Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

July 31, 2006

ScatterChat: A secure instant messaging client.

Filed under: Computer Security,My Thoughts,Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 5:15 PM

Now this is a cool software. It allows a user to encrypt all communications using end-to-end encryption and routing based on Tor (Tor Overview)

The program is a ‘friendly’ fork of the Gaim project. In case you are wondering what a fork is, a project fork or branch happens when a developer (or a group of them) takes a copy of source code from one software package and starts to independently develop a new package.

The software itself is pretty cool, but its likely to come under heavy fire from various govt and ‘spy’ agencies because the design of the software makes it really hard for anyone to eavesdrop on anyone. They will claim that this will allow terrorists and child pornographers to communicate anonymously.

It might be used by a terrorist but then so can a car (used as a getaway vehicle), a cell phone (used as a communication tool), watch (to sync timed attacks)… does this mean all of them should be banned as well? Any technology developed can be used for good as well as bad purposes.. starting with fire all the way upto a nuclear reaction… now that the genie is out of the bottle you can’t stuff it back in.

I think it will be useful for all sorts of people including:

Spies, to let them communicate with the home office, report anonymously
Corporate whistle blowers: they can report wrongs/broken laws without getting into trouble
People behind the great firewall of china, where you can be arrested for disagreeing with the government.

Check out the software: ScatterChat

Thanks to Schneier on Security for the link.

– Suramya

PS: I haven’t tried the software yet so don’t know how stable it is. Though I will be installing it shortly so will let you know how it goes.

July 28, 2006

Behaviour : Using CSS selectors to apply Javascript behaviours

Filed under: Computer Software,Interesting Sites,Tech Related — Suramya @ 10:26 PM

This is really cool stuff. It lets you use AJAX (asynchronous javascript and xml) without cluttering your HTML code with javascript tags. So essentially you are separating javascript and html making it easier to maintain code. The best part is that the process looks really simple to use. I am thinking of trying it out for a couple of test pages and see how it works.

Check out Behaviour’s Extended Demo page to see an example of what all you can do with it.

The main problem I have with 100% javascript controlled pages is that if the visitor has JavaScript turned off all your flashy jazz is of no use to him. Plus with all the new hacks/exploits that are coming out that use javascript more and more people are browsing the net with it disabled… So no I won’t be converting or my photogallery to something javascript driven or flash driven anytime in the near future.

Check it out: Behaviour : Using CSS selectors to apply Javascript behaviours

– Suramya

Why can’t Microsoft make their messages more specific and meaningful

Filed under: Computer Software,My Thoughts,Tech Related — Suramya @ 3:03 PM

I don’t have anything against Microsoft. Their software has its uses and while I do use Linux on my primary system and on all the servers I run/manage I also have windows XP on one of my systems and on my laptop and am happy with it as It doesn’t crash as often as earlier versions of windows and mostly does what I want it to do. Now that being said, lets move on to the topic of my rant.

I was updating windows using the Windows update tool and I got the following message:

“To use microsoft update, you must first install the latest version of some Windows components. This will allow your computer to work with these new features on the site:”

(Emphasis mine)

Could they have made the message any more vague? Can you figure out what it wants to update? I couldn’t and guess what this latest version of some Windows component was? What, No idea? It was Windows Genuine Advantage(WGA) verification tool. Now my question is, why couldn’t they just say that you need to install WGA verification tool before you download updates? Why did they have to be so vague?

You know what the best part is? WGA is not a default part of windows, its a new software that MS is pushing out to detect pirated copies of windows, so doesn’t this make their message about it being the latest version of a windows component false and misleading?

Below is a screen shot I took of this interesting message and what was actually installed:

Vague Windows message
Vague Windows message

I have the same issue with other portions of MS update. They almost never tell what a particular update is for, I know they give the Knowledge Base number, but why can’t they tell you right over there exactly what issue a particular update fixes? Having that info over there would help me/other users decide if a particular patch needs to be installed immediately or can be installed later in a regularly scheduled update cycle.

Well this is all from my side.

– Suramya

July 20, 2006

How to become a Ninja in 7 easy steps

Filed under: Humor,Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 1:59 PM

How to become a Ninja in 7 easy steps

– Suramya

July 19, 2006

Funny air traffic controllers quotes

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 10:08 PM

Found these really funny air traffic controllers quotes:

Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles!” Delta 351: “Give us another hint! We have digital watches!”

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: “I’m f…ing bored!” Ground Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!” Unknown aircraft: “I said I was f…ing bored, not f…ing stupid!”

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower noted: “American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”

Allegedly, a Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following: Lufthansa (in German): “Ground, what is our start clearance time?” Ground (in English): “If you want an answer you must speak in English.” Lufthansa (in English): “I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?” Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): “Because you lost the bloody war.”

Thanks to The Changelog for the link.

– Suramya

July 18, 2006

Maize: the final frontier

Filed under: Interesting Sites,Tech Related — Suramya @ 9:06 AM

Geekiest. Maize Maze, Ever.

Star Trek fan Tom Pearcy has planted 1.5 million maize plants to cut the maze, which features images of Mr Spock, the USS Enterprise and what looks like Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a Borg cube.

Check it out at: Maize: the final frontier

Thanks to Sarcasmo’s Corner for the link.

– Suramya

July 16, 2006

My Weekend

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

This weekend was interesting and fun.

Friday Night:
Was working till almost 2 am to meet a project deadline. Then read a book and watched TV.

Woke up at around 1 pm after going to bed at 6am. Then drove to Priya Cinema Complex in Delhi to meet Gaurang and Kangan. It was a lot of fun, another friend Anuj also joined us and we spent a couple of hours just hanging out drinking coffee and talking. Then we drove to Gudgaon to Kangan’s place to pick up Kunal and Kangan’s mom to go out to dinner.

While we were driving my car started giving me trouble. It was shaking like we had a flat but when we checked the tires all of the tires looked ok, then we decied to leave the car in delhi and take Anuj’s car instead because we weren’t sure of what was wrong with the car and we were planning to be out really late so it didn’t seem safe to drive it.

We arrived safely at Kangan’s house and waited for Kunal to get back home and then we went to eat dinner at this Chineese place. The food was really good but the service was horrible. We waited for over 45 mins for the food to arrive after we placed the order and we were about to walk out when the food arrived. But it was good food.

Then Aunty went home and we (Me, Gaurang, Kunal, Anuj and Kangan) drove to this club called ‘Buzz’. It was ok, the DJ was bad. All she played for the first 1 1/2 hours was pure punjabi music. One or two panjabi songs are ok but 1 1/2 hours of it is a bit too much. Thankfully later she started playing some decent music. Another problem with the place was the smoke. Clubs in india don’t have a no smoking rule so the place was really smoky and it gave me a headache. But it was still a lot of fun.

Once we got out Anuj dropped me in Delhi and I drove to Noida. Surprisingly the car gave me no trouble when driving home. 🙂 I got home at about 2:30 am and then couldn’t sleep, so I watched the season premiere of Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG1. They were good.

Also watched a movie called Arlington Road. It is a really interesting move about a college professor who starts suspecting that his neighbour is a terrorist. I can’t tell you more about the movie without giving spoilers but I can tell you that its really interesting and you wont expect the ending.

Spent most of Sunday sleeping. At night I finished reading this book called Altered Carbon which was ok. Its a techno thriller that I sort of liked. Meaning it was worth reading once but not over and over.

Then I saw part of this old hindi movie called Namak Halal that I really liked. Its a really funny movie. Yes I do watch hindi movies sometimes but the ones I like are mostly old hindi movies. e.g. Namak Halal, Satte Pe Saata, Judwaa, Andaz Apna Apna etc. Most of the new ones I have seen are really crap.

Wanted to watch Pirates of the Carrebian II but its not out in India yet 🙁

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

– Suramya

July 13, 2006

Things you overhear in NYC

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 6:43 AM

Found the following website called Overplot created by Google employee Mihai Parparita which maps funny conversations people overheard in New York onto a Google Map.

Below is a sample of quotes from the site:

Dad: All I know is right now, somewhere, an artist is sitting back and laughing at us.
Little girl: Or if he’s in Australia, he might be sleeping.

Subway conductor: Please enter the train as human beings, not wild animals.

Dim bulb: I’d say the odds are pretty good. At least fifty-fifty.
Dimmer bulb: No, they’re not that good. More like forty-forty.

Thanks to Google Blogoscoped for the link.

– Suramya

July 12, 2006

Just some rambling

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 6:25 PM

Ok, havn’t posted on the blog for the past few days as life suddenly got really busy. Deadlines suck. We have a project due on Friday now I have to do crazy hours to finish testing… Haven’t slept for a while so if this post doesn’t make sense you know why.

Finished reading a couple of good books and found some new authors I really liked: Kelley Armstrong: Women of Otherworld Series, C.E Murphy: Urban Shaman Series, Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Series, Kim Harrison: Hollows Series, Laura Anne Gilman: Retriver Series, Patricia Briggs: All her books, Rachel Caine: Weather Warden Series. Yes, thats more than a couple. 🙂

You know’s recomendation system is really good, I especially like the system where people post lists of books they like. Found some really good books that way.

I have given up on Anita Blake novels, they read more like porn novels than actual Fantasy novels… I mean whatever happened to having an actual story? It looks like the author knows that sex sells so her novels are sex with a small side of a story.

Watched the season finalle of the New Dr Who series. It was really good, love they way they ended it. Unfortunately I have to wait till Christmas for the continuation. 🙁 Why do they only have 13 episodes per season? Another new series I have started watching is Blade the Series. So far only two episodes have been broadcast and they were decent, nothing great but not bad either.

The house we are building is nearing completion. It looks great.

Well this is all for now. I think I will go sleep now.

– Suramya

July 8, 2006

Converting video formats with ffmpeg by Suramya Tomar

Filed under: Website Updates — Suramya @ 10:49 PM

I have posted my article on Converting video formats with ffmpeg in the Linux tutorials section.

This article was originally published in the June issue of the Linux Journal.


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