Suramya's Blog

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July 25, 2009

1st Mountain Dew Commercial

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 10:21 PM

Check out this really old commercial for Mountain Dew: 1st Mountain Dew Commercial with Willie the Hillbilly

I love this drink. Pretty funny advertisement too..

– Suramya

July 24, 2009

A tool to make online personal data vanish

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 9:13 PM

As most of you know, once anything is posted on the web its literally impossible to get rid of. Lets say you post a picture on your blog, it will get archived by any number of sites like the Way Back machine, Google Cache etc etc or anyone can copy it to their system and repost it. So even if you remove it from the blog someone with time and patience can find it again.

To counteract this University of Washington has developed a system called Vanish, which will (according to them) will allow users to create a self-destruct system for information posted online. According to the site:

The Vanish prototype washes away data using the natural turnover, called “churn,” on large file-sharing systems known as peer-to-peer networks. For each message that it sends, Vanish creates a secret key, which it never reveals to the user, and then encrypts the message with that key. It then divides the key into dozens of pieces and sprinkles those pieces on random computers that belong to worldwide file-sharing networks, the same ones often used to share music or movie files. The file-sharing system constantly changes as computers join or leave the network, meaning that over time parts of the key become permanently inaccessible. Once enough key parts are lost, the original message can no longer be deciphered.

Ok, so according to them the data at the original source will get deleted. What I don’t get is how they are planning on getting rid of data copies that were made by caching services (Google etc) and archive sites (Wayback machine etc).

Lets say I have encrypted the data and a little later the archive spider runs and creates an image of the post. Now if I access the site image I will see the encrypted data which should expire correct? Nope. These spiders usually function like a normal webbrowser i.e. they will do a normal http call to get the information. So if the creator of the spider adds the code to decrypt the data using whatever logic Vanish uses (keep in mind that this info will be available so as to allow people to create plugin’s etc for regular browsers) they will have a snapshot of the clear text message/image/whatever as long as the spider runs before the message degrades to much.

In all its a pretty cool concept but I wouldn’t be using it for any really secure communications.

Source: A tool to make online personal data vanish
Vanish Details and Paper: http://vanish.cs.washington.edu

– Suramya

July 23, 2009

Celebrated Mom’s Birthday today

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

It was mon’s birthday today so me and dad decided to get cake in the morning when coming back from a doctors appointment. Unfortunately we were too early so the shop was closed. The drive was fun, I got to enjoy the heat and the humidity as the AC in the Esteem wasn’t working; actually it does work but only when you drive at more than 50 km/h, which thanks to the traffic we weren’t able to do a lot…

So we got home without the cake, which was a good thing because mom didn’t want to have cake. She wanted to have Ghavar (Its an Indian sweet) so I will be getting that for her tomorrow. In the evening we were planning on going for Mexican food but that also was postponed to later because it was raining and mom had the craving for Garlic bread. So we then ordered food from Papa John’s with lots of extra garlic sticks. Now I am full and we still have 1/2 a pizza left along with some garlic bread. I guess no vampires are going to be coming near us anytime soon.

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

– Suramya

July 22, 2009

Beau Pal Water : a product of bhopal gas tragedy

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:38 PM

A friend emailed this to me a couple of days ago (Thanks Manjari) and I have been meaning to share this since I got it. Finally sharing it now…

bottle

This new, beautifully-designed line of bottled water – this time not from the melting Alps, nor from faraway, clean-water-deprived Fiji, but rather from the contaminated ground near the site of the 1984 Bhopal catastrophe was launched recently in London.

The unique qualities of this water come from 25 years of slow-leaching toxins at the site of the world’s largest industrial accident.

Here’s a close-up of the label:

logo

The Bhopal gas tragedy was one of the biggest industrial accidents in history. For those of you who are not aware of the story here’s a brief synopsis:

On the night of Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 20,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.

Till date Dow Chemical – who bought Union Carbide – has refused to clean up and thousands of people are still suffering because of their callousness.

Source: B’eau-pal: Our Story…
Learn more about the Bhopal gas Tragedy

– Suramya

July 21, 2009

Blah…

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

Yeah, I know… Its not the most imaginative headings… but that’s pretty much how I was feeling when I got back home today. Had to go do bank stuff and taxes stuff today and it was hot outside (again) and humidity must have been more than 80%. Plus I am tired of listening to the same songs in the car. I need to buy an FM transmitter that I can use with my phone so I can play new music in the car without having to burn CD’s.

To top it all I am taking some antibiotics (Nothing serious, Just trying to prevent my nose looking like a clown nose by turning all red and itchy.) and they make my head spin. So while I am typing this, I am also trying really hard not to throw up. This effect lasts for about 2-3 hours so I usually try to take them just before going to sleep. Today mom made me take them early hence the fun :(

A friend of mine is in Canada and their house is right next to the bush fire that has been going on over there. They have been put on evacuation watch. The fire closest to them is literally a few miles away and all it would take is a gust of wind for it to spread. Imagine having to pack up your whole life in a car. That’s what she is doing right now, because that’s all they will be able to take with them if they have to evacuate.

I am hoping for the best. But lets see. Send all your good thoughts towards her and the other people trying to survive the fire.

Surabhi’s laptop is still having issues. Installed a temperature monitor on it. Looks like the fan/cooling is not working properly and the system shuts down when the CPU temp gets near 100 deg C. So this means I have to take it back to the IBM service center and get it fixed. :(

Well this is all for now. Will write more later when I can think straight again.

– Suramya

July 19, 2009

Dinner with Relatives and other stuff

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:07 PM

Me, Mom and Dad went to visit Rakhi didi today. It had been a while since I visited them so it was great. We stayed over for dinner and as usual she cooked a lot and the food was great.

Spent some quality time with my niece and got to spoil her. :) Other than that the day was pretty normal. Hot as hell but normal.

Surabhi’s laptop is acting up again so trying to diagnose it. Looks like the shutdowns were because of heating issues. Installed a temperature monitor to log the CPU temperature and correlate that with the shutdowns… Plus in my opinion she needs to format the system because it has gotten really slow. (Opening a new explorer window or folder takes more than 5 seconds… )

Need to get up early tomorrow to do stuff and I am really not looking forward to it. :(

I guess I should sleep now… just soon as I finish this, oh and I should do that also… plus this… Ah well I guess I will be sleeping at the usual time. I can function without a lot of sleep for a while.

– Suramya

July 18, 2009

24 hrs/7 days Redefined by Indian Railways

Filed under: Humor,My Life — Suramya @ 8:56 PM

I was trying to book a train ticket on the https://www.irctc.co.in/ Site which is the official Indian Railways reservation site. During the process my card didn’t go through so I got the following email from IRCTC:

24hrsRedefined

In case of any problem, you are welcome to contact us at 24*7 Hrs. Customer Support at 011-23340000, MON – SAT(10 AM – 6 PM) 011 – 23345500/ 4787/ 4773/ 5800/ 8539/ 8543 , Chennai Customer Care 044 – 25300000 or mail us at care@irctc.co.in. We will be glad to help you out in solving any such problem encountered during booking your ticket.

As you can see, I can contact them twenty-four hours a day seven days a week between 10am and 6 pm. :)

– Suramya

July 17, 2009

Watched the latest Harry Potter

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 4:55 AM

Watched the latest Harry Potter today. Actually yesterday. No today… Hold on. I started watching it yesterday and finished today (We went for the 11 pm show). Surabhi found out at 8 pm that the movie had released so she booked the ticket for the 11 pm show online and we both went for it.

The movie was good. Considering I still haven’t read the 6th & 7th book I liked the movie. I actually might read the 6th and 7th book now. Didn’t read it because I really don’t remember the story from the first 5 books and don’t have the patience or desire to read all 5 of them again when I have so many much more interesting books to read. I wonder if there’s a site out there that summarizes the first 5 books. (Putting it in the to do list for tomorrow)

Well its way past my bed time so going to crash now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

July 14, 2009

Street artist Posterchild performance

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 8:21 PM

From Wikipedia:

Posterchild is the nom de plume of a street artist based in Toronto, Canada who may be best known for his Mario Blocks project, the purpose of which is to install homemade Mario blocks in public spaces. After being featured on Boing Boing the project has expanded as others have made and hung their own blocks.

In his latest work he attached plant labels to neglected planter boxes to encourage municipal authorities to do some real gardening.

Below is a sample of the labels they created:

Source: Eatliver.com

– Suramya

July 13, 2009

Watched Transformers II and a couple of other things

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:21 PM

Finally managed to watch Transformers II this Saturday. I was supposed to go watch it with friends but due to scheduling issues I just watched it with family (Vinit and Surabhi). The movie was good. Better than the first one. One thing though… the fallen reminded me of the space creature from the ‘Alien’ movies. The plot wasn’t too complicated and had a lot of holes but that didn’t spoil the movie for me. The action was good and the graphics were nice.

After the movie went and met with Piyush and Juhi after a really long time. It was fun catching up with them. I should do this more often.

Also watched the 3rd Season of Torchwood. This season of Torchwood was a hundred times better than the first season (Which sucked) and a few times better than the 2nd one. Too bad they only had 5 episodes in the season; but the good part was that they broadcast them one a day so the season was done in a week.

Currently watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the first time. Never watched it when it was being broadcast but had heard a lot of good things about it so decided to watch it. The first season was decent and funny. It showed that the actors in the series were new to acting and in the first few episodes the acting was stilted and horrible. Luckily it got a lot better later in the series.

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

– Suramya

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