29 November, 2009


"Mathematics has the completely false reputation of yielding infallible conclusions. Its infallibility is nothing but identity. Two times two is not four, but it is just two times two, and that is what we call four for short. But four is nothing new at all. And thus it goes on and on in its conclusions, except that in the higher formulas the identity fades out of sight."
page 1754
-Johann von Goethe, In J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster

This identity is infact a core part of Mathematics. Example. How would you prove that six times six and nine times four are one and the same thing? (Johann might say that they are not. They are infact what they are: six times six and nine times four respectively. But these are just different perspectives of the same object. Read on.) In the decimal world, you can name six times six thirty-six and nine times four also, thirty six and come to the conclusion that we are talking about the same object. In the hex world, we can name the same quantity twenty four. Names don't matter, what matters is that using these identities we can keep aside perspectives to focus on absolute objects. That is the essence of Mathematics! It kinda puts us in a frame of reference where we can safely define absolute w.r.t that frame of reference.

Now, one might argue that he can name six times six fooday-foo and nine times four, looday-loo. But, then asking for fooday-foo pencils or looday-loo pencils will give you the same number of pencils. So, its better to call them thirty-six.

Until and unless counting is redefined in a revolutionary new way, six times six and nine times four will have the same identity and thats a conclusion that is not just made-up from thin air.

09 November, 2009

Finding Flow

A colleague of mine recently recommended this book to me: Finding Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
The best thing about the book is how the author's name is pronounced: "CHICK-sent-me-high-ee" :-D

Jokes apart, its a good book. It had been a long time since the philosopher in me was fed and groomed. It kinda reminded me of the college days when we pondered on how this human civilisation is one shithole at 3:00 am in the morning on the terrace of our society (Fighter Kombdas, remember? :D). A long reflection on self was long overdue and this book provided the perfect opportunity for it.

For starters, it horrendously breaks the myth of how we have come to define happiness and how much importance it has in our life. I like how Flow is closely related (or almost synonymous) to satisfaction. The book drove out all the radicalism that I had been accumulating for a while now. It has quenched my thirst atleast for now.

Its a short read of about 150 pages. It touches almost all aspects of our lives: work, relationships, solitude and provides a solid insight in why all this stuff really matters. It is a good afternoon read and will certainly change the way you perceive life, universe and everything! So, there's my recommendation!

07 November, 2009


Since I have nothing new to post about, here is some borrowed entertainment. Some of the one-liners are old-timers, and yet never fail to make you grin. Enjoy!

Word play:
1) I've got to sit down and work out where I stand.
Doesn't expecting the unexpected make the unexpected become the expected?

1) Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.

General musings:
If it's true that we are here to help others, then, what exactly are the others here for?
2) How come we choose from just two people for President and 50 for Miss America?
Think about this...no one ever says "it's only a game" when their team is winning.
4) A conscience does not prevent sin. It only prevents you from enjoying it.

Don't frown. You never know who is falling in Iove with your smile.

Best way to prevent hangover is to stay drunk.
If your father is a poor man, it is your fate but, if your father-in-law is a poor man, it's your stupidity.
A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you are in deep water.
I'm as confused as a baby in a topless bar.
5) Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.

Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway!
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
3) Of all the thirty-six alternatives, running away is best.

General lot:
1) If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
2) Living on Earth may be expensive... but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.
3) Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!

02 October, 2009

Ranting a rant ...

The good thing about the good things is that you can do them recursively and hence, can increase the increase in the goodness. The bad thing about the bad things is that you cannot do them recursively. Eg. you cannot hate hate. (because if you do, then you would have to NOT hate) but you can love love. Or you cannot forget to forget (because then you won't be forgetting anything and hence you won't forget to forget), but you can remember to remember. You cannot kill the dead, but you can give a new life to the living.

29 September, 2009

I can

Recently, while I was cleaning up my room for the upcoming Diwali festival, I found a nice piece penned by someone for Saurabh. Now, its not a Longfellow-style classy poem or it doesn't say something that would turn us selfish mortals into angels. But, its nice because it is small simple and wise. (uuuhhhh.. that rhymes!). Hell, its not even a poem, its a "piece"!

Here goes:
If you think you are beaten,
you are.
If you think you dare not,
you don't

If you'd like to win,
but think you can't
It almost certain
you won't

If you think you'll lose
you're lost

For out in the world
we find success begins
with a person's faith;
Its all in the state of mind!

Life's victories don't always go
to the stronger and the faster
but sooner or later the man who wins
is the man who thinks "HE CAN"


small simple and wise, isn't it? :)

Update: In case you didn't read the comments, vedang pinged to let me know that the poem/piece is actually composed by Walter D Wintle.

07 September, 2009

The search for a music player..

Since the death of Amarok 1.* series and the rise of the new 2.* series, it has been painfully difficult to use Amarok. Although I accept amarok has restored much of its lost glory, there are still a lot of areas where I miss the old amarok. So, started the search for a new music player. I tried Rhythmbox, SongBird and a host of other music players, but each one lacked something or the other. Here is a list of what I expect from a music player (besides the basic library and playlist management features)

1) A good lyrics plug-in which runs inside the main player window. Rhythmbox has a plugin, but it is non-configurable and spawns a new window. Amarok had a nice lyics plugins. (Wiki-lyric was the best).

2) Global shortcuts. This is a MUST. I should be able to play/pause/next/previous while the focus is on some other application. It is very helpful when working. New amarok global shortcuts, but it doesn't work. Rhythmbox, songbird don't even attempt to do it.

3) A "--enqueue" like option on the command-line. (eg. rhythmbox --enqueue <song>). This way I can add an entry in the right-click context menu which says "Append to playlist"

4) Search filenames. Many songs don't have valid IDv3 tags. (Especially Marathi and Hindi songs). Then, it is very useful to search them with their filenames. Old amarok had this facility and I was addicted to it. None of the players I reviewed later had this functionality, including the new amarok.

5) File browser within the player. Useful to add songs. Rhythmbox lacks it. Songbird, amarok have this.

6) Good randomisation algorithm. I am in love with the amarok randomisation algo. rhythmbox's algo sucks. With 2000+ songs, it still repeats a small subset of 100 songs fairly enough which is irritating.

Optional but nice to have features:
7) Edit IDv3 tags. Implemented by almost all players I reviewed.

8) Fill the screen with some data or the other (Like artist info, lyrics, songs like this, suggestions from Last.fm, etc)

If you know any nice music players which atleast has 4-5 of the first 6 features, please leave a comment. Currently, I am using SongBird. It is a close replacement to Amarok with loads of plug-ins and functionalities.

05 September, 2009

Forget some more ..

Zarin pointed me to this poem. I think it is awesome!

Update: Turns out Zarin herself penned this piece. That makes it brilliant-er!

I forgot how to worry,
and never ran out of happiness.
I forgot how to argue,
and everything around was quiet.

I forgot life is unfair,
and made every moment worth living.
I forgot the word revenge,
and enemies ceased to exist.

I forgot dreams are'nt real,
and lived in blissful fiction.
I forgot how to complain,
and dissatisfaction vanished.

I forgot that I'm human,
and work finished in a jiffy.
I forgot that I'm a slave,
and masters never lasted.

I forgot to have expectations,
and life became numb.
I forgot feelings are real,
and oceans never flowed.

I forgot how to breathe,
and life became heavenly.

11 August, 2009

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death - Yeats

(Brilliant! Just too effing awesome!)

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

It is about one US pilot who is a part of the World War I and is about to die because his aircraft is hit. He isn't in the war because he is a patriot or he hates some race, but he is in because he loves to fly.
"A lonely impulse of delight" - what a phrase! and ofcourse, the last 3 lines!! (Paraphrase: The past and the future are just a waste in front of this life and (more importantly) this death!). Darjaa!

10 August, 2009

Clearing myths about Swine Flu

Recently there has been a furore in Pune about wearing masks for avoid Swine Flu. Here is an FAQ from WHO which would clear most of the myths.

It clearly states that you DO NOT have to wear a mask if you are not sick. So don't be a paranoid. Just stay away from public places. That should be enough.

(Link: abhijit via Twitter)

12 June, 2009

How to irritate people - Lesson 1

I am sure all of you must have used gtalk some time or the other. Now, gtalk has this worthless feature which informs you when the other person leaves the conversation. You get a "Blah has left the conversation" update. When you know that the other person uses some client like pidgin (and not the usual gmail chat or gtalk), you can pull of this very irritating trick.

When you get an update of "left the conversation", just send an IM. Most likely, your friend is trying to ignore you and will leave the conversation again (acting as if he/she didn't read it at all). But little does he/she know that he/she just sent a very worthless but useful update to you :D. Send an IM again. If the other person is using pidgin, a window will pop-up and the focus will be shifted there. (For gmail chat and gtalk, it isn't very effective). grrrr irritating! hehe!

Here's a conversation between me and lets call the other person 'bakra', for the sake of protecting his/her identity.

bakra has left the conversation.
Jitubhai: me too
bakra has left the conversation.
Jitubhai: :)
bakra has left the conversation.
bakra has left the conversation.
bakra has left the conversation.
bakra has left the conversation.
bakra has left the conversation.

-->bakra goes offline here

notice the intelligent use of blank messages :D. I bet the "friend" was wondering why the hell the window keeps popping up.
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

17 May, 2009

The perfect world ...

I have always been an advocate of eradicating "money" and "progress" from this world. I still hold that they have been the reason for our misery. So, I have this concept, "the perfect world", wherein we all live together as a single big community and there is no money, etc etc. These thoughts of mine surfaced once again when I started reading this book called "Outliers" by "Malcom Gladwell". The first chapter in itself is very good. Do read the first chapter here. It isn't huge. Shouldn't take more than 15 minutes of your precious time. It is a real good read. I do hope to realise my dream sometime :).

27 March, 2009

My grand dream ...

My ultimate dream is to have a server installed at my place. 16-core. 16 gigs of RAM. 1 petabyte storage space arranged as RAID and 8 Mbit upload and 16-mbit download bandwidth. It will run either Fedora or FreeBSD.
What will I use this machine for? I have no idea!! But, I also imagine myself completely absorbed in some very important and very obscure work which only I will understand. I will talk with conf files so fluently as if they were the languages I speak. Debugging a problem would be like a cakewalk. *Jitesh attaches strace to blah process*. 5 min later *Jitesh finds and fixes the problem*

I will be a big-shot in the OpenSource community and will have commit access to most package repositories. Yet, I will be cool. Watching movies, playing CS and having a super-hot girlfriend.

Some day I'll have so many machines/boards attached to my server that I would have to make a farm of these boards. I'd add manual firewall/iptables rules to give each of them different type of accesses. One of them would probably host a git server, another one an httpd server and stuff like that. I'd have 4-5 virtual machines running on the main machine and bridged with the wan interface. I don't know what the hell they would do. But, they would serve some important purpose.

And after all this is done, I'll wake up and use my shivaji-chya-kaal-cha juna PC which doesn't even have Linux installed on it :( ..sigh!

11 March, 2009

Its not yet another credit crisis article ...

After the Great Wall Street fall my mail and Reader were flooded with crisis articles. I admit my lack of interest in reading those articles because I couldn't understand half of them and the others were so huge, I got bored half-way. But, today I came across this amazing video which lucidly explains why the crisis started. It isn't wayy to simple and not wayy too difficult. Just perfect and nicely put and entertaining too. Do have a look.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

(Thanks to my good friend Mihir for the link)

22 February, 2009


(came across this amazing poetry. Some of the lines are simply superb!)

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

18 January, 2009

Matrubhumi and Malena

Recently, I had the privilege of watching two distinguished movies, Matrubhumi and Malena. Both the movies boast of great direction, handling a very precarious topic and powerful acting. And ofcourse both belong to the "cult cinema" category. I won't recommend either, because they also belong to the "brutal cinema" category :). Watch at your own risk.
Both the movies have the same underlying motif : How degenerate can we, as humans, become.

Malena is set in a Sicilian town. It is about the only beautiful woman in the town from the perspective of a boy who has just hit his adolescence. "The beautiful woman" is portrayed by Monica Bellucci, so, you know how beautiful "beautiful" is! :). The director doesn't believe much in subtlety. Some parts of the movie are crude and "crossing the line". But, this crudeness is what helps the movie generate the effect it does.

"Matrubhumi : A nation without women" is set sometime in the future. It assumes that killing the girl child had become prevalent in the Indian villages and imagines a situation when there are no women left. None at all. The movie doesn't indulge in needless scenes of crude violence, but instead uses euphemisms, which makes it bearable. Credit to the director for that. Tulip Joshi has done a great job and so have all the others.

Both the movies are worth an applause, but, both are brutal in their own way. They would make Deepa Mehta's "Water" look tame. If you are into off-beat cinema, do watch Matrubhumi. If it doesn't move you, probably nothing else can. Afterall, movies aren't just meant for entertainment, are they?

07 January, 2009

Helmets save lives ... and noses

This is the story of a Wednesday.

It was the day of our convocation. We were going to officially get our graduate certificates (and I was going to get my Post-graduate certificate.. you know, genius people are always two years ahead of everyone :P). The clock announced that it was 2:00 pm. Time to go to the university. This particular day, being a very good one for me (for entirely irrelevant reasons) I was in my usual jumping-jack mood. Salil and Sanjyot were waiting for me outside the Marvell building. I was late and Salil called me up (that bastard.. it was all because of him). So, I had to run. I couldn't have missed the luxury of getting a free lift in her car :P.

So, I ran down the stairs to the ground floor. And I decided to take the main entrance. The main entrance is a big glass door at a distance of about 50 feet from the four elevators (that is where the stairs end). At this precise moment, Salil called and so I started running towards the main entrance hardly realising that the doors were made of Saint Gobain glass and were fucking SHUT. (Now that I think of the timing that he called, I doubt whether it was all a set-up :P). I don't think I can continue the story any further. Please, run your imagination as wild as it can, because, yeah, IT HAPPENED ...

Fortunately, there was no one around except two security guards. I bet I could see the smile on the corner of their faces as they came to help me. I hurt my nose, tore my upper lip and a bruise on my scalp. But, I wasn't worried about that. All I was worried about was that I was going to be the butt of the jokes for the next few days :P. And my my! my friends didn't disappoint me at all! :P

Anyway, I am in the process of suing Saint Gobain and passing a bill to make helmets compulsary while walking and running too. Please support my bill!