Monthly Archives: July 2005

An earthquake!

Well, apparently there was one, in the eMule download statistics.
 
Check it out! What seismic activity… The records show it all! πŸ˜‰
 
eMule earthquake
 
Maybe we should call it the donkey dance?

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My fourth SRM

My fourth SRM was again one of the disasters. I do not know how to implement an integer to string function in GCC, since it does not support itoa(). Now, I know, use sprintf(), or stringstreams. Serves me right for not knowing it before.
 
But actually, no one really taught me STL before. I must certainly read it. C++ is nothing without all the wonderful things that can be done using the STL. It is sad, sacrilage even, that it is not taught anywhere. Believe me, if you haven’t done <alogrithm>, you are missing a lot!
 
Anyway, the 250-point problem was a very simple one, just had to sort numbers numerically instead of lexicographically. Easiest way would have been to use the sort from <algorithm>, but I did not want to do that, and so wasted time.
 
My 500-point problem was ready, and except for the above mentioned formatting problem. And so could not submit. Wasted all my time trying to get the itoa() working, so could not do the 1000-pointer.
 
Result? My rating went down. 856 now. Back to gray!
 
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And the top two coders were banned, since they cheated this SRM. They submitted all the solutions in less than 4 minutes or so. One claimed to be from IIT Kanpur!

Sri’s Blog, and how they change lives

Another friend of mine, Sridhar Narayanan, got a blog. Oh yes, by the way, do ask him what the god in his id means. I love inspiring other people… πŸ˜‰
 
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This title might be a little misleading, since it is not going to speak on how Sri’s blog changes lives, but how blogging as a whole changes lives.
 
What is a blog? I feel it is a kind of a diary, alebit a public one. Allows you to rant (which is basically what we want to do, in our inner selves all the time), speak to your audience, and in general feel more wanted. It’s like a psychological and social security, a sense of belonging, of having another place to go to.
 
The biggest draw in a blog, for me atleast, is that down the line, when I get old, and settled, and rich, and famous (ok, ok, ok, I am coming back to the point, which is), I want to be able to reflect on my life, my thought processes, and my behaviour. The memories that will stem from this blog are extremely valuable. I’ll perhaps laugh at these posts, ridicule myself, or think of the brilliant thoughts I might concoct in the process of posting something.
 
I have old notes, thoughts jotted down in some places. Sometimes, the things are so enigmatic, even to myself, that I wonder if I myself have written them. It’s fun.
 
A blog tells a lot about the person. Having a blog itself, is a major achievement, I’d say. It shows that you can express yourself. And can screen thoughts that can be viewed by the public, and those that can’t. A friend can better understand you, a girl (or boy) friend can be better attracted to you, and appreciate you. It has phenomenal effects.
 
And yes, there is this socio-commerical aspect too. If you love a product, praise it, write about it. People will notice. You’ll help others make better choices, and sell more of good products. Same goes for the horrible ones. Companies will take notice, as will other buyers. It helps, believe me.
 
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There is this other blog post of mine, where I speak of the reasons I blog. Might be an interesting read.

Varun’s LoveBlog!

 
A whole 100 brownie points (*), and therefore a softy from McDonalds will be awarded to the first person who deciphers the blog for me. (I mean, details, people, details!)
 
Sorry Varun, but this definitely deserved publicity. It might actually help you, you know, if she is to read one of your friends’ blogs and discover the true side of you… πŸ˜›
 
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(*) = Conditions Apply. πŸ˜›

Rain, pain, and almost no gain! – I

Strange things happen. Many times. All around the world.
 
This was my first.
 
Mumbai received close to 96 cm of rain in 24 hours, displacing Cherrapunji as the wetest place in India (and prolly in the world) in this record breaking feat.
 
And it was some rain.
 
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Well, I had been to college on Tuesday, the 26th of July, 2005. I had bunked the morning lecture, since was too bored, and landed in college at 11 AM. The next lecture was cancelled, and only one lecture actually took place, with my elective and the subsequent practical cancelled. I was very frustrated at me going to college. Moreover, there was this TopCoder SRM that day at 1630 hours, which I really wanted to attend., so the frustration was an interesting development in reality.
 
Left college at around 1400 hours, took a bus to the Andheri station. It was merely drizzling. Pleasant atmosphere even.
 
Andheri station was the same as it usually is in the day. People crowding in the shed to watch the TV display, trains coming and going. The indicator indicated (haha!) that the trains were pretty much on time! What a surprise! Anyway, so I got the next slow towards Borivli.
 
Was engrossed in Prince of Persia on the cell, and the rain really started pouring when I looked outside. It was Kandivili. And the Orange network did it’s thing then. Since the other networks were up and running, this was extrememly fishy.
 
The train reached Borivli as usual, minimal delays and all. Got out, and was quite amused to see the entire western end of Borivli flooded. Crossed to east over the foot bridge, and then it hit me… The east side road was completely submerged, angle height water in the “driest” places. People were crowding towards the bottom of the bridges, as if some thing was going to come and magically carry them across the flood!
 
I decided it was futile to wait, since it was pouring, and the situation would get only worse… So, with an umbrella on top, I waded through knee-deep water at some places to my house. Reached home at 1500 hours, wet, but otherwise completely secure.
 
Switched on the monitor, to see who was online. There was almost nobody. Strange.
 
Then news started pouring in. There was no power in most areas, I was pretty lucky to have both the power and the net working! Flooding in quite some places. Hmmm… So what’s new? I decided to not make much of it. But still, messaged friends in college to go home early, since trains could gridlock any moment now.
 
Then a friend, Chintan, called from Khar, telling me that he got a message telling him that his house had been completely washed away. I wondered if it was possible. He wanted to know if it was true, and if he should come to Borivli. I said try coming, trains were working still, or so I thought. And then the lines went dead. He was not reachable, his home was not reachable either. I wondered, but then felt it was too weird, since the problem did not seem that big, given I was able to come home with not many problems.
 
My TopCoder match was starting, so I decided to register, and myself and Nadeem were the only two people from MU that day. The match itself was pretty easy, and except for a misunderstanding in my 1000 pointer, scored me good points. I was done with 22 minutes to spare. Decided to hunt for Nadeem, but realized he wasn’t logged in. Oh oh! Called him up to find out that his net had gone kaput, and his dialup wasn’t working either, MTNL had done it’s thing too… Poor chap, he would definitely topped. Unlucky things.
 
Looked out of the window, it was still pouring. And BEST buses were going over the flyover, instead of their normal under the flyover route. Interesting! Then I heard, water had crossed the bridge. (An explanation due here: The highway was built over the Mithi river from the national park, and a flyover was built over these both.)
 
After some time, around 1800 hours, my neighbor wanted me to accompany her to get her children from the school. Reluctantly, I decided to go. Armed with an umbrella, my now almost completely non-working cellphone, and myself, I proceed to the school. The view was fantastic (in the incredible sense!)
 
Water had reached heights I had never imagined it could. Now it had subsided, but the marks of mud and floatsam was quite evident. Now I was really concerned about my friend’s place, especially since his mother was alone at home. I dropped my auntie (the neighbor) near the school and rushed to the friend’s place.
 
The road was very interesting. A truck, apparently pushed by the pillaging waters had landed over a tanker, whose horn had struck. The compound walls had fallen, bricks, mud and slick everywhere. People were wondering what had happened. The fire bridgade was here. Cars were scattered, as if there were toys….
 
Apparently the national park dam had opened it’s sluice gates, without warning, leading to flash floods. The water height was so much that the entire ground floor of the bunglows and buildings had submerged.
 
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Will continue in part 2! Bye for now!

Of random reboots…

Yes, it is irritating. Beyond doubt. Ever since I have added in the new 160 GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA, and my motherboard has come back, replaced by Intel, the system just randomly reboots.
 
And it happens really randomly. Nothing I do causes it, or stops it. It just happens, sometimes, when you least expect it.
 
Unreliability is such a bitch. Seroiusly.
 
If it does not solve itself in another day or two, am gonna remove the new HDD and see if it still hangs. Then will try reinstalling Windows, in case that is the problem.
 
Anybody with better ideas, or suggestions, please comment.
 
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Started reading (if you can call it that) Garfield comic strips. Right from when they started appearing. Very addictive, very kewl.
 
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I was going to quote something from the IMS BRM. But, it’s too far now, and I am too lazy. Live with it. πŸ˜›

Quotes from IMS BRMs

My CAT Class, IMS publishes some awesome quotes in it’s BRM (Basic Reference Material). Writing one quote here, and will be adding one everyday!

Engineers think that equations approximate the real world. Scientists think that the real world approximates equations. Mathematicians are unable to make the connection.

Deep, isn’t it?

Quick Update

There’s so much to note, and so little time! Anyway, a quick recap of the past few days:

  • Got a replacement motherboard from Intel, had a blast (and then a major problem) installing it, especially when the thermal paste would simply not come off the plastic, adamantly refusing to stick to the integrated thermal spreader (yes, we engineers love to name stuff in this exotic manner!). The system is back online! With a brand new shining 160 GB SATA HDD.
  • Only for me to crash it again, this time I almost lost 76 GB of data. For the uninitated, that is freaking HUGE! But then over the night recovered most of it, atleast that which was valuable such as the 4 GB of pics, dad’s stuff and more… But then, that process is making a mess of my sleep!
  • Been to the Siemens manufacturing unit at Kalwa in Thane for an industrial visit to their SwitchGear factory. Quite a let down actually, did not get to see what I really wanted to, but then, still was fun… Rain and all…
  • Semester 5 KT results are out. No, I did not have one, so there. But, a friend has still not cleared, so there’s a cause for concern.
  • Two perfectly beautiful days wasted on the comp. When I should have been sleeping… I mean, over the past few days, I must have slept for barely 10 hours. Yes, not a major feat, but come on, it’s only the start of the semester.
  • Assignments. Must remember to start completing them.
  • CAT Forms are here. Must get to filling them and then yes, of course, stuyding for the exam!
  • We selected the next IEEE-SPCE Executive Committee on Wednesday. I was on the panel who took the interviews. Was fun… Maybe details later.
  • Have to take a small pedagogical session with the TEs and the SEs on Matlab. Must prepare for that…
  • Project work is overdue. Must get to that.
  • Going to the Nokia Service Center today, to get the cell phone stuff settled finally, I have had it with them.
  • The VIP SMPS installed in my computer is an excellent purchase, the 12V bus maintains 12V, unlike earlier SMPSes I have used, confirming the theory that expensive stuff often is better.

Wow, that is one huge list. And yes, I remember, there’s quite a lot more to be added there…

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Let’s all join hands and pray for the cell phone of a friend, a new 6630, lying on it’s death bed. The poor chap (my friend, Gautam Arora) was hit by a car (no, he did not suffer any injuries, and no, neither did the car), and that cell phone kissed a puddle with him, Newton reigning supreme with gravity again. Liquid Damage. Poor lil thing. I almost am in tears!

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Yes, I finished Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, amidst all the hullaballoo. Gripping at times, comic even, though the ending leaves a lot to be desired. I bet Hermione is going to be hotter than ever, and Ginny, well, we’ll all see… Poor Dumbledore, no more movies for you. Snape is an interesting twist, thought something was wrong with him right from the beginning. And I hate Fleur. Don’t ask. The Griffindor Head, and now, Hogwarts Head-mistress reminds me of my HoD. Yes, yes, laugh away…

Lousy, lousy mood

Well, it is one of those days again. Um, no, not those, but similar (in fact, there was a study conducted by someone (it was there in the RD, I think), which established that men too have a cartload of mood swings, similar to women’s periods)… Am in a pretty lousy mood today for no particular reason.

There are quite a few stupid reasons, actually, but there is no singly significant reason that justifies the mood. Yes, I reflected, and could not find any.

And that completely irks me. Not being able to pin-point what is the cause, is such a depressing phenomenon. Cause I know I am not feeling good, but there is no way I can feel better, because I simply do not know what is making me feel the way I am feeling…

Maybe lack of sleep? Emotional relief? Too-much pending stuff? OVer-exertion? Pressure of too-much pending stuff? Stupid irritations? Quite a list, I must say!

Whoa, I just realized there is more… My cell phone is still not completely repaired, the computer is not back online… Boring college days(!), completely and utter lack of release of any sort, and the impending doom of results!

Anyway, experience dictates that it will pass, in a few days if not over a good night’s sleep… So, I’ll keep it there…

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Wanted to post a lot more, about a lot of other things, but there are better times, and I shall wait for them…

My first SRM

was a disaster…

Entirely my fault, actually… The first problem was to check for voting preferences of people from some states, and decide which state gave the least votes to candidate #1. Everything seemed perfect, but I had compared the # of votes, rather than their percentages, which led to my 250-point solution being successfully challenged. 😦

The second 500-point problem involved removing vowels from SMS messages, provided there were consonants to the left and right (not necessarily adjacent) of the vowels in that word. I forgot the word part while implementing it, and then in a slip-shod method added the space as a separator, and in the fumble forgot to reset and check for consonants to the left of a new word. Moreover, I had to submit twice, since capital vowels were also to be considered, and while this was broadcasted, I forgot to implement it. Sad. Again, leading to the sucessful challenging of my solution… Boo hoo!

There were some connection problems mid-match, and the total coding time was therefore extended by five minutes. This, I believe, was a problem with today’s match only.

I also tried my hand at the 1000 point problem, and I must say it was not necessarily so difficult, just need to practice more, and not make obvious mistakes.

Till the next SRM then, hope to make some score next time!