June 28, 2005

X-Men

Just finished another graphic novel: X-Men: Phoenix Endsong. Now I know why some of my friends rant and rave about X-Men. The ink work is amazingly beautiful. Click on the Read More link below to check a sample of the ink work.


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June 27, 2005

Google Video Upload

From the Google Video Upload website:
Your work deserves to be seen.

You've made a great video. Now who will watch it? Whether you produce hundreds of titles a year or just a few, you can give your videos the recognition and visibility they deserve by promoting them on Google - for free. Signing up for the Google Video Upload Program will connect your work with users who are most likely to want to view them.
Google is accepting digital video files of any length and size. So Jedi Knight Joe Francis, go ahead and upload those excellent amateur films you made!

I only wish Google would also allow me to upload PPTs, PDFs and other assorted documents I produce with the rest of the world. Using some third party site and publishing that URL via Blogger just does not cut it. :(

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June 25, 2005

Splash



The Photoblog: lightsensitive.blogspot.com


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June 24, 2005

Huhcorp

Came across this website via Chirag's blog. From the Huhcorp main page:
Our consulting ideas will entice and excite you. Our professional design solutions will give you the confidence to succeed. And our web site will make you think we know what we're doing.

Our name will confuse you, but, you have to admit, the logo design is pretty cool. And we're good at turning regular words into "e-words," such as "e-consulting," "e-business" or "e-sexual harassment."

Our office is really modern and we've got nice computers and stuff. If you ever saw it, you'd say "Wow, cool office. These guys are legit."
Also check out their other pages: Ideas, Strategies, Solutions, Clients, About Us, Contact

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June 22, 2005

They do it with Layers

Sometimes we could all do with an extra hand...



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Yipee!!

No more creating multiple accounts on Flickr just to upload new photos!

Thanks to Tech God Binu, I now have a Pro Flickr account. The professional account has a 2 GB monthly upload limit with unlimited photosets and other hazaar options. This should be more than enough for my needs.

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Outfoxed

For those who use the Firefox browser:
Outfoxed enables you to use your network of trusted friends to determine what's good, bad, and dangerous on the Internet. Outfoxed allows you to use the opinion of your friends who are experts in certain areas. For example: you might want to use Nilesh's opinion when buying a digital camera or Beatzo's when looking at movie review sites.

Beyond that, Outfoxed also helps you deal with spyware, malware, Phishing sites etc. While Outfoxed also does a lot of other stuff, I will leave it to you all to discover it for yourself.
A brief intro to what Outfoxed does is available here while you can download Outfoxed if you are using Firefox browser from here. You can add me as your informer; my Informer ID on Outfoxed is eNder.

While I am pretty excited about this innovative usage of social networking, companies like Amazon can take great advantage of such a concept. Hopefully should be able to flesh out my ideas on that in some other post.

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June 21, 2005

Some More Photos

Here are some more pics from my photography expedition the last Sunday:






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June 19, 2005

Photographs

Lazy Sunday evening; been raining in Mumbai for the past two days. Nothing like the overcast skies to take some nice photographs. Here are some new snaps:









High resolution (1024x768) images available on my Flickr page.

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June 18, 2005

Music

What I am listening to these days:
  • Buddy Guy & Junior Wells: The Real Blues
  • Charlie Parker: The Birds Best Bop on Verve
  • Dave Brubeck: Greatest Hits
  • Howlin' Wolf: The Chess Box Set
  • John Coltrane: Coltrane Plays the Blues
  • John Coltrane: Giant Steps
  • John Lee Hooker: The Very Best of
  • John Mayall: The Collection
  • Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World
  • Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
  • Muddy Waters: Fathers and Sons
  • Thelonious Monk: The Columbia Years
My album recommendations come from here:

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Books

Sumo Man somehow felt I would not go through with this. So just to prove him wrong, here I go:

Total Books I Own: Without including the eBooks that I have, should be over 500. Including eBooks, should be over 5000.

Last book I Bought:One Hundred Years of Solitude (by Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and India: A Wounded Civilization (by V.S. Naipaul)

Last Book I Read: The graphic novels Sin City and Watchmen. Currently reading V for Vendetta

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:
  • Influence: A Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  • Shackleton's Way by Margot Morrel
  • A Road Less Travelled by Scott M Peck
  • The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order by Samuel P Huntington
  • Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

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V for Vendetta

These days I am on a Graphic Novels spree. Just obtained Alan Moore's V for Vendetta and the Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's excellent manga Neon Genesis Evangelion. Ah, if only I had a little more time!

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June 15, 2005

More Graphic Novel Goodness: Sin City

Had been waiting for Frank Miller's Sin City for quite some time. Finally, have managed to obtain a copy. While graphic novel fans have known about the glory of Sin City for quite some time, most people have heard of this rather recently because of the movie.

Miller won both the prestigious Harvey Award as well as the Eisner Award for the yarn Family Values. Miller's black and white artwork in Sin City has a gritty, hard boiled look that has bedazzled fans for years. Told in a film noir like style, its use of light and shadows is MINDBLOWING. Sin City is a masterful demonstration of what can be done with just black and white, with just light and shadow.

Ranjit Babu, you will just love the artwork. [For those not from ISB, Ranjit was a batchmate with superb artistic skills and had actually done art work for the Mad Magazine!]

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June 12, 2005

Watchmen

Watchmen, the only graphical novel to have won a special achievement Hugo Award, is the creation of Alan Moore (Writer) and Dave Gibbons (Artist). The title refers to the Latin Quis custodiet ipsos custodes or in plain English Who watches the watchmen?

The entire story is built using fictional documents: news reports, journals, comic book story and articles on/about the Watchmen. It often goes into flashback mode to explain a character's point of view and motivations. Artwork, characterization, popular culture, historical events have all been woven skillfully into the story to make it believable. This is more than what can be said of certain other productions.

For instance, in Volume VI one of the characters in the series mentions the murder of one Kitty Genovese as the event that started his conversion from Kovacs to Rorschach. Had I not read Tipping Point sometime back, I would not have paid much attention to this tiny detail. As it happens Kitty Genovese was a very real person and her murder gave rise to a psychological phenomenon that became known as the bystander effect or Genovese syndrome.

Alan and Dave repeatedly use the Doomsday Clock as a motif in their novel to highlight their concern about the cold war escalating into World War III. By integrating small details like these into Watchmen, Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons have done a commendable job.

As an aside, I have found some of these comic books delve into deep philosophical/ethical/moral questions. Naruto, my current favorite Anime, too explored quite a few such issues. This is what, in my opinion, makes these books tremendously exciting.

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June 10, 2005

Would be funny, if it were not idiotic.

I have no idea who or what runs India Daily, but a badly written automated bot might not be a bad guess. Was browsing through their Technology section wherein I came across some totally wierd articles:

From an article titled Manipulating weather with the help of extraterrestrial electromagnetic radiation– a new phase in contemporary cold war [Link]:
Many countries have secretly put in devices on the earth to manipulate the terrestrial ionosphere and the magnetosphere. They call these high-energy devices means of frying incoming ballistic missiles. But in reality a variation of these devices classified under other projects can manipulate the incoming burst of particle energies or the massive electromagnetic radiations to manipulate the weather patterns and create or stop artificial weathers.
From the article titled Extraterrestrial UFO influence, effect of polar reversal or military experiment in Mexican Volcano [Link]:
One possibility is that the hot spot of active volcano is disturbed by some extraterrestrial experiments controlled by aliens. Mexico recently has reported excessive sightings of UFOs. The other alternative can be that some kind of military experimentation is going on there.
Wait, wait. There is more to come. Another article titled Controlling the human mind with the help of artificially charged ions and pulsating electromagnetic waves [Link] claims:
Artificial ionization of the immediate environment and careful algorithmic control of the same can produce amazing results. But controlling minds of many people and over a large area can be performed through the use of special types of high intensity electromagnetic waves pulsing in a specific manner. Pulse is controlled by the precision computers.
Another snippet from an article grandly titled Why conventional physics fails for time machine design as well as understanding Extraterrestrial UFOs ["Link]:
The new physics is based on spatial structures of the space. The space as we know in three dimensions is just an instance. The application of other dimensions including time can be viewed as animating the three dimensional effect in that dimension.

Spatial structures can only be perceived through complex computer algorithms. These algorithms are able to create the simulation of many dimensions above that we know which are four. It can model leaking gravity from the Universe into a parallel Universe. It can simulate the effects of dark matter on the Universe and the overall gravity. Through these spatial structure algorithms, teleporting, time travel and principles by which extraterrestrial UFOs operate can be modeled.
Further goodies from an article titled Reverse engineering Quantum Electrodynamics of a Black Hole to develop enormous electron radiation and the time machine ["Link]:
Quantum Electrodynamics is the extension of traditional thermodynamics that allows calculating the speed at which electrons radiate from a black hole. Consider a virtual electron-positron pair produced just outside the event horizon of a Black Hole. Once the pair is created, the intense curvature of space-time of the black hole can put energy into the pair. Thus the pair can become non-virtual; the electron does not fall back into the hole.
Many more such mad-scientist articles can be found on their Technology page. Some titles:

How does it feel inside an Extraterrestrial UFO belonging to a very advanced alien civilization? [Link]

The final frontier of stealth using parallel Universe as cover for invisible propagation – a reverse engineered concept from extraterrestrial UFOs [Link]

Following path of leaking gravity into fifth and higher dimensions – clues to parallel universes in our immediate vicinity and bending space and time [Link]

Reverse engineering universal military modules from Extraterrestrial UFOs – a combination of submarine, aircraft and armored hovercraft
[Link]

Finding nearest openings to seven parallel Universes – near death experiences [Link].

Someone certainly has been smoking something funny!!

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Ankhein

If JK Rowling was responsible for reviving children's interest in books, if Wachowski brothers were responsible for getting people back to the big screen, then Binu has to be responsible for getting me interested in TV once again.

His post on Ankhein is something you gotta read! From his post:
Sad that you can't get to watch Plan 9 From Outer Space? Relax, there's something on DD National just for you. The "so bad it's good" serial is called Ankhein and it airs on DD National at 10:00 pm every Thursday. It's about a colonel and his team of five commandos called Ankhein who protect the nation from the evil-doers Carlos and Kangaroo (who are always getting drunk next to a pool and laughing out loud).

Describing a full episode with all its flaws will require a dedicated website. I'm sure the serial will attain cult status soon and one will spring up. Here are some interesting sequences from the last two episodes.
Full post here.

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June 08, 2005

Ashok Banker's Demons of Chitrakut

Ashok Banker's Demons of Chitrakut is the third in series of his Ramayana books. I had read and thoroughly enjoyed the earlier two: Prince of Ayodhya and Seige of Mithila. So, when on a recent visit to Paperbak I saw this book available, I immediately purchased it expecting to spend a least a couple of hours engrossed in finishing it.

I am almost through the novel and it looks like I was mistaken. Demons of Chitrakut is a major let down; it seems so artificial, so inflated. In fact, it almost reads like the script of a soap opera.

In a fantasy novel, I would look for heroic new quests, romances, powerful beings with magical/supernatural powers, twists in the plot that give readers a reason to turn pages. Unfortunately, Demons of Chitrakut is lacking in all these respects. It is a plain and boring retelling of the Ramayana that we know so well. Worse, the author seems to be filling pages with words.

In this respect the first two books were different, they had quite a few plots/sub-plots wherein they differed from the version we have grown up with. They were also fast paced whereas Demons of Chitrakut meanders and is as slow as molasses.

I am wondering where I can collect my refund from? ;-)

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June 07, 2005

Photography Hacks...

Source: O'Reilly Digital Photography Hacks

You have seen those flattering professional photos with soft lighting. While you can achieve the same with softening or diffusion filters, these cost money. O'Reilly's Digital Photography Hacks explains a simpler way to achieve a similar effect.

A simpler way to achieve a similar effect is the use of a pantyhose. Stretch a piece of beige colored pantyhose in front of the lens & clamp it using a rubberband. The tension in the pantyhose will define the level of softness: the tighter the pantyhose, the milder is the effect. Take multiple shots at different tension levels; finally select the one that appeals the most to you.

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June 06, 2005

All I Really Need to Know...

Games.net is currently hosting a hilarious article by Jane Pickard. Titled "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Video Games, Part One" it offers some excellent advice:
2. Always, always be moving. This is most true in multiplayer. Don't hang around waiting, because even though you have the sniper rifle, they might have the shotgun. You're just asking to be sneaked up on. This is a great technique to apply to the office. Walking around, everyone sees that you are there, but you always look busy, on your way to doing something else. They can't pin you down to ask you to do stuff. Plus, it's just good exercise.
Read the whole article here.

Monkeypup actually took time to write a rebuttal: Everything I learned from Video Games was Wrong.

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Just Purchased...

While I was staying at Thane, I would regularly visit the book shop "Paperbak" at Vasant Vihar. Mahesh, the owner, was himself pretty well read and would often suggest some excellent titles. After leaving Bombay, I really missed Paperbak.

After coming to Bombay, I yesterday visited Paperbak once again. The collection did not disappoint me. The titles I picked up while I was there include:
Currently about to finish one of the best books on World Politics. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is extremely provocative and amazingly insightful. That book deserves a separate detailed post which will happen once I have read it a couple of times.

Also procured:
And the weekend was spent watching the Thai movie Ong Bak & Ring II.

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June 05, 2005

Anime Movies...

Here is a partial list of Anime movies that I want to see. If you have any of these, I would love to exchange:
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Castle in the Sky
  • Millenium Actress
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds
  • Crimson Pig
  • The Witch's Express Mail
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Tokyo Godfathers
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  • Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro
In one of my previous posts I had mentioned about the anime series Naruto. The entire anime as well as the manga series can be downloaded from Narutofan. If you have a fat pipe at home, enjoy!

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June 04, 2005

Harry Potter Spoiler

A little birdy tells me that the person to die in the next Harry Potter novel is...

[Please click the "Read More..." link only if you are OK with finding out the identify of the person. Else, please ignore this post and wait for the novel to be released.]

For those who did click the link, the person who dies in the next installment of Harry Potter is Professor Dumbledore.

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June 03, 2005

Anti Virus Software

While my office laptop comes loaded with the latest and the greatest in anti-virus technology, my home laptop doesn't. Search for free anti-virus solutions lead me to these two sites:

1. ClamAV: GPL'ed

2. Avast: Free Software

Do you know of any other good anti-virus packages?

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June 02, 2005

Read These...

Wierd
Funny

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Secure Email

Get free digital certificates from CAcert which can be incorporated into your email client.

From the website:
CAcert.org is a community driven, Certificate Authority that issues certificates to the public at large for free. For the enthusiast looking to dip their toe in the water, we have an easy way of obtaining certificates you can use with your email program. You can use these not only to encrypt, but to prove to your friends and family that your email really does come from you.

For administrators looking to protect the services they offer, we provide host and wild card certificates which you can issue almost immediately. Not only can you use these to protect websites, but also POP3, SMTP and IMAP connections, to list but a few. Unlike other certificate authorities, we don't limit the strength of the certificates, or the use of wild card certificates. Everyone should have the right to security and to protect their privacy, not just those looking to run ecommerce sites.

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