National Geographic Photo of the Day

Friday, April 30, 2010

Linux on a Potato?

Yeah, you read that write. Some hackers with too much time on their hands and nothing else to do actually made Linux boot off a potato. You've heard of root drives, now here's linux on a root vegetable :P

This was done a year ago by a group of people on (LOA).

The potato had a distro called "Damn Small Linux", put it on a thumb drive and stuck it in the potato. Then they ran a bunch of red and black wires to the vegetable. Binary commands were sent to the potato via the wires lol. Though the first "vegetarian" Linux was on a head of lettuce, the LOA group even installed Linux on a Shetland Pony. Someone even installed Linux on a dead badger! Instructions here if you have a dead badger lying around the house (eeeeeewwwww) - Instructions here .

People with such geeky preoccupations have this kind of stuff on their doors:
Ohwaitaminute.. that's my door knob! :|  

On a side note, my semester exams are coming next week, so I'll be busy throughout May. The blog will be a bit inactive during said period.

Haveth thou a nice day, ye kind people who peruseth my blog!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Random Thoughts (and videos ;) )

It's been a while since I've regularly posted on the blog. Times are quite busy this 6th semester of mine. So much to do, so much to learn, and so little time.

There have been so many tests over the past few weeks that the major part of my time is spent lying sideways with a book on my face looking surprised when my folks wake me up in the midst of my blissful sleep. Kinda like this:

                                          " Who me? Sleeping?? Can't be! "

Besides this, I've applied for a few internships, some of them quite difficult to get. Now in the strange position of having to decide which one to go for, lol. A paper of mine got sent to Japan by IEEE's Madras Section, cos it was full of awesomeness :P (alright, not in those words, the reason they told me was that it came among the top 3 entries they'd got this year).  Sometimes things go your way a bit too much. Enough academics then, lets talk something else.

I have this affliction - giveaway-addiction. I love giveaways (well, who doesn't?). But, well, I go looking for them on the net. Looking, searching, googling, going through pages on forums, even Yahoo Answers. Yeah, sometimes I'm just nuts. The disease however does have a few upsides. Namely stuff I've won which include:

This disease has got me on twitter and facebook like never before. Most of these contests require you to have a twitter account where you endlessly restate (the exact word is retweet) their posts proving that you will gladly give up your dignity to win the giveaway :D . Then there's good ol' youtube, giveaways abound there too, though I've won none of them there. Like you can see I'm yet to win anything really big (as in uber-expensive), though the Office 2007 copy I won does have a legal retail price of Rs. 15,800 ($300+).

All this has been aided by the constant connectivity my phone, an N79, provides. Granted, Symbian 60 isn't too great (personally I find no big problem with it) but when compared to my old phone, well:

                                              "Get it away, get it away! "

Yeah, even my dog doesn't want that one. Sad :(
This same dog however is no one to complain, because he'll gladly demean himself for other stuff:

                                                "In the hope of Ice Cream"

All this youtubing (aye, I invent words :P) and googling has led me to some pretty interesting videos like these:

Baby Panda scares the crap out of Mum

An amazing rendition of a game's soundtrack. Bloody awesome guitar playing.

Do not leave your girlfriend in the cold and play on your console, if you do, then be ready for this happening "Yo!". ;)

Then there was this site called which shows a new cat video each time you refresh the page. Damn cool way to waste time if you love cats and other animals in general.

"When cute puppies attack (read: lick)"

Alright, so it isn't all cinema, but atleast it provides a welcome break from the non-stop nonsense that the news channels spew on TV. What began as a tiff between these two:

had unearthed so much dirt that the IPL can never really claim to be clean ever again. Match fixing, betting, extortion, dope, benamis, shadow companies, fronts for personal gain...  the allegations fly thick and fast, and upto THREE different government organizations are continuing the job of digging up more dirt. One of the two persons pictured above has lost his former job already, the other looks to be following suit soon enough. And rightfully so, given his colourful past.

Some technically wonderful videos that distracted me from all the DLF maximums and Karbon Kammaal Catches:

The video starts off rather tamely with some cool, yet not really awesome implementation of head and face tracking. But the later part of the clip shows how the entire Iron Man HUD is built up around the person and how well it moves with change in head orientation. Try it out, all you need is a webcam.

Something a bit more useful:

The Adept Quattro is a really really really quick robot. The platform you see moving randomly is controlled by a Wiimote, as eratically as a human can. The robot however adjusts to this random motion rapidly on-the-go. That's just insane at the speed it's placing and replacing the chips which themselves are the same size as the holes they are placed in. So the robot needs to be incredibly precise. Cycling at 300 times a second, the Adept Quattro is one of the world's fastest robots.

Speaking of tech, I got a new phone, a Nokia X6. Capacitive touch screen, 5MP cam, 16gb onboard memory... the works:

It's actually for my dad though, not for me. :( Oh well, maybe I'll win a HTC Incredible or a Desire in some giveaway. Yes, highly unlikely, but a man can hope can't he?

And thus I end this day's post with an obligatory kitty pic:
                          "Thanks for reading, now leave me alone while I drift off to Dreamland"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Revisiting The Prestige

I was just going through my movie collection the other day (needed a break from my frantic exam preparation ;) ) and I chanced upon a disc I'd watched a few years back and thought "Bravo! What a movie".

The movie that I can always re-watch is The Prestige, a tale of obsession. The movie perfectly captures the vibe of turn-of-the-century Victorian England. It all starts well enough with two friendly magicians. Later the death of Angier’s wife seems to establish Borden as the villain. With his pig-headedness and disregard for procedure leading up to her death, the movie swayed me toward mentally rooting for Angier. Thus starts the game of one-upmanship between Borden and Angier. Even the first time when Angier tampers with the gun so that Borden gets shot didn’t sway my loyalties. The journey of each magician from just another guy on stage to big-time performers vying for audiences’ attention was well chronicled in the film. The introduction of Tesla along with his “remotely powered field of light bulbs” experiment brings a smile to my lips every time I see the flick, what with me being in the engineering field and keenly interested in such scientific marvels. The movie even got me thinking about Tesla’s rivalry with Edison, just like Borden vs Angier. All the while Michael Caine’s role as Cutter is one you can’t possible hate.

The terrible price that Angier was willing to pay to usurp Borden’s “Transported Man” was the first thing that really shook my support for the character. Murder for applause, in a way. Besides that, his hatred for Borden goes to the extent of having him framed for murder. The plot revelation towards the end of the movie regarding Fallon and Borden being twins came as a big surprise, though my mind did ask why Borden was so livid that he may lose his assistant, who should by all means have been replaceable. Though possible, who would imagine that men would be this dedicated to their profession. The final act that Angier commits in letting one of the twins hang turned me a full 180 degrees, and I firmly wished for Angier dead (despite the book’s ending). This again is exactly what happens.

I can never ever tire of watching this movie that brought me through a full U-turn from the start of the film to the end.