Learning new languages

The weekend was pretty nice. Spain beat France 2-0 (vamos sirpicha, sorry spendy). Then Fernando Alonso won The Grand Prix of Europe (Valencia), despite starting from 11th on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen got 2nd and Michael Schumacher 3rd (starting 12th on the grid). And now Alonso leads the drivers’ championship with 111 agaisnt Webber’s 91.

Other than that, had good time learning Spanish and Clojure. Reached Skill 5 in DuoLingo and did some initial 30 odd problems at 4Clojure.com. Learning both Clojure and Spanish seems addictive. Once the rhythm settles in, it becomes hard to stop pushing harder.

On the shopping front, just purchased my first ever e-book, “Functional Programming for Object Oriented Programmers”, purchased a cool toy that has been shipped and should be arriving shortly as well as a book from Infibeam to help me make best use of the toy. Among other activities, trying to chase down a few bugs with the Python support in Anjuta. Also, in recent days, I’ve run into excellent form with the Pirc Defence as black. So long as it doesn’t transpose into a King’s Indian, I seem to be doing great in the opening and middlegame. As white, trying out some Smith-Morra stuff and King’s Gambit with reasonable success.

EXIF is so 2002, we need new standards

Exchangeable Image File Format, or EXIF as we popularly know it, is a specification for file formats of images, video, audio etc. files. The images and video that we see around us and click on our digital cameras or mobile phones contain EXIF tags that specify various information about the shooting conditions of the image, geolocation etc.

Unfortunately, the latest specifications, EXIF 2.2, were defined with almost no extensibility in mind. Common frustrations, from an open data lover or a community mappers’ point of view, are that it is not possible to (a) associate geolocation with each frame of a video, (b) associate accelerometer/gyroscope readings with the images/videos, (c) capture timezone information along with the timestamps, (d) associate additional data such as temperature, digital compass, wifi, cell tower data with images/videos. The whole list is far more than these few, but these are most glaring shortcomings from my point of view.

It is the collective responsibility of all online services like WIkimedia Commons, Flickr, Pinterest, Picasa, Facebook, Youtube etc. as well as camera and phone manufacturers to push for and collectively formulate a new version of the standard, so as to make sure the future generations don’t miss out on the conditions under which we shot, what we shot..

Recent days

As Anshul pointed out recently, life here is quite eventful. Past week or two has been full of interesting events. Most notably the get together of friends and the incidents that followed. The trips to Nandi hills and Tirupati were exciting and kept up with the tradition of last minute planning. Corporate life is chaotic as well, but so far so good.

Chess improvement tips

Today, at FICS, tjradd(SR) gave some golden tips towards taking your chess to the next level. Here they are:

  1. Do at least 10 tactics puzzles on chesstempo.com every day. When you get a problem wrong, go through it SLOWLY and figure out what you missed.
  2. Stop playing all forms of blitz
  3. Study GM games
  4. Establish an opening repertoire, understand the themes and main plans
  5. Study your own games carefully, and if possible with stronger players
  6. Study all “fundamental” end games.

All wonderful suggestions. I am going to work on them now. Here’s my current situation/progress against each point:

  1. This is something I need to start.
  2. I need to stop blitz immediately.
  3. Past month or two, been watching a lot of GM games. Helped a lot.
  4. Due to the T49 at Team League, I’ve studied a few more openings now. Need to work more.
  5. Thanks to spendius and sirpicha on FICS, I’ve studied my games on a regular basis.
  6. Thanks to tjradd again, I’ll now get started with his endgame primer.

Do you have any other tips?

Looking forward to some crazy dumbness

Very soon, we all will be mature and morose enough not to act dumb or randomly. Let us take this opportunity to do some crazy things that we’ll remember forever. 🙂

I feel sad at times to look back on things to realize what all we could do before and cannot now.

  1. We could bunk classes, we can’t bunk office.
  2. We could hang out with friends, we can’t any longer.
  3. We could chat with friends on the phone almost daily, now once a week feels frequent.
  4. We could get the bikes and hit the road, pick buddies from their homes and go on trips. Now we need to plan months in advance.
  5. We could say/do dumb things all day, now we better get our act together (we are professionals).
  6. We could blow up all pocket money on food/drinks in one shot, now we better save to ensure sustenance till end of month.
  7. We could go on college fests, take part in contests. But now, we just have meetings to attend in office.
  8. We could go to movies (even if 1 hour later than the start) any time, any day we wanted to. Now we have to wait for the weekends, and might still not have company of enough good friends.

Life has become more serious than ever before. 2.5 years into the professional life, I feel things are going to get further downhill from now. The fun days are behind us. Period.

Bye bye 2011

The year seems to be coming to an end. 2011 was one of the bad ones in life for various reasons. It is impossible to list all the various reasons for this without annoying some asshole or the other, but it just suffices to say that it was a year of setbacks, disappointments and realizations. The single most positive development was me getting a Nokia N9. Heheh, okok, there were other moments better than this, but just couldn’t resist the temptation to mention it.

At the beginning of the year, I had the company of various people. Some were assholes, some were really good friends and some were colleagues to draw inspiration from. I end this year with absolutely nothing to do with them anymore. By the grace of God, circumstances have forced some leachers out of my life, and I couldn’t have done any better at that wilfully! Hence, the positives far outweigh the negatives, trust me. So, expecting 2012 to be a step forward in life. Welcome 2012, I’ll value each day carefully towards a happy fulfilling life ahead.

Life has changed. Earlier, we could just write about all the shit we did as effortlessly as we did them; be it freaky trips or bunked classes or missed exams or trips to restaurants. Now, not only are such events hard to come by, but also writing about them isn’t really appealing (or good). I’ll just try to sum up recent days. They have been really bad!

Manas fell ill, had to resort to medical care back in Allahabad.. Why so? Despite running continuous high fever for a few days, a Hyderabad hospital prescribed him “crocin” to run the fever down! And, not just Manas.. I fell ill, got admitted into CMH for a couple of days. And these are just a few highlights of the tip of an iceberg.

Anyway, will try to keep writing again, soon.

Ikri Mikri

I used to play this with my grandmother who had taught me these verses. We had a great time when I was small. She also taught me some cool origami tricks, will try to remember them.

Ikiri mikiri cham chikiri,
Chamé kaata mojumdar,
DĂ© Ă©lo damodar,
Damodarér handi kudi,
Taité boshé chaal kudi,
Chaal kudithé holo béla,
Bhaat khabiaai jamaai shaala,
Bhaaté podlo maachi,
Kodal diyé chanchi,
Kodal holo bonta,
Kankshiyalér maata!

How to:
The kids sit in a circle and place their hands in the centre with fingers spread out. The song is sung with great gusto and one kid touches every finger in turn, progressing in a clockwise direction. The finger that gets touched when the last word of the song is sung is tucked under the hand it belongs to and the game goes on, with the song being sung anew. A kid who “loses” all his fingers is out of the game. The last kid standing (sitting, rather) wins!

New activities, More Balanced Life

Yesterday, had fruitful “business” discussions with Mitali, Pavanesh and Vivek. It seems the plans seem fit and ready to be proceeded with. Yes, “business” stuff!

After a year of disappearance from normal life, I have changed and been rendered unfit to be described in one or two words — words like “techie”, “nerd”, “geek”, etc. Pretty much the opposite. I’ve started taking travel more seriously, writing micro/macro blog posts more often, reading “non-tech” stuff with more passion, and of course, utilizing my intellect more on the lines of entrepreneurship.

Recent trips to Mysore, Mekedatu and Kalyani was part of a series of one big eye-opener: travel is fun. Playing around with a GPS is even more interesting! Looking forward to taking up more trips, more GPS traces, more fun and less (but productive) work. Hoping to bring this blog and my fellow bloggers back to life (Anshul, Akriti, Mitali, Anshima ma’m: are you reading?)