Monday prank

I just sent this message to many of my friends and got hilarious replies: “Hi. Myself and my parents invite you to share the happiness of the occasion of my engagement. Due to an unavoidable situation in my family, I am being engaged on the 31 st of november at <location>. Sorry for the short notice. Couldn’t help it.”

So many people don’t realise that November has only thirty days!

Statistically, 92 of the 124 people didn’t realise this simple fact. That means around three-fourths of my friends are too busy or sleeping at work 🙂 And the rest have no work to do!

A poem I wrote

Strawberries for a Sweetheart

The moment I knew I was in love,

I walked over a long rugged hill,

To find you waiting at a window sill,

Restless as on fire, peaceful as a dove.


You’ll never know I loved you how,

It is a smile from a veil,

That seems so unreal.

Only to your love does my ego bow.


From a field I plucked ripe strawberries,

Stored them in the chamber of my heart,

‘Twas for you that I sent them fast.


I loaded them up in a fleet of ferries,

That has become a dying art,

But I don’t know why they were lost.


This one was inspired by someone who shall go unnamed, and it is dedicated to her.

Wise and not so wise cracks

I’m quite notorious for my wisecracks or mokkais among my friends. Last week I had the chance to unleash some of my custom, spur of the moment mokkais. Here you go:

During the India – Sri Lanka final:

Me: Can you name Thilan Kandamby’s brother?

My brother : ?!?!?!

Me: Thilan Kaanadha Amby. கண்ட அம்பி x காணாத அம்பி

(Note: Kanda and Kaanadha are opposites in Tamil for have seen and unseen :P)

After Federer lost (Aargh….):

Why didn’t Federer win what would have been his 16th grand slam?

He did not come to Tamil Nadu to seek blessings after his marriage. People here bless: “பதினாறு பெற்று பெருவாழ்வு வாழ்க.” (Literally means: Get 16 and live a glorious life). Come here Fedex. You can get No. 16 and more!

On the college bus, listening to உன்னைப்போல் ஒருவன் songs:

Kamal’s next movies:

Unnaipol oru VAN

Unnaipol oru BUS

Unnaipol oru CAR

Unnaipol oru TRAIN

Unnaipol oru LORRY and so on…

An old one from Instincts 2008:

While checking the mike before the light music contest, someone : “check, check, check”

Me: “Come on man! Don’t you know chess, so many checks and no checkmate yet!”

Guys around me: “Why blood, same blood!”

I can predict the comments now: ஒரு நாளுக்கு நாலு மொக்க போட்டா நாலு பேரு காதுல ரத்தம் வரும்னா அந்த மொக்கய போடாமலே இருக்கலாம்

When open is not open, and reviving a hard disk

I was doing some work on when I saw the term Microsoft Office Open XML(OOXML) on a site and was duly shocked at this openness, then it struck me that I had heard someone talk about this format(at a FOSS event in college) and Microsoft’s attempt to get it ratified as an ISO standard. I wondered if they had managed to buy people out, and unsurprisingly they had. I don’t have anything against the corporation, they develop some good looking (don’t get me started on the performance) software and good hardware. What I don’t believe in is the abuse of their position as an established and respected company. If you want your format to become the industry standard so badly, try to make it better than the current benchmark, which still is the Open Document Format. I do not see any advantage of OOXML over ODF, be it file compression, compatibility, uniform implementation etc. The previous document format, .doc was fine, but was not compressed enough.

If Microsoft was so particular on using an Open format, they could have adopted ODF. Why can’t you? Star Office is commercial, and uses ODF, so there’s no stopping Microsoft from using it. The only advantage of OOXML is that it is supported by the office suite with largest user base, Microsoft Office. The argument no longer holds water, since Office 2007 supports ODF from Service Pack 2 onwards. This unethical buying of approval is what makes me dislike MS. I still respect Bill Gates as a messiah of the personal computing revolution, but I am no longer reliant on MS software. I have the freedom of choice courtesy Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Guido van Roosum and numerous other people who have made the world of open source heaven.

A rather interesting thing happened this week. A friend’s external hard disk had gone berserk and wouldn’t open in XP or Ubuntu. Saravanan(A genius, an RHCE and a linux freak/geek all rolled into one person! ) and myself helped him out, but it didn’t work out. So I got his hard disk home yesterday and set down to work. I booted up my favoured OS, Fedora 11 and it detected the disk but did not display the contents. So I got into a virtual terminal and force mounted it and voila, everything was normal. I copied all data to my hard disk, formatted the external drive and then copied back all the data. It worked fine on Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, XP, Vista and Seven. This is another advantage of using open source software such as Fedora. It helps you solve others’ PC troubles and yours too!

I went to a research conference Dhi Yantra 2009(means Intellectual Machine in Sanskrit) which focuses on High Performance Computing and Human Brain Modeling(I’m more interested in the former). Today was the first of the three days. It was an illuminating experience listening to people like Dr. Murali Murugavel from from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and several other WARFT alumni and research trainees. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions which are to concentrate on supercomputing. Dr. Rupak Biswas, who is Acting Chief, Supercomputing Division, NASA Ames Research Center; Dr. Rajesh Kasturirangan, Associate Professor, National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore and Research Scientist, MIT, Boston and a few others will deliver their keynote lectures over the weekend.

The Ashes test seems to be going Australia’s way after a long partnership between Katich and Ponting. I wonder why Harmy is not playing, he could have changed the course of this game. If Aussie selectors were fools in dropping the crazy diamond Symonds, their English counterparts are fools on a higher plane. Here’s hoping England get back into this game, and have a nice weekend ahead!