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Bookmarks [2010/07/01]

  • Soung of Musig

    tags: blog, poetry

    Shares stuff and observations on to Music, Sports, Economics, Growth, Traffic, Society and the like.

  • ?

    tags: blog, thought, poetry

    A lovely blog with lots of poetry. Aptly used to be called the baffled mind. It's now password protected too. :-(

  • Adventures in Goa

    tags: blog, thought, adventure, poetry

    Niku's blog. Some brilliant pieces of writing - most of which have been removed. Life, College, Education, Adventure, Books, etc.

  • musings

    tags: blog, rants, life, education, thought

    Tejaswi's blog - one of the blogs which inspired me to start one of my own. Some really memorable pieces of writing.

Hibernation

I, Noetic Nought, shall remain shut for the next few months.

My owner wishes to be a by-stander, watching the world rush past him, for the next few months atleast. He may (or not) return to me. I hope, he does.

Bye all.

Blogs, Feeds and Readers

I want to be a part of the "reader-space" of blogs or web-sites rather than a part of the Google-reader ecosystem.

As most of my readers know, I'm big on Google Reader (and I have a reputation for that!). I'm a part of a wonderful ecosystem and get to look-at or read a lot of interesting stuff. I get a lot of variety, stuff that I wouldn't normally have come across. It keeps me from staying in a tiny well, reading the same kind of stuff, over and over again. I also like the fact that it acts as an archival system for me. I can go back and read posts, which don't exist on the web, anymore.

But, I have a problem with this ecosystem. It's killing the the communities around the blogs or sites, themselves. The reader count may have gone up, but the discussion and activity of the community on the blogs is going down; at least on the blogs I look at. Blogs are rather dead, these days. But, when one's following over 200 blogs, you can't expect much better. It is difficult to keep up with all of them; even the ones that one kept up well with, before. People stop going back to the comments; stop participating in the discussion.

Do you agree? Do you think it'll help it feed readers keep track of the comments and updates? Or is the only way to cut down on feed-reading and getting back to the old exciting way of checking out blogs? I recall an old quote I read - If it's not worth remembering, it's not worth reading.

UPDATE: I wasn't talking of my blog or comments here, in particular (if that's not already clear). I was talking of blogs, that I read regularly, blogs of people I know well (including mine). But then, there are blogs, that have over 1000 comments on a single post, too. Should the above quote could be changed to read - "If it's not worth reading, it's not worth remembering." ?

Gateway get away

A Rocking.. err.. Pebbling.. err.. Pedaling Trip. IIT Bombay, Powai to the Gateway of India. I simply loved it!

The original plan was to land somewhere near Chowpatty beach, but I had some useless landmarks and I got lost. I was not too particular about going to a particular place, so didn't try too hard to stay on track and was happy to end up at the Gateway. Thanks to the Mumbai local, I don't know the road routes. But, again thanks to the Mumbai local, I have a general idea of the direction.

I woke up a bit later than scheduled, but almost made up for the delay until I reach my cycle to find the rear tyre fully flat. I quickly diagnosed the problem to be with the valve. But, I had no spare valve, unless, I "borrow" it from a cycle near-by. I replaced my valve with Vattam's cycle's and was good to go!

I didn't have a big enough water bottle, and carried along only half a litre after drinking one half litre. The first half hour was a breeze; possibly the best part of the whole ride. High on energy and enthu. Then, my groin/ass started to hurt a bit. I pulled out my music player to drown the pain in music. This kinda worked and I pulled on pretty well until King's circle. That's when I emptied all the water I had. I hoped to find water along the way, if I badly needed it.

Sometime later, I had to take a right turn, but I never knew where. I didn't bother to ask anyone, nor did I look at the landmarks I had scribbled down. I was happy to go straight ahead. :)

And by the time I reached CST/Fort, I did need water; badly enough. I stopped at the next open shop (that was not a pan-ki-dukaan) and got myself some Nimbu paani and a litre of water (for future).

The Gateway of India was just 10 minutes away from here. Loitered around there, for about 40 minutes. There were a lot of Policemen all over the place. After about 5 minutes of me reaching there, they cleared the whole area right next to the Gateway of India. I don't know why. (Also, all along the way, there were a lot of men in Khaaki. I guess there's some rally or some such thing scheduled)

On the return, I lost my way almost immediately after starting. There was a one way road that I avoided and took the adjacent road but ended up going off-track. I had some doubts about this but they weren't confirmed until I reached Mahalaxmi station! But there, a Taxi driver gave me rough guidelines to get back on my track. I turned back and soon was "back-on-track".

I'd planned to have breakfast at Idli house, as soon as I saw it during my onward journey. So, I went directly to Idli house, and treated myself to a Rava idli and some wonderful Kaapi. The waiter got tipped well, too. ;)

From Matunga, back to IIT was straight forward; except for the growing traffic and the PITA (literally). The traffic signals were a bit annoying, too.

On the whole was an awesome trip! I loved it. Hope to go on more such rides. But, I guess I'll head north-ward, the next time.

By the way, it was approx. 60kms on the whole and took me 5 hours (including the time I spent at the Gateway of India) with about 3 hours 40 mins of pedaling.. err.. rocking. :D

Here is a photoset

"Plan"

IIT to Chowpatty

Route

Actual

Onward

Route

Timing

  • IIT-Bombay <2010-03-28 Sun 06:20>
  • Matunga <2010-03-28 Sun 07:10>
  • Gateway of India <2010-03-28 Sun 08:10>

Return

Route

Timing

  • Gateway of India <2010-03-28 Sun 08:50>
  • Reach Idly house <2010-03-28 Sun 09:40>
  • Start at Idly house <2010-03-28 Sun 10:00>
  • Reach IIT Bombay <2010-03-28 Sun 11:05>

Stuff I was carrying

  1. water
  2. ID
  3. some cash
  4. paper, pencil
  5. mobile phone
  6. music player, ear phones
  7. digital camera
  8. rough map
  9. Geetanjali - Tagore

Just another bunch

Come spring -
a fresh lease of green
drapes the bare branches.

The leaves, dancing and whistling
to the tunes of the wind
playing, screaming, and singing,
in each other's company, enjoying.

Singing to one another
promises of sticking together,
come what may, through it all.

The song goes on,
but the count goes down,
not noticed or just unacknowledged,
first by one and then by many more.

the song, still, goes on.
And the promises too, of course.
The song goes on and on and on.

Until silence falls upon, when all
of them are gone. The tree, knowing well,
watches on - it won't be long before
a new bunch springs up to sing the song.

Super Power Play

My first Cricket match in a stadium. I regret that it was a T-20. I'm happy, though, to have got the darshan of bhaiyya a.k.a Sachin. Also, I did enjoy the energy of being in a stadium.

I was actually intent on watching MI vs. RR, but, junta voted in favor of the Opening Ceremony. It was a grandiloquent let-down, but for the fireworks. There was nothing really spectacular about the ceremony. A mediocre performance… With the kind of money they have at hand, and have spent, I really would've liked something better.

The match. DC vs. KKR. DC lost a game that it could've comfortably won. It would've been a decent match to watch, if not for the stupid DJ-ing. The game looked so different from what I'm used to seeing on the TV. [The only thing that was exactly as I saw in TV was, the crowd drooling at the cheer girls.]

I was shocked by the amount of disturbance a player has to overcome, while playing. Has the "gentle-man's" game turned into a "super-man's" game? Between each and every ball, the DJ is either shouting some incomprehensible inanities or playing some crazy "number" at the highest volume. The batsmen almost had to wait for him to shut up, before each ball. Can someone tell me if these are perks that the third version brings with it, or if I was happily ignorant, thanks to the TV watching? The heart-beat sound in the final overs was ridiculously annoying. I was looking forward to one of the batsmen throwing his bat at the DJ.

Also, it's a big joke to call this ground a "home" for DC. It was nothing close to a home ground, in terms of the crowd. I don't see Cuttack being any more homely, especially with the Kalinga Sena already passing crazy orders to the cricketers. DC will have to play exceedingly well to end-up anywhere near the top. But, amidst all this, I'm happy for the people of AP. With a huge electric-power crisis looming ahead, they have already saved (or produced) power worth 7 IPL matches!

Also, this is the end of IPL v3 for me. I'm done with cricket for this season.

ps: Trying out new wordpress features of Twitter, Facebook announces.

Pehli Nazar

This post is my attempt to start a travelogue. I hope to capture the "All India Tour" phase of my life (as people have started to call it). I'll try to keep these posts from becoming travel guides. There are loads of them and I surely don't need to increment count.

This post is after a trip to Kanpur, Agra and Sikri.

  • Trains are never on Time. The delay increases exponentially with your distance from the sourthern most tip of the country. Also, the confidence of the aam admi in this delay is proportional to the distance. Any delay less than an hour wasn't considered to be a delay. Thanks to the fog, low visibility.
  • If you want to travel around India, all you need is an SLR. Additionally, if you are not of Indian origin, you'll need the "India" guide. I got bored of seeing people poring over the pages of that "blue" India book or madly clicking away on their SLRs.
  • Whether or not you get food or water on a train, you are assured of enough "chilled" air from the slit under your window. Come what may, you shall not be deprived of this service.
  • The trust of a person in you is inversely proportional to the difference between your ages. It is inversely proportional to the 2.718th power of the difference if you are aged between 20 and 25. I only vaguely remember what the TTE told me in my sleep, while paying the fine for not carrying a print out of our e-ticket; but, it really was something sick and senseless.
  • The chill at a place, on the day you reach, is inversely proportional to how much people have scared/warned you. On the rest of the days, it is proportional to the square of the warm clothing you have on you. I thoroughly enjoyed the chill of Kanpur. Wonderful! The infrastructure, too good! Never expected a 50 year old campus to be so Awesome. [They have an air-strip too!]
  • The thrill of having an ice-cream is proportional to the square of difference between the ambient temperature and the standard room temperature.
  • Don't ever think of celebrating your escape, without the Aalu encounter. Welcome to the land of Alu addicted men. You shall, surely, have your share. If not anything else, you shall be serverd a Capsicum or Brinjal stuffed with Aalu. Also, the quality and availability of leather seems to be proportional to the addiction to Aalu.
  • "hawker time" - the time you spend being followed by hawkers trying to convince you to buy whatever they have. "firang-ness" - difficult to predict; a parameter that depends on the amount of branded stuff on you, stylishness of your winter wear and other unknown variableness. Your hawker time is proportional to (firang-ness) \\* abs(time of day in 24 hr clock - 1400) [when, 900 < time < 1800] I understand, that, they need to make ends meet; each day of their lives. I got followed a lot. I can't help observing. Sometimes, enjoyed being followed too.

The Taj. Simply Awe-Inspiring. As Madhu put it, "the longer you keep watching it, the more it's beauty overwhelms you". But, I still think, the first time is the best time to see it. It's simply mind blowing when you get the first glimpse, after entering from the West gate.

It's time to stop writing when all you can see is proportionality between totally unrelated things. Here are a few pics

talk at GNUnify' 10

Shantanu and I conducted a workshop on Scipy at GNUnify '10. It was intended to be an introduction to Scipy and Numpy through Image processing. We expected an audience which was python literate. But GNUnify's schedule wasn't too favorable for us. Ours was the first talk scheduled and we ended up getting people who only "heard" of Python, the language.

We had planned quite a bit of stuff expecting a python literate audience. But unfortunately, we had to start almost from scratch and couldn't do all of what we planned. Still, the workshop wasn't too bad. Nobody left mid-way during the 2 hour workshop; nobody was dozing either. I would have liked my first talk at a FOSS event to be better, though.

Slides and Images that we used. Shantanu's post on the talk is here.

Monikers and the Internet

Like most bloggers, I keep looking at my blogs hits once in a while. (Sometimes inspires to write better; and more often.) The post that gets most hits these days is my post on mailman, postfix, et al. But the search term that's increasingly bringing people to my blog is "punchagan".

This scares me. What makes people search for me? What makes people search more often these days? Why am I scared?

Why do people use monikers or online identities? I started off with the idea of anonymity and privacy; keeping my online identify separate from my real one. But it, obviously, is a folly to have you email id with the same handle. Now, almost anybody who knows me, also knows my online handle. They can find me anywhere and everywhere with just a few keystrokes (and Google). Also, the uniqueness of my handle doesn't help one bit. Any search returns over 90% relevant results.

Is it time to get lost in the crowd with a new handle? ;) Probably not. I don't have much to hide under the covers. Let the world see – who I am, who I have been; where I am, where I have been.

Peace.

numpy, pacman and me

I'm now officially a part of the Arch Linux community! Arch Linux is a lightweight and flexible Linux® distribution that tries to Keep It Simple.

I have started using arch from less than a week or so. It took me a while, not too long, to realize the beauty of this distro. I was trying to tweak the settings of my org-mode's remember (on Karmic), trying to make it work the way I liked it. After breaking my head with .emacs and lisp for a while, I realized the version of my org-mode was way different from the version of the docs, I was reading. It didn't take long to figure out, which version of org-mode to get. As a matter of curiosity, I checked AUR for the version, and true to Arch's reputation it was bleeding edge! I was still using Karmic, since I hadn't got my Arch installation working the way I like it, yet. Out of laziness. sudo reboot; to hell with laziness!

I was setting up things I regularly use, tweaking my way around. After a day or so, I find python-numpy is out of date. And to top it, an orphaned package! I didn't feel one bit good about this. After some futile attempts to suppress my discomfort, I sat down to work.

After an afternoon of effort, I created my first PKGBUILD. :) I now have python-numpy installed using pacman! Pleasure to join the Arch User Community! Also, thanks to lifeeth and Lynus Vaz, for the sparks.

PS: I'm using Arch with Openbox. It's neat! PPS: org-mode is really awesome! It's a world in itself. life in plain text, truly!]