The so-called Online "Hackers" lately have just been getting more and more retarded. I'm no hacker and have no intention of becoming one but if I wanted to seriously get into the illicit world of cracking 'n hacking, here's a few things I would do, a la The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord:
Top xx Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Online Overlord (and growing):
- I would not hang out on online forums called DigitalGangsta.com, HackerzCrew.net, or anything like NetSupremeMafia.com. I would however create a forum somewhere tucked inside www.cauliflower-salads.com.
- I would not use the #crackersonly channel in IRC for communication. I would write a very simple software to hide messages in spam emails using Steganography and also implement some decent form of encryption.
- Read the full list here.
Story of my work lifeWed, 25th May '05, 8:30 pm::
Here's the story of my work-life. Some guy explains it from his point-of-view, which is quite similar to mine. This is what happens to me, and pretty much everyone else in the world involved with making enterprise software.
Every project I take up, starts with a tiny minor requirement, "Chirag, we need you to make something that'll help us pay our bills on time." Sounds so simple that a middle-school kid can do it in Excel for Mac between soccer practice and karate lessons! Just put a list of all the current bills in one sheet and type in 'Paid' next to it when you pay. It's as simple as that. But who enters the list of bills? Obviously some from the Purchasing Department. However, they don't want to make a purchase order in paper and have to maintain the list of incoming bills on computer, so obviously, the solution is to computerize the Purchase Order system also. But wait, now that we have the POs in the database, we can easily use the data to help with taking the stock of our inventory because we know what's coming in.
Now all the system needs is something that lets you deduct the stock when we make a sale. Fast-forward tons of meetings with the heads of Production, QA, Regulatory, Accounting, Sales, and of course, Management, and where do you end up at? A full-fledged inventory control system with MRP features that integrate with a live e-commerce website and provides real-time stock figures. It took a while to make but everyone's happy with the system, right? Well almost. The system does everything it promised except one thing - help us with paying our bills on time! Due to some communication gap that occured in the initial stages of design, nobody realized that we do not get billed for each Purchase Order individually, and any bill can be towards a partial PO, full PO, or multiple POs. Sorry guys, if only you had told me this before... oops!
The guy in the link above explains this all quite well. I just wanted to share my experience. And it'll only get more complex 'n confusing as our company grows. Funny thing is that I love it :) Keeps my brain sharp. Of course, just like the guy above, I am not complaining about my job. I'm just saying how and why things take so long and how the simplest thing can and often does end up being so complex. Truth is, there really isn't any ERP Zen in the world. If you ever find it, lemme know! One thing I that I do often is to understand the user needs and find out a way to simplify them instead of just doing exactly what the user wants. Kinda like this guy.
Quote for the day: "It wasn't an act of God that parted the Red Sea, Moses threw a copy of the Collected Works of Thoreau in there." - Edymnion (my friend Chris).
After this morning's fiery awakening, my plans for today pretty much changed. Instead of laundry and cleaning, I ended up just playing with the kitties. At about 6pm, I went to the Clearwater Beach to pick up Jessica from her dad's and went to this cute little restaurant called Frenchy's. The food was pretty good actually. We walked on the beach and just chilled till the sun set. I really needed some break from my apartment and thankfully the ocean was just 20-30 minutes away. And if everything works out as planned, the ocean will be just 4 minutes away from my new home.
Giga is hiding under the sofa because he's still scared. He doesn't even want to eat kitty treats. I think he'll be ok soon. Tera is behaving normally.
Thank God for fire alarms! In my new house, the #1 thing I'm gonna make sure is that it has working fire alarms connected to the monitoring agency where if there is a fire in my absence, they will notify the fire department etc. immediately.
A little bit of fireSun, 22nd May '05, 8:35 am::
So I had a small fire in my apartment just about an hour ago. It's all ok now but man was it scary. At 7:27am I heard the alarm go off and realized I hadn't put on my alarm last night because it was afterall a Sunday. Turns out the sound of the alarm was coming from the bathroom and I looked in to find the exhaust fan on fire, spewing out smoke and burning down the wall. Flames were falling on the floor and burnt the tiles. Realizing it was an electrical fire, I just turned off the main power circuit in my apartment. Next I moved all flammable stuff outta the bathroom like mats and towels.
Right after that I called 911 and gave them my address, apartment number, and the type and severity of the fire (small). Next up I took out the two kitty boxes and put Tera in one of them. Giga was no where to be found :( I opened all my apartment windows and the main door and put Tera's box outside the apartment while I kept searching for Giga.
I scraped my shoulders running around the house and have bad carpet burns on my knees as I bent down looking for Giga under the sofa, tables etc. It was less than 3 minutes before the firefighters came and I walked out of the apartment directing them where the fire was. Took about 10 minutes before they extinguished the fire fully. My apartment was so full of smoke that I could barely look in and that made me worried more and more about Giga. I couldn't find him in the living room, computer room, kitchen, or my bedroom. That just leaves the bathroom which was in flames.
At some point while the awesome Pinellas County firefighters were in my bathroom, I realized Giga was in my bed all night so he HAD to be under the blankets. I put my t-shirt over my nose and told the nice firefighter lady that I'm just gonna get my cat from my bedroom and since this wasn't a life-or-death situation, she said ok and came with me. And lo and behold! There was Giga, right where I left him... under my blanket but quite scared and crying :( I took him out and put him in his box and took both the kitty boxes all the way at the end of my building to get a breath of fresh air.
I called up Brian and my family just to let them know of the incident. The firefighters seemed to be done and came out to ask me what happened and what I did. Apparently I did exactly what they would've done themselves so I guess I get full points for having the presence of mind to do the intelligent thing. Especially after last night when I came home @ 3am and was in the bed for less than 5 hours! The building maintenance guy is already here, cleaning up the bathroom etc. Hopefully it'll all be fixed in a few hours.
This could've been something extremely bad but thankfully it turned out minor. The only thing I lost is one roll of toilet paper :) Everything else was building's property, not my problem.
I just told Tamara that I think when I'm 72, this week will be "the good old days" that I will keep talking about.
I can't wait till the day I start my Masters' studies. I don't know when but someday...
Damn Giga's gettin really good at catchin flies in my apartment... Oh wait, on second thoughts... why the hell are there flies in my apt?! How did they get in here!!!!!!
Went to a hidden bar called Cooters on Clearwater Beach tonight to meet an online friend's sister who's a bartender there. Had some good drinks and socialized with a buncha out-of-town vacationing drunkards :) It was a pretty good evening and now I gotta go to bed because I'm way past my bedtime.
My friend read the above and said "If she's cheating on her boyfriend in FRONT of him, she's messed up to begin with." Well I'd have thought so too had I not impolitely overheard their long boring conversation. Basically he was just whining about her doing this and her doing that and she kept giving valid reasons why. She sounded pretty intelligent and instead of a cheater, seemed more like someone dying to get out of a bad relationship. Anyways, I got no reason to defend her now. Not like I'm gonna see her ever again...
Yet another golden chanceSat, 14th May '05, 10:45 pm::
They say you only get a golden chance once. Don't turn away opportunity when it knocks on your door. You only get one shot! It's probably true for almost everyone but in my case, it's pretty much a recurring event. If you haven't guessed it already, I mean girls :) It's kinda funny how everyone around me just assumes that I randomly meet new girls and surprisingly I think they just might be correct. No, I haven't met anyone but I do have an interesting story to share.
I went jetskiing with Brian today and man am I bruised! I fell off the jetski 3 more times today and hurt my head, neck, arms, wrists, knees, and back. I'm a walking whine-lab. Thereafter, soaked and hungry, we went to Sweet Tomatoes. So I'm just sitting in front of Brian, eating some good food when this CUTE girl comes and sits on the table next to us. For some reason, Sweet Tomatoes caters to an amazingly high number of hot/cute girls and may God Bless their sweet little hearts for that. Now this girl wasn't alone and her boyfriend sat in front of her. Brian left to get some food and I was just sitting relishing the Garlic Focaccia bread. Her boyfriend was talking to her when she smiled at me and said 'Hey...' Ignoring how awkward this was, I said 'Hi...' back and smiled back. The boyfriend stopped mid-sentence and just gave me the evilest look in the world. I kept smiling at her till Brian came back and got back to my food.
A few minutes later, I went to the pasta bar to get some more food when she walked up next to me and started talking. All this time, her boyfriend kept staring at us like crazy. We made some small talk about the food being good at this place and went back to our individual tables. Brian noticed the little tête-à-tête and asked what's going on. I told him we just made some small talk and that it was nothing big. He was like but man she was checking you out! I laughed and said, well yeah but she IS with some guy and I just can't randomly get the number/email or something. That's not cool.
When were done eating, Brian asked me "Ok ready to leave?" and the girl looked at us and replied "Sure..." We just smiled and walked back to our car and got home.
Now I know the question on your mind is "IS THIS CHIRAG PERSON STUPID OR WHAT?! What kinda sissy boy would let this kinda opportunity go especially when the girl looked a real-life cute version of Scarlett Johansson?!!!"
I got nothing to say to that. I wish I did. I wish I could come up with a valid reason to justify why I didn't ask her for her number or figure out some way to contact her again. I mean everyone knows I'm single and sure, I would love to meet someone nice 'n good etc. but I don't know. I keep doing this over and over and over again. From the gorgeous blonde to the cute marathoner, from the spicy Bengali girl to whom I owe my success on getting the US Visa to this pretty lady strangely interested in me... I don't know why I never actually try to get close to the ones who are nice to me yet keep dating crazy psychotic retards.
I'm pretty sure a shrink would give my condition some cool medical sounding title but personally I don't know what my problem is. I know for sure that I'm not afraid of talking to a girl or afraid of rejection. I've had my share of being turned down and frankly stuff like that doesn't phase me anymore. If I want to ask someone out, I figure out a way to do that. But for some reason, I just don't feel like asking the nice ones out, only the crazies. And I know it's the same way with girls; they keep going for the bad biker guys while ignoring the nice good friendly-type guys.
Oh well, I've always been told I'm the confused-type so it's not like I HAVE to be rational all the time. I try my best to be rational and logical at my work so I have the right to be illogical and confused in my personal life. And hey, who really cares about stuff like this anyway! I got checked out by a cutie in my most ragged outfit and I got a friend to prove it :-P Life is certainly good. Oh and all this attention can only mean one thing... and that is my new healthy fruit/vegetables diet-plan is working and I'm shedding the extra weight :)
Here's an interesting look at the Indian way of arranged marriages, describing how/why arranged marriages in general work better than love marriages. I'm pretty neutral on the topic myself because I know enough love marriages that worked and enough arranged marriages which are failures. Of course there are tons of love marriages that fail and many arranged couples that live happily.
Went to bed early last night. Woke up at 4am this morning and been working on a big computer/work-related problem since then. Basically trying to find/plan which platform to create an ERP system in.
Last night my real-estate agent came over to get some papers signed and get a deposit check. I now officially have a contract on the house by the beach :) Giga and Tera kept circling around him and Giga climbed on the dining table and started purring. He said, "Wow! These are the nicest cats I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few going to people's houses..."
I love my kids :)
I was just listening to one standup comedian after another on this lazy Florida afternoon and I almost choked on my food. George Bush is listed under "Top Artist" on the "Comedy" section in Napster. Turns out, he is credited as the lead comedian in the comedy album BushSpeak: The Curious Wit & Wisdom of George W. Bush. I listened to the whole album and it was pretty much what the album claims and I had already expected - full of foot-in-mouth quotes by the W. If you have Napster or can find this album somewhere, check it out. Some prized quotes from the collection by Bush:
- "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
- "War Is A Dangerous Place."
- "I couldn't imagine someone like Osama Bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah..."
- More here...
Yet another lazy Sunday afternoon. Had a long good night's sleep and just getting some work done around the house. I saw Scent of a Woman last night which was quite an amazing movie about blind Lt. Colonel Al Pacino and a young boy who was taking care of him for a weekend. After tons of Oscar nominations from The Godfather to Dog Day Afternoon, Pacino finally got the Oscar for this film. If you can, then you should see it.
Gotta get back to playing with the kitties now. I hope they adjust well to their soon-to-be-new home :)
OH MY GOD!!!!! JETSKIING IS SOOOOOOO MUCH FUN!!! Thanks a lot Brian for introducing me to the best thing I've ever done. We took both his jetskis to a fresh water lake up near Oldsmar, lowered it from a dock at this beautiful park, and off we went! After about an hour, Linda joined us too. I was on the faster jetski and after I got the hang of it, I was going above 45mph (72km/hr) most of the time. As much fun as this sport is, it requires some amazing amount of physical strength and stamina. As the jetski goes faster, the ride becomes more and more bumpy and you gotta stand up from the seat and balance with the strength of your thigh and knee muscles. After a few minutes, this becomes so painful that you just slow down and sit back on the seat.
Right now I feel like I just ran over 10 miles. We were in the lake for over two hours so it's pretty much the same as running or jogging fast. But while running too much harms your knees, soles, and bones, jetskiing is pretty much harmless unless of course, like me, you decide to turn around 180 degrees while going 40 mph and end up flying 20 feet away into the water! I fell into the water twice only and thankfully there are no alligators in the middle of the lake. Everyone says it's even more fun to jetski in the ocean because of the force of the waves so I guess we'll try that sometime too. For now, I'm gonna go relax with the kitties and maybe later chill with a friend.
The last few days have been pretty interesting. Friday, instead of working all day, my entire company, from shipping guy to production planner, from the owners to the newest employees, all went for a one-day meeting/seminar/thinktank to this place run by the St. Petersburg College. There we spent the day learning about what we do, what every person in our company does, and most importantly, what do we do as a company - where we stand in the market, what our core competencies are etc, and how to brand our company. We formed small teams and worked on similar projects for 30 minutes and made charts, designs, and collages on whiteboards. Everything was documented and by Monday, we'll be able to see it all online. All in all, a pretty fun day where a lot of the employees, including myself, learnt a lot more about the company, especially what everyone else in the company thinks about the company.
Last night at 11:45pm I was about to head to bed when Linda 'n Brian called me. We went to AppleBees and two hours later I had downed six Long Island Ice Teas (my favorite drink ever) and pretty much passed out on Brian's couch. Alcohol is good for you once in a while. I woke up @ 11am feeling pretty normal and came home to get clean.
I'm going over back to Brian's now and then we're gonna go jetskiing :) It'll be my first time ever. God I love Florida! The weather is gorgeous and every other car has a boat towing behind it. Looks like I'll 99% get the house I like and hopefully I'll move in by June end unless some major problems occur. Crossing my fingers that everything goes well, in two months you'll be seeing a lotta pics of the new chir.ag bunker, well it's more like a tiki. Yeah, that sounds corny enough for it to be cool - The chir.ag tiki :-P
My sister's been back from the hospital a few days now and said is recovering pretty well. Thanks everyone for your concerned emails.
Rains and house-hunting is really hampering my running/workout schedule :-( Hope it stop raining soon...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARTHUR! /copy-paste from last year!
What an amazing evening. Went to Eric, my boss's house for dinner with him and his wife Amy. Also got to see his lil daughter Katie; she's definitely growing up fast! Had some really good pasta with vegetables and for dessert had fresh fruit salad. This whole eating healthy thing is working out pretty good for me. I lost 4lbs already in less than 10 days and I'm eating all the food I want! Oh and the best part of the night was that Eric and Amy absolutely LOVED the gifts my dad got for them from India!
I think I might have another equally good news: Last night I put an offer on one house near the beach (only TWO miles!) that I really liked and today the sellers came back with a counteroffer agreeing to pretty much everything I wanted, except they want $2,000 more than I offered. If this was a $10,000 house then $2,000 is a big difference but when the price of the house is $142,000, a mere $2,000 more isn't that bad. Of course, I haven't confirmed their offer yet and will take my time tomorrow to decide the specifics of the deal but it looks like I just might have a good house.
Another thing that needs to be done before the deal is finalized is a thorough house and termite inspection in addition to a home appraisal. I will have to pay some professionals to do all of that for me and hopefully it will work out well. At least my offer didn't get rejected instantly :) Let's see how this story develops...
This 'blog's slowly turning into a rant journal because all I want to do is keep complaining. Here's my top complaint for today - How the hell can you say you "LOOOOOOOOOOVE MUSIC" if the only thing you ever listen to is punk rock?! If you only like a few genres of music, then you don't love music, you just love a few types of music. The only people who have the right to say "I love music" are the ones who can appreciate music in it's different forms from Classical to Country, from Hip-Hop to World music.
Just like you cannot say "I love all humans" and only care about your own race, you cannot say "I love music" if you can't appreciate Mozart AND Black Eyed Peas. Sure, you cannot express the appreciation in the same tone and mode for different kinds of music, but if you really love music, you cannot outright discredit entire genres like Jazz or World music (which by itself is magnitudes richer than the handful of genres one would find in the Western music scene).
In essence, if you don't have at least one moderately favorite song/artist/album in each of the following then please stop saying you love music: Alternative, Classical, Country, Hip-Hop/R&B, Jazz, Oldies, Rock, and above all World Music, which includes every Indian song ever made on top of Arabic, Asian, African, Caribbean, and South American music.
Music is a world of it's own and you cannot "LOVE THE WORLD*" and put an asterisk (*) that disclaims "Applies only to Canada."
I just got home from 4 hours of house hunting! I put an offer on a slightly older house which is extremely close to the beach. I will know by 5pm tomorrow if they accept it or want to negotiate further. If not, my agent will put an offer on another really nice house that is actually much better in condition but nowhere close to the beach. The prices of houses next to beaches go up much faster despite the condition they are in.
So basically my first choice is an ok-condition house near the beach and my second choice is a really nice house away from the beach. Either way, I think I'll be happy. The second house is in fact next to a very beautiful park/playground area with lots of courts for tennis/volleyball etc. I kinda like my second choice more than my first choice especially because it's beautiful, has a nicer lawn/backyard, and is in perfect condition but in the long run, the house near the beach will increase in value the most.
The only reason I'm ok with a house near the beach is because it is on high elevation and not in the flood zone. So hurricane's can't really flood the house. Anyways, I will know by 5pm tomorrow what the sellers have to say.
So I don't think I will get the house I really wanted because there's two other bidders two quoted higher price than mine. Oh well, there's 100's of houses out there and I just gotta look hard and keep looking. Nothing too bad.
My sister's been in the hospital for two days now. The doctors think it's an internal lower spinal-cord infection. She isn't feeling well at all but my family says it'll be ok soon. I'm very sad about this whole thing. Why does someone in my family get sick every damn day :(