Sunday, December 26, 2010

How it went

Sometime back, I attended a seminar in Bangalore on using new tools for embedded development and testing. It all started nicely in a nice hotel and all. But, after sometime, my brian decided to go for a break (and never return till the end of the day). I was taking notes in the beginning and then the below happened... I am typing what I wrote for my own understaing in later years (the original is also loaded for your reference ;-) )

120 Engineers, project leaders and test heads; all trying to understand why in the world should one use JTAG to debug embedded systems and why no the history proven (and cheap) process of using printf and LED indicators. Mr. P. Seshan spoke for most of the 6 hours trying just that. I do not know how it was for others, but for me, it was the whole session just about grazed my hair while going over it.

The morning session started with topics on conventional methods of debugging like ICE, printf, etc. People at that time were pretty enthusiastic and started asking questions. Some who thought they had a good question and some who actually had a proper query both raised the stakes of the seminar. Suddently, there was an onrush of lame questions that a professor (who happened to attend the seminar) told Mr. Seshan how to put a stop to such questions by asking him to tell what the scope of the discussion was. It seemed to have silenced the people for some time.

This gave the speaker much needed time to actually go to the topics he had originally intended. Then started the concept of JTAG and what it is, how it works, etc, etc. That was when my brain started to go into suspend mode. Then all I heard was

... blah blah blah blah JTAG... blah blah blah blah memory blah blah blah blah blah processor blah blah blah blah blah JTAG... and (at this point everything else faded into oblivion)...


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Philips DVP3388 - Delay between audio and video

After lots of online reviews, I ended up buying the Philips DVP3388. It sure did justice on its part of displaying damn good clarity when a DVD is played. I tried with the Transformers DVD. I ended up watching the movie twice, just for its clarity (as a digress, I already had watched it about 20 times before the HDMI enhancements). Divx playback was also pretty much clean and decent (I used a 16Gb Corsair pendrive). But, over time, I started noticing a change in the USB playback. The audio and video in the divx playback started to go haywaire. The video was the winner with the audio lagging noticeably. I was seriously confused, because the video playback on a PC was immaculate. I tried lots of things like reducing the total data content in the pendrive, tried playing smaller sized divx files, even tried playing older files which previously worked just fine. Suddenly one day, a flash occured, and I ended checking the fragmentation. The pen drive was fragmented (but not very badly though). So, just to try out, I defragged it. Voila, everything played perfectly on the player now. I dont know if this same issue occurs with other players (I remember no one mentioning about this issue anywhere), but this sure is an issue with DVP3388.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Unofficial Indian (mostly) Traffic Laws

A fwd which I couldn't ignore.

1. The Other Side Law: If my side of the road has a traffic jam, then I can start driving on the wrong side of the road, and all incoming cars will be rerouted via Meerut.
2. The Queue Nahin Rule:If there is a queue of many people, no one will notice me sneaking into the front as long as I am looking the other way.
3. The Mind Over Matter Law:If a red light is not working, four cars from different directions can easily pass through one another.
4. The Auto Axiom:If I indicate which way I am going to turn my auto rickshaw, it is an information security leak.
5. The In Spit Of Thing:The more I lean out of my car or bus, and the harder I spit, the stronger the roads become.
6. The Cinema Hall Fact:If I get a call on my mobile phone, the film automatically goes into pause mode.
7. The Brotherhood Law:If I want to win an argument, I need only to repeatedly suggest that the other person has illicit relations with his sister or mother... .
8. The Baraat Right:When I'm on the road to marriage, all the roads in the city belong to me.
9. The Heart Of Things:If I open enough buttons on my shirt, the pretty girl at the bus stop can see through my hairy chest into the depths of my soul.
10. The Name Game:It is very important for the driver behind me to memorize the nicknames of my children.
11. Parking Up The Wrong Tree:When I double-park my car, the road automatically widens so that the traffic is not affected..
12. The Chill Bill Move:When I park and block someone else's car I am giving him a chance to pause, relax, chill and take a few moments off from his rushed day.
13. The Brrrrp Break:The louder I burp in a public place; the more it helps other people digest their food.
14. The Bus Karo Law:If I stop my bus at the correct place near the bus stop, the city will explode and blow into 6 million pieces.
15. The VIP Rule:There are only 7 important persons in this city-Me, I, Myself, Main, Naan, Aami and Moi !

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Numb3rs - Larry's wedding speech

I suppose the TV seriese Numb3rs' life is over (its not official as of this post). What with the wedding of Charlie and Amita completed in a 2 episode sequence, all the while solving crimes. I however, liked the speech given by Larry before the exchange of the rings. Just for my memory (and to all those who love the tv series), here it is.

With the request of the bride and groom, i'll keep my remarks short and non-technical.

Whilst you all know that the 4 fundemental forces of physics are electromagnetism, strong nuclear interaction, weak nuclear interaction and gravity.

Colby: So I wonder what the technical version sounds like

I heard that.

we've been talking here about the forces that bind the universe. But, what binds humans?


Powerful in small spaces, yet with profound effect on distance. Love defies time, outliving both its source and its object. Love is faster than light; for light requires time in order to travel through space, but love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever; into infinity. And its here binding together two lives. (gets the ring) Symbolic of eternity and rendered in a beautiful element.

Amita Ramanujam, do you take Charles Edward Epps to be your husband.
Amita: Yes, I Do.

Charles Edward Epps, do you take Amita Ramanjuam to be your wife.
Charlie: I Do.

I pronounce you Husband and Wife.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tamizh Padam, a Review

Airplane, Top Secret, Hot Shots, Scary Movie,... the list goes on for hollywood. Unfortunately, for tamil movie goers, the list was not even created. Enter C.S Amudhan and Dhyanithi Alagiri. And Tamizh Padam was made. It is the first of its kind movie, a solid hard core spoof movie for the tamil film world. And did they make it well or did they make it well? !!!

Shiva (Chennai 600028, Saroja) was probably the best choice for the role, and he executed perfectly to the T. The spoofs caught everyone and everything that was part of mainstream commercial cinema. Everything from the 80s to the yesterday movie is not spared. From the glamour song (item song) lyrics starting with "i am a homely girl"... to punch dialogues by a just born baby, You name it, its there. And every actor in the field from Rajni, Kamal to Vijay, Surya are poked fun at, or rather their dialogues and movies; in a non-hurting way. And the spoof has been carefully planned and executed to involve a storyline for the actual movie to plough through. But, you don't need a perfect storyline to laugh your heart out. And that, this movie has lots. There are lots of humourous moments, but there are few stomach wrenching laughter scenes. The movie itself is worth watching in a theatre. A highly recommended theatre-watcher.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting a replacement BSNL Postpaid SIM card

As it happens, my father in law lost his Nokia E61 mobile near Elnet. Even though it is supposedly a "decent people" zone, the phone was promptly switched OFF (the best part was the idiot picked up the phone call and then hung up) and it "vanished" into thin air. Since we hadnt noted down the IMEI number, we safely assumed that the phone has technically become the genie of another "self loathing" owner.

It was around 7PM when the mobile went jay walking. Since the SIM had ISD activated, we wanted to disable it as soon as possible, lest the new phone owner may intelligently find out its facility and decide to start his bidding live on the tri-series in Dhaka.

Now, it so happens that BSNL does have an easy and genuine way to disable a lost SIM card.

Call 94440 24365

Take a keen note of the 2nd half of the number. You may miss it (alrite, its obvious). It is supposed to mean "Available 24 hours 365 days". For us, the call connected immediately.

The person wanted the following details
1. Mobile number (obviously).
2. Mobile owner (under whose name it is registered)
3. Address to which it is linked (where the mobile bill goes)
4. The number to which the last outgoing call was made ( you better remember the numbers)
5. Either the second last outgoing call or any number in the last 5 outgoing calls.
6. Then, he asked us to hold on..

7. 5 minutes later,..... still holding on. During this time, an automated female voice angered us incessantly to buy 3G technology.
8. Then, he came back ON (thank all the comets), told us that outgoing is barred, but incoming will be active for another 24 hours after which that too will be barred.
9. And that was when we reached our destination to eat Bhai Kadai special - mutton briyani and bread halwa.

And so, the next day, I went to Perungudi exchange (the nearest to me) to apply for a replacement SIM. They said that all SIM replacement work is handled in Adyar customer care only. Also, the lady in CC told me that I need to have address proof (of where the mobile is linked with) and a Photo ID of me, along with a passport photo. The concept of multiple proofing is one of the biggest drab infecting our system. If only we had a single ID (like the american SSN) which can be used for anything and everything (I do hope our Nandan Nilakeni brings it out sooner).

Coming to the case in point, armed with all the required "proofs" that I am not linked with any red-flagged groups of the world, I approached the CC. After verifying all the documents, the CC officer signed the form (which I had filled there), then he stopped. He said "This SIM was no ordinary SIM. It had magical powers. This cannot be handled here. You need to have Aladdin's magic lamp....". Well, he actually said "This SIM has international roaming facilities enabled. So, this is handled only in R.K. Nagar exchange (mandaveli)". Fortunately, this time I did not have to carry any more documents. Only those that I was already carrying and the form which I had recently filled (and signed by the CC officer in Adyar).. So, off I went. At this point, I remembered a vivek comedy where he was going to an interview, he faced so many "take diversions" on the road that he ended up exactly on the opposite side of the city from where he wanted to go. I felt like an idiot.

Then again, I needed the SIM, and so I went to Mandaveli exchange. There, they checked the form, checked the xerox copies of proofs I gave, took the "special" SIM, and handed it over to me. Thats all. End of Journey. Done. I asked about the charges; for which the CC officer said it will come in the bill itself.

I came out of the CC office feeling a bit lost. After all this, it took about 1 minute to get the SIM back. But, the point is I GOT THE REPLACEMENT SIM.

And so folks, this is how you get your international roaming enabled, GPRS enabled, ISD activated postpaid BSNL SIM card. For other normal SIMs, Adyar exchange itself handles it. Or so, it seems. You won't know until you actually try out.