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March 25, 2007

My weekend: School anual days, teaching driving and having fun

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:47 PM

This weekend was fun, I went over to my cousin Rakhi Didi’s place for the weekend so that I could attend my Niece’s (Ria) annual day celebration at school where she was performing a dance.

The show started at 4:30 pm but the kids were supposed to be there by 2 pm to practice and get ready so we saw Ria off in the school bus and then me and Rakhi didi talked and caught up with each other’s lives. Jijaji is in the US right now on a project so it was just the two of us. Then at 3:30 we left home to be at the school (Ryan International School) by 4.

The performance was awesome. I mean you don’t expect kids from LKG – 5th class to be so talented. The kids did everything from announcing the next item to performing some really cute dances. The whole thing brought back a lot of memories. A long time ago I had also taken part in the school Annual day functions and used to have a blast.

We got back home by 9 pm and once Ria went off to sleep me and didi talked some more. We were up till pretty late. Then didi looked tired so we went to sleep.

The next day also I played with Ria and didi and in the evening Didi drove me back to our place. She is just learning how to drive so she was a bit nervous but she drives pretty well. All she needs is practice.

Overall a fun weekend.

– Suramya

March 23, 2007

Programs that detect/monitor File alteration

Filed under: Knowledgebase,Security Tools — Suramya @ 5:56 PM

The following is a list of programs that detect/monitor file changes on both *nix/Windows:

Good article on how to do a File Integrity Assesment and how to securely use AIDE.

– Suramya

Inner Peace

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 4:49 PM

Got this in the mail from a friend. Good advice ;)

Subject: Inner Peace

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace.

Dr. Phil proclaimed, “The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished.” So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn’t finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of bailey’s Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel. Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

– Suramya

March 22, 2007

Some random thoughts/comments/updates

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 3:04 PM

* Watched a hailstorm from the safety of my room with my parents yesterday. It was awesome, some of the hailstones were almost 1/2 cm in diameter. I did have to go out once to move the car so that the hail didn’t mess up the paint. Got a couple of hits on my head during this for my trouble.

* Installed Linux on my desktop over hereas I needed a system where I could install/debug my scripts. Also resizing a lot of pics in Linux in easier than in Windows. In Linux all I need to do is run the following command and it resizes all the jpg files in the current directory to 1024 x whatever (It maintains the aspect ratio) mogrify -resize 1024x *.jpg. I haven’t found anything that does the same in windows yet and resizing pics manually is a pain.

* Also re-installed Windows on the same system. Its a lot less painful than what it used to be. However, some things to note:

  • My USB ports weren’t detected until I installed SP2 and then installed the drivers
  • The max resolution I was getting was 800×600 until I installed the VGA drivers
  • The USB not getting detected meant that my USB mouse didn’t work. Good thing I had a PS2 keyboard…

On the other hand Linux detected all my hardware without issues. I did use Kanotix.com’s Live linux CD to jump start the install process so it wasn’t really a completely fair test. Once I installed it to my harddisk for some reason it decided to not initialize my network card but it was a 2 min fix. Other than that I didn’t face any issues with the install. So if you want to play with Linux/Install Linux with a minimum of hassle then use Kanotix to install it. One of these days I am going to install Gentoo on my system just to try it out. Personally I love Debian (Kanotix is a Debian based system).

* Reading the Blood series (Also known as the Vicki Nelson series) by Tanya Huff. Its about Vampires/paranormal and how a particular ex-cop (Vicki) interacts with them. Pretty interesting. However the 4th book didn’t start off that well. I think the author is going to make the characters more emotional/whinny which would suck.

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

– Suramya

March 20, 2007

Thoughts on ‘Primeval’ and other TV shows

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 3:44 PM

Just watched the last episode of Primeval, which is a British production about a group of people investigating a series of anomalies which allow travel to the past and vice-versa that are popping up all over London.

It is an interesting series and I liked it but there are some things that they do in the series that don’t make sense and are really stupid/illogical.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

In the first episode this kid finds this big shining thing (Looks like a big fractal) hanging in the air and the first thing he does is stick his head into it. He doesn’t try to toss anything into it to see if its dangerous or even put his hand through it, just sticks his head into it… How stupid is that? Then when the professor decides to take a stroll through the past, he just walks in without any gear to use in case the anomaly closes and they get stuck.

The most irritating thing is that they talk a lot about not changing the past but they don’t seem be doing anything to preserve it. In the last episode they decide to make a permanent outpost in the past to look for a particular anomaly (Nope won’t give away all the plot details. ;) ) and the armed escort dies, so they decide to abort the mission (Which makes sense). So how do they go about it? They bury the guys over there, leave all the equipment there and just leave. They don’t care that by leaving the stuff there they might cause a paradox/mess up the future. The equipment they leave includes: Camera’s, tents, emergency rations and other stuff thats not bio degradable.

Then they kill a lot of the creatures that come through the anomaly. Shouldn’t that change the past? Since the creature was killed it can’t do what it was supposed to so the should timeline change right?

Other than these minor irritants the show is good. The special effects are good. The season ending was cool though, I am waiting for the next season which will probably come out in 2008.


The other show I really like is Heroes. That show is just plain awesome. Each episode makes you want to watch the next one. The next episode won’t be out for a month though so I have a long wait for my next hit.

I used to love ‘Lost‘ but I think the producers/writes got lost during the production. The show doesn’t make any sense anymore. They are introducing so many plot twists into the story that its become like a Jalabee (For those of you who are wondering what a Jalabee is, Its an Indian sweet and here’s a picture of it ) and stopped making sense. I have stopped watching it. They should have ended it in Season 2, there was no need to drag it out for the third season.

The next season of Doctor Who is starting in April and I can’t wait for it to start. The Doctor will have a new companion so it should be fun. Torchwood (A spin-off of Dr Who) is also supposed to have a new season but don’t know any details about that and I didn’t like it that much anyways so not that eager for it anyway.

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

– Suramya

March 17, 2007

Books I read that I liked or didn’t like

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 5:01 PM

As most of you know, I love reading and read a lot of books. Over the past few days I have been reading a lot of books so I thought I should share some of my thoughts about them.

I finally finished reading the entire Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley in order which made some of novels more interesting. Pity there aren’t more of them. However they are the only novels by her that I liked. In most of her other books the stories come off as a bit stilted and heavy handed. Another problem I faced was that the novels don’t have any official chronology which makes if difficult for those who want to read the books in order. Oh I know that the books are mostly standalone and can be read in any order but its more fun reading the books in chronological order. I did the same with the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey and found the books to be much more enjoyable that way.

Another author I like is Patricia Briggs and I just finished reading her book “Blood Bound“, it was an interesting read. Basically its part two of a series about a car mechanic who can shapeshift into a coyote and how she deals with problems a vampire sorcerer causes in her life. The book is sharp and witty, somewhat like the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine or really early Anita Blake novels. Hopefully the next books in the series will be as good and not devolve into mindless romance novels that replace a good story with lots of sex and romance (Anita Blake Vampire hunter is a good example of such a series)

Patricia Wrede is a new author I found thanks to Amazon lists that suggest additional books based on the books you are currently viewing. This lady can write. Her Enchanted Forest Series is a series that takes the standard princesses and dragons line and changes it to something new and unique. The princesses in the novel is bored with being a princesses and decides to walk upto a cave full of dragons and insists that they take her prisoner and let her work for them. Then when the expected knights and princes come to rescue them she tells them that she doesn’t want to be rescued as she is happy living with a dragon. Read the book, you will like it if you like humor and prefer to read books where the characters have a brain. Her name has been moved to the list of authors whose works I egarly wait for.

The latest book I read is “Sir Apropos Of Nothing” by Peter David. This book is off the hook, It looks at the roles of the hero, sidekick, and villain turns them on the head. In the book the sidekick (Apropos) decides that he doesn’t like his lot in life so he decides to change events to make his life easier and to make him look better. A lot of his actions are not noble as he is a self centered person that doesn’t care two hoots about others but in spite of all this the book is funny and a good read. Going to read the second book in this series next and if I like it then I guess I will have to add another author to my list of must read authors.

Not all of the books I read recently were good though :(, one of them was especially disappointing because I like the author a lot. I am talking about “A Deeper Blue” by John Ringo. I got my hands on the Advance Readers Copy of the book from Baen Book’s Webscription Ebooks and was really excited to read it. This is the 5th book in the ‘Ghost’ series and I really liked the earlier books. The author really knows how to depict war and troop movements and since I like military fiction I like his books a lot. Unfortunately in this book he decided to get on a hobby horse and basically make it look like that all problems that the US/world is facing now is due to Muslim terrorists.

At first when I started reading I was like whatever, this is a novel the author has the right to take some liberties with the world his characters move in. This was after I read this statement in the book:

“Every major terrorist attack on your people has been by Islamic males between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. Paying particular attention to such people simply makes sense. When a person that looks Islamic comes through the Keldara region you can be sure that we take a closer look. What is that thing about if it walks like a duck?”

The book then proceeded to get worse and worse… Every time they had to catch a terrorist they would look at the Arabic male and sure enough thats the terrorist. The second problem was that the book didn’t really seem to have a plot, all it did was point out how easy it was to attack the US and that the best way to stop it is to stop the Muslim males.

It got so bad that I actually stopped reading it before I got to the end and believe me it takes a lot for me to stop reading a book that I am almost through with. (I had another 3 chapters to go through).

I guess the author is human and has human failings but I had expected better. The book was the worst book I have read in a while.

Ah well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

PS: Incase you are wondering, all the books mentioned above are fantasy/SciFi or Military fiction.

March 16, 2007

Legally watch World Cup matches online in near real time

Filed under: Interesting Sites,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 6:07 PM

I am not a big cricket fan (Understatement of the year…) but this is something really interesting. As some of you might know the cricket World cup is currently going on and is a big craze in India/England/Australia/and a lot of other countries.

Now Sky Television has the exclusive rights to broadcast the matches live so if you want to watch the show live you have to pay them for it. There’s nothing wrong with it but in places that don’t have SKY TV it becomes and issue. There are websites that broadcast the matches live but they are illegal and usually very slow with horrible picture quality.

There is a website called cricinfo.com that solves this issue in a very unique way:

Cricinfo 3D is based on public domain information gathered by our scorers who record a number of factors such as where the ball pitched, the type of shot played and where the ball goes in the field,” said a Wisden statement. “That data is then fed as an xml to anyone who has Cricinfo 3D running on their desktops and the software generates an animation based on this data.”

The match coverage is delayed by between 3 and 12 balls during the match and its still in Beta so might not work perfectly. But still Pretty cool eh?

Check it out: http://www.cricinfo.com/3d/

Thanks to OpenDotDotDot for the link.

– Suramya

SCO v IBM: SCO shows the copyrighted code

Filed under: Linux/Unix Related,News/Articles — Suramya @ 5:53 PM

On March 6, 2003, a company called the SCO Group which was doing very poorly financially decided to earn some revenue by filing a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM for allegedly adding copyrighted code from Unix (For which SCO is the copyright holder) to Linux. Over time this amount rose to $5 billion. SCO then sent letters to most fortune 500 companies using Linux and demanded licensing fees from them.

This case quickly became one of the most watched cases in computer law as it would determine the future of Linux and the ruling would set a precedent for other cases where open source projects are involved.

The lawsuit caused a huge outrage in the open source community and its members pointed out that it was highly unlikely that Linux contained code from Unix as it had been written from scratch by many programmers all over the world and its code was available for all to check. They demanded that SCO show the code that is supposed to be infringing so that they could verify the claim and remove it from the kernel if required. But SCO refused to show the code, it made many excuses and delayed it a lot.

On the 7th of March 2007 they finally showed the code that was included in Linux and it was a whooping 326 lines of code out of which 121 lines are #define headers. These headers basically allow the programmer to define easy to remember aliases for values/data. e.g. we can have the following statement: #define NAME Suramya Tomar in the code and now we can use NAME (which is easier to remember and type) instead of using “Suramya Tomar” in the code.

Now if we follow the pricing model that means each line of code is supposed to be worth $15,337,423.31. Howz that for quality code? I hope they paid the guy/girl who wrote it really well…

NEways now that the SCO case has been shown for the time waster it was, I suppose it will get thrown out of the court soon. They should be made to pay IBM and OSS community for all the grief they caused, but I guess since the company is almost bankrupt it will just file for Chapter 11 (Bankruptcy) and shutdown. Good riddance I say.

Read the transcript of the Hearing with detailed commentary/analysis : Groklaw – Transcript of Hearing in SCO v IBM

For more detailed info on the case check out: SCO vs IBM

Thanks to OpenDotDotDot for the link.

– Suramya

Eye now better :)

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 8:05 AM

My eye infection is now finally fixed. :) Had to take some antibiotics and endure some hot water massages and sticky eye medicines but finally no more…

Now I can use my computer without eye irritation and I have a couple of projects I want to work on and complete. Won’t tell you what they are so if I decide not to do them no one will nag me ;)

More updates later.

– Suramya

March 9, 2007

Stupid eye infection

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:18 AM

Got a stupid eye infection in my left eye. Its nothing bad, the eye is just a bit swollen up and it itches like crazy. Mostly its very annoying. Washing it seems to stop the itching for a little while so I will be washing the eye every 15 mins till its healed.

Putting some really sticky eye medicine in the eye in the meantime but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything other than make it hard for me to see…

Well this is all for now. I guess I should goto sleep early today. :(

– Suramya

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