I'm a little depressed at the hand that life has dealt me but that can't be the only reason for how I feel. As Killing Me Softly plays in the background, I wonder why I am feeling this way and think of what one of my favourite actors, John Travolta, said in his interview on The Actor's Studio - "There is so much unhappiness around me that I can sit down and cry for the rest of my life, but would I be doing myself any justice then?" Motivational words eh? My take: it takes courage, determination and another level of optimism to be happy and I'm in a stage where I can't find one of the ingredients, just one...
Can I brush off my angst ridden feelings, no not this time. I've dealt with situations in the past by just ignoring them, by letting time enable the forgetting of it all. But the issue never goes away, because I haven't dealt with the issue at all, the loose ends are never tied up. My failed romances, unmentioned crushes, unfulfilled ambitions, the list seems to be endless already and I'm only 25 - haa! Hmm, hearing Santana and Rob Thomas make me wanna be Smooth, but that's the last of my worries. Getting my way has never been a problem, the problem has been finding the way to get...
To quote Eminem, Back to reality - Ishmeet is going to spend Saturday through Thursday in Seattle - the timing couldn't be any better. Ishmeet, Sachin and I have been through a lot since we took that first train ride to BITS; we graduated (an achievement), got jobs and now Ish is on his way to Kellogg - shows what faith and perseverance can bring your way (those 2 have brains, I'm daft so I needed some luck too) :) Aite, that's it for now, adios...
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
I met Mr Jayant Madhavan this evening for dinner and dessert in downtown Seattle. It was fun talking about our crazy times together in Ruparel - playing catch up is so fun. I got the lowdown on what made his life go round and he got the gossip from my side of the world - a humble feast at Dilettante and I drove back to the East Side. Ho hum...
Ishmeet graces Seattle with his presence this coming Saturday. I am pretty excited about his visit, his last outing before he puts his head down and grinds his way through Kellogg's Management Program. Strangely enough, it gives me great pride to announce his admission into the revered program; it's as if his getting in is the equivalent of me having being admitted - queer!
Today was a great day at work - there have been some pending tasks that I really hadn't gotten around to doing during the week gone by because of some HCT issue or the other. With all the administrative knots being straightened out, I can now focus my energies on what I love doing - writing code :) Aite, my five minutes of free-form are up, it's time to hit the powerpoint slides again. But before I go, here's a shout out to my man, Kartik - the whiz is now helping me compile my first Hip-Hop cd - so many talents in one person, geez ;)
Monday, August 18, 2003
RPC Worm Cleanup Worm Appears
This is funky, if not anything else. There is actually a worm out there that cleans up another worm's mess and tries to secure a system. So can this be actually called a worm - it's like a sentry... Or is it? This new worm's author honestly wants the greater good of people using Windows: his worm downloads itself on the host machine, deletes all the bad stuff put there by Blaster, tries to download the patch applicable to the host, patches the hole and then self terminates - voila... Is this a positive step?
Let's see how many of you remember the name of the song with these lyrics:
No.1 in a the Bombay chart
Indian me a tear them apart
When me come me bring a new stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me
This isn't all that tough but if you were in India in '93, you couldn't have not heard this song - Chok There - Apache completely took the Indian masses by storm. And then he went ahead and remixed his super duper hit - more money - more fame. And then he disappeared to a life of relative obscurity. I remember, we'd cut our hair like in his brazen style - those were the days...
Whenever man starts reminiscing about his past, HE's old... I guess that's what I feel now, old, older than those younger than me. The optimist in me wants to convince myself that I'm wiser, but that's just solace. Saw a nice movie this evening, Indian Chai - made me miss home more than just a bit. Can there be a concept like India-overdose. Oh, if there isn't, I think I'm close to being there. But one thing's for sure, I'm having the time of my life - if getting older means having more fun - ohh man, bring it on...
Sunday, August 17, 2003
The Blaster mess continues
Am sitting in a training right now to help deal with support calls being made to Microsoft by third-party customers. The person is going on and on about how to do support stuff and we've been in this training for more than an hour now. I've figured that I have a super short attention span - gotta stop now, I'm getting super dirty looks from my neighbours. "Don't make any politically incorrect statements" ...
Friday, August 15, 2003
Thursday, August 14, 2003
CRICKET meri jaan!
With the summer winding down, we've been cramming in as many sessions of cricket as we can into the week. I didn't mention this earlier but some guys from work (who watched the World Cup together) got together and formed a team that is now in the Cricket League. Hmm, we have 5 matches to go in this round and we need to win all five to qualify for Round 2. This is partly because we replaced another team that had lost all it's matches :( but something's better than nothing, eh?!
We played last evening with a team that called itself Fateh - and yeah, yeah, they did win. Interestingly enough though, we put up a good fight (I failed with the bat for the first time this season) and the game exposed serious chinks in our armour. Playing warm-up games is always educational, what I wonder about is whether we can actually remedy the chinks and play more as a cohesive unit - analysis is one thing, implementation though is a totally different ball game...
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
More about Blaster
After the initial update, I spent a couple of hours helping people clean their systems at work. Here is a quick list of things you can do to diagnose and protect yourself.
Worm Info - This link provides a ton of information about the worm
Worm Cleanup - provides a link to patches to protect your system from the worm
The worm is pretty smart - it infects your machine by exploiting a vulnerability in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 - all three OS versions are susceptible to the attack. The worm has also targetted the Microsoft site providing the patch so the download times for the patch might be high and if you have trouble downloading the patches, send me email and I'll email the fix to you.
Lines of Defence:
1. Your first line of defence should be to look for any suspicious exe running on your system by inspecting the list of processes in Task Manager. 2 likely candidates are:
This also installs an entry into the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run - Windows Auto Update - msblast.
You can access and delete this value by following these steps:
1. You need to open the registry: Start -> Run -> regedit.exe -> Ok
2. The registry is organized like a tree - Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) - Click on the plus to the left of HKLM
3. Now, like you would in Windows Explorer - navigate the tree under HKLM to find the path Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run
4. When you've found Run, click/highlight Run - you should see a list of names, the first being Default
5. Find the entry for mblast.exe - Select it and press Delete - Confirm the deletion by clicking "Yes" in the dialog that pops up after you've decided to delete the key
Monfiles.exe resides in it's program files folder under %programfiles%\monfiles - and has an uninstall exe - use it to first uninstall and then delete the entire folder by hand
2. Download and install the patch on your system - this takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Then update your computer through Windows Update -
The irony is this vulnerability was patched on the 17th of July 2003 but the worm is spreading like wild fire. Update your systems and save atleast 1 hour of your time...
MSBlast.exe and Working Out
All of you running Windows 2000 and Windows XP should read this news item very carefully: Cleaning up the MSBlast worm. This worm exploits a buffer overflow in the DCOM and RPC implementations in the operating systems listed. What do people achieve by doing this - writing worms to exploit badly written code :) ;)
So I worked out last night for the first time with a partner and realized how weak my left hand is compared to my right. Geez, I really felt stupid, but there is only one way to get better, to keep at it. My new workout, Wesley, didn't seem to have any such trouble though. He lifted nearly twice the weight I did and seeing him workout has motivated me enough to be consistent. Another 3 months I say, and I'll be fit and fine... Now if only I remembered to eat before going to the gym :)
Monday, July 28, 2003
Kernel Programming: Security Considerations:
Interesting points to note
1. A common mistake is assuming that listing every possible value of an enum type provides protection. An enum is generally implemented as either a char or an int internally.
2. Another common mistake is to assume that you can dereference a pointer passed to your function by another function. You should always check for null pointers before dereferencing them - Don't we all know this?
3. Security is particularly important for kernel code that draws input from a network. Assumptions about packet size are frequently the cause of security problems. Always watch for packets that are too big and handle them in a reasonable way. Likewise, always verify checksums on packets.
Hmm - and I'm doing this while on vacation - I'm convinced that I'm a geek... ;)
Thursday, July 24, 2003
East Coast, I'm here
And it's hot and grimy in small itme New Brunswick, NJ. What I did since I arrived this morning - vegetated, slept, ate a tonna carbs :) I'm on vacation and I didn't even bring my work out shoes - woohoo!!
Wound up most of the work I needed to complete but as is the nature of work, some things still need to be done. I thought I'd do them while I was here but that possibility is very REMOTE. I'm here to have a good time and nothing can stop me now :) I do need to study a bit though, I'll accomplish that in the time off from partyin', chillin', eatin', drinkin', droolin', babe-watchin', yada yada yada! Anyone want nething from the East Coast yo?!
Chandk rulez - he's no more the wiry boy of yore, he's got some weight to back up the height. And he's as crazy as ever. The weekend looks good; drive to DC, hang in Jersey, listen to PIMP and eat the roti - me trying my hand at rhyming - what can I say, Ck's tarnished me with hip-hop - Now, there is no turning back.
Sunday, July 20, 2003
The Kobe Bryant Case Files
The Kobe Bryant story has 2140 disparate perspectives and opinions. (Google! News found 2140 stories related to the one I just read) In a country where the First Amendment secured the Free Press, I believe that journalism has gone awry. No time is wasted in scrutinizing the life of a person, especially a celebrity, to rake up the ratings and get the extra set of eyeballs believing what is, a most subjective opinion. One of the more pithy headlines reads - "Kobe Image Hit" - it makes me wonder about the connection behind Kobe's genius on the court and his off-court mannerisms. The media wastes no time in raising a bestowing iconic status on a mere mortal and likewise, doesn't think twice before engaging in a public dress-down of the very icon it created. I'll leave you with this piece of innuendo - Is this Laker a Faker? Only a trial will tell - and let you decide in your head what your feelings towards Kobe are... In the midst of this scandal, it amazes me how some analysts are already scratching their heads and crunching the numbers on how much Kobe stands to lose financially - ahh, the sweet scent of capitalism!
Ahh, a restful weekend
Listening to the soothing tunes in Nirvana Lounge, I am in an extremely sanguine state of being. I've had a restful but sleepless weekend, with crazy dreams and machinations keeping me awake but in a state of daze. The weekend started with me choosing to be at home and read on a Friday night. I think my unique diet is getting to me, I lost 6 pounds this past week but I take it most of it is glucose and water. Burning the fat is going to be hard, I know, but what is even harder is staying off the foods laden with carbohydrates - the same foods that I have eaten in the past, though in moderation - there is such a fine line between moderation and deprivation. The cravings are hard to keep at bay and I partially succumbed this past Friday, indulging in a little treat to alleviate the cravings. I had come precariously close to driving to the nearest bakery and eating as many pastries before barfing, the treat was my compromise and my ticket to sanity...
I think Saturday was the most complete day of the past week. No, it wasn't spectacular or anything, just did that I did a varied mix of things that gave me a feeling of accomplishment as I lay my head on the pillow last night. I played ultimate frisbee, went to Chop Suey to dance to the tunes spun by DJ Karsh Kala, hung with the boys and girls, read about the current state of affairs in Iraq and chilled out in whatever time remained - not necessarily in that order, the randomness reflecting the unstructured nature of the day. Last night was fun; after a year of not finding people to hang out with that were on my wavelength, I seem to have struck the mother lode. Vishal, Geni, Arun, Vijay and the many others make for a set varied enough for me to be able to do all the activities I engage in. The universal love we share for partying and hanging out in lounges sure adds to the camaraderie.
I'm gonna hit the East Coast this coming Thursday. A lot of plans need to be made, most revolving around where I'll stay and the places I will eventually visit. Was going to stay with Ayesha initially (she bailed - other guests), then Chandk, then go to Washington DC, then spend some time in New England and return back to more familiar environs next Monday night. It's a well deserved vacation... Before I leave, Nirvana Lounge has borrowed heavily from Indian tunes, most every song has Hindi, Punjabi lyrics with a lilting and dreamy score. If you get your hands on one of the Buddha Bar CDs, I'd recommend you giving the CD one listen.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
America waking up to the Horrors of Trans-Fat-I
kuro5hin.org || Food Industry Mulls Dropping Obesity-Linked Trans Fats
The only footnote in the article succinctly delivers a horrifying message:
"1 Vigorous exercise, however, can offset the impact of saturated fats, by burning some of them up. The situation is not so simple for trans fats, which the human body seems to be evolutionarily ill-equipped to process. (Indeed, this is the reason why trans fats are thought to interfere with and degrade a number of important physiological processes)."
The article talks about how Kraft Foods was sued in California but the law-suit was dropped. The parent company of Kraft is Phillip Morris and I wonder how long it will take people to start suing Kraft, Kellogg and their kin on the basis of their using a product deemed to be harmful to the user just to make profits (through cost cutting). Sound familiar...
Why I stopped buying music
BW Online | July 16, 2003 | The Chili Peppers' Sour Grapes Over iTunes
"Sure, some bands, including the Chili Peppers, do work hard to craft albums whose span of titles are consistently good. But under pressure from their label, most artists and groups combine three or four quality songs with filler, a strategy that lets the industry justify the $15 to $20 price tag for CDs."
Honestly, I can't agree with this more. The last album I bought that compelled me to listen to every song time and again was Buddha Lounge (it's a great work by Claude Challe). Add stuff by Pink Floyd, Tool and Radiohead to that list and that about rounds up my set of albums with 10 or more memorable tracks. Actually, you should listen to my own compilations - who would know my taste better than myself eh?! :)
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Another Day Goes by
I don't have to record the time or date of an update anymore, blogger keeps track of what I type, when. Kinda like big brother watching - the onset of paranoia - and it's hard to hide! Today's been a pretty eventful day, the highlight being Ultimate Frisbee in the evening with Vishal and a bunch of people I'd never met before. You'd wonder how running up and down for nearly 2 hours can be fun (it's more like death isn't it), but oh well, that's working out for you in a nutshell :) I might be influencing those reading this update into believing that working out isn't for them - that isn't the point I'm trying to convey - seriously, the endorphine rush that working out gives you is unparalleled.
I've been slacking at work this week, though I have one project to complete but procastrination is getting the better of me. I'm a little tired from the grind, actually, I'm trying to create a good balance between work and play. Right now, the scales are tipped heavily in favour of play, as they were tipped in favour of work for the last 3 months - now isn't that BALANCE?
The MAtkins diet - Manoj's twist on the Atkins phenom
I've embarked on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet since this Monday. It's tough, honestly - I can't eat most everything, especially given the fact that I'm vegetarian. I wish there was a switch that I could flip to alternate between being a vegetarian and non. Alas, there isn't - so I can't ever do with just 20g of carbs - but I'm doing my bit. It's too soon to notice any difference in physical appearance but I've already noticed some psychological changes - I'm crabby, a little low on energy and mercurial - serious sugar withdrawl symptoms.
What I thrive on
- Milk: Can't live without it
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
- Flax Protein Cereal: 3g of Carbs
- Atkins Protein Bars: 21g of Protein, my pick: Pralines 'n Cream
- Lentils: all types
- Cheese: Pepper Jack, Low Fat Sharp Cheddar, String Mozzarella
- Everything Soy: Nuts, Whey Protein, Milk (it's not even White), Tofu
- Atkins Protein Shakes
- Peanut Butter - Trader Joe's Crunchy Unsalted
Sugar, Bread, Rice, Flour Products, Pasta, Kelloggs, Donuts and everything else on this earth - no more cakes, pastries, milk shakes (yumm)
The Ultimate Goal - being in top physical condition for Squash Nationals next March - I don't know if my will power is gonna take me through, but this is a great test... Besides, I have company, a bunch of my friends are doing the diet with me, so I know where to turn for motivation! You calling me an Atkins sellout yet?? Yo, it works - my dad is living proof and I'm sold on it... :)
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Monday, July 14, 2003
Using a new crazy browser called Popout Prism - it's the first application that has embedded the IE engine into a Java product. Of course, it has a tonna glitches, the most obvious and irritating being the slow keypress event processing. But you should check it out, it's quite a nifty little utility - it has a sidebar that contains the page you are currently browsing as a thumbnail. The sidebar tracks your current position on the page in real time by outlining the position on it's thumbnail. The actual innovation here is it's ability to Popout keywords... Say you are looking for a particular word on a page, for instance, protein; you can type the word into the Keyword bar and all instances of the word will be magnified and coloured on the page. You can then scroll the document through the sidebar (which is the document in condensed format) or on the main page (to the right) and focus your attention on the areas that contain the term protein. Pretty neat eh...