How to go unprepared for a Trekking trip 101

So, I thought I’d officially start the year with a bang and went for a trip to Ooty with friends from college. There were 16 of us and to keep it short – it was fun. But this isn’t about the trip as a whole.

This is about one particular aspect of the trip – trekking up a hill in almost completely uncharted territory. To be more precise, this is about how to go unprepared for said trip.

How to go unprepared for a Trekking trip

Aim: To make an itinerary of all the items that would be detrimental to a trekking trip and procedures to follow that would effectively endanger your life and those of others with you.

Apparatus Required:

1) Sandals with no traction – 1
2) Sprain in leg – 1 (Maximum of 2)
3) Cotton clothing for effectively letting the chill get to you
4) Foolhardiness – As much as possible

Procedure:

1) Start with letting your friends plan a trip. Initially, refuse to go along so that you’re absent from the planning sessions. When you agree to go along, make sure you forget the fact that a trekking trip has been planned.

2) Do not forget to act tough and not take any type of protective clothing even though you are going to a hill station and you know about it.

3) Make sure you don’t have enough sleep because you know sleeping on a bus with 15 friends (who talk themselves to high glory) is quite easy.

4) Start the trekking trip with minimal energy. This is essential to gathering the grit to go till the very top.

5) Remember to sprain your ankle a little on each leg so that it gets worse by the time you’re done.

6) Start the trek

7) Remember to keep your foolhardiness at max throttle and agree to move forward on unused slippery muddy pathways.

8) Take support from people on both sides of you. This way, you’ll feel safe that when you fall, you won’t be the only one going down.

9) Do not think about the way back and how much more difficult it is to stop yourself while slipping down the muddy pathways.

10) Reach the top. Stop for photos on the way when there is enough foliage to literally hide an elephant.

11) Start the trek downhill. This is the part where the fun starts.

12) Hold on to maximum number of people so that you can take everyone down when you go. For best effects, make sure the people on both your sides are light ones. This will help in bringing down the whole group a lot faster (Satti’s Weight Disproportionality Theorem).

13) Break a few toe nails so that you can feel the pain when you are trying not to slip.

14) A few thorns all over your body will also help. For good measure, make sure they’re poisonous.

15) Hope that the sprain in your ankle acts up to make your job all the tougher.

16) Get down and look at your feet. Mud should have crusted all over your nails (the ones that aren’t missing), mud over your pants and T Shirt(which should have been black for maximum effect).

17) Make sure you come back into your room with said filthy sandals and then realise the fact. Reminisce about the trip and write a blog post on the one part you think would not be all that boring to read.

Conclusion: To decrease your chances of coming back alive, do not go for a trekking trip with your head in the right place or traction in your footwear.

Of course, the trip on the whole was awesome. My sarcasm is directed wholly on myself and my stupidity for not being prepared for a trekking trip.

Advertisements

Batman: Arkham Asylum

So, there I was, sitting around, not knowing what to do after a recent bout of mugging up and vomiting (read – exams) when I thought I’d get back to my usual stuff and game a little. Although I have enough games in my hard disk to last a whole year in college and enough processor power to run most of them simultaneously, I have never been into gaming much.

Yes, my laptop is very powerful and I will boast as much as I want until some acquaintance of mine buys one to trounce it 😛

So, anyway, I looked through the selection and thought I’d divert a little from the FPS craze I was feeling and go for a very very very highly acclaimed and highly recommended game.

Yes, my first action adventure game in sometime. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a VERY good game. It may sound a little prejudiced on my part considering I’m a big fan of the Batman franchise as such (particularly after seeing the recent efforts by Christopher Nolan to bring it to the silver screen) but trust me, the game is actually pretty brilliant.

Au contraire to what I do with most FPS games, I have not the patience to either fight every mini boss battle a million times in order to win them nor sate my curiosity until I play hard enough to clear levels to let the story progress, that I play the game in the highest difficulty (Not a very concise sentence I know, but it should make perfect sense).

So what did I do? I played it in the easiest difficulty. That’s not to say I didn’t attempt the highest difficulty but since my mouse maneuverability is still in its infancy, I thought the better of it.

The game was, as I keep repeating, bahut awesome. As with all games, it had flaws. But that makes it a fun package (as most people keep saying for some reason).

Gameplay: Epic. No other word. Proper slightly super-human skills in the martial arts, use of batarangs, bat claws and all other apparel the batman usually takes with him on his nightly charades were an integral part of the game. The protagonist sprite felt, moved, looked and spoke like the Batman that I have come to associate with from comics and movies hereunto. I found the unlimited batarangs a little ridiculous but then, it makes the game a little more fun. The soft landing from any height thanks to his piezo electric cape makes the game a little more easy leading to lesser deaths.

What I did NOT like about the gameplay was the utter lack of perception of edges by the AI. What do I mean by that? In most games of this genre, when you reach the edge of say, a platform you’re standing on, the character does not walk into the void beyond if you keep pressing forward. He’d rather do nothing (most games), hang on a ledge (pop) or look down and show the player what’s below (assassin’s creed). In Batman: AA, the character just walks off a ledge. Of course, considering you have the bat claw and the cape to stop you from dying through such unfortunate mishaps and later feel stupid about it, its not that big a deal but I hated it.

The nice touches like the detective mode – in which he can follow trails using DNA data, chemical composition of the atmosphere (to its finest detail, down to the molecular orbital diagram of ethanol, which is admittedly not very tough to find online), fingerprint analysis and other things make the gameplay an awesome experience.

What I missed though was seeing bones broken when you hit the villains in the detective mode but I guess the new Mortal Kombat trailers have made me a spoilt kid 😀

Graphics: I’ve taken a healthy interest in graphics considering I’ve been studying video compression and OpenGL for some time now. The game uses the Unreal engine from what the credits show. The graphics are not extra ordinary. Some cases, they are downright cartoonish. The characters themselves seem well made but the environment, although rich in detail and very interactive in certain cases, does not have the feel of the other recent games I’ve played. As in, I can’t say its bad .. But I feel its definitely lacking in some way.

What really hit me about the graphics was the lighting. It was absolutely like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was, to be quite honest, very surreal but also looked very good..

See what I mean? I can assure you the light falling on these guys has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the lighting in the room. But, grant me this … It looks terrific.

I’m guessing though that the graphics requirements are quite minimal. I was able to run this and AC: Brotherhood simultaneously without loading the processor too much. I’m not able to express how stunned I was when I noticed that it hardly took any power from my CPU – which is important considering some games take a lot of my CPU power (at ~14 GHz, that’s a LOT of clock cycles).

Story: The highlight of ANY media in the batman franchise – movies, cartoons, comics etc is the story. For people like me, its the cinching factor. I mean .. You can have a lot of villains and a fair amount of fighting but when it comes to story, whether it be in movie or comic, I like to see something good.

Batman: AA does not disappoint. Although, I’d read the whole Knightfall series a mere five days before I started the game, I found the story as good as any comic. Though not as epic in scale as most comics are wont to do, it was still very good. The whole story is, as happens often, based on Jokers masterminded scheme to take over the Arkham Asylum. I will tell you no more.

The story was lacking at certain points though. But then, my expectations are high … I mean, it’s BATMAN!! 😀

Consensus: MUST PLAY!

PS: PLAY THE GAME AS SOON AS YOU FRICKIN CAN!

PPS: Batman Arkham City is due to be out soon. Trailer? Check this out.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

So, I finally convinced myself that FPS games aren’t all that bad after watching the whole frickin hostel going at it in multiplayer on Call of Duty 6.

To be honest, I’ve never been good with games that require the mouse. On a joystick, after a point of playing, it becomes flesh memory to press the right buttons. My mind says things like “kill that guy” and my hand will press the appropriate buttons. On a mouse, it’s a right pain trying desperately to keep the sensitivity at just the right level, A bigger pain is finding the right surface (book, piece of wooden plank, mouse pad, whatever) to keep the mouse on so that it doesn’t act weirdly.

But I can manage playing with a mouse specifically because using a mouse is something we all do day in and day out through our lives (right?). So, there I was, one hostel hunt for games later, sitting in my room with COD 4, 5, 6 and 7 all loaded and ready to install. I thought I’d start with 4 cos it was the game that started the epic-ness in the whole series.

I started the game in Veteran mode which the game very clearly told me I “will not survive”. How true it was. But first the game:

The game is addictive … And I mean addictive as bloody hell. In veteran mode, after Act 1, every checkpoint took me a minimum of 5 tries to cross. Around the end of Act 2, I was stuck in a VERY tight spot. As in, my tries had exceeded 20 or so and I still was nowhere close to having a clue as to how to cross that stage. So I thought I’d see how the people with COD clans fare in that level and gave it to a pro. He tried the first 2 times and couldn’t get through after which he pressed “Restart Level”. It reset the game back by some 18 checkpoints 😐 and frustrated me as hell when I tried to cross the first 4 of those.

So I took the cowardly path out and restarted the game in “Recruit” mode (read: supremely easy). Then, I got bored running through the same levels (albeit as considerably faster pace) and resorted to cheats *hangs head in shame*

I finished the game today evening. I can honestly tell you I LOVED the game.

I’m not a big fan of FPS .. I mean beyond CS, this is the first game that has captured my attention (No, I’ve never played Half Life 2). But I will tell you this – the game is bloody BRILLIANT. I hated Crysis 1 because there was too much story. I have a love/hate relationship with games like CS and Rainbow 6 because they have too less (Rainbow 6 is actually a Tom Clancy game but I still found it lacking back when it released). COD 4 gave me a perfect blend. The story was simple but provided solid gameplay hours (multiplied many folds considering I was playing in Veteran).

Halfway through the game, you keep switching between playing as Sargent Paul Jackson of the US Marine Corps and ‘Soap’ Mactavish of SAS \m/ . Then you switch to Captain Price of the SAS for a brief period of time. The story follows the accession to power of Khaled Al-Asad who kills some random president and takes power and then detonates a nuke (sadly killing Paul Jackson). The rest of the team trace him, his partners and Imran Zakhaev and kill/execute all of them.

What truly blew me away was this one particular mission when you don the role of Captain Price and move through tall grass in camouflage suits. It was TERRIFIC to say the least. I could not, at times, figure out where the other guy was before I spotted something that looked like a slightly taller strand of grass holding a camouflaged sniper rifle.

Consensus: MUST-PLAY. Epic Game. So awesome I read up on the history of CoD games here

PS: Started playing CoD 5 now – seems kinda drab after CoD4 but you’ll never know until you finish it 😉

Forgotten Sands: Must Forget!

So, absolute boredom and quite a bit of joblessness made me resolve to get back into gaming. This is the epic journey of a geek who went through possibly the worst game Ubisoft EVER made.

College is a wonderful place for people who love to game .. Unless MMOs are your forte. Games are in everyone’s hard disk. Just moving around 4 rooms in the hostel can net you at least 20 different games, each being a combination of different genres except for the FPS’ – which are mostly very alike but fun nonetheless.

So, I started moving around the hostel and after going to one room, I got Metro 2033, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Just Cause 2, Modern Warfare 1 and 2 and finally, the GOTY – Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands.

Ubisoft has been one of the best game making companies in my experience – probably after Rockstar Games and CodeMasters. I’ve played at least 5 of their games and they were mostly the same type – guy jumping around evading traps or whatever. However redundant it gets, it is still awesome.

Forgotten Sands, in my experience, was the WORST game I’ve ever played. Filled with glitches, bugs, stupid graphics problems and other nonsense which I can’t even start on, the game was hell to finish through. It took me 6 hours to finish a game that I could probably get through in less than 4 hours – sans the cutscenes maybe.

The game was FILLED with glitches. I thought this was because I had a cracked version from SKIDROW (NOT the band, no). Turns out the game is actually quite buggy .. the PC version of it at least.

From having doors that didn’t open to keys that didn’t work to graphics that kept getting messed up or downright missing from the place, it was a terrific experience and not something I’ll forget soon. My roommate had a good time laughing his head off each time I met up with one of these glitches and started trying to circumvent it by hook or crook. Finally, I resorted to downloading a bunch of saved games online and crossing levels which just could NOT be crossed.

Apart from that, the game itself had some levels which required a kind of mixed focus and for a guy more accustomed to a joystick, moving your hands around on the keys didn’t feel all that good 😐 .. but fact remains that they ARE quite challenging and I crossed all of them when I reduced my concentration level to zip and let my fingers do what they wanted. Yep, instinct actually helps.

Anyway, PLEASE give this game a miss. I cannot emphasise on how bad an experience it was. I got through it today and am sitting here talking to you. You may not be so lucky (I sound all dark and mysterious, I know). Also, tell anyone you know to give this game a miss or probably get the PS3 version which has fewer bugs reportedly.

Anyway,

Post A Week!

So, WordPress here thought it’d be fun to introduce some new agenda of PostAWeek to help increase their blog posts, page views, ad views, revenue and all that shit. Oh, btw, it’s also an awesomesauce idea.

I guess I’ll sign up for it since I post once in 2 weeks already 😛 … Next post is not due for sometime though 😛

Curtain Call

Yes, yet another of my last few holidays comes to an end. Only .. hmm .. about 3 more to go. Wow! To think there will be a point in life when there won’t be long stretches of lazing around and hanging out with friends. I definitely need to become an entrepreuner to enjoy life. Or a coder .. basically holiday time since I can do that 25/8 😀

These holidays were just as unproductive as the last few, if not all that boring. My college decided to shorten these winter vacations as compared to the last 2 years. Where it was a solid 30 days last year, it came down to simply 27 this year (Sad, I know) 😦 … But all that apart, I spent most of those 27 days doing something or the other to rid myself of boredom.

There was the PS3. I finally finished Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood in story mode (review coming soon) and most of the non-story mode as well. It’s time to go back to some RDR again. Man, that game never gets boring 😀

My book reading took a back seat though. I bought 3 books – Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynmann (Yes :D) by Richard Feynmann (the man himself) and Nine Lives by William Dalrymple. I’ve started reading Life of Pi and seem to be crawling through the book even though I can see that it is one of the most interesting stories I’ve read in a very very long time. The other 2 books will have to take a backseat. I finished 2 of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels – Death in the Clouds and Hercule Poirot Christmas. There is really nothing to say – Agatha Christie is the best crime writer I’ve read in a very long time. Although when you look for pattern in her novels, you find one concerning the killer and the motive, the modus operandi is completely different each time. I have a feeling she wove her tale backwards from how the murder is staged. Also, I got some Isaac Asimov reading done. I finished the third book in the Robots in Time series and am in the fourth one. It is fairly engaging but not exactly something to keep you hooked.

The TV shows have been caught up with. They have been put on hold thanks to the holiday season but no worries .. They shall start again in January. i haven’t seen many movies these holidays either. Of worthy note was Scott Pilgrim  vs the World which was frankly speaking, a very weird movie but it was funny as hell, no doubt about it. And also, I went to the theatres and saw Ratha Charithram or some similar named movie. It basically sucked. And then, today ..

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 : The movie was actually pretty good compared to its predecessors. Apart from the usual extravagance a story with “magical” potential gives special effects a chance to have, it was directed with just enough action and emotion to keep it from becoming complete crap .. but I didn’t enjoy it. I can impartially rate movies since one part of me is always attentive to something so big going on in front of my eyes. The other part made it hell, considering I was sitting near an ABSOLUTE douchebag and the fact that the theatre had a lot of local crowd who basically came there to gawk at Emma Watson and make comments about a movie they could’ve hardly understood beyond the Harry Potter part.

After the movie, douchebag and another friend of mine revealed that they had about 1350 bucks worth of free gaming left for Blur 😀 .. Starting from Air Hockey (which I own’d) till playing car race on LAN in an Arcade (which I own’d as well) and playing Tekken 6 (which douchebag obviously own’d) and other minor arcade games, we had a lot of fun for the money.

Apart from all the fun and frolic, I’ve been preparing for CAT *snorts* , learning python (holy crap, whatte language) and trying to start on writing stories.

The holidays will end this Sunday when I shall leave for college early in the morning. And then, another semester will begin where I will yet again pretend to struggle for gaining academic merit when I know it hardly matters anymore and will develop my hacking skills to another level entirely (hopefully).

Ah well, adios 2010, welcome 2011 and all that. Like I read in a tweet last year .. “The universe is 15 billion years old and we celebrate  every new year. Seems like having a fuckin parade every time I piss” 😀

BarCamp Chennai 5 – #bcc5

For reasons of hashtagging search results leading directly to my blog, I included that in the title.

Why post so soon after the previous blog post? Because I promised I would to a bunch of like minded geeks.

Today, I attended BarCamp Chennai 5. It’s an unconference – which is another way of saying it’s the most free forum on the planet. The participants are the ones who conduct all the sessions and with whom all the interaction takes place. There is no greater authority asserting itself and taking centre stage all the time. I absolutely loved the concept.

It takes some time to understand what an unconference is and how much freedom you have in there. Actually, you have zero restrictions and some minor monitoring in case things get out of hand for the sponsors – PayPal.

I went to BarCamp with my friend, Abishek. Believe me, getting to that office is not a piece of cake considering all areas beyond Thiruvanmiyur are memory blocks you can’t access (The influence of assassin’s creed is evident, sorry 😛 )

But we made it to the PayPal office and after fumbling around the maze they call the parking area, we got to their registration desk and to the 6th floor into the Main Camp. We took quite some time trying to wrap our heads around their schedule. Once convinced we’d got it right, we proceeded to our first session – BrainNook.

BrainNook is an online multiplayer game – for kids. It was an eye opener as to how an online multiplayer is generally designed. I mean – this is nowhere close to the complexity that MMOs like WoW or others possess but the basic underlying architecture is the same – server handling, client handling, server-client communication and all that. BrainNook is an educational game and can be accessed here. I never bothered trying to play it because I know I have no interest in these things. The session anchor – Abhijeet Vijayakar – explained to us the major components of the game design. The game seems fairly simple on the in-game quest designs part (hardcore gamers will know what I mean by that term) but still amazes me on how much resource is needed for such a simple idea. Starting from a server having 2 server management softwares – PHP+MySQL and Flex – till the feature-rich client and the custom analytics code for data collection, the game took 15 months to design and while not a visual treat (it’s for kids – so what the hell), it certainly brings out some design perspectives. The games in BrainNook are designed from a few prototypes to which specifics are supplied so that the Flex server can supply the required game on demand. It’s like keeping a substrate and either adding or removing stuff to get the desired product. One valid question was the design inconsistencies when it is laid open to developers who want to create a game with a different base prototype. Although the answer was not satisfactory, the game is only in its developing stages. So a lot can be overlooked right now.

After that, we moved on to the NoSQL session. Now, considering I’m not at all knowledgeable in RDBMS or any type of data management system, this was a no-brainer for me. But the session was really interactive and I came across a lot of tech jargon like JSON, schema etc. The basic thing I understood was that instead of data management that SQL does, NoSQL aims at decentralisation of data management and a more flexible data storage structure. Querying for patterns seems to be a problem to deal with. Although some explanation was given, it was beyond my plane of knowledge to grasp it.

After a little loafing around since we had no other session which was interesting, we went to the TEDTalk given by Siddhartha Jayakumar. Siddhartha suffers from Cerebral Palsy and has no coordination with this movements but still managed to get a job into RBS and get a CDCS certification and go into the documents checking section. Very inspiring talk, all in all.

The most interesting session was the next one – On the Android OS by Mr. Gajendran. The last time I attended a session on Android was in college and the ex-Amrita Motorola employee was not exactly very knowledgeable. Fortunately, when you are given a session by a man who hacked the bootloader of his nexus one on his own – as a hobby – you are lucky because he knows everything about the OS. The session was basically about how the Android framework is built and the interaction of applications within the android environment. Very very interesting to say the least.

After getting a T-Shirt (which I’m wearing right now 😛 ) and taking a look at who won the PayPal award for an innovative money making idea using the PayPal API, we left the building back home.

I was tweeting the whole while I was there and checking random laptops plugged into the #bcc5 stream in twitter to check my own updates appearing 😀

All in all, a very fun and productive day – definitely what I predicted it to be .. Or not! 😛

BarCamp Chennai 5 – #bcc5

For reasons of hashtagging search results leading directly to my blog, I included that in the title.

Why post so soon after the previous blog post? Because I promised I would to a bunch of like minded geeks.

Today, I attended BarCamp Chennai 5. It’s an unconference – which is another way of saying it’s the most free forum on the planet. The participants are the ones who conduct all the sessions and with whom all the interaction takes place. There is no greater authority asserting itself and taking centre stage all the time. I absolutely loved the concept.

It takes some time to understand what an unconference is and how much freedom you have in there. Actually, you have zero restrictions and some minor monitoring in case things get out of hand for the sponsors – PayPal.

I went to BarCamp with my friend, Abishek. Believe me, getting to that office is not a piece of cake considering all areas beyond Thiruvanmiyur are memory blocks you can’t access (The influence of assassin’s creed is evident, sorry 😛 )

But we made it to the PayPal office and after fumbling around the maze they call the parking area, we got to their registration desk and to the 6th floor into the Main Camp. We took quite some time trying to wrap our heads around their schedule. Once convinced we’d got it right, we proceeded to our first session – BrainNook.

BrainNook is an online multiplayer game – for kids. It was an eye opener as to how an online multiplayer is generally designed. I mean – this is nowhere close to the complexity that MMOs like WoW or others possess but the basic underlying architecture is the same – server handling, client handling, server-client communication and all that. BrainNook is an educational game and can be accessed here. I never bothered trying to play it because I know I have no interest in these things. The session anchor – Abhijeet Vijayakar – explained to us the major components of the game design. The game seems fairly simple on the in-game quest designs part (hardcore gamers will know what I mean by that term) but still amazes me on how much resource is needed for such a simple idea. Starting from a server having 2 server management softwares – PHP+MySQL and Flex – till the feature-rich client and the custom analytics code for data collection, the game took 15 months to design and while not a visual treat (it’s for kids – so what the hell), it certainly brings out some design perspectives. The games in BrainNook are designed from a few prototypes to which specifics are supplied so that the Flex server can supply the required game on demand. It’s like keeping a substrate and either adding or removing stuff to get the desired product. One valid question was the design inconsistencies when it is laid open to developers who want to create a game with a different base prototype. Although the answer was not satisfactory, the game is only in its developing stages. So a lot can be overlooked right now.

After that, we moved on to the NoSQL session. Now, considering I’m not at all knowledgeable in RDBMS or any type of data management system, this was a no-brainer for me. But the session was really interactive and I came across a lot of tech jargon like JSON, schema etc. The basic thing I understood was that instead of data management that SQL does, NoSQL aims at decentralisation of data management and a more flexible data storage structure. Querying for patterns seems to be a problem to deal with. Although some explanation was given, it was beyond my plane of knowledge to grasp it.

After a little loafing around since we had no other session which was interesting, we went to the TEDTalk given by Siddhartha Jayakumar. Siddhartha suffers from Cerebral Palsy and has no coordination with this movements but still managed to get a job into RBS and get a CDCS certification and go into the documents checking section. Very inspiring talk, all in all.

The most interesting session was the next one – On the Android OS by Mr. Gajendran. The last time I attended a session on Android was in college and the ex-Amrita Motorola employee was not exactly very knowledgeable. Fortunately, when you are given a session by a man who hacked the bootloader of his nexus one on his own – as a hobby – you are lucky because he knows everything about the OS. The session was basically about how the Android framework is built and the interaction of applications within the android environment. Very very interesting to say the least.

After getting a T-Shirt (which I’m wearing right now 😛 ) and taking a look at who won the PayPal award for an innovative money making idea using the PayPal API, we left the building back home.

I was tweeting the whole while I was there and checking random laptops plugged into the #bcc5 stream in twitter to check my own updates appearing 😀

All in all, a very fun and productive day – definitely what I predicted it to be .. Or not! 😛

Return of the Satti

Guess who’s back … Back again .. 😀

Finally, my holidays are here. FINALLY! I dunno how long I’ve been waiting for this one.

So .. I thought about when and if I should blog again. I thought a lot and then, I thought, let’s do it.

What does a holiday entail to a hyper active teenager who is going to be not-a-teenager in a matter of months? For me, it means gaming (a lot), some book reading, some movies and trawling the net and wikipedia alternatively for internships and random information respectively.

This might be the one vacation that I truly plan on using productively. But, when you think about the fact that this may be the LAST vacation I ever have, I feel I should rethink that particular stratagem.

So, a report on my progress:

First, the book reading. I’ve finished 2 books since the last time I blogged – Shantaram and H2G2 part 6 of 3 😛

Shantaram, as I typed before, is about a heroin addict who escaped from Australia and came to India and fell in love with the country. To say the book was good would be an understatement. It actually left a profound impact on me. The highlight, as I mentioned before, was it’s deceptively simple language. The other highlight I found upon further delving into the book, was the fact that the author was very philosophical in the way he looked at the world. In fact, there are some particular lines in the book – parts in which the narrator is pondering over some worldly aspects of life – when it gets really profound and then you realise, the author is actually right about what he is saying. My tweet about the book being awesome got a –1 on a RT (thanks @shridharama) which I partially deserve because I mentioned that it may be close to LotR, which, now I come to think of it, is just absurd. The book tracks Roberts journey from coming to India and living in a Marathi village, moving to the slums of Bombay, opening up a free health clinic there, acting in bollywood, working as a street soldier for the Bombay mafia, fighting alongside the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and a lot more. Should you read the book – Hell Yes!

H2G2 was a very funny book. I’ll be frank though – it wasn’t even close to the reboot I thought the series would get. Instead, it turned out to be a pretty funny sequel-prequel … If you read the series, you’ll know why I can’t call it either. The amount of inconsistency and blatant stupidity the story deals with sometimes gets on your nerves – fair examples being the bistromathic drive, the tender moment – horrible accident juxtaposition (or the lack of it) and some others. Also, DNAs final books leave a big question mark as to where in the space-time region, the protagonist actually is and which dimension he still exists in. But, since the story is meant to deal with absurdities and the notion that a lot of stupidity can couple together to create a great, meaningless and yet, quite an enjoyable story, you can forgive all its faults. Scratch that, you’re actually expected to praise them 😛

Now that those 2 books are ticked off my reading list, I’m getting back to Isaac Asimov and books in his series that other authors have written. Following the chronology can get really boring with this author considering that his science and his stories make perfect sense – unlike any of the H2G2 series. Right now, I’m reading a book written by William F Wu about Robots in Time. It’s the third book in a series of 6 where robots get lost in time and a team of 3 humans and one advanced humanoid are sent in search of them. The reason all these books fall under the chronology of Isaac Asimov, is that the robots in the books always obey the 3 laws he set down. Those 3 laws are so famous, in fact, and so quintessential that all AI systems are planning to be made on their basis. But Asimov’s interpretation of his laws was a lot different than what this author does. William Wu goes so deep into those laws, you sometimes wonder if such complex AI systems aren’t human in themselves and if the paradoxes and difficulties they encounter will simply not lead to a machine rebellion that so many movies depict.

Heavy pondering on trivial and completely abstract issues apart, I have also covered up a lot on the movies front 😀

I’ve seen only 2 good movies since the last post – “Stranger than Fiction” and “Tron”.

“Stranger than Fiction” is a superb movie. Having a storyline unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, the movie was very well taken. All B Grade actors except for one guy who looked remotely like Alec Baldwin. I expected a better climax but I could’ve settled for this one anyway. Must-watch!

I watched Tron mainly because I wanted to be able to follow the storyline in the sequel coming up called “Tron: Legacy”.

“Tron” had a story unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It was definitely created by a computer nerd from the 80s. But the graphics are absolutely, phenomenally, totally sucky! When I say, they suck, I mean they S-U-C-K! To put it in perspective, I found the graphics of that epic arcade game – Skyroads – to be slightly better than what this movie offered. Yes, it sucked that much. You want a glimpse of what’s got me so wound up? Here, see for yourself:

Yep, that’s how the majority of the movie looks like. That, btw, is the game of “Lightcycles” which is a very very important part of the movie. No spoilers though. For true nerds, the movie is an epic. It marked a totally different type of out-of-the-box thinking.Giving personalities to programs and creating protagonists and antagonists in a plot that concerned the internal workings of a computer was a major breakthrough in unconventional thinking. Consensus: If you’re a nerd, I beg you to watch this. If you’re not a nerd, give this a miss.

The holidays have also marked the return to the world of TV Shows. I’m still following Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, Chuck and Lie to Me. To say the least, Dexter seems as epic as ever and Chuck seems to be getting better and better guest stars – what with Linda Hamilton, Timothy Dalton and all that.

Tomorrow is my first productive activity for the holidays. I’m attending this unconference called BarCamp Chennai – 5th Edition. Sounds like fun. But considering I have stage fear and this being an unconference, I have some trepidation about going there. It’s in Shollinganallur. So we’ll see. Abishek is coming here and mostly Ashwin may make it as well. Will be fun, hopefully 🙂

Surprisingly, I still haven’t touched the PS3 since coming back. I guess it was due to the lack of games. No worries – the issue has been solved. Today. With this:

😀 … Yes, that’s right. I got the epic awesomesauce game. Sadly, I still haven’t played it. I’m waiting for the TV to get free so that I can let loose my awesomeness 😀 … I don’t think anything this childish should excite me so much at this age. But what the hell 😀

I also went out with the buggers today. Where did we land up? In citicentre. I dunno why we keep returning to that dilapidated, good-for-nothing mall again and again. But we do. I purchased AC3 there, ate a sub, a veg zynger and a chocolate ice cream 😀

Also, I’m getting my C++ programming back on track. Just finished a permutations program which was eluding me for quite sometime. Should get started on the others 🙂

Apart from this, life is just the usual. I’ve got a thing for Opeth’s jarring death music now. I guess it’s a passing phase. Also, I’m trying to be productive and prepare for my CAT entrance next year. Yes, I’m a very padips and studious fellow 😛

Until tomorrow (when I update the blog concerning #bcc5),

Adios!

PS: Hashtagging should be made a search engine base for the whole internet, I swear. Metadata tagging is so yesterday.

Yee Haw!!

Yes, that’s what I feel like saying. Why? This is why:

John Marston seeks revenge!

That’s right … I have FINALLY acquired the much talked about game. How is it? I’m not sure, really. I will get into my groove with the game tonight. Sandeep and Vikku came to my house today and totally spoilt the save point for the game. So yeah, I’m gonna start all over again.

Apart from that, I have been trying real hard to get the PS3 to connect to the internet. So far, it has not been a success. The major problem with the PS3 (as with my phone) is that it needs an access point network and can’t connect to an ad-hoc network. Why? I don’t know.

So basically, after some googling (they should make that a proper verb), I came across this software called Connectify which is able to do what I want. The problem? It STILL doesn’t work with my PS3 (although my phone is able to connect to it)!!

I need to get some DLC for the game (it’s paid, I believe). I also need to desperately get a PSN ID. Oh well … Hopefully, I figure it out by tonight.

I just came back from Bangalore, btw. The trip was … fun. It wasn’t worth it for the In Plant Training, or for the accommodation, or for the worthless hours spent roaming the city. It was just worth it to be back with friends. Sometimes, I look forward to college for this particular reason.

The reading I got into so voraciously has not been coming along well. The last book I started with – “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh still isn’t over (not even half over, come to think of it). I desperately wanna finish it before college reopens (which is next week 😐 )

Next thing to look forward to? Artemis Fowl – Atlantis Complex … releasing on 20th July. I won’t be here. But my mother will be. I will make sure she buys it.

The Artemis Fowl series is really awesome. For a book targeted at the juvenile reading market, it keeps me very very hooked. Eoin Colfer has made the first chapter for the new book worth the read. I’m just looking forward to his version of a sequel to the EPIC (yeah, E-P-I-C) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Mom is hogging the TV now, so yeah, I need to get back to that book.

Adios!