Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

May 30, 2009

Updating the site layout/content

Filed under: Website Updates — Suramya @ 11:41 PM

Its been ages since I have updated the site with new content so I have finally decided to do something about it and have started making changes to the content.

While doing this I noticed that the site layout was pretty crappy (to be honest) so decided to change the layout while I was at it. Some other changes will also be made to the site (a couple of sections will be merged, a few moved/renamed) so the site should look and work better.

You can check the work in progress at: Do take a look and tell me what you think about the design etc. Currently in addition to the Home page, the About Me section has been partially updated. More updates will follow shortly.

– Suramya

May 28, 2009

Itna Sannata kyon Hai Bhai? (Why is it so quiet?)

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:57 AM

This is a question I get when I am looking at a lot of the blogs that I follow (including my own). Is it because these people no longer have anything to say about stuff? I know that can’t be true because I still have lots of opinions about various things and so do most of these people.

So what else could be the problem? I was talking to Aditya a couple of days ago and he asked me why the blog was updated so infrequently. My response was.. just because. Basically what seems to happen is that I get an idea for a topic at a random place (driving, in the gym, at work) and at that particular time I have no way/time to compose a blog post and post it. So it gets logged or saved as a draft on my system waiting for me to get time to elaborate it and clean it up. Lots of times it happens that by the time you get time to post something it has lost its appeal or so many people have written about it that you don’t want to become ‘yet another person’ blogging about the same thing.

As an example, a couple of years ago Prince Harry wore a swastika on his dress to a party. It created a big hue and cry and I was going to write an article on it. I thought about it on a flight, made some notes but by the time I got to the point where I had the ability and time to write an article on it 2-3 weeks had passed and it was no longer an issue I wanted to write about.

What I need is a voice to text converter software for my phone so that every time I get an idea I can dictate it to my phone and have it converted to text which I can edit and publish. So far I have not been able to find such a software but I am hopeful that it might happen soon.

Currently I have 5 posts in the drafts sections of the blog. Not sure how many of them will see the light of the day anytime soon. Lets see.

– Suramya

May 27, 2009

10 Famous Paintings Recreated in LEGO

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 10:44 PM

Lego seems to have an attraction that few other materials can match. If it has been made someone out there has created a copy of it in Lego. Lego artists have created Churches, replica’s of paintings, computer cases etc etc.

In that tradition I give you Marco Pece who has recreated famous paintings in lego. Below one of his creations where he has recreated the Famous Mona Lisa in Lego:

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Visit the site to see the remaining paintings by him. They have copies of Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Jan Vermeer’s Pearl Earring and more. Definitely worth a visit.

Check it out at: 10 Famous Paintings Recreated in LEGO

– Suramya

May 25, 2009

Made up languages/words in books

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:06 PM

Just finished reading ‘Vorpal Blade’ by John Ringo & Travis S Taylor and found it to be a great book except for one small thing. The author decided to replace commonly used words with nonsensical words. Actually he just replaced two words and the words he replaced were ‘shit’ (replaced with maulk) and fuck (replaced with grapp).

Its ok when an author uses new words or makes up a word for something if it makes sense but in this case there was no reason to replace the words ’cause the book is based in the near future on earth so just replacing the words just makes the book harder to read. To give you an example below is a paragraph from the book:

“You can start going through the pile that’s portside aft is what you can do!” the gunnery sergeant snapped. “That’s all your maulk. I’m going to send a runner up to Hedge to tell him his stuff is starboard side aft and that’s about all the sorting we’re doing. When we’re done loading the maulk that ain’t grapped up, y’all can fight it out to get the rest stored!”

This book is the second book in the series and this is the first time he has done this stuff. If he had done this in the first book I don’t know if I would have read the second book. It got to the point that I was thinking about doing a search & replace in the book and then reading it.

Some authors do this replacing really well, e.g. Mercedes Lackey. In one of her books she replaced bullshit with horse-manure but she only used it two or three times in the book rather than the few hundred times in this book.

What do you think?

– Suramya

May 10, 2009

Watched the new Star Trek movie today

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:11 PM

Finally watched the new Star Trek Movie today. Wanted to watch it since the day it came out but for some stupid reason the movie distributors are on strike so no new movies have been released in India for the past 1 month and there is no end in sight so far. 🙁

Anyways, I liked the movie.

BTW: The rest of the post might contain spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie I recommend that you don’t read the rest of the post.

Not going to discuss much of the movie as it will probably spoil it for some. But still. you have been warned.

The first few minutes of the movie didn’t really make sense but after that the movie started picking up. What I found strange was that the Star Fleet decided to send the cadets to actual starships even though they weren’t trained. Where was the rest of the StarFleet? Why did they have to send the cadets to a planet that was being attacked and not the actual fleet?

Also at the end of the movie, how did Kirk go straight to being a Captain from a Cadet? What happened to the ranks in the middle? What about the rest of them, shouldn’t they also have gotten similar rank boosts?

Anyway, all said and done it was a decent movie and not the disaster I was expecting. Definitely better than the last two movies.

– Suramya

May 7, 2009

Finally Voted today

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:39 PM

After ~10 years (2 elections) of never being in the country when the elections were held I finally was in town during the elections and voted. 🙂

We got up at 8am and went to the sector 44 community center that was the local polling booth. There weren’t a lot of people there at the time (only about 7-8) but it was still early as the voting started at 7am.

Security wise the elections was decent. I don’t know how secure the machine itself but I don’t think its possible easily for one person to enter more than one vote (which used to happen with paper votes). Now when a person enters their vote a loud buzz would sound telling people that a vote had been cast. So if a person tried entering multiple votes they would first have to figure out how to switch the machine back on after a vote had been cast (It is activated by a guy sitting outside who verifies your ID) then they would have to disable the buzzer that sounds when votes are cast.

Total time to vote, about 30 mins. This includes the time to drive there and back with a stop to buy groceries on the way back.

– Suramya

May 5, 2009

My experience using a system with 378MB of RAM

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:29 PM

My laptop charger died so I have been using my old desktop for a while now at home. This is a 1 GHz machine with 350MB of RAM running Debian. At first I was a bit worried that the system wouldn’t support my working habits because of the low RAM but while using it I have realized that Debian works great with ~378MB of RAM. Obviously the system is not as responsive as it would be with 1GB of RAM but its definitely usable.

Actually it works fine with 250MB also, as my 128 MB RAM chip died I had to take it out and I could still use the system with a single 250MB chip. This is with Firefox (with upto 8-10 tabs), Thunderbird, uTorrent (using wine), Konqueror and Konsole (multiple sessions) running. I could even watch videos without issues. Though a couple of times I did have to close Firefox when viewing a video because the video would take ages to startup.

The main issue I had during this time was with Firefox. I found that I would have to restart it after using it for a while (day or so) or when I went to a page with a lot of flash. It used an average of about 130MB of RAM on my system. At times it went up to 60% usage on 378MB (according to top). [Don’t feel like calculating it right now]

Flash was a pain during this time. Pages with a lot of Flash slowed the system down to a crawl. So it looks like a lot of the memory leakage/excessive memory use in Firefox has to do with the Flash plugin in use.

If this machine was running XP or any other flavor of windows apart from 98/95 etc it would have been completely unusable. I did try booting into windows XP on this system to do some OCR (I can’t seem to find a good OCR client in Linux) but the system was pretty much unusable with about 2-5 second wait while opening windows etc.

My usage is a lot more intensive than most regular users so for a normal user Linux will be even more responsive. I mean does average Joe have 10 Tabs open at the same time while OpenOffice is converting a 95 MB document to HTML? (Don’t ask. It was a PDF converted to .doc which I needed in html) Oh and I usually listen to music when I work so Amarok was also running in the background at the time.

BTW, in case you are wondering I am running KDE v3.5.10 so its not an old version and most of the effects are still on (Except for the transparent panel, which I find annoying)

Another thing I learnt was that USB transfers take longer if you have low RAM for some reason. Atleast they do when you are using a USB pendrive, my external harddisk seems to work with the same speed even with low RAM.

So if you have an old machine, don’t throw it. Install Linux on it and donate it to someone or use it as a extra server or something.

– Suramya

PS: I have finally upgraded the RAM on this system to 1GB so it works even better. 🙂

Powered by WordPress