Suramya's Blog

Visit suramya.com Who am I?

September 17, 2014

Register for a Free MIT Photojournalism Course to become a better photographer

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 1:58 AM

Too many so called photographers today think that putting a black and white filter on a photo of food makes it an artistic photo. Unfortunately that is not true. If you are interested in Photojournalism or just want to learn how to take good photographs (and I am not talking about selfies here) you should check out this free MIT course: Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion.

Check it out if you have some time.

Thanks to Lifehacker.com for the link.

- Suramya

September 16, 2014

ComicCon Bangalore 2014

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 2:20 AM

Finally attended ComicCon Bangalore after missing it consistently for 2 years in a row, just by the virtue of being in the wrong city whenever it was happening. It was great fun, though I was expecting a bit more folks to be cosplaying. However that doesn’t mean that the folks who were Cosplaying didn’t spent time, effort and money in creating their costumes. There were a bunch of folks as Superman, Spider-man, Saw one guy dressed as the Hulk and even found a minion.

One of the highlights of the show was that I got to meet Peter Kuper author of Spy Vs Spy which is a comic I have been reading for a lot of years now. I even got him to draw a panel for me in my copy of Spy Vs Spy (see below). Another author we met was Jason Quinn who wrote “The Kaurava Empire”. We bought the first volume of the series just as it was released to the public. The series is a great read and I would highly recommend it to folks.

Over all the Con was good fun, I did notice a few things though that I found interesting:

  • There were a lot more stalls selling T-Shirts than Comics/Books. I hope in the next Con more publishers show up and the ratio is more balanced.
  • A lot more publishers are starting to write about Indian Mythology and stories based on it. I saw books on all sorts of mythological figures and this is awesome. Finally folks are starting to write about Indian figures instead of Greek/American/Scandinavian. I hope this trend continues.
  • Cosplay is picking up in India.

Finally to end the post, here are some pics from the event:


20140913_162328
Bangalore ComicCon 2014

20140913_152500
Peter Kuper drawing a panel just for me :)

20140913_152625
Me with Peter Kuper

20140913_145236
Spider-Man Hitches a ride

20140913_151740
Minion’s!

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

- Suramya

July 19, 2014

Would you read an entire book in Emoji?

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 7:27 PM

A little while ago the Unicode Consortium announced [1] that it has approximately 250 emoji to the standard for written computer text. I read this article and promptly forgot about it, since I rarely use emoticons other than smileys. A few days later I was searching for something on the net (I forget what) and I found this article about a complete translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in to emoji. At first I thought it was a joke and clicked on the link just for the heck of it. Then I realized that this is an actual book that you can buy in hardcover for $200 each. Apparently it sells enough to net the ‘author’ (actually creator) about 200-300 dollars each month.

Emoji Dick is a crowd sourced and crowd funded translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into Japanese emoticons called emoji.

Each of the book’s approximately 10,000 sentences has been translated three times by a Amazon Mechanical Turk worker. These results have been voted upon by another set of workers, and the most popular version of each sentence has been selected for inclusion in this book.

Personally I would prefer to read the actual book but then again I have been known to read quite a lot. What scares me is that this is actually making money for this guy and I just hope others are not inspired to create more books like this because if that happens then soon we will have libraries filled just with books that contain only emoji. Not sure I would want to live in a world filled with folks that dumb.

What do you think? Would you read a book in Emoji?

Source: Emoji Dick

- Suramya

[1] More Than 250 New Emoji To Be Released

July 8, 2014

World’s smallest 3D-printer pen allows you to create 3d art in air

Filed under: Computer Hardware,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 6:10 PM

I have been meaning to blog about this for a bit now, but better late than never… Lix, a UK based company has unveiled the world’s smallest 3D-printing pen. To give you an idea of how small, it is about the size of a regular fountain pen and weighs about 40g. It is supposed to go on sale with the final production model by Sept and price is not that bad either (~$180)

Basically, Lix is a professional tool that enables you to sketch in the air without using paper.

Lix 3D pen is a dream coming true. With Lix 3D Pen you can create anything from small to big, from details to prototypes. It allows you to express your creativity on a whole new level. We are changing the world’s view on 2D as we are now giving the possibility to make your creations in 3D in an never-been-so-easy way!

I am eagerly waiting for it, not because I am an Artist (god no) but Anjali is and she could create some cool art with it. Plus it is a cool toy to have to play with. :)

Source: The Register
More details: Lix Kickstarter

- Suramya

April 20, 2014

Facebook Stat generation followup

Filed under: Computer Tips,Linux/Unix Related,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 2:16 AM

In my previous post I had talked about some of the stats I pulled from Facebook about it’s usage by my friends. This was an ad-hoc number crunching done just because I was bored and got curious. After the post went live a friend of mine, Ankush asked for more details on how I generated the numbers so in this post I am going to go over my process and how I got the numbers I shared.

Before we start, keep in mind that this is all data that is publicly available on FB, or at least shared with me. If you don’t want others to generate data about your activity on FB, you should change your privacy settings on FB and restrict access. Please don’t try to use this information to try to get access to data you are not supposed to. You will get in trouble and I will not take responsibility for it. Now that all that is out of the way, lets get to the details of the process.

The first thing you need is to have the Facebook Command Line client installed. Instructions on how to install are here so I am not going to repost them here. Make sure you authenticate the install and follow the steps in ‘Obtain Additional Authorization’ section of the installation guide otherwise the rest of the guide won’t be of much use to you.

Once you have FBCMD installed and configured, you can start playing with the options. Check out fbcmd Commands for the list of available options. You can also run the script with –help for the same.

/usr/bin/php /var/www/fbcmd/lib/fbcmd/fbcmd.php --help

Since I was interested in the photos uploaded the first command I ran was:

/usr/bin/php /var/www/fbcmd/lib/fbcmd/fbcmd.php OPICS =all FB_Pics

This command gets all the photos uploaded by folks in my friend list and downloaded them to the FB_Pics folder. As I mentioned in the previous post, this downloaded over 58k photos to my system. So be careful when you run it. You can also restrict it to a particular user by passing their name as a parameter.

To get the wall post count’s of all my friends, I ran the following command:

/usr/bin/php /var/www/fbcmd/lib/fbcmd/fbcmd.php FINFO wall_count =all

This gave me a output similar to the following:


NAME WALL_COUNT
Suramya Tomar 247
ABC 1405

I took this output, put it in an Excel file and did some analysis on it to get the max post count, least post count, Total count and top 10 user post counts. I could have done this using shell commands as well, but since this was a one time task I didn’t see the point. Maybe in the future I could set up a job that would do this periodically and do trending on the data but lets see. I don’t see much use for this data except for the coolness factor and to satisfy my curiosity.

Getting the birthday count was as easy as running the following command:

/usr/bin/php /var/www/fbcmd/lib/fbcmd/fbcmd.php FINFO birthday_date =all |wc -l

This returned the number of folks who had shared their birthday’s on FB and then I got the current location count using the following command:

/usr/bin/php /var/www/fbcmd/lib/fbcmd/fbcmd.php FINFO current_location =all |wc -l

So there you have it. This is how I generated the numbers I had posted earlier. As you can see there is nothing too complicated about it, so if you want you can generate similar stats for your friends as well.

Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer.

Well this is all for now. I should go and get some sleep now.

- Suramya

April 19, 2014

Some stats & numbers from my friends on Facebook

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 1:54 AM

A few days ago I was trying to get a download of all the photos/events I was a part of from Facebook just so that I have a local copy of them. After looking around a bit I got the bright idea of using the Facebook Commandline interface that I was already using to sync the blog to the site. Instead of running it for only photos I was tagged in, I thought it would be easier if I ran it for all photos my friends had uploaded and then remove the ones where I am not there and events I wasn’t part of. I kicked it off at night before I went to sleep expecting it to have completed by the time I got up. The download ran for almost 36 hours and downloaded over 58,000 photos.

Keep in mind that these are all photos that I have access to on Facebook i.e. I can view the pic by clicking on the photogallery of the person that uploaded the photo. There might be more pics posted by these folks that I don’t have access to which are not accounted in this total.

The time it took to download it all wasn’t the most surprising part, that was for the number of photographs I downloaded. I have ~250 friends on Facebook and between all of them they have uploaded over 58k photos. Yes you read that correctly over 58,000 photos totaling about 4GB in size. Looking at the number of photos I just deleted all of them as I don’t have the time or energy to go through all of them searching for photos of me. I will at a later time kick off another download which will be restricted to only photos where I am tagged.

Once I got these numbers I got curious to see what other numbers I could get while looking at my friend circle. So I tried getting the number of wall posts that were made by friends. For some reason I only got results for 206 friends when I ran this query, which could be because of many reasons, most likely of which would be that these folks have blocked the access for the program to look that their post count, or they haven’t made any posts (which is highly unlikely). These 206 friends made a total of 89182 posts to Facebook with the highest no of posts being 3047 and the lowest being 4 with an average of 432.9. My post count is 207 in case you are wondering. 164 friends publicly shared their birthdays on FB and 187 of them posted their current location. (Not sure how accurate that is, but I did get GPS coordinates with the results…)

I am sure there is a lot more data I can pull out from FB, if I felt like it. But this is about as far as my desire to collect this data goes. I knew people posted a lot on FB but these numbers are way over what I thought the count would be…

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

- Suramya

April 11, 2014

France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

Filed under: News/Articles — Suramya @ 11:58 AM

France because a very attractive place for employees yesterday when an agreement between employer organizations and labor unions in France has made it illegal for French managers to contact their employees about work-related matters outside of normal business hours. Think about it… if you were in France right now you could switch off your blackberry/email after 6pm and not worry about any work related items till next morning.

Although this is great news for workers, thinking about it from the employers perspective, it is not such a great ruling. What if a critical server went down at 7pm? Would you have to reach out to outsourced IT call centers for resolutions?

The agreement, which amends an existing pact signed in 1999, specifies that employees must have “the opportunity to disconnect from remote communication tools at their disposal” (in the words of Google’s Francophone translating robots) to ensure that they comply with strict rules on working hours.

That means French workers who receive emails or calls from coworkers or the boss at dinnertime can now safely ignore them without fear of retribution.

I bet a lot of folks are thinking about moving to France right about now…

Thanks to The Register for the story.

- Suramya

March 31, 2014

Blog/site is having issues

Filed under: Website Updates — Suramya @ 12:24 AM

The entire suramya.com domain is having issues, but the blog is the most hit. Spoke to 1and1 (my hosting provider) and as per them there is a issue ongoing that could be impacting my sites as well. They expect it to be resolved in the next day or so… As currently the blog admin pages are pretty much unusable so I don’t think I will be posting anything till it is resolved.

Update (2nd April 2014): The site is now back to normal, but still no answer on what was causing it to become so slow. Ah well… Atleast now I can get to the admin page now and all I need is some time to create posts.

- Suramya

March 26, 2014

Using E coli to build futuristic materials

Filed under: My Thoughts,News/Articles,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 1:44 AM

Back in 2000 I had written an article for NJIT’s college newspaper ‘The Vector’ about how boffins at the University of Texas were using viruses to create semi-conductor chips. This weekend I was going through my files and I found a scanned copy of the article that I had been meaning to transcribe and post on the site but never got around doing, Then today I had a story about MIT researchers using Bacteria to assemble furniture pop-up in my feeds so I had to write a post about it. :)

Specifically, the MIT researchers were able to put bacteria to work producing conducting biofilms, some of which were studded with quantum dots, and arranging gold nanowires. This paves the way for the development of mass manufactured cell-based material factories, and even “living materials” that have some of the desirable properties of bones or trees, Lu confirmed.

They were able to do this by using E. coli, which naturally creates biofilms containing amyloid fibril proteins which, somewhat like the hooks in Velcro, help it attach to surfaces. The hooks on this gloopy velcro are made from a repeating chain of protein units called CsgA, which can be modified by adding peptides, which can be used to let parts of the film capture specific materials, like gold nanoparticles.

Basically the researches were able to make the bacteria grow in a particular design using a genetically engineered strain of CsgA, opening the way for future generations to be able to create bio-engineered equipment on demand. One of the things that is a bit scary is that they are using live bacteria for this experiment so they would have to be absolutely sure that they don’t mutate and cause a potential outbreak down the line.

I don’t know if this research is going to go anywhere or will it become another curiosity like the story on chip manufacture in 2000′s that never really went anywhere after the initial story. I did a cursory search today on that story but didn’t find any follow up articles or papers on it. Guess not every initial success is followed up by later successes and commercial successes.

Thanks to Slashdot and The Register for the original links.

- Suramya

March 25, 2014

Was a Keynote speaker at IndiaCom 2014: IEEE International Conference on Computing For Sustainable Global Development

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:25 AM

Early this month (Mar 7th) I was asked to give the keynote talk at INDIACom: 2014 IEEE International Conference on “Computing For Sustainable Global Development”. I gave my talk on Cloud Computing since it has been in the news a lot recently and there is a lot of interest in it from the general public. It was a pretty amazing experience and I had a lot of fun at the conference as I got to meet some pretty interesting folks with whom I discussed various things/technologies.

As the conference was in Delhi I had to fly there from Bangalore for the weekend and since I also wanted to avoid taking too many days off from work we decided to take a late flight to Delhi on Thursday night. Unfortunately though, our flight got delayed by an hour so instead of landing at 11:30am as expected we got there at 12:30am and by the time we got home it was almost 1:30am. Once home I did a bit more prep for the talk and crashed. Then I had to wake up early the next day to get ready so I could be there on time but thanks to traffic we got delayed and got there just about in time for the talk.

The funny part was that I was introduced as ‘Prof’ Suramya Tomar initially but thankfully they corrected it later. The talk went well and most of the questions I got during the talk were about how private the cloud is and how safe the data that is stored on the cloud is compared to traditional storage.

After the talk I sat through a few of the technical papers that were being presented and they were all pretty interesting. I did get a physical copy of the conference proceedings (a book about 1 1/2 inches thick) with all the papers that were presented that I am planning to read one of these days when I get some time.

One of the interesting things I noticed during the sessions was that about 60-70% of all the papers were authored/co-authored by women which is something that was very surprising to me as normally during such conferences the ratio is the other way round.

I am planning on transcribing my talk (I have my notes and the outline I created, plus a video of the talk) and posting it on the site sometime later this month/early next month. I will also expand on the talk with a few articles I am planning to write so keep an eye out for new items on the site (will announce it on the blog when I post stuff) in the near future.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

- Suramya

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress