Monday, July 25, 2005


Past weekend I came across a couple of incidents that stood for the determination.
One is about a Fat man walking across US to reduce his weight. More details at

Another is about Lance Armstrong who survived cancer and became seven time World champion in the Tour de France. Photos at CNET.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Offlate this japanese puzzle has caught a lot of attention! Thanks to all major leading news papaers across the sub-continent providing it as a daily feature. The Hindu has started publishing Su-Do-Ku in the main page. Like others it has also caught my attention and it has now become a habbit to solve it early in the morning. Now I can say that I am addicted!

I thought of writing a logic to solve any sudoku puzzle through means of programming. But it seems that I am defeated before contesting! Check the rediff news here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Finally the rumble over college admission is over

It has been a long wait of three months for the students who passed out the higher secondary exams and the TNPCEE with flying colors. Though the results were published much sooner than expected, the rankings finally came in yesterday after a lot of deliberations. The single window system by which the students were admitted to the professional colleges has been on and off few times like every year throwing in a lot of confusions and questions to the students community.

Firstly now the single window system serves only 37K odd seats out of the 64K odd available seats, as the rest is under the management quota. The apex court ruled sometime back in favor of management of self-financing colleges to have their quota increased from 5% to 50%. You can see the peril of this ruling as most of the unaccomplished wealthy heirs could easily get a seat in any reputed self-financing colleges.

Every year something or the other comes up to jeopardize the admission system. This time it is the TN governments eleventh hour plan of demolishing TNPCEE effective from the current year to benefit the rural students. After a lot of arbitrations, the apex court came in to rescue the students and asked the govt to follow the old scheme.

The single window admission is set to commence on July 30 and will prolong for 30 more days. The colleges would commence in the first week of September. The settlement of all these legal issues took nearly 4 months which has thrown the students and their first semester into tangle.

With the admission system being juggled over by the political big-weights and bureaucrats, most of the self-financing colleges completed admission to their management quota and started classes for this academic year. The admission to these management seats are based purely on financial merit. Couple of days back, apex court ruled that the admissions to the management seats should be based on CET. The TN Self Financing Colleges Consortium which is deemed to hold the CET is now preparing for the exams on Aug 6,7 for the seats which are duly filled already. The CET is going to be an eye-wash!

Given the ranking, I wished if the students could know the tentative details of where they will be admitted, it would be great for them to decide on the alternatives. Luckily it didn't fell on the deaf ears, Anna university released the last year admission results in their website by which students can know in a particular college, for a stream and a quota which is the last rank.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Canon's beginner SLR site

Canon has come up with the novel idea of making its range of Digital SLRs popular with an educational site. This site is too good for a beginner to learn all the basics of photography. Canon has now become the market leader in Digital SLR category with its range of cost effective digital SLR. The prediction is that sub USD 500 digital SLR is not a distant dream. I am looking for the dream to come true!

My notes when I browsed through the webpages...

Digital SLR cameras have a reflex mirror that swings up when you press the shutter button. It allows light from the lens to pass through to the sensor. The picture is then recorded. Since a single lens and a reflex mirror are used, this type of camera is called "single-lens reflex" (SLR).

While shooting in SLR camera, the scene is not displayed in the LCD. You have to use the eye-piece.
(This is really surprising !)

The shorter the focal length (mm), the wider the view will be. And the longer the focal length, the more telescopic the picture will be.

Shutter button is positioned right at your index finger.
Will there be a customization for a left hand person?

Larger the aperture, lower the f number, narrower the depth of field
Smaller the aperture, higher the f number, wider the depth of field

The range of acceptable focus is called the depth of field.

Changing the sensitivity makes it easy to photograph bright or dark scenes. The sensitivity is called the ISO speed.

Low ISO speed for brighter scenes (lesser noise and finer image quality)
High ISO speed for dark scenes (more noise and rougher image quality)

For capturing indoor sports, you use larger aperture and slower shutter speed during to less light. But with slower shutter speeds you get hazy picture. So use higher ISO and faster shutter speeds in those scenario.

ISO controls how the sensor becomes sensitive to light.

Wide angle - lesser the focal length
telephoto - greater the focal length

The 50mm lens is called the normal lens because it gives the closest perspective as seen by the human eye. Any lens with a focal length shorter than 50mm is a wide-angle lens, and any lens with a longer focal length is a telephoto lens. A wide-angle lens covers a large area of the scene, while a telephoto lens covers a smaller part obtaining a telescopic effect.

Wide-angle lenses exaggerates perspective,while telephoto lenses compresses the foreground and background.

A wide-angle lens covers a larger area of the scene, the perspective becomes more apparent.

With a large sensor, the size of individual pixels is also larger. The pixel's larger area is more sensitive to light, resulting in better image quality.

To make white subjects look white,increase the exposure compensation.
To make dark subjects look dark,decrease the exposure compensation.
For bright colors like yellow, increase the exposure amount.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Diving into GreaseMonkey

In the recent past, I came across the GreaseMonkey (hereafter GM) jargon multiple times. I didn't immediately throw myself into the investigation of finding out what it is and what it does. Probably the reason being that it is a scripting extension and I have an aversion towards scripting.

With the advent of Google and Yahoo maps and their bitter fight to establish their mapping service, there had been lot of talk going around about GM scripts. For instance the Craigs List webpages can be overlayed with Yahoo maps using GM scripts. Ah.. two web services are integrated using GM script! This really kindled my interests in GM.

GreaseMonkey extension provides a scripting option through javascripts to make changes to webpages. There are lot more you can do with GM. Dive Into GM is a excellent site that provides enough insight into GM and the scripts that you can write using GM. The only caveat with GM is that this extension is only for Firefox and is not supported in other Mozilla clones.

I had no intentions of stopping here. To try my hand, I wrote a small GM script for the Bug DB report that we have in our office. The report is a plain black and white html report. With GM script I have color coded the report based on the severity of the bug. It really improves the usability of the report. Just scan through the bug report you can get a feel of hot and cold bugs.

I least expected this utility to be appreciated. But on the contrary it was well received by enthusiastic firefox users.

Since our Bug DB being an internal tool, the GM script that I wrote has very less significance to be posted to whole internet community. If you are interested do drop me a note in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Low Cost Computing

It has been the need of the hour. With everything going digital way, low cost computer should evolve to occupy the vaccum. This step will surely improve the computer penetration into the masses. Mobilis by Encore Software is one such computer built with such envisage.

Does this mean that India has done its contribution?

I feel we still have miles to go ahead. Though we have raised the bar of affordability, we still need to catch on the usability of these gadgets. We should improve our network infrastructure so that all these pretty instruments could be hooked on to netwrok to unlease the power of networking to the common man. We could do wonders with these little gadgets and having them connected to internet.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Online Tutorials

Came over this excellent tutorial site for all web related scripting.

Simple, elegant and to the point.