Fortune favors the brave. Or in this case, the big beautiful bald man. My buddy Mason has designed the NJ Voter Info website pretty much from scratch and has been working on it for months now. Lotsa hardwork and effort. And this morning I, and everyone else in Rutgers got an email from our university's President suggesting that we all should go to NJ Voter Info to read about the upcoming elections. That's a 50,000 people plug! Even my sites have never gotten that much attention (except for that one Slashdot thingie). So yeah, congrats Mase-Dawg! And don't worry about the CSS alignment. Trust me, nobody notices! You gotta take my word for it.
Last night as I was walking down Stone St. alone, I noticed at the strange shape of the shadows formed by the buildings. I wondered how many men it took to put out 12 black garbage bags. I was wondering what kinda person lived in a room, from which dark red light glowed. That's when it hit me! This was me, being my normal random inquisitive self. I'm never like this, when I'm walking with someone. Oft when I'm walking with a pretty lady, I think of different things, sometimes funny things, sometimes deep ideas, but never my carefree 'I-wonder-what' stuff. I always wonder how I'll know if someone's The One... Now I know. If I am thinking about the length of a squirrel's tail while walking down, holding someone's hand, she's the one. Hehe. Of course, if all I'm thikning about, are squirrels, then she'll prolly leave me, but you know what I mean.
Quote of the day: "I am C. You are C++" - Keval, my 21 year old cousin.
Unexplainable severe headache. I dunno why. I didn't work too much, or read too much. And I had 7 hours of sleep too. Urgh...
OS exam went decent. I know I did one part wrong but it's not the worst that could happen. Definitely expecting a high B or B+ and high hopes for an A. Let's see wha happens. Got lotsa studying to do right now.
I joined this site & install their software called What Pulse that basically counts the number of keys I type. Every hour or so, it updates the stats page and tells everyone how I'm doing. So far, I'm already within the top 1000 people. But I don't think it is something that I'm gonna brag about at the club next week.
Yeah, I'm prolly going clubbin or somethin in a week or two. Haven't been out in a while... Let's see. Got CS OS exam tomorrow and have to do homework for Econ class. No rest for me. Worked on a lotta sites last night. Still have so many things to do...
Lotsa cool stuff happening lately. This morning I went home for some good family time and to celebrate Diwali. Had some lunch and my cuzin Sneh drove me back to my bunker. Yeah! Sneh drove me over. My... how times have changed.
Last night had dinner with the Mich (hadn't seen her in weeks). While we sat there waiting for our calzones, five of her sorority girls decided to join us. Two mins into their girly talks and I realized I am SOOOOOO lucky that I'm not in a sorority. Well, I mean, I'm so glad I'm a guy and don't have to enagage in girly talk all the time... "Oooooo he was soooo hot..." and "So I was having cramps..." Urgh. Hehe. But it was funny as hell. Makes me realize there's more to life than studies, work, and movies. Like you know, gossip.
I need a good hard drive for backup and my friend Chris needs a better site. I made this for him. I'm getting faster at designing. Took me about one hour to come up with that. Half of that hour I spent browsing through my fonts picking up something that gives the feeling of 'soar above'... Hope he likes it. I really need that 20gb hdd :)
Friend of mine thinks this girl he knows doesn't like him. My advice as a loving, caring friend - "If her love ain't blind, knock her eye out."
My buddy Mason is sick right now, sitting in a few chairs (safely) away from me, whining. Quote for the day: "I have something coming out of EVERY orifice of my body... (rest censored for being too gross)..." Gotta love the man.
Just had a nice sub w/ Art. Gonna git back to workin now...
Last night, I saw Kill Bill - most definitely the most violent movie that I've EVER seen and yet it felt as clean as Bridges of Madison County. This morning, I woke up from a series of weird dreams centered in exotic locales about leathally skilled assassins. The last dream was pretty interesting - I was in a casino around this special table with an LCD screen. Everyone who sat around the table had their name on the screen. The computer would pick one of the players and assign them a random task. If they complete it, they get money or lose the bet otherwise. Players would join and leave tables nonchalantly. The computer had a profile on every player, so instead of this being a game-for-money, it was a game to show off one's skills. The Japanese lady next to me and the Russian, took some mahjong tiles and played with them like Michael Moschen would. Everyone around the table was wow'ed by her skills. Then the Russian's name came up on the screen and I wondered if the computer would ask me to write an algorithm for shortest-path-between-two-nodes instead of juggling samurai swords. And then my alarm rang and I woke up. From SUCH an awesome dream! THIS is what Kill Bill did to me. I kept thinking about it for the whole night.
Actually not just Kill Bill, after that I saw Pulp Fiction with Jeanette in the bunker. I feel kinda dumb cuz I didn't understand major parts of the movie, like the whole Bruce Willis character. But the movie was still good. Tarantino is my hero. Lately, I've been watching a series of movies by a small number of directors and I realize these are some of the best movies I've ever seen. Coen brothers, Tarantino, Coppola, and hopefully this weekend, Kubrick, for this 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove, starring one of my all time favorites, Peter Sellers. Good times :)
Five hours of midnight oil and I end up with this new site. There's no content on it, but at least the main design is ready. The client needs it urgently, so I'll prolly have a friend or two help me out doing the text layout. Otherwise it's a simple site. I think my design is improving. Last year, the best I could do was this. A year and half later, I can do this. What do you think?
Well I found out my parents aren't going to New Zealand anymore - stupid International Visa problems. See that's exactly why I don't count on getting my student visa extending 100%. There's a slight chance that I might not get it renewed. And if that happens, I don't want life to be stuck. My parents are going to Nepal. I guess I'll go to UK or Australia. Let' ssee :) In the mean time, I study day/night and they sit on a lawn chair enjoying the fresh mountain air. Not fair!
Got my CS Principles of Programming Languages exam tonight. Studied all night, literally, with Linda and still not sure if I know everything. She was more worried than me and kept saying that I know 10 times more than anyone else in the class. I'm not too sure. Damn CFGs and FSAs. Be glad you don't have to worry about them every day (well unless you're a CS major too).
Got lotsa stuff planned this week. More work tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully gonna go see Kill Bill on Thursday. Working and studies all weekend. This is the busy time of the semester. But then things will only get worse. Can't wait till December. I dunno where I wanna go this year but I should really start planning. Prolly California. It'll be nice in the winter. I have a friend there (Peter - my partner in OYC venture) and Jenny the cuteness. Anyone have a few hundred thousand extra miles for a poor little lost boy from Calcutta? Hehe. Ok shower now and gotta head to work.
Gotta study all night...
In advanced econometrics exam that I said I did bad in, well I did. I got 78/100. Typically that's a C+. However, everyone else did SO bad that 78 is an A :) So despite doing so bad, I got an A! Yay!
I just talked to my Mom at home over the phone. As we were talking, my dad (from his work) called her on the cell and told her their visas to New Zealand were approved. So as far as I know, my parents are going on a VACATION TO THE LAND OF THE KIWIS! So are my Paresh Uncle & Rita Aunty. I'm so jealous. But hey, at least my mom's gonna get me newspapers from NZ!
Anyways, went on a LOOOOOOONG shopping/driving spree with Mason the Mighty. Went to my aunt's store and picked up my new cellphone. Then went to the Indian grocery store right next to it, got lotsa spicy and oily (just kidding) Indian food. Mason did his best to embarass me in front of all the sweet 50 yr old Indian ladies. Imagine a big strong 6'1" semi-bald white guy trying to pull a Sushmita Sen by swinging his hips and shaking his head to the beats of Mehboob Mere from Fiza. Yes. I can NEVER go to that place again without all the ladies at the counter laughing at me. Hehe! On to my aunt's house, I finally met my cuzins after almost a month. I've been busy with exams and work; haven't been able to see them at all. I finally picked up my winter clothes :) Then off to Walmart to buy myself more crap I don't need. Probably spent over $100 today for no reason whatsoever (well other than living well).
On the way back to the bunker from Walmart, Mason told me how he admired his best friend Dee the most in the world when it comes to personality. And added he admired me the most when it comes to intelligence and do-it-yourself-attitude. I said thanks but what did he mean by do-it-yourself? He answered that he respected the fact that despite being giving everything a man could ask for in life, I decided to build it all on my own. I had previously told him how my dad gave me a car @ 18 (though I could not drive, or rather, was too scared to) and how my aunt and uncle have done their best to help me get a good education here and still want me to leave my bunker and go back to live with them. He said, "if there was ANYONE else in your place, he would have taken the car at 18 and that good job at your dad's friend's company, or still lived in that awesome house with your aunt - but you do not. Because you want to make everything on your own, with your own efforts, and I respect that." While that made me feel like I just got a phone call from the Nobel Institute, it made me realize how much his interpretation of my life conflicted with my understand of it. To him, it was an admirable thing for me to give up what was given to me so that I can make it on my own. To me, it seems like I have forever been ungrateful to anyone who gives me anything lovingly. Many times I wonder if this whole "I-want-this-I-want-that" attitude will take me away from what the most important elements in life are - family, friends, love. I don't know the answer, but I'm intimidated by its potential ill-effects. Yet I am enticed by the glory it offers. And once again, all I can say with certainity, is that the answer lies somewhere in the middle, balanced, normalized.
Context-switch ConversationsFri, 17th Oct '03, 7:30 pm::
In the past hundred thousand years since man has communicated his emotions to his peers through verbal or physical gestures, never has he faced the emotional complexity that the everyday AIM conversation solicits. In one of my computer classes, I'm learning about something called: Context or Task Switching. I realized the same thing happens in my brain while chatting with more than one person - instantaneous switches between multiple moods and personalities. In one tiny window, I could be talking to Art and telling him how something is not going right and in another window chatting with Kat, I become all excited at her wonderful news from the family front. Then talking to Tay, I remain calm, comforting, and give the best advice I can offer so that he can salvage his 2,500 music files after iTunes "organized" them without permission. Another window, I'm laid back, discussing the pros-and-cons of reading books before watching the movie, with Jen. And back to Art, I wail how the hell might I get out of this current problem. All of this happens at the same time; my brain has about 1/100th of a second to switch between wise-and-composed to neurotic-and-whiny. I do this everyday. And everyone I know who chats online, does this everyday.
This doesn't seem to be an out of the world experience either. It's something very common and everyone I know is quite accustomed to it. However, from a psychological evolutionary point of view, this is something that is entirely new, brought upon us by the dot-com generation. Our personalities and behaviours change depending on who we are interacting with at any given moment. Around your teachers or customers, you put on a helpful or obedient mask, and around your friends, you quite possibly take off that mask. Right now, people who chat online, do the same, except 100 times an hour. Maybe this is something I noticed and probably doesn't deserve an observation. Or maybe this is something that requires intense research, to learn what happens to an individual's personality, after he or she is subjected to such rapid context switching for 6 years online. I am not a psychology major, but I feel the effects of chatting with multiple people simultaneously should not be ignored. Various psychological aspects of the computer life have been extensively studied, from causing social anxiety and reclusiveness to increased violence among video game players. However, I wonder why nobody has tried to explore whether engaging in multiple simultaneous conversations online increases the probability of developing or worsening Dissociative Disorders. Any Psych majors reading this? Tamara?
Happy B'day NICK!!!!!!
In my computer graphics class right now. Had a bad Advanced Econometrics exam. I hope I get at least a B though. And 3-4 hours of studies more tonight. Hope we can get it done sooner.
Why do we have exams? No really. Urgh. So tired.
Yeah 3:15 am and I'm reading open-source software articles while listening to Schubert's Erlking and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique - Marche au supplice, Fourth Movement. As far as Western classical music is concerned, one of my favorite pieces is Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun).
Oh to be an Economics and a Computer Science double major who reads /. - here is a very long article worth reading: The Law of Accelerating Returns in technology, by Raymond Kurzweil. It's an in-depth look at how technology is rapidly growing at an exponential rate. It is only natural that it starts with: "You will get $40 trillion just by reading this essay and understanding what it says..."
- Today's fraternity-themed violence brought to you by the good people at Rutgers
- Rutgers student arrested for throwing pie in face of Israeli cabinet member
- Driving drunk? No problem - if you are president of Rutgers University
- President of Rutgers mugged
- The sport of Cricket-spitting at Rutgers
- Rutgers professors seek 44-percent pay raise and at the same time tell students to rally against budget cuts
- Never-ending. Israeli-Palestinian. Conflicts at Rutgers.
Sometimes I wish we were in the news for something else, like you know, research and academics?
"My work is centered on the mathematical aspect of the engine, specifically 3D transformations and linear algebra." - Geneviève Picard. If there was ever one pickup line a girl can use to floor me instantly, this is it. I wonder why there are no girls like her in my campus. Lately I've become interested in 3D graphics engines. While I'm not changing career paths or anything, game programming does look very tempting. And I think I have what it takes to be one.
Despite my busy schedule (you know, movies) I try to read all my friends' journals at least once a week. That's about 15-16 blogs and most of them write quite frequently - like Tay and John. Here's a bit I found on John's blog. It's my New Word for the day:
- Vehiculate: (verb): Used to describe the process of driving a car to an appropriate point, like perhaps where people are waiting to carpool with you. "Somebody better be vehiculating this way or else we'll have to walk."
Three Al Pacino movies in three days - The Godfather, Scarface, and Scent of a Woman. Wow. I need to see a few comedy films to get unserious. Ah. Exam tomorrow. Watched TV all day. Obviously, you can see I got my priorities straight. Hehe.
I don't EVER remember being THIS tired. I have been programming non-stop for 23 hours now, with 3 hours of sleep. However, I can say I FINALLY did my computer graphics project. I have never EVER studied so much for just one class/project. I think I already spent 55-60 hours behind this project! Got a bad headache right now, but gotta study more - Advanced Econometrics exam tomorrow. It's ok, I'll survive. I'm just too damn tired to even whine.
Wow never had such a wild ride of lucid dreaming. It was literally multiple parallel dreams running synchronously.
Oh and forgot to mention, Derek redesigned his site. Wow. That's all I can say. If I was only 5% this good. You HAVE to see his Portfolio > Graphics section.
Went to see Kathleen yesterday. Stayed till like 10pm and felt sleepy. She drove me to my bunker and then I wasn't sleepy anymore. So I finally saw The Godfather - Part I. Well I kinda feel guilty right now, cuz I fell asleep after about 1 hour. The movie was as good as I expected, just that I really was too sleepy to see it. Will finish it tonight or sometime next week.
Well yesterday's song for the day was "Girl from Ipanema" by Frank Sinatra. Derek said the original version by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto was even better. And oh my it sure is. It's an eerie feeling sitting in my desk listening to this song. For some reason, everytime the girl sings, her voice comes from the speaker behind me and not front and side. It's beautiful yet chilling.
Right now doing some work, listening to A. R. Rahman songs. One thing I have to admit, if you have a nice dolby system setup, like me :), then Rahman's songs are the BEST thing you can listen to. I have thousands of songs, from Western Classicals to Oldies to latest Hip Hop / Rap and from Indian Oldies to Bollywood hits; nothing beats Rahman in quality, fidelity, and calmness. Listening to Roja right now. Loving every second.
Have you ever felt like beating the crap outta Britney Spears? Well, now you can [link removed] my friend.
Had pizza with Michele. Gotta do Advanced Econometrics homework now.
Alright, I'm getting another of these Princeton 19" LCD monitors because they said multiple monitors increases productivity. My friend Chris @ work already has a dual-monitor setup and he says he can't live without it anymore. Guess it's fine I found a new client to pay for it ;) I *might* have a really cool client coming up. Can't give more details unless I've got the advance.
"The average blogger is a teen-age girl who updates her friends and classmates on her life, with words and spellings not quite as informal as instant messaging," says this article about a blog survey conducted by Perseus Development Corp. While both these sites look pretty spammy/marketing-junk, I think their conclusion is correct: "Perseus Development Corp. randomly surveyed 3,634 blogs on eight leading blog-hosting services to develop a model of blog populations. The most dramatic finding was that 66.0% of surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, representing 2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or temporarily abandoned. In fact, 1.09 million blogs were one-day wonders, with no postings on subsequent days. Active blogs were updated on average every 14 days. Only 106,579 of the hosted blogs were updated on average at least once a week. Fewer than 50,000 were updated daily." - As quoted on PreSurfer.
I guess the fact that I update my 'blog at least 5 times a week makes me either very deligent or extremely bored :-P Hehe. What can I say, I have about 30-50 people who check out this site every week and 7-10 people who see it almost every day. I might not have a large audience but at least I have a dedicated one. And of course someday when I'm rich and successful and famous, the ones who keep in touch with me will get diamond-studded doorknobs at b'day gifts :)
The Indian Prime Minister is the Number 8 Technology Agenda Setter. #1 is Steve Jobs from Apple and Bill Gates is #2. And the author of the SoBig virus is #42! I guess that's because this is not the list of the most powerful people, but rather that of the people who will influence the future the most. In that case, I think Narayana Murthy has more say in IT in India than the Indian PM.
Minimalistic ProgrammingTue, 7th Oct '03, 1:00 am::
For programmers only: I'm extremely weary of the whole get-a-real-job-with-multinationals situation and have forever shunned making a resume. Now, I think I'm gonna make a resume like this one. How about... "I am a super-god high-end extremely advanced Minesweeper..." Anyways, when it comes to programming, I'd like to classify myself as a serious minimalist aimed at providing the highest usefullness/effort ratio. By the ratio I mean, I will put in enough effort to give a high level of satisfaction and then stop. I could put in twice more effort, but since the users will NOT be twice as happy from the extra effort, I don't bother. This means my work will never be 100% perfect, rather just good enough for the purpose. Perfection in my eyes is only viable when there is only one goal. If one has to work on 5 projects at the same time and achieve good results, it's best to do considerably well in each than perfect in one and intolerable in the rest.
Coming back to minimalistic programming, I have found a natural love for no-frill technologies which require the least amount of effort from the developer and the user side. I am drawn to simple php scripts and RAD languages like Visual Basic, instead of all powerful and mighty C++ or Java. Every day some new thing comes along in the IT field, a new language, a new development platform - from EJB to CORBA to SOAP to XML. I could if I really wanted, spend time to learn these tools but often I read an introductory tutorial, just to be aware how it works and then don't bother anymore. Mainly because there is no immediate use for any of these for me. Sure, object-driven databases offer a horde of features over the current relational dbs, however I hardly ever need to make a system that makes ten million queries an hour. Also I highly doubt that most people who DO use these hyped-up technologies really need them.
Yesterday a friend of mine from Newark - Arpit, came to see me with his business partners to get some idea on how to proceed with their new venture: Books for Lease. It's a good concept - why buy/sell new or used books each semester - why not just rent them for $10-15 and then return them in same condition? I might redesign the front-end for the site, which has been functional for over a year now. Other than design, I mainly explored ways by which they expand the site's usefullness by concentrating on the core concept - books for lease. While they can build in new wonderful features that only 5% of the people will use, they are better off creating custom tools that help the other 95%. That means giving up the use of pre-written packages like shopping-carts, that they purchased and write their own code to make the site work they way THEY want. It'll require a bit more effort, but the results will surpass the costs.
The most efficient programming style, lies somewhere in the middle of using tools that are very difficult to implement but very useful once in place and scripts that are really easy to write but have limited uses. They don't need EJB or Struts. But they can't get away with using pre-written packages like E-cart. They need to write some of their own code, and use the stuff that's cheaper to buy than write themselves. And I think this is where most of the IT world lies today. There are millions of websites doing business online, and from personal experience, the most successful ones are those with straight-forward systems - like Amazon and eBay. The concepts are simple, the sites are easy to use, and the back-ends are pretty run-of-the-mill too. Amazon still uses Perl! Yahoo's gonna use PHP from now on. However, Morgan Stanley uses EJBs and Struts and they definitely should. But Google doesn't need to, as it works great with Python.
Big complex technologies come and go, but the simple ones are still here - C and assembly :) Perl, PHP, and Python are going to stay for a while too. But bubye .NET and C#. Hope it goes exactly where Push-technology and Virtual Reality have gone. Here's a good article that says everything I said and more, quite beautifully: "Like any industry, the software world suffers its own fashions..." - Software Reality. Glad to see I'm not the only one who likes simple straight-forward languages and tools. Although subconsciously I'm always a bit nervous that not jumping-onto-the-bandwagon of some cool breakthrough might be a bit of a hindsight. Must admit I am risk-averse on the short run and don't get too excited at mega-world-changing-cool-corporate-tools, though hopefully in the long run, my desire to seek stability, simplicity, and balance will benefit me.
The season is back; the season of me getting static electricity shocks. I just got shocked for the second time in last 10 minutes after touching my monitor @ work. As much as I hate the heat during the summer, at least I don't get shocked ten times a day. Now that winter's approaching, I guess I gotta get used to not touching metal, doors, cars, and anything that can transfer static. Grrrrrrrrrr!
Anyways, just had an awesome lunch with my buddy Art, who took me to Taco Bell. That's definitely my b'day present every year since I came here. Hehe. And I discovered that my economics class @ 1:10 was cancelled. So I'm here at work till 4:30 pm. Got a lot of stuff to do though. Tata for now...
Here's a picture of a 30-inch pizza taken by my buddy Chris. I'm just looking for someone to challenge me to eat that, hehe, cuz if someone's willing to pay $26, I'm willing to take the bet. And it's good for the price, cuz a 16-inch (~200 square inches) pizza is $7.50 while the 30-inch pizza (~700 square inches) is just about 3.5 times that price. Now if it was $20 for the 30-inch, it'd be a great deal, especially when people have parties and stuff.
Happy B'day to me! 23 and counting...
My monitor's officially 1 year old now. We have the same b'day. My mp3 player is 1 year 2 days. This year I didn't buy anything for myself, cuz funds are short. Anyways, lotsa people wished me already. Thanks! Too bad I have more work and homework than I wanted this week, but it's all due in 2-3 days so I have to study now. Will prolly go out or something tonight. Nothing planned. It's always better that way.
My computer graphics class really IS hard. VERY hard. I spent 18 hours on the project already and have barely completed 30% of the assignment. And the project's really important too - 20% of my final grade. Ok, homework time.
Just talked to my family in India again. Miss them so much :( My sis is online right now, telling me that my best friend Vishal was talking to her about my b'day. I miss him. And Chetan.
Mason was talking about (more like showing off trust me) his high school's website. Then I remembered my dad's friend Kishan Uncle was also helping develop my high school's website in India. I did a google search and look what I found: BGES High School, Calcutta, India. And my what cool virtual tours they have (Kishan Uncle helped set them up too!). Oh here's the official site for my old college. Good colors, decent design, bad fonts and textual layout.
"And guess what the average age is in the [Indian IT] industry? Just 26 and a half! These 26/27-year-olds have changed the world's perception of India. It's not just a country of snake-charmers; it's a country against which protectionist walls have to be erected. Of course, we can also charm snakes." - Arun Shourie: Listen to the new India. Thanks Keval!
My daddy, mommy and sister just called me!!! So very happy :)
Tamara (the awesome lady/girl from work) just made a cake for me!!!!! Cuz well tomorrow's Saturday and work's closed. It's so big that I can't eat it on my own! MMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm chocolate covered and something good on inside. THANKS A LOT!!!!! I love my job, and even more the people who work here. I know if I was home with my mom, she'd make me an awesome cake too. I miss home. It's been almost 15 months since I saw them.
It's Mahatma Gandhi's 134th birthday today. I just had a nice talk with my buddy @ work - Nick, about Indian history and why the hell my English is so very double-plus-good. Hehe. Oh the new Manna 6 chapter is out and I still haven't read it. Gotta read it sometime soon...
October already. I'm turning god-awful-old this Saturday - TWENTY THREE! I'm either gonna have a little get-together at Stuff Yer Face on Easton Avenue (right down my street) or go to a strip club :) I'll still in favor of Stuff Yer Face but let's see what happens. Of course the third hidden option is I get a lot and take some much needed rest, but I don't wanna do that.