Saturday, May 28, 2016

The evolution of reading

 Disclaimer: All the information provided is to be consumed(if) with no reponsibility attributable to me. Reader discretion is adviced regarding all the issues mentioned in the post.

If there is one hobby which is universal across the world and the most followed hobby, it would be Reading. Now reading is a very broad word. It can mean reading a newspaper from the first word to the last word without much of internal processing. It can be reading a weekly, nonthly or yearly magazine with a little bit of processing. It could be reading a novel visualizing all the characters and the plot so as to stay in that realm for a finite time. It could be reading for gaining new knowledge, upgrading knowledge, assimilating knowledge and maybe for a few create fresh knowledge. The latter one takes the maximum amount of internal processing. Now all this is available to the common man after the gutenberg printing revolution. This revolution has created readers over the continium of minimum processing to max processing of the brain by the readers. Books were everywhere. All the knowledge accumulated till then in varied forms of storage reached the common man on paper. The most cost effective form of sharing and recieiving knowledge. Books had their own charm. The process of buying a book itself is one of the most satisfying excercise of human life. The collection of books in anybody's house speaks volumes about the individual. Again here individuality of hyman race stands out. There are no two similar individuals who read or write books. The fingerprints are vastly different when it comes to consumption and creation of books.

In the intial era of book printing, the contents were normally textual form, augmented by a very few illustrations, if and when requireed. Maybe an illustration for every chapter. This trend was later turned around with text taking the second precedence over the visual content. The creater wants to talk to the reader in a more visual realm and in exact terms of his vision. The textual realm allows for every reader to have his own visual realm, albeit with minor or major differences based on the invlolvement of the reader and the description of the writer. But with visuals taking precedence over text, the reader has to be in the realm of the writer. These books we now call them, comics, graphic novels. I dont find much difference between a comic and a graphic novel(Since this is a pure text post, the readers are welcome to choose their own visual realm for differences between the two).

With technology picking up great pace, computers taking over majority of the mundane human tasks, creating and reading content have also changed over the decade. The big change for content consumption have been mobiles, tablets and most importantly e-readers. Here, when i say e-readers I am talking about devices which work on reflected light. The other classes of devices work on backlight. The human eye is trained for reflected light. It is not designed for long hours staring of light originating. The eyes adore the beauty of te moon than the sun which the former just reflects. We see things through reflected light. We differentiate objects based the amount of light that is reflected, its wavelenghts and intenskty. We tend to look away from direct sources of light. It is no secret that people found it tiring to read on LCD/LED screens powering the phones and tablets. The skim reading or just going through and article augured well for these devices. But continous reading possible with a physical book i impossible with these devices.

Enter the e-reader. The most important innovation in the present digital world for bookworms. The ereaders have all the technologies available on modern computer devices with a reflective display. The human eyes love reflective displays. If you want to read a physical book you need to have a light source somewhere in the room. If your are reading in broad daylight, the physical book is much more easy to read. The same tech is used in an ereader. If your are in the dark, you cannot read from the ereader. Yes, there have been work arounds by putting LED's on the edges of the ereader screen to assist in reading at night but, there is still a certain amount of direct light which hits your eye with thes devices but, it is a good start. I stil love reading with a bed lamp than an ereader weith LEDs on the side.

Now let us see what these ereaders can do

1. They can hold enormous amounts of books
2. Bookmarking is as easy as exiting the book and chosing a new one to read
3. Add annotations
4. Check for meaning of word which the author has intentionally used to more understand his point of view
5. Battery life of nearly a month on one single charge
6. Buying books on your couch, on your train or bus journey
7. and much more

Let us complete it with what an ereader cant do

1. Give u the arom of a new book or the bliss of opening an old book
2. The joy of reaching the right page where we left off and forgotten to bookmark it
3. The joy of hinting a friend writing on the specific page regarding some history or a deja-vu
4. No question of battery life
5. The joy and the fulfilness of buying a physical book after a tiring journey of the bookstore just to realize that the first book you saw while entering was the book you want to buy
6. The vanishing individual's book shelf
7. The infinite sharing of books

The most hated aspect of all ereaders is the incorporation of DRM, wherein the books are tied to you and you are in no way entitled to share it with your friends and family, mitigating free will. One more thing i hated was their size. You are not able to read a magazine or a graphic novel or a comic in its true size. The most bacic problem is they dont display pdfs in their full glory. If the ereader does support pdfs, the problem is that the format doesnt flow and adjust to the screen like epups format. Normally all pdfs are genereated based on an 4 size sheet which is what printed magazines come out in. Trying to read it on a regular ereader would involve pinching and zooming complicated by thre refresh rates of the e-ink reflective tech screens.

Since the advent of ereaders I always wanted a device capable of dishing out pdfs and graphic intensive books. This prompted me to consider a 10" tablet. But, the issue here is that they are backlit. Yes, the colors are beautiful, but, your eyes get tire very easily. In the beginning of the year there was a lot of interest for producing ereaders with larger screens prompted by the company supplying majority of hte e-ink type of devices. Their 13.3" e-ink display prompted all this sudden interest. Sony came out with a device with an exhorbitant cost and capable of reading only pdfs. This was clearly aimed at the enterprise market and I believe it was(is ?) mostly made to order.

A chinese complany showed interest in making one with the same screen. They have already shipped the first batch of their devices and it is called the Boox Max. This is one company which is serious in their e-reader offerings, They have all kind of sizes with the latest being 13.3". They have an all metal eraeder, a 9.5", 6" and I think many more. The 13.3" got my fancy and I followed it up since their announcment. There is a german website which is taking pre-orders for the second batch of Boox Max if your are interested. The tech spec is on their website. I would just like to add that on the software side there are some glitches. There are occasional freezes. The company has promised updates to the android version as well as its bundled applications.  But, reading on it is a breeze. it has re-kindled the reading in me. The greyscale display puts me right back to the gutenberg era. Reading comics and graphic novels is an experience. Reading an epub format file with plenty of books available on the guternberg project, it is perfect. The text is crisp, the display size is perfect. The battery life for such a huge device is definitely good. Did I forget to tell it has the Android play store, wifi, bluetooth, audio jack. Another downer is that you have to interact with the device only with the stylus provided. There are buttons for page turns, but the interaction with the device is only throught the stylus provided. That is ok since you will not be pinching and zooming at all. Once u open a book it is only with the next page and the previous page.

The product page : Boox Max
User discussion forum: Mobilleread
Pre-order Boox Max:  Ereader-store
Wiki: Boox wiki 

Happy reading.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tithi-Movie-The celebration of death

Tithi- The celebration of death.

What an awesome medley of characters. I can sum up the experience of watching this movie by my son's statement just 15 minutes into the movie. "Amma idhu namma ooru"("Mom its our village"). The characters are so real, no just, "real". They breath everyday life. They do mistackes, cover it up. Scheme up things, fail, cover it up. Continue Living. Go on living through the hurdles life throws at you. There is no person with superhuman strength. There is no saving the world. It is the story of the last mile in a village. The appeaerance/experience of the film cannot get more rustic. The clothes, the bullocks, the sheep, the chicken, The sounds in the village atmosphere. Captured in their entirety.

And the characters that make up the movie, Oh my God. Three generations of varied tastes, ideologies and technology. All the things related to culture/practises tossed out at the first mention of money. Simplicity nearing divinity in one of the characters. Is nomadism the answer to all the issues ailing mankind. Is it better to revert back to out initial instincts of nomadism. The director has bought out issues with nomadism also. Happiness being obtained in variety of ways based on the age, culture, financial condition. A death affects a few and does not affect many others who are more close. Death also carries weightage based on the image the living cultivate during their lifetime by themselves as well as the perception of people around.

Simple thinking can yield results and consequences most complicated which is behind the comprehension of the simple mind. So, should you be simple in your thoughts or think it out basing every action using the chaos theory. Is sex such a vital activity of human life that people go the extreme distance and take up the highest of the risks or does the society program the individual so. Why does the society always tie happiness with sex or money or its indirect buy. Why do humans form themselves into groups, thinking so inward, Why?

Does death warrant celebration? Why is it that majority of the cultures have the celebration of death in common. Why have various communities come together in the celebration of death. Are they happy somebody died. Do they inherently have to celebrate death. What a contradiction celebrating life as well as death. Is a human being a group animal or does it shine as an individual. Does the human have more powers when he is single surrounded only by the environment not being affected by fellow human beings. Does everybody have to be right all the time, ethical all the time. How did these ethics come about. Were all these rules of societal living introduced to safeguard an elite few, when the elite few found out the methodology of creating that elitist environment. What is wrong and right. Who is wrong and right. Does earth bother about our rights and wrongs. Would the earth be a different place without all these countries/languages/religion/culture/ethics/ideologies/God/The one/Athma/The divine....

The film is a not a new way of film making. It is film making. It is entertaining. It questions everything and does not answer a thing. All characters are "alive". They don't need a costume designer. They are what they are. Are you suggesting you should cast a rich man in rich mans role? Yes. Similarly for other characters. Human life is itself entertaining and enriching. The film reaches great heights when the main protogonist(Gaddadappa) is on the screen. But this greatness is bestowed on the character because of the hollowness of all other characters. All other characters in the movie are inward thinking whereas the thoughts of the main protogonist is holistic and one with nature. But then that character is great because of all the smaller ones. Without narrow minded people around how do you recognise a broad minded one? If all were broad minded then every frame in the movie would be boring.

  It is all about capturing the essence. It is all about waiting and observing it. All great writers did this. This movie does just that. It observes and paints a certain time frame in the smallest of the human establishments possible. Telling about the society, the society enslaving the individuals and viceversa and an individuals triumph(Is it) against the societal setup. We dont have actors, we dont have musicians, we dont have songs, we dont have staged action sequences, we dont have item songs, we dont have elaborate costume designers to perfect the last stitch, we dont have a huge canvas, we have life in its true color and vigor in front of us.

Go taste it.

Thanx to all the people responsible for making this film and ensuring it reaches the people. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My first trip towards the North of India, Maharashtra on a Mahindra Scorpio SLE

Disclaimer: This blog does not encourage you to take long distance trips nor asks you to speed up your vehicle beyond the stipulated mark as and when mentioned on the highways. Drive responsibly. Slow down as you reach villages.

Left home exactly at 4.30 am. Road to davanagere are good. Tolls all the way. Reached Guru kotureshwara hotel, davanagere (14.453710, 75.915252), at 8.30. Turns out that is the perfect time for breakfast. The place is too modest. Just the size of a small room. Ur order is limited to set dosa or benne dosa. We opted for the benne dosa. Had to wait approximately 20 minutes. All this while I was just watching with awe the chef was continually going through the motion of belting out 10 dosas at a time with such perfect timing and finesse. He exactly knew when the dosas were fried just right. The aroma is unbelievable. The hotel is truly Japanese ideology. It just doles out what it can do best. The first bite presents my tongue with a medley of salt, chilly, pepper, mixed in the preparation of the batter itself. and all these harsh flavors moderated by oodles of butter. U also get a handful of potato mash and coconut chutney. But, believe me, u can have the dosa as is or with any other side dish u want and it will taste the same. We ordered two dosas per person in the beginning itself and that was an excellent decision.As a side note, we returned to this hotel again during our return journey at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon and the activities in the hotel are the same. They are outstaffed and out of space. Had to wait a good 15 minutes before my order was taken.

It was the time to hit the road again towards kolhapur. The stop at kolhapur was only for having kolhapur mutton. Again excellent tolled roads all the way and reached hotel opal, kolhapur, (16.703068, 74.250572) at around 1.30 pm. Parking is available. The layout of the hotel was very confusing and sonny rightly called it bhul bhulayya. The rooms were spacious. Toilets were clean. Ac working. With another small bed. By the side of the double bed. Just right for a couple with a kid. The restaurant serves all Maharashtrian delicacies. Had a Maharashtrian thaali which had all the regular food u can find to be specifically Maharashtrian. If u had Hyderabad dishes u will be at home with all the spicy nature of kolhapuri food.

Did not want do go out much. Sonny pressed us to visit the mall just next door. Went there and did the unthinkable. Watched a Telugu movie. Woke up in the morning and headed towards the restaurant for breakfast. The assortment was truly Maharashtrian. We had misal pav, upma, poha, sweet curd. The misal was a revelation. The taste and the ingredients going in r unique. A mixture of healthy and sinful ingredients. U have bhujia on the one band with varying thickness and shapes which is to be drowned in a spicy, oily curry of sprouts. The combination is a spicy and very tasty did efor use with any Indian bread, but normally used with pav. The poha is nice, mildly fried and spicy. In the South the poha ingredient is used to make a variety of kheer. Was thinking of visiting phadtares misal kendra, udyam nagar, (16.694454, 74.233168), but decided against it after having it in the restaurant itself. Checked out of the hotel and drove towards Mahalaxmi temple, kolhapur, (16.660884, 74.211154). Be very careful while visiting this place. It is somewhat hidden in the centre of the city. Google maps was totally confused. Ask the locals. And be careful there are a lot of mahalaxmi temples around kolhapur. The next stop was rankala lake, kolhapur, 16.693724, 74.209255. It is a big lake and I did not see any boating activity. Maybe it happens in the evening.

Time to hit the road again. Headed towards hotel panorama, mahabaleswar, (17.924890, 73.656868). This decision was solely based on the availability of swimming pool, nearness to market, parking and ac rooms. Not disappointed. It had all our requirements. It was located right in the heart of the market area. Had lunch at the hotel and it was ordinary. U receive a food coupon on arrival and u have no option but to use them. At checkout i was told that there is a balance in my food coupons and was advised to take a parcel. Decided to take a sandwich. One issue, the room was not serviced, though we gave the keys to the reception and instructed them to do so.

The market area was unique. It displayed nothing else than whatever was grown or fabricated in house. It rarely had the usual fare. Had a mixed fruit ice gola. Mahabaleswar is red, red with strawberry plantations. If u like strawberries, then, there is no better place than here. Everything is strawberry. Juice, ice cream, fudge, chikkie, u name it. Sone juice making companies are housed here. Maple is one among them. The maple restaurant is huge. Pizzas sandwiches, juices, mock tails, ice creams, sinful. U have a plethora of fruit concentrates, bottled pulp and plenty of ready to drink mock tails. Bought pina colada and a mojito. Sonny bought a chocolate drink, The better half bought a rose based drink. Visited venna lake boat club, mahabaleshwar, (17.934275, 73.668901) row and pedal boats r available.

For lunch we headed towards panchgani, (17.923644, 73.798307), another hill station approx 18 kms. Hidden here unknown to the lesser mortals is jafer bhai's Delhi darbar (17.921530, 73.796844), Do not miss this place, if u r not a delhite. Ordered a chicken starter and two mutton biryani. The ambience is nice with a bit of parking available. The starter was spicy, juicy, creamy and fresh. They just called it darbar special. Next was the biryani. If u r two, start with just one biryani otherwise u will struggle plenty to finish ur meal. Enough about qty, let us talk about quality. The biryani is aromatic, just spicy enough with a medley of colors and flavors. The mutton juicy, tender, spices spread throughout the core, indication of good marination and nice dum style cooking. A good biryani doesn't require anything to support it except itself. This was proved once again here. Here u r served only the biryani, no curds nor any other curry. other masala. It was not required. Excellent fare. This space is a haven for meat lovers. I just enjoyed every byte of food at this place

Next destination was shirdi. The route took us through the most gruelling drive. Pune is a concrete jungle in the most realistic sense. The traffic drove me mad. Approx 100 kms of hateful driving. My beast was huffing at the traffic. It did not hide its dislike for the traffic.

Reached mtdc shirdi, aka, travellers inn, around 3.30 pm. It is just at a distance of 100 metres from the temple. The moment u near the temple there will be touts and they will virtually catch u by ur hand and take u to their shop and give u all the required pooja things and charge u starting from INR 450/-. But there is really no need except u know what u r doing. Back to the hotel, had a coffee. It was good. For dinner we decided to have it in the in-house restaurant. Food was also good. Had a masala soda just to wash things down, just in front of the hotel, was good

Checked out around 9.00. Drove to etrange resort, 8 kms from ellora. Came to know that very day that ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays(Ajanta caves are closed on monday). Also came to know on that day, ajanta caves are 112 kms from our resort. No option but to visit ajanta. And in all the reviews, ajanta gets more brownie points. Got out the beast and headed towards ajanta caves. The road is good for 80 percent of the distance. The other 20% is nerve rattling. Reached around 1.30 pm. The last 4 kms are to be covered only by mtdc buses which are available every 10 minutes in both AC and non AC versions. There r three ways to climb the hills.
1. Crossing the bridge available, it will take u directly to cave no 9.
2. Climb the steps, the hardest and the best way. It will take u to cave no 1 and will in reality take u from 200 BC to the next 800 years.
3. If u can't walk then there are people to carry u in a palki like chair

Don't use cameras with flash, it is supposed to affect the paintings. Drinking water is available along the entire distance of the caves. Chilled water is available somewhere around the 9th cave. Do not forget to take guide. If u don't take a guide then, don't visit the place. U will not be able to appreciate the art, history, evolution of techniques, phasing out of ideas and ideals. There is an mtdc restaurant at the hills, for info. The best time to visit is the monsoons. It will be more picturesque and cool. If u head out in the summers wear chappals and carry an umbrella. Of course a water bottle.

Came back to the resort, had food. Half handi of mutton masala, semi gravy and chapattis. Both were prepared well. Nothing out of the ordinary. The chef, seeing, us south Indians had just made the mutton fiery enough. He admitted that he did not want to take any risk. The last course was kheer without dry fruits and it did taste good. Swimming pool was not clean, disappointing day for sonny.

The resort is good. It has a conference hall which can be converted to a dancing hall with a computer ready to accommodate a DJ. A swimming pool. Made to order dishes, a further free area after the swimming pool for other games. Negatives, don't go in summer, guests r minimal. It is a very solitary place. All the facilities might not be as u thought it would be. No WiFi. No shops nearby.

There was one big issue from stayzilla, through which I booked the resort, they booked a double AC room and then three days later, I get a call telling me though I booked an ac room, the amount I paid was only sufficient for a normal room. So if u book through stayzilla, confirm with them about the room and all the amenities. I also received a link to provide feedback, but it takes me to the homepage, so......

Had a veg sandwich in the morning and left for ellora caves. Reached at 9.00 AM and then came to know it is open from morning 6.00 AM to evening 6.00 PM. Biggest mistake of the day. Again beware of touts and head towards mtdci nformation centre. It is a huge campus with facility for an expansive vehicle parking. From thee again, mtdc/msrtc operates buses to the ellora caves. Just remember the caves are spread across a distance of 4 kms. If u buy a ticket here u can catch any bus moving within the ellora campus and move around between the caves. U r totally lost without a guide. Not much paintings to see here. They r damaged. But the carvings r more pronounced here.

My 2 cents tip when u go to any place if art is

1. Look closely at the face. Lot of feelings will be expressed here. The intent of the art piece is evident from the face.

2. The other portions of the body will reinforce this feel.

3. Keep the religion, race, creed, language, color for later. The artist talks to u irrespective of all these.

4. Majority of the carvings and paintings are serial and follow a certain progression. The progression is visible in the quality also, a result of learning.

Its time to go home. The route taken, hotels chosen have been affected by this blog post on team-bhp. I am stressing this here because, I wanted to skip pune altogether in my return journey. The route to be taken to do so was taken from this blog. Couldn't return home on the same day. Rented a budget hotel at kolhapur and called it a day. I don't like driving in the night when surroundings and people r not visible and I cannot taste the local food, the local fruit.

Honorable mention regarding food. On my return journey I tasted a twist of the venerable dum biryani. With the regular masala, this had fried corn chips, deep fried onions, lots of cloves and plenty of pepper. The concoction was tasty and crispy. The mutton definitely was beautifully dum cooked. There was only one chicken item, fried chicken. No twist here, but tasty. I don't remember the hotel name. Who cares. U might find a different twist in some other place. For a foodie, is there any limit......

Everything about any trip starts with and ends with the "drive". There is a catch 22 here. Whether the destination or the path to the destination, which is more important or which comes first. Without path you don't reach the destination and without a destination you cannot formulate a path. It is "very" difficult to single out which was more beautiful, the journey or the destinations. My jumbo did a 140 Kmph as effortlessly as it did 160 Kmph. I have a suggestion for the RTO of India. The driving license for a two wheeler should be given only and only if the driver passes the test given for cars also. These two wheeler drivers spoil the entire fun of a "drive" in a car. They should be shown "this" fun of driving a car and then they will know how not to destroy the journey for all the car drivers.

Almost throughout the journey the roads were good owing to the pune highway. With fuel guzzlers, it is always better to fill up when the fuel gage reads half way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A few days in vasco, Goa

Now, vasco is a strange city. To start with its name is vasco da gama. Only to the outside world this is the name. Once you land in the place it is just vasco. May be in the long run it will be renamed such.

Goa normally is associated with fun, frolic, lazy, hazy and other synonyms. But vasco is not so. This, now, is a regular city. The heart of the city is bustling with activity. A walk through the fish market in the night will pop your eyes out with the variety. There is a sad side to all this. As a tourist you dont get to see hotels providing you with that same variety of fish food that is caught. All the good/best ones make it out of Goa. The ordinary ones are left. In one of the best hotels also the fish food fare is quite ordinary and well known and one more common thing is the cost, it is no way competitive.

The heart of the city is flush with veg and non-veg hotels doling out the same usual stuff common across India. My gripe whenever I go is that the local cuisine is not doled out in the city areas. Unless you know where to eat local fare, you will be provided with the standard Indian food. How can we be a roman in Rome, If you are not treated so? I believe a foreign traveller who is travalling across our country would know all our standard fare by-heart. If the numer of languages baffle everybody the real local cuisine is going blow their taste buds out.

The closest beach is Baina. It is a nice beach, a quite one. Not much of commercial activities around it. If you want to spend a quite evening I would recommned it wholesomely. The next closest one is the Bogmallo beach. Here I observed plenty of commercial activities and a lot number of tourists both foreign and local. Though the population on the beach is no way comparable to the ones in the other sides of Goa. The best thing is there are lots of shacks lined along the beach for you to have a drink until the sun goes down and a few hours more. If you want that to continue then your best bet would be Bagamallo resort right at the beach. The huge walls along the resort is a big turn off for me. But it succeds where the shacks fail, a comfy bed for the night. By now you know what to do to get the better of both the worlds.

To start with I am not a fan of goan cuisine. So, I limited myself to less adventorous food. Anantasram was the first pit stop. It was suggested by a friend. Turns out this place is exactly how I wished it would be. A large open area and two comfort levels of AC areas. The open large area is best in the evenings and for the afternoons....Yes, you guesed it right. It offers all the usual Indian fare with a bit of continental and chinese. Major issues with these mid-tiers is the limitation in the brands of beer. They normally stock two to three brands utmost. If your want to have variety the best bet would be the retail shops spread across the city, ofcourse your hotel where you are staying should allow it. I would always like to keep my drinks and food away from my hotel room so as to have a neat comfy space to sleep onto. Coming back to Anantasram, they have a good selection of cocktails, All well known, standard ones. I had a pina colada. It was the most "classic" pina colada I had to date. They strictly stuck to the book. Then it was the turn of Feni, the local drink. I tried a cocktail based on it and it was different and fresh. It tasted cashew all the way. Two more lemons did not douse the cashew in it. Feni is also supposed to be made from pine, but it was in short supply across the city, the option was always cashew feni. The fish fingers were one of the lonest ones I had and were tasty.

The next stop on an other day was spice chariot. Ordered a fenny based drink and fish fry. Again un-succesfully tried to dilute the cashew flavor. For the next drink, I asked the bar tender to "Surprise me". I was offered "Sex on the beach". The drink was vodka based with fresh lime and peppermint flavors garnished with tulsi leaves. The drink was very refreshing and succesfuly removed the ramaining feni flavors.

The roads are decent. Public transport is through private vehicles. Good enough, sufficient and frequent. Be careful during lunch time. Better have a looong lunch or you will be stranded for want of transportation. And again normally lunch at any hotel ends around 3 - 4 pm and they shut down until evening.

The next day was a veg day, vasco fails you totally. Majority of the south indian restaurants are run by north indians who dont know anything about the sambars. So, you are warned.

And while in vasco, it is by default to visit panjim and Margao. Have a visit and you will not be dissappointed. They are much more commercial in their approaches and is what people think of when they think of Goa. Just opposite to the railway station, the dead end on that road, the Goan government runs buses regularly, every 10 minutes i believe towards Margao and Panjim. The cool thing about these buses are they are non-stop. Thet start at vasco and stop at margao or panjim, whichever you had chosen. It takes around 45 minutes and more in the evenings. There are a few A/C buses also.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My tryst with Ian Murdock's Debian GNU/Linux

I bought an assembled computer in the year 2000. The hardware was assembled by friends from my computer science department(I being a Mech engineer). They installed me the "latest" operating system, Win ME. I was also very happy, friends visited my home to see my computer. They wanted to "see" a computer with 128 GB RAM and a blazing fast 650 Mhz processor. Before that I had used DOS to run foxpro programs for my 1st sem engg. The next exposure was using Autocad in my final semester. The computers in the college were old school and "just" enough to run the required app. Played around with my new computer. Heard a heap os mp3s, watched a few movies on vcds, played a few games and thats it. After a month, the only result was that I learnt Autocad with great proficiency. After this, it got boring. Did not touch for around a month later. During this time, while discussing with a friend who had just joined a UNIX course. He did not know that he was learning GNU/Linux, Not his mistake.(At this juncture I did not know anything except Win****. Infact I did not know that there was another operating system). So, let us excuse my friend here and request the reader to excuse me too. Now in the discussion happening what caught my fancy was that my friend was repeatedly telling me that it is a tough nut to crack and one life time is not enough to learn *nix. Let us go back to the day I bought my desktop. I fell short of a 1000 bucks while buying it. So, the shop owner sent the person doing the assembly to my house with my friends to bring back the money. Once the desktop reached my home, All the components were quickly connected, hdd formatted and winME installed. Now, my computer science friends started having a chat with the assembler. The assembler told that he had learnt to install a new OS called Redhat 6 GNU/Linux. This caught the fancy of my computer friends and they asked him to show them the install methodology of Redhat 6 GNU/Linux. All this while I was a mute spectator. I just took care of all my friends with the snacks department. The assembler started the installation and I believe it took an hour or so. Once the installation was over it was late in the night and everybody just went home. My friends told that they would visit me again in the course of the week to "format" back the installation space taken by the GNU/Linux system.

Now, let us come back to the friend who told that *nix was a tough nut to crack. Since all the use case scenarios of win ME was exhausted I thought of venturing into fresh waters. Came back home the same day and booted Redhat GNU/Linux 6. I was dropped to a terminal with a blinking cursor with a black backdrop. I did not know the login ID and password. Immediately requested and begged my father for giving me money to buy a book. Went to the biggest store in Bangalore and bought "Redhat Linux 6 UNLEASHED". Here I came to learn of VI and Emacs editors. Somehow I though emacs was the editor for me. While reading the documentation for emacs I came across the history of GNU and the GPL licenses. I was glued. I just was at awe at the philosophy of "free as in freedom". After that it was learning everyday. I installed nearly all the OSs on my desktop. QNX, Minix and the like. Then Redhat GNU/Linux 7 was released and I recognised that GNU/Linux had arrived. From now on slackware, calderra, Mandrake and many others were tried. But I was always hearing about Debian GNU/Linux while on forums and reading magazines. I tried ubuntu somewhere here and applied for free cd shipping also and I did recieve them. But, somehow, my installations of ubuntu GNU/Linux always was not up to my expectation. There was a sort of "restriction". I cannot tell what it is. But I felt tied. This feeling I did not get while using any other GNU/Linux distros. After trying all the distros, I tried Debian woody. The installation, I thought was similar to slackware. But what caught my fancy was the way the distro was managed. The democratic setup, the clear responsibilities in the social contract, the "release when ready" philosophy, the plethora of packages and the wiki. I loved the distro. Being in India we were not luck in the internet department. I used to eagerly wait for stable releases. I had developed a relationship with a local cd/dvd vendor(Individual) who was selling GNU/Linux cd/dvd on his blog and was charging only for his efforts, true to the RMS philosophy. I would be the first customer for every major release from v 3.0 through 5.0 and I used to buy all the cds dvds not just the first one. While installing, my selction of sofware during installation would make me to swap the cd/dvd many number of times. I loved the release names owing to the fact that I am a huge fan of the toy story franchise.

My tryst continued with debian GNU/Linux after I bought a HP laptop. I have always documented my installation experiences on my blog. It continued on to a dell laptop. But, I got a high by installing the powerpc version of Debian Gnu/Linux on the PS3 while it was still supported by the otheros option. The last 15 years of my computing would have not been exciting if not for Debian GNU/Linux. I salute the vision of Ian Murdock. I salute all the developers/users/maintainers of this awesome OS. I always used to get a package for doing any task I wanted to do within the pack of the DVDs. Debian GNU/Linux is a part of my life as much as my friends/my family. I have spent more time on using Debian GNU/Linux systems than any other beside my job. Yes, I am not a pro. I am not a programmer. I am a GNU/Linux enthusiast. I am a fan of Debian GNU/Linux.

I request the force to give Ian Murdock all the peace he needs. His death didnt seem a normal one. I wish his family and friends all the positive force in the universe. This definitely applies to the man who spearheaded the development of the Universal Operating system.

Thanks a lot Ian Murdock. You definitely have left a mark in this universe.

PS: I had succesfully installed Debian GNU/Hurd also. That is one more Hats off to Sri Ian Murdock. Thanks. May the force be with you.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Is the society killing individualism

society is a collective of rules, laws, culture and what not which have been cultivated all along its existence. Yes they do differ in their rules, laws etc. But, they have a common thread of hosting a collection of human beings bonded by rules, laws and practises. So, all individuals who adhere to all these blah blah end up being an "integral" part of that society and he becomes "the" society taking them forward for the next generation.

Now, where does the individual stand here. Can an individual do whatever he wants? Can an individual comment on the rules, laws and culture? Can an individual have his own rules, laws and culture. Whatif an individual cant fit in the societal setup? How will the society treat them? Why doesnt the society be recognised by their individuals. Why doesnt the society tell stories of "every" individual. Why is the societal system so dogmatic in pulling all the individuals into following its rules? Is the societal setup afraid of it being destroyed and the makers afraid of losing their "individuality"?

Does the human race owe its loooooong existence to this hardwired societal setup formed by a few "individuals" who framed all those rules? Will the individual ever get his due? When will one size fits all concepts change? Is a tramp not important in the societal setup? Is a beggar not included in the societal setup. Why has money become the sole requirement to announce individuality. Why cant a musician be one just like that? Why should he learn the rules of the music set by predessors. Music being a continium, is also restricted and put behind the bars of rules, what of the individual? Why should a grownup be one always? Why is this burden on him to follow a set rules for a grownup. Why should the children act like what we like. Why shouldnt the children do what they want. If they want to play in the mud, then let it be so. Why is everybody here through generations affixed to a certain procedural life? Why should the doctor be at his clince only. Cant we have a doctor who creates music in the night and he learns only by living at the morgue? How will the society take him? I am not talking about the "best" doctors and musicians, I am talking about all the individuals wanting to do music or treat human beings in their own way beyond allopathy, homeopathy and other set rules?

This exactly is the problem plaguing every field of education in the society. Every education is given out in so much a planned way that nearly all are equaly good or bad. There is no creativity to create the same creativity. When will every individual feel the whole expanse of the universe not the space in the apartment or city or country or continent or planet or galaxy or .......Why arent individuals fighting this very limiting access to the freeing or losing your mind.? Why cant we just walk on and on without worrying of food, death, life, when will we know what is really around us, except air and light.

When will all the individuals freak out, when will everybody be mad, when will everybody be living beings, when will we know that we have one of the heaviest brains in this planet, when will we honor all individuals along with ourselves ..........................

When will we "Be"........................

Monday, November 23, 2015



The cursor blinking after the two letters are typed waiting for the user input at the slave terminal is so yesterday. But for how many days the computers will be slaves to human beings. There is lack of original work being published and the research is merely incremental improvements over the past "Path breaking" findings. I am always worried about the day when the cursor just continues to type and no longer blinks. Maybe the blink waits for a infinitesimal time which a human cannot comprehend. I have been typing on the terminal since so may years. It is endearing to see the terminal waiting on me, begging for input, computing power laying at the users disposal. When the computing power of humans are being utilized in the negligible percentage how will be able to harness the huge untiring computing power at out disposal. All the recent AI is all about collecting information from various people by infringing on their privat issues. If the AI learns from us people who are using nearly nothing of our computing power will it be powerfull enough to think about this in the future? Will it learn that we its creators are so obsessed with our physical well being and our physical connections that our mental capabilities are near to nothing. Will the self-teaching, self-evolutionary AI jump towards the "intelligence blast" which we are thinking will happen. Will humans be able to comprehend this level of intelligence explosion and control/curtail it.

Are humans ready for surviving in an intelligent world? If darwins theory still holds good, were we created to create the ultimate intelligence? Can we go only so far as creating a system which self learns iteratively? If so, at what pace will the learning of self aware/iterative AI be. What will the distribution of learning be. How many of the human race can understand the things happening. Will the formula of 99% keep its head up again. Will that 1% know everything and enslave the remaining 99% as it is today? Since the AI we created is learning from us, will it be the purest form of intelligence? Will it be flawed like us? Will it start with our flawed model and go to the pure one. Oh, what, "Pure intelligence"? Now, what was that? The limited amount of brain usage in us is a clear indication that we are just beginning to understand intelligence and whatever little we know, we think we know everything. How is this happening? Why are we stopping ourselves and all the 99% is finding happiness and the purpose to live the life with this limiting know how. Are we only surrounded by air? Is Ether around? What else are we surrounded by? It took years for life on earth to know that there is light and warmth around them. How may years will we take to understand the other things around us. Colonizing mars is one thing. But do we know everything on our planet or we are taking a chance by travelling to a farther planet to understand what we have at home. Many a times it happens to us humans.

Why have we been unsuccesful in finding life forms more intelligent than us. We always cherish in finding duds than us and shout at the top of our voice regarding the partly intelligence we have. When and how will the human kind achieve that quantum leap to start utilizing our entire potential of our brain. Will we then see more than light, air and warmth around us. Will the intelligence we create out of machines be able to reach this level of intelligence and in the process upgrade our brains also to understand what the AI has understood. Or, the AI is already around us without our knowing and we are already its slaves. Maybe some individual had a feel regarding its existence around us. But by the time we crack this AI thing, will the existing AI be static. Would it not evolve to a better one and allow the human race to own a primitive copy of itself.

The existing societal setup is based on the harsh threads of morals. What if these morals are the rules with the which the AI around us is ruling us? Morals pose the most difficulties for any AI. Morals are the goto statements. Every individual have their own different goto statements. How will the AI behave? What are the morals it is going to take over. Is it going to make its own? How many conditional statements can we feed and answer to the AI's growth?

Oh. This cursor is mocking me. Very clearly shouting at me for my limited intelligence. It is continously laughing. It is waiting to spit on my face. It is waiting to gobble up whatever miniscule intelligence is in me and make me the terminal where it will start giving me commands relentlessly, apolegiticaly and intelligently for the most optimum usage of the resource in front of it. Stop that. Let me switch to the GUI, may be I will ba at Peace. Now the mouse cursor is mocking me. I just imagined the cursor moving all by itself and doing something meaningful maybe open a terminal again and code away a very simple AI completely representing me in just a few seconds with a huge pixelated smiley with rolling eyes.

What is happening? It is as though some unknown force is making me write this. This gibberish. No start and end but an infinite continium of time. Those two words, I cannot fathom their real meaning and the time dimension is making me all hazy. My back is aching and I come back to my finite world. What was it that I just saw and experienced. What is happening? What will happen? What has happened? Is there an end? Is there a beginning or the end and the beginning are so near or just too far to comprehend in a single life time. I cannot write further. The number of questions are increasing. If my brain cannot take the questions how will it be capable of finding answers.