Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Is Google Already the Leader?

If you follow some of the technology news site you might realize how frequently Google brings out some new thing or else. I don't claim that their ideas are all orignal but they seem to display them the first in most cases. This all simply shows that Google is already the leader (not in revenue of course but) in (re)innovation.

The case is something like: if google is using some technology, everyone else will start thinking of using it at the least some such things which google made famous may include:

WebSearch(yes, it was almost dead 3-4 years ago and see it now)
Image Search.Video Search (Yahoo, MS both seem to have these things in their portals now)
News Aggregaton
Maps (MS is aggressively doing research & Development(:-) ) on maps now.
AJAX (the newest thing made popular by google interfaces)
Ad sense( See yahoo starting something similar with name wordPress)
Blogs (see yahoo 360, MSN channel 9)
Orkut (see yahoo 360)
Piccassa and Hello (see yahoo 360, yahoo buying flickr)
And last but very important Webmail innovation. (1 GB was a dream earlier, now it is minimal)

I came accross this site which shows that Yahoo is now doing almost everything that google does. See the list of project you will understand.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Indian Government Encouraging Open Source Software

The Indian government is trying to encourage the use of computers across the country by distributing free CDs that contain localized versions of popular open-source applications.
Seems like a good start. A Brazil government like Initiative might be the next step.

Nokia Enters the Linux Devices Market

Nokia Unvieled its Linux based Internet Tablet recently, The device is mostly a PDA. But the cool thing is Nokia entry to the Linux Mobile devices.

With a 4 inch display capable of 800x480 pixels and a 220MHz smarthphone processor, Nokia N 770 is able to connect to the Internet anytime, anywhere via 802.11b Wifi or Bluetooth. The 64MB of memory which offer support for applications and multimedia can be supplemented by a MMC card. All these for only $350.
A cool offer I feel.

Updated KFlickr ---> Qlickr

Spend around 5 Hrs updating some features on Qlickr, so released its version 1.2 tonight. Basically it will save me lot of time in uploading photos now that it supports batch uploads.

So here goes the first photo with this new version. ;-) This is from Didi's Sagai
Didi's Sagai

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

movie:Kya Cool Hein Hum

Watched this movie yesterday night. I shud say its a good comedy movie. I was avoiding watching this movie from my friends' review calling its a sex comedy movie(explained later), I thought it would be some crapy movie without any storyline but extra ordinary use of non veg language, I was wrong. This movie may not be family movie but with Friends it can be just a great comedy. The comedy is on lines with Hungama and Andaz apna apna though some double meaning is introduced everywhere.

The reason for my disinterest for so called sex comedy movies might be the mistake of starting the movie Masti in my house for sometime. That really sucked. Comedy they were trying was becoming tragedy for me. I couldn't see the movie more than 15-20 minutes of run.

Je'Apprends le Fran├žais( I am learning French)

I have always had great interest in learning languages tried learning Russian once from a book, didn't find it working. I wanted to learn French from long time, and have been trying some words too. Now I have decided to try hard.
The special benefit of learning French is to be able communicate 'natively' ( as in computer terminology) with a large number of ppl around the world specially ppl from South America, Europe and Africa.
Currenly taking lessons from French learning communities at orcut, they have sufficient material to keep me learning for long time.

Friday, May 20, 2005

BSNL Sim application :(

Today me and Sachin took Sesh's bike(Bajaj Pulsar, I don't want to go in much detailed review but I liked the bike too much for its stability at high speeds) to go to BSNL costumer care office at Chandanagar.

The lady sitting there told us to get something for our Address proof, and we confirmed passport will do everything. So we came back and took our passports. After applying and payment when we were expecting sim cards we were told that they will call us on phone and inform us. Also that they only call on BSNL landlines so sachin Mobile number cudn't be used. Finally she suggested we call and ask them if our number has come.

Now we were expecting around 1 Weeks time etc for the whole thing to happen so I just enquired how many days will it prob take, and she said around 2 months :( and we can enquire our status after around 1 month.

So For that much time I couldn't wait and had to buy the next option TATA Idea. I hope to test this service well before I get BSNL and if I like it much I will probably sell BSNL card to someone.

Video Encoding from frames in Linux

I knew I had to learn this someday and the day arrived. What I needed to do was to encode multiple image frames in to a Video.
I was told the ffmpeg is generally used for such things so I tried searching on web. I got this as the command to be used
ffmpeg -i frame%03d.ppm output.avi
in general if you want to convert some video format in to other the ffmpeg may be a good tool.. complete documentation can be found here.
But the command somehow didn't work as desired I was getting a video but the frames inside were distorted by some god-knows-what-function. After trying a lot I thought of searching for the same using mencoder, my favourite video editing program till now.
I finally used this command which worked for me as I wanted.
mencoder "mf://frame*.jpg" -mf w=300:h=380:type=jpeg:fps=25 -o output.avi -ovc copy

Some example usage of ffmpeg/mencoder:
*Converting a mp3 song to wav
ffmpeg -i Frozen.mp3 Frozen.wav
*You can transcode decrypted VOBs (Example from manpage, When I tried it didn't work for my vob file)
ffmpeg -i snatch_1.vob -f avi -vcodec mpeg4 -b 800 -g 300 -bf 2 -acodec mp3 -ab 128 snatch.avi
*Very comprehensive example from excamera
This example converts a avi file to a 3gp file for viewing in Nokia 3650 cell phone. (cool na?)

./ffmpeg -i foo.avi
-s qcif -r 12 # convert video to 176x144 at 12 fps
-ac 1 -ar 8000 # convert audio to mono, 8000 Hz
-b 30 # video rate 30kbps
-ab 12 # audio rate 12kbps
-t 60 # first 60 seconds only
foo.3gp # output file
Some useful options are (helpful for cutting/clipping videos)
`-t duration'

set the recording time in seconds. hh:mm:ss[.xxx] syntax is also supported.
`-ss position'
seek to given time position. hh:mm:ss[.xxx] syntax is also supported.
I will trying more examples as an when I come to use/need them :)

Mencoder someone already has a better page than my current Info.Link

More examples will be added soon. I wish to finally have a how do I list of things, if you want to suggest something please do so.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Comparing and Deciding the Mobile Service/Vendor for new connection

ME and Sachin are getting new cell and cell numbers so we were looking around for the tariffs/facilties etc offered by various providers. I think the search is finally over and BSNL is over choice or say experiment for sometime.

Strange thing was that Googling on these queries didn't provide us sufficient results. So here I wish to provide a little Comparision of IDEA, BSNL, etc. offerings. (bolded for google bot ;-) )

Some points we learned. Note this data/rates etc are as of today and as we learn from various sources, I take no responsibility for their updates or correctness.

1) IDEAs rates for STD (2.65 Rs/Min) were almost same as BSNL and some schemes like ALL India STD (2.00 Rs/Min), or Night Time STD (.99 Rs/Min for calling from 11 PM to 8 AM) are good but the recharge value is very less ( 134.5 for 331 Rs card which we calculated gave us some 45 minutes of STD talking). The bigger problem is that if we choose for some scheme we have to pay around 30-45/- Per month for that services which further decreases the card value to around 100 or lesser.
2) Aitel was reject initially itself as the STD charges to landline were around 5 Rs/Min
3) BSNL was always the first preferences for all reasons except the report of Poor Quality of Service, I believe BSNL is not very good as far as signal strength in our Hostel and moreover inside rooms is considered. But All other things are great
Local talking is .9 and 1 Rs/Min from Cell to Cell and Cell to L/L compared to 1.75 in IDEA
STD talking is 2.40 Rs/Min
331 Rs Card gives talktime of 175 Rs which gives us around 73 Minutes of STD talking.
The validity with card of equal denomination is much more (e.g 1000 Rs is 120 days compared to 60 days in IDEA)
Almost all Values added services are there with BSNL connection as against IDEA which has only MMS.
4) We didn't consider TATA indicom schemes with their own Mobile as our mobile handsets are not covered by their schemes, the schemes are however quite impressive at a brief look.
5) Reliance was not considered.
6) Hutch was also not considered as much previous experience of Hutch was not good. Particularly their 1 months 2 months schemes are sometimes great trap to their network.

Watched "The Terminal" Movie

My rating 10/10. Its an excellent movie. I don't remember any very impressive dialogue to quote, but yes this conversation between the actress and the Airport Chief was good:
Chief: A girl like you can get any man to ..., then why do you choose Kevin Loopasky(or whatever his name was)
Girl: That a guy like you can never understand.

the overall story is great, acting by all the actors is also superb. I also liked the reference to history or Napolean.(Reminds me of my one time great interest in exploring history, I hope to fulfill it sometime)

While watching the movie at once I was reminded of the book the Alchemist which has a message of persistent trying and working for your goal which this movie also probably conveys. Also that one particular sentence of The Alchemist comes to my mind, which is vaguely: when you are working hard for something all the things in the universe help you in getting it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Didi's Marriage

The summer vacations this time were not usual once, when I go home spent some time with family and come back within 1 week or so. This time vacations had the important occasion of My only Sisters' wedding.

Photos From Didis' Marriage

I was already excited with the fact that Didi finally got a IT/CS guy which she always wanted. Jijaji has also impressed me already with his caring attitude by sending me a e-greeting on my B'day. I imagined that there would exist lot of work at home and would be a great experience. It indeed was. One of all the best thing was that I was seeing so many relatives coming to our home, that almost never happened earlier As far as I remember.

Photos From Didis' Marriage

I reached home on 28th morning. on 3rd morning Pradeep chacha and cachi, tanu, Dadiji and father's Buaji came. In the evening Dharmendra chacha's family and my badi Bua came. Narendra chacha's family came on 5th evening.

Tanu and Diksha (dancing).
Didis Wedding

Rishabh, Chotu, Betu, Dikhsha and Tanu
Didis Wedding

Vikas bhaiya, bhabhi, Phufaji, Rani Didi and Jijaji came on 7th afternoon. Hemlata Bua and family also came on the same day. Askhok mama and mamaji came on 8th morning. Mamaji, Mamies and Naniji from Jhanshi came on 8th morning.

From Left to right, Vikas Bhaiya, Rajul Didi, Babhi, and Me! (Sagai Ke din)
Photos From Didis' Marriage

It was a big gathering after long time and all the things happened too fast to give me time to blog in my personal diary itself. The wedding happened very well too though some mishap and rush hours did appear.
And something which I didn't think of much but which was discussed a lot was that next is my number, I did try explaining my relatives that it will take atleast 3-4 years, but they say(may be unseriously) it should be sooner.