humanity, the godly property

On the way, the silly bike decides to stall at 3k before home. And, the rain was still pouring. Kick. Kick. Kick.. no use. It was already 22:15. Drenched to my bones, the only options were to curse everything possible and start pushing the bike home.

This passing by biker, equally drenched stops and enquires. Attempts his luck at the kick-start. With no results, says, "Hop on, I'll tow you home". And, he tows me all the way home. I thank him and invite him over for a coffee. He replies, "Its alright. Wont you help someone stuck, when you can? Its just that". I was touched. Humanity, still exists. :)


The destination, a dim shimmer, a couple of kilometers away, just a fraction of whats behind. The musical blurb, gradually fading away behind a blend of the heart's rhythm with the lung's harmonics. Witnessing a handful of air rushing in and out. Experiencing life in its rawest form. With no conscious control of the body. A heightened sense of solitude. A perfect disconnect from the world around. Can you really understand.. this conversation with god?



My answers to that question, are failing to convince me..
The road ahead is long. The path is painful. I am still walking.


The brownies at fabindia

Lately, I was accompanying a friend for shopping, and landed at the Fabindia store near Elliots beach. They had this huge bar of 'fudgy chocolate brownie' at their cash counter and I was thinking aloud with skepticism :P This friend, insisted that I try it and made me get one. A bar (190 gms) cost 100 bucks.

The first bite nailed me. It was 'my god' THE best brownie I have ever had. I finished that entire bar, but for one small piece which I had to share :-S, and ran back into the store to get the other last bar they had. It was unbelievably good, and unbelievably CHEAP.

It does not seem like a fabindia product, coz the label does not mention anything related. It just says "Indulgence Fudgy Chocolate Brownies" and no address :-/ Shyte.


FStival 2010, Software Freedom Day at Madurai

The first time we conducted FStival in 2004, it was largely a TCE event. We had managed to create some noise in a couple of newspapers, and put up pamphlets in the city. However, we had only one visitor from outside the college :) This time, at FStival'10, I was touched to see a gathering of 300+ people, from various colleges and schools, in and around the city. Some had even traveled 100+ KM to attend the event.

FStival is just one facet of the movement in Madurai, centered around TCE.

When we initiated GLUGOT in December 2003, our primary motive was to find a way to conduct GLUG-Madurai meetings regularly in the TCE campus. Today, it has gone beyond that. The commitment and consistent effort put by the students, staff and management of TCE has not only brought awareness in the area, but also, the motivation to involve in the movement. FossConf'09 saw students of TVS Matriculation Higher Secondary School setup stalls on GIMP. The students literally ran behind the visitors, dragged them to their stall and demonstrated the software :) At FStival'10, more schools have expressed interest to involve themselves.

I see this as a BIG step forward. But, there is still a long way to go, and a lot of ground to cover. I am waiting to see that day when FStival will travel from one school/college to another in Madurai, year after year.

My sincere appreciation to all the people involved, for making this work.

PS 1: The name 'FStival' was coined by 'sap'


'Software effort estimation', whats your trick?

I am not an expert at it. No, not at all.

I do the 'work break-down structure', a rough design and ask myself the question: "How many days will I take if I do this task?", for each task. Supposing I come with 'J' hours, I take it that any other random Joe will take 'J * 1.5' hours for that task. On the entire estimate, I add a 10% slack. This has worked well in most cases. In cases where the estimation was out of sync with the actual, I identify and mentally take a note on the deviation, so that I dont repeat the mistake. This is quite a PITA process BTW.

Supposing I estimate and quote 'X' hours on a project. The client almost always negotiates and eats up the 10% slack. At times, clients get back claiming that, 'X' hours is unreasonable and that it should have been 'X/5' hours. In some cases, the client genuinely does not know the work involved and is surprised that it could cost so much. In most other cases, some incompetent-nut without knowing the work involved, gives an unrealistic estimate, which the client takes for comparison.

This time, I have been thoroughly annoyed by the way I was questioned. I responded saying that, the estimate holds and that the cost just went up by 30%.


Another music player

So, on one forgetful day, I had forgetfully drowned my Sansa Clip music player. I cursed myself enough for it. I really hoped that it would come back to life, but it did not. And then started, those nightmarish days of driving without music. My blood pressure kept going high. There was a constant cloud of frustration around me. Even the doctor mentioned that my life-expectancy dropped by 30%. The pay-cheque was playing hardball, so had to wait for a while before I can fix all this.

But then, when I started visiting the stores, it was even worse. Ritchie street (the electronic market in Madras) fellows even claimed that Sandisk buried their loss making 'portable music player' division. And I, this desperate fool trying to locate that Sansa Clip+, was a source of good humor for these guys. Shyte.

Many people have suggested a dozen other players to me. The most famous one being the iPod. :) God. In this day and age, a simple small portable player, with separate volume keys, separate 'next, forward, pause/play' buttons, with a sturdy clip, with a simple text interface to show what is playing (no major jing-bang), with support for OggVorbis, which can play albums as albums, seems impossible to find.

Then, I cut my requirements a bit and decided to pick one of the best that is out there. And, to find a way to live with it. Sigh. So, now.. its a Phillips Spark. It is not bad. It is not great. I can live with it. It has its own set of quirks which makes me swear a dozen times a day.. but definitely better than having nothing.


I lurve Madras :)

Coz here;
  1. The roads are shitty, immaterial of how much taxes you pay.
  2. The rain water drain system, 'clogs' the water better than it 'drains'.
  3. Morons behind you think you can fly over the traffic ahead of you, and keep insisting so by honking constantly.
  4. Arseholes love driving in the wrong direction, blocking the oncoming traffic.
  5. Public transport buses do not understand the concept of a multi-lane road where they've to pull over to the left most lane to stop at a bus-stop. They 'shit' people in the middle of the roads like buffaloes.
  6. 'Educated' four-wheelers 'in suit' cannot see that the signal has turned from green to orange and that it will soon turn to red. They strongly believe that its your mistake cos you stopped at the signal. They even threaten that they'll sue your for it.
  7. Idiots in bikes and even cars and (OMG) even buses and (OMG OMG) even those creepy crawly double long buses, think their braking distance is less than 2 feet at 60+KMpH.
  8. Everybody's watches are 5 seconds ahead. When the traffic signal countdown says 5, they want to be in the middle of the road.
  9. Traffic cops understand very clearly that, an office going fellow who is not wearing a helmet CAN pay fines (unbilled/unaccounted of-course), unlike the semi-clad doofus driving triples at 80KMpHm winding through bumper-to-bumper traffic. He is not violating any rules BTW. You, who wanted to feel that air rush past your hair and face, definitely violated a dozen rules.
  10. Our master traffic-planners spend 300+ crores on an overhead bridge that causes more pain than gain. To the extent, people prefer to take the three feet wide subway.
  11. Dynasty members name every alternate street by their names. We have atleast a dozen "Kalaignar Karunanidhi Street"s in the city (sorry, village) apart from the 'nagars', 'avenues', 'boulevards', 'parks', 'streams', 'sub-ways', 'over-ways', 'public toilets', etc. in the same name.
  12. An auto-rickshaw driver will laugh on your face for asking him to turn on the meter.
  13. Cycles are only for the health-conscious and fitness-freaks. Kids get their own scooters/bikes to go to school. Getting a license to drive, though, is difficult. One got to be 18+.
  14. Parents drop their kids at school in their cars every morning, creating a traffic jam in front of every big school. Sending kids to school in a school bus is for the under-privileged/below-poverty-line people you see.
  15. Smoking, in government run Tasmac bars is cool, while in privately run pubs its against the law.
  16. Non-AC maruthi 800 cars have spoilers, alloys, external-speakers, external-woofers, turbo-sound mufflers, nitro boosts and the works.
  17. Mini skirts on silver screen are greeted with applause while the same on the street are greeted with rotten eggs.
  18. If you ask a girl out for coffee, she thinks you want to sleep with her.
  19. Asking a girl out is looked upon as a bigger sin than doing the usual road-side-romeo thing (you know, the whistle, the comments, the stare, the tongue out, the public shag, etc..).
  20. Women stare, and stARE, and STARE, but when you walk up to talk.. they turn 90+ degrees away and treat you like shit.
  21. Tees/Jeans not having glittery drawings, fake-fade that look like tiger stripes, fasteners hanging all around, multiple colors, etc. are not in fashion anymore.
  22. People dress up to go to a coffee-shop.
  23. A western fast-food joint is treated like a fine-dining restaurant.
  24. You could be given a butter-knife to cut a steak.
  25. You can have five espressos in a row and each of them taste different. Once, the waitress at Adyar Coffee Day, gave me a large-cappuccino cup filled to the brim, claiming it was 'two shots' of espresso.
  26. People prove that they have faith in their respective religions by blaring their silly religious songs on loud speaker in the entire locality. Some insecure-fools go to the extent of even screaming prayers on loud speaker.
  27. You would pay for a penthouse and live in a hut.
  28. One asks for a 'scotch'. Not a Glen Morangie, not a Black Label, but a 'scotch'.
  29. People think they can mix better than the original composer and screw around with the Equalizer like they know something.
  30. Smart people pay for the dumb-asses, by way of taxes. ('survival of the fittest'? whats that?). But that does not make the smart-people the master of the dumb-asses. Its the reverse actually.
  31. Every moron who finishes a dumb computer course in NIIT thinks he can program.
  32. It is cooler, to have a tattoo that you have no idea about, than one that you know and feel about.
  33. There are people who think humping the air 90% of the time is better dancing than jiving (oh, I have two left feet BTW).
  34. Indian toddy is illegal, Western toddy is illegal, 'Indian made western toddy' IS legal :)
  35. A 'chroot' is not considered as an 'indigenous inidian cigar'.
  36. An uneducated 'genius' can give gyan to an educated 'fool'.
  37. People shit in the beach, eat in the beach, make love in the beach.
Oh, no no.., dont get me wrong. I really do love this village.. er. city. BTW. Sigh!



Saw the mention of 'EHLO' in a friend's blog, on an unrelated post. Took me back to the last couple of years at Karunya.

I remember how I used to read and reply to so many emails by 'telnet'ing into, and reading using RETR. It used to be so slow coz half the college is sitting there chatting/browsing/*. And I was too paranoid to pull email down onto to that box, which happened to be the college's secondary DNS server :P And all this in the middle of a lab session from some corner in the college :D

Hmm. Things have changed so much. These days kids carry laptops. They dont have to fight for shell accounts. They dont have to nose around the college network to find a way to the IRC channel. I dont think they even care. Shyte.

Frisbee soccer

Watched a game at elliot's for the first time. Looked like an unofficial inter-apartment tournament :P Was good fun :)


Useless parts of education

When was the last time you had an use for one of those stupid 30+ tirukurals you learnt every year, back in school? Or for all that intensive Tamil grammar? Not only was it painful, also was a complete waste of time and effort.

No, it gave me zero values. So, forget about that aspect.

That syllabus just stands to prove that "All your children are poor unfortunate victims of systems beyond their control".

I'll give it one credit, however. It definitely trained me in the art of selective-amnesia, the capability to forget things when I don't have a need for them. :P


Ode to..

It looks like KFC..
It talks like KFC..
Even smells like KFC..
..Oh but I got wise..
Its a time-bomb in disguise.. oh yes it is.,
a time-bomb in disguise..

Lesson: Do not get tempted by those half page ads of 'Planet Chicken, Coimbatore'..

Edit 1: Sorry Elvis.


std::list::size() complexity and 'standard's

C++ bit me again. I always thought that size() on STL sequences was a O(1) operation i.e. "return size_;". Well, never found a good reason why it should not be. And so, I usually dont bother to lock stl sequences to get the size unless it was really required, like in a producer-consumer situation. Until,

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
[Switching to Thread 0xb7ae56c0 (LWP 6382)]
0xb7e947dc in std::_List_const_iterator >::operator++ (this=0xbfffd4b0) at /usr/include/c++/4.3/bits/stl_list.h:221
221  _M_node = _M_node->_M_next;
(gdb) bt
#0  0xb7e947dc in std::_List_const_iterator >::operator++ (this=0xbfffd4b0) at /usr/include/c++/4.3/bits/stl_list.h:221
#1  0xb7e9480e in std::__distance > > (__first={_M_node = 0x0}, __last={_M_node = 0xbfffd7c4})
    at /usr/include/c++/4.3/bits/stl_iterator_base_funcs.h:84
#2  0xb7e94872 in std::distance > > (__first={_M_node = 0x8284828}, __last=
      {_M_node = 0xbfffd7c4}) at /usr/include/c++/4.3/bits/stl_iterator_base_funcs.h:119
#3  0xb7e948c6 in std::list, std::allocator > >::size (this=0xbfffd7c4)
    at /usr/include/c++/4.3/bits/stl_list.h:764
#4  0xb7e92e20 in hdb::odb::JobRunner::addJob (this=0xbfffd7bc, j={px = 0xbfffd6b0, pn = {pi_ = 0xbfffd654}}) at job-runner.cxx:152
#5  0xb7e9a390 in hdb::odb::Store::Save (this=0x8093cb0, oid=4703, dbuf=@0xbfffd7a0) at store.cxx:118
#6  0x0806a59a in main (argc=Cannot access memory at address 0x125f

A dig into the standard says "size() should have a constant complexity". After a vent-out-frustration session at the library guys, google pointed out that the word 'should' does not mean 'must' in 'standard' language.



'so how is work?'

$ git log v0.4.1...HEAD --pretty=oneline | grep "" -c
$ git diff --stat v0.4.1...HEAD
348 files changed, 40244 insertions(+), 12938 deletions(-)

0.4.1 was in mid december. Two committers since then..


'wake up' humour at 02:28:31

ShiftManagement::NoofShifts (void)
  int i = 0;
  std::list ::iterator itershift;
  for (itershift = m_ShiftDetails.begin (); itershift != m_ShiftDetails.end ();
  return i;

Shyte.. Should I laugh or cry?

Update :
Oh wait, looks like we got more here..
      if (mins >= 0 && mins <= 9)
        snprintf (tmpStr, 10,"%d:%d",hrs,mins);


traffic madness

At 02:00, 26km takes 32 minutes. At 11:00, It takes 90 minutes. At 19:00.. well dont ask. Shyte.


From Wordpress to Blogger has moved from a Wordpress installation over to Wordpress is an amazing tool and I absolutely loved it. But, updating the installation every once in a while and maintaining it was not fitting into my schedule.
I gave it a good long thought, and a couple of hours later, I was on :)


looks like the knee is fine afer all

Over the last few weeks, the knee hasnt thrown a tantrum. I had to bring my weekly mileage down a lot in order to pamper it. I'm hoping its safe now to try pushing up the pace and get back on track..


Creative's "Creative Warranty"

Creative Limited Hardware Warranty ("Creative Warranty")
Creative warrants that the accompanying product is free from material or workmanship defects ...blah..blah... However this Creative Warranty does not cover (but not limited to) normal wear and tear, abnormal usage, ...blah..blah... unauthorised modifications or repair, damages arising from an Act of God and theft. ...blah..blah... Thank you.

ROFLMAO :) I am really curious about what they mean by "damages arising from an Act of God" :)

Other similar:



c++, still learning..

c++ standard, section 8.5.3/5:
A reference to type “cv1 T1” is initialized by an expression of type “cv2 T2” as follows: ... blah ... blah ..
— Otherwise, the reference shall be to a non-volatile const type (i.e., cv1 shall be const). [Example...

This one cost me 32 hrs of digging in gdb, google, etc. and finally had to hit IRC to figure out. Shyte.


sincere wives :P

An excerpt from a sex education book for girls, printed in the early 60s in the UK.


Chennai Sangamam

I was dropping by the Elliot's beach last evening, and was surprised by some guitar riffs and drum rolls :) They are playing rock at 'Chennai Sangamam'. I felt so touched that, finally, 'rock' is recognized as part of Chennai's culture. I'm having this sudden rush of 'belonging' :)

Rainbow bridge at Chennai Sangamam


'IT returns' phish

Uber cruel phishers.

The link points to some arbid site.. :-/


I eat your chicken :)

Venue : KFC, Nungambakkam high road.

me: [munching on the last piece of chicken]
chic-two-chairs-away: [staring at the heap of bones on my plate with disbelief/disgust/*]
me: I'll flick your chicken if you dont eat it quickly..
chic: Well, you can have it if you are that hungry. [jokingly]
me: Oh, thank you. Thats very sweet of you. [with a broad smile, helped myself to a piece of her 'boneless snacker']
chic: [does not know what to do/say/*. continues staring speechless.]
me: [nod. walk away.]