Bill Gates

Though my substantial computer education has been through strong doses of open source and Richard Stallman, I feel indebted to Mr. William Gates III.
3 days after he quit his legendary Microsoft.

Mr. Gates through his Microsoft gave us humans a lot to feel happy and indebted. Whatever may be his motive, he's a visionary, who has contributed laudably to the human society at large and is still doing with his charity foundation.
Its difficult to imagine a life without my laptop right now and without all those (cheap) desktops all around the place. Such large scale usage of personal computers have substantially been made possible by his maiden attempt at an universal language for comp hardwares independent of the vendor, starting right from his enthusiastic dabbling with DOS back in the 80's.
If its difficult to grasp, just imagine a life with an Apple market monopoly... its gruesome.

One fact is that, the opensource guys would have found it difficult to exist if it wouldn't be for the company they loathe so much. What good Linux would have been without affordable comps?

Though I always prefer a Linux over any other OS, I still feel that the way Microsoft, Windows and Gates have been able to revolutionize our way of life is sincerely commendable.
Therefore, as this man leaves behind a legacy, hard to re-produce or, excel by an individual, he deserves admiration and respect from everyone, even from his adversaries.

Puzzling Forbes List

I was having a look at the Forbes list of world billionaires, and to my great surprise discovered 4 Indians sitting tight in the top 10 list!
What is this world coming to? If one goes by numbers, there are only 2 U.S. guys, Buffet and Gates (as usual), Carlos Slim, a Mexican telecom magnate, followed by a train of the 4 Indians: Mittal, the Ambani brothers and KP Singh, then comes a giant each from Sweden, Russia and Germany.

The cumulative wealth of the Ambani brothers happens to be well over $80 bil, and add to that the fact that these two had achieved the largest growth in the past year, worldover.

As an Indian I loved it, but then there is a fact that bothers me : whereas Gates and Buffet have set aside a handsome share of their personal wealth for charity, the Indian guys out there seems to be less sensitive to such issues, although these are the people who being from the subcontinent and living there (except Mr. Mittal) should actually be more sensitive. To embellish this bewildering numbness towards such burning issues in their own society, Mr. Mukesh Ambani happens to be on his way to construct a 27 storey home!
Well maybe its their (comparative) young age or, simply because they are Indians.

Anyways, a question remains : What happened to Mrs. Gandhi's (weird) attempt at Indian socialism?

remote x-server

I just came across something entirely new today.
the university server supports x-serv on remote-host.
its kinda cool.
i could see the pics and the pdf's approximately properly. then i went a step ahead... i tried to run audio files and then the video ones. and !!! it works. though quite patchy cramped up, but it works :)

cool stuff ...

A Great Day ...

Today is a great day in my life ... I got core dumped ... my dream ...

here's a screenshot ...


since everything comes with a bit of shit, neglect the stupid links below and enjoy the game :)

The Indian Civ in AOE III

This one is special, very special to me. The Asian Dynasties expansion marks the entry of a serious Indian component in RTS games. My personal opinion is that its awesome, all RTS lovers and specially the AOE freaks should try this. Microsoft has done an excellent job this time.

So what are the key points of the Indian civ?
  • First and most importantly look out for a rush. This civ is extremely prone to early attacks i.e. during the Discovery and Colonial ages.
  • Once the civ is in Industrial, its pretty much unstoppable. It will typically have a boom coupled with some mighty units, composed of the large variety of elephants. These units are costly, but they are worth it. A combination of the elephant units, along with the Gurkhas, Rajputs and the camel units can be deadly...
  • Villagers cost wood.

The ideal strategy to have would be, (thats what I do ...) :
  • Collect wood like crazy, pump in villagers. Since, they wont cost food, the player can invest all food on age upgrading. By the time one fotresses he should have 800+1200 food and 1000 gold. And thats a minimum... You need to build your armies you know.
  • There's a new segment to age upgrading : Wonders. Using the Karni Mata from Discovery to Colonial and Agra Fort from Colonial to Industrial seems ideal to me. But, one can also use Taj Mahal for the second one. Ceasefire is a good defense strategy too.
  • Once in Industrial the Indian player need not worry much. Just pump in military units at regular intervals and micromanage the villagers a bit and that would see you through.

5 more things on the passing :
  1. The funniest thing is that the Monastery won't give you monks. It'll give you the monk improvements and a horde of Outlaws ;P.
    Note however that the only healing units are your priests. You get couple of them when you begin. They serve as both monks and explorer.
  2. Age upgrading does not happen at the Town centre. Your villagers will have the option to construct a Wonder and age upgrade.
  3. You might not need the Embassy. These Indian units are too awesome if you can Industrial fast :) ...
  4. Your units will actually respond in Hindi :) ... and
  5. Watch out for the Ottomans.

Equations in Blog

Of late I had been searching for ways I could include equations in the blog, to make it more scientifically relevant for such future uses. The following is what I found :
1. One can convert the expression into a typical picture ( png/jpg/tif etc ). You can find it here.
2. You can go here. This one is more direct in the way that you can actually type in the LaTeX code in your blogger editor. ( works in firefox only )
Note : Before running the javascript install the greasemonkey plugin.

Example :

So long, happy blogging ...

Alternative methods:

An external website may be used to render LaTeX which then should be included in the html as an image:
<img alt="" src="" style="vertical-align: -2pt;" title="" />
which renders:

----------- Update (Best Method) --------------  
 Mathjax is a robust option. Look here for usage in Blogger.
Including this in the html version of the blog:
<script type="text/x-mathjax-config"> MathJax.Hub.Config({tex2jax: {inlineMath: [['$','$'], ['\\(','\\)']]}}); </script> <script src="" type="text/javascript"> </script>
activates LaTeX in your HTML code. Any LaTeX code following this will be rendered as desired. For example
\[\mathbf{V}_1 \times \mathbf{V}_2 = \begin{vmatrix} \mathbf{i} & \mathbf{j} & \mathbf{k} \\ \frac{\partial X}{\partial u} & \frac{\partial Y}{\partial u} & 0 \\ \frac{\partial X}{\partial v} & \frac{\partial Y}{\partial v} & 0 \end{vmatrix} \]
\[\mathbf{V}_1 \times \mathbf{V}_2 = \begin{vmatrix} \mathbf{i} & \mathbf{j} & \mathbf{k} \\ \frac{\partial X}{\partial u} & \frac{\partial Y}{\partial u} & 0 \\ \frac{\partial X}{\partial v} & \frac{\partial Y}{\partial v} & 0 \end{vmatrix} \]  

Bose Founder Discusses Audio Perfection and Digital Music

By Karen Jones

Amar G. Bose
Photo: Courtesy of Bose Corporation

Amar G. Bose is a man with a mission: to replicate, as clearly as possible, the sound of live music through technology.

Playing the violin as a child tuned his ear to live music. Dismayed at the poor quality of the average audio speaker during the "hi-fi" era of the 1950s and 1960s, Bose dove into the study of psychoacoustics, or how humans perceive sound. Then, armed with a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT and a passion for classical music, he formed the Bose Corporation in 1964.

Bose's first speaker, the 901 Direct/Reflecting system, hit the market in 1968. His patented technologies are now found in high-end speakers, headphones, automotive sound systems, large and small home systems and, most recently, computer speakers such as the Bose Computer MusicMonitor. Today, Bose is a privately held company with annual sales of $2 billion.

Etched in a wall outside Bose's large but not ostentatious office in Framingham, Massachusetts, is an engraved quote from Maurice Maeterlinck, who won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Literature: "At every crossroad on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past."

Wired News recently sat down with Bose to discuss hi-fi, MP3s and the Boston Symphony.

Wired News: You are passionate about music or you would not have devoted your career to it. Your parents made you study the violin, initially against your wishes, correct?

Amar Bose: (laughs) Yes, if it hadn't been for the violin, I would not be involved in this today. All the way through MIT I never took a course in acoustics. I later taught it many times because I got involved in this research.

WN: Buying your first audio speaker from RadioShack in the 1950s set you on your present course?

AB: Yes. I bought a violin record to play on it and said, "Oh my gosh, that is nothing like the way real music sounds."

WN: Your quest has been to recreate, as closely as possible, live music. Are you there yet?

AB: Oh no. It's a journey to which I am not sure there is an end. We are nearer than when we started, but there is a lot of work to be done.

WN: There was a time when all music was live, while today so much is removed from the in-person experience and repackaged. Will we always have live music and an appreciation of the classics?

AB: I sure hope so. Sometimes I get depressed about the fact that all of the big record stores have removed classical music because all they are looking at is the sales per square foot of display on the floor, and classical is at the bottom. It's hard to get (classical music) anywhere but the internet. It's so beautiful that I can't think we will be without it and live performances.

WN: Bose Corporation formed in 1964. What has surprised you most about technology in these past 40-plus years?

AB: The rapid rise of digital technology, which enables so many more things to be done. You can compress bandwidth in a way that we had no concept of in 1964. My first excitement about the digital age was that we could apply algorithms, which are mathematical formulas, in the digital domain that we could never dream about in the analog days.

WN: What are some of the minuses of the digital age?

AB: When any industry gets started, everybody jumps in and most people don't even have any technology background. The computer industry is in that phase today.

WN: Explain a bit more, please.

AB: Sadly, there's a heck of a lot of emphasis on people developing gadgets to get to market quickly, which have incredible troubles interconnecting to other gadgets. You are in the stage that hi-fi audio was in the 1950s, with so many systems that the consumer is confounded by the complexity and doesn't care to know. They care to use the thing, not to know how in the heck to connect it to this and that. However, I do believe that will pass, as it did with hi-fi.

WN: You talked about compression and today people are downloading their music. Do you find it disturbing that MP3 is not a high-quality audio format?

AB: No. It will evolve. MP3 has already evolved. That will be the way.

WN: What about the battle for control of the home entertainment systems? Do you think it will be the PC or TV?

AB: If I were to guess, and I'm not sure my guess is any better then anyone else's, the TV will be in control of most of what we are looking at. I don't see the computer controlling it.

WN: Does classical music remain your favorite type of music?

AB: I have a bias for music composed before 1900. I've enjoyed popular music but the real pleasure is in classical. I have not developed what it takes to become attached to modern classical, which sounds like discord to me. I used to go regularly to the Boston Symphony until they got onto modern classical.

WN: Your favorite composers?

AB: The moving music of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert. I love it.

WN: What's ahead in technology?

AB: (long, reflective pause) I don't think I am able to answer that.

role of media in civil/political unrest

Recently I came across the case of a certain Kashmir Singh, who was recently released from a Pakistan prison. He's an Indian who was detained for suspected espionage. Well that is not clear though, the crux is that he spent long years in Pakistan prison, which is believed to be tormenting experience for Indians.
Apparently this guy claimed in a press conference that he was working for the Indian government and that he was sent across the border as a spy. Now this is a deadly statement to make, keeping in mind other Indians locked up in Pakistani prisons and also the liability on the Pakistan Human Rights minister Ansar Barney who played a key role for his release.
Later learning of the grievous mistake he committed Mr. Singh withdrew his statement and denies being a spy.
Now comes the funny part... the media. They have been splashing all these all over the place. Apparently they seem to know the consequence that statement can have, yet they don't seem to appreciate the golden gift of silence. There was this particular statement by a CNN IBN journalist covering this development. This lad goes up to Mr. Singh's place, interviews him on his "dangerous" statement, and also his current stance, the like Sir Oracle gives his verdict that Kashmir Singh is caught in a dilemma, whether to give away his "real" identity and jeopardize his fellow countrymen still locked up in some dark corner and also the noble minister, or stay silent.
Why does this smart-ass needs to show his great judicious abilities? Doesn't he understand that his statements/assessments can have far reaching consequence? Isn't he screwing up the already delicate situation? Why does the media need to report each and everything in the world?
Shouldn't these guys be a bit more human than mere robots hunting down information and trying to earn laurels and cash for themselves and their employer?
The current state of media with all the hullabaloo and mindless baring of facts and informations is a matter of concern, both to the society and also to the very essence of journalism.