Sunday, June 29, 2008

iRock!!

It was about 3 months back that I kicked myself for tossing my denim into the washing machine only to discover, after 3 wash cycles, that it had my iPod shuffle in it with the switch in the ON position. I have hated myself for doing that.

I had tried reviving it right after, after about a week and then again after about a month. The poor thing was gone for good. Just yesterday I discovered a crappy portable radio that was complimentary along with my purchase of an 8-pack can of tennis balls and it REALLY sucked which made me miss my iPod a little more.

So today, after 3 months since my blunder, I plug the thing again, and my heart skipped a beat when the freaking orange light came alive. It took a good 3 minutes for my comp to detect it though, but then Voila!!! - it came back to life.


Apple you do freaking rock - either that or I just don't understand the effects of water and detergent on electronics well enough to see it otherwise!

Agoraphobia

"The word "agoraphobia" is an English adaptation of the Greek words agora (αγορά) and phobos (φόβος), and literally translates to "a fear of the marketplace."

Agoraphobia is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include crowds, wide open spaces or traveling, even short distances. This anxiety is often compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public.[1]

Agoraphobics may experience panic attacks in situations where they feel trapped, insecure, out of control or too far from their personal comfort zone. In severe cases, an agoraphobic may be confined to his or her home. [2] Many people with agoraphobia are comfortable seeing visitors in a defined space they feel they can control. Such people may live for years without leaving their homes, while happily seeing visitors in and working from their personal safety zones. If the agoraphobic leaves his or her safety zone, they may experience a panic attack.

Causes and contributing factors

There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of agoraphobia. These factors include:[7]

  • Family factors:
    • Having an anxious parent role model.
    • Being abused as a child.
    • Having an overly critical parent.
  • Personality factors:
    • High need for approval.
    • High need for control.
    • Oversensitivity to emotional stimuli.
  • Biological factors:
    • Oversensitivity to hormone changes.
    • Oversensitivity to physical stimuli.
    • High amounts of sodium lactate in the bloodstream."
Source: Wikipedia

Countdown clocks

I have about 4 months before I graduate and currently I ain't taking things as seriously as I should be. So to see if this psychological warfare works for me, began my quest for a way to put countdown clocks on my website and my desktop, which is where I Spend a lot of my time.

For my website I found a fairly simple looking and simple to use Java script code here.
<script language='JavaScript'>
TargetDate = "10/27/2008";
BackColor = "white";
ForeColor = "grey";
CountActive = true;
CountStepper = -1;
LeadingZero = true;
DisplayFormat = "****%%D%% Days, %%H%% Hours****";
FinishMessage = "It is finally here!";
</script>
<script language='JavaScript' src='http://balpeck.googlepages.com/countdown.js'/>
Well, it wasnt enough for me to put it on the blog; I wanted it on my desktop also, staring at me, when I am doing crazy stuff - like this. So, another quick search led me to this - PhanTim3

Here is what it looks like, sitting on the upper-right corner:

It is pretty cool, with changeable skins, opacity control, always on top option.. only the Stick to desktop is not what I thought it was.. if I switch windows, it goes away from the desktop - i guess it gets minimised, but is hiddden; something for their forums I guess. Anyway, it is cool enough to use than make my own.


THE CLOCK IS TICKING....

Funny Quote of the Day

"Efficiency is intelligent laziness."
~Anonymous

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cheeni Kum

(Source: Wikipedia)

I am usually very willing to give any movie of Amitabh's a shot and this one also had Tabu in it - all the more reason to watch it. I like movies that do something to change the stupid society people live in (...yeah, 'people'; I doubt if I do :P - it exists if you think it exists!) and to change the whole thought process people exhibit. This movie did draw laughs pretty much all the way. There is a point though where it gets a little filmy, but hey if you are willing to accept its just gonna be there in every movie you see, it doesn't have to spoil the rest of it. Biggest plus - they don't sing or dance in the movie!

Recommended.

Friday, June 27, 2008

South Mountain - Brush Fire

A lighting sparked off a wild brush fire at the Gila river Indian Reservation - this place is a little west of my home and I went up South Mountain (which is pretty much my backyard) to see the smoke rising from that wild fire. The fire has now been burning for about 3 days and is likely to continue for a few days more - as there are no settlements around it, it is a low priority here! 1200 acres burnt so far!!




View the complete story with the video of the fire here

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mix 96.9

Mix 96.9 the radio station that rocks in Phoenix. I finally went onto their website and was pleasantly surprised. You can see their radio playlist online, see what song is currently playing on the radio, listen to that song on your comp (if you are willing to tolerate the ads).. talked about a tightly integrated world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Serving through time

JUNE 2008


  • Knees could bend a little more
  • Use the leading hip tip - by the time you get into the trophy pose, and the use your core muscles to pull the upper body.
  • Looks like you are already, but check if, from the point the racket drops down behind your back, you are bringing the racket up on edge(hammer like) and pronating before contact
  • At contact, the hand is angled to the side; try to keep it straight up.
  • Leaning too far forward into the court. Try to use your hieght and hit at the highest reach. The toss is still a little out in front, toss closer or position yourself to be closer to the ball


AUGUST 2007

Rotating a Video Clip through right angles

I was out on the tennis courts to get my serves on video once again to see how i was doing. And it so happened that I took most of them as portrait as opposed the the default landscape.

The .mov files that got generated of course were not auto corrected. So I began hunting for a software that might help me rotate each clip by 90 degrees.

I found Kodak EasyShare to do the job for me. It is freely available from the Kodak website for download and it worked for me.

At first it refused to rotate. But shutting it down and trying again did it for me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Numb

Recommended.

Trailer..


Mathew Perry speaks about the movie..


Depersonalization.. wow!

Play and Grab

Well this it what I call my new little player; well that and Mp3Grabber:p. A friend pointed me to the website musicbenz.com It has tons of old and new hindi mp3s and mp3s just sitting some place begging to be downloaded are just too tempting to pass on.

The thing is there isn't an easy way to selectively download these and it is too annoying to click on each link, see a file save dialog open and all that.. Sure, one could use wget, but it will download stuff without much discrimination. I have only so much disk space and sorting out mp3 later is something that never comes around. Its a good idea to filter at the source.

Well, so the only natural thing to do was to go on and create my own. I made it specific to this site, but plan to retro-fit interfaces a little later, to support just about any source.

My utility can be found here.

When it comes to writing quick utilities, I always turn to my Visual Studio 2005 IDE that has been with me through time. So, it runs on Windows and needs the Microsoft .Net v2.0 installed and yeah, Windows Media Player too.

Parag suggested I put a screenshot. So, here goes:



Features in a nutshell are:
  • Play songs off the musicbenz.com site without downloading them with an option to shuffle
  • Adding all songs in a given web folder at that site. (See the Readme first)
  • Simply hit a button to download the song
  • Up to 3 simultaneous downloads ( 3 is a magic number that just seemed right)
  • Shows the songs you have already downloaded
  • Can queue songs for download
  • Playlist and download queues are saved and restored on application start up. Download will sort of resume.
Well it works as well as I want it to.
I do find the need for a stop/pause button, but now I'm too lazy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sleepless in Phoenix

I cant remember when I had a sleepless night last. A night out IS different from a sleepless night.

Well, this was my own doing. Had several lessons from this.

Greed is bad - Trying to free up some space on your HD, will cause you to free up more space.

I now know the correct way of removing Linux from a dual boot system. I used Partition Magic to wipe out my Linux ext3 and swap space, but forgot that grub was still on and would screw up the booting process. Well, looks like fdisk isn't avaiable with XP. So get/make a Win98 boot disk and run fdisk /mbr from the boot disk. This serves to clear the initial loader and I think boots from the the root partition. This command leaves the partition table intact and this is what I deleted.

More lessons -

Don't monkey with the MBR when its past your bedtime.

Don't monkey with the MBR without patience.

Don't do anything with the MBR without knowing exactly what you are doing. Gong on a hunch can be make you regret things.

Create a backup file containing the MBR. I used MBRWizard that comes on a WINBUCD.

BUT, backing it up on the disk you are messing with will make you hate yourself later..I did too!

Well, after about 12 hours since my screw up, I was able to bring things back to being good. The savior - "TestDisk" - Comes with the knoppix live CD, but finally I used a separate windows download and boot of Win 98 discs with CD support and then used the testdisk utility.

Let it analyze the partitions, you will need to select the right active partition - the utility may not pick the right one by default, write the MBR to disk. This should restore your messed up partition table. To get rid of the boot loader, use the "Write MBR Code" of the utility. Doing this worked for me.

This is a rather shoddy howto - but I don't mean for it to be otherwise. If anything, its only to show that there is hope after all, even after you have just screwed up the MBR.

Thisshould be a good place to get started from.

Jim carrey, live at the Roxbury

Jim Carrey, Live at the Roxbury

Tera husn muhje badda bhata hai



Monday, June 16, 2008

Funny Quote of the Day

"The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up there's no law against wacking them around a little."

~Joe Martin

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunset at Tempe Butte

Quote

"Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

~Steve Jobs

Friday, June 13, 2008

Funny Quote of the Day

"When I told my doctor I couldn't afford an operation, he offered to touch-up my X-rays."

~Henny Youngman

Cactus in Bloom

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Posting a PPT to your blog

The way I did this, is by doing the following:
  1. Use OpenOffice to export the PPT as a MacroMedia Flash (.swf) file
  2. Upload the swf file to Google Pages. Any place accessible is just as good.
  3. Use the URL to the *.swf file in the snippet below. Note the URL is used in two places.
  4. Paste this snippet into the HTML where you want your PPT to show
<object width="425" height="350">
<param name="movie" value="http://balpeck.googlepages.com/ColinPowellonleadership.swf"/>
<embed src="http://balpeck.googlepages.com/ColinPowellonleadership.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">
</embed>
</object>


General Colin Powell on Leadership

This was presented to us as a part of the Software Project, Process and Quality Management course and the topic under discussion was Leadership.

I have never taken the interest in figuring out how to post a PPT to a blog and today I did, so here goes. (Click on it to go to the next slide.)







The display size is rather small, and making it any bigger spoils the appearance of the blog for me. So, here is the bigger display.

The process of doing so, deserves a post in its own right.

Steal those idle cycles

Yesterday, I was getting all nostalgic and watching several videos of ads, serials that used to air on TV like 20 years back. When talking about it with a friend today, what I have always wondered came back to me. Anything you want is out there. I just happen to view and collect, but for each video out there, there is someone going through a whole lot to get it, convert it into a form you tube will allow and upload it.

If you think about it, thats a lot of person-hours. People really have that much idle time with nothing to do. Yeah, I know, I am a king on that list too :P. SETI@Home is a project that is targeted at stealing the idle cycles of household computers over the internet to help analyze the several terabytes of data collected from all the space exploration being done. Imagine what good can come, if only we did that - treated people no different from computers and took away all the idle time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Days of DD




Baje sargam, har taraf se!!


Arey, chaddi pehan ke phool kihlla hai!!


Ek titali, anek titaliyan


Vicks ki golli lo, khich-khich door karo


Buland Bharat ki buland tasveeer


Khuch khaas hai, hum sabhi me!!



Doodh hai mast in every season!


Center Shock - hila ke rakh de

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pessimism

"The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. "
~George F Will