17 September 2007

International Talk like a Pirate Day

Wonder who came up with the idea for such a day?

14 August 2007


These colour-pencil shaped marvels are the dustbins. To see them, visit the Roald Dahl museum!

28 May 2007

Book at shop

Saw this at Foyle's today and I pretended it was written by a very distinguished friend of mine of the same name.

26 May 2007

File conversion

Not Maha useful. See http://zamzar.com/ They haven't sent me the results of the file conversion yet. So I don't really recommend it.

05 May 2007

How not to squash the fruit in your bag

This curious thing is a banana guard and can hold a banana of almost any shape. It really does exist!

02 May 2007

Travel Tag

Apoorv had tagged me and I hadn't noticed. These are my list of 5 places I'd like to go to.
P.s. I am feeling a bit lazy to tag any more people.

29 April 2007

Christmas and New year decoration

Seems a bit late to put this up. But better than not at all. This little tree stayed on my desk for a month or two after christmas. I don't think that whoever did it was celebrating the year of the pig.

Initial Reading

In the project that we work in, people usually work in two-s. And the norm is to check in (submit) work with the initials of the pair. This is a snapshot of a random evening of work - checked in by my good friends Cenk and Tiest.

Meta meta ...

We are probably going overboard with logging bugs if there are defect reports like this one from my project

  • 'Defect tracking system throws exception at times e.g. I/O Disk error'
  • 'Cannot see bugs I just reported in the defect tracking system'

Hot air balloon floating past at seven thirty a.m.

Umbrella vending machine

What to eat before dessert

This is pudina rice - made from mint leaves, chillies, coconut, sauted onion, lightly fried cashew, vegetable kurma, squeezed lime, curd and pickle.

This was my Sunday afternoon and a drowsy sit-down on the sofa afterward.

09 April 2007

Toffee Wrapper Art

Biting into an eclair means that bits of it would always be stuck hopelessly to various parts of the teeth. I stand united with those who believe that any occasion of eating chocolate, past present or future, is a jolly good one. When I was in school and busy shedding one tooth here and one there, girls would bring along a packet of toffee containing sixty eclairs on their birthday to distribute in the class. I could not do that very often, because my birthday would always arrive during vacation or exam time. Anyway, I loved the eclair with its orange and dark brown wrapper (or was it golden?). It may have been the costliest toffee - it cost 50 paisa, I think. Among my other recollections of association with this toffee, is the various two dimensional creatures I would produce with the crackling wrapper. I made them yesterday to celebrate the joy of digging out toffee from my teeth with my fingernails.


31 March 2007

Mythbusting - Google

I found that adding birthday and anniversary reminders on Google left me giggling helplessly in pain at how terribly impossible it was!

Friends whose birthdays came after today (march 31) for which I wanted annual reminders, the calendar refused to add reminders for this year. Old events would not show up in search results as much as I try to change the dates!

And each time I tried making alterations, the year jumped ahead by one. Sigh! Was it a problem between the keyboard and chair or was the calendar temperamental?

Sometimes, the date control would not budge. Sat there like a stubborn donkey impassive to impatient lashes. Also, I realized that sometimes when I cleared search criterea, the date would not scroll. Then again, the same event was added twice for the same day, or the event date altered as it pleased!

Aha, so Google is not entirely bug free! Perhaps, they do need bandaid occasionally!

07 March 2007

The Curious And The Conspicuous

There is a blue headed (haired) person who showed up at work on Monday. He seemed to have made himself at home in the midst of the busiest team on the floor and engaged in lengthy conversations when he was not looking intensely at the monitor. I must confess that it kept me gaping in wonderment at the tall lanky youth with balding and brightly coloured patches of cranial growth zipping at lightning speeds up and down the hall sporting outfits of contrasting colours that by no means miss the eye.

Intrigued by the unknown reason for his presence, I determined to forage for information and get to the root of the matter. For this, I chose a person of certain influence in the team and a casual moment to go with. And while making small talk about the benefits of caffeine for productivity and pouring out several packets of sugar, I mentioned the new recruit. She said 'O, we need to introduce him to your team - I forgot about him'


22 February 2007

It troubles me

That the developer that sits across me who is fairly advanced in years sucks one or two of his fingers rather like a two year old when he is deep in thought and then yanks them out and starts typing briskly. Also bothered by the manager, permanently dressed in what I call the bloke-blue, at the far end of the hall when he blows his nose rather noisily. This happens mostly around the time I am eating lunch or sipping tea. Poor me.

18 February 2007

What should I read next?

Interesting website. Recommends other books!

17 February 2007


A group of troubled professionals gathered yesterday for a meeting in the hope that by gathering and talking some or all of their troubles would be resolved. For some unclear reason, the narrator of this tale was invited to it and was deeply pained by the invitation. The gathering was indeed multifarious. As with meetings, a conference room with chairs arranged around a round table was in order. The participants arrived one after another and spoke of the issues. It happened that one group had not quite understood the other. It also happened that another was not amiable to suggestion. And yet another knew nothing of the problem or a solution. Those that had the trouble did not take the initiative. Those that did, could do nothing to help. And some others who had nothing much to do with either group looked distinctly vacant and nodded when anyone spoke. Alas, the cost of lengthy meetings!

Special Eye Clinic

11 February 2007

The Story of Romanesco

This most extraordinary looking vegetable was in the market today. The fascinating patterns! Never seen it before. Pinched a tip off when no one was looking and chewed before deciding to buy it. Heartlessly chopped and destroyed its shape. But it made a delicious dish with green chillies and jeera. Had it with vethakozhambu and rice.

p.s. Some googling revealed that it is a cousin of cauliflower. Read this.

09 February 2007

Technology Invasion - The Intention Scanner

Call for ethical debate over possible use of new technology in interrogation

A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act.
This device has been developed for interrogation. What makes it different from a lie detector is that it can understand the intentions of the person. It is aimed to be used to interpret the mind of suspects to see if they had any intent to commit crime. The technology of the brain scanner may also be used in medicine. It could help a patient manipulate an artificial limb merely by thought.

Having worked with software - and software always has bugs - as a tester for several years now, I am not always filled with trust for anything that has code in it. Carefully programmed and thoroughly tested code has bugs. And this scanner claims to interpret thoughts in the complex human brain? It may even have power to decide the fate of the persons involved. For now, it reports a 70% accuracy. So, aside all the ethical issues, how does one trust its verdict?

[ Listen to the Guardian Podcast about this ]

08 February 2007

Snow caused train cancellations

Stayed at home. Drank numerous cups of tea. Lazed on the sofa. Peered out the window at committed people going to work. Saw people have snowball fights. Wondered where the stray cat hid last night. Watched the leaves heave with snow. Sat on a chair by the window and read a book. Switched off the tv after weather reports. Cleared snow from the windows and pavement. Thawed fingers from the hot water of the sink tap. Made a snowman. Turned to dog. See the picture.

30 January 2007

Fridged duck from Florida

There was a duck, like every other duck. Was it ring necked, they said? It was shot by a hunter. Taken to his home. Kept in a fridge. For two days and a bit.

Then, the lady of the house opened the door of the fridge, to cook it for dinner, I think. The duck, aroused from sleep lifted its head and looked up at her. She gasped, I suppose in fright. But then they said she rescued it

The duck was sent to the table. Not as dinner, but as a patient. To be operated and made well. After all it was a badly aimed shot at the wing.

The duck has got a name now - Perky - and lots of fame. And the country is worrying for this duck and weeping for its recovery. Why, there are even T-Shirts being made and sold by volunteers at Goose Creek(whatever that is) to pay for care for that duck.

Its on the news and in internet news videos and on prominent international media

Scary or Funny? - How to tackle global warming

This was on the Front Page of the Guardian a few days ago.

The US government wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming [more]
And, another set of opinions in the Guardian
...Yet, as the Guardian reveals today, instead of sitting up and listening, the US is lobbying the panel to concentrate on science-fiction solutions, such as putting giant mirrors into space. Some politicians and corporations are waking up to the challenge, but too many are still in their slumber. [more]

Every scheme that could give us a chance of preventing runaway climate change should be considered on its merits. But the proposals for building a global parasol don't have very many. [more]

26 January 2007


I realized I missed a summary meeting slash presentation when I saw a procession of my colleagues making their way back to their desks. However, I did need to know what happened and not be left out of savouring any juicy ancilliory details. I quickly went over to one of them - the one with dishevelled hair and coffee cup - and feebly hinted at my remorse in not being aware of the event.

'...and how did it go - was it ..?'

'O yes, very good, very useful' - said he, gathering more coffee from the vending machine.

'And um, what did they say?' - said I, my ears leaning forward.

'Oh that' said he, incredulously - 'I don't remember'....

18 January 2007

Looking back at January

One of my two known white hairs fell off from my head last week

Jammed middle finger while shutting the flap of rubbish bin

Learnt a different way of tying shoelaces from Joachim and Nick

07 January 2007

Naming Ceremony

The wireless (network) that had served us for the last two years stopped working last week because of a fancy technical incompatibility involving routers cable and/or Adsl. A replacement was purchased from ebay at a very decent rate.

My overjoyed (programmer) spouse rushed off this morning to the post office to collect the parcel. It looked intact and in good health contrary to all fears about second hand purchasing on the internet. So despite a grand breakfast of adai and chai, he non-unanimously decided to set up the wireless without delay. In the backdrop of the mild cold and drizzle outside and Kanda Sashti Kavacham (i remembered my neighbour vaadyaar mami who used to play it at the crack of dawn and sing along with it) playing inside, I abandoned the kitchen premises and watched while he sincerely sat down, bent over, half rose, scratched his chin and frowned during the process.

What shall we name the wireless network, he asked. I promptly suggested Marthandan. After Marthanda Varma, a ruler of Kerala some centuries ago. Marthandan also means Sun and I have been enamoured of that name ever since. Besides, my history text books had drawings of him with a beard and crown seated grandly on a bench with curved legs and his hand resting on a sword and Without protesting, Ashok started to type it in ...'MARTHA N DAN' . I squealed with laughter and declared that clearly, he could not appreciate the beauty of the name. Lengthy discussion followed.

Do you want the name of a divinity? Narayana, Murugan, Dandapani,? Nah! Or a colourless repetition with our house name or number? Such as Alma Home Net? We could do Number 12 Home Net, couldn't we! Shall we join our names? No? Nick names then? Not the name of a car, please! No ragam either then. Okay. Silence.

Shall we call it vengaayam? (casually)

What? Vengayam, as in onion, ulli, pyaaz? (shock and excitement)



06 January 2007

Readings From Long Ago

(A year ago) I read part of The Book of Nothing. It speaks of a musical piece of four minutes and thirty three seconds length - of silence. (A weird colleague of mine, I am told, actually owns this audio CD!) Then it speaks of a chapter in a novel titled "Essay on silence" containing blank pages. This author was sued by another author for copyright since the latter had already published a complete novel with blank pages.

Now I don't know how much of fiction these incidents are. But I was amused out of my head and laughed and cried. Then I stopped reading the Book of Nothing. Also I read a bunch of booklets by Kamla Bhasin on Feminism, Patriarchy. Very simple and strong. Wonder if Kalpana Sharma published similar thoughts. My boss when I was at Thinkpad in Kerala is in Delhi these days. I called him up and he usually tells me what he reads. This time it was "The world is flat". When I told Vijaya and Sreesh they both burst out laughing and asked if I was the Pope :-D.