Ah Wikipedia

Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:03 by salim

So, as usual I was reading my feeds from Discover magazine and found this article about Sharks and Levy Flight search pattern. Since I have been involved in path optimization algorithms lately, I found it was very interesting and promptly followed the link for Levy Flight search pattern in Wikipedia. To my wonder, the news about the new finding that sharks use similar path search algorithms was already there. No wonder, it was updated today.

This prompted me to do a quick survey of the Wikipedia articles referenced from this one article and when they were updated. Of course, the date on the bottom does not give the whole story. There are several Wiki Bots that goes around and update pages by fixing obvious grammatical mistakes. So, it is not uncommon to see even very seldom updated pages to have a new last edited date. But, in this case, there were some substantial change (more than just making something to plural or fixing a link) in almost all the articles I looked at.

So, needless to say, I am still very pleased with Wikipedia! Proud of the very minor contributions I have done and will continue to do so.

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Don’t want to ask for directions? Message the Nokia Sign Board

Thursday, 4 February 2010 15:28 by salim

This signboard will tell you direction by pointing. All you have to do is send it a message. Now, that is something I can use. Even with a Garmin GPS, I manage to get lost all the time.

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Dell Inspiron 1720 Upgrade to Windows 7

Thursday, 12 November 2009 12:36 by salim

No excitement.

This model is not tested by Dell and no specific drivers are available. So, I was a bit anxious about how well the upgrade will go. There were some troubling posts from the Beta/RC period of Windows 7. I decided to try anyways.

So, I popped in the DVD, started the setup. It told me I had three applications that are not compatible (Cisco and Checkpoint VPN clients and RAD Studio 2007). I was not too worried about them and continued with the upgrade.

The installer told me I had over 770,000 files to move, so I was not expecting a fast upgrade. It was not very quick. The whole installation took a little over 2 hours, most of it spent in moving the files. Immediately after the installation, my audio (Sigmatel HD) was not working. All I had to do was to go to the device drivers pane and update the driver. After a restart the audio is also fine.

So, it was a very unexciting upgrade process. Windows 7 however is quite nice. I did not have a lot of complaints about Vista. I don’t have any yet with W7, except that the UAC is turned low. Since I do not use any anti-virus software, I wanted it to the most restrictive settings.

So, now I am running Windows 7 on my Inspiron 1720 laptop without any issues.

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The amazing world of couches…

Friday, 18 September 2009 15:45 by salim

Yesterday, while just browsing through I encountered this piece in BoingBoing. It points to an old Harper magazine article from 1955 about the amazing story of Kirk Alan, the interplanetary traveler.

In a very very short nutshell (as the story is abstracted in the above post and you can read the articles straight from Harper), Kirk Alan was a physicist, who had an alternate life as the ruler of a large interplanetary empire far removed from here in time and space.

Here are the links to the articles. It is a very interesting read.

Part I
http://www.harpers.org/archive/1954/12/0006789

Part II
http://www.harpers.org/archive/1955/01/0006815

What made the article so interesting was, not just the fantasy, which in itself was quite elaborate and amusing, but the introspective nature of it. Like a Russian doll, Robert Mitchell Lindner, the analyst looks into his own experience and close encounter with unhinged fantasy that arose from his encounter with Kirk Alan.

While reading the story, I immediately remembered the movie K-PAX. I was almost certain there will be an acknowledgement of Lindner’s case there. But to my surprise, I found out that it was based on a completely different novel, which had an even closer relation to Lindner’s case, but no acknowledgement whatsoever. I have not read the original books. May be there will be something in the original book as well.

I really have no problem people picking up others ideas and experiences and elaborating on it. I did like the movie K-PAX. However, I think it is ethical to acknowledge it. This is why I like Creative Commons License. It gives very simple, liberal licensing terms to a product while protecting the original creator. All my music is CC 3, which means that, anybody can download it, tweak it, split it and rearrange it as long as the original source is attributed to me and the final product is not commercial. I could have gone with 2.5 but, I think it is fair to expect shares of commercial gains that are made at least partly from my creation.

Go read the article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-PAX

Solzhenitsyn is dead...

Sunday, 3 August 2008 21:07 by salim

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/03/solzhenitsyn.dead/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn

My impressions of Solzhenitsyn is mixed. On one hand I have high regards for his humanitarian contributions in exposing the cruelties of Stalinist Soviet regime. On the other hand, his thoroughly right wing social view has disturbed me quite a lot.

He was a frequent ideological presence in the heated discussions we used to have while in the engineering college and later in the lawns of University College, TVM.

Today, I remember him again.

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