Thursday, June 25, 2009

Unique Identification Cards in India _ Intro

With power comes responsibility and it is the sense of responsibility thats prevailed in Mr Nilekani.
He's a great example for the rest of the society. There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling of being able to help other people in such a way.
Experience and knowledge are two rare virtues which if implemented can produce amazing resullts.

I fully support Mr Nilekani joining hands with the UPA government. It's great.
God Bless India.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nitty Gritties - (iPhone issues)

Well this part of the blog is dedicated to my fellow iPhone developers.
As the name nitty gritties suggests I'd be blogging about the small issues that are often not discussed elsewhere or very simply the problems faced by newbies.
This section is also the brainchild of a colleague. I'm just trying to implement and help.

Lets talk about Interface orientation in iphone.

I was bored with the plain tall look of my apps in the simulator.
I wanted to introduce my app in a horizontal way, like if you have an email app for example. It would make sense to open the view in a way that is easy for the user too especially with iPhone 3.0 OS that introduced a landscape keyboard.

I thought of trying it through code. Trust me IB is very good but if you wanna learn there are better ways.

What I did was:

1) I opened my info.plist which sits in the resources folder nice and pretty, there at the end of the properties click on the '+' button found at the right sde of every field.

2) Click on it to get a new property, and start typing Initial Interface Orientation, trust me the code sense will take charge you wont have to type the whole thing.

3) Now in the values for this new field type in right Interface orientation.
Go to the build and go. It wont work as of now because your app really wants to be shown in a landscape mode but is being prevented by the method Interface orientation in your view controller.

4) Un comment the method and type in Landscape right home only for the proper display.

Now hit build and go.
You will see your app coming out in a landscape mode.

That's it for now.
Keep the code neat and bug free. It helps ;-)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Allah Megh de pani de...

This is a song that I heard as a kid.. I never understood the deep rooted meaning in it then but now that we're in the middle of a drought like situation in the country, I think I know why everyone feels like appeasing the rain gods everynow and then.
Yes, you guys... we're facing a probable drought in every State of India.
As per the MET department we're short of water for over 50 % in almost all the states and in Panjab ( the state that feeds the rest of the country) the rainfall deficit is negetive. it is minus 68%. And the monsoon pattrens aren't very favorable from some years now.
We can't really do anything about the monsoon ( although some people still think holding havans will do the trick) but seriously we can save the water wherever we can.
So please people don't waste water coz it's very precious. If we don't mend our ways chances are that we won't have it to drink, forget using it for other purposes.
So please save water and do stand in if someone's wasting it in front of you.
And if you want you hum the tune also..
allah megh de ... paani de :)
God Bless.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Everything is Fresh!!

A new supermarket opened in Tampa, Florida. It has an automatic water mister to produce fresh. Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh rain. When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of fresh mown hay. In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steak with onions.
When you approach the egg case, you hear the hens cluck and cackle, and the air is filled with the pleasuring aroma of morning breakfast cooking. The bread department features the tantalising smell of fresh baked bread and cookies. I guess No one will ever buy toilet papers from there...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Recession Blues...

If you search for the most used words these days, 'Recession' must be a winner all the way.
no jobs for college passouts... its due to recession.
No more vacations at office, no pay hike....... recession.

Last sunday I went out to sector 22 market with my mom, I was just roaming around when I saw a tent where a 'chabeel' was being setup.
You'll find many people offering refreshing cool drinks to passer byes just to beat the heat. And its a very good way to show our concern towards the society at large.
Anyways as soon as the 'chabeel' started people gathered around it , I too was tempted to have a glass of sharbat coz it was a sunny day.
To my surprise it was just plain water that too from a tanker and no sharbat.
The person serving the water couldn't bear the expression on my face and said, "kakaji recession karke paani hi milna hun ta, sharbat bade mehnge ho gaye...

Though I've been at the brunt of it but I never applied the recession factor to our chabeel's.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heavenly abode for Rajeev Motwani

It was quite a shock when I read that Rajeev Motwani died in a freak accident.

Rajeev Motwani was a professor at Stanford who has mentored many Stanford graduates. Very popular ones being Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google.
I have read a lot of his research work during my University project and its pretty evident that he was immaculate when it came to Databases & Data Mining. I have been following MIDAS throughout my University education. His contribution to the research community will be remembered for a long time.
I remember reading "the google story" and read about Rajeev Motwani in it.

Anything said will not suffice the genius and his work.

I pray to the almighty to provide strength to his family in this difficult hour.
I think this is a loss not only to the community but also to humanity.

God Bless.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Been Googling? Try Binging..

It was last monday at office.
I had just reached my desk, turned on my Mac, was going through my mails when I read it on a news feed that a brand new search engine has been launched by Microsoft.
The name was an instant favorite for me as its Chandler's last name.
I just had to try it out right then. I opened my browser and typed and voila..
A nice screen came up with a text field and some options here and there. The next thing I did was sign in with my account to check out the full featured beta version.
I found it very cool with all the options and the top related search strings sitting nice and pretty by the side.
Having studied about search algorithms I was really curious to use a new one and compare it to google's page rank algorithm.
Well the jury will be out there and you'll read many blogs regarding this.
Here's what I thought:
I tried the image search that has real cool suggestions for a more advanced search, like you get to choose the resolution of the images, you can chose the size, the type.
Not that google does'nt provide it but still you need to put some strings in google to look for a particular type. With bing you can do it easily because its right there.
Also when you move your mouse over your search results it actually pops out in a different window.
My work requires me to google many times a day but the last week I switched between bing and google. I even suggested many of my colleagues to try binging.
One more cool feature in bing is its video search. You'll read a lot about it, I'm sure.
When you search for a video, again the options are really helpful and suggestive but when you put your mouse pointer on any of the search result it automagically starts playing. Now that's something. The first thing I thought was, wow you can view any video without actually visiting the site on, that's a little tricky proposition you know, watching any kind of stuff without actually visitng any site. I'm sure microsoft will come up with appropriate filtering to whatever extent it's possible.
For now bing is really a refreshing change and may be a reason of discomfort for Lary Page and Sergey Brin.

Anyways you can bing as well.

What is a Cookie?

So, what exactly do we mean by a Cookie?
(First things first, by cookie we do not mean a biscuit.)
Cookies are a very very important method for maintaining state on the Web.
"State" in this case refers to an application's ability to work interactively with a user, remembering all data since the application started, and differentiating between users and their individual data sets.
(An analogy I’d like to use is my laundry man's shop. You drop something off, and get a ticket. When you return with the ticket, you get your clothes back. If you don't have the ticket, then the laundry man doesn't know which clothes are yours. In fact, he won't be able to tell whether you are there to pick up clothes, or a brand new customer. As such, the ticket is critical to maintaining state between you and the laundry man.)
When we connect to the internet for browsing we make use of HTTP, Unfortunately, HTTP is a "stateless" protocol. This means that each visit to a site (or even clicks within a site) is seen by the server as the first visit by the user. In essence, the server "forgets" everything after each request, unless it can somehow mark a visitor (that is, hand him a "laundry ticket") to help it remember.
Cookies are used to accomplish this.

Again, what is a Cookie?
A Cookie is a small bit of textual information sent by the web server to the web browser, which is again returned by the web browser unchanged, to the web server when the web browser returns to the same web page/site.
Cookies can’t create any serious security threats to the system because cookies are neither interpreted nor executed. A cookie is a text-only string that gets entered into the memory of your browser.
Why do sites use Cookies or the Benefits of Cookies? There are many reasons a given site would wish to use cookies.
· These range from the ability to personalize information (like on My Yahoo or Excite), or to help with on-line sales/services (like on Amazon Books or eBay), or simply for the purposes of collecting demographic information (like DoubleClick).
· Remembering Username and Password: many websites require user to register with them & during registration you need to specify username and password (apart from other information, of course)
· Identifying a user during an e-commerce session: Online stores make use of ‘Shopping Cart’ metaphor to allow the customers to purchase from the online store. While adding a new item to the ‘Shopping Cart’, the server identifies the customer who added the last item, using cookies.
· Cookies also provide programmers with a quick and convenient means of keeping site content fresh and relevant to the user's interests. The newest servers use cookies to help with back-end interaction as well, which can improve the utility of a site by being able to securely store any personal data that the user has shared with a site (to help with quick logins on your favorite sites, for example).
What are the problems with Cookies?
The sad truth is that revealing any kind of personal information opens the door for that information to be spread. Consider the growing trend of technology conveniences in our lives. We use "frequent buyer" cards at supermarkets and gas stations. We place electronic tags on our cars to pay tolls faster and easier. We let banks pay our bills for us automatically each month without checks. We also use a search engine to search for different stuff. While each of these technologies (and others like them) has made our lives more convenient, each time we use them exposes us to a loss of privacy. Stores know what foods you eat. Gas stations know how much you spend on gas per fill-up. Turnpike operators know how fast you drive on their highways. Banks know how you spend your money each month. The search engine remembers your last search and puts a banner advertisement associated to your search.It's the same with cookies. In fact, one may argue that cookies in the long-run will be less damaging to privacy efforts than those technologies described above. If you're going to single-out cookies as your sole vulnerability to personal privacy, you should re-examine how you live your daily life. The never-ending ethical debate associated with these facts shall be left to other forums. However, it is wise to consider carefully the information you collect and share over the Internet.


(A day after Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar recorded his yet another feat in the cricketing history books, perhaps for his greatest accomplishments the whole nation is surely delighted, I thought of writing about it.)
If I trace back to my memories of Sachin;
I’d be around 5-6 years of age when my elder sister had told me of a player called Tendulkar who was so cute, in hers and her friend’s words. By then I was aware of my fondness for the game of bat and bowl. We referred it that way; the word cricket came into our vocabularies much later.
My father, a die hard cricket fan would like to say things in Panjabi about our cricket team and how we loose our matches to my Mum, I would be listening intently to all that cricketing gyaan. He would refer to Sachin as “Nava Munda” and this “Nava Munda” was a great hit in his friends circle. All my uncles after a peg or two would be like, eeh Munda bada utte jayega (this boy will go up). As a child I would always think that utte Jana means kothe utte Jana (meaning go to the terrace), that was a lill confusing for me.
Then there was a cricket match at our very own sector-16 Cricket Stadium, Chandigarh. I wanted to go but I had to go to the school so I never made an attempt to tell anybody about my desire. I knew I’d be snubbed out rightly. But in the evening while going to Sector-17 for a normal hangout with family I heard the presentation on the loudspeaker and it went something like this, “ The man of the match is Sachin Tendulkar”, after that for the first time in my life I heard the voice of a cricketing genius. It wasn’t anywhere near to Kapil Dev’s. When Kapil dev spoke in his husky manly voice one felt compelled to listen but here was our little master with his petite girlish voice. Anyways he had automatically become my hero then.
After that if it was cricket it was Sachin for me. I’d want to emulate him in everything. I’d die to watch him play for a few moments in the sports news on DD even the poor transmission would not hamper my joy. At that age I can’t explain the feeling but I think it was my first glimpse of inspiration. What followed was nearly a religious cult. I’d read the cricket news and I’d be looking for Sachin’s reference in any which way. And it wasn’t just me there were a whole bunch of us who would be passionate about the curly haired young man. My sister and I shared our almirah and she had put up a cut out of Sachin with his huge sunglasses on. I remember spending money that I got on Diwali to poster my wall with Sachin in his stance.
It was Century number one that was much hailed in the papers and magazines. Then there was just “The Tribune” and a Hindi magazine called “Dharamyug” for us in Chandigarh.
As time passed by India saw a sense of recognition in the world as a nation with a man who was referred to as the “best” by foreigners much more times than us Indians. I felt proud as an Indian when I used to see ESPN and Star Sports commentators say, ‘Sachin Tendulkar, world’s Best Batsman’.
He played like one too for a decade to come. No one was able to touch Sachin’s vicinity. He had created the sense of aggression in the Indian way of playing the game, that’s pretty evident in the way we play the game today.
One tour that I loved was the one of Australia’s. It was our summer vacations at school and nothing could have sufficed India’s hunger for cricket. With the required amount of poise, the Aussies were welcomed with Indian journalists doing there bit of statistics and research. It was Shane Warne who was touted as the main hurdle to the Indian Master. It was also reported that Sachin had been preparing for Warne’s welcome in his own special way. What followed was a rampage by the man who was ready to be crowned the King. My most enjoyable headline in the sports page was, “Mumbai Beats Australia”.
It was Just Sachin.
The tour saw rampage and assault in the cricketing way. The tests belonged to Sachin. Every time he stepped outside the crease to Warne, his face would be like the expression ‘how the hell!’
To his surprise Sachin had made it look so easy that the team members had followed him in hitting Warne for a straight six. Navjot Singh Siddhu was always a delight to watch but when he teemed with Sachin it was special. Even Nayan Mongia stepped outside to Warne for a six once. It was all so great.
A few would have predicted what followed; the tour of Sharjah saw Sachin actually taking India’s cause alone. With his sense of eagerness and execution one could feel that this man is no ordinary.
The famous “Sand Storm Match” is engraved in every Indian heart and will prevail for posterity.
I remember picking up the editorial special of the ‘Outlook’ magazine that carried the Master’s theme. In that there were articles from the cricketing greats like Sir Viv Richards, Sir Sunil Gavaskar and many more. They all described Sachin’s panache, his humbleness, his contribution to the game.
He was India’s first Mega Star Sportsman that the world looked up to.
Yesterday when I saw him hit those fifteen runs, especially the first ball after tea when he achieved the feat; it was a delight. I’m sure it was a joyous moment for everyone who loves sports, leave alone cricket fans. Every time he bats, there are at least a few billion expectations of him. And he has carried it with grace and honor, in fact enjoyed it.
Every time Sachin had an injury or just amplified his style a bit, the whole nation reacts in a regrettable manner. The wagging tongues thrive at that point. We as a nation can tolerate corruption, social evils, mind blocks, terrorism but we find it hard to digest a dent in Sachin’s performance. I guess it’ll take a few more ages for us to grow up.
For a cricket loving nation it is definitely a point of reckoning, a point where everyone is secretly happy if not proud. I think for Sachin himself a feeling of bringing joy to a billion lives all at once must be a satisfying feeling. For die hard Sachin fans like me it’s more of an honor and a sense of pride has prevailed if I may say so.

The Ethics of Hacking

During the time of my admission in the University, once I went up to my student advisor to have a little talk, see if it really was what I wanted and whatnot. The guide asked me about my interests, and when I said computers, she started asking me about what systems I’d worked on, etc. And when all that was done, the first thing she asked me was "Are you a hacker?"Well, that question has been bugging me ever since.
Just what exactly is a hacker? A REAL hacker?
For those who don't know better, the news media (and even comic strips) have blown it way out of proportion... A hacker, by wrong-definition, can beanything from a computer-user to someone who destroys everything they can get their evil terminals into.
And the idiotic schmucks of the world who get an average running PC and a300 baud modem for Summers or Christmas haven't helped hackers'reputations a damn bit. They somehow get access to a really cool system and find some files on hacking... Or maybe a friendly but not-too-cautious hacker helps the loser out, gives him a few numbers, etc. The schmuck gets onto a system somewhere, lucks up and gets in to some really cool information or programs, and deletes them. Or some of the more greedy ones capture it, delete it, and try to sell it to Libya or some distant failing economy. Who gets the blame? The true hackers...that's who. So what is a true hacker?
Firstly, some people may not think I am entirely qualified to say,mainly because I don't consider myself a hacker yet. I'm still learning about it, but I think I have a pretty damn good idea of what a true hacker is. I’m open to any challenge. If I'm wrong, let one correct me...
True hackers are intelligent, well they have to be. Either they do really great in school because they have nothing better to do, or they don't do so good because school is terribly boring and static. And the ones who are bored aren't that way because they don't give a shit about learning anything. A true hacker wants to know everything and real fast. They're bored because schools teach the same dull things over and over and over, nothing new, nothing challenging and race for grades doesn’t help either.
True hackers are curious and patient. If you aren't, how can you workso very hard hacking away at a single system for even one small PEEK at whatmay be on it?
A true hacker DOESN'T get into the system to kill everything or to sellwhat he gets to someone else. THAT IS NOT WHAT THEY DO.
True hackers want to learn, or want to satisfy their curiosity, that's why they get into the system. To search around inside of a place they've never been, to explore all the little nooks and crannies of a world so unlike the boring lives we lead. Why destroy or vandalize something and take away the pleasure you had from someone else? Why bring down the whole world on the few true hackers who aren't cruising the phone lines with malicious intent?
True hackers are disgusted at the way things are in this world. All thewonderful technology of the world costs three arms and four legs to get thesedays. It costs a fortune to call up a board in an adjoining state! So whypay for it? To borrow something from a file I will name later, why pay forwhat could be "dirt cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons"?Why be forced, due to lack of the hellacious cash flow it would require tocall all the great places, to stay around a bunch of schmuck losers in yourhome town? Calling out and entering a system you've never seen before aretwo of the most exhilarating experiences known to man, but it is a pleasure that could not be enjoyed were it not for the ability to phreak...
True hackers are quiet. I don't mean they talk at about .5 dB, I meanthey keep their mouths shut and don't brag. The number one killer of those the media would have us call hackers is bragging. You tell a friend,” or you run your mouth on a board, and sooner or later people in power will find outwhat you did, that you are, and you're gone...
(one of my friend suggested that she’d put me behind bars, when I told her that I was hacking into some files on the server. J) I honestly don't know what purpose this thing will serve, maybe someone somewhere will read it, and know the truth about hackers. Not the lies that the ignorant spread. To the true hackers out there, I hope I am portrayingwhat you are in this file... If I am not, then I at least am saying what I think a true hacker should be. And to those wanna-be's out there who likethe label of "HACKER" being tacked onto them, grow up, would ya?Oh yeah, the file I quoted from... It has been done (at least) two times. "The Hacker's Manifesto" or "Conscience of a Hacker" are the two names I've seen it given. (A file by itself, and part of an issue of Phrack) Either way, it was written by The Mentor, and it is absolutely the best thingever written on the subject of hackers. Read it, it could change your life.Spread it around, but don't change anything please. . .

God bless India.


My Message

I have absolutely no idea how I came up with this.
I guess its more self reflective than anything. I truly believe that "honesty is the best policy".
I would love to pass on the message of "Be Good" to everyone and anyone.
It's not that you're doing good for others, I see it as a more selfish act because when you're good to others, you're best to yourself.
So its utmost important to be a good human being first and then be whatever you want to be.