Dec 17, 2013

Of Elections in the Largest Democracy

A certain boy in a certain corner of the country once told his father, "I want to be a politician."
"Stop this nonsense and go back to study," came the reply.

Do you know what was the mistake of that kid? He was unfortunate enough to be born in India, ironically the world's largest democracy.

Dec 16, 2013

Math the #1 reason why we waste study time

We have all been in that situation. You fixed 6 PM as the time you would sit down to study, after watching that all important TV show. You feel lazy and switch off the TV five minutes late. You stretch your limbs, have a soft drink, check your texts and before you realize, it’s 6.15 already. You decide to start off at 6.30 with a fresh mind. Although you wasted half an hour, you would still get off at 8 for the birthday party of your friend.

Dec 15, 2013

5 Must-Have Android Apps

I wouldn't bore you with my story of the ChaCha, how it (or rather HTC) betrayed me (Yes, HTC has pathetic after-sales service), or how I got my hands on a shiny new Galaxy S4 (or perhaps, I already have!) Let's just cut on to what I am about to tell you. Back to using the Android for over a month now, here are my favorite apps!

The Tablet Times

With the microprocessor chips getting more powerful, yet smaller, smaller devices are getting smarter and more capable of doing things that couldn't be imagined even a few years ago. Could you imagine coming home late from work, sending a signal to your television to automatically start recording your favorite program? Well, the things that we can do are going beyond our imagination!

As of late, I have been doing some things with my Android device which has succeeded to make life difficult for others. Did I tell you about the time that I switched off the canteen TV with my Android device? (Yes, it has an infrared sensor which does the trick!) The bewildered look on the canteen owner’s face with bulging white eyeballs was priceless! There was this other time when I used a Bluetooth mouse to control my Android device because I was too damn bored of the touch-screen. Those may be interesting times, but what I am about to tell you is far more exciting…

Dec 1, 2013

Wlinkster's new scam

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing some freelancing, due to which my blog hasn't got my attention as much as it used to in the past (when I had a lot of free time), but today, being a Sunday, I thought let's give it some well deserved attention. Although I wasn't going to write on Wlinkster and Sagar Rana, a message in Facebook compelled me to tell the people what exactly the Wlinkster team has been doing since their "high potential" startup literally failed (who boasts of an Alexa rank now?)

Nov 8, 2013

It's time for HomeShop18 to play spoilsport

Frankly speaking, I have never liked HomeShop18's website. Every single time I visit it, it shows that I am logged in, but requires me to re-login before doing anything else. I wonder why they don't log me out completely! Why then did I order stuff from the site?

The first time I ordered from HS18, it was sometime last year when I was redirected by India Book Store as I wanted Walter Lewin's 'For the love of Physics' (physicists write great autobiographies, by the way). It reached me in a short time, along with loads of bookmarks and a pen. Naturally, I was happy! Sadly, they didn't live up to my expectations ever after.

Nov 5, 2013

Onward toward an immune life

The Battle Starts

In the late eighteenth century, an English gentleman observed that milkmaids were generally immune to smallpox. He deduced that smallpox immunity was generated through a cowpox infection, a disease common to milkmaids. To test his hypothesis, he tried it out on his gardener's eight year old son. The test was successful and after testing it on several other children, including his eleven month old son, it was finally accepted. His name was Edward Jenner and he later came to be known as "the father of immunology."

Thus started humanity's war with these tiny little almost invisible creatures that were capable of causing havoc to our biological systems! Centuries on, as the battle between mutating pathogens and exceedingly cunning humans escalates, we can't just depend on that to help us out. New strands in microbes which are resistant to existing antibiotics are regularly discovered and the challenge to find a cure for them is increasing.

Nov 4, 2013

5 things that make me unique

If you are an avid reader of my blog, you would probably know I am obsessed with the number five by now (or did you miss the five guitar solos, five worst covers and a few other scattered here and there?) Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

Nov 3, 2013

What goes around comes around- My tryst with HackerEarth

Roughly two years ago, I had just begun work on the placement and internship portal of the college, for which I had started learning Django. There's this senior who called me asking me that he wanted to discuss certain things. Since I had worked with him on the NSS website in the past, it seemed like an opportunity related to web development. I was curious to know what it was.

Oct 6, 2013

On the Indian 24

Being a 24 fan, I was never really enthusiastic about Anil Kapoor playing the Indian Jack Bauer. Those of you who never reached the final season of 24, Anil Kapoor played Omar Hassan, President of Kamistan (who would fondly pronounce country as "kauntry"). Oh, and he was assassinated in the middle of the season, executed on live television (if I remember correctly) by Kamistani terrorists as even the Jack Bauer, with his Rajnikanthish abilities, couldn't save him, as he was busy figuring out links to the Russian mafia.

Sep 28, 2013

Wrapping up the summer's work | Google Summer of Code 2013

Although it has been quite some time since I last blogged on my work on the GSoC (blame the exams and then the last minute work I had to do), it has just been confirmed that I have passed my final evaluations for the same. I would use this blog post as an overview of the work that I have completed in the summer.

Sep 10, 2013

Choosing the right ubersmartphone

July 17th, 2030
It had been a long time since I got my microphone. Significant changes in the cell phone market had taken place. The phones had gotten even smaller, this time to the size of nanometers, which would be embedded in your skin. I decided to get a new one.

"It has been such a drastic difference in the way we shop over the decades," I told K over Skype.

"Remember the days when you would order through Flipkart and it would be delivered to you, after numerous delays!" K reminded me of the times when snail mail was the way of getting things over to you, even if you were to shop online. "Why don't you come over here and we can go get the ubersmartphone together!" He said.

Sep 7, 2013

Flipkart's false promises

Towards the twilight of the last semester, my HTC ChaCha started giving big problems. By the time I was returning home for the vacation, I decided I needed a new cell. My choice- the Galaxy Tab. I just couldn't resist the large screen (and the games that I would play!)

I came to know of Samsung's plan to release the Tab 3, which would be available for order sometime in mid July. So, I decided to wait. Fast forward to July 13th, and I had just won a Samsung Galaxy S4 in a blogging competition (Contest Page | Winning Post). Naturally, the tab ideas took a back seat.

Sep 5, 2013

And then Schlumthing wasn't quite right

Being in an Integrated M.Tech. course and finally being eligible for campus internships after getting into my fourth year, the first company that was open for us was invariably Schlumberger (I still can't pronounce it the way the HR did, though). A Pre Placement Talk (PPT) was going to take place with the HR blabbering about how their company is awesome followed by the internship process.

Sep 1, 2013

Convicted of Rape and Murder | Just three years | The Great Indian Judiciary

It took me quite some time to come up with a blog post on this one, because I believe my feelings are similar to millions of others and reiterating the same things which you would find in millions of articles since the judgement was something that didn't fancy me. However, I ended up ranting so much in Twitter that I decided I should spare the people who follow me and just pen down what's in my mind.

It is really a matter of shame. Let's first review some facts. You know for sure that this guy was involved in the rape and murder of a 23 year old last December. Hell, he has been 'convicted' of it (even after having the guts to plead not guilty and say he was elsewhere during the crime). Media reports suggest that he was the most brutal of the group, some even putting forward the idea that he ruptured her intestines with his bare hands. That much we know. However, his involvement has been proved in court beyond doubt although the details haven't been revealed.

GSoC weeks 10-11 | Creating sassy CSS

The primary task going into week 10 (after my last blog post) was to complete the flipswitches (keeping in mind the accessibility of course) so that it could be integrated into the ATutor system preferences page.

The problem with this was that I was going to replace radio buttons with the flipswitches and most of the ones available online were make for checkboxes, which meant catching the events via JavaScript and preventing the default actions were just not going to be enough as that would involve major changes in the back end.

Aug 20, 2013

GSoC Week 9 | Polishing old branches

Continuing off where I left last week, the primary work this week involved three things. The redesign of the system preferences page has given me the highest number of issues because, well, it's too big and all the code has been manually written in a page!

Aug 17, 2013

The truth about the Russian Sleep Experiment | CreepyPasta

Long back, I had written a blog post on my views on the expressionless (which has quite a chunk of the total number of hits), an urban legend that I encountered on Facebook. It turns out that I have a similar situation. This time it's about the Russian Sleep Experiment.

It is a known fact that the average post on Quora is far more sensible that its Facebook counterpart. As I read through the Russian Sleep Experiment answer on Quora, it just didn't feel right. Had it been true, I would most certainly have heard it somewhere!

Aug 11, 2013

The Placement Catastrophe

The most challenging project I had taken up in IMG was that of the development of the placement and internship portal of the college. Although the basic development finished roughly a year ago, we have been doing tons of changes ever since. Since Sandeep was the in charge of the proceedings related to placement last year, I had literally been shielded from the queries. Unfortunately, this time, I had to take over and for the last two days, I have had a really bad time.

The 5 worst covers of all time

I never really understood the need for a cover in case of established bands. If you are successful on the basis of your own music, why try and imitate others? Naturally, they rarely come out good. Here's my list of the worst that I have heard.

GSoC Week 8 | Exploring new things

Officially, we are done with two thirds of the GSoC period now. Not bad, huh? Let me tell you what I did this week. We had three things to get over with before starting converting the CSS files to SASS.

The first was, of course, the dropdowns and improved navigation. I made minor changes to make sure every element in the fit well into the menu. I added a separator to make the dropdown look like a menu rather than a single unified area with some links in it.

Aug 9, 2013

Google Summer of Code 2013 Participation

Here is the GSoC 2013 participation by countries!

Aug 7, 2013

How I Met Your Mother

She was late. I checked my watch. Four minutes and thirty five seconds to be exact. She was supposed to meet me exactly at five thirty. I wondered how long I should wait. I wondered if I should call? Nah, that would make me look weak. If in case she didn't turn up, I decided I would just slip away and tell my friends I didn't feel good about a blind date, bailing out just before I met her.

Aug 6, 2013

The Arabian Adventure

I have mentioned time and again in this very blog about how I love traveling. I have visited numerous places in my relatively short life span and if you ask me what fascinated me the most- there is just one tiny little country which would rank higher than any other place!

Once the flight takes off from Delhi, you would know deep down that in just over three and a half hours, you would be in paradise. During my multiple trips there, never have I fallen asleep in those late night flights because the view through the aircraft is just breathtaking. As you go over the Arabian sea and enter into Omani airspace, the play of those tiny dots of lights just leave you mesmerized.

Evil Flipkart - A review of the Puma Elite Large Backpack

Getting the Google Summer of Code has its advantages, but it comes with certain pains too. I understand that since the GSoC is an international competition, but they provide us international prepaid cards, which makes them unusable in most Indian websites. One website where the cards do work, is Flipkart.

Flipkart is known for its exceptional service. Or so I heard. I had ordered a few things from Flipkart in the past and never had any issues with them (except a part of the order being cancelled due to unavailability of the item- with a proper refund of course). As soon as I came to know that the GSoC card would work in Flipkart, I knew I had to order something to satisfy my curiosity!

Aug 5, 2013

GSoC Week 7 | Polishing Previous Work

It's been another week in the Google Summer of Code and time seems to be running fast now. Last week, I passed my mid term evaluations and never realized it was much of a deal until I saw some happy posts on Facebook and a few blogs! Now that I think of it, I knew I would pass it, as I had done a lot- a tad bit more than what I had mentioned in my proposal!

Why 'The Oatmeal' was correct about customer service?

Customer Service has never been kind to me. Back in late 2012, I published a post on how I was pissed off by the Etisalat customer service. Fast forward eight months and the situation is exactly the same- just this time, it's our very own Reliance rather than the Arabian Etisalat.

Aug 2, 2013

Yet another Wlinkster post!

Ever since I came up with a post on Wlinkster just under three weeks ago, my blogging life hasn't been dull (One reason is that I have made my contact info public!) First, I was contacted by the founders who were on a mission to save our developing country, eradicating poverty and hunger in the process. Naturally, I came up with another post on how the conversation went. Next, I was contacted by 'the nice hacker' and I came up with a blog post telling his story. This time, I have been contacted by yet another person associated with Wlinkster- a white hat who found security vulnerabilities in Wlinkster and help them during the early days (although it's still early days for them).

Jul 31, 2013

The Chemistry Lab Casualty

Hydrogen Sulfide smells like rotten eggs. Sulfur Dioxide has a smell of burning Sulfur. Ammonia has a pungent smell. Well, at least that's what the books say. For as long as I can remember, I have had a really hard time describing smells like these. How was I supposed to detect Sulfur Dioxide by smelling it if I had no idea how burning sulfur smelt like?

Jul 29, 2013

Mathematics and Kids | Talent and Hard Work

India may be a developing country but there is one important thing about us Indians- we are smart. Not just in modern times, India has been contributing to the field of mathematics since time immemorial. The number zero ring a bell?

Jul 27, 2013

GSoC Week 6 | Half the journey completed

It's completion of week 6 and that's officially half way through the Google Summer of Code 2013. Now that I look back, I have been going at a pretty comfortable speed and just ahead of the deliverables mentioned in my application. Having said that, I guess it's time to reflect back on the changes I did in my last week.

The Wlinkster hacking | How it was hacked

After coming up with a post on the negative publicity of Wlinkster, I have generated a few haters (who happen to be the same as the founders and people associated with Wlinkster). At the same time, what I have also been blessed with are a few sincere readers. I have been contacted by the founder Sagar Rana, many times, the last message being the following (pardon his grammar) in many of my public posts (and they are getting marked as spam automatically by Facebook).
However, that is not the reason why I am writing this. I am writing this because I was contacted by the person who hacked Wlinkster. Naturally, he used a fake email and a good proxy before sending me the mail, and I don't think there is a way to get back to him. Let me just tell you what he has to say.

Jul 26, 2013

New Hostel Woes

Last year, when we were allotted Radhakrishnan Bhawan, everyone was happy. Why? Just one reason- the internet! Unfortunately, this year, we had to move inevitably. Only the fact that the internet wouldn't be there was bothering me. I thought everything else would be fine.

Jul 21, 2013

GSoC Weeks 4-5 | More UI Changes

As the days roll by, I have started writing more and more code for making changes to the front end. Week 4 started with changes to my previous work to bring in perfection.

First, the browse courses page. I had already implemented real time search in the page. However, the search options were taking up too much space. Alex suggested that it should be something like this-
Search: |==============| o Advanced

Jul 18, 2013

2013-2014 Fantasy Premier League | A collection of private leagues

Another new season. Another season of player swaps and deals. The registrations have started and in case you haven't done it yet, go to the Fantasy Premier League site NOW!

In case you want a step-by-step guide on how to register, here is a nice article explaining the process with screenshots.

An Update on my Wlinkster post

Five days ago, I came up with a blog post criticizing Wlinkster's methods of spamming Zuck's posts and generating more hatred towards their cause rather than appreciation. The post took two or three days to get high up in the Google Search (after all, I write pretty sincerely), and if you search 'Wlinkster', that post comes in the third position. Not bad, huh?

Jul 15, 2013

The Perfect Road Trip | Through the Lens

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, here's my story of the perfect road trip through the camera. It was day 3 of our field trip back in the second year.

Jul 13, 2013

What the Zuck, Wlinkster? | The Craze

Back when Facebook started the idea of subscribers two years ago, the one profile which quite a lot of people subscribed to was that of Mark Zuckerberg. And why not? He is the founder of Facebook, and posts less than once a week on an average. His public posts were never spam, and usually contained interesting information. However, one thing has changed in recent times.

Jul 9, 2013

The Prologue

I came with this piece of fiction for some elaborate thing I was planning. Unfortunately, it fell apart eventually and I have decided to 'open source' the prologue, as I don't really know what I want to do with it. Basically, it's up to you, the readers, to decide how you want this to go ahead. If this post gets any good responses, I could follow up with it.

Jul 6, 2013

GSoC Week 3 | UI changes

After a comfortable two weeks of mostly AJAXification, it was time I did something which truly resembled the title of the project. I started the week with some code changes from the browse courses branch and a mind to do some changes which would affect the UI directly. Going back to our original discussions during the community bonding period, we had decided that there were four areas of ATutor that urgently needed changes- the browse courses page, the help page, instructor's manage page and the main navigation system. I had done some basic changes to the browse courses page, so I decided to start on the navigation and help page.

Jul 4, 2013

Programming - The Django Way!

When I started web development, PHP seemed the easiest language (and the obvious choice) to get little things done. I would first submit simple data through a form and store it in a database. Eventually, with that knowledge and a bit of AJAX, I came up with a full application, which worked well, but only I knew deep down how bad my procedural programming was. That was two years ago.

Soon thereafter, I shifted to Django for my needs and life has been great ever since. And I wonder it took me two years to write a blog post on the same.

Jul 2, 2013

My July Reading List

The best thing about getting a Kindle is that you don't really need to carry big sized books to read them, but have this light weight paper-like thing with immense power. Here the books that I plan to read in the coming month (in no specific order).

Jun 30, 2013

The 5 best guitar solos I have ever heard

Guitars have always fascinated me, and why not? The instrument which is worthless in the hands of one, but can make someone else look like a God. Knowing that I would never have the patience to gather enough expertise to master such a stringed instrument, I am left with the next best thing.

P.S. Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez/One Direction/Taylor Swift fans, please stay away from the comment box.

Jun 29, 2013

GSoC Week 2 | Birthday Week

First things first. I got the FedEx package on Monday, which contained the card, a diary and a pen. It was great and definitely worth the wait! The first use of the money was to get an Amazon Kindle, something I wanted for a long time.

The week also included my birthday and I could afford to work less on that day owing to the fact that I had done a lot of work in the last fortnight.

Hacking | The Misconceptions of the Common Man

The other day, a junior of mine was narrating to a group how he hacked into a friend's Facebook profile. Great, I thought. Kids nowadays are turning out to be pretty smart. However, his emphasis was on what he did (about a lame ass chat with a lame ass girl) rather than how he did it. Turns out his friend had left his account open, and he just happened to be there. The meme here says it all.

Jun 26, 2013

Pundit Time | Predicting Chelsea's season

Here is a list of questions suggested by a fan post in WAGNS. I decided to log a formal reply and check how correct I am, come June 2014.

What will be Chelsea's final position in the BPL? (1- "6 or worse")

What four teams will qualify for the UCL?
Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal

Will Arsenal win anything?

Will Chelsea beat Bayern in the SuperCup?

To Infinity and Beyond

Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved traveling. Generally, that meant air travel. However, I have had my fair share of road trips. Sometimes, you are fascinated by the destination, sometimes by the aura of the very road- and that is enough to get you started.

My idea of the perfect road trip has changed over time. As a kid, the twelve hour bus journey to my grandparents' place five hundred kilometers away gave me the thrills. As I grew up, my first trip to Manali made me believe there was no destination more perfect than the snow clad peaks of Himachal Pradesh. However, ever since my trip to the UAE last year, I believe your life would be incomplete if you do not experience the road trip I am about to describe.

Jun 25, 2013

Memorable Moments as a Chelsea fan

It's been a long time since I started supporting Chelsea and an even longer time when I became a football fan (thanks to the Brazilian Ronaldo with the triangular patch of hair) and there have been times that have been etched into my memory. Here are a few of those.

Jun 23, 2013

The Exposé‎

This is a short story for a contest, inspired by ongoing events related to PRISM. This does not represent my views and is purely a fictional piece.

Glenn took the corner-most seat at the diner. He glanced at his watch. 7.53 PM. Seven minutes before time. He smiled at the waitress and ordered coffee. He took some deep breaths and opened his notepad to make sure he was prepared for what was about to follow.

GSoC Week 1 | AJAXification continues

It's the first weekend of the GSoC coding period and I must say I have been really satisfied with my work yet. I believe I have completed more than forty hours in these six days, changing over a thousand lines of code in the process. The reason, you ask? It's of course my mentor, Alexey Novak (and the home cooked food that I am getting). His involvement has been great so far. Considering that he has a full time job- he manages to give me detailed code reviews after every single push. You can check our discussion here.

Jun 18, 2013

For the love of Python | Scraping IndiBlogger and other tasks

The title of this post is inspired by MIT professor Walter Lewin's book 'For the love of Physics | From the end of the rainbow to the edge of time'. I agree that my knowledge in Python is not even comparable to that of Walter Lewin's in Physics, but I couldn't think of a better title.

Let me start by tell you about the time I tried to learn Java. Someone told me Java is the easiest programming language to learn in this world. I had a background in C++ and one whole semester full of hardcore PHP and PostgreSQL. Naturally, I started by asking Google for tutorials. However, all the results seemed to shout loud at me why Python is better than Java. After nudging my seniors a bit, I finally got a project in Python/Django and that was it for Java.

Jun 17, 2013

GSoC official coding period starts | Work Progress

The official coding period in this year's Google Summer of Code has finally begun. Three weeks between declaration of results and start of the coding is a big time. That is why I had started coding almost ten days ago! This was to make sure I had a head start, which gives me a better chance of tackling unforeseen delays.

First, let's talk about the tasks that I have started looking into but come later in the GSoC. One such thing is adding an accessible flipswitch in place of Enable-Disable radio buttons. Here is a cool one that I found, which also keeps accessibility in mind. Note that it uses bootstrap, but that should not be a problem as I would be reusing only those classes that are necessary.

Jun 13, 2013

The 90s cartoons

Being a kid born in the 90s, I have had the privilege of doing loads of things. I have seen the transition from Walkman to iPod, I have seen the boom of the internet, I have seen the development of the silicon chip- my cellphone now is ten times as powerful as computers when I was born! However, what I really cherish about the 90s is the cartoons that were shown in Cartoon Network before it got its new look. If I could summon five or more characters, here are the ones that I would want to talk to.

Jun 9, 2013

Mighty Javascript | GSoC Week Zero - Laying Foundations

Although Akshit had told me about the existence of the book 'Javascript: The Good Parts' back in January, I hadn't really bothered to go through much of it. How would I have known in January that I would be contributing Javascript to an open source organization?

The first few weeks in my GSoC project involves AJAXification of the interface of ATutor. Apart from developing an AJAX demo, I had had extensive discussions on the UI redesign with my mentor, Alex. We also plan to change the existing CSS to SASS so that small changes don't require changes to multiple files of different templates.

Jun 8, 2013

Why anyone hardly talks about my favorite sitcom

Open Facebook and everyone seems to be talking about the red wedding in Game of Thrones. You might find a post buried somewhere about Friends. Another maybe reminding you about when Sherlock might premiere. One thing is sure- there is not even a single post on Arrested Development.

Jun 7, 2013

Abstract Thoughts

I am writing this post with no motive. There are a lot of things in my mind which I need to get out. Unless you are a voracious reader, I would suggest you leave right now, else you might end up hating me and my blog forever.

Jun 6, 2013

The Power of Emails

Emails are underrated. You would be surprised to know the amount of work people do just with the help of emails. Take for example the collaborative development in large open source organizations, which mostly take place through mailing lists. However, I am writing this to tell you how emails have been very effective when I have been wronged by some illiterates who think that they are pretty smart.

Hangover Part III: Crafty Crazy

Please note that this contains spoilers. This is just the blogger's view points on a recent movie. Read at your own risk. Blogger is not responsible for any actions that the reader may be inspired to do after reading this. This contains information about a movie which has been rated A. Reader discretion is advised. This supersedes all previous notices.

Jun 3, 2013

Welcome home, Jose!

The special one is here. Enough said!

Liked this post? Have any suggestions? Just let me know. Feel free to comment below!

Pythonic Web Scraping using Beautiful Soup and Mechanize!

Web scraping is data extraction from a websites. Although I have been working on that for quite a long time, I will just walk you through the basics. You can find my github repository on web scraping here.

Giving a demonstration without an aim is futile, so let's keep a target: Get user data off a website

The Connectify Conundrum

Let me start by telling you how I work. I had, in my possession, two laptops- a Dell, which served as my gaming laptop, with a core i5 processor and 1 GB graphics and an Arabian LG netbook running an Intel Atom (originally Mamma's) which served my programming needs. For some reason, the Ubuntu 13.04 installed on the netbook couldn't run my Reliance Netconnect+. Connectify came to the rescue (I really don't know how I had a full version installed in my laptop) and I would make my laptop a hotspot and run internet in both of them.

I would generally make a change in the netbook and check the changes in the web browser of my more powerful laptop (with a wider screen)- that is how I work in general.

Jun 1, 2013

Similarities between the Champions League and Europa League finals

With Bayern Munich being third time lucky in the last four years, I draw up the striking similarities between their Champions League win and Chelsea’s Europa League win ten days ago.

GSoC Week minus 1 | Ajax Demo and UI Redesign discussions

Before we start, let me just remind you that if you know me at all, you would know my craze for AJAX. Naturally, it was obvious that any GSoC proposal of mine would invariably contain a lot of AJAX stuff (Check my proposal here).

The first seven weeks, till the mid term evaluation, my primary work is to AJAXify the certain elements of ATutor. Just to make sure that we were on the same page, Alex, my mentor, asked me to give him a demonstration of the AJAXification.

The WeChat Five

WeChat asked me which five people I would like to connect to if I could play God and here is my list! I have handpicked those who have intrigued me at some point or the other.

Will Graham (fictional character, FBI Special Agent)

I know what kind of crazy I am. But, this isn't that kind of crazy.
Many people would recognize Dr Hannibal "the cannibal" Lecter very easily from the Hannibal trilogy (especially The Silence of the Lambs) but only a handful few would know about Will Graham. Will Graham is the protagonist of the novel (and movie by the same name) Red Dragon. However, the Will Graham that I am referring to is depicted in the recent TV series Hannibal. Although there aren't many differences in all of these portrayals, the recent one strikes me as the most important.

May 31, 2013

Google Summer of Code Checklist

Pre-requisites: Except having a good grasp in one programming language, you need to have the knowledge of git/svn/mercurial/bzr. The reason is that all open source communities use one of these tools to manage their code. Collaborative development would have been very difficult otherwise...

The Mystery (Wo)Men

If you could connect to five or more people you wanted to, who would it be? The people could be dead, alive or fictional. Here is my wishlist.

Since time immemorial, the world has had its fair share of secrets and mysteries. Some of them are so well  preserved that the layman never gets to know the truth, in spite of the legacy. I talk about a few such personalities who have been involved in such secrets.

ATutor and the idea of accessibility

When the list of organizations were announced back in early April, I had no idea if I would even be considered for any project. Almost two months later, it feels that I have come a long way. Bluntly put, my work would be to make ATutor look better.

Most web developers are fascinated by how easy HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery have made their lives! However, although they are making > 95% of people happy with their smooth websites, the rest struggle with dealing with.

May 30, 2013

If I were the Chelsea Boss | The Summer Shopping Spree

If you are to believe outgoing manager Rafa Benitez, the new manager at Chelsea would have a budget of  £100 million to overhaul the current squad. How would I have spent it, if I had the chance? Here's my analysis.

Before jumping into the business of signing players, let's have a look at the current squad. The players with expiring contracts are marked in red. I would not renew any of their contracts.

May 29, 2013

Why Dell is no longer the smart choice

My first PC was an HCL. That was a machine which successfully handled all my torturous operations with the teeny weeny 500 Mhz Pentium III and a 128 MB RAM. Owing to that, I chose another HCL when I decided to go for a laptop. Two and half years and two motherboard replacements later, I decided to get a new laptop. That was October 2010.

Dell was my undisputed choice. The reason was simple. Laptops, as I knew it, were not perfect. They were supposed to die at some point of time. My target, however, was to make them run as long as I could. Dell gave two advantages that others didn't (at that point of time). One was a complete cover warranty (which included accidental damages) and the second one was On Site warranty(which only HP provided at that time), which meant a service engineer would visit you to fix your laptop.

Google Summer of Code 2013 | My Story

Quite recently, I came up with a post on how I started contributing to open source, and explained that the only organization that I was following didn't make it through to the selected mentoring organizations of Google Summer of Code. That was a difficult situation for me. Being a Geology student and when every classmate of mine had at least two interns to boast of, I hadn't even bothered to apply properly to professors or companies. The GSoC was my last hope. However, everything seemed grim.

May 28, 2013

Thanking the souls that made my GSoC possible!

Getting a Google Summer of Code project wasn't so easy and it certainly wouldn't have been possible without the help of others. Here is the list that I found too long to be published in a Facebook status update!

Please note that anyone I have mentioned here can ask for a chapo anytime, provided I am carrying my wallet (which I frequently don't). For everyone else, I would ask you a round of questions regarding my GSoC so that I am sure you are not asking for one just for the sake of the hype.

May 27, 2013

UI Redesign (Usability Research and Development) | Google Summer of Code 2013 Proposal

Short description: The aim of this project is to change the user interface of ATutor, making it more user friendly in the process. This would be done in two phases- AJAXification of many features, and then making a new design for ATutor, keeping in mind the accessibility of the project at every point. At the end, ATutor would be a better application to use.

May 26, 2013

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea- Best Moments

With Jose Mourinho making a Chelsea return perhaps the worst kept secret in Football, the next season is surely going to be the most exciting of recent times. Here's a look at Mourinho's actions in the past, which make him so popular among Chelsea supporters and yet, so hate-able among the rest! I start with his best (alleged) action.

May 25, 2013

What Fast and Furious 6 does right?

I went into the movie theatre having read the reviews. Fast & Furious 6 had inherited everything that made Fast Five a success and done a bit more- that is the summary of the critics’ thoughts. Having seen a pretty impressive trailer, I couldn’t wait for the movie to start.

Warning: Contains spoilers.

Entering the world of open source

Open Source is a great concept, especially in a piracy ridden country like India, where people seem to propagate- anything you develop, we can hack. An open source software (OSS) has its source code available under an open source license. The good part is that the best minds in the world work on these projects to make them better!

May 24, 2013

Fast & Furious 6 Predictions

Although there are few movies that you love for certain other reasons, Fast and Furious makes my list because of one very different thing- the cars! There is absolutely nothing in this world that Dom and his crew (that he assembled in the last installment) can't accomplish with cars! The trailers suggest the crew is scattered around the world and Hobbs tells Don to assemble them back- how? He has an offer they can't refuse. Apart from that, Letty, presumed dead until now, is coming back- and Michelle Rodriguez coming back for a role that suits her the best, what more do you want? Here are my thoughts...

May 22, 2013

Toke by Jugal Mody | Book Review

The very first page of this book gets you wondering whether the author was high when he penned down this book. The author apparently writes to feel like dog sticking its head out of a car. If you are accustomed to Sir Isaac Asimov, or love J. K. Rowling's style of narration, you should stay from this book. However, if you want something for a flight (which I did) and your laptop doesn't have any more charge, then I suggest you go about reading it.

If you look at the summary written on the back, it has varied views- right from the concept of the Lord Vishnu to the fact that the whole book is about staying high but still doing your work- well that is pretty much what sums up the summary! Anyways, the last line introduces the narrator, Nikhil, and he says that he has a t-shirt to prove his story. Could I buy the t-shirt?

The summary made my expectations pretty high, but I must say that the book has fallen short of those!

Et tu Brute?

Here is a modern take on the legacy of Julius Caesar, inspired by Shashi Tharoor's 'The Great Indian Novel".

History's Morals

When we talk of moral stories, what better place to look for than history itself? They say history repeats itself, but won't it be good if you prepared yourself better? Here is my take on a few blunders that are famous in history.

May 21, 2013

Knowledge Analysis | Why too much knowledge is bad

In a country like India, education is considered important- very important. Every child is taught to put education over anything else. They say there is no limit to knowledge, but it just struck me that there just might be something. I present before you "Shaumik's curve of Knowledge-Sanity"!

Shaumik's Curve of Knowledge-Sanity

May 20, 2013

On how teams are learning to stop Messi and Barcelona

Lionel Messi is one who needs no introduction. Winning four Ballon d'Ors in a row is no joke, especially being the first in history to do so. And that is not his only achievement. He became the top scorer of Barcelona at the age of 24. He is the youngest player to score 200 La Liga goals. He then overtook the legendary Gerd Muller's tally of most goals in a calender year (which stood for over four decades!) He has achieved everything possible at the club level (and almost nothing at the country level). In general, Messi must seem like God to the layman. However, I beg to differ.

May 19, 2013

The new Bison is here

On 13th May 2012, gameweek 38 of the Premier League last season, a certain forward started Chelsea's match against the now-relegated Blackburn Rovers. It was his first Premier League start in his one full season at the club after Chelsea paid a good £17 million for a promising teenager, most of which he spent playing for the reserves. He was the man of the match, providing an assist for the John Terry opener on the way. Six days later, Chelsea won the Champions League under dramatic conditions, but here's what he had to say.

May 17, 2013

Chelsea get a trophy, and some other things in Football

A disappointing season with a silver lining. I am not very proud of a Europa League, considering prior to this year, I have always wondered what this Thursday night competition was all about, but ending the season with at least one trophy is highly satisfying(considering websites like this exist). I am not a fan of Rafa Benitez, but I am happy that he guided the club to atleast one trophy (after losing the CWC, Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup on the way).

On why Iron Man 3 does not make me happy

The last superhero movie that I had seen was 'The Dark Knight Rises', and I have made it no secret that I have a strong dislike for Nolan because he killed the very essence, the soul of Batman that I grew up thinking about (Here is a blog post on that topic). I entered the movie theater hoping that Iron Man 3 would not disappoint (Iron Man 2 was pretty impressive)- sadly, I was mistaken.

This movie (and the Dark Knight Rises) has managed to please the millions of people who did not know crap about Iron Man, but it sure as hell fails to appeal to the nerds, who have loved Iron Man since their childhood.

Note: Contains spoilers from this point- read at your own risk!

The Formidable Five- and what remains at the end

WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere - WinnerThis post was one of the winning entries in IndiBlogger's #WeChatNow contest, bagging a Samsumg Galaxy S4.

WeChat asked me who would be the five people I would want to connect with if I could play God, and here is my list. (The people could be dead, alive or even fictional)

There are certain things that I like. I am geek, who loves to read. I have been a lifelong Chelsea fan, which explains my interest in Football. I love music too, and I hate it when someone comments on my taste. Apart from that, I have a spiritual side as well. The people that I have chosen here represent my different varied interests at some level. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

P.S. Don't forget to go all the way down to read the actual conversation...

May 12, 2013

2013 UEFA Champions League Final: Why Yellow will overpower Red

When it was announced that Wembley would host the 2013 UEFA Champions League final, no one would have predicted that it would be an all German final, especially after the semi final ties against the Spanish powerhouses. On one hand, Real Madrid came very close to the finals in the second leg, Barcelona were completely outplayed by Bayern with a huge 7-0 deficit over two legs. Most of the football world must believe Bayern Munich are going to sweep over Dortmund come 26th May, but wasn't it a similar situation last year around? Here's my analysis on why Dortmund would be victorious!

May 10, 2013

Gagga, Didama, My Childhood

Gagga and Didama with a newborn me
As the bus entered Khanapara, the outskirts of the city of Guwahati, my heart would leap with joy. It was an inexpiable feeling- everything that this five year old required to feel a sense of paradise! Dispur was just over five minutes away. My Didama (grandmother in Bengali) would be waiting for us with her white Maruti 800 near the Dispur supermarket. She would drive us to the huge bungalow, where a huge pile of assorted Bengali dishes would greet me. Gagga, something that I fondly call my grandfather, smoking a pipe like Sherlock Holmes, would come down from his room and give me a royal welcome. Although I lived in Duliajan, some five hundred kilometers from Guwahati, these twelve hour bus trips were very frequent.

May 7, 2013

Can a porn ban possibly stop rape?

Image Credits: Utterly Butterly Delicious- Amul
On December 16th, I was in Abu Dhabi. The incident that occurred in the capital of India was enough to cause ripples across the world to such an extent that Arabic news channels were mentioning it a bit too many times for comfort. Months later, the capital is in the news yet again for another high profile case. This time, however, the victim was an innocent little five year old. Apparently, the two men watched porn clips, before the alcohol fueled attack.

May 6, 2013

Painting Old Trafford Blue- through the eyes of the goalscorer

Juan Mata is perhaps the true no 10 of Chelsea. He has had such an impact on the team since joining in 2011 that he is hardly seen off the pitch (even with the number of games Chelsea has played this season...) He still manages to keep a personal blog updated (Link to Mata's blog). This time, rather than writing something on my own, I thought I should just repost one of his blogs for an insight into his thoughts.

Apr 28, 2013

You will be remembered

At IMG, we have a tradition of kicking out the seniors in style. In addition to the costumes, we give away a scrapbook, a common gift and a personal gift. The Scrapbook contains scraps from each and every member of IMG sharing their thoughts. I prefer writing one liners in those little chits, and it's not that I don't have anything to say, but because that little space would literally explode if I try to even think of putting my memories! Here is my version of the scrapbook.

Apr 1, 2013

How to Blog Anonymously

Just a few minutes ago, a friend of mine asked me if it would be safe to blog on a sensitive topic. Believe me, it's not worth the chances. Blogging can be very dangerous (not that I care, but I still make sure not to hurt sentiments on my blog...) So, I decided to help him out with something on how to blog anonymously.

Before I proceed, let me remind you that everything can be hacked. I take no responsibility on what you decide to do after reading this, or what happens if you do get caught. These must just be treated as guidelines. After all, you must remain careful, the world out there is not so safe.

Finally, something to be happy about

The way the season has shaped out for Chelsea, there are just two competitions that they can win now out of the probable seven at the start of the season. With so much drama all season, this is one thing that really made me happy. Not just that it was sheer class from Demba Ba, which undermines a great cross from Juan Mata, but this moment of brilliance effectively knocked out the league leaders. The look on Fergie's face was worth the wait.

Mar 26, 2013

David Hilmers + Gordon Gill- Architecture at 45?

The title must not be making any sense right now. So, allow me to explain. After a bad first day in Cognizance, the only remaining lectures left for me to attend were that of David Hilmers and Gordon Gill. Thankfully those went on uninterrupted, and I managed to get pictures with them at the end(thanks to a certain someone whose single please did the trick)!

Mar 23, 2013

The Nobel Cognizance

As I have mentioned earlier in my blog- college fests do not excite me. I have such a don't-give-a-damn attitude that the whole Thomso (with a lot of hype surrounding it as it returned after a year of absence), I did not leave my room- even when the band Indian Ocean was performing in a ground just a few tens of meters from my room. As expected, I somehow got hold of a brochure for Cognizance just a day before it started.

Mar 15, 2013

The IndiBlogger-TRESemmé Ramp Ready Thing

The internet is very important to me. I order almost everything through the internet- right from pizzas to hair oil. Naturally, when I get a courier, odds are- that is related to an online purchase. That is why yesterday was different.

Late afternoon, I was alone in my hostel room minding my own business, when I got a call. I was informed that I had a courier waiting for me outside my hostel. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn't ordered anything recently, and there were certainly no pending orders(although my Flipkart wishlist has stuff worth 250k in it). I don't do drugs, nor do I drink; so there was no possibility of me doing it in my subconscious! I was quick to ask the caller if it was cash on delivery. Thankfully, it was not.

Mar 11, 2013

On the Chelsea Comeback

I have seen comebacks before. It's not always that your team is down against the best team in the world by two goals, and also down to ten men- striking back with two goals, not to mention the resilience to kick the team playing the wonderful football out of the most important competition in Europe. It is even rarer to go out, defend miserably, yet edge most of the match without conceding- until the 82nd minute, only to get the equalizer in the most dramatic fashion just two minutes from time, and eventually winning on penalties in arguably the most important match in the history of the club.

And finally, the blog has a new look!

Back when I started this blog, I had a gaming laptop, where I would run high end graphics games, Photoshops, browse the net and download heavy stuff simultaneously. Naturally, I chose a heavy template, with a large width and filled it up with as many widgets as I could think of- right from real time traffic feed to third party sharing widgets! In short, the source code was a javascript-css sandwich.

Times have changed, and so have I. With a netbook with an Intel Atom processor and a 1024 pixel width screen, that look wasn't cool anymore. Change was necessary. Add to it the comments by Akshit. Thus began the journey of getting hold of a better, lighter template.

Mar 10, 2013

The Fernando Torres Anomaly

  • Signed for £50 million on the dying minutes of the deadline day of the Winter transfer window two seasons ago, it was the highest ever fee paid by a British club.
  • His first match for Chelsea was against former club Liverpool. In the opening minute, a back pass gone horribly wrong gave him a chance to score. Needless to say, he missed.

Feb 28, 2013


The fans are not helping us. At the end of the season I will leave. They don't have to worry about me. -Benitez
Ain't that music to my ears? Since Roberto di Matteo was brutally sacked just over three months ago, the Chelsea faithful have been in a constant state of revolt. The reason was not just the sacking of club legend RdM, deep down we all had hatred for the appointed successor.

Feb 26, 2013

The Field Observer: The Last Days

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

Day 5:
“Saari Khidkiyon se ek hi dikhta hain”
We were on our way to the Naxal homelands as we stopped for some people troubled by nature’s call. Porny noticed that there was a crushed, mutilated, disfigured carcass of a dog a few metres from the bus, and people rushed to his window to see the same, one after another. He ended up saying, “Saari Khidkiyon se ek hi dikhta hain” (It looks the same from all the windows).

The Field Observer: The dusty mines

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

Day 1:
To piss or not to piss:
I have had extended periods of controlling the urge to piss on long bus journeys. However, this was different. We were to arrive at 8.30 for the bus, but the bus was late, and so was Rowdy. The bus did finally arrive an hour later, and I was the first one to find its location. In the short time between my call to the GT boyz and the time they arrived, I decided whether to piss behind the bus. After a mental turmoil, I decided not to do it. Fortunately, it was a good decision as the driver arrived just seconds later, but unfortunately, I got a change to piss only after 8 excruciating hours.

Feb 17, 2013

The Field Observer: The Voyage Begins

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

Day -1:
Considering our train was at 6.50 PM from Delhi, the starting time of 9 AM from Roorkee was a bit too early in my opinion. With great reluctance, I reached the bus parked right outside our hostel ten minutes before the scheduled departure. What I failed to realize is that we were summoned at 9 AM Roorkee Time and not IST!

Feb 15, 2013

The Field Trip v2.0

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

So, it's time. Time for us to pack our bags and depart for the field- only this time, it is going to be in a land far, far away! Here are the things I expect from the trip.
  • The ishtuds refuse to go to the field as the 125 bucks per day is not enough for food.
  • Rowdy is kidnapped by the locals because of the suspicious pronunciation of Nagpur as Naegpore. They mistook him for a spy.

Jan 27, 2013

Bulbulay - TV Series Recommendation

Bulbulay aka Bubbles, is a Pakistani sitcom about a dysfunctional family (remember Arrested Development anyone?) Back in my days in the UAE when Sahara news and Star Utsav were the only Indian channels available, I had no choice but to tune into Pakistani and Bangladeshi channels. What I will cherish during the time is that I (and the rest of my family) started watching Bulbulay.

Jan 24, 2013

The FSW, the kick and the wuss

Chelsea went to Wales with the aim of overturning a two goal deficit, thanks to Branislav Ivanovic two weeks earlier. With immense pressure from the fans, and perhaps the owner as well, Rafa Benitez, the interim manager of Chelsea, fondly known as the Fat Spanish Waiter, decided to start new signing Demba Ba a start over the misfiring Torres. Having lost just three home matches in the season so far, it was a well known fact that winning by three goals away at Swansea, let alone winning, was going to difficult, if not impossible.

Jan 11, 2013

Come Back Home, o Special One!

Russian rule began at the Stamford Bridge a decade ago. Ranieri's time was up soon, and then came the One. The Special One. Coming in fresh after winning the Champions League with Porto, there was perhaps nothing else he could achieve with the club. He went on to arrogantly term himself a 'special one' in a press conference, and has lived up to the term, making his home ground a fortress.

Jan 6, 2013

My Career Options

After completing half of my course, one thing is clear. I am definitely not ending up as a geologist. Here are the career options that appeal to me right now.