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.