Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Torture of Final Year....!

Final year sucks! There's just way too much going on! Final year project, five modules, job applications!! And don't ask about my keeps changing! Finally settled on one topic, but the company I am working with is refusing to answer ANY questions about the project, which leaves us wondering whether or not our idea is feasible. A very frustrating place to be in. And job applications in the midst of all this, what to concentrate on!? Waiting for a break....................

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Away from home on such a day...

Tomorrow is one of my favorite festivals back home, and I am stuck here in S'pore. :( Its Ganesh Chaturthi. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would make me and my brother do 108 sit ups and if we completed that, we could ask for anything!!! Later we would go visit our neighbours and see wonderfully painted and decorated idols of Lord Ganesha. We had to see 108 idols. We had one neighbour who would worship almost 50 Ganesha idols! I always loved to go there, because it was just so beautiful! There were varieties of idols - gold, glass, painted, mud. And she would put up lots of lights and flowers making it even more pretty. Now when I think of those days, I loved this festival for the food and the gifts..! :P But today, I can actually appreciate the festival for what it is. It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. A festival celebrated by almost all Hindus. He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.

In this festival, these idols of Lord Ganesha are worshiped for two days (in some cases 10) and then immersed in water. The immersion itself is a very special proceeding. There are processions in a number of places when huge idols are taken to lakes or tanks to be immersed. These days, in a lot of cities, it is not allowed to immerse idols in tanks or lakes as they fear that the paint on these idols and other articles immersed along with the idols would pollute the water! But still, the tradition continues.

One of these years, I will be home on this day and I will once again enjoy all the excitement and the devotion that is associated with this festival....! :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Its 11:04pm and I am at work right now. But the whole place is bustling with so much energy that it doesn't feel like its so late at night! Its go-live and the energy and tension around is amazing! Basically, go-live is a two day period in which the project on which I was working on during my internship comes to end. The project was an upgrade project, where the Enterprise Buyer system for Singapore International Airlines (SIA) was changed from EBP 3.5 to SRM 5.0. Hehe, too technical!? The change was mainly in the user interface, making it a lot more user friendly. But also, a few other new features were introduced so that the backend management was a lot neater and the entire system worked a bit faster. I won't bore you all with the technical details! So all this while we were configuring the new system and testing it in the Test Environment. These two days is where we do ALL what we've done for the past few months in the Production Environment. Its an experience, I tell you! I've never seen such commitment anywhere! The fate of the entire project depends on just these two days. If something goes wrong or if they are unable to hand over the working system to the users on Monday morning by 9am, the past six months are all a waste!

Will update this once go-live is done! Gotta get back to work now! Hehe..was waiting for my supervisor to finsih something before I could start with my work!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A little something for the artsy kinds :)

Just read about this really nice website called I like to draw, but I'm not too good at it and sometimes I wish someone could teach me how to draw! :P I remember my mom putting me in drawing classes when I was 9, but thats as far as I went. Now, I don't think any of us have the time to go for these regular classes. Buying books is one thing, but then the money factor comes in. Has anyone checked out how expensive these kind of books can be? Real expensive!

Drawspace is the perfect solution. It hosts a huge number of tutorials which teach you how to draw right from simple drawings of animals to wonderfully shaded portraits. The site is divided nicely into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. There are tutorials on perspective, drawing with lines, simple cartoons and portraits in the Beginner's section while it moves on to colour and more complicated caricatures and people figures in the Intermediate section. The advanced section has some really wonderful shading techniques as well as some secrets on drawing with colour pencils.

Registering is free, however, you will only be allowed to view one lesson every two weeks! This is to conserve the bandwidth, according to the site. Premium members can pay $20 for three months and get immediate access to all lessons.

Seems like a great way to learn as well as spend your time! I for one will definately try to make the most of this site..! Maybe they should even include paintings slowly. that would be a great thing to learn!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Music to predict volcano erruptions!

I read a BBC article recently in which it was explained how scientists are now using music to help them predict volcanic erruptions. It seems the low-frequency, seismic rumblings of volcanoes can be trasformed into light musical scores. These musical scores are then correlated with precise stages of volcanic activity to help predict an imminent erruption. Quite cool! Researchers in Italy have already created a concerto from the movements of Mount Etna on Sicily!

Presently, the methods to predict an erruption are either to monitor the seismic waves, the number of earthquakes and the intensity of a specific type of quake known as harmonic tremors finally leading to an erruption, OR monitor change in shape of the volcano or concentrations of gases emitted from the cone.

In order to create this volcanic score, an instrument (seismogram) records the timing and intensity of seismic waves. These are then traced onto blank music bars, which is finally overlayed with musical notes. Wonder if we can get hold of some of these musical scores! :P

Thursday, August 10, 2006

NASA lost moon pictures!?

It seems the magnetic tapes that recorded man's first steps on the Moon are now missing! These tapes were stored at NASA's Goddard Space Centre in Maryland. Along with these tapes, original recordings of five other Apollo moon landings have also disappeared. Very few have seen the original tapes, but they claim that the quality was very good.

How could all these tapes just vanish!? Hmm...

System Mechanic saves the day!

A few days ago I was very much tempted to throw my computer (a Toshiba, sadly) out the window! It was in a total mess! My mouse wouldn't work - if I used the very same USB port for a flash drive it worked perfectly fine, but ANY mouse and it just refused to work! The thing was so horribly slow, I could click on an icon on my desktop and go get a glass of water to drink before it opened! I know absolutely zilch about computers and how to fix them, so I was pretty much assured that reformating the computer was the only way out. Then my father asked me to try out System Mechanic. And it really helped!

System Mechanic has about 19 tools that can help troubleshoot problems in your system before they occur. One tool allows you to streamline your registry by finding and clearing out information that is no longer valid or has become completely obsolete. Yet another tool allows you to remove debris littered across your computer by untidy programs, system freezes, and sudden system restarts. The Incinerator tool lets you securely delete sensitive data and files. System Mechanic also helps you eliminate spyware, defrag hard drives, boost internet access speed to upto 300%, block web popups, set up scheduled maintenance, repair Windows security flaws, stop dangerous programs from starting, making Windows boot faster, uninstall or relocate any program as well as tweak hundreds of Windows settings.

You can download System Mechanic 6.0 here. You can start with the free 30 day trial or even buy packs ranging from $50 to $300. The first thing that System Mechanic does is to analyse your computer. (The overall condition of my system was said to be 'critical' :P) Next, you can go about clearing out your registry as well as deleting debris and clutter all over your system. After completing these two tasks, my overall system condition improved to 'good' with almost 1GB of space freed! Now, it no longer takes eternity to load a simple program and my mouse finally works! :D

Ofcouse, since I used the trial version, not all problems were repaired, but it was enough to get it into a working condition.

If you feel that reformating is the only option remaining but dread backing up all that data, then give System Mechanic a shot. It might actually solve your problem!

Social Annotation - Diigo

I just started using Diigo and it really is amazing!

Annotation: This is an extremely useful tool, especially for research. You can highlight text just like you would on paper! And not only that, you can even add 'sticky notes' to the highlighted text. Extracting these highlights on a particular topic across multiple pages helps you keep track of your readings very easily. You can even make your highlights public - quite useful if you wish to compile your findings with those of team mates.

Bookmarks: Bookmark a page like you normally would on any system - just that now you can access these bookmarks from anywhere! 'Clip' the highlights you have already created above and add them to these bookmarks. This really simplifies your search. And see a picture you really like, online? Bookmark that as well and it will be stored in your album.

Share: You can forward any webpage along with your highlights and sticky notes to a friend or team mate. This person can then add on to your comments right there! Do you write a blog? "Blog this" converts your web annotations into blog posts very easily, thus making it even more easy to write about something you have read online. You can even subscribe to a bookmark list, either by tag or by user (or by a combination of both) through the website directly or RSS.

Search: Search based on specific users, topics of interest, hot topics, etc. You can search through the hightlighted contents, comments, tags, title, URL or full text of bookmarked pages. Diigo has a content selection menu which makes this an extremely easy task.

These are just a few of the features that Diigo offers. You can sign up for free and check out the rest of the amazing features!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ClipPath - Try it!

ClipPath is a real simple, yet cool program. Have you ever tried to add attachments to mails and had to drill deep down into a folder in order to get the path? Frustrating isn't it? Well, what ClipPath does is that it adds an extra option in your right-click menu that will copy the absolute path of any folder or file. So next time you are viewing a file and wish to send it over to someone, all you have to do is right-click! This can then be pasted directly into the attachments text box and your mail is ready. :) Pretty cool!

But just before you thought it couldn't get better, version 2.1 adds yet another option to the right-click menu - Create Outlook Link(s). This feature lets you create a link to the file or folder, which can be pasted directly into Outlook. Another nice feature is that you can select more than one file at a time. The different file paths are seperated by semicolons. Definitely a useful tool!

Oh! Btw, this is for Windows only!