Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gmail woes..

Srijith has a bad experience with Gmail and decides to switch to Yahoo! As he puts it

What I look for in an email account is reliability more than coolness.

Another Firefox vs IE story

This time in IE's favour. ComputerWeekly has an article which says Firefox had more flaws in 2005 so far than IE. As Firefox becomes more widespread, I expect such news stories to rise.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Video iPod rumours!

Looks like Apple will be going with the Sharp LH7A400 SOC initially for its Video iPod, with a future switch to a Intel XScale processor. My only doubt about this rumour is because Video iPod should be able to transfer huge amounts of content quickly, but the SOC's spec shows only a USB 2.0 Full speed Device, and no Firewire!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Bomb Hoax!

We had a anonymous bomb threat call at Bagmane Tech Park today. No, we didn't evacuate, but we had a huge posse of policemen with sniffer dogs searching the length and breadth of the tech park. Fortunately they didn't find anything. Wonder what satisfaction people get by making such anonymous hoax calls!

2005 IDEA design award winners. Browsing through all 158 products is sure to take lot of your time, but there are quite a few cute products!

A programmer's view of a baby. Joe Beda writes about his new baby, Anne.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005

Seminar on Recent Advances in Coding Theory

Seminar by Krishna R. Narayanan
Associate Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Texas A&M University, College Station

Title: Recent Advances in Coding Theory
Date: 25-7-2005 (Monday)
Time: 4.00 to 5.00 PM; Tea after the talk
VENUE: Auditorium, Texas Instruments India
Bagmane Tech Park, CV Raman Nagar, Bangalore

Prof. Krishna Narayanan is a well known expert in the area of coding theory. His research interests are in
-Modulation and coding (Turbo codes, Low density parity check codes) for wireless communications
-Iterative Processing - Iterative equalization, demodulation etc
-Equalization and coding for Magnetic recording and wireless communications
-Joint source-channel coding
-Hardware implementation of LDPC decoders

Prof. Narayanan will provide an overview of the recent advances in coding theory in this talk. The talk is open to all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sleeping in Airports!

The Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports. Singapore is the 2005 Golden Pillow Winner and Bombay is the 2005 Poopy Award Winner! Having been to both airports, i tend to agree! :)

Google China!

Google goes to China. Google opens up a R&D center in China which will be headed by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, who joins Google from Microsoft. [Microsoft has sued Google on this hire]

Monday, July 18, 2005


Watch Tower! has a watch tower where they track stuff making news in Karnataka. The Bangalore International Airport watch and Bangalore Metro rail watch are very informative. If you need a one-stop information on what has caused these projects to slip so badly, then go read! Heights of red-tapism.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Visitor Browser stats!

Just had a look at my visitor stats and the browser stats showed this.
50.00% MSIE
40.00% Firefox
4.00% Safari
2.00% Konqueror
2.00% Mozilla
1.00% Opera
1.00% Galeon

I remember seeing almost 90% for IE almost a year back!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Weekend Links!

  • BusinessWeek on blog search. Finding a blog in a Haystack.

  • Google's MasterPlan. O'Reilly Radar has done a good job of compiling the list by browsing through google job postings! The comments are funny!

  • In case you didn't know yet, Charles Simonyi's company Intentional Software has a nice blog!

  • PeeGoals! Where the heck do people get these product ideas?(via)

Friday, July 15, 2005

HP to restructure?

HP may be announcing huge layoffs come Monday. Analysts are expecting more than 15000 people to be laid off! Oops. More here and here

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Well said!

Varnam : Blair is following the Nut-War Terrorism Fighting Design Pattern in which even though we know there is a problem, we just wait till actual humans die

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Today's Links [13 July 2005]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Today's Links [12-July-2005]

Monday, July 11, 2005

Corporate blogging in India

Even though blogging is popular in India, there is a noted scarcity of corporate weblogs. One would expect at least the IT sector to pitch in with some blogs that offer an industry perspective. Wouldn't it be interesting to have Nandan Nilekani or Azim Premji blogging? Or atleast some of the junior executives out there? It's not just in the Indian-owned companies that we see this huge absence, but also in the MNCs that have set shop here in India. Take Microsoft for example, where Scoble has been trying to get every possible product/test group to start blogging. Yet we do not see any groups blogging from the Microsoft India development center. Even Channel9 India is almost non-existent. There may be some Indian companies that encourage blogging and are supportive of it, but i haven't atleast heard of any. Have you?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

BangaloreWALKS - Exploring Bangalore by foot.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Odeo is now open to all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Getting CDROM Track Information using Python

First for some basic info. All CDROM discs(both Audio as well as data CDs) are organised as tracks. The CD tracks are numbered from 1 upto 99. The lead-out is considered as a track and is given a predefined number of 0xAA. The CD-Recordable FAQ is an excellent source of information on all these basics.

Now onto how to use Python for extracting all the track information from a CDROM on Win32. To access any device on your Windows machine from Python(and also to use most of the Win32 API calls), you need to install the Python Win32 extensions. ActiveState has excellent info on all the modules that constitute the Win32 extensions. All windows CDROM ioctls are defined in the Windows DDK, so you will want to install that as well.
The CDROM ioctl we are interested in is the IOCTL_CDROM_READ_TOC, which gives information on the Table of Contents(TOC) of the CD. For working with the CDROM device, we need to first obtain a handle for the CDROM device. This could be done using the CreateFile API.

#Assuming your cdrom drive is at E:
hdevice = win32file.CreateFile("\\\\.\\E:", GENERIC_READ, FILE_SHARE_READ, None, OPEN_EXISTING, 0, 0)

We can now issue the ioctl using the DeviceIoControl function in the win32file python module. The DeviceIoControl function expects the size of the output structure that's expected. For this IOCTL, the return value of this call is the entire TOC information as defined by the CDROM_TOC structure. The maximum size of this structure is 804 bytes. This is the space required for 100 tracks(Max 99 tracks + 1 Leadout). That's defined using MAXIMUM_CDROM_TOC_SIZE. Unfortunately the ioctl numbers are not published at the MSDN website, so you have to browse through the DDK include files for these values. The value for the IOCTL_CDROM_READ_TOC ioctl is 0x24000.

data = win32file.DeviceIoControl(hdevice,IOCTL_CDROM_READ_TOC,"", MAXIMUM_CDROM_TOC_SIZE, None)

The CDROM_TOC structure, which is returned as a string can be easily unpacked using the python struct module. Even though most CDs will have less than 99 tracks, the structure data that is returned will always have 804 bytes. And when you are done unpacking, do not forget to close the device handle you obtained with a CloseHandle call.


So using the code snippets above, we can get the various tracks in the CDROM, along with their start offset in the CDROM in the form of Minute-Second-Frame(MSF) information. Note that this will work for both Audio as well as Data CDs.

London bomb blasts!

I can't figure out what joy these crazy terrorists get by killing innocent civilians. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Monday, July 04, 2005

Is this the time for an Emergency?

Read Cho's interview with Rediff. He talks about the emergency days and also feels that the time is ripe for imposing Emergency.

Today, nobody is aware of his duties in this country. Laws are there to be broken. Rules are there to be violated. Regulations are there to be ignored. That's the present mood of the country.
Why is China advancing at a more rapid rate than us? It is the discipline, which is helping them. We are the most indisciplined of all democracies in the world. Those who were part of JP's movement against corruption are symbols of corruption now, like Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Is this the Anniyan Effect?

Today's Links

There is a recurring theme to today's links : Design simplicity.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bill Swanson's '25 Unwritten Rules of Management'

1. Learn to say, "I don't know." If used when appropriate, it will be often.
2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
4. Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what's there, but few can see what isn't there.
5. Viewgraph rule: When something appears on a viewgraph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about it, and deal with it accordingly.
6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.
7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be. Avoid Newton's Law.
8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.
9. Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don't be known as a good starter but a poor finisher.
10. In completing a project, don't wait for others; go after them, and make sure it gets done.
11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don't assume it will get done!
12. Don't be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
13. Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
16. Don't overlook the fact that you are working for a boss.
* Keep him or her informed. Avoid surprises!
* Whatever the boss wants takes top priority.
17. Promises, schedules, and estimates are important instruments in a well-ordered business.
* You must make promises. Don't lean on the often-used phrase, "I can't estimate it because it depends upon many uncertain factors."
18. Never direct a complaint to the top. A serious offense is to "cc" a person's boss.
19. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the company. Be careful of your commitments.
20. Cultivate the habit of "boiling matters down" to the simplest terms. An elevator speech is the best way.
21. Don't get excited in engineering emergencies. Keep your feet on the ground.
22. Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.
23. When making decisions, the pros are much easier to deal with than the cons. Your boss wants to see the cons also.
24. Don't ever lose your sense of humor.
25. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.

Taken from

Friday, July 01, 2005

Seattle Bus Monster

Absolutely brilliant! An application of google maps which shows bus stops, paths and even current bus locations! Link