Suramya's Blog

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October 2, 2014

Celebrating 10 years of Blogging

Filed under: My Thoughts,Website Updates — Suramya @ 1:51 AM

As of 1st Oct 2014, Suramya’s Blog has been online for exactly 10 years and I have spent a lot of time posting random thoughts, tutorials, event analysis etc on the Blog. In my first post I said “I don’t know how often I will be updating this but I will definitely try to update this a little more often than my website.”, if nothing else I know for sure that I did manage to update the blog more often than the main site (which is something I do plan to change BTW by updating the site more often). There were periods where I didn’t post much and the blog just languished and periods where I posted tons of posts.

Here are some stats as of 2nd Oct 2014:

Total published posts : 876
Total Published Comments [1] : 560
Spam Comments Blocked : 438,580
Maximum posts in a Month (Made in Jan 2010) : 81
Media Uploaded : 26MB

I wish I had visitor stats to share but I don’t because the plugin I was using earlier maxed out my DB size allocation and I deleted the data to bring the site back online. I just enabled a new plugin today that is highly recommended and doesn’t use that much space (as per the reviews). Let’s see how that works out.

It is interesting to note that most of the folks who had active blogs when I started no longer blog actively, for some post once every few months others haven’t posted in years. Some of you may wonder why that is the case. Well the answer is that I don’t know. Some folks got busy, some ran out of things to say or just lost interest. I blog because I like to have a way to talk about stuff I have been thinking about, stuff I find interesting or just random things I find online. I think as long as I keep finding cool things I will keep posting about it (Provided I get the time to write posts that don’t sound like they were written by a 5 year old.) Here’s to another 10 years of ‘successful’ blogging.

Well this is all for now, will post more later.

– Suramya

[1] A lot of the comments were lost when I moved from my old blogging software to WordPress. I had intended to spend time writing a parser to import them to WP but never got around to doing it.

October 1, 2014

Erase Your iCloud Drive by reseting your iPhone settings

This has not been a good month for Tech, we are getting issues across the board on all fronts. First we had the iCloud hack (or fappenning as it was called). Then ShellShock hit followed by this new issue in iOS 8 where if you reset your iPhone settings your backups on the cloud also go bye-bye. Ouch! I hope if you are using the iCloud (or any cloud for that matter) you have a duplicate copy of your data somewhere else or you better not try to reset your phone.

The bug creeps up when you select Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. Typically, this is just supposed to reset your network settings to give your iOS device a clean slate to work with, but it turns out it’s also deleting all your files from iCloud Drive.

The issue was discovered by members of the MacRumors forum. It just shows that no matter how much we try nothing is perfect and there are bugs in every system. The best way to ensure that don’t loose data is to store it in multiple places using multiple types of media/services.

I have a lot of my data backed up on a RAID array and am in the process of setting up a cloud server at home to sync it across different locations. I am not using Dropbox or other such services because I don’t want to trust my data to any external provider. Earlier I used to back up data on DVD’s/CD’s. Before that I used to store the data on Floppy disks.

Fun fact, I was recently looking for some code that I had written around 1998 and ended up searching through my old Floppy disks to find it. Interesting thing was that about 90% of the disks still worked and I was able to read the data without issues. (Well… no issues other then the fact that I had to buy a USB floppy drive as my mother board doesn’t have a connector for floppy drives…) I don’t see the same level of longevity in either DVD’s or CD’s so far. I haven’t tried Blue-Ray disks yet because of the cost and the fact that HDD’s are getting cheaper / larger.

Thanks to lifehacker.com for the initial links.

– Suramya

September 28, 2014

Modi’s speech at madison square garden.

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:05 PM

Wow! Just finished watching  modi’s speech… it was amazing! The guy is a great orator.

It is late and i have to get up in 4 hrs to drive ~500 kms back to bangalore so will post more thoughts on this later.

– Suramya

September 24, 2014

India’s Mangalyaan successfully enters Mars orbit

Filed under: My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 11:00 PM

Yay! India’s low cost Martian mission successfully entered Mars orbit earlier today. The 4.5bn rupee ($74m;) mission is the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken by the world. In fact production of the movie Gravity cost more than the entire mission.

This is an amazing achievement, now my only question is: what are we doing to reward the scientists that made this possible? When India won the world cup, every state in India rewarded millions of rupees to the players who were already well paid and compensated. Why is there no similar prizes being announced for the scientists who made history today? Mr Modi, this is a question for you and your government…

Additional links:
* http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/24/india-successfully-reaches-mars/
* Mangalyaan: India’s race for space success

– Suramya

September 22, 2014

Project Hieroglyph: Returning to Science Fiction that inspires

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:13 AM

If you have been following the Science Fiction Genre recently you will have noticed that most of the popular SciFi stories nowadays are about post-apoplectic future where civilization got wiped out by a virus or zombies or some other disaster etc etc. Not many stories are being written that talk about a golden future with new advances etc that would serve to inspire folks to create new stuff like Author C Clarke’s writings on communication satellites that inspired folks to actually create them, or Star Trek Communicators that partially inspired the creation of cell phones. Those items along with numerous other things both small and large were initially created by writers as Science Fiction but then slowly became reality.

Recently Neal Stephenson wrote an article entitled “Innovation Starvation“, where he called for a return to inspiration in contemporary science fiction, this call inspired people and Project Hieroglyph was born shortly thereafter.

The name of Project Hieroglyph comes from the notion that certain iconic inventions in science fiction stories serve as modern “hieroglyphs” – Arthur Clarke’s communications satellite, Robert Heinlein’s rocket ship that lands on its fins, Issac Asimov’s robot, and so on. Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research described hieroglyphs as simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.

What science fiction stories—and the symbols that they engender—can do better than almost anything else is to provide not just an idea for some specific technical innovation, but also to supply a coherent picture of that innovation being integrated into a society, into an economy, and into people’s lives. Often, this is the missing element that scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs need in order to actually take the first real steps towards realizing some novel idea.

While the mission of Project Hieroglyph begins with creative inspiration, our hope is that many of us will be genuinely inspired towards realization.

Here writers post questions or just talk about idea’s that are meant to make people think and speculate on the important question in life “What if?”. The site is a great read not just for authors but for readers as well. It pushes you to think about new idea’s or a different aspect for an existing idea. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed.

– Suramya

September 21, 2014

India’s Mangalyaan races to MARS

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 7:30 PM

Did you know that India’s very own Mangalyaan is racing to Mars and about to do the final course corrections to enter Mars orbit? If the corrections work then India will be the first country to successfully enter the Mars orbit on the first try and the first Asian country to make it to mars.

The Indian Space Research Organisation has published a handy slide deck (PDF) explaining what happens next. There’s lots of little chores like uploading of commands going on at the moment, but things get interesting on September 24th. :) The PDF has a breakdown of what is expected when the action starts so do check it out.

I am going to try staying up at night to see if there is live coverage of the event. This is a great day in the Indian Space age. :)

Now, there are a lot of folks who are making comments to effect of “India should spend money on feeding the poor, instead of launching space rockets”. I have seen multiple comments to this effect on various blogs and forums. What these folks don’t realize is that spending money on the poor is all well and good but we need to start spending money on the Space program as well because end of the day we don’t have that much room on earth and the only place for us to go once Earth is full is out in space. There we have a lot more resources, enough space to expand and figure out new technologies that will make it easier/cheaper to feed the folks on earth.

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

– Suramya

Links:

1. India vs America: Earthling invaders in race to MARS
2. India’s MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
3. ISRO Website

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

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