Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Man of Steel, a true Superman movie

I don’t write here much now, but I just got back from watching Man of Steel. The movie was epic beyond words, but I will try to write down how I feel while it is still fresh. This will have spoilers.

The movie was full of CGI, which is easy to overdo. But in this case I think it was necessary. Superman is very powerful and CGI is required to show his true power. And I think they did it very well. The movie successfully shows how much of a wreck Superman can truly be, total destruction. Previous movies lacked the sense of true raw power, probably because they didn’t use much CGI. This movie does total Justice (heh) to Superman.

The plot was firm with enough dots to connect. The fighting scenes can be a bit overwhelming and seem to do no meaningful character development, but in return we get to see Superman fuck shit up. A more than fair trade in my eyes. The story was otherwise good and while it does leave some questions unanswered, it ends satisfactorily. The characters play the role well. Although if I understand correctly, Lous is not supposed to know Superman’s true identity.

The Krypton scene and story line are very much a delight. They were done really well, they showed the origins well. This movie didn’t have much of Daily planet or Kents finding Clark but that is not missed very much. They do show a bunch of growing up stuff so it suffices I guess. Those scenes were done really well too. The exchange b/w Clark and his human father as shown in trailer was pretty nice.

Now to the best part, the fight scenes. Holy. Shit. They were really well done. It felt like Hulk smash but with more power. They truly show how powerful Superman can really be. The power seems infinite (but it most probably isn’t). Zod’s fight with Superman was just awesome. It perfectly embodies how two super powerful aliens should fight. The throwing through multiple buildings, yumm. Although it didn’t make much scientific sense.

Thats the last thing I want to talk about. The science didn’t make much sense. They make a black hole in the middle of the town? One could say it would evaporate but if it can sustain long enough to engulf a huge ship, it can certainly take a bit more and take in the atmosphere which would keep it feeding and alive. And a machine that somehow adds mass and increases gravity? Really? To begin with, matter cannot be just created out of thin air (except for maybe quantum scale). To add the mass to the planet, it must exist in the ship, and if it exists in the ship, and the ship is on planet’s surface, then the mass is already included in the planet. No need to “inject” it in.

Also, if the ships were kryptonian, why wasn’t Superman weak? He only loses powers because of the atmosphere, not because of kryptonite. Also, also, I saw lexcorp truck in a fight scene, are we talking about a sequel here? Because that would be more than just cool, that would be freaking awesome if it can be as good as this one. The movie was extremely well done. I always had a bias for Marvel but this movie can change it, even when dark knight couldn’t.

You know you have done either something big or something stupid when your ajax class is longer than a few lines.

This new thing I am working on has all the bells and whistles and the ajax class is more complex than I would like to admit. It connects to an injected chrome extension with elevated privileges to surpass content security restrictions. So the app can load any page with my authentication cookies, essentially avoiding the whole “Log in with website X” thingy. Scary, but since it’s all my code, I am not much worried. All of this means the ajax class is pretty elaborate.

And so begins the last day of my teenage life

To day is 7th January (in my timezone) and I will turn 20 tomorrow. The nausea is high, but today I started work on something I wanted to do for a long time. I don’t yet know exactly what it is but will know better as it develops.

nailed it.

aashutoshvatsa:

Dear Asus India,

I am writing this letter after seeing a trend in the way you price your tablets. I am absolutely not interested at what prices you are selling your notebooks, laptops and motherboards, as a matter of fact, I have not even bothered to check the prices.

The dam has burst after the…

(Source: aashutoshvatsa)

So long long time no post but I thought of an interesting experiment today. I am due for a system update so I wanted to figure out the bottleneck. Tried playing full HD movies simultaneously. It was pretty scary but it played 5 movies (with 100% CPU at 4th). Although i could see the jitters in video playback at the third movie. The clear bottleneck is my processor. There was barely a small bump in the RAM. So processor and graphic card it is then. Also hopefully a full HD monitor.

So long long time no post but I thought of an interesting experiment today. I am due for a system update so I wanted to figure out the bottleneck. Tried playing full HD movies simultaneously. It was pretty scary but it played 5 movies (with 100% CPU at 4th). Although i could see the jitters in video playback at the third movie. The clear bottleneck is my processor. There was barely a small bump in the RAM. So processor and graphic card it is then. Also hopefully a full HD monitor.

So today was the first day of Google I/O and they announced a bunch of things  including Jelly Bean 4.1 and nexus tablet 7, nexus Q. Tablet is interesting and I would buy it if it were 10 inches. 7” just won’t cut it for me. The resolution could also have been better, it’s Google’s flagship device after all. 1080p would have been a surprise but a welcome one. They need something to rival retina display at the end of the day. I also feel bad that I am not in US to try all the Google Play stuff, also I am stuck on gingerbread, until i get a tablet or something.

How digital detectives deciphered Stuxnet, the most menacing malware in history

How digital detectives deciphered Stuxnet, the most menacing malware in history

A very very interesting and bone chilling read.

So I did knew about stuxnet for sometime and I had a vague idea that it was a nasty piece of malware but reading in detail of what it is, makes the hair stand on the back of my head. It’s interesting beyond any measure, especially for a geek.

Casually browsing Reddit and Hacker News today, I saw the same piece of news on both sites almost simultaneously. I clicked through expecting some political stuff. But it was not so much. It also linked to the page linked above. The article was very long, 5 pages long. But just a few paragraphs in, I was pretty darn sure I would end up reading all of it. And so it was. I read it and I don’t regret it a tiny bit.

The article describes how stuxnet’s compiled binaries were decoded and how the people who did it experienced everything around them at that time. And the creepy aspect escalated quickly once they figured out the malware somehow was related to Iranian nuclear plant and their two lead scientists being assassinated. Feels like a typical action movie plot, but it is all real!

The technology was mind blowingly sophisticated, or so the author states and I don’t feel like disagreeing with him. Not one but FOUR zero day exploits were somehow used in a single malware. That’s bad ass. US really wanted to slow Iran down. But how much genius went into creating such beast is beyond me. The kind of techniques used by stuxnet seems like taken from a very high budget, action-drama movie written/directed by a programmer. It’s so good, it feels wrong when you read it.

The environment in which such code would have been written also amazes me. What would it be like to be in a room full of smart people churning out revolutionary code. I used to think it would be very exciting to work at Facebook or Google and write code that people use, but then I read about this. This totally destroys the fun. It’s so interesting that it terrifies me. How would it be to wake up one morning and realizing that you were the one who wrote such code. Or you were the one who designed the architecture that can break into a number of computers without anyone noticing it.

There were alot of clever things about stuxnet. One of them being how damn stealth it’s functionality was. The fact that it changed the readings sent back to the control room is very interesting in itself. A good amount of work must also have gone into just making sure the code’s origin was untraceable.

I really wish stuxnet’s authors would come out and share their experience of creating it but I guess we all know that won’t happen.

Ok so I now have my first smartphone. Android, no less. During the years I have been an active internet user, I have heard time and again that smartphones/tablets are post PC devices. And I agree wholeheartedly. But I saw something today that reinforces this idea, and for good.
Google Latitude, I have always been pretty excited about it, but since I did not have a smart device until very recently, I was effectively locked out from it’s core features and the utter coolness that surrounds it. This idea that we can see real-time where someone is, is a nightmare for some people, people that care about their privacy (and there is nothing wrong about it) but tend to jump to conclusions without thinking it through. I, for one, don’t have any problem sharing my real-time location with few select people. And appropriately, I have an active friend list on Latitude but only a couple of them use their devices regularly enough for the intended effect to take place.
I usually have just two friends whose recent locations are shown on the map. The number is a bit underwhelming considering how many people have smartphone these days and how most of them have Latitude included among the bloatware. But the reason is that I believe the option to share location is not set by default, so most people don’t bother to check out the applications they have never heard of. Anyways, I went to a trip a couple of days ago without expecting much from Latitude since most of my friends didn’t share location. But what happened next had nothing to do with friends at all. In fact it was about a nifty little feature that, though very much makes sense from a programmer’s perspective that i have, pretty much blew my mind the moment I saw it in action. It’s called location history. It’s on latitude webpage under, well.. “Location History”.
The page has a map of all the GPS coordinates that phone went through, and places them in order of the time they were taken at. And gives an option to “Play” them in sequence like a slideshow by proportionately splitting time between different coordinates throughout the day. A screenshot of this should be above (or below). I know what it was the moment I loaded the page. I think I even knew this this was not only possible but a basic feature of a smartphone, but the real life experience beats any YouTube video hands down. There is nothing more amazing than to see what a few technologies can do. The implications are enormous. Stolen phone or proving innocence in a court seem to be a couple of the obvious ones.
I am very excited to have this phone with me. I know saying all this stuff that alot of the people out there have been using for sometime makes me look like some over excited child, but the experience of this and actually seeing the GPS arrow move when the car moves is out of the world of desktop somputers that I tend to spend most of my time. But that’s bound to change as I resume college I will be able to experiment with Latitude even more. For this trip I didn’t even knew this was happening otherwise I would have tried to give more consistent GPS feed so that the “Play” thing works without jitters of turned off GPS/in-active phone.
Also, it appears that the app even logs the location just when the app starts and doesn’t give GPS enough time to get more precise location. That’s the reason, I believe, of alot of ziz-zag lines I see on the zoomed in map, when in reality I didn’t move that much,. It appears that when the phone is used, the location is logged but mostly it’s the previous location that phone was used from and hence results in a sudden “movement” in the location history which never really happened IRL. That’s feedback right there, Latitude team, if you are reading this. But great product to blow mind of people who are savvy but have never used such stuff before

Ok so I now have my first smartphone. Android, no less. During the years I have been an active internet user, I have heard time and again that smartphones/tablets are post PC devices. And I agree wholeheartedly. But I saw something today that reinforces this idea, and for good.

Google Latitude, I have always been pretty excited about it, but since I did not have a smart device until very recently, I was effectively locked out from it’s core features and the utter coolness that surrounds it. This idea that we can see real-time where someone is, is a nightmare for some people, people that care about their privacy (and there is nothing wrong about it) but tend to jump to conclusions without thinking it through. I, for one, don’t have any problem sharing my real-time location with few select people. And appropriately, I have an active friend list on Latitude but only a couple of them use their devices regularly enough for the intended effect to take place.

I usually have just two friends whose recent locations are shown on the map. The number is a bit underwhelming considering how many people have smartphone these days and how most of them have Latitude included among the bloatware. But the reason is that I believe the option to share location is not set by default, so most people don’t bother to check out the applications they have never heard of. Anyways, I went to a trip a couple of days ago without expecting much from Latitude since most of my friends didn’t share location. But what happened next had nothing to do with friends at all. In fact it was about a nifty little feature that, though very much makes sense from a programmer’s perspective that i have, pretty much blew my mind the moment I saw it in action. It’s called location history. It’s on latitude webpage under, well.. “Location History”.

The page has a map of all the GPS coordinates that phone went through, and places them in order of the time they were taken at. And gives an option to “Play” them in sequence like a slideshow by proportionately splitting time between different coordinates throughout the day. A screenshot of this should be above (or below). I know what it was the moment I loaded the page. I think I even knew this this was not only possible but a basic feature of a smartphone, but the real life experience beats any YouTube video hands down. There is nothing more amazing than to see what a few technologies can do. The implications are enormous. Stolen phone or proving innocence in a court seem to be a couple of the obvious ones.

I am very excited to have this phone with me. I know saying all this stuff that alot of the people out there have been using for sometime makes me look like some over excited child, but the experience of this and actually seeing the GPS arrow move when the car moves is out of the world of desktop somputers that I tend to spend most of my time. But that’s bound to change as I resume college I will be able to experiment with Latitude even more. For this trip I didn’t even knew this was happening otherwise I would have tried to give more consistent GPS feed so that the “Play” thing works without jitters of turned off GPS/in-active phone.

Also, it appears that the app even logs the location just when the app starts and doesn’t give GPS enough time to get more precise location. That’s the reason, I believe, of alot of ziz-zag lines I see on the zoomed in map, when in reality I didn’t move that much,. It appears that when the phone is used, the location is logged but mostly it’s the previous location that phone was used from and hence results in a sudden “movement” in the location history which never really happened IRL. That’s feedback right there, Latitude team, if you are reading this. But great product to blow mind of people who are savvy but have never used such stuff before

Soon to be Androidified!

Looks like I will finally have Google’s C# compiled binary on my mobile. It still surprises me that I didn’t already have it. But the device itself is pretty ok for the range. 800 GHz, 5MP (flash)/0.3MP, gingerbread, 512 gig RAM, 3.5 inch 320x480 TFT. Should be with me in about 2-3 days. I plan to have a better XOOM or Sony Tablet S down the road. Those specs are alot more appreciable but this Moto Fire is not bad for a mobile either. But I can’t hope to do heavy duty stuff on this. And this won’t get ICS either. Bummer since I don’t want to load a custom ROM. There are a gazillion things that i want to do but the current internet connection will take it’s toll at 256 kbps. Let’s hope I am able to upgrade before package delivers. I plan to get atleast 512kbps. Good thing is I already have a ADSL 2+ WiFi router so that is that.

Also I should probably start writing this stuff in a journal, blog does not seem to be right place for such stuff that has no particular audience.