Category Archives: friends

World of White?

So a friend of mine has recently got involved with a Unreal Tournament 3 Mod. It is called Project:White. They have some interesting additions, like 3rd person play and Cover & Peeking. They are building upon new game mode ideas like terrotorial and PUSH which are both centered around Dawn of War and Battlefield 1942 style capture of “control points”. Catch them on their Developer Site at Whitemod.

I think a good extension to this could be a “World of White”? Which is basically just a challenge mode. It would have a map of the world online. This can be just an integration of all the maps there is in the game. On the world map, you can show territories of the various teams. Now, enter Challenge mode. Once you have a hold on your map, you can challenge other clans holding other territories. Basically, you will select “infiltrate” and you can enter into a fight with them on their map. If they are AFK, you cannot challenge them. A clan holds an area for some limited time (like in number of days), and if they don’t fight anyone on that territory for that period, the territory gets defaulted over to whoever is the next challenger infiltrating that territory.

This mode can lead into more complex structures, where you can enter into a treaty with other clans. Form Alliances, and hold joint territories, by nominating members from the participating clans, to form an all star team.

I cant help but feel how close this idea is to the age old board game “Conquest” or its computer game equal, a turn-based strategy “Risk 2”. Still a good and achievable idea, in my opinion…

UPDATE: For those of you who do not understand what UT3 is all about, or dont know what Mod making is, here (please read the comentary at the bottom in this video!) and here are two very useful videos. Also, I have changed the Cover & Peeking video link above to a higher quality version. Enjoy!

Found my personality!

I took this test earlier (based upon Myers-Briggs/Jung typology), but did not really understand some of the questions correctly then. The result I got was vague. I took it again and check this out!

Well, its INTP, and very close to what I got last time, except the bars were more to the right last time, specially the thinking – feeling point. The result analysis was not me at all. This time it feels right. I am an introvert but almost an extrovert. I am insanely intuitive, so much so that I basically cant do things the methodical way. So my performances have been largely dispersed, but when I do well, it is wonderful, like magic! People are usually impressed by my off-beat methods. Only, what I need to do is increase the frequency of that happening. Read more about INTP here and here.

Incidentally I am a Leo, a dormant one (there are two types of Leo people, one who are ferocious, and the other who are extremely dormant). Maybe this explains why I am so lazy. I get so many ideas, and I have such a strong passion and will to execute it, but loose enthusiasm soon, and get distracted unless I have a partner working with me.

I also see that I am a complete right-brainer. See, this, this and this. The third link is a book I don’t have, and haven’t read, save for the few pages on Amazon. I would love to though, some day…

More about the world from the above perspectives coming up in subsequent posts.

P.S. My friends Anant Narayanan and Akshat Gupta got INTP and ESTJ respectively. My bars are very different from Anant’s though, and the difference also feels right.

Web browsers in 2012: Ubiquitous or Clandestine?

Web browsers are the first thing people think of when we mention the internet. It somehow reminds me of the days of Windows 3.1 on my first ever computer (a 1995 486DX2). The first thing that anyone did when the computer had boot was fire up the Program Manager! I might take this opportunity to debate the validity of this comparison as non-fiction, or… lets dream a dream that many brilliant minds have already dreamed.

Take a look at what the Mozilla World has envisioned for the next generation of the internet. I will not go into describing again what is already described there, but here is what I personally envision the future of internet to be like, after having been inspired from the recent happenings at Mozilla.

The internet today is capable of understanding various media types. Each of them them have some program on our desktop that understands how it renders. Instead of trying to embed Adobe Reader in Firefox, and using plugins to embed our default video player within the web pages a web browser renders, should we not be using these programs itself? There should be minimalistic application that renders the world wide web like it is today, with Javascript and HTML. We should do away with the web browser interface all together!

An outrageous and abstract claim? Not quite. Take a look at Quicksilver. Its a way to quickly execute whatever task we want the computer to perform without having to fire up the needed programs like iTunes or Thunderbird or your chat application. Enter Ubiquity – the quicksilver for the web!

The way I see it, ubiquity should be pulled out of Firefox and run on the desktop, something like a “Ubiquitous Quicksilver”. It should not matter where the content is physically located. Whether on local hard drive or on the internet. Imagine doing all the same “adding a map to your email” activity that the video shows, but instead, think of doing it in GMail on desktop! What if you wanted this map added to your presentation in “openoffice”, “keynote” or “powerpoint”? How about creating the envelopes for sending some invitation (yes, via snail-mail, dont say its all e-invites these days) to all the a contact addresses you have on GMail or in your LinkedIn or Plaxo account? When Aza adds the “Lunch with Atul at 1pm at Ellite Cafe” in the video, think about it adding to Google Calendar, only this time its an application on your desktop and not in the firefox browser! The location of the content will still be Google servers, but why should that be a problem? You can already do this using Prism.

The web will no longer be limited to HTML pages, you could have URLs pointing to a pdf or any other binary format document, and this could be the starting point of your website instead of index.html. (For those geeks who are laughing on my dream, I know Apache doesn’t allow that. Unfortunately my dream broke here, but I am working on it :p ). The point is, why should URL only be limited to HTML pages, when we know about the MIME Types? “Ubiquitous Quicksilver” is there to map content type to the program that can render it on the client. When a user does a login using http authentication, you could display welcome message as a video instead of taking the visitor to a web page!

I do believe the above can be achieved by simply allowing ubiquity to fire up programs on the local machine depending upon the MIME type it has received. Quicksilver can already do that! All we need is a marriage of Ubiquity and Quicksilver (or maybe a Gecko equivalent of quicksilver?).

Think about what you can do with such power!

Ravings and Ranting about the Land of Opportunities

So its been 2 months since I landed in America. Time flies!

I have had some great times, even though lifestyle hasn’t changed much from the college life we led in India. There are various aspects of living in America that took time to get used to. I worked at the bookstore for a month, and it was hard to maintain punctuality. Keeping time was not something we made a significant effort to do in India. 8:00 AM is not the same as 8:05 AM here. I learned that the hard way!

The biggest shocker was, however, the telephone services here. We are so used to “incoming free” and “free local SMS” in India, that when AT&T charged me heavily for incoming calls I felt outraged! As if it wasn’t enough that they do not let anyone buy a postpaid connection without credit history and SSN, they had to fleece me on prepaid!

The cost of books is also astonishing here! Its usually at least 10 times its cost in my country! It is as if the American leaders are trying to discourage their kids to use books! What ever happened to paperbag, all books here have to look like a beautiful hardbound Worldbook encyclopaedia! No student ever asked for that!

Food was said to be cheap here. Unfortunately of all places, I chose to be at Fairfax, which ranks among the most expensive county in America. Apart from a heafty rent, I felt the pinch spending on food. I haven’t even had many cuisines here, like I used to have in India. No Chinese, Mongolian or Italian (save the pizzas) for 2 whole months now! Thanks to Patel Bros however, we have access to a lot of Indian food and groceries. I found my beloved Maggi hot and sweet tomato chili sauce! – the secret ingredient in all my cooking.

I managed to squeeze in some DotA nights here too! Thanks to a few friends I made here, who are Warcraft 3 crazy, I never had to renounce my religion from my MNIT days!

I have a teaching assistantship now, at Computer Resources Department (so no more customer service at the bookstore)! I am assistant to a Unix Administrator, not a professor. That basically means I have to do the same linux support job and server management that I volunteered for at my undergraduate university in India, and whats more, I get great pay for it!

Weather is getting cold here. We have started to consisteantly hit the 50 degree fahrenheit at nights. I am looking forward to my first winter in USA. I have seen cold winters at Jaipur in India, so I am not nervous, though I have never been to subzero cetigrade places.

Fridays are a practical holiday here. No classes or appointments on Fridays. Infact the office hours are shorter on Fridays than even Saturdays in many places at the University. So I consistantly get a 3 day weekend. That helps me keepup with my various non-academic interests like computer gaming, surfing the internet, catching up on friends blogs, watching movies and taking part in flamewars on mailing lists. Not that doing 2 subjects a semester is any kind of a load worth mentioning, it is however taxing to sit in 3 hour long lectures with just one 10 minute break in between.

I constantly get to travel to Washinton DC. Went there last Thursday too, to attend the Linux Day 2008 organized by Novell and HP. Their target audience was the industry, but I learned about many new technologies, and got a wind of whats coming up in the Linux domain in near future!

Seems like a decently long update, so I will stop raving now. I am yet to cover many more interesting events. Hope I get other nights like tonight soon.


Another meme has begun:

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.
2. Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair… just take a picture.
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.

P.S.: And yes, I am alive. Good interesting posts coming up 🙂

Sand, Sea, Souq….. and tarmac!

The Best Month Ever: Part 2

Back from Bengaluroo, I really could not imagine a trip that could be more fun… but Goa in the month of December should not be taken so lightly 😀

Thank the magnanimous Ameya, for possibly the best holiday we ever had, because on the morning of the 16th, Aditya Bharadwaj, Akshat Gupta, Anant Narayanan, Ishan Dixit, Raghavendra Narasimhan, Ravikant and I arrived at his doorstep in Vasco… and it was legendary!

First up, lunch full of awesome’ness! Ameya’s mom is an excellent cook…The first day’s curtain raiser also included an evening at Bogmalo beach…

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We spent the next 4 days travelling around Goa in 4 hired Activas! After a few abuses were sent flying towards ‘the Gujju’ (Akshat) for dutifully following the speed limit sign of 20 kmph on the highway, Anant took the driving seat… a move that later helped a traffic policeman earn Rs.300/- (haha!). The policeman was a good lad though, as when Anant offered an unbelievably huge sum of Rs.500/- for his offence of driving without license, the policeman earnestly returned Rs.200/- as rebate! 🙂

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We visited the Cathedral, and various beaches. I think we enjoyed the most on Benaulim Beach, even though the Water scooter and parasail on Baga was fun…

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We went on the river cruise too. We met another group of friends from college, and together we MNITians rocked the one hour ride! The highlight of the evening was the Lamborghini though! An orange one just vroommed past us, as we were on our way from Dauna-Paula to the cruise start-point in Panjim. I will remember to visit The Marriott Resort next time, hoping another rich and famous will drive in his Lamborghini…

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On the last day, we also visited a national karting track in Goa. I bought five tickets for myself! We had a few races and it was legendary! I will never forget the warning that Ameya and I got in one of the races. We got too competitive for the lead and started playing rough, which prompted the marshals to stop us!

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I bought some cashews at a store near the Vasco railway station. The train journey on the way back was picturesque. The route cuts through the western ghats, with scenes like waterfalls and valleys along the way…

All in all, we had a great time! Read Anant’s side of the Goa trip story here