23 November, 2005

Stain Free Colored Bubbles -PopSci

Chemical burns, ruined clothes, 11 years, half a million dollars—it's not easy to improve the world's most popular toy. Yet the success of one inventor's quest to dye a simple soap bubble may change the way the world uses color.

Unlike the soap bubble, it is a single colored bubble which doesn't even leave stains if it bursts on clothes !

15 November, 2005

Learn to Disconnect -Deepak Chopra

In order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it. This doesn’t mean you give up the intention to create your desire. You don’t give up the intention and you don’t give up the desire. You give up your attachment to the result.

This is a very powerful thing to do. The moment you relinquish your attachment to the result, combining intention with detachment at the same time, you will have that which you desire. Anything you want can be acquired through detachment, because detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self.
Parikrama Rock Band

Checkout the song 'But It Rained' by Parikrama. Thousands are reported missing each year... the song is about those who are left behind. This is what they have to say about the song..

"Amid reports of illness, injury and threats of death, was the uncertainty of not knowing what to believe ... she did not even get to say goodbye" said the wife of one of the hostages. More appeals have been made some even by other militant organisations, but the message is ..."

This is an excerpt from a magazine report published more than 5 years ago. It hit us in the face then, it still tingles in the spine each time. We wrote this song then, in an effort to feel the uncertainty, the futility, ourselves. To share the yet shimmering hope of those who are left waiting for a loved one. At times forever. It's worse still, not having even said a goodbye, or caught the last eye. As funerals are. Ceremonial farewells, perhaps?

Five long years, not a word, nor a trace. Some of them have still not given up, as we read in the papers recently. They wait, even today ... we can hear the strain ...

Just read the lyrics, they pierce thorough the heart...

Wrapped in a polythene tucked away safe in my mind
A little goodbye maybe or just a passing smile

The birds fly away to the southern sky searching a home
A bunch of paper flowers or a little boy left all alone
Can somebody hear me I'm screaming from so far away
Morning who will calm you now, the evening is eclipsed again

Well does life get any better
More yesterday than today
How I thought the sun would shine tomorrow
But it rained . . .

They justified the cause for which Daddy might give up his life
It's been so long, so long a time, still I miss Daddy at night
The ache is long gone but the never keeps staring along
The waters in the seas are high
and all the sand castles have drowned

Well does life get any better
More yesterday than today
How I thought the sun would shine tomorrow
But it rained . . .

Make sure you read the story behind the song first and then download it for free from their website.
From Warren Buffet's Speech...

When the scientist Max Planck was touring Europe giving speeches about his theories, he gave the same lecture so many times that eventually his chauffer memorized the speech. For fun one day Max and his driver swapped clothes, and the driver delivered the speech flawlessly while Max looked on from the side of the stage in a chauffer's uniform.

To open the Q&A the driver received an extremely complicated technical question from an audience member, shook his head, and said replied in an exasperated tone: 'that is such a simple question I'm going to let my chauffer answer it.'

On that note, please ask me anything you want, simple or complicated, anything except for what I'm investing in.

The Pillars of Self-Mastery -Robin Sharma

The Pillars of Self-Mastery -Robin Sharma

Few tips from a mail that had some inputs from Robin Sharma's book.. Robin Sharma is the author of the best-seller 'The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari'

  • Sleep less: This is one of the best investment you can make to make your life more productive and rewarding.

  • Laugh for five minutes in the mirror each morning. Laughter activates many beneficial chemicals within the body that place us into a very joyous state. Laughter also returns the body to a state of balance. A 4 year old laughs 500 times a day while the average adult is lucky to laugh 15 times a day.

  • To enhance your concentration and power of focus, count your steps when you walk. This is a particularly strong technique. So many people allow their minds to be filled with mental chatter. All peak performers appreciate the power of a quiet clear mind which will concentrate steadily on all important tasks.

  • Enhance your will-power. You must first exercise it and then push before it gets stronger. When you are hungry, wait another hour before your meal. When you are labouring over a difficult task and your mind is prompting you to pick up the latest magazine for a break , curb the impulse. Soon you will be able to sit for hours in a precisely concentrated state. Newton had a remarkable ability to sit quietly and think without interruption for a very long period of time. If he can develop this so can you.

  • A contented mind is a continual feast. Greed and material desires must be curbed to achieve lasting happiness and serenity. Be happy with what you have.

  • Every day, get away from the noise, the crowds and the rush and spend a few hours alone in peaceful introspection, deep reading or simple relaxation.

  • Empty your cup. A full cup cannot accept anything more. Similarly, a person who believes that he cannot learn anything else will stagnate quickly and not move to higher levels. Even the teachers have teachers.

  • Always remember the key principle that the quality of your life is the quality of your communication. This means the way you Communicate with others and more importantly with yourself. What you focus on is what you get.

  • Never argue with the person you work for – you will lose more than just the argument.

  • Keep well-informed about current events, the latest books and popular trends. Many peak performers read five or six papers a day. You don’t have to read every story of every paper. Know what to focus on & the more you know, the less you fear.

  • When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take-choose the bolder,said WJ.Slim. Take chances, take smart risks and you will meet with success beyond your dreams.

  • The essence of a person is his character- make yours unique, unblemished and strong. Do not say you will do anything unless you will indeed do it. Speak the truth and measure your words wisely. Be humble, straight forward and peaceful.

  • Remember and use people’s names when you talk to them. A person’s name is a uniquely sweet sound to them.

  • All individuals who have attained the highest of levels generally have cultivated the essential mental habit of optimism. Without optimism, life loses its lustre and hardships appear at every step.

  • As we can take nothing with us when we leave, when you wake up early in the morning, repeat the mantra:
    * I will serve others today
    * I will care for others today
    * I will be kind today
    This kind of living will bring you huge returns if you stay on the purpose of aiding others rather than on the outcome of personal gain.

  • Be known as someone with a cool head, warm heart and great character. Your presence on this earth will long be remembered.

  • Recognize the power of mantras and the repetition of positive, powerful words. Indian yogis have employed this technique for over 4000 years to live tranquil, productive and focused lives.

  • Build a mystique around yourself.

14 November, 2005

The Human Genome & the Theory of Karma -Dharanidhar Sahu (TOI)

Time for some spiritual stuff. This is the first non-technical article on the blog, and I will be putting up more soon..

Scientists decoding the human genome may persuade us to re-examine our belief in fate, predestination, free will and the law of karma. Some genes, we are told, determine our mood swings, some predispose us to diseases, some determine how faithful we are to our companions, while others the intensity of our religiosity. If genes predetermine our behaviour, if karmic destiny is encoded in our genes, do we have a choice?

By exercising our free will, we could change the nature or quality of our genes. Through our effort dormant genes could get activated. For example, the creativity gene can lie dormant till a person is past her middle age. At a later stage, she might have found time and suitable circumstances to activate her dormant creati-vity gene. Similarly, the spirituality gene (VMAT2 or God Gene) gets activated when a person feels an inner need for God and devotes herself wholeheartedly to spiritual pursuits.

Krishna assures Arjuna in the Gita that the deeds of a person are never annulled even when they are disconti-nued; that in his next birth the negligent seeker of excellence recollects his unfinished project and resumes where he had left off; that he is born again in such house-holds that are congenial to his inclinations.

Our free will and dedicated efforts could be guided by what is encoded in our genes, what the religious call as "latencies". The karma theory only attempts to make sense of the mysterious; to systematise the randomness of happenings and to give a sense of purpose to life.

Our ideas of heaven and hell will make sense if we situate them not in an imaginary elsewhere but here on earth. We see people living in conditions that surpass our idea of a hell; likewise, we find people living in conditions that surpass our idea of heaven.

It is not poverty or wealth, disease or good health, old age or youth and external circumstances alone which give people hell or heaven, but our proneness to envy and anger, propensity for evil, pleasure, power, money and fame, and our desire to possess what rightfully belongs to others by neglecting what we possess, give us hell sooner or later.

13 November, 2005

Capture still images from Windows Media Player Screen -Amit Agarwal

Why you cannot capture?

When the video plays, it is actually displayed on a different surface/layer called overlay that is produced by hardware acceleration. When you take a normal screen capture, you're taking it of the normal surface where the video isn't displayed. That's why it comes out black as it is invisible to the screen capture software.

1. In WMP, at least since version 9, you can use Ctrl-I to capture a frame, either when playing or when paused for greater accuracy. It brings up a Save Captured Image dialog which handily defaults to a jpeg. This works only if the video you are watching is using a Microsoft supported movie file.

2. Turning off hardware acceleration in the application that is playing the video, or disable hardware acceleration system wide.

3. Or simply use another media player such as Power DVD, WinDVD or BSPlayer which can take screenshots or use a screen-capture software.

11 November, 2005

STD calls at Local Rates !! -Deccan Herald

In a move aimed at giving a major push to telecom and Internet penetration in the country, the government on Thursday ushered in Internet telephony and also massively reduced the National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) entry fees from Rs 100 crore and Rs 25 crore respectively to an uniform rate of just Rs 2.5 crore. Also, the annual licence fee would be reduced from 15% to 6%.

Not only that, the current networth requirement for NLD licences, standing at Rs 2,500 crore along with a paid-up capital of Rs 250 crore, has also been reduced to just Rs 2.5 crore in order to promote competition and induction of new players and eventually lower tariffs.

So far, Internet telephony was not permitted in India. It has now been decided that Access service provider can provide Internet telephony, Internet services and Broadband services. If required, Access service provider can use the network of NLD/ILD service licensee.

06 November, 2005

Jobs galore for 60,000 Usability Pros -Economic Times

With a shortfall of almost 60,000 usability professionals, Indian IT and ITES companies presently face a real threat of missing the current boom in this sector.

"Our usability staff represent the increased value offered by an offshore alternative. The Indian operations are more systematic than any other group in the world and our personnel are better trained, mentored and certified," Human Factors International (HFI) Managing Director and Vice President (Asia) Apala Chavan told reporters here today.

Infosys Communication Design Group Associate Vice President and Head Sridhar Marri said, "We have around 100 usability professionals at this junction and have decided to hire 100 more people in the next two years. There are around 3,000 projects happening right now and only 150 usability professionals produced in a year."

04 November, 2005

The Everywhere Displays Project -IBM Research

The Everywhere Displays project aims to develop systems that allow the transformation of every surface in a space into a projected "touch screen". You can actually use the projected surface as a touch screen!
Cybercrime Gangs -ZdNet

Superzonda have been known to be a threat for at least the last two years. The BBC reported in July 2003 that Superzonda operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all over the world. Until recently they were sending 50 million spams a day, but recent anti-spam legislation has reined them in.

The BBC also reported that Superzonda used British Airways without its knowledge to host a Web site advertising Russian mail order brides.

HangUp, based in Russia, is suspected of writing viruses that steal financial information. Reports claim that they plant software bugs to steal passwords, and rent out huge networks to send out viruses and spam. HangUp allegedly has 4,000 members operating worldwide, including Americans, Brazilians, Britons, Russians, and Spaniards.

ShadowCrew were a massive underground network of criminals who bought and sold credit-card details, social security numbers and identification documents. They sold credit-card numbers, email accounts, passports, driver's licenses and student IDs, and were estimated to have caused over US$4 million in losses for card issuers and banks. However, the US Secret Service broke up the gang in 2004.

02 November, 2005

Google: Thinking about the future of TV ads -ZdNet

It is very possible that Google is creating their own branded digital television DVR / satellite service.

A DVR that lets you "Log In" with your Google Account before you begin your television watching would allow Google to serve up relevant ads based on: the program you are watching, your search history, the type of emails you have received in the past 24 hours (excluding spam hopefully), or anything else Google can track.

Imagine the possibilities… You are watching Google Satellite TV through your "internet ready" Google DVR:

1) You receive a new Gmail and it pops up automatically on your TV (if you choose to see new messages of course).
2) A ticker at the top of the screen shows recent news that interests you… or better yet, it shows new items from my Google Reader!
3) A more personalized TV experience which will serve up relevant commercials on commercial breaks based on your interests.

This is just the beginning, a service like this could easily tie into Google Talk, Google Base, Google Calendar… the possibilities are endless.

People love to watch TV, almost as much as they like to surf the net. Why not make them one?