Sun, 30th Nov '03, 3:55 pm::

Sun, 30th Nov '03, 3:35 pm::

An infant blogs.

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Sun, 30th Nov '03, 4:00 am::

Found a useless-timewaster site: Am I A lot of fun if you know your celebs.

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Sun, 30th Nov '03, 3:50 am::

Just saw The Breakfast Club. Loved it. Another must-see movie. It was released in 1985. Today 18 years later, take a look at the actors who played the tough guy, the sports jock, and the nerd. As you can see, the nerd won. Hehe. But overall, it's a good movie about how people change as they grow up, and start dividing into pre-defined stereotypical classes. In 2nd grade, everybody is the same. But by 12th grade, we all know who's the smart one, who's Mr./Ms. Popular, who's going to be rich and famous, and who is going to end up in a cubicle. Most of the times, it turns out true anyway. Of course, if it doesn't turn out true, the high school reunion will be quite fun. I wonder if there'll ever be a reunion for my boarding school.

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Sat, 29th Nov '03, 9:30 pm::

Fri, 28th Nov '03, 7:40 pm::

Mayo Clinic specialist predicts worst flu season in 30 years. Why am I not surprised? Oh yeah, because I think I have it :( It's ok... nothing to worry. Lots of fluid (water/juice mostly) and good food will fix it. Only annoying thing is the headache.

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Thu, 27th Nov '03, 8:40 pm::

Just saw X-Men. Can't wait to see X2. I hear it is even better.

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Thu, 27th Nov '03, 5:30 pm::

Movies I've seen in the last few days: Pi, The Princess Bride, and The Matrix: Revolutions. I don't know why everyone said the Revolution sucks so bad, I actually liked it. Kinda sad story but still good. Pi is an indie-film about a crazy mathematician who is close to discovering the order of chaos in the universe. Good movie but highly criticized too. Princess Bride was a sweet romantic tale about Knights, Pirates and Giants. Funny and romantic.

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Thu, 27th Nov '03, 4:50 pm::

Time for some good Mexican food :)

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Wed, 26th Nov '03, 8:10 am::

A couple of centuries ago ago, Alexander Tyler said: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

If I'm not wrong, the US is in a state of apathy right now, moving on to dependency. A grim picture but true nonetheless.

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Tue, 25th Nov '03, 12:25 am::

What a long boring day. Had my econ exam. Prolly did good. Went to a meeting for potential grad students. It scared the hell out of me. I'm gonna have to do a LOT of things now if I want to get into a decent grad school.

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Sun, 23rd Nov '03, 4:35 pm::

Early this morning, i had fresh bagel and cream cheese for breakfast while watching new episodes of South Park. And then I went to bed. Just woke up. Have an exam tomorrow, so gotta study now.

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Sat, 22nd Nov '03, 5:30 am::

The Top Ten Internet Fads. From WAP to B2B, from Thin Clients to Avatars/Digital Personae. Interstingly, I've seen almost each of these fads. Thankfully, never really got into any of these, except VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), cuz I still think it has a lot of potential if done right.

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Sat, 22nd Nov '03, 4:30 am::

One night, three movies: Analyze This, Analyze That, and Monsters, Inc.. Ten brownie points if you guess who's common to all of them... Yup! Billy Crystal. I think I've had enough of his squeaky voice for one night. Loved all the three movies though. Analyze This was funny, That was funnier, and of course Monsters, Inc. was the funniest and cutest.

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Sat, 22nd Nov '03, 12:05 am::

Here's the 2003 List of Banished Words by Lake Superior State University. These are the words that have crept into our daily conversations and seldom add any meaning to the context. Since 1976, there have been a lot of banished words. Come to think of it, they banished state-of-the-art in 1983! But then when you look at the full list of every banned word you realize that's pretty much the whole vocabulary of the news media out there. Ooops, I can't say 'out there' because it was banned in 1983 too.

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Fri, 21st Nov '03, 3:40 pm::

Here's some breaking math news for the day: Perfect Magic Cube of Order 5 discovered. The reason why tihs excites me, is that technically someone like me could have done the same using a normal desktop PC and basic math skills. Come to think of it, one could actually write a program in BASIC to do exactly what these mathematicians did. So technically, it's not a very complex thing. Just not something you would think of using your computer for.

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Fri, 21st Nov '03, 1:35 pm::

I love my jorb! And the people I work with :)

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Fri, 21st Nov '03, 5:00 am::

OOOoooooooooo yeah! 2 million keys! Under 300 rank :)

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Fri, 21st Nov '03, 4:55 am::

And if you like staying up all night reading scientific articles, here's a good one that suggests that the universe could be like a gigantic hologram.

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Computer Science, Philosophy, & Quantum physicsFri, 21st Nov '03, 3:35 am::

(If you're a CS major, you should read the original article I wrote this long blog entry on. If that is too confusing, feel free to read my interpretation and extension of it.)

Here's a long article linking computer science, philosophy, and quantum physics, by Jaron Lanier. You probably haven't heard of him (I certainly didn't) but you've definitely heard one little term he coined in the 1980's, "Virtual Reality. He looks more like a English major with a Philosophy minor than a computer scientist who "co-developed the first implementations of virtual reality applications in surgical simulation, vehicle interior prototyping, virtual sets for television production, and assorted other areas." In this paper, he looks at computers from an entirely different angle than we have been used to. Computer scientists (and in turn the rest of the world) basically think of computers as a bunch of electric signals being passed over wires at a very high speed. At any given time, there's really only one thing happening on your computer. You may think you are reading this website, listening to music, moving your mouse, and chatting online at the same time, but at the lowest CPU level, only one of these programs is running for a few split nanoseconds of time and then the operations for the next software are run. The context switch happens so fast that we get a perception that everything is running at the same time, which it isn't. Just like a 30 frames per second film reel, which is composed of a small number of pictures that are played just fast enough to give us perception of motion.

Real world of course doesn't work in this way. There isn't really some smallest amount of measurable time (at least not that we can measure with the current technology). Also in real life things do happen at the same time, that is you can be driving and drinking coffee while talking on the cell phone and scratching your head. Computers can only fake this kind of multitasking and that is where the problem lies. Fifty years ago it was very easy to conceptualize computers as simple straight-forward machines that receive input and product output. This led to instantenous implementations of the mathematical models of Turing machines and the first software. Sadly that is exactly what we are doing five decades since ENIAC - giving input and getting output. That, explains Lanier, is the reason why image recognition, voice recognition, video analysis and almost every application of artificial intelligence fails to product smart, intelligent results - because the current computer architecture is built to be perfect under perfect conditions.

Think about it this way. Theoretically, if you move your mouse cursor to the left, it MUST move to the left. There is nothing written in the software code for the mouse driver to move your cursor otherwise. But mouse cursor isn't the only process running in your system. Your stupid Word document will crash the system because there was a big photograph in it and your mouse is now stuck on the right corner of the screen, refusing to move. Theoretically, the code for mouse cursor did not fail, but your operating system did, and as a result brought down the perfectly functional code for the mouse cursor. The mouse cursor code is thus written perfectly to work under only perfect conditions. The alternative to this, he offers, is to write individual pieces of code, that don't rely on perfect protocols and systems to function with high accuracy. In his own words, "Wouldn't it be nicer to have a computer that's almost completely reliable almost all the time, as opposed to one that can be hypothetically perfectly accurate, in some hypothetical ideal world other than our own, but in reality is prone to sudden, unpredictable, and often catastrophic failure in actual use?"

Now if you've used a computer for more than a week, you know that computers are NOT perfect. In reality, of course not. But in theory, the science behind computers is perfect and predictable, mainly because it is built on the logics and functions of mathematics. If you add 2 and 2, you must get 4 under all circumstances. Find me a computer on which the Windows calculator gives anything but 4 for 2+2. However, the problem he says is that on small scale, perfection is relatively easy to achieve. Making small programs that work to specifications, is easy. But making a 10 million line program that analyzes the structure of the DNA is never going to be perfect, simply because of the scale. And Microsoft Windows has 50 million lines of code! How can one expect every line to function in tandem with the other 49,999,999 lines?

One obvious solution is to write better code and reuse the same code modules. I'm sure the brains at MS have thought of that before I just said it. And surely they tried to reuse as much code as possible. Yet they end up with 50 million lines. This only means that today's computer technology requires them to write 50 million lines to accomplish what they want - to provide us with an operating system that can play music, burn cd's, run datacenters, operate critical hospital equipment, and let you sell stuff on eBay. The keyword here is "today's", because there is nothing other than the limits of current technology that restricts anyone from writing smaller more efficient code. There is no need to obey the speed of light in order to write more compact code. There is no mathematical formula which predicts that in order to accomplish 'burn a cd' operation, someone must write 30,000 lines of code. Theoretically, we could design a CD burner that knows everything there is to burning a CD and all we have to tell it, is what songs or files to burn. But instead, we use a full-fledged CD-burning software to help us burn CDs. Then when the software fails, the burn process stalls midway and the CD has to be thrown away. Sure there is error correction built into the CD burner that will avoid jitter and prevent buffer overruns, but that is a unique solution to a unique problem. According to Lanier, there really should be no need to perform error correction. The CD burner should talk to the computer and as long as the computer managed to say 'hey I'm all ok' with 99% accuracy, it should go ahead and burn the CD.

Yeah I agree this sounds just as theoretically perfect and practically useless as every marketing campaign for some quasi-revolutionary killer-app released every other day, but it's hard to deny that with the current state of technological affairs, unless something is done to reduce the complexity of code being written for large projects (think, your utility company, the telephone companies, the stock market etc.) there is only so much that computer programming will be able to accomplish. Using pseudo-smart code can let credit card companies determine if someone's credit card might have been used fraudulently, but that means they have to first write the exact code to catch it. We humans don't learn anything exactly. When I drive a car, I drive with my left hand on the left-side of the steering and right-hand on the bottom, though my driving instructor taught me to put both hands in the 10-2 position. With him as my instructor (programmer), I learnt efficient driving but made my own adjustments to function better. Given the current logic circuits and architecture of computers, it's almost impossible to build an artificial intelligence system that can adapt to the world as humans. That is why we don't have talking robots and flying cars yet. Because it is not possible to design complex systems using zeros and ones. We've gone as far as possible using fuzzy logic to mimic true quantum states. But if there's ever a next stage in computers, if computer scientists ever want to break through the bounds of for-loops, return-values, and type-casts, they'll have to think of computers VERY differently from today.

How differently would you say? Think about magna-lev trains and dog-pulled sleds. Both do the same, take you from point A to B, but on entirely different levels. Today's technology is the bullet speed train that can achieve something at a really fast pace as long as the electricity is running, the magnetic track is well maintained, the passenger-load is within specifications. The pack of huskies pulling a sled on the other hand, may be 50 times slower, but they will easily walk around a big rock on an icy terrain without being reined to do so. Today's best computer software fail to achieve that. Think about it, as breathtaking as it was, the Mars Polar Lander was barely able to move around the mildly rocky Martian surface on it's own. A two year old child can run around faster and better. Why? Because the child's brain has millions of neurons and billions of connections that work at the same time, unlike the CPU of the robot, which no matter HOW fast, will always perform one-instruction at a time.

That is why Kasparov remains undefeated by the machines. Because he can think of 10 moves at the same time, while remembering 50 different layouts from the past, while the computer can only think of each move and layout at one time, although a billion times a second. A billion is still not larger than 10 to the power of 50. Someday the computer will be fast enough, sure, but it still wouldn't be able to laugh at a blonde joke. This is, I mean, if computers and software progress in the direction they currently are (and have been for fifty years). What is needed is an entirely different perspective on algorithms to get to the next generation, otherwise we have to stick to feeling 'intelligent' for writing software that opens doors for cats.

In addition to the current state of computer science, Lanier also connects computers with philosophical ideas, like the existance of objects, something that Peter Unger did in few of his papers. At the moment, I feel obviously unqualified to analyze Lanier's philosophical theories. Hopefully someday I will be qualified enough.

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Thu, 20th Nov '03, 3:45 pm::

What to do if your Internet goes down - survival guide for the Net-addicts.

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Thu, 20th Nov '03, 3:35 pm::

So you'd like to know more about India... A good compilation on literature and films pertaining to information and insight about the real India.

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Thu, 20th Nov '03, 3:05 am::

While searching for interesting links for Citizen Kane, I chanced upon this article (weird site) on how to break into Hollywood. It seems to be written by a set/location manager who's already in the movie business. One thing I like on his site is the list of top movies (on the right side) of all time. I've seen half of these and have a lot more to see. I'll make it through this tiny list in just a few more months. I'm sure :)

Quote for the night: "I don't think any word can explain a man's life" from the movie Citizen Kane.

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Thu, 20th Nov '03, 2:30 am::

Tonight's midnight movie in the bunker was Citizen Kane. I'd always heard how great it was and tonight I saw it. If you've seen it, you know what this word means: 'Rosebud.' Wonderful movie and frankly there's not much I can say about it that hasn't been said before. I found this analysis of Citizen Kane with respect to the Beatle's song, Glass Onion that explains why this script succeeds. Larger than the movie, is the man himself, Orson Welles, who plays Citizen Charles Foster Kane. I first found out about Welles when I downloaded the full audio for the War of the Worlds without knowing what it really was. The October 30th, 1938 radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds was one of the greatest hoaxes of all times that led to instant mass hysteria. After his radio career, Welles moved on to make films like Othello, Lady from Shanghai, Jane Eyre, and of course Citizen Kane.

One of the actresses who was in Citizen Kane and Jane Eyre, was Agnes Moorehead. She got her break in Citizen Kane as the young Kane's mother. I remember her, not from any famous movie (nor as God), but as Endora from Bewitched. Who knew she was born in 1900!

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Wed, 19th Nov '03, 8:15 pm::

Days are technically getting shorter and nights longer, but it doesn't feel like it. I need rest. Hope I can get some at the end of this month during the Thanksgiving break. Not too sure about that either, seeing as how I have 4 projects pending and 2 client sites to complete.

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Tue, 18th Nov '03, 2:15 pm::

In the midst of all my virus troubles, I failed to notice that my submission of BotBlock made it to Slashdot / Developers. Not the front page but still good enough to get the word out. At least I got one good news today.

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Tue, 18th Nov '03, 1:55 pm::

Last night, I pretty much met every error they put into Windows. One of the most interesting ones was Unreadable Dynamic Disk - when Windows could not detect my Movies M: drive! Took me a while to fix it, but it's all back. I had about 2 hours of sleep. All because of that goddamned virus. Thankfully, everything is back but only after I spent 12 hours like a nervous wreck. Sometimes I wish I had simpler computer problems, like icons being deleted or colors changing by themselves. Instead I have WINNT\system32\config\system corruptions.

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Tue, 18th Nov '03, 1:45 pm::

Went to the State Theater and got tickets for Jon Stewart Stand-up show. He's the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The tickets are pretty expensive. But then this is prolly the only entertainment outside movies that I've had for almost a year now. So far it's gonna be Arthur, two of his friends, Michele and myself. Let's see if any of my other friends wanna come.

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Tue, 18th Nov '03, 7:40 am::

And the nightmare continues... Last night @ about 7 pm I realized the virus was back! It's 12 hours since then and I've been trying to recover everything yet again. Hopefully this time should be final. And yes, I am extremely tired, angry, and stressed right now.

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 6:05 pm::

While pre-surfing tonight, I found the blog of a young psychologist. It's not everyday that you come across a shrink who stops being oh-so-perfect and acts normal and honest for a change.

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 5:40 pm::

Here's something that makes me smile: 40 Best Film Directors. It's no surprise to me that these are the same guys who made most of the movies I've been seeing lately: Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York), Coen Brothers (Fargo, Big Lebowski), Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill), and David Fincher (Fight Club) etc. The so-called bigshot directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are conspicuously missing from the list. Mainly because they aim to please the box office and not make the best films possible. Nothing wrong with that either. Just keeps them from giving their best to the world.

Thanks to this list, I have found another 100 good movies to watch now. Michael Moore is on the list, but I'm not too sure of that. He's only made one movie yet. It takes a while for someone to become Top-40 in the world. Gladly the Wachowski brothers of the Matrix trilogy made it. One of the youngest on the list is Samira Makhmalbaf, a 23 year old Iranian film maker.

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 5:35 pm::

Have you umm... driven a couch lately?

Oh boy, the making of Kill Bill. Can't wait to get home to see it (at computer lab right now, no sound).

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 3:15 am::

I like reading my friends' blogs, about 10-12 that I read once/twice a week. It's interesting to read 10 people's accounts for the same day, most of whom go to Rutgers with me. While one buddy of mine has a great day taking shots of women's soccer match another loses heating in her house. Sometimes I just sit back and enjoy the free entertainment. And sometmes I feel bad for what they went through. But most of the time, I'm glad they write their blogs often, for we all have really busy schedules and 3am is probably the only time when anyone is free.

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 2:55 am::

Funny how exactly a year ago, I wrote In defense of Infinity and just now I felt like writing A recursive definition of emptiness.

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Mon, 17th Nov '03, 2:15 am::

Sometimes I realize there is just too much to learn. Too much information and knowledge that somehow I must gather. I don't know why. Sometimes it helps me instantly. Sometimes it helps me long after. Most of the time tiny iota of knowledge just sit in a corner within my brain doing nothing. I stay up late at night learning and reading, trying to quench some neverending thirst for meaning. And understanding. From simple algorithms to complex structures. Why can't I just go to bed and be content with what I know. Well, I guess that's what drives me... that's who I am. Hungry and thirsty.

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Sun, 16th Nov '03, 9:35 pm::

And I just purchased CuteFTP 5.0 XP. Love the prog. There's a really good free FTP client, SmartFTP, but I am just too picky with tiny stuff so $80 didn't seem so bad. After all my whole business runs on it.

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Sun, 16th Nov '03, 9:30 pm::

Last night, for the first time in my life, I was stupid enough to catch a nasty virus, Parite.A. If I run into the guy who made it, trust me, I'll kill him with my bare hands. Within 2 hours it infected over 5000 executable files that I had on my computer. EVERY GODDAMNED .EXE file was infected! Since I had a full backup of my system, thankfully, I was able to restore every file. It took me about 10 hours to finish the restore. So that's how I spent my Sunday. And tomorrow everyone's gonna be like, so what did YOU do over the weekend, and I will punch them in the eye. That is how angry I am right now.

Yes, it was my mistake that I downloaded a file and ran it without checking with an anti-virus software. However, this doesn't mean I was totally negligent. Last night I was looking for a good FTP client and was randomly downloading 9-10 files at the same time. Usually I download all the files together and then run anti-virus scanner on them and then test them out. Once a month, there's a file with a virus in it, so of course, I am always careful enough. Last night however, 9 of the 10 files downloaded and I didn't realize the 10th was still downloading. I ran the anti-virus, it said every file was clean, just after the scanner ended, the 10th file finished downloading, I noticed that's a new file, so I thought lemme run the scanner on it again. And then instead of right-click, I used the left-mouse button and my system got nuked :( Yes, stuff like this happens even to the best of us. The solution is to have a virus scanner running in the background 24/7. I dunno, that's just too much pressure on my system (no matter HOW fast the system is).

Anyways, my pc is back to it's pristine perfect condition, thanks to a very recent FULL backup of EVERY FILE :) Restore process is slow though, because I need to tell it to restore only executable files and not all other files. Oh well, thus ends another barely productive weekend.

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Sun, 16th Nov '03, 1:50 am::

Exploding Dog is what makes Internet worthwhile. An independent site run by an artist who doesn't do it for the money. I visit once a month or so because there's not much to see everyday. Just a handful of weekly updated pictures. But most of them are really good - funny or sad, deep or just weird. No matter what, they're always really, really cute. My personal favorite, of course, isthis one.

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Sat, 15th Nov '03, 8:45 pm::

Just saw Taxi Driver. Good movie. Have a really bad headache right now from all the coding I've been doing. Finished my CS programming project and have to get started on a few client sites. Sometimes I wonder if this will ever end...

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Fri, 14th Nov '03, 3:40 pm::

Oh just to be clear, none of that above means that I have ever been treated bad or insulted personally. Thankfully none of my friends or any people I know have ever come across have in any way resented my Indian heritage. Of course, me being the jackass from hell, I always make fun of them no matter who they are :)

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Policing HumorFri, 14th Nov '03, 11:10 am::

Once again something at Rutgers makes it to the news: Student Newspaper Accused of Bigotry. The (VERY offensive) free newspaper, The Medium, has almost always crossed the line in terms of socially acceptable free speech. On almost every page you'll find some racist, sexist, hateful comment made to someone in particular or just in general to a group of people. There's two ways to look at this paper. One is the administrative point of view that is newspapers like this promote hatred, racism, and negative stereotypes. Not surprisingly most of the faculty at Rutgers think the same, at least publicly. The other point of view, shared mostly by students and a handful of younger faculty, is that we see it clearly that we are all different. But we also realize that we are so finely assimilated that no amount of racist or sexist jokes will offend any of us because they are just that: jokes. Suffice to say, I fall in the latter category.

While flipping through the pages of The Medium, I often run across some quote made by someone, saying how all Indian students who come to US are losers with no social lives. Then the next page would have a comment educating the world as to how ugly all the Indians are. Suppose I am a new Indian professor/student who is hoping to join Rutgers and come across just that piece of comment, I would most certainly assume Rutgers is a place full of racism/hate and quite possibly would choose to not go to Rutgers. Thankfully, I did not come across The Medium before I came here. Otherwise I would have never learnt two things that Rutgers has taught me: Tolerance and taking things with a pinch of salt. Because right under the comment against Indians, will be a comment by someone else about how some other race/country/gender is full of ugly losers with no morals. In short, nobody is spared. The Medium mocks whites just as much as chinese, Indians just as much as frat boys, blacks just as much as latino pokemon lovers. There is no pattern of hate - it's just random. That is why it's funny.

It takes a mere fool to laugh at someone slipping on a banana. It takes tolerance and courage to laugh at one's own self or people, while realising it was not meant to incite violence or abuse, merely to exercise free speech and make a personal statement. Personally, I would never comment on The Medium. Mainly because I do not believe in making broad generalizations like all sorority girls are loose strumpets or all sports players are dumb and emotionless. I do not also believe all Indians are ugly social retards. And hence, when someone says that in The Medium, I am not offended, instead amused. Of course, I have the full right to be insulted and should fight whoever who said that. Right? Well that's exactly what the Taliban thought too. So did the Nazis, Al-Qaeda members, and currently the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists. They also tried (and some are still trying) to stop or at worst exterminate the ones who did not believe in their narrow self-indulgent self-worshipping ideologies.

The world is not a better place if people cannot say what they believe in, no matter how stupid, annoying, hateful they might be. If they are wrong, as in most cases the personals on The Medium are, intelligent people will just laugh at them and move on to the next joke. It is the ignorants who are offended by the anonymous generalized comments and take upon arms to curtail a channel of free speech that The Medium is. I do not agree with almost anything in The Medium. Yet I empathize with them for they have to face the spite of self-righteous administrators who think the world will be a better place if all student voice is stifled. No, The Medium is not revolutionary. No, it is not going to incite violence. No, it is not a literary piece of fine authorship. The Medium is Rutgers. It's an identity of who we are - complex beings with mixed, confused feelings. It is a place for students to vent their frustrations while trying to amuse the readers. THAT is what The Medium is, so go have a fat darrell and stop trying to kill it.

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Thu, 13th Nov '03, 11:55 am::

Quote for the day: "Fame is a by-product of invention, not the aspiration." - Chirag

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Thu, 13th Nov '03, 4:35 am::

Homestar Runner is coming out with a music cd :)

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Wed, 12th Nov '03, 3:05 am::

BotBlock is up and ready! Let's see what happens next. Oh and now I am officially a Spam Fighter.

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Tue, 11th Nov '03, 10:55 pm::

Castastrophe when mom finds son's blog! Thank God my mom already knows about this and in fact reads it often :)

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Tue, 11th Nov '03, 12:00 pm::

Last night (well till 7am this morning) I designed a new system called BotBlock that'll let anyone copy/paste a few lines of code to freely implement a fully functional CAPTCHA system. What the hell does that mean? Well basically you see, there's a LOT of form spamming going on these days. A lot of people have forms for comments/email on their site. Spammers have written software to automatically fill these forms with cheap spam advertisements. There's really no easy way to know if the form is filled by a Human or a computer.

Enter spamming-killing CAPTCHAs. These are softwares that you've probably seen if you ever tried to create a new Yahoo! account (scroll to bottom) or bought tickets from TicketMaster. The website shows you a picture of deformed text and you have to just type it in to a text box. The text is on a picture that is colored oddly or skewed so that no software can read it or recognize it - only human eyes. The bright folks at PARC also research this. So the technology always existed. What I did was make it VERY easy for anyone with basic PHP/HTML skills to use it on their site, without having to understand the whole science behind how to generate efficient images. Now, people can just go to my site, get a free username/password, copy/paste the few lines of code that generates the BotBlock image (via my server) and that's it :)

All I need is a few people to start using it and this could become very popular. You can see a demo for BotBlock here.

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Mon, 10th Nov '03, 3:30 pm::

Everyone knows computer viruses are written by script kiddies with nothing better to do. Well mostly. But who knew a PhD researcher consciously invented the computer virus!

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Mon, 10th Nov '03, 3:40 am::

Looks like AjooBlast's popularity is catching up. Reviewed quite nicely by Bangkok Post (scroll down).

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Mon, 10th Nov '03, 3:05 am::

Oh my God! Michael Jackson killed Kenny! You bastards! If I lived in South Park, I would probably look like the picture below. You can make yourself a South Park character too.

Digicam Pic:
Chirag in South Park

Of course this site only let you choose from a small template, so it's highly unlikely you'll make Cartman Smith. That reminds me, saw Clerks tonight. Pretty funny movie about the real life in Jersey, sometimes so real, it wasn't funny. But looks like everyone likes it too. Very snappy with the dialogues and over 50 unique characters. Shot right here in Jersey almost a decade ago in black & white. While it's not a Rotten Tomato Top 100 movie, but it had a lot of good lines. I've actually heard a lot of these dialogues quoted elsewhere. Here's a funny one:

Quote for the day: "I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule."

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Mon, 10th Nov '03, 12:45 am::

And while I coded a 3d graphics engine all weekend, Derek turned a little bug into a digital masterpiece. If you ever wondered how artists make those brilliant graphics and shots for magazines, books, posters, well now you know - using simple everyday things/objects/creatures/beings and moulding them till it looks just right.

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Mon, 10th Nov '03, 12:30 am::

Presenting... a nice Shiny Cow! Well this is what I did alllllll weekend. Took me about 30-35 hours of non-stop coding but my project is finally done. Trust me this feels VERY good. Here's one example of what I did, and click here to see more of these simple but neat graphics.

Shiny Cow!

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Sun, 9th Nov '03, 10:00 pm::

In about 30 hours of NON-STOP coding I finally finished my graphics project. Yeah, 30 hours of programming with 6 hours of sleep. And I enjoyed every minute of it. One of the best code-fests I ever had. It funny how I learnt so much in just a little more than a day. What did I learn? Everything from loading a 3d object from disk and rendering it in different shading styles on the screen - from cartoons to silhouettes. I'll put up screenshots later to explain what I did.

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Sat, 8th Nov '03, 6:05 am::

Now here's a thief with a twisted sense of humor, stealing 440 left shoes.

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Sat, 8th Nov '03, 5:20 am::

Far more believable than The Matrix, the real question that affects the common man is, What is the Meatrix?

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Sat, 8th Nov '03, 4:10 am::

Damn everyone has a blog these days. Even Santa!

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Sat, 8th Nov '03, 3:55 am::

The Hindu God - Lord Ram was born on Jan. 10, 5114 B.C. While I can't deny or accept the claims of these guys, I'd love to see some concrete evidence. That would be super cool. However a few MAJOR discrepancies, like the creation date of the recently NASA-discovered man-made bridge across the Palk Strait connecting India to Sri Lanka. The author says it was around the time Ram invaded Lanka whereas NASA research says about 1,700,000 years ago (which would have been the 'Treta Yug'). Since I am a pretty firm believer in evolution and the fact that human beings in their current form have only been here for a few hundred thousand years, I am certain there was no man-made bridges made 1.7 million years ago. While it's always fun to connect mythology to archeology, it's even more fun when the connections are based on believable facts and some solid proofs.

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Fri, 7th Nov '03, 12:35 pm::

I'm thinking of moving out of New Jersey for my graduate studies. Not because I don't like Jersey or anything, but just cuz I know there's tons of good places out there. I just checked the Top 10 Cities in US that young professionals move to. Phoenix, Arizona sounds good right about now. Let's see. I'm gonna spend upto $1000 in college applications next year. Whoever gives me full tuition and living expenses wins. Otherwise, I think Rutgers is good enough.

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Fri, 7th Nov '03, 3:20 am::

I think I made a very smart decision a few months ago that instead of spending money and time on crappy latest movies, I'll watch old classics at home. Old doesn't necessarily mean 1950s. I just saw Fight Club after being told by everyone how great it is. Frankly, I wasn't at all interested in watching another karate-boxing championship-style Rocky IV remake, cuz well what else does "Fight" Club sound like?

I was never proven more wrong. From the first scene it was clear this was no ordinary movie. No reviews will ever do justice to this movie but this one comes pretty close. With funny subliminal splices and unbelievable performances by Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, this movie was a 2 hour roller-coaster ride. I'm glad I saw it.

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Thu, 6th Nov '03, 1:05 pm::

Finally! Research that supports what I've been saying for years now: Farking while working is good for productivity :)

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Thu, 6th Nov '03, 12:25 pm::

Quote for the day: "I'm a little girl" - Nick

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Thu, 6th Nov '03, 9:30 am::

And I have made it into a book! Well, technically Chime Softwares was mentioned in the book PC Annoyances three times, for Hot Chime, AjooBlast, and TrayPlay. I bought two copies, one for me, and one to send home to India :) I feel all giddy.

Had a good night's sleep last night. Headache's gone. It's just the stress. Eh.

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Wed, 5th Nov '03, 11:15 pm::

Oh and I got an awesome grade on my CS Graphics Project 1 > 28 out of 25! :) I have to complete Project 2 this weekend and hope I get at least 20, since I don't have much time to do the extra credit work.

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Wed, 5th Nov '03, 10:40 pm::

Sometimes things go so fast. I had my CS Graphics exam, told the professor that I wish to work as his research assistant next semester and that I'm applying for Grad school next year. Also signed up for GRE Computer Science subject test (Dec 13. is the test). At the moment, top schools on my list: Rutgers, Princeton, MIT, and NYU. I'll probably apply to a few more schools in NJ/NY and Boston area. Let's see. Ideally I would just like to keep my current job, get into grad school and pay for it myself, instead of becoming just another Teaching Assistant (TA). However, if I get to be a Research Assistant (RA) for some professor, that would rock, cuz then my tuition would be free and I'd get $1500 a month for living expenses (which is better than my current status - since I'm paying a hell lot for tuition).

But I live cheaply anyway, so I don't care about the money at the moment. I just want to get into a good grad school and see where it leads me. Damn can't believe it's Nov. 2003 already and I'm applying to grad schools. Huh. Oh well, got 2 projects due this week and one major one due on Monday. Gotta get back to that (and lotsa client work too!)

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Tue, 4th Nov '03, 7:55 pm::

Got 87/100 in my Comp Sci (314) exam, didn't do as good as I expected but eh it's good enuf for now. Got another CS exam tomorrow, Graphics, that I am really scared of. It's pretty damn difficult. I really hope I don't screw up this one. Have a bad headache (more like a neck/spinal pain) I think due to long nights. Don't feel too good right now but I think things will get better by Thursday. Plus the weather's real dull too. Urgh.

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Tue, 4th Nov '03, 3:00 pm::

As usual, something I was doing led to another and somehow I end up on the 1999 Slashdot Review of the movie Office Space. Some of the quotes are hilarious, especially the confidence of one guy who said "The market has never been better. Sure, you can work at a job until they lay YOU off, but why not work at a job until YOU decide that you want to go elsewhere, for more money, better benefits, just feel like moving, whatever! The IT profession is so fast moving right now, it makes it a lot of fun to be in!" I wonder if this guy's living out of a cardboard box right now or not.

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Mon, 3rd Nov '03, 7:30 pm::

Well today didn't really turn out to be such a fun day after all. Busy with work and studies. Gotta get back to more homework. Wish I had time to post lotsa interesting links. At least one good thing I found out - I can send text messages (sms) to my sister's cell in India. That way I have someone to bug while I'm stuck in a boring class.

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Mon, 3rd Nov '03, 3:25 pm::

How about a little game of detective work? Thanks to Tamara, here's Whodunit (underhanded subliminal advertising for Reebok but who cares, it's cool).

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Mon, 3rd Nov '03, 11:25 am::

Oh wow I crossed a million keys :)

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Mon, 3rd Nov '03, 3:20 am::

Happy 2nd B'day my dear blog! My how time has passed so beautifully... and how you've grown in these last two years... Well so have I, I think. Last year, I got all philosophical over it. This year, I'm just gonna sit back and have fun. All today, I'm just gonna post random weird links. Let's begin with, Eristalis gatesi, or more popularly known as the Bill Gates' Flower Fly! Yeah it's not a joke. Gates really has an insect named after him!

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Sun, 2nd Nov '03, 3:25 pm::

Last night I talked to my mom and dad :) They're back from Nepal. Had fun. Ah those rich people.

Last night I also worked on securing my client's site using OpenSSL for PHP. I think it's one of the most complex stuff I've ever done. Took me over 8 hours to get the implementation right (meaning I went to bed at 6am). As it stands now, even if a hacker manages to get into EVERYTHING on my server, he/she will not be able to decrypt the table of credit card numbers without a neat little password. It's done quite beautifully. I use an RSA public/private key pair to set it up. RSA is one of the sweetest little encryption systems. There's 100 more ones invented after that, but nothing so simple yet beautiful.

Basically, take two prime numbers P and Q and multiply them to get a real big number PQ. Now unless you know P and Q, you would need a big computer to factor P and Q from PQ. Well if P and Q are small, that is P=5 and Q=7, PQ=35 and if you are given 35, it's easy to find P and Q from it. But if PQ is a 10000 digit number, it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to find P and Q easily. Now, do a little more math and make D and E from P and Q. Like D could be P-Q and E could be P+Q or something. Well to get this to work, D and E are calculated in a special way as detailed here. Then encrypt the data using (PQ, E) and decrypt it using D. That's it. Unless the hacker knows D, they can't decrypt. Everytime my client needs to see credit card info for any client, just type in D, which is like a nice short word: SKYISBLUE or something, and it's decrypted. I feel so funny being excited over stuff like this. Hehe.

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