Astrila!

[On The Run Mix]

Subscribe

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mountain Weather in Washington

Usual weather websites do not give you the forecast at a point but rather around some town/city which renders them pretty useless for mountains. Here are the collected links for mountain weather forecasts for Washington:
Mount Rainier at Paradise Visitor Center
Mount Rainier at Camp Muir
North Cascades NP – Sahale Arm
North Cascades NP – Sahale Arm TH
north Cascades NP – Windy Pass
North Cascades NP – Mount Pilchuck TH
Mount St Helens – Windy Ridge
Mount St Helens – Windy Ridge TH
Mount Baker – Artist Point
Mount Baker – Skyline Divide
Mount Baker – Ptarmigan Ridge TH
Enchantments
Olympics – Hurricane Ridge
Olympics – Hole in the Wall
Olympics – Mamot Pass TH
Oregon Coast – Nehalem Bay State Park
Mount Hood – Timberline Lodge
Mount Hood – Vista Ridge
Snoqualmie Pass Corridor – Mount Si
Snoqualmie Pass Corridor – Granite Mountain
Snoqualmie Pass Corridor – Chair Peak/Snow Lake
Salmon La Sac – Iron Peak TH
Esmeralda Basin TH

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tomato Firmware for Router and Comcast Cable Modem

Just a note… if you have Tomato installed as firmware in the router and Comcast cable internet then try followings:

  1. Disconnect cable modem and router and wait until their lights go off. For Comcast modem it takes fair bit of time because of internal battery.
  2. If Internet connection is still lost then connect your computer directly to cable modem. If this doesn’t work then you need to call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST.
  3. If above works then the problem is that your router isn’t syncing with cable model. To confirm this, log in to router login page usual http://192.168.(0 or 1).1. See the status in overview. If this status is “Renewing…” and never changes then disconnect cable co-axial wire going to model. Turn off cable model. After all LEDs goes off turn it back on. Reconnect cable co-ax to it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Intel Xeon – the worse branding ever?

This is really frustrating if you didn’t knew. Intel likes to call many of their processors for “business class” systems “Xeon”. When they say Xeon it can mean anything from those dinosaurs based on Pentium II and the latest and greatest ones based on on Core i7. So when you see a system built with Xeon processor you really need to look up its exact subtle number and carefully study its specs to figure out what it really is.

For example, Xeon W3520 is same as latest Core i7-920, including the price. The only difference between two is Xeon supports ECC memory. So what’s the point in branding this processor as Xeon instead of Core 2 i7?

BTW, new Intel Core i7 series is definitely a winner and finally makes 2 year old Intel Core 2 series actually obsolete. This processor can execute 8 threads simultaneously and supports 3 channels for DDR3 access tripling the RAM bandwidth! Best of all, it costs more or less same as older Core 2 processors.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Snoqualmie Falls Hike Analysis

Today was perhaps my 32nd hike at Snoqualmie Falls. I've adopted this trail as my daily hike routine. Today I brought my new Garmin Oregon 400t GPS with me and recorded the track. Fortunately there is a website (although not that good) called MotionBased which can slice and dice and analyze this track data and tell you lot of cool things.

Here's the MotionBased's analysis of Snoqualmie Falls hike.

Few interesting things:

  • This is a 1.4 miles hike with 475 ft elevation gain.
  • The hike takes about 35 minutes.
  • Ascent and descent speeds as well as times are roughly same (note that I do not made any stops except at ends of the trail).
  • My speed while ascending is 2.4 mph and vertical speed is 14 ft/min or 840 ft/hr. Not too bad.
  • This hike has average grade of 16%. This is just 1% more than max allowed by typical gym treadmills. At steepest point the trail is 30% grade while about the "safe" max limit on typical maintained trails.

Using my watch which can measure elevation I thought that was 300ft elevation hike. Obviously my watch can easily be 100ft off. Here's the elevation profile of this hike:

image

Labels:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Treadmill Grade to Angle Conversion

Gym machines like treadmills and even some roads express the slop as "grade" in percentage. For example, most gym treadmills allow up to 15% grade. I've left going to gym since last few months and instead I'm doing this Snoqualmie Falls hike almost every other day (which is 0.5 miles one way and 300ft elevation). But occasionally I have to go to gym because of early sunsets. I usually put max grade (15%) and speed walk for one mile burning 350 cal. So naturally the question is how many feet I climbed?

For this I need to convert grade in % to angle. But what is "grade%"? Turns out it's ration of rise/run or in other words,

 

So your vertical climb in feet is given by,

So by that calculation, at maximum grade on gym treadmill I climb 783.2 feet for each mile I walk. Not too bad.

Via conversation here.

Labels:

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is the best time to hike Zion Narrows?

I LOVE slot canyons and Zion Narrows hike is something on my To-do for very long time since I saw it in a documentary and IMAX. So when I saw this deal from Southwest about 50% off on all travels my first thought was to book tickets to Las Vegas (nearest to Zion) or SLC. Due to restriction on this deal the travel needs to be completed by May 31st.

So the question: Is last week of May the best time to do Zion Narrows? I've fanatically looked for answer all over and here's the summary. Disclaimer: that I haven't been there so all these research comes from web, not my experience.

My criteria for "best time" is fairly simple:

  • Avoid wearing dry/wet suit to do this hike
  • Avoid wading in 1ft of water for miles
  • Pleasant 70s temperature that allows good other hikes like Angel's Landing

Several websites have various opinions on "best time". A top Google hit puts up a table indicating May, June and Septembers are the best. This is way too fuzzy answer because early May is actually as worse as April and it doesn't tell you different late May really is compared to late June. Yes, there is a big difference!

Next, other websites gets more specific and tells you late June and late September is the best time. We are getting closer to a specific answer but still no data points.

After lot of searching I finally hit the pot of gold:USGA Water Data! This website has exact numbers for CFS (cubic foot per second) and gage height data for each day all the way back to 1988. The rules are quite simple: anything below 50 CFS is easy and 250 FS is too much. The USGA has done fantastic job in presenting this data on website. For example, here you can see CFS levels for 2008:

image

Now you can see late May is not all that good but it is rapidly getting better over entire June although it takes all of the June before we get 40 CFS. This means late June is pretty good time to go but difference between early June and late June is almost two fold! Then notice all those spikes in early July. My guess is those are flash floods or thunderstorms. On other hand look how stable mid-end September is! We get 30 CFS almost all month.

Here's the corresponding chart for Gage Height: image

So we are looking at about foot of water at May end and about quarter of that in mid-end September.

Likewise you can go through charts for may years back. It obviously varies from year to year. For example, year 2007 had very low stable CFS at end of May unlike rapidly decreasing high levels of 2008.

For the past few years worth of charts that I checked one theme emerges: mid to end September has most stable and low CFS!

But how about temperatures? Here's where Weather Underground's seasonal average feature helps! Here is the seasonal averages weather graph for Zion National Park:

image

As you can see, the temperature in mid-September is pleasant 70s just like in June.

So there you have it! Mid September to September end (2nd and 3rd weeks of September) is the best time to go to Zion National Park and Narrows. That's when you are most likely to get stable low water levels.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mount Si - Take #2

Today I tried Mount Si hike again and returned back before I saw "Snag Flats", second time. Snag Flats are supposed to somewhere between 1300' to 1500'. It's relatively small hike that you can do in 2-3 hours (full hike to summit of Mount Si is a long 8 hour 3200' climb). Today because of heavily packed wet snow it was extremely slippery. Many people even had crampons on. People who did not had any traction devices (like me) had very hard time to go up on slippery trail and even harder time to come down.

I would not do this trail without wearing Kahtoola Microspikes.

Last time I'd to turn back at1250' because I'd started too late and it was getting dark. Today I got up to 1440' but still saw no sign of so called snag flats or a view point where Mailbox peak and Mt Rainier can be seen. But then I suddenly realized that I'd forgotten my camera on the trail during last water break! So I went down to look for it but didn't found it. I finally got down in parking lot and walked there for quite sometime looking for any lost & found places (Mount Si trailhead has HUGE parking lot and somehow there are always dozen cars there). Several people were coming down or going up but no one had seen it.

Then an amazing thing happened. Just when I was driving out the parking lot and I was almost out, I decided to stop for a minute and put up a sticky note. And I suddenly saw 3 guys coming down and they had my camera! It was just a matter of few seconds and I would have left. Thank you strangers!

PS: Those 3 guys mentioned that they were going to return it to ranger station. So next time if you loose something always check with ranger station or forest service.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So, which digital photo frame is the best?

If you are in the market to look for Digital photo frames this note will hopefully save you some time. It's really frustrating to buy one of this when selection is so large. This is very nice Christmas gift to your loved ones. I take lots of photographs but rarely have time to actually see them. So they are excellent gadget even if you want to buy for yourself!

One of the coolest feature in new frames is wireless connectivity to Internet. You can throw RSS feed from flickr or other photo sharing websites and the frame will download the new photos automatically. Some frames would even allow you to specify tags in Flickr for the photos you want to see in frame. So imagine your parents or grandpa suddenly see your trip photos in their photo frame as it is occurring! This the way photo sharing is supposed to be.

There are two major services that most of these digital frames supports: Windows Live FrameIt and FrameChannel. These services helps deliver even more stuff like weather and news in your frame.

There are quite a few vendors offering these types of frame. Some of the current models (11/2008) are:

Lots of choices! To make filtering easier I would suggest to eliminate anything below 15" size. Those sizes (8" and 10") are typically only useful if you want to put frame on the desk just couple of fit away from you. Also frames below 15" will have resolution of 800X600 at best which is not all that good. Even the low end laptops have 15" screen and run at 1028X768 so you can put your laptop where you want to place frame and see how it looks.

In above bunch so far only two frames are 15" or bigger. One from Digital Spectrum and another from PhotoVu. The PhotoVu ones are actually even larger and really expensive ($700+) so for most people only descent choice may be Digital Spectrum MemoryVue MF-8115. There you go, that's the best value frame as of Thanksgiving 2008!

What about the future? Actually if you look at of lot of deals around you will see that LCD displays as big as 22" can now be bought for under $170. So I would predict that bigger frames especially in 15" to 19" range would be under $200 by Thanksgiving 2009. Most of above manufacturers who still don't have 15" models would probably have them pretty soon. Another important note is that life space of LCD frames is not very huge. Most manufacturers aren't releasing this data but depending on brightness levels it can be as low as 20,000 hours. Now that comes out to just above 2 years. So don't consider these frames as your long term investments.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Do you really need 1080i or 1080p or 1440p?

This study basically says that if you have 50" TV and you are watching it at about 9' of distance then 720p has all the resolution human eye with 20/20 vision can ever see!

Currently we use 80X40 screen through our Panasonic projector PT-AX100U. Now that's equal to almost 4 of your tiny 50" screens so certainly 720p won't be enough at our current viewing distance of 10' (our current screen size is limited because of wall size and I think the projector is perfectly capable of going up to 100" diagonal). Actually at that size looks like even 1080p won't be enough. The 1080 runs out its steam at just 76" screen.

For now we will probably stick with our 720p projector though. The 1080p projectors are still super expensive right now($2500+)! Whoever said current HD technology is "enough"...

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Much Is There To See?

We often say there is just too much out there. You can't even possibly see everything that this universe has to offer in a million year or even a billion year.

Consider an image with resolution of 640X420 (i.e. better than standard TVs and pretty close to DVD) and RGB color depth of 0-255. Although not the best, this is perhaps a good approximation for the human eye. With this setup there are actually only 4457 billion images possible. Let's say you were watching one image per second then in about 141,332 years you would have seen everything that is possible to see! If you were making video at 25 fps with each frame being unique then within 5653 years you would no longer have anything else to shoot.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Oil Prices - Summary of 4 hours of news bits in past month

I did not knew oil prices had crossed $4 mark and got a huge surprise to see that last Thursday. I don't watch news generally because much of it is irrelevant but after we have set up PC to our TV it's much easier to see exactly what matters. So I was just watching series of MSNBC videos going all the way up to May on oil prices going up, people leaving their RVs behind, people trying to sell out their SUVs, GM planning to dump Hummer, people choosing to do home barbeque instead of traveling for memorial day... There is a new term called Staycation for people staying home for vacation (we heard another term "Junctober" to refer to colder windier October like weather in June at our visit to Vason island)! a big dose for me of all of that. However the most worrisome part was airlines cutting down 25% of the seats and tickets sky rocketing 2X to 4X. So I looked up SEA to SLC and fortunately Utah ticket is only gone up by $75 ($225 to $295). Yes, big increase but its not like $600 - yet. It would be painful to think of Utah drifting away from the reach. On the other note, gas prices in Europe and elsewhere is about $8 so it's not very unrealistic that US prices will match up to that in not very long term. However all indications are that if oil prices goes above $5 there will be a crash in economy because lot of businesses are currently trying to swallow this increase in one way or another and with continuous rise all of them will finally dump it on customers.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kiwi Berries

Oh... these Kiwi Berries from Te Puke, NZ... some of the best fruits in the world!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The ACM Turing Programming Contest Problem Set Archive

Here's the list of problems used in ACM Turing programming contest. Surprisingly, like many other such contests, lots of problems are s simply a variant of shortest-path problem.
The ACM ICPC Problem Set Archive

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Another Pick At Randomness

There is lots of intersections on my thoughts on randomness with Chaitin's. I think his papers would be extremely interesting. I think it could be significant advancement to my Minimal Instruction Set and Program Complexity theory I'd been toying with many years:

G J Chaitin

Critticall

This is very interesting concept. I wonder if a language can be specifically designed so that genetic algorithms can natuarally be applied. Notes as my next project!

Critticall

Friday, September 30, 2005

Earth: The Largest Neural Model

It appears that the individuals in population and their interaction with each other very closely models neural activities in brain. The entire neural network can be looked upon as smaller fractal version of human population, with lot fo details vanished. In other words, an alien might prefer to look upon Earth as the planet hosting one huge "brain" instead of individuls independently living their life!

Why BN.com Has To Suck?

I've written quite some code whoes sole users are probably just few dozen people. Even than I'd went to extra-ordinary lengths to make sure that code was having highest number of features and ease of use than anything else that existed and was comparable. There are lots of businesses everywhere ranging from car rental companies to book stores who have, unlike me, thousands and thousands of users every single day, staff of hundreds and millions to dollars spend. To add all the cool features in their services that would delight their users every now and than, it would take probably cost a sub-percent of their revenues. Why it doesn't happen? Why it is so hard for Barnes and Nobel to create a website that can proudly stand besides Amazon in slickness, modern looks and innovation? Cost is certainly not the factor. What is it? Why certain part of eco-sphere is doomed to be second class regardless of available resources to them?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Things Behind The eBay Deal

I couldn't have read more braindead deal than Skype for $2.1 billion. Obviously Skype isn't worth that much (so far it has got invetsments of under $21M). One could have built much more feature rich, customized software for 1000 times less money than that. What about future? Wouldn't Skype have revenues of zillion dollars in 2010? No, it won't. Biggies like Microsoft and Yahoo are already coming up with similar software with far deeper reach than Skype could ever imagine to have. Plus cable companies are throwing away entire need for computer and microphones and have very soon plans to dial from regular phone and route it through Intenet.

So why executives at eBay would decide to through away half of their cash in deal that needs everyone to take microscope to find what's so good about it? There are many deals like that have happened in past where people just can't find justification and had just has to go with the aura of the buyer. My guess is that big heads in eBay is going to get, somehow someway, huge cuts in this deal. The thing is that when company has $4B floating in thier bank account, its not easy for executives to get it simply transfered in their bank accounts. So you go out, cut the deal to buy $2000 car for $200,000, have seller spend $188,000 on things you liked but which you couldn't have directly spent by yourself. And meanwhile, cross your fingers to have journalists think you are a smart guy and have them keep discussing that there must be something super cool in that car that a visionary like you can see but dumbass journalists like us can't. I meant those journalists which your PR department haven't bought out, yet.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Exception Code Template For CodeRush

How CodeRush could miss this template? Anyway you can copy and paste this in CodeRush Options (Expert mode) to have your own!

[System.Serializable]
public class InvalidDataException
{
public InvalidDataException()
{


public InvalidDataException(string message) : base( message )
{


public InvalidDataException (string message, System.Exception inner): base( message, inner )
{


public InvalidDataException (System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo info, System.Runtime.Serialization.StreamingContext context) : base(info, context)
{
}
}

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Formations

Since yesterday night the question how Hurricane takes birth was eating me away. I resisted googling it and try to find the answer just using what I know. My best bet was 2nd law of thermodynamics (which I've become a huge fan due to this website). The 2nd law essentially says that nature intrisinkly tries to equal out everything. That means if there is high pressure somewhere, the inherent consequence would be nullify the excess and have an equal average pressure everywhere. So I'd been trying to figure out what kind of pressure patterns would be required so a rotation would occur. I planned out a little computer simulation of this with the guess that a ring of low pressure would probably produce hurricane-like whirlpool.

Aha, I was dead wrong. The 2nd law would prevent cyclone from happening instead of be a reason to produce it. My wife intuitively pointed out that hurricane would occur due to warm air that goes up where the cold air is but while it does so, the Coriolis effect kicks in which would produce whirlpool (similar to the whirlpool produced when flushing the toilet). Her intuition is awesomely right. All hurricanes in northern hemisphere go in anti-clockwise and southern hemisphere in clockwise. The huge power that a hurricane demonstrate is supplied by rotation of the Earth which itself is so massive.

I was also intrigued by how hurricanes are named. It turns out some international committee has preset list of names starting with letter A,B, C.. for each year. The list repeats every 6 years (i.e. names for 2005 hurricanes would be same as 2011). While now many names used are male’s names, previously only female names were used to name hurricanes :).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Endless Columns

There are only few tracks that can be so immensly philosophical and still be modern and classy. Ofcourse, there are no vocals.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Business Experiment

This Business Experiment got initially attracted me but I immediately realized why it would bring only an average or below average results. This experiment basically wants to try running a startup by votes from the people. The idea is to harness "wisdom of the crowds". I think, the smartness factor would be averaged out in this system instead of "more than sum of its parts". It's blind one-shot voting after all; not a structured logical argument going in the crowed which could otherwise have made difference. Other way to look at it is that such business is already in existence which is virtually run by voting and belief system of crowd: government! It may be fairly robust and may be sufficiently stable over centuries of existence but its the most inefficient business that we know of.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Google Indexing Leg

This is different for different websites but it took Google 24 days to index my last blog entry!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Finally Runs Even If Method Returns!


using (DisTest o = new DisTest())
{
        
return;
}



OR


Dim o As DisTest = New DisTest
Try            
        Return        
Finally

         o.Dispose()
End Try

Interesting Headers

The response headers returns with Google's logo looks like this:

Content-Type: image/gif
Last-Modified: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 21:06:18 GMT
Expires: Sun, 17 Jan 2038 19:14:07 GMT
Server: GWS/2.1
Content-Length: 8558
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 01:52:05 GMT


And for some gif served by IIS on Win 2003 Server looks like this:

Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 02:08:59 GMT
Content-Type: image/gif
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Last-Modified: Fri, 04 Mar 2005 09:12:29 GMT
Etag: "20bb944a9a20c51:acc"
Content-Length: 3779


You can get this by using Web Developer Toolbar's Information > Reponse Header button in Firefox.

Interesting things are:

  1. Google is not using Cache-Control: max-age=xxxx header which tells browser to cach the image for a while and not re-request from the server again. This is surprising because you would think Google would use every possible way out there to reduce the load on their server.

  2. Google has named their custom web server as Google Web Server, not surprisingly.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Types Of Database Columns

From an excellent article on Decimal mentions survey of 1,091,916 columns in databases owned by 41 organizations to find that 41.8% of them contained numeric data and 53.7% contained char data.

Chinese As a Second Languge

Dumping popular French and Spanish and taking Chinese [2 minute video - IE only] in schools is such a cool idea.

[via A VC]

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pavlov's Dog

BNL certainly has some scientific lyrics. The "Pavlov's dog" mentioned in Brian Wilson is about the classic experiment conducted by Pavlov in 1900s to show that dogs can learn to associate ringing of bell to the arrival of food and keep salivate even if you stop giving food.

On another note, "Nine-point-eight straight down" in When I Fall is the Earth's gravitational constant g when an object freely falls.

There aren't possibly better ways writing about science experiments in more artistic ways in mainstream songs ;)

Really Slick Screensavers

These are some of the best screensavers I've seen anywhere. Check out especially skyrocket which is extremely cool simulation of fireworks with randomly moving camera in 3D space and also Helios. Too bad I can't use them because I've donated my free computer time to World Community Grid to compute protein folding :(.

We are Finite State Machines

From the coolest UML tutorial:
Systems that have a fixed number
of states, and that respond to a fixed set of events are called finite state machines (FSM).


The book "Birth of the Mind" says DNA is nothing like conventional computers. It is FSM.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Venus Transit Tomorrow
This one is not a spectacular but its interesting because it's rare and because of history. Specifically, in old times (pre 1900s), people used this rare event to measure distance between Earth and Sun. Infect astronomers didn't knew this distance from a long time, so they invented so-called "1 Astronomical Unit (AU)" when they want to refer to this distance. In old times, everything was measured relative to AU, for example Venus is 0.7AU away from Sun. Venus Transit helped to resole this. Plus it also helped to figure out Sun's diameter. Now just out of curiosity, I thought, how would Venus transit could help in determining Sun-Earth distance and Sun's diameter? Answer is simple enough: Have two people watched it from different latitudes on Earth, make a triangle, use simple trigonometry and you get the distance! Nasa has put up a detailed explanation of little math in involved in this clever technique. Then This is, of course, still less accurate then modern ways of radars and satellites. Venus orbits around Sun in just 0.6 years. Then one would think why transits are so rare? Well, answer is, Venus's orbit isn't in the same plane as Earth, so it's pretty rare for Sun-Venus-Earth to get in one straight line, usually every little over hundres years or so. Apart from that, this transit won't visually appeal to most but if you had those special safe glasses to view sun eclipse, you might have a look between 11:05AM to 11:25AM on US East Coast on June 8, 2004. More info at Exploratorium and astonomy.no.

Friday, March 26, 2004

NotepadX Preview Is Out!
This is the thing I needed since like 3 years now and I started writing it by myself early 2003. But I knew something like this should have been already out there and I was probably wasting mytime in doing it all over again. So I decided to write several reusable application components rather then app itself and then build the app as a "demo" of components. I used NotepadX for about an year as a solo user while evolving and writing more code to make it better. And just now I felt it's pretty sophisticated and stable enough for other people to preview it. For non-geeky users, NotepadX is a powerful utility to maintain their data. For programmers it's lots of reusable interesting source code.

View more details about NotepadX

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

IE Most Wanted Tools
I just came across these Internet Explorer "power tools" which I'd wanted since soooo long. These little things called booklets are actually just shortcuts pointing to JavaScript which you can install by just drag and drop on your Links bar in IE (check View > Toolbars menu if you don't see Links bar). If you want to save time from having browse through each of these things, you can also download my selection and extract them in to your Documents and Settings\[Your_Login_name]\Favorites\Links folder and use them right away. You can do pretty neat things on a web page you are viewing once you have these little things. Some samples: View passwords, remove length limitations in a form, remove JavaScript, re-enable context menu, remove images and flashy stuff, show hidden fields in form, enable fields in form which are disabled, show borders of invisible tables, grayscale whole page (nice to have if page had weird colors), show HTTP headers, show HTML class when you roll over a block, force page wrap, lowercase everything, restore redirected links, view cookies, go to referer, sort table, number rows in table and more!

Friday, January 23, 2004

The Triple Mix
I thought I'd nothing new to listen to but then just brewed up this triplet which nicely works out on these winter days.


  1. A Winter's Solstice VI: A Windham Hill Sampler - A nice classical album. Just by look at the track names like Northern Lights, January Stars, Snow Dance, This Clearness Of Light - you know it's gonna be good :).

  2. The Very Best Of Yanni: Yet another good (if not as great) keyboard fiesta. Nice tracks: Flight Of Fantasy, In The Morning Light, The Mermaid.

  3. Maroon: Surprisingly good for those "missing" times when there is too much to do and absolutely nothing do. This my Barenaked Ladies Firsts which probably one can never get tired of hearing one more time.


Listen As: Random
The entire play list is available on Rhapsody.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Chinese New Year Festivities
While my wife would be celebrating Chinese New Year on more native land of Hong Kong, there would be quite a few events happening in NEw York city. The big parade is on Sunday 25th in Chinatown with dragons and lions, all red and gold, along with other events. Chinatown-Online gives nice little info on traditions of Chinese New Year and other festivities dates.

The major deal of New Year is, of course, lavish food festivities. There is a suprisingly large number of restaurants in NYC which will be offering special New Year meals, but here are some select few places to get the Year of the Monkey off to a good start (Chanoodle is the most recommended):
  • Chanoodle - (212) 349-1495 - 79 Mulberry Street (Canal Street), Chinatown

  • Congee - (212) 965-5028 - 98 Bowery (Near Hester Street)

  • Dim Sum Go Go - (212) 732-0797 - 5 East Broadway (Chatham Square)

  • Funky Broome - (212) 941-8628 - 176 Mott Street (Broome Street)

  • Joe's Ginger - 212) 966-6613 - 113 Mott Street (Near Hester Street)

  • Ping's Seafood - (212) 602-9988 - 22 Mott Street (Near Mosco Street)

  • Sunrise 27 - 212) 219-8498 - 27 Division Street (Near Market Street)
(Courtesy: NYTimes)
However my personal choice would be the Rainbow platter at Penang, the Malaysian restaurant on Rt. 10.

Have a good new year! Sing Dan Fai Lok!

Monday, January 19, 2004

Venus And The Moon
If you live on East Coast and if you looked in to West in last few hours you might have seen a real bright blob of light. It's so bright and has "burning aura" (literally looks like flames) around it that I thought it will soon fall down as huge shooting star. So I just fired up my copy of TheSky software to see what's going on and came out with some neat surprise. Well, this is Venus and for next month or so it's gonna be visible long after sunsets and would stay pretty well above horizon (which is not very usual for Venus). With it's current magnitude of -4.0 that's way way too bright for normal night sky standards and it's gonna be even more brighter. If you trace path of Venus, it seems Venus and Moon both comes really really close (almost touching) on 23nd Feb, 2004 at around 17:34 which also happens to be Sunset time! And the beauty of the whole scene during this Sunset is that it would be really nice crescent moon. So watch out and put this date and time on your calendar!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Leonid Meteor Shower This Tuesday
This event is slowing down every year and so for some people it would be a reason not to care and for others it would be a reason to care even more, because next year it will be more slower :). But it's still nice to see shooting stars with some predictability. This year, the peak time on East coast would be on 19th November between 12:00 to 2:30AM which is little earlier then past years. But again my wishes have already came true this year so don't have lots of wishes to make :).
Nasa has really cool graphical estimator for pick intensity for most cities in the world. For times on West coast and more details, check out this press release. Just don't expect something like that image of meteor shower on this site!

Friday, November 07, 2003

Two Becomes One
Once upon a time, far far away from any real world you know, there lived a sparkle of light. Always trying to hide away in the kingdom of dark, it looked to the stars in the night. On one such magical night, it finally tried to look for itself in all the worlds that existed. And with the lightning of awe, it indeed found the one as unreal as itself in its own lone world. The two were far apart, unable to touch and see but still able to long and feel. They moved towards each other for they saw the face of love without seeing each other. Even when they fell, the face made them to stand up and walk again. And on one of the star covered dawns when the Sun was about to light up the sky, they met where the ocean meets the sky. Then they got bound to each other forever to make the wings and they flew away.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Shital and Anah got married on 1st Of November, 2003 sunrise at Lanikai Beach, Island Of Oahu, Hawaii.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The New Synthesizer
I finally bought my new keyboard synthesizer - something I wanted since last few months. It's Yamaha EZ250i from InstrumentPro (they seems to be the only one bundling the survival kit along with). This one is suitable for beginners as well as advanced users who needs a perfect piano experience. Infect it's the ultimate machine available for learner in the market. This one is an upgrade over EZ30 and has just arrived in last July. It can be connected to computer right away, has 400+ voices, accurate Grand Piano sounds, built-in Education Suit among several other things. Sweeeet!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Fall Foliage Long Drives
It's cool to be in mountains when fall is just still arriving and you are among the first to feel it. This year my First Of Autumn hikes happened in Adirondacks. This area in upper state New York is probably among the most scenic part on East Coast. You got choice of 46 high peaks to climb (a High Peak is a mountain taller then 4000 ft) apart from countless small mountains and hills, several small and huge lakes to canoe and kayak or just relax on cruise, quite a few waterfalls and quint towns. The best part is you can even take small plane like Cessna 152 and fly over those mountains covered with fresh yellow, red, violet colors. It's probably someof the most scenic experience you can ever have in this part of the country. But behold! Fall is just beginning. The next best thing to do is probably long drives on colorful lonely snaky roads passing through mountains, valleys and lakes. But.. where would you go? Here's some of the best picks for autumn fall foliage road trips!

Barenaked Ladies Live!
Barenaked Ladies will be performing live at New York on 22nd Oct. These guys concerts (there's no female members in the band - for the unawares) are among the most fun live events, so don't delay in getting tickets! Even more, these are the few of rare artists who prefer to perform live and then put the song in a album rather then other way around. I didn't thought they would be doing any tours. Pinch me if I'm still asleep :)

Friday, September 12, 2003

Will AIers Ever Stop Being Dumb?
Every time I read and hear something in AI research, it freaks me out. These "research" people just keeps formulating laws out of thin air without having any strong logical grounds. Every researcher seems to have their own minuscule world of hard and fast rules that they think is capable to explain everything. What's even worse is that they keep day dreaming that if they keep going like this they are not too far from the finally glory. These people have essentially transformed the "science" of Artificial Intelligence in to a never ending empirical guess game. And this disease is spreading fast everywhere. Now most research studies simply means collecting data, do some statistics and throw some sketchy laws with lots of "might be" to hungry scientific generals. All you need is some post at Stanford or MIT and you can at least expect that your garbage will occupy shelves of library all over the world. A good example is this lecture by Doug Lenat of Stanford. You will see how lots of "principles" are drawn right away out of the thin air without any justification for their validity and completeness. I think these guys should step back for a while and read Newton's Principia or Euclid's Elements just to get feeling of how important it is to approach problem with strong logical grounds rather then "just thoughts out of my mind". We don't have HAL. But seeing current state of AI, that doesn't surprises me.

Voyager Is Missing
Star Trek Voyager is off-air since past few months. So I went to Netflix, my DVD subscription, just to find that Paramount hasn't produced DVDs yet. So I went to Amazon to buy VHS version, just to find that the video cassets are one episod per casset (consider having 150+ episodes). So all these have almost ruined my hopes to get back to Voyager, just when I needed the most. As my last resort, I looked up in Kazza and found some of the cool episodes floating around but it gonna take days to get them.

Moral of the story: If it is still on-air in your area, watch it while you still can. Don't mess with your luck.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Evanescence @ Webster Hall, NYC
Evanescence will be performing live at Webster Hall on 16th Sep in New York City as part of their tour. This is little unusual because even the Webster Hall is kind of the top dance club in the City, I never heard any concerts happening there. But probably thats what makes this cool. Check for tickets and other tour locations. But beaware, tickets are being distributed by the worst ticketing site in the world.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Some Awesome Destinations
I recently went to Sierra Club's meeting/presentation on California's Route 1. This road trip certainly seems to be the queen of all. The presenter been touring this route every couple of years since last 3 decades and had some really awesome photographs - some taken in different seasons and time of the days and some even different decades! Here are some tips from the guru himself: The road trip to CA1 can be done any month, never let weather stop you. Still if you are too picky, in summer (through September) it's kind of hot. From December to March is good time except that El-Nino may strike the Pacific coast and parts of CA1 suddenly merges in to ocean, yet Feb-March is the best time. This is also the time when you can see lots of white whales in the ocean floating around while watching sunset in Pacific Ocean. The good place to stay overnight on this route is Ragged Point Inn. You might want to frequently take exists in between, specifically for San Simeon Castle. It's good idea to stay around this gorgeous huge architecture (they have even special tour for just bathrooms among others!). To stay around this building is San Simeon Pines is a good resort. The route is 90 miles long and totally worth an entire day trip.

While in presentation, I also stumbled upon list of really gorgeous places to visit in United States. They are special because they have specific times when you should be there. Also they are very diverse (from flower covered moutains to canyons in Utah!). If you get a chance, don't even think about missing out on them. I certainly won't :).
Here's my filtered list:


  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah Canyon valleys partially gets covered in snow. Not for faint hearted.Best Time: Jan/Feb

  • Cottonwood Lake, Alaska Clear waters and ice formations in lake like a huge starfish from end to endBest Time: Feb

  • Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona Best Time: Feb

  • Tehachapi Mountains, California Absolute gorgeous mountains completely covered with flowers. Yes, just like you had dreamed once :). Best Time: April

  • Isla Espirita Santo, Sea of Cortes, Maxico urrr... this one is non-US.Best Time: May

  • Painted Hills, Oregon yes, hills that actually looks like someone painted them outBest Time: May

  • Elives Chasm, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Best Time: June

  • Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta Best Time: Aug

  • Cohutta Wilderness Area, Georgia Best Time: Sep

  • Kennebec River, Main Best Time: Oct

  • Snake River, Wyoming Best Time: Nov

  • Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California Best Time: Nov

  • Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska A special place where you can see Aurora Borealis! Best Time: Nov

  • West Indian Manatees, Florida Best Time: Dec

  • Owens Valley near Laws, California Best Time: Dec/Jan

  • Weddell Sea, Antarctica urrrr... this is non-US, again

  • Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Oregon Best Time: Dec/Jan


Saturday, September 06, 2003

Things To Remember When Building Your PC
I recently upgraded my custom build 2.5 year old beast. When I started out that time, I wanted to make something really powerful, enviable and which kind of had everything. After burning $3500 in this endeavor I enjoyed owning something that exceeded what Microsoft and others just recently "innovated" as Media Center PC. But this time upgrade wasn't easy and I kept messing up things many times and calling up other gurus. So here's the list for the benefit of someone not-so-skilled:
1. Usually motherboards have 3 special screws that would touch the chassis and provide the grounding. Don't mix up (aha, screw up) those screws.
2. When you lay PC on its side (motherboard top facing you), remember all IDE cable's red-line side faces you but floppy's faces down. If you mess this up, drives won't be detected and you might keep thinking that you blew up power supply and run to buy another one.
3. Power cables to all IDE drives would have yellow side facing you and red side facing IDE cable's red-line. Usually you can't plug other way, unless, uhhh... you push really hard!
4. It's important to see which drive is master and which one is slave (ALWAYS look at the jumper settings before you put drives in bays wire everything up). I didn't bothered and just keep trying until they all were detected (real reason being I'd lost my flashlight). This won't blow up your drives but it's very unreliable.
5. Don't forget to connect CD digital and DVD SPDF connectors to sound card. Former allows digital ripping of audio CDs in MP3s and later allows Dolby Digital sound if you have the card that supports that and have hooked up to Home Theater system. Also if you want to listen modem noises on speakers (or home theater as in my case), don't forget to connect modem and sound card. Many cheap modems don't support this any longer however.
6. If power light blinks then probably you have power supply set on 230V (European style) rather then 115V (US style).

Sunset And Moonrise
On Tuesday, Sep 9, Sunset is at 7:16 PM and moonrise is also at 7:16 PM. Cool right? Good way to see this would be at High Point State Park or a special hike from Sierra Club. My preference is former, undoubtably the best place in NJ to see this!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

A Visit To The Temple
I'd to just help my neighbour to find her run-away cat. Now a last blogbit... before I really really go to bed!

This Labor Day weekend I was thinking about spending 3 days in programming few stuff I'd planned but such things just can't happen. Suddenly a plan came around out of nowhere for 12+ hours of road trip to West Virginia and a visit to an ISKCON temple. Submitting to spontaneous weird idea seems to be my weakness. This one was weird because, well, who can think of visiting an ISKCON temple out of nowhere? While I'm not affiliated to ISKCON (or for that matter any religious organization whatsoever), I was curious about them anyway (watching Hare Krishna group dancing on Leicester Square in London is very cool) and so I joined my gang. This indeed turned out to be great road trip. We almost started at sun rise, passed through valleys and mountains covered with mist and made few stops. The temple located on the mountain top in hilly state of West Virginia has some good views. We also realized that day was little special being the last day of a festival called Paryushan from Jain religion and first day of another festival Ganesh Chaturthi and the last day when the temple remains open until 8 PM and a day when free feast is served and of course, it was the last day of summer. As if all these coincidences weren't enough, I ran in to one of my classmates in the temple who had left his job to be a full time ISKCON person serving as deputy director of a charity hospital (it's amazing how I keep meeting my classmates by coincidences. Last time I met one in a strip club, this time it was in a temple! And we always say this first to each other: "what the hack you doing here?"). We also took the tour of Palace Of Gold which is the memorial built for the founder of ISKCON. It's funny though to build a memorial buried under gold for a person who probably spent his entire life fighting against materialistic world and achieving nirvana.

You can view some photos of this trip, some are really cool including one with beatles procreating right inside the rose!

MTV VMAs
Before I go to bed, few more bits...
This is to announce that this year's VMA sucked. I used to see this show for it being totally different from other award functions (i.e. freaky, weird, explicit and eye-popping). It seems to be the general opinion that if it hadn't been for Britney-Madonna's kiss, this would have been the worse so far.

Sticky Chapter
I'm stuck on Chaper 8 of Brief History Of Time again. This is happening for the 3rd time. Everytime I read this book I get until this chapter and then eventually give up. This time I tried to track down the fault and realized this chapter is so much unorganized and has apparently unrelated thoughts, though interesting - which keeps me coming back to it. Okay... let's start again. Shall we?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Should Virus Creators Be Punished?
I and Don Rittenburg of Groove Networks went in to intense arguments over lunch whether person who creates viruses be punished. I took the side that they shouldn't be. My point of view was that cyberspace isn't exactly the real world. It's man-made, designed to be anonymous and most importantly by it's inherent nature it's not supposed to be limited by laws. It gives you immense freedom and if you can be stopped by creating bunch of laws by old fat ignorant politicians then it isn't the same. Of course, freedom isn't a free lunch and you have to accept the associated risk and resposibility. I put the virus creation activities as the inherent part of cyber culture and implicit right of cyber-citizens just like free-speech. Don happens to be really good logician and put some really good arguments. His central idea was that just because it's possible, it can't be just allowed. If your car tires are not secured by lock and key, would you let a person to blow air out of them just to demonstrate that it is not secured or just for fun? Is it worth to live under constant fear that your stuff is not really secured and someone somewhere is gonna come and get you and may destroy your life time of work and get away with it without getting punished or even detected? And multiply the hassle by millions who gets affected, loss of hours, possibly life or career threatening consequences to many and lots of not-so-geeky people who just won't be able to get their computers back to normal. Would that be acceptable? From Don's argument, I think I see the aftermath that typical virus author would fail to see or doesn't won't to. I realized that cyberworld isn't just the world of universities and nerds anymore but is now married to the real world and is inseperable part of it. And that marriage would mean loss of inherent freedom and bring the laws in. I'm now in agreement that they might be allowed to be punished but still believe that punishment shouldn't be stiff: just few months of community services would suffice. That did settle our 40 mins long logical wrestling (or I lost, to put it correctly). My apologies to cyber-citizens for my failure to defend this supposed-to-be law free culture, however :(.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Mars Viewing
Just saw the red planet through my 4.5" telescope and 10mm eye piece. Unlike it was advertised on several web sites, no, it doesn't get as big as moon when looking through modest telescope. Infect there's barely any difference when I'd looked at it through same scope in last couple of years. So I just went in to some number crunching using fact sheet at Nasa's web site, and it seems that Mars should look (at best) 30% more brighter and around 40% bigger then I'd seen couple of years ago. Now the catch is that when looking through telescope with above spec (which is pretty beyond modest 70mm stuff), Mars would normally look like a bright tiny disk. So 40% increase would make that tiny disk little bigger - but still a tiny. To make it look as big as Moon you would need increment of 1000% or more and that's not going to achievable just by Mars coming closer - it's possible only though much much bigger scopes. So my conclusion is that news sites and emails that kept circulating were pretty misleading to public. Though the good part is that lots of people suddenly got interested in astronomy. Infect one of my friend was so hopeful that he has put a $100 bet with me on whether Mars would look as big as moon on 27th August with bare naked eyes! So I'm not entirely dissopointed with this hoax, at least someone would get some money :).

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Cool Albums Of The Season

Here's some from shopping list of past few months:

[Artist - Album]

Linkin Park - Meteora
Evanescence - Fallen
Audioslave - Audioslave
Macy Gray - On How Life Is
Barenaked Ladies - Rock Spectacle
4 Strings - Take me away (into the night)

Evanescence's Fallen is probably the best thing came out this year. Audioslave is raw, hard and grungy. How Macy Gray came in to my list? I don't know... I'd written bad things about Meteora previously but when you are in real need for extreme screaming, lots of hatred and hard hard hard stuff these guys seems to fit the bill.

Anders Hejlsberg
Just watched MSDN TV's new episode on Managed Code. The topic is pretty trivial for me but what's exciting is to see one person talking and seating there. I remember my years as a rebellious programmer when followers were few and swimming opposite the popular currents wasn't easy. In all-Unix all-C++ organization I'd heavily pushed for tools and style I believed in - even if it meant taking over entire responsibility and work load on me. All those tools that I chose, used and appreciated for the vision it embedded, looked separate pieces of great ideas which just seem to happen to came on my way... until there was one day when I read a magazine article and came to know there was really only one person behind all of those and all these years: Anders Hejlsberg. Those separate pieces of vision now seems to make a complete picture and so you can imagine how I would have stand in awe of him. As far as world of programming is concerned, Anders is my hero.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

When I Fall
In this world of the Greater Being, I feel like I'm at play... like a little kid. With all my sense of wonder and curiosity... walking on my knees to get close, see and feel everything that has been put around me... and smile for all those good things that I find. And when I'm just moving around, there are moments when things are not the way I would have wanted... sometime when I would have really wanted. Some of the worst moments of my life constitutes of those when the people I'd admired I see falling apart and I can't do anything about it... when someone you cared is dieing and you can do nothing about it... Those moments... when I just want to look up in the sky and pretend that I don't exist... trying to convince myself that it's ok... I feel like I'm betrayed with anger bursting out every inch of my body... But then when I'm all low and down, there's always something that happens... like someone struck the new string on the guitar that I'd never heard before... wiping out all my doubts with just that one stroke of note. So I look around to find the one but I can't see. But I know she was there smiling at me... like I'm a little kid... someone is sure playing with me.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Your Yahoo Group Membership
Due to recent changes, your membership might have been messed up in Yahoo groups that I maintain. If you got unsubscribed and not getting any emails, please use following links to correct it:

Group: shital
Group: MyTechList

Language Of Flowers
I found a little booklet today titled "The Secret Language Of Flowers" by Rachel Ibarra explaining nicely what each flower means when you give it to someone. I've to confess, I'm not good at it and so have to depend on the lady at the check-out counter to make sure I don't buy flowers for my boss which would mean "secret love" on her birthday :). I can't find this book on Amazon or B&N so you have to go to your nearest grocery store such as Pathmark to get it. Alternatively there's this nice web page for this but without pictures chances of screw up is high!

Astronomy Events This Month
Mars is going to be the closest to Earth in recorded human history so far. You can go out at midnight and look in the South and the big blob of orangish yellow light (which you might mistake as air plane) is Mars. Even on the rainy nights you can see it lurking behind the cloud - it's that bright. Infect it's brighter then anything after Sun and Moon! Even in a modest telescope you can see it's big bright surface magnified as large as Moon. More info is in this newsletter.

Next Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug 13, 2003. I'd spotted couple of shooting stars last week in just about two hours of time span and thought I was lucky! Well, this was the scientific reason behind it, actually.

T3 On DLP and Matrix II On IMAX
When I saw Terminator for the first time few years back, it had struck me like a lightening. Though most people considered it just another action flick, it was one of very few movies which I guess could change lives and sets the directions. And so to the date, it's still my #1 favorite movie. I thought there won't be Terminator 3. When I heard about it, seen previews and learned that director is not James Cameron, my prediction for it was to be a soulless sure flop. Well, I was wrong and right. It is flop and it's sure not as influential as the original. But it's still totally worth watching. It's probably the best action film I've seen so far. The car chase sequences are anything that you would have seen on the big screen (The car chase in Matrix II now looks like kids play). So it has become one of few movies that I've went out to see it twice. If it's available in your area, choose the theater with Digital Projection (DLP) for fine DVD-like details on big screen. If you live in NJ, Loews Jersey Gardens Theaters is the place to go.

Next, Matrix Reloaded is released on monster screens of IMAX. This is remastered edition rather then real IMAX movie but it's fun to watch those special effects on 8 story screen :).

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

New Books
I'm running out of books to read so I was on shopping spree at Amazon. Just picked up few books from my Wish List and then few books from my favorite authors.

Cool Pocket PC Stuff
If you got this thingy and don't know what to do with it besides storing phone numbers and birthdays, well, here's some "secrets" I came across after my first night with it :)


  • Sexual Positions 1.0 - Of course, this has to be the first to grab :). No freaky stuff in this one and it's legally free.

  • Pocket Bartender - It's so convenient to handover your Pocket PC to bartender and ask her to make that drink that no one else has ever heard of!

  • TheSky Pocket Edition - This is probably the best and most popular in it's category. Think about coming out of your car, tap on your Pocket PC to see real-time sky map and know the name of that star you been wondering about in the middle of nowhere. If you had good telescope, you can even plug-in your pocket pc in to it and control it with pen taps! Other such programs include Pocket Stars and Pocket Universe. The bad thing about TheSky is that there is no trial edition available but I've heard that you can make a copy in someway if someone else has it. Don't ask how!

  • Ephemeris - This is cool little app to show moon phase, sun/moon rise times etc. Helpful if you were like me who won't mind not sleeping additional one hour to see sun rise!

  • TV Remote Controller - I've yet to make this work but the basic idea is that you are sitting in the bar and suddenly TV channel gets changed to Star Trek from some stupid sports game and no one knows how did that happened.

  • Taiyoukei - This is nice set created by a Japanese guy for astronomy. Taiyoukei meaning "solar system", for example, can tell you which planets are up in the sky right now among many other stuff.

  • EBooks - There are several free (the one on Kazza may not count) ebooks available which you can read on Pocket PC during your bus trips to New York. Special fun are kids books: Alice in the wonderland, Encarta Pocket Dictionary, Adventure of Tom Sawyer and Julius Verne.



Apart from these cool stuff, Pocket PC as an operating system totally sucks. How one can even think of making it and selling it? There's lots of scope here to make additions to this crappy operating system.

Jun-July Photo Album
This quick and small album could be viewed at dotPhoto. I'll post it on my site when I stop being lazzzy.

Things With The Rain Drops...
Listening to When I Fall with sound of rain drops from my window... These days are going good. Haven't missed chance to get myself wet in rain most of the time... and walking on wet grass with bare feet... and watching rain drops making curves in cones of street lights... and taking a long drive in rain with my windows open... and taking snaps of Sun hiding behind dark clouds... and taking a deep breath in drizzly air... and wondering at water dance on my windshield... and following a droplet cloud around wheels of other vehicles... and making a splash on my way... These days are going good.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Lost and unfound
It's frustrating how much difference a little stupidity can make to your life. Yours and others. These days and nights are dedicated to some meanest of them.


[Listening: Matchbox Twenty - If you're gone]

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

A Marriage Conjecture
I and Sundar usually get in to blazingly fast high information density conversations. The recent one which lasted for 15 min spanned through topics such as best porn available on Net, XSL, marriages, divorce laws in Texas, blogging and ants. I just happened to make a statement with him which I thought worth blogging.

So here's what I call "The Marriage Conjecture".

"I was thinking marriage is a big thing. You need to have 100% confidence. Your match should be made in heaven. Both of you should love each other deeply. ALL of these thoughts are CRAP."

It's a conjecture because nothing seems to disprove this but to the deep of my heart I know it can't be true. So just like usual mathematician, I guess there's something missing here.

Feel like throwing a comment? send me at sytelus@yahoo.com.

Friday, June 27, 2003

New Google Toolbar
New version of Google Toolbar is released and it's even more cooler. It now has Popup blocker plus blogging support. I just blogged this straight from the toolbar!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Yahoo! Launch Getting Better
My favorite online music service Rhapsody is not working for me these days. They removed entire Linkin Park collection, few albums from Kid Rock and God knows what more. So I'm back to my old favorite Yahoo! Launch. They have gotten better with more selection, many more videos and more features. The best thing is, ofcourse, you can tell it what you liked and it will select more your kinda music rather then purely random songs. And it's totally free! You can listen to my own customized radio station which I'm listening to right now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Jersey Starquest and other star parties
Star parties are event with all night deep sky observations and chance to meet other fellow amateur astronomers. The first one of the year at East Coast is happening this weekend at Hope, NJ. There's usually crowd of 20-30 people with all level of skills. You can try all sorts of telescopes (some as large as 17") and instruments for deep sky CCD observations and so on. There are going to be day time events, talks and presentations and sun spot watching! If you missed this, there is 3 more popular star parties coming up this year. Check the event calander at S&T site. You can see some photographs I took of last year's star parties.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

To empty people, brighter nights and shorter days
[Now Listening: Tom Petty - You don't know how it feels]

Can't beat this clock... can't stop staring this screen... can't sleep these nights... can't leave this place... can't think... can't do better things... can't stop thinking... can't stop blood in these veins... can't see world less beautiful... can't find that piece of heart... can't contain in to self... can't hold her hand... can't breath out... can't fall in to comma... can't get closer to my sky... can't steal colors... can't get bigger space... can't stop meaningless talk... can't get bored with blahs... can't keep aweful silense... can't stop reaching out... can't stay alone... can't stop cursing... can't survive people... can't be bad... can't become one...

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Bolly Flicks On TCM
Turner's classic movie channel will be showing three Bollywood movies in a row on every Thursday starting 8 PM. This is on experimental bases for the month of June. The bollywood movies have an average opinion of being stupid, mostly same, colorful, frequent with dance sequences with no reason and something that makes most females burst out of tears all the time. But the movies that TCM was showing since past few weeks were some of the very best, including my rare personal favorites, that's far away from this average opinion. So I guess it would be worth to check out their schedule.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Virtual Worlds With POV-Ray
POV-Ray is the 3D graphic software which allows you to create 3D world with lightings, reflections, shadows, color gradients, materials, textures and so on. I'd read about it about 5 years ago and almost ignored it - until just few days back I decided to gave it a whirl one more time (I think it was a sudden urge to create some 3D graphics). Just after a quick simple installation and spending 15 minutes on beginner's tutorial, I was totally in to it. Just a couple of hours more and I'd my very first 3D image which is cool enough to show off. By the time night fall, I already had an AVI movie with a virtual walkthrough in my 3D world (by making camera move along a specified trajectory). This thing is addictive and it rocks. I can now calculate 3D coordinates and linear transformations in my head! The scripting language it uses is C like and very intuitive. Sure there were many other ray tracing programs including 3D Studio but this open source free program is much more "programmer oriented" rather then "artist oriented". Don't forget to check out Internet Ray Tracing Competition for some truly mind blowing virtual images.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

PhysLink store
It's nice store. Here are the things I just bought...
     
  • Thermodynamic Drinking Bird

  • Hyperactive Yoyo

  • 75W Black Colored Light Bulb

  • Mini Compass

  • Whistling Saucer

  • Boomerang

  • Ceramic Horseshoe Magnet

Friday, June 06, 2003

New Version Of This Site Comming Soon
The new look[s] and content is soon comming to replace my current web site. This new version will feature something called themed site - i.e. I can make my site look like anything I want in minutes! This concept is not new but as I wanted to take care of all small details, it took me 30 hours of heavy duty ASP.Net programming and couple of missed meals last weekend to accomplish this - in most ideal way I could think of. Thanks to all rain and cool air coming from my window - which kept me working long long hours. There will be change in content too. I'm planning to delete some of them. So just in case, you'd liked it, save it in your own machine before it dissapears! Apart from that, I'll be moving my blogs to my own blogging tool. These blogs are currently hosted on blogger.com and that thing SUCKS! They charge for their crappy blogging software and still 50% of the features I want are missing. I'm just tired of looking around for another blogging service and so I got to write my own - my next mission.

High Point State Park
This place is becoming my luxury hike place on lazy drizzly spring days. It's the highest point in state of New Jersey. You can see all neighboring states Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York on clear day and you don't even have to hike to get on the top - just take 5 min easy drive and you are there! It has even little beach on the lake. You can view Mohonk, Catskills, Camelback, Pocono's, Bear mountains - all from same place! It's even better on drizzly days because there's no one there and clouds are kissing the land :). Also, by far it's the only perfect sunset view spot I've found in NJ. To get there, all you have to do is to be on Rt 23N. Just after few miles Rt 23 suddenly becomes all green and gorgeous. The country roads after the town of Franklin are cool enough to get lost for a while. I have a took some pics - check it out! I'll be adding few more soon.

Central Park Summerstage and 311
Central Park summer stage schedule is out. Mark your dates from their official home page.

On 311, this is a new number you can dial in New York and ask any question or make any complaints - literally! This is due to effort of new mayor Bloomberg to combine several agency to one spot through one number! Want to know how to dispose refrigerator? or complain about that loud car alarm? Dial 311.

Jewel Moments
On one fine spring morning, a beautiful lady with the sweetest voice decided to walk in a gorgeous park and sing for whoever cared. It was Saturday morning, one of the least busy time of the week when rest of the world prefers to sleep after long Friday night. It was one of the most invisibly promoted concert - even a professional certified guide at Central Park just 200 feet away from the stage didn't knew about it! But still many of us did knew and hassled through early Saturday morning to be there. There were even fans who literally set up their front line spaces before sun came up. Then there was a "Jewel stalker" who tried a stunt to reach her with roses. Jewel being inherently very shy and sensitive, you don't expect lots of fun fair on the stage. It goes smoothly with occasional emotional bursts until she feels comfortable with the whole thing. And then she can tell jokes and attempt to be funny. She doesn't try to create exact replica of her album versions, instead almost always she would change tempo, tones and add twists. One often discussed disappointment was new hair style (change from the one with long beautiful hair). She is sure my #1 favorite female artists and I been envy of people who heard her live when she still a coffee house singer. Her open air concert in the world's greatest city and gorgeous park on that fine spring morning just looked like falling from the heaven. Catch her few glimpse in my photo albums section. Her new album 0304 is already in the stores and I guess she might have more upcoming events in case you are interested.

Friday, May 02, 2003

New Albums From My Favorite Artists
[Many of these albums are also available at Rhapsody.]

Suddenly all of my top 3 favorite artists have relased their new music albums during last few months. Unfortunetely all of these albums sucks. But anyway, because they are my favorite they will get metion here :).

First, Matchbox Twenty has came up with new album More Than You Think You Are. Yes, they continue in tradition of weired names for their albums (oh well... who can make sense of name Matchbox Twenty itself?). I guess they have grown big in last few years but haven't completely lost their touch. Some tracks are cool. It takes time, experiences, situation to get taste of music from these guys. So far I personally know only one person who likes Matchbox Twenty!!

Next, Linkin Park is out with much-awaited Meteora. I'd though this will be something new and fresh but it totally smells like leftover of their previous hit Hybrid Theory. These guys have so much energy and imagination I'd thought it's not gonna wear them down any sooner. Hopefully they have something cooler in pipeline.

Finally, Jewel has got her new single Intuition out. She does hip-hop kind of thing for the first time and pretty much screws it up. She has her new full album 0304 set to be released on June 3, 2003. Hopefully that isn't all that bad.

So if these sucks, what's cool? Listen to 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane. If while listening some of the lyrics doesn't seem to make sense, just remember that this album is from duo of teenaged Russian lesbians (and yes, they are hot!).

Another is Barenaked Ladies. These canadian guys had most of their releases in last decade, have huge followings and their concerts are considered to be one of the best to go for. Very cool guitar tabs seemlessly going with equally cool vocals and effortlessly flowing lyrics and hummable tunes. If you think they took cheap marketing uproach, wait until you listen to tracks like Pinch me, If I should fall or Light up my room. Yes, there is NO female member in the band, but I'm sure you won't care.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Total Lunar Eclipse (May 15, 2003)

Total lunar eclipse coming on 5/15/2003. Most of US can see it. 10:03 PM ET. Awesome sight!

Check out press release from NASA for more info on why this happens and local times in other countries.

Courtesy: hubble_this text alert list on Verizon mobile

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Mercury On West
Elusive, offen hiddden planet Mercury is visible this week. In USA, look low and west after sunset.

Courtesy: hubble_this text alert list on Verizon mobile

New York Shows
There are two shows currently on in New York city and it's last week for both (i.e. until 27th April 2003). One of them is International Auto show at 38th street and 11th avenue at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (see http://www.autoshowny.com). You can open the doors of most commercial cars on display and sit in (including Hummer H2) to see how it feels like it. While this might be exciting for some people, I found it more or less boring. It's like walking around a big parking lot. Except few Porshes, Ferraris, Bentley and few concept cars everything else you can see on everyday roads in US anyway. The best car I saw was Bufori, a $110,000 machine which has 1930 classic looks from outside and ultra hi-tech from inside.

The next event happening in NYC is Macy's Flower Show at Herald Square. I haven't been there but the flyer says over a million flowers, 30,000 species from 6 continents are on display. Spring rulez. Try not to miss it :).

Next on the list is Central Park Summerstage. This is a popular summer destination where professional artists performs live and free of charge. This year Jewel is going to be there on 10the May. Jewel is one of my top favorites - probably the best female vocal on the planet. I've been looking for her concerts but there weren't any so far and now it's right here in central Park and that too free!!

I got this alert from pollstar.com - these guys keeps keeps a watch on concerts and music events - but I can't get additional information or varification for this event.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Best Of New York
I just keep finding excuses to run away to New York and yet have never ran out of places to go. On the contraray, many have. Here's the coolest link to help you out. These guys have came up with a list of best of everything - from Best Haircut to Best Romantic Hotel. So if you are tired of stumbling on to same old places, here's the gene for you :).

http://newyork.citysearch.com/best/categories/2002

Picks: Movies, Concerts And Art


Three movies that you shouldn't miss this season:

1. Chicago - A total classic. Very different. Nice screen play. Cool lightings and photography. These guys got nominated for 13 acadami awards and I wasn't surprised.
2. About Schmidt - A movie that gonna move you. Shatter you. Only for hard core reality fans.
3. The Guru - A cool hilarious flick on an Indina emigrant. Neat.

Concerts:

1. Matchbox Twenty is on roll. Click here their schedules for NY/NJ area.
2. The unity of light - A concert by my favorite Indian artist A.R. Raheman. This will feature several other BIG artists from Bollywood music scene. Looks very cool to me.

Art:
The 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix is now being celebrated visually, with six different exhibitions in Manhattan.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

My New Photo Albums
I'd become little lazy in putting up my photos since last many many months but now I just looked back and thought these ought to be out there or atleast some of them! So here goes my Saturday night updating my photo albums! But in this blog I want to talk little about taking photographs. First, you do not need bulky pricey cameras. The good photos you capture entirely depends on the angle, moment and your judgment rather then technology embedded in camera (gee, and you still call me a geek!). Almost all photos in all of my albums so far were taken from mere 1 Mega pixel digital cameras which had all necessary functionalities but weren't the high end ones (HP C20 and Sony DCR-100). The key to get good photographs is just to get out more. And every time. Make your will exceed the difficulties posed by weather or other circumstances. For example photos in my new album on Verrazano bridge were taken on one of the cold day in winter with chilling winds. I still remember my hands were frozen at the point of getting numb even after wearing gloves and I couldn't hold my camera still! Yet in other album on Sun rising from behind the New York City it was even more brutal - I'd forgot my gloves! You won't feel the chilling winds in those beautiful photos but it were there. If you ask why others don't have these photos, it's for simple reason: they weren't out there. One more thing, you might want to avoid any retouching of your digital photographs unless you really want to do some modern artsy thing. The only thing I would allow on my photos is resize and 90 degree rotate. However tempting it might be, absolutely no enhancements of any type - the world deserves the truth the way you saw it! Finally I must thank the pool of positive feedback last year for these photographs but I guess I do not consider myself an artsy or even dedicated photographer. Infect much of the time I intentionally do not carry my camera or don't take a snap even if I had one. You do loose capturing some magnificent views but you don't loose moments :).

My new photo albums can be viewed from my site.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Exploring The Undergrounds
Well, it's amazing how some of the most beautiful passions are shared by so few. Thanks to a re-routed email that dropped in to my Inbox telling me there was a presentation on "All about caves and caving" and I got a chance to meet people who are exploring these underground marvels since more then a decade. I'm pretty much beginner and just had some idea how these caves would have looked like when I read Adventures of Tom Sawyer a decade ago (and this still remains the best book I've ever read!) and when I went out on one of the caving trips last summer with AMC. It is simply breathtaking what this planet's underground holds for you with miles and miles long caves nerves system frequently including super huge tall domes formations and sometime hundreds of spiky icy straws, deep pits and even lakes. These caves can be explored almost all year round because temperatures there stays stable between 50-60 F. However it's complete darkness there and you got to have helmet with light and some other essential gear. It's recommended that if you are beginner you go with someone experienced and never go in group of less then four. If you are a good hiker and have some rock climbing experience, it helps but all you really need is a will to crawl, scramble and be there! The National Speleological Society is your starting point to get in touch with gurus and go out in their group outings across United States and Maxico. If you are in New Jersey, visit Northern New Jersey Grotto to meet some of the cool experts in this field and start out in their trips designed for beginners!