Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Google Analytics

Information officially revealed here - it's a web statistics thing.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Anecdotal evidence

Gaim over
It turns out that Gaim (I'm using the version on Debian) is a suction pump (or a vacuum cleaner depending on how you want to put it). For it can allow you to add a user id with no real existence and IM that person. Presumably I was connected to some IM black hole.

For several days now, my attempts to contact a friend on an id have been futile and faced with lack of response, I remember thinking: "How rude!" :-). It turns out I had mistakenly edited the id but without any complaint from Gaim, I was blissfully shouting into an hole with a dead-end. It only struck me yesterday that I should check resulting in discovery.

Social networks cause social tensions. {Disclaimer: I haven't checked if this problem has been fixed at Gaim - I don't want to bash it - it's quite decent actually.}

The vaaTi-ka story
It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon yesterday and I've just plonked myself on the lab mattress for a quick catnap (cause: earlier excesses) when Mayank and Naval decide to go for lunch. Tummy growls over circadian rhythms, so I decide to join them. We go to the slightly shady (according to me - my first time there) Uphar near the Y-Gate where there is no printed menu and everything is verbal (germane to this post).

MisaL paav and a thaaLi are ordered for a group lunch. While that is in progress, we wonder if we should get something more. Which is when we hear a waiter-voice :

"Daal (garbled)BaaTi(/garbled)"

It sounded a little like "roTii", so we listen again for more. This time it is:

"Daal (more clearly)BaaTi(/more clearly)"

Now I have heard a bit about this "daal baaTi" thing but haven't been able to taste it yet. Our current location seemed a very unlikely place for such dishes, but since we didn't ask for the menu, who knows? maybe we missed it. So one order goes out for it.

We're still wrapping up the thaaLi when the waiter comes over and drops a small cup of daal on the plate and mumbles something (the chronic problem), which also sounded like "Daal BaaTi". It takes quite a few clock ticks for it to sink in. Both my non-Maharashtrian friends were clearly stumped. It was a classic homophone - this was what we call a "Daal VaaTi" here ("VaaTi" : "kaTori").

That provided us enough laughs for the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

One down

Mobile Computing project passed off peacefully - I made it through my first major "night out" (not the kind that gets covered in an NDTV late night show) - 4 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period - not bad at all - all that Punt Formation practice under no lights at nights is helping. Nice little presentation bit by Roshan saw us sidestep oily waters.

Next stop: OOT termpaper.

In a non sequitur, have noticed that editing these blog posts involves a request to "google-analytics.com" (not sure of the url - noticed it off the browser taskbar). Googling yielded little, but this speculative article. Wonder what bubbles.

Tea Time

Only it's 3 late in the night, not post the meridian.

There are days like these when I shrug off the ignominy of being a sort of an temporal albino among the students of engineering by putting in the late night big effort. My "saner" habits of packing it in at an upper of 12 am here (10 pm normally) and punching in next day at 8ish am have variously evoked interest, incredulity and even the odd tinge of derision. But these occasions can be used to prove them that I can do it, only I wish not to.

{Since it is 3 am and this is my /dev/null blog anyway, permit me to ramble on.} The immediate cause for keeping the moon company is to put together a project with very little time permitting. We will not probe as to why it was not done earlier - such questions are never asked in the unsigned contract of academic life. There is a certain dangerous edge to proceedings as it is still not very clear whether the plane will take off the ground in 6 hours time. Guerilla coding at its most thrilling with some byte-induced adrenalin. Spades hack at the mass of spaghetti and sprays attempt to disinfect all the success routes just enough to keep at bay the too-close-to-the-surface-to-ignore mass of creepy-crawlies. Had there been a software engineering inspector, he'd have run out of tickets by now.

So does this teach young and impressionable grad students a certain bravado and recklessness when it comes to shaping up functionality? Perhaps. Does it also leave them with more than a sneering contempt for a more organised and yes, saner approach to construction. Perhaps. I just want to finish it and get some sleep, old pal - got another deadline later tonight.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Diwali break

* They should outlaw 7 day breaks (it could easily have been a 9 day break, but you want to crucify me?). Outlaw because you spend the 1st 2 days legally enjoying it, the next 2 days go in weighing the possibilities of squeezing more legality out of the break and promising the big effort in the next 3 days (assignments/projects/books/vanquishing aliens). Then a day in ruing how much time was lost over the last 4 days and on the last day, a firm desire to cling on as such a day will not come back again.

Strange to say this, but I was actually missing the work, the fun and the atmosphere by the end.

* Diwali is essentially when you ought to celebrate the greeting-card-steroided-Mother's Day. Major effort by moms all round the place to get the sweets and savouries in place. How they have the stamina is beyond me.

* Each year, it seems that the amount of crackers being burst in Pune (based on a sample of my neighbourhood) keeps coming down. I do the nominal sparkler only. Having never really had the bomb-mania (except for some varieties), I lost interest a decade ago. So I quite like what Abhishek has been upto.

* My window to IIT-B lingo before getting here was via Satyen ("khaach"), Parikshit "Pari" Samant ("dayaa") and Anupam ("kyaa fart hai"). Standard argot like "give up", and "pain maaranaa" seeped in easy, but I found myself saying "dayaa" at the last BCQC session (without anyone really noticing) inadvertently. I still have mixed feelings about that word, but I think I will be "dayaa max"-ing soon. From there it's a step to Vinod Khanna land and "daya-van-der-hoogenband".

* Last Sunday, Nik showed me another undocumented Pune eatery feature called "Janasevaa" (which is probably well known to all Laxmi Road denizens, but was out of my radar). A spicier version of "saabudaanaa khichaDii" was had followed by "khama.nga kaakaDii" (which I have had before, but not under this name). Earlier, he showed me the "Vaagzai" area behind Parvati. Tells me that there is so much I don't know about the city (and given my memento-esque memory in these matters, I'd forget anyway). Nikhil, if you read this, visit SIGFOOD which was started by Shantanu - there's a lot you could contribute to there.