Monday, December 20, 2010

A Cross sectional epoch of life in the Empire of the Sun

He is the ultimate creator. Ultimate enough for this story. He didn’t create the universe, nor did he come up with the laws that govern it – the very laws that facilitated his existence and of those above him. Like a functionary in a huge hierarchy, he sits smug in his end of the galaxy with his progeny (and their progeny) , moving around him - worshipping him.

His eight major sons and daughter (nine if you count the one who was banished recently) respect his superiority – after all they owe their existence to him. Like all families, one of the siblings is the favourite and most pampered of them all – The third one from her father. She has been endowed with a gift of organic life by her father. “Earth” is what her own progeny calls her.  Her elder brother Jupiter is quite fond of her and protects her from the millons of their other siblings who - from time to time - in an envious rage hurl themselves towards her. 

The Earth is a proud parent of millions of species of life.  She carries them around like a marsupial in her pocket - the biosphere.  A layer of ozone & a geomagnetic field is what she uses as a defence to protect her little ones from the radiant gaze of her father.  At places where the field is weak, the radiance creates wonderful floating ribbons of light – like a nexus between the father and daughter. One particularly naïve species called humans are enchanted by these.
The Earth wants her children to coexists, but one of them has started to bully others. Humans are turning out to be thankless little brats.  They hope around multiplying, messing up everything everywhere. But the earth is hopeful, they will grow up someday, take care of her, make her proud.

--Tone Change--

Sun provides for his grandchildren.  It sends countless miniscule bundles of light outwards.  Some of these fall on the Earth and are absorbed by plants which store this energy in chemical bonds.  The have been doing this forever. When they die, they get buried under tonnes of soil and get fossilized and turn into liquid – one so potent that millions of years later, it is dug out by humans and is now used by them as fuel – to power their lives and their greed. 

Humans are magicians. They are beginning to master the art of manipulating the small – chemistry. It’s this craft that has improved (or messed up?) their lives. They extract petroleum from the earth and make thousands of useful products from it – some help them move around, some allow them to light up the night and keep working past their bedtime and some let them create nifty strings of threads to adorn their clothing. These artificial fibres are meticulously combined with natural fibres from certain plants to create lovely pink dresses for little girls whose parents are rich enough to buy these for them on their 5th birthday. The little girl becomes fond of the dress and wears them for a while. She has been fortunate enough to live a life of luxury.

The pink dress is washed in a washing machine in a whirling swarm of detergent molecules and water. Some of these molecules (and those of air later on) who have been promoted to the extreme right end of the Maxwells’ bump are naught enough to knockout a few of the dye molecules off the dress. The ultraviolet photons from the sun who are lucky enough to have evaded the Ozone molecules of the atmosphere hit the dress as it is drying. Some of them have the right energy to penetrate and disintegrate the dye molecule. The colour of the dress fades, the girl grows up, and the dress is donated to the maid servant’s little girl. The dress has a second life.

The maid’s girl dreams of a future life when she is able to buy a new one for herself instead of wearing tatters dumped at her. She studies hard, and begins to traverse the numerous lanes of life. The path is treacherous but the vision of her own new dress propels her forward. 

She has now graduated, works at a small firm – small enough to still use Tally for their accounting needs.  She needs the money for further studies. She day dreams about the dress. She would need a larger size now. And the colour? What colour would look best on her? Her skin used to be dark when she was young – the same insolation which turned her dark had faded the dress. But now her family had prospered. She didn’t have to be out in the Sun anymore. She was fairer. A customer walks in and makes a purchase interrupting her chain of thought. She punches a few keys, a few electrons give off a few photons which hit other electrons and so the cycle continues within the computer until the printer churns out the bill for the gentleman. The customer leaves, the girl returns to her thoughts. She thinks of her mother now. Her mother is old and weak. The sun burns its hydrogen to provide for life. In the same way, her mother’s bones had parted with some of their calcium to create the bones for her daughter. Old ages had taken its toll, the mothers bones were weak now. The dress will have to wait a bit longer.

(This was inspired consciously by http://tara-think.blogspot.com/2010/12/sincerely-from-biochemistry-student.html and probably subconsciously by one of Upasna's posts)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Restaurant near the beach

Once there was a restaurant called 'signature',
which received patrons of the highest stature.
Of the good food we were soon bereft,
The restaurant closed down and we were like "What the eff?"

'Shatranj Napoli' was the name of the successor,
Which received negative reviews from all connoisseurs.
The service was bad, and the food did suck,
And the only time we went there, we were like "What the *uck?"

Today there is a new joint thats come up there ova,
Invoking hopes and expectations from everyone in versova.
Let's see if the new one can rise above the muck
After all its been done up and aptly name "WTF?"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mango Adventure

  1. Live in Mumbai for all your life - you need not have been born there, but you should have grown up there.
  2. As you grow up, your needs will increase, but don't worry about it, coz your family will prosper as well.
  3. Shift to a bigger house in a new building, coz your parents decide that you and your siblings now need a seperate room each.
  4. Wait for 3-4 years. Mumbai monsoon will wreck havoc on your building - paint will start pealing off and dust/dirt will accumulate in and around the various crevices on the facade of your building.
  5. Highspeed winds and pigeons will deposit plant seeds in this dirt and rain water will cause them to hatch into saplings (Figures 1a, 1b, 1c & 1d).
  6. Figure 1a
    Figure 1b
    Figure 1c
    Figure 1d

  7. In other cases a kid will hide from his mom (or an old mom will hid from her grown up kid who has kids of his own) and without paying heeds to her words, would have just a "last, chota saa, iske baad aur nahin" sweet sweet mango. And then all evidence of the puerile pleasure will need to be hidden - and so the mango seed is ducked outside the bathroom window....(Figures 2)
  8. Figure 2

  9. ... whence it falls down bouncing off the plumbing and walls and finally landing on to the ledge outside your bathroom window along with other refuse such as toffee wrappers, gutka packets thrown by workers, pieces of duct tape and of course used condoms and their wrappers (yuck!!).
  10. The next monsoon, the mango sapling takes root, coaxed out of its seed by the rain. Other saplings (mostly useless weeds) growing in the dirt on the ledge keep it company. (Figures 3a and 3b)
  11. Figure 3a
    Figure 3b

  12. At the end of monsoon, its time to clean up your house. After fighting off booklice in vain, you decide to do something which you think would be more under control. So you call your mom and tell her about your plan to climb out onto the ledge , clean up the dirt, remove the weeds and save the mango plant. She ways "Waise toh yeh paudhe kabhi ugane se bhi theek se nahin ugte, but kachre mein padhe padhe kahin bhi ugna chalu kar dete hain". You smirk, you were expecting such a line from her.
  13. So you go ahead and remove the glass louvers one by one (Figure 4)..
  14. Figure 4

  15. .. and climb out on to the ledge and start cleaning stuff.Some of the crap fall down and you hear someone shouting from down below. You keep at it, scooping out all the dirt using a spoon and collecting out into the plastic bag. You save the mango plant  and clean it up. (Figures 5a and 5b)
  16. Figure 5a
    Figure 5b

  17. A few earthworm falt out along with the dirt as you clean up the mangoplants root - they will have to be sacrificed - down in to the drain they go! (Figure 6)
  18. Figure 6

  19. You look down out at the area around your society's gym/club house and pick a spot for your new mango plant. (Figure 7)
  20. Figure 7

  21. You go down and survey the area (Figure 8), find an empty pot and plant your mango sapling. You catch a few earthworm and put them into the flower pot to keep your plant some company. (Figure 9)
  22. Figure 8
    Figure 9

  23. You water the plant regularly whenever you pass by and feel smug about it.
  24. And since you have nothing better to do, you blog about it.
  25. Technology (internet, digital camera, irfanview) helps you polish your mediocrity and soon enough, there are people reading about your adventure.
  26. But you like gardening - and getting to do something even remotely close to gardening in this overcrowded Mumbai City is something significant - something worth telling your friends!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fun times with DVG!

Here's a list of projects I have collaborated on with Prof. Dhananjay V. Gadre (In chronological order):

  1. AVR Workshop at VESIT
    (1 to 5 September 2005, VESIT, Mumbai)
    Helped organize/manage. Report and photos here.

  2. Multi Utility Sensor Network
    (December 2005 to March 2006, VESIT, Mumbai)
    During the AVR workshop DVG suggested us to clone the audience poll voting pad from the "Who wants to be a millionaire?" TV game show using a wired multi-drop network. It was also our final project at VESIT. Project synopsis:
    Designed and successfully implemented a wired sensor network capable of sensing and controlling physical parameters involved in any kind of process control. The project involved connecting Atmel’s AVR Microcontrollers over the RS485 bus in a multi-drop configuration. The microcontrollers were programmed in embedded C and the front-end was created using Java. The project was selected to be displayed in the Student’s Pavilion at Elecrama 2006 held in Mumbai by IEEMA. Elecrama is one of the largest biennial exhibitions of Electrical and Electronics products in the world. The project was awarded Distinctive Excellence at the Atmel AVR 06 Design Contest organized by Circuit Cellar (Entry/Abstract Link). An article decribing the project was published in Circuit Cellar 203 titled "Network of Keypads".

    DVG wasn't present physically, but he guided us over internet/phone. Our project guide was Prof. Abhay Khirsagar and we had three teams working on the project:
    • Embedded Hardware (from Electronics Engineering):
      Anurag Chugh (Me), Shweta Saraf, Richa Tewari, Rohan Raghunath begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Charuta Ambardekar
    • Embedded Software (from Electronics Engineering):
      Sneha Lele, Kirti Ramnath, Varsha Mishra, Smita Kumar
    • Host (PC Side) Software (from Computer Engineering):
      Sanket Hase, Parag Shah, Shauvik Roy Choudhary

    Reports: Hardware Design | Embedded Software Design | Host Software Design

    We dedicate this project to Deep S. Bhattacharjee who left left us in a tragic accident during the floods of 26th July 2005. He was part of our Host Software Team.

  3. A Project for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
    (June - July 2006, NSIT/DMRC Najafgarh depot Delhi)
    This involved retro-fitting Train Integrated Management System with Serial Device Servers . Every night DMRC maintenance staff used to access all of the 70 odd trains one by one in each of the three depots around Delhi and download data from TIMS on to their laptops to diagnose failures before they occur (preventive maintenance). The laptop connects to the TIMS computer via RS232 DE-9 Cable (straight cable - 3 wires only TxD, RxD, GND, 115200 bps 8-E-1, no flow control, approx 9000 characters per second). To make the whole process easier and decrease wear and tear on connectors and laptop and conserve man power, DMRC wanted us to make the system go wireless. We tried to replace the wired serial link with XBee modules and Atmega128s, but that obviously didnt work due to the high character rate. Bluetooth was out of question (Bluetooth data rate and range is as bad as ZigBees and as far as we knew, a bluetooth piconet can only have 7 nodes) Then we tried replacing the serial link with an ethernet device server. They had just been introduced in Indian market and we had a real adventure getting our hands on one of them. We combined that Ethernet Device Server with a WiFi Router and it worked successfully. We left the project at that and never heard from DMRC whether they implemented the system or not.
    A small Visual Basic software on the Client PC side could have been written to ping IP addresses of each of the 70 serial device servers (or WiFi Routers) on each of the 70 trains in the depot. This software would maintain an upto date list of all train parked in the depot at any given time and the user sitting at the PC could click on any train on the list to create a virtual serial port connection over WiFi/Ethernet to that train's TIMS and fire-up Mitsubishi's TIMS front-end PC application to download the data from the particular train. Of course we never got around to create this software either.
    The project was done at Najafgarh Depot in Delhi. The team comof three persons: Me and my friends Sneha Lele and Ranjit Puri. From DMRC's side, Mr. Jitendra Malik guided us. He was the Senior Section Engineer at Najafgarh Depot then.

  4. Various Development Boards for use during Embedded Workshops for Engineering Undergrad
    (2006-2008)
    • ATmega8
      USB Powered, MAX232, 4 switches, 4 LEDs, 16x2 LCD, Thermistor, LDR etc.
    • AVR Butterfly Carrier
      USB Powered , 3.6V NiCd Battery, LEDs and Switches, general purpose area etc. The library I made for Butterfly has become quite popular!
    • Xilinx XC9572
      CPLD, Parallel Port programmable, DC powered, 7 segment LEDs, switches
      ... and many other boards too.

  5. Various fun project built around the AVR Microcontrollers
    (2006-2009)
    • Blinking an LED on AVR using Lemon Power
      Four lemon batteries (pieces of lemon with zinc and copper electrodes) connected in series are enough to power a ATTiny13V microcontroller.Video here.
    • 3 Dimensional LED Hourglass based around Atmega32
      This would have been a super cool project, but we never got around to finish it off. I guess we need LEDs which would disperse light sideways. Video here.
    • A few projects based around charlieplexed displays
      There was a passing time when we became fans of the charlieplexing technique. This resulted in quite a few projects, some of which made it as articles in electronics magazines: EDN (Two digit Display) and Electronic Design (LED Bar graph). The one in Electronic Design became the Idea for Design of the year 2007.

  6. Fablab
    (2006-2009)
    DVG has been associated with the Fablab program for quite sometime now and due to my proximity to him, I have had a minor bit of involvement with Fablab too. After the FAB5 conference (photos by Frosti Gíslason) I setup this site - which is an index to various Fablab websites around the world – to enable the community members keep in better touch with each other. Also I was forced to appear (with a dumb hat on! :) ) in this video of Electronic Birthday Candles which was prototyped on Roland MDX-20 Modela (standard Fablab issue).

  7. Textbook on the 8051 microcontroller
    (Jan 2008-May 2009)
    Cengage Learning approached us to come up with a new and revised version of Kenneth Ayala's classic textbook: The 8051 Microcontroller. 1.5 years and a zillion hurdles later, we finally finished updating the existing book and the updated version was published. The most significant additions include:
    • A few chapters on how to program 8051s using the C language.
    • A chapter describing newer variants of 8051 available in the market.
    • Appendices describe the installation and use of freeware open source development tools for 8051 and a low cost development system.
    • All diagrams have been redrawn and the coloured versions of those are included on the accompanying CD.
    We have made a companion site for the book here.


Prof. Dhananjay Gadre and I have been in touch ever since I emailed him after reading this article which appeared in May 2005 issue of EFY:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuff under 100x Microscope

Here are some common materials as seen through an Illuminated Microscope (60x-100x) bought from RadioShack


Piece of Fabric


Printed Pape (Magazine / CMYK)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bhusawal ka chor

Bhusawal se chada tha woh train mein
choori ke irade se
ek archan aa gayi uske plan mein
khopdi mein bheje ki kami se

He was about to take off with the lady's bag
But was noticed by the husband of the old hag
The lady was being critical about our generation
And now she was being punished for her baseless accusations

Soon the TC and RPF were called
And so began a verbal brawl
The youth began reciting his well reharsed story
And secretly one of us wished the scene would turn gory

Ladke ne fekna chalu kiya lambi lambi
Dene hindi ka exam koi
ja raha tha woh mumbai

TC aur RPF use le gaye
auntyji ka purse toh khojne pe bhi mila nahin
itne excitement se toh bhai hum thak gaye
so kar hoosh kab khoya pata nahin

A few minutes later
There was some further chatter
The lady's bag was located
And her happiness was reinstated


.. a poem about a foiled robbery incident onboard our train as we returned home from Jabalpur inaccurately narrated by me in hinglish.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Versova Post Office







Cost of couriering some documents from Mumbai to Shanghai:
DHL: Rs. 2150
IndiaPost EMS (also known as SpeedPost) : Rs. 469

And yet most of us end up going for the first option (i.e. Private Shippers) instead of our government's own courier service. Most of us have an impression that visit to government offices is full of hassles - that even a small thing such as posting a letter would take lots of physical and mental energy - not to mention the bribes and forms and getting sent from desk to desk.

Well the truth is totally different altogether. There are proper procedures for getting any work done at a government office. Everything is well documented - only thing is that either most information is not available online or if it is, then its outdated/not organized properly. And since we don't know where else to get that information, we inevitably try to ease our lives by paying agents or avoiding government services altogether.

So being a good citizen, I would like share all that I learnt today at IndiaPost's Versova Sub post office:

  • Number of postmen: 14
  • Beats: 9
  • First Deliver: 10:30
  • Last Deliver: 14:30
  • Versova Post Office Accepts Mahanagar Gas Bill Payment
  • You can also submit Right To Information requests at this post office.
  • They handle 11,000 articles of post every month.
  • They are open till 13:00 everyday. If you visit before this time, your work would be definitely done.
  • You can open savings accounts at post offices too!
  • You can send couriers around the world using Express Mail Service (EMS / SpeedPost) thru this post office. You will be given a tracking number which you can track thru IndiaPost's website: http://www.indiapost.gov.in
  • There are lots of general instructions/procedures made available on the website above. If you havent used post office's services before, please do have a look at their website. Of all the government websites, IndiaPost's seems to be the most informative: there is information about philately, saving accounts opening instructions & forms, speedpost price calculator, package tracking and documents describing the various general operating procedures of Post Offices across India.
  • Finally here are pictures that I took of some notices at the versova post office:



So I hope this information helps anyone looking for it. Please do not hesitate to use our government's postage services. Once you get used to using them (which happens quite easily and quickly), you can reap the benefits by saving lots of money!

PS: Our government has a National Portal too: http://www.india.gov.in/
PPS: The page at: http://www.india.gov.in/howdo/index.php describes the instructions a citizen needs to follow to get any particular work done (e.g. apply for PAN card/ Passport). Maybe I was wrong. All info IS available online - we are just too lazy to look it up!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fun times at L & T EmSyS with friends

Here is a tribute to our friendship and the moments we spent at EmSyS, Powai. The tribute is in a story form titled: "agar hamari moms friends hoti and if we were all born on the same day.."

once there were 6 ladies, they were best friends : AM, KM, JM, SM, HM, DM

They were childhood friends fir sab bade ho gaye aur unki shaadi ho gayi and guess what? they were all expecting us on and around the same day...
Sab pregnant the and sab apne apne ghar pe baithe rehte the.. they used to talk to each other on fone whenever they had mood swings.. pregnancy mein hota hai na..
Ek din (very near their delivery date), they were talking on the fone.. cordless .. conference call sab ke sab 6 log.. it was 10 pm at night, thats when KM said "i think my water just broke and I am going into labour". So she kept the fone down called her husband and they went to the Kokila ben hospital. The other 5 ladies thought: "well what the hell, lets us all get admitted together at the same hospital, KM ki baari aa gayi toh hamari baari bhi aane wali hogi!"

So they all reached the hospital and they asked the hospital staff to admit them into the same huge hall... so all 6 of them had their beds in the same room... so KM was already in labour when the other 5 ladies entered the hall, the doctor their looked at the clock and said "its taking a long time, its already 11:59 PM, lagta hai aapka baccha ab kal pesh hoga!" and the moment he said that, the clock struck 12:00am and a baby boy popped out and lo and behold he was named "KALPESH" and then there was joy and happiness and tears and 5 other ladies huddled around KM and Kalpesh.

Two hours passed and their was no action, KM decided to stay on till the other 5 of her best friends delivered, she thought out loud "we are so lucky to have are kids born on the same day!". Well another hour passed and the ladies were getting anxious/impatient.. next kiska aayega... so to pass the time they ordered tea. The nurse bought them tea but then everyone knows, pregnant ladies get super hungry, so AM asked for Rusk/marie biscuts along with the chai and the nurse obliged. Thats when it happened, DM had just dipped a biscut in her Tea when her chance came. After lots of pushing and heaving, out came a girl! and she was named "DEEPTI" (actually nurse vernacular medium school se thi so DIPTEA ki jagah DEEPTI likh diya).

So they were all now sitting together and looking at the two earlybirds.. "so cute! so cute!" is all one could hear. And all that excitement got KALPESH and DEEPTI excited too, they laughed and laughed and laughed... and chote bacchon ko toh kuch bladder control nahin hota toh, aise cute jaisa itna hasenge toh susu bahar aa jaayega hi na.. toh dono ne susu kar diya.. floor pe gir gaya sab. Toh nurse aayi saaf karne with a mop. Mop chota sa tha, so she couldnt clean the whole thing up so AM said "hey nurse I think you need A NEW RAG to clean the whole thing up"... jaise hi AM ne woh bola tab woh labour mein chale gayi and few minutes later out came a boy and they named him "ANURAG". They didnt want a "W" in his name so they changed NEW to NU.

And so now 50% process complete ho gaya tha.. three kids were remaining!
A few minutes later, SM went into labour.. her labour lasted the longest, her kid was the fattest na! thats why! bahut bahut der ke baad ek moti se cute si girl was born. SM was relived and so were the rest 5. The nurse took the girl and bathed her. While she was away the six of them were fighting what to name the girl.. zoor zoor se naam chilla rahe the .. they were so excited that maybe SM and her kid would be awarded the LIMCA book of records ka record for the heavyiest baby and during that lound discussion/commotion, the nurse entered with the latest baby and was asking them "bacchi ka naam kya rakhna hai" . Sab log itna chilla rahe the excitement mein (and ANURAG<>

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Praying on a soldering iron!

These pictures were taken on 2004 July 24 at VESIT during preparations for Robocon 2004.
The pictures were taken using a sad camera (actually it was a logitech webcam capable of taking pictures). The Praying Mantis came in from the open widows along with lots of other insects. This was during the rainy season. Soldering iron's warmth might have attracted it..

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

AVRISPwith a blown up AT90S8535

Q: What happens when an exposed Vcc pin of a target system (with an AVRISP connected to it) accidentally brushes against a +12V DC battery terminal?

A: The AT90S8535 (inside the AVRISP) blows its lid off - literally. The pictures below say it all. (Happened during Robocon days at VESIT)




For a photograph of a silicon chip inside an AVR (A90S1200) with its various regions marked, look here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

AVR Butterfly Eagle part

Just found out that the AVR Butterfly library I made for cadsoft's eagle has been downloaded by 55,745 people.. whoopie...
"butterfly9.lbr" is the third most downloaded file at
http://www.cadsoftusa.com/cgi-bin/download.pl?page=/home/cadsoft/html_public/download.htm.en&dir=eagle/userfiles/libraries

feels nice :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lovestories

Makers dont need a resume,
Makers have a collection of stories
Stories of Adventures
Stories of their Love for things, people and places...
... stories that never end but fade on to other stores
and this collection of chronological stories forms their lifestory.

I like my lifestory so far.
I like the stories of my friends. Our stories are intertwined. And I am proud to be in the same story with them!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haji Ali



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Concrete Jungle mein wires ka Jhamela


Belapur..

Auntyji & Uncleji in the park.



And the gate of the park they were in..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Like an Oasis in the middle of a Concrete Jungle


Watchman having a siesta at a joggers park next to our apartment building