Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm Not Evil ( at least NOT YET )

When i started writing here at this blog regularly ( five months back) , i took up this decision- there would be no posts taking on anyone in particular, no individual hate post or 'x' sucks post. Generally with a personal blog like mine, these posts 'just happen' and also i knew ''. So i had to make this choice to keep this place clean from all the mess.

But, i think this news of my secret pact (with myself) was leaked eppadiyo, and now that 'they' know i won't be writing bout' them here, they've decided to go all out and work their shit on me. This is to let them all know ( and if 'they' are people who don't read my blog, i can't really help 'them' .. Cos' with all the crap you do, you should've seen this coming and you prolly must've started following my blog .. Just don't tell me i didn't warn you) , i'm free to break the pact anytime i want, repeat 'anytime i want'. So it is really upto you, either shut your trap and quit fooling around with me or be ready for a 'hate post'. Actually i'm just hyping this - all i'm saying is if you make my life worse ( even worser than it already is), i'm going to write down everything i feel bout' you . That will be all ..

@all: You're prolly thinking what good will a 'hate post' do in a blog that has 'not-so-many' readers, but my point - A hate post regardless of the number of readers is still a hate post and' it'll still hurt. ;)

Speaking of readership.. I just noticed, my home page has a PR1 ( remember that phase when i was trying hard to get a good PR ? .. Looking back, all that is really funny now..) .. Thank you Google ...

Coming back, Now this does not mean i'm going to start writing 'these' posts tomorrow and maybe i'll not write one ever, but i'll be really patient with this - i'm not a fool to go after everyone who disagrees with me.

This post is totally impulsive, so i really don't know if i mean everything i write here.

Cheers..

PR checker tool click here.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

I Need Closure ...

These days I've suddenly started questioning the point behind every single recent decision of mine, reason: a lot has gone 'not-exactly-my-way', actually there is no real significant issue that started this off. But, all of a sudden i've lost all faith in the different choices i made recently (choices that've made my life the way it is now). I've never faced anything like this before, i swear... This is tough .. I always stand by my choices and trust them, no matter what happens and i even keep telling myself that even i were to get a chance to go back in time and take the decision again, i still would stick to my first choice ( at least 90% of the time). That gave me so much confidence and i never used to get hung up on problems that arose cos' of my foolish choices. One word - Move on ..

I guess i've lost all means of closure now, this used to be my strength earlier. I got closure whenever i wanted it, i had this penchant to generate closure for every little problem. Actually most of the time a simple 'fuck off/this' would do, and i could use that to clear anything off my head and forget the problem.

Earlier..

Me: Eh, maybe you should've done that 'this' way ? It would've made things so much better for both of us ..

Myself: Fuck this !! Like i can change anything now..

Now..

Me: Eh, maybe you should've done that 'this' way ? It would've made things so much better for both of us ..

Myself: Ya .. Even i've been thinking bout' that too.. Shit man, what was wrong with me, i must've been doped or something when i made that choice. Life would've been so much better if hadn't been for that one thing.. Damn .. Wish there was some way i could reverse this all. ... ... ... ... ...

Now, something like ^^ this might be 'just normal' for someone else. But not for me, this ties me down bigtime. I'm distracted all the time and my efficiency has touched an all time low (which is actually very very low cos even when i'm normal i'm not so very efficient)..

And there is this thing with situations like this - they just keep piling up, i'm starting to think about things that happened so long ago ( like back during school or last year). And i seem to be going back in timeline to pick the different choices i made and cry( not literally though.. i've not reached that stage yet) for them.

I need closure .. I need to Move on ..

I really want to get back to my usual self, me with a two-word-anytime closure.

I need it real soon, before i go crazy ..

:(

This is post #31 in 2008. I've posted more times than i did last year in the first two months of this year(check my archive >>). Jus' an observation .. ;) Thank you all ...

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where Does All The Computing Power Go ?

Warning: Huge Post

I've started using Adobe photoshop very often ( i even use it for simple image resizing and cropping, this is the only photo editor i use). I have a 1 Gb DDR2 memory stick and a Intel 945 mobo, this is a pretty good config and works has worked really well for me. I use my comp. only for the internet, music and movies, no games - no junk softwares etc. So i've always been content with the computing power i had (i know this config. is a mere pittance when compared with the current h/w trends). Now that i use high end media editor s/w's like pshop and Flash, i'm thinking maybe my computing power isn't enough. That does not mean i'm going to upgrade my memory anytime soon ( or will i ?) but, that just got me thinking - Why do these image editors use up so much memory ?

This question led me to studying the concept of the .jpeg( or the .jpg) file format( don't ask me how), the most common image compression format. And the wiki lover in me refuses to go anyplace else when researching, so headed over to Wikipedia and keyed in "jpeg", what followed was 20 minutes of total bliss(? ofcourse i'm exaggerating here, i'm just trying to say it was interesting). I now have a overall idea of the working of this file format and also understood why image editing was such a complex process.

The JPEG File Format

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group.

The basics first -This is a lossy compression format, ie. the compressed file has fewer information than the original ( the other format being - lossless compression where all the components of the original are retained), but then jpeg is an intelligent file compression format (in a way that it decides to leave out data that are least visible to the naked eye), that way we don't see much depreciation in the quality even after considerable compression.

All digital images employ the RGB format ( red-green-blue), ie. all the distinct colors in a palette are defined using a combination of the R,G,B colors.

JPEG Compression Process.

- The RGB images are converted into a YCbCr format - the luma component (Y), representing brightness of a pixel and two chroma components(Cb and Cr), representing the color of a pixel.

- The human eye is less sensitive to fine color details than to brightness details, so the brightness of a pixel(Y component) is more important and is retained completely, where as the resolution of the two chroma components(Cb and Cr) is reduced by a factor of 2.

- The image now in the simplified YCbCr format is split into blocks of 8×8 pixels - this is called a sub-image and the data is contained in a 8 x 8 matrix with each integer elements ranging from -128 to 127. This cos' in a 8-bit image each pixel can have 256 possible values, so centered around zero the range becomes -128 to 127.



The sub-image matrix and the corresponding sub-image.


- The above sub-image matrix undergoes a DCT(two dimensional discrete cosine transform.. ya), this is to transform all the Y,Cb,Cr data in the matrix to a frequency spectrum.

The DCT is taken thru' a simple formula (which i guess is not required here)



The matrix obtained after taking two dimensional DCT of the sub-image matrix.

Do you see that the first element(1,1) is a very high value compared to all other elements in the matrix. The actual information about the pixel block is held by this element(1,1), this is an advantage of using the Discrete Cosine Transform - all the information is aggregated in a corner element( and all the other elements are reduced to lower values).

Quantization.

Now the large (1,1) element falls outside the 8-bit range ( 8 bit range is 0-255, -415 will require 9-10 bits ), corner element(1,1) needs to be shortened to 8 bits so we go in for quantization. This is the actual lossy stage in the compression. But, remember i spoke about 'jpeg' using an intelligent compression technique.

The human eye is not so good at distinguishing the strength of a high frequency brightness variation. So we can afford to lose some of the information in the high frequency components without any appreciable depreciation in image quality (to the naked eye). So the high frequency components are rounded off to zero or to small integer values and the low frequency components are preserved without any change.

This is done by using a fixed(constant, pre determined) 8 x 8 quantization matrix , the elements of the DCT matrix are divided by the elements in the quantization matrix ( simple one-to-one division) and the result is rounded off. Thus the final quantized matrix with all the image data of the block is found to have very low values. This is the actual compression that happens, instead of storing large values in a matrix we use an (intelligent) algorithm to reduce the value range.



The end matrix after the quantization stage. Notice the large number of trailing zeros ? The string of trailing zeros are discarded ( this is the compression).

The compression rates can be varied by using different quantization matrices ( for higher values of elements in the Q matrix, a larger number of trailing zeros will be produced, this thus decided the overall quality of the image).

Now all this is just the encoding process, the decoding process is just the reverse. But this, if you remember is a lossy compression technique, so the matrix that is obtained after the decoding process differs from the original matrix.





The original sub-image on the left and the decompressed (after a encoding decoding cycle) on the right. The variations are easily seen in the bottom left corner.

Now, why did i write all this ? Two reasons - first I was really interested and then this kind of answers my question - Why does image editing require so much computing power ?

I sometimes deal with high res images ( 11814 x 8862-like resolutions are high, right ?), at such resols. i can't even think of the number of calculations required to render the image. So i guess the amount of computing power used is justified. Rendering a HQ image is itself a big task, and these image editing softwares offer options to play around with these pixel blocks, so for every little image effect i choose, the engine has to render the picture with all the changes made to the individual pixel blocks. Now i'm just talking about a 2-d image here, so for 3-d graphic editors and video editors even larger amounts of data is handled per second.

Hmm.. So now that i know the reason, i can learn to shut up and wait till Photoshop opens an image, no more bitching about my comp being slow. I respect pshop now for all that it does ..

It actually feels good to know your technology...

Cheers.

Image courtesy: [Wikipedia.]
Content Source: [Click here.]

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Of Falls and Fractures...

My friend Venki's mom sustained a fracture on her left leg (just above her ankle) when she slipped and fell down today. This happened today evening when Venki wasn't home, so he asked me to go over to his place and check on his mom and maybe help his father, at this point i just knew she had a small accident at home and i was expecting a sprain or ligament damage at the most. Went over directly still in my college clothes, her left ankle was had swollen and also turned pink(?), but i still expected it to be a severe sprain or something like that, but she kept complaining about 'something moving around' inside her leg. We rushed her to the hospital and after a x-ray of the foot, it came down crashing for us. She had sustained a fracture in the two bones of her left leg ( the bone that connects the knee and the ankle, the lower end of the bone near your calf muscle), and a surgery would be required to set it right.

Now this is really huge for a simple accident at home(though' the fall wasn't exactly simple really), and now that she is also diabetic, the surgery has to wait till her blood sugar levels become normal. So for now the surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, and till then she is on diabetes medication. She'll have to live with a steel plate(and two screws and a metal wire to hold everything in place) in her leg for the rest of her life(or she could choose to have surgery again after 2 years to remove all this junk, which would cost another 50k). Damn.. This is too much for a little metal plate and two screws, all because of a single fall.

Now after an accident like this you would normally expect her to get admitted in a hospital, but then that was not to be it. She decided to put her leg in a plaster cast and return home for the weekend (this because of a lot of reasons). I really don't think i would've even left the hospital if were me ( but then this particular hospital was really sinister, so maybe i would've let them move me to a different hospital.. Home ? No way .. ).

I hope everything goes well for her ..

And speaking of fractures i've broken a hand once, that is all .. I don't even remember which one but (note to self: should ask my dad bout this) ..

P.S: You want to know what kept me away from my blog all these days ?


The work is almost complete. I know the page is really simple and looks too too boring. But then this is the best we could do. To disguise a blogspot blog and make it look like a webpage(?) isn't exactly easy.

Now that we're done with the web site info blog, we'll start working on the actual html site. We are planning to use a good html template and put in all the content from this page into that ( this is pretty simple cos' we'll be using a html editor (MS frontpage) this time, so no crude html coding). And if everything goes well we'll have a awesome html site ready by Monday, and then if the new site gets okayed we could host it by that night and also have the url redirected there. In case that actually happens we'll really miss working on the blog.

Thats pretty much all for now

Cheers

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Yaaaahoooooooo !!! My Domain Redirect Is Finally Working ..,



So whats the big deal ?

My first domain redirect ..

So what ?

This is after 'people' told me i was not capable of something as simple as a domain redirect, and even told me that the 350 450 rupees i spent had gone down the drain. 'They' said i was duped by the domain registrars and best worst part was i believed 'them' when they spoke this trash.

I was fcuking shocked ( even insulted), i was going to shut down my blog and get off the internet, i was even planning to end my life. What is the purpose of living if i cannot get a domain redirect right and on top of that i get cheated by a dumb domain registrar.

But then i'm not so dumb ( am i ? really .. am i ?) .. Nah ..

The redirect started working today, after two days.. Two days ? Ya that is how long it takes for the servers to take note of the change in CNAME settings. After the CNAME edit is made on all the DNS servers mama Google gets the redirect working. I couldn't get these 'people' to shut up these two days. 'They' were so sure that the redirect would only take 5 minutes and i was delaying without reason. Now they eat their words.. I win .

Now isn't this enough reason for a post ? .. This is my personal blog, i sure can make a post about me taking a leak .. Like someone cares about this page ;)

If you did not understand any ( or all ) of the above => You are normal .. The post isn't for you.

What happened ?

Registered a domain for my symposium and directed it to a blogspot blog. Work on the info blog has already begun and we should be done with it by tuesday (i'll post in a link here if the final work is good enough).

This is the first time i'm dealing with domain names, i've learnt quite a lot from this experience, more cos' i was sure i screwed up things, so i read up every thing i could to make it good and in the process learned a lot. Now i'm hoping to have a domain of my own for my blog real soon.

For just 350 ( or even lesser if i buy from godaddy.com) rupees a year i'll be able to have this blog on my own domain (i'm waiting for a particular domain name to expire, so if that domain isn't renewed by mid-march, i'll grab it the day it gets free). I made the mistake of choosing a long url for my blogspot blog and i'm stuck with this, i find it difficult when i tell people about my blog, instead of giving them my blog url, i ask them to look up 'my rant space' on Google and enter the first page. So it'll be real good to publish on my own domain ( or probably i'll even have a fully blown site on my main domain and my blog will be on a subdomain) and that should happen in another month. And now that i've learned the domain redirect process ( the hard way) it'll be very easy to get the redirect done.

Thats pretty much all ..

Cheers..

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar - Movie Opinion



Got to watch the movie yesterday ( thanks to my friend Vijaykrishnan ). This is one movie i've been waiting for a long time, at least ever since the audio release. I was interested in the music more than the movie itself and i wasn't one bit disappointed. A mediocre movie except for a (very) few scenes, propped up by great music. Hrithik and Ash Rai Bacchan are good but then in a 3+ hour movie you need more than that. The support cast do not justify their name and the screenplay is a letdown, the love scenes (hehe) and the court scenes are a stark contrast ( not to mention the odd battle scene) and movie shifts between them with absolutely no flow whatsoever ( there is an abrupt cut at the end of a love scene and we are taken to Akbar's court with a lot of fools talking at the same time ( i don't understand shit ..). Whatever happened to continuity ? or transition ?) .

The 40 crores used is very visible on screen, and this is the best period movie i've seen till date ( thats cos' i've seen very few). Now coming back to the music - My fav track is 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' sung by A.R in a sufi devotional-song-like style, the song is absolutely rad and i don't think i can do it any justice with my words here, if you haven't heard this one already you are missing one great track. Next up is 'Jashn-E-Bahaaraa', this was my fav track when the audio first came out, but then the picturisation is a let down cos' this song is only played in the background a few times, but still a great melody( very very romantique). ' Mann Mohanaa' ( not sung by Sadhana Sargam or Madhusree as we all thought, but by Bela Shinde )is yet another devotional song, this time a Hindu devotional song dedicated to Lord Krishna a soft, soothing track. The background music isn't totally rahmanesque, but then fills up the space between the songs pretty convincingly.

So if you are thinking about watching this movie, just go ahead and watch it, the music makes it totally worth it (and also the Ashutosh-Hrithik-Ash trio is sure to pull in the crowds).

Finally about the controversy surrounding the movie, one word - foolish crap . . The makers have already declared that the movie is a work of fiction and is no history lesson and the movie also carries a message in the beginning which tells viewers about the same, so there is really no reason for a protest or a ban. These days every big release gets into some controversy ( not the type the film makers themselves create ) cos' every big release is an opportunity for a group of fools to get on the front pages of newspapers top headlines on the (fcuked up) news channels. Just imagine how jobless must someone be to protest against a movie, vandalize cinemas just cos' the story line is wrong ( in a fiction).

Cheers...

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Wish all my readers (have) a very Happy Valentine's Day..

Have a great day !!

Cheers..

P.S: My blog isn't dead.. I'm just held up a lil' with some other stuff, i'll be back real soon ..

If you bother ..

What am i doing right now ?

Setting up a info blog (on blogger) for my department symposium, so first need to put together all the content for the micro blog and then i'm also trying to get it published on a separate domain instead of a .blogspot.com url.

I just have a few episodes remaining in the Second Season of Prison Break, this show is so damn addictive, more than any other show i've watched. Watch this space i'll be writing bout' this ..

Also i attend college all days of the week these days, so i'm really held up with that too ..

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Thank You Google ..

.. for all the traffic you continue to send me through this bad patch i'm going through right now.

You might notice that i've not written anything on my blog for the past week, this is not cos' i'm busy but cos' i'm not free ( see the difference ?). But then my blog is not dead, it still gets the 50-60 visitors each day even with no new posts. And it always feels good to have visitors, cos' you are happy someone out there is reading your work. And Google has given me almost 90% of the total traffic in the last one week, i'm beginning to feel i might be liked by Google after all ( i was sandboxed for real long, that was cos' i turned away the Googlebot everytime it came knocking, actually i made the mistake of setting the blog to be invisible to search engines earlier and i realized my mistake only in Dec last year and Google has been sending a stream of visitors ever since i set that right).

I should resume my regular posting schedules very soon, but till then i have big bro Google to help me.

I'm happy :-) ( at least with my internet life and my blog )...

More later ..

Cheers

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bihar: Students Protest - Why ?

...Cos they weren't allowed to cheat during their semester exams yesterday, so these students of law(yep) refused to enter the exam hall and started vandalizing the college campus ( they burned down the office and damaged the furniture in classrooms) shots were fired in the air to scare the college administration into giving in to their demands, and after all this they finally boycotted the examination cos' the college did not budge. Their demand was very simple, they wanted to take their books, mobile phones into the exam hall ( they've been doing this for years ). But this time the state govt' had taken this decision to 'not permit' copying. Now this behavior is an example of how foolish people can get when a privilege they've been enjoying for years ( howsoever stupid and even illegal ) is suddenly taken away ( similar to the issue of reservation, which we discussed here). Now this incident did not happen at some remote college in interior Bihar, but at a college in Patna, the state capital.

They say the syllabus wasn't covered in time, so they had no other choice but to use unfair means to complete the semester.

What crap ? Doing 'it' is a different thing, but protesting to be allowed to do 'it' is plain trash.

Angry student: "How can we give the exams without using unfair means" ?

^^^ Honest question, this guy has no experience of writing an exam without using unfair means.

Bihar Education minister: "It was a firm decision of the state government not to allow unfair means in examinations"

^^^ So this is govt. policy, eh ?

Incidents like this further worsen the image of Bihar ( which is already so fcuked up .. No offense meant , i don't have anything against Biharis, but then i'm not a huge fan of their way of life - remember the numerous mob killings in the guise of moral justice, all those molestations incidents by the police, army etc., 'kidnapping rich children for ransom' stories and so many other crap ). This is one place in India that is regressing instead to moving forward.

@ Sajith: We now know why 'these' guys do' it' .. Remember 'his' expression when we find him doing 'it' ? That is cos' according to 'him' doing 'it' is how they write an exam normally. We should stop making fun them da. What say ? ;)

Source: Rediff News

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ambulance Etiquette - Do We Chennaites Even Care ?

Posting here after a break of one whole week, remember me talking about hectic schedules at college in this post, its happening.

I've been waiting to write about this incident right from yesterday evening,it was around 7 and i was on my way to Moore Market with my sis, had to take the P.H road from my place (Poonamallee High Road) to get there. Near the Taylor's road intersection we caught up with this Ambulance going in the same direction as us( we later found the ambulance was on its way to the GH opposite Central Station), the traffic on P.H road around that time makes the whole distance a bumper to bumper ride( a fender to fender ride for me on my scoot ) all the way. The ambulance was trying to get through all this traffic, its sirens and the lights were on, but even then that made no difference. Everyone else on the road was being totally indifferent to the ambulance, no one cared to give way for the ambulance to pass, no one even budged a bit ( even the cops just stood and let this crap happen). In the end the ambulance ended up waiting at every single intersection uptill the hospital and not once did anyone bother to give way. I know nothing about the patient inside the ambulance yesterday, i have no idea if he lived, or .. But i'm sure he could've reached the hospital a good 30 mins early if it hadn't been for the sic motorists. Now is this the kind of ambulance etiquette we chennaites have ?

Infact the situation yesterday was even worse,with a bunch of two-wheelers trying to overtake the ambulance and a few other vehicles started riding in the ambulance's slipstream to escapeall the traffic. In the end the situation was like this - the ambulance tries to go ahead ( the driver keeps honking all the time, looking around for a free lane), the motorists in front (instead of pulling over to make way ) tried using the ambulance behind them to get through the traffic by trying to stay ahead of it all the time ( and were blocking the ambulance), and a few others trying to stay in the ambulance's slipstream ended up on either side of the ambulance thereby totally boxing it in ( you've played NFS Most wanted ? During the heat level 4 cop chases , these tiny corvettes appear from nowhere and then start boxing you in from all four sides, remember ? And then you get BUSTED !! That was the situation yesterday evening ). Just imagine someone related to you is in a similar situation ( in an ambulance), how will you take it if the arseholes on the road decide not to make way for the ambulance with your bro or sis in it.

A little bit of effort from you can make a huge difference in someone else's life, so every one reading this, you should start practic a good ambulance etiquette( includes all emergency vehicles like firetrucks etc, if possible try your tricks with political convoys or cop cars) , next time when you hear sirens and see lights in your RVM, you know what to do- find a way to pull over immediately and make way for the emergency vehicle.

Always remember - Give Emergency Vehicles right of way.

Few stats:

In the year 2003 ( stats available only till then), a total of 16,109 Fire calls were received in the state.

In 2002 and 2003, there were 4881 and 5219 rescue calls respectively.3,903 human lives were saved in the rescue calls in the year 2003.

During the year 2003, ambulances were requisitioned on 1590 occasions. ( this is the number of calls on the govt helpline, a good number of calls are attended by the private ambulance services. A search brings up over 33 private ambulance services in Chennai )

Worth reading :

A project to find optimal routes for ambulances in Chennai ( Very old link).
Fire and rescue services department - Policy note ( 2004)

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