Harshdeep 2.0

June 8, 2009

Biggest stock price movement ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 8:44 am

According to Google, Adobe’s stock opened at 29.45, touched 100000 and then came back to 29.98. There goes another chance of making piles of money 😦

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May 2, 2009

The Wagner Principle

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 1:30 am

If something can happen and may not happen there’s a 50% chance of it happening. Now don’t shake your head like that. This insight comes from Dr. Wagner, the guy who took upon himself to save the world by filing lawsuits against the Large Hadron Collider (as there’s a 50% chance that it would annihilate the world). You can’t ask for more reliable sources of information.

This is good news for Bobby Deol as there’s a 50% chance that his next movie, Bichu Badal aur Bobby, will be a superhit (partly due to these tough times, almost all of the scenes are directly picked up from his previous movies as the directors thought they fit the storyline of this one too).

Researchers are looking at other implications of the Wagner Principle. What we have till now is not too promising though. There’s a 50% chance that you locked your car with your key inside, a 50% chance that you have Swine flu and a 50% chance that your apartment is on fire right now.

However, there are people who disbelieve everything (like landing on the moon, RajniKanth’s two kills with one bullet routine and the fact that IPL matches are all computer generated). But I have this to say to the skeptics of the Wagner Principle – if you prove it wrong, you only prove its correctness as the Principle directly implies that there’s a 50% chance that it’s wrong. There you go.

Btw, here is the Daily Show clip where Dr. Wagner candidly introduces his insight to the world.

PS: It hurts me that Dr. Wagner beat my undergrad buddy who I think understood the fact back in the day. On being asked how his exam went, he always used to say “Either I’ll pass or I won’t. So it’s 50-50”

April 24, 2009

Games based on Bollywood movies

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 12:32 am

Just noticed this 3D game based on Ghajini (that, for the uninitiated, is a part Memento part song and dance Hindi movie). It’s claimed to be “India’s First 3D PC Game”. Of course it is no GTA, but the trailer doesn’t look bad and game levels look decent too, though Amir Khan walks in a weird jumpy way. I wish there was a trial version available – the only way to get it is to order a DVD from Eros Entertainment. That’s right – you can’t download the game even after you pay for it – they ship you the disc.

 

While googling this, I ran into year-old news stories about the “upcoming” release of a game based on Dhoom 2. Seems like it got abandoned midway. They did generate some screenshots based on the movie posters though –

I couldn’t find any data on how well the Ghajini game did, but I think such games have a huge potential. There are two enormous categories of people – those who watch Bollywood movies and those who play casual games. I think there are a large number of people who do both.

An important thing to realize, I think, is that these games have short shelf lives. People are more likely to try them out while the movie is still running in the theaters or winning awards.

Secondly, these games would generate more excitement in casual gamers rather than hardcore gamers. It should be easy for the casual gamers to discover and start playing them. So ordering a disc online is probably not the best way to engage this audience. Ideally, the game should be playable in the browser – the user shouldn’t have to install anything (well, maybe the Shockwave plugin, but that’s most likely already installed). The game can be released in short episodes with, say, an hour’s play time for each. Also, it has to be easy enough so that a casual gamer can finish it. It’s a bonus if the stories tie up with that of the movie (stories aren’t the strongest part of Bollywood movies, but things are changing).

There should be plenty of alternate ways to make money from such games, like selling movie merchandise on the website, introducing the gamer to movie’s soundtrack through background music, in-game ads (the Ghajini game shows ads of PVR and Intel within the game) and so on.

If only there was a game based on Gadar. If it was integrated with Facebook, you’d probably get something like this in your newsfeed “Your friend killed 167 people with a handpump. How many can you kill?” (with apologies to people who’ve not seen the movie starring the legendary Sunny Deol)

March 9, 2009

Race to the PATH variable

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 11:07 am

I need to implement a parallel algorithm using MPI for an assignment. I wanted to develop and test the algorithm locally on my Windows machine before evaluating it on the university’s mega cluster with 8-core nodes. I had heard about MPICH2 before, so decided to try it out.

MPI programs are run with mpiexec.exe. When I tried running my short sample program, I got this error

Aborting: unable to connect to HARSHDEEP, smpd version mismatch

I did what I generally do in such cases – google the error string (excluding my machine name of course).

The problem was surprisingly hard to uncover. It turns out that Matlab comes with its own mpiexec. That mpiexec is also in the path. What needs to be done is to put MPICH2’s path before Matlab’s path in the PATH variable. I found this solution in a forum post here. Apparently it didn’t work for the original poster.

PS: Here is another way to run MPI on Windows.

February 24, 2009

Don’t give mail passwords to random websites

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 10:13 pm

In the last hour, I have got three chat messages of this form –

hey, check out this video:  <some_tinyurl_link>

The link takes me to viddyho.com that conveniently asks me to login using my GMail password.

Yea right

It hurts me to see that people are actually falling for this – even CS students. This is Common Sense 101. They should be made to write “I won’t give my passwords to arbitrary websites” on the blackboard 100 times.

February 16, 2009

Had a bad Valentine’s Day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 10:01 pm

Some students brought an already mostly trashed car, probably from some salvage yard and put it in the middle of the busiest street (in the number of pedestrians, vehicles are not allowed) in the University today. The sign next to it said “Had a bad Valentine’s Day? Smash the car. $1 for 4 shots. $2 for 10.”

I didn’t see anyone taking up the offer when I passed. I guess that’s a good thing – everybody had a good Valentine’s 🙂

February 13, 2009

Incompetent Thief

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 10:22 pm

If somebody breaks into my car, I would rather hope it’s a competent thief with some relevant experience. Not like the clumsy person who, in the desperation to take out the stereo from my car, tore apart the entire surrounding panel and chopped up all the cables behind that. Even the wipers stopped working. I think this person should try some other profession. The detective found traces of blood on the panel.

Contrast this to the thief who stole a friend’s stereo – it was so clinically removed that she didn’t see a single scratch anywhere on her car. Now that’s professional.

Note: For concerned friends and family, this does not mean that I live in an unsafe area. Such acts are very rare and it’s safe here J

January 21, 2009

Useless Comments

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 9:20 pm

I am sure that when Randall Munroe published this XKCD cartoon…

… he had not seen Amitabh Bachchan’s blog. Here is a sampling of comments on the latest post of India’s most popular person –

Ravi g says: January 19, 2009 at 2:29 am
Dear Sir,
waiting for ur post for so long……..great to see you back….thanks to you..

Nikki (London) says: January 19, 2009 at 2:50 am
Parnam mere dost
Good morning, I don’t know where you are at this moment, but I’ve just got back from the gym after a 45 min workout, 30 min swim, 15 min jacuzzi, 15 min sauna, feel totally pooped but refreshed.
About to start the eve family meal of khadhi chawal, so will enter your world laters, my love.
Nikki

Shachi says: January 19, 2009 at 2:50 am
I dont belive is becoming a fan of a person without meeting that person….
dont kknow why but i am a huge fan of urs….
ur in perfect in everything in the world i can think of…
i am not from ur field… but for sure wana be like u at 67 all overloaded with energy… full of passion ….
and most imp. i am glad ur not in plotics…

Joshua David says: January 19, 2009 at 3:08 am
Dearest Amit ji,
Happy to read that U had a safe journey and are back home.. It snowed in scotland today, i guess the city realised that the warmt of Amit ji was not with them any more !!!
Sir ji do reply to my comment at least once… Please..
Do take care
Luv u hamesha
Luv n respects
Joshua D
Glasgow

shakir says: January 19, 2009 at 3:10 am
Dear Sir,
please sir show some more pictures like this.

… you get the drift. There may be some well thought out comments worth reading in there but they are lost in this sea of abject fan adulation. That makes it more like a newspaper column than a blog – no two way communication.

Update: There is a Firefox extension that removes ‘undesirable’ comments from the Youtube comment stream – Youtube Comment Snob. It uses various rules to identify the comments to be removed including the formatting (all caps/no caps) and use of profanity. I’m sure the same rules could be used to weed out undesirable comments from other sites (like Big B’s blog) as well in a generic way.

March 14, 2008

Targeted Advertising…

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 8:04 pm

…is obviously in. Look at ABC.com – it shows ads of Jimmy Kimmel show while I’m watching Jimmy Kimmel show. Bull’s-eye 🙂

November 20, 2007

Narayana Murthy

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 4:57 am

On Thursday, I attended a talk by none other than Narayana Murthy, the legendary co-founder of Infosys. It was hard to believe that the short humble person on the stage calmly explaining the benefits of a flat world (read outsourcing) is the creator of one of the biggest Indian IT companies and an incredible money churning enterprise.

He was here in UT to deliver the first in the Dell Distinguished Lecture series. The title of the talk was “Do we need a Flat World?” He put forward some interesting and well researched ideas, but it’s such a widely debated topic that it’s hard to find something truly novel to talk about.

Thanks to Vijo, I also got a picture taken with the big man himself.

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