February 15, 2009

Crash baby Crash

Is a human being a computer? Did language come first, or did society? If language is a computer program, are we also susceptible to viruses - not the biological ones, but a 'language' virus? Can the human computer system ever crash? Ever wonder about all this?

A computer engineer by profession, but an illiterate nincompoop when it comes to thinking about computers - this is what I am.

Yes, I read Snow Crash. If you think you are interested in computers and science fiction - read one of the best cyberpunk novels to come out of a human brain. Deciding whether to read Anathem or Cryptonomicon soon.

And no, before you ask, I have not read Neuromancer - its next on my list.

Review - Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

On one hand - Hiro Protagonist (what kinda name is that?). On the other, Y.T (or whitey which is the name of our pet pigeon at home). Hiro carries swords, is a hacker supreme and black+asian. Y.T. is 15. No, there is no romance between the two - but there could have been?

A rich media magnate (or infra magnate - whatever) obtains a virus for the human brain - not your normal biological virus, but 'Snow Crash'. It burns out the information structures in the brain. (Oh and to give him company, there is one bad-ass super villain who throws glass knives)

Cyberpunk at its best, Snow Crash brings to life a reality which some of us probably thought could happen one day - and adds shades of gray (also maroon, beige and whatnot). Virtual reality is a reality called the Metaverse, and each person who is cyber connected has an avatar. If you die in the metaverse, you can jump back in soon (or that’s the original plan). Snow Crash is a drug which throws a virus into the information structures of the brain and crashes the operating system of the human body.

Hiro and YT rescue humankind (Oh and there is also a mafia who delivers pizza - and God forbid any delivery takes more than 30 mins, a robodog who is well semi robotic and a romantic counterpart for Hiro who also helps him save the world)

Well written, taut and fast paced, it probably requires some amount of computer knowledge to read - and doesn’t deserve my snarky comments. Believe me, if you do understand it, you have a treat in store for you. Cyberpunk at its best.

August 17, 2008

Christopher Brookmyre - Quite Ugly one morning

A typical hard bitten detective a la Micky Spillane, a dead ex-husband, a good looking ex-wife - is there too much more you can ask for from a typical potboiler?
But wait, this is not typical. Add a nice dose of dark humor, lesbian detectives, toilet humor and gruesome murders and you have a Jack Parlabane novel. It's dark-funny and it has shitloads of shit, puke, turds and what not. Jack, our hero, is a good looking young journo who can get into houses at the drop of a hat and hang from his fingertips. Ah, but he has a history of people trying to kill him in LA (which self respecting journo doesn't?) and hence makes his way back to jolly old Edinburgh.
A doc massacred (with nose bitten off and two fingers torn off in the nose - thats how gross it gets) in the house below him ends his first night hangover and he gets to work.
Not scintillating from a dectection point of view, but it has its own readability - all in all maybe a 3.5/5

August 13, 2008

Iain Banks - Consider Phlebas

Interesting - Banks writes interesting stuff spanning a large volume of space. Although going by reviews I would have expected to be much more impressed. Maybe I'll read another one of his culture novels.
Next in the list
Dan Simmons - Ilium

August 03, 2008

The Twilight Zone

People went into raptures at the release of the fourth installment of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Zone. So your truly decided to investigate these paranormal activities and see whats to special about the next so-called fan series after Harry Potter. Findings -
  • Vampires, Werewolves and a teenage girl who 'smells' amazing (its a floral refreshing kinda smell)
  • Its a love triangle. Between animals and humans :)
  • I managed to get through the first and most of the second before finally giving up and wondering what was so popular about it.
  • It drags. Yawn
Next series please.

July 15, 2008

And the story continues

Am probably on the way to garnering the fattest man ever title.
I and the kook had gone to Kerala to meet some of her relatives over the weekend. A bus journey (Oh and did you know - there is a sleeper bus, with bunks just like in a train - really comfy stuff) later we were inhaling the morning mists of Palakkad and asking sleepy rickshaw drivers in Mundus to take us places.
By evening (and 9 idlis, 6 cups of coffee, 5 types of payasams, arbit numbers of dosas, sabzis and vast quantities of rice) I had met so many people and heard so much Malayalam, you will be amazed.
I was treated like a king and not just in terms of food! People were so nice, and treated me so well - even though I was meeting them just for the first time. Even if we have no common language, they made a substantial effort to talk to me and make me comfortable.
Early next morning we were off to her kaava (or temple) and at another relative's house for breakfast. Lunch was elsewhere - 6 sabzis, malabar parathas, rice, sambar, rasam, dahi, chicken and 2 payasams. More conversation with really nice people - they do have class!

Do you blame me for eating?

July 11, 2008

Deja Vu!

My Stomach pains! I am so full!

Wait, hasnt this happened before? Ah, yes, just the last post! Same circumstances, same result. Oh except that they stayed over. Yakity, yak on and on.

In other sensational news, I have no work in office and am stone bored. Yawn

July 08, 2008

My Stomach!

It pains!
Shiv and Prash had come over and we had a ball chatting away to glory. Food was excellent - Adu outdid herself - there was not even one spec left after we finished. Oh and by the way, all this was after a long starter course of Bhajiyas and Vodka and Orange. Ahhhh, I am so lucky. Sleepy time now. Time to give it a rest.
Plans are on for another dinner party with Thai green (and red) curry for Thursday.

July 06, 2008


6 half shirts, 4 tshirts, 1 pair sandals. 9000 bucks. Oh that includes 2 tops and one pair of shoes for madam. I am amazed at myself.

July 05, 2008

The Emperor's New Mind

It's a book I have been looking for a long time. Today, I have my hands on it - courtesy Bookworm - the second hand bookstore off Brigade road.
It's about Physics and Maths and AI and computers and stuff that no sane person should be interested in. But I bet it makes you think. Get it, read it. Those who can - do borrow it from me. It insane stuff.

"Penrose presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function."

Sir Roger Penrose is a mathematician and a physicist at the University of Oxford.

It covers arbit topics such as "Newtonian physics, special and general relativity, the philosophy and limitations of mathematics, quantum physics, cosmology, and the nature of time. "

I am so going to have a good time.

June 24, 2008

A House

A house in Bangalore. A peaceful, fun loving locality. In moved two nutcases - bag baggage and shitloads of electronics. Oh yeah and books keep coming in and getting set in the house - damn buggers refuse to move out!

The land of opportunity

Hehe, have a look at this one. Guess we have all gone through this phase at one time or the other :)
PhD Comics

June 17, 2008

Obey Traffic Rules!

Bangalore - the land of bad traffic? Ah well - lets just call it an alternative approach to vehicle managment

May 22, 2006

The complete Ebook Software guide

The complete Ebook Software guide

I had a lot of problems getting the right ebook reader, along with their download locations. Here is a list I have compiled which might help you guys –

· Microsoft Reader
Available from Microsoft, this remains the best option for books to be read. To convert txt files to this format, use the MS Word RMR plugin. You also get secure lit files for copywritten work. However, this can support only .lit files.

Type - Freeware
Environments – PC and PocketPC
Website - http://www.microsoft.com/reader/default.asp

Rating – 8/10

· Ice Book Reader Professional
Great Software! With support for almost every kind of book type you can think of, and a database to match. Other than the Microsoft reader, this is the easiest to read.

Type – Trialware – A few limitations, but should be sufficient for all.
Environments – PC
Website - http://www.ice-graphics.com/ICEReader/DownloadE.html
Rating – 8.5/10

· Adobe Acrobat Reader
Reads pdfs and nothing else. Very large, and slow. Even the pocketPC version is 13MB in size.
Type – Freeware
Environments - PC and PocketPC
Website - http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

Rating – 5/10

· Foxit Reader
Reads pdfs and nothing else. Not too large, and quite fast. However, there are observed inconsistencies in the display.

Type – Freeware
Environments - PC
Website - http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
Rating – 5.5/10

· yBook – The paperback Emulator.
When you load a book, you will find that yBook will format each one, and only then display it before you. Almost every change you make will result in a more polished ebook. It may take some time to get used to this. It could do with a library as well, though.

Type – Freeware
Environments - PC
Website - http://www.spacejock.com/yBook.html
Rating – 8/10

· uBook
Run of the mill stuff.

Type – Nagware/Trial – nags user, as well as stops autoscrolling
Environments – PC and PocketPC
Website - http://www.gowerpoint.com/
Rating – 6/10

· Mobipocket Reader
Generally pretty decent reader, although for some reason, I have not liked it as much as others

Environments – PC and PocketPC
Website - http://www.mobipocket.com/
Rating – 7/10

One which is missing is the pdb reader (or a reader for palm books). I have not read any books in this format, so don’t really know much about it. Ice reader can reader pdb files.

Book Sorters and Renamers

· vBookSorter – By Vadi

This is simply the best, nothing compares to it at all. Once you have set it up correctly, you will find it almost instinctively doing things which you always wished some software would. Renaming, removing underscores, automatic sorting, Series and a lot more. Vadi, good work!

Type – Freeware
Environments – PC
Website - http://www.geocities.com/vangelis_df/vBookSorter/vBookSorter.html
Rating – 9.5/10

May 16, 2006


My first review on TechEnclave. Galactic Civilizations II

It had to be a game. Am on leave :):)

May 11, 2006

To the moon and back

I have been a science fiction fan for long, and the thought of a man on the moon, with a permanent base out there has fired my imagination for long. Recently, I came upon this article in the Indian express about India’s moon mission. Seems like NASA wants us to take stuff to the moon for them (

After years of not cooperating with us, we are now in their good books again.

More thinking: What if we didn’t waste any money on each country coming up with their own moon vehicle, and instead devoted all those funds to a worldwide space org? Let’s see. Neil Armstrong went to the moon in July 1969. Since then Russia, China, Japan, Europe and my uncle have tried for this. Instead if we had one common body, would we not have had a base on the moon by now?

If Europe can have one space agency, then why cant the world?

Yeah yeah, I know, defense and all that bulls***.

Official site


May 08, 2006

Warp me up, Scotty

All science fiction fans would have heard of the warp drive. Simply put, it’ a mechanism to travel faster than light by manipulating the space time fabric. Being a hardcore SF fan, I have many-a-time fantasized about being a spaceman.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of material on the net regarding this. PopSci.com's article recently brought up my interest, and then it went on.

The big ol bad Daddy of all space agencies also has something to say on this.
This is not only pretty comprehensive, but makes for very exhausting reading. I still have to get through most of it.

Wikipedia on the other hand, relates warp drives to Star trek(. It even has the speeds for each level of warp drive!

Ah well, I think we will have to wait some time for this …

January 12, 2006


Supposed to be one of the better restaurants in Bombay. Italian joint with not much of an ambience. Supposedly named after the "huge" Mango tree growing in its courtyard.

Ambience was not too good, and we were not impressed by the fact that it was the only place in the area which had a power outage.

But the food more than made up for it. The Bruschetta was simply mouthwatering but for me nothing was as good as the pizzas they make. Simply amazing, and it has just the right consistency. Service was unobtrusive - just the way I like it. The Champagne could do with a little bit of improvement. I have had better. And did I mention - its expensive! A meal for 2 came to 1.5K

Ambience – 5
Food - 9.5
Service – 8
Price – 5
Variety – 6

Go there again? I definitely will...        

January 04, 2005

Reading books on a PDA?


Very very interesting. I did not know that there were so many to choose from. No one I know is really interested in this. I may think about buying a PDA just for this reason. Let me see if there are any other things similar to a PDA which I can use for reading.

Electronic paper -

Interesting stuff at
Has this stuff already been out? And I do not know about it?

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