Saturday, May 28, 2011

tareekh pe tareekh

A day is but a single frame in the film reel of your life. Last day pe play hogi movie tumhare life ki. And you will be the only audience. Let it leave a smile on your face when you take in your last breath. One chance, one take. Make it worthwhile :)

abe! sanskar?

Amit Varma's Article To Hell With Family Values
 reminds me of a thought I ones had about KKK soap operas on Indian Television.

Mom discovers medical report which her daughter was hiding from her. Just then daughter  enters the alishaan house. Mom is in designer saree. Daughter in bechari salwaar kameez. Mom confronts her daughter, saps her and shouts, "kahan se muh kaala kar ke aayi hai". Daughter bursts into tears. Mom faces the camera "hey bhagwan kya humne aise sanskaar diye is ladki ko ki aaj hamari naak katwa di!"

I always used to wonder "abe sanskaar diye bhi they kya?"

Khud ke koi sanskar nahin ho toh woh apne bacchon ko kya dega? I think we all need to think before having kids. Of course I am totally unqualified (yet!) to speak on the subject but I think people should spend 1-2 years retraining themselves and modifying their own personality, cultivating discipline into their own lives to prepare themselves to become good parents before they actually produce them. Maybe natural selection extended the gestation period for humans to 9 months so that the offspring's parents have enough time to get into the grove - get serious and responsible for the new life that's about to enter the world and be dependent on them for years to come. But lagta hai humans ka zyaada bheja hone ka disadvantage hai... I think we are prone to "haramkhorgiri" way way too much as compared to wild animals...

AV also links to this poem in his article: This be the Verse - Philip Larkin

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Different kinds of scholars.

Been having this thought for quite some time. People who have PhD and those who heal people have the same title conferred to them. Seems a bit unfair to me. Besides it creates unnecessary confusion among the general public (Remember Ross from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.).

Khushwant Singh puts it in better words in the last week's edition of his column "With malice towards one and all" which appeared in Hindustan Times:
Professor RC Sobti, Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Registrar A K Bhandari came all the way from Chandigarh to confer an honourary doctorate on me.
Though overwhelmed with gratitude, I feel I must confess my shortcomings as a scholar. I went through school and colleges in Delhi, Lahore and London barely able to pass examinations I had to take. Having such a poor academic record, having four doctorates conferred on me is hard to believe.
My motive in writing about it is not a devious way to indulge in self-praise, but to draw the attention to the misuse of the word doctorate.
It has three different meanings. One is for qualifications as a healer of sick people. The second for scholarship in writing theses on topics hitherto not touched upon. And the third for honouring people for their achievements in any field. I think it is time we had three different words for them. Only those in the medical profession deserve to be called doctors.
We have to coin different words for scholarly works and recognition for achievements. Try to think what they should be in Sanskrit, Greek or Latin. And make it obligatory for recipients not to use them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This is me

Take me.

Take me as I am...
.. with my acne (comedones) ...

... with my uncleared ear wax and hairy tragus ...
..with my many blemishes...

 .. and a million other imperfections.

Take me.
Take me with my Canon 550D 18 megapixel DSLR.

I will show you how imperfect you are, and yet love you perfectly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The engines that I work on

Saturday has just fallen off the cliff. Sunday has entered the scene and is now trying its best to put up a good stunt. 
No matter how hard it tries to climb the jagged rock wall, 24 hrs later it too shall meet the same fate and fall and end up back in the line behind the 6 other contenders. One hour into the show, Sunday's act was proving to be boring. So I drifted, thinking of the previous one's performance.

This Saturday was different. It was my first working weekend at my third job. Reflecting back on the day, I realised, I had solved three major issues at work. Three issues which had cascaded to result in an irritable bug on the Head Unit of our in car entertainment system - the master microcontroller wasn't able to talk properly to the radio tuner chip. Integrated Circuits and the computers made of them can be made to talk in many different ways, not unlike the numerous human languages. The language of the day was I2C or Inter-Integrated Circuit. This one was invented by some guys over at Philips a few years ago. It's a language specifically suited for a certain kind of scenario. If you recollect the movie "The Mummy Returns" (By the way today is mother's day, happy mother's day to my mummy - Indu Aunty :), just before the final fight scene, Oded Fehr's character utters some words in Hebrew which is immediately recognized as "The language of the Slaves" by Dywane Johnson's character. I2C is somewhat like that. It's used for communication between microcontrollers (the smart ones) and the dumb slave ICs which have each been bred to do one and only one task. The microcontroller is the master in that sense that it controls the tempo (The clock signal) during the whole transaction. All the slaves are lined up one after the other as the master microcontroller speaks its will. The master first yells out the slave number and makes it heard to all of them. Only that IC whose slave number matches the one uttered would bow down and acknowledge, making its presence known to that master. The master would then proceed with delivering its instruction to this one particular selected slave one by one. The slave is obligated to acknowledge every piece (byte) of command sent its way. When the master is done with one slave, it will address the next one and so on and repeat the cycle. This seemingly simple round robin process made our system go. But today, one of the slave was being insubordinate. We wanted to teach it a lesson.

Over the course of the saturday, we found three problems with our system. First we found that we were using the wrong wires to communicate with the slave. This was like climbing out on top of the effiel tower and shouting out instructions, when all your slaves were kneeling down in front of the taj mahal. Of course they couldn't hear zilch. That problem was easily solved by modifying a few lines of code and diverting all the data traffic to the proper wires. Made a note to self - RTFM. 
The second problem was related to hardware. The clock and data signal were short circuited. The clock signal sets the pace or the tempo of the communication and the data signal, well carried the actual words. Damn, our king was bloody tounge tied. We applied a little solder flux on the copper tracks (the mouth of the master) and blew hot air (at 200 degrees centigrade) over it. The solder melted and the surface tension caused them to fuse to their bonding pads and become isolated from one another. With the tongue untied, we proceeded on to the next step.
The third problem was to do with the reset signal. The Master Micro wasn't letting go of the reset signal going to the FM/AM Radio Tuner IC. Remove the tape from the slave's mouth when you want him to respond goddammit!!. Easily fixed.... backspace backspace backspace... type type type.. recompile, re program and we are in business. 
OK so now the slave is responding. It can hear the master and we can see it saying "yes sirji" after every byte. We eavesdropped on the master microcontroller and the slave IC's convo using a device called an "Oscilloscope". We can see them talking. We can see the master issuing instructions and the slave acknowledging each one, but we don't see the slave doing what its told - we can't hear any "big, Red, AIR, mirchi, City". Lagta hai apna Master sathiya gaya hai. Bakwas kar raha hai. Slave bechara sun ke le raha hai lekin use samajh nahin aa raha ki woh kya kare. 

We came home, leaving the problem unsolved. Tomorrow, we will teach our master a lesson it will never forget - how an Audio Head must talk to a Radio Slave. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

yeh kya bakwas likh daala?

demag ki dahi mein daalo excitement ka masala,
masti karo jee bhar ke, warna nahin hai guzara!

chote se bacche ne dekho hai kya kar daala,
haanste haanste uske papa ka muh hi dho daala!

engineer ne dekho kaisa code hai likh daala,
chalta walta kuch nahin, client ka paisa khoti kar daala!

dekho dekho Nek Chand ne collect kiya hai kabada,
dekhtay hi dekhtay usne Rock Garden hi bana daala!

tumne hamari zindagi ko aisa hai sawara,
ki ab gali gali ghoomte hai hum, kutte sa awara!