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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My [not so] new Rig

My new Rig -

Assembled a new rig for myself this February. Had been using the old one since 2004. Although I kept adding a hardware or two here and there, though still in perfect working condition, it had begun to show its age around a couple of years back itself.

So I finally decided to assemble a new one, convincing my folks that a new computer would work wonders to my otherwise indifferent academic performance Winking smile. Though no way did they buy that argument, they permitted me to go ahead with my purchase Smile.

After much procrastination, that carried on through the entire seventh semester [after having received permission from my folks even before the 7th Sem began :D], I finally got down to selecting the hardware in December of 2009, and by mid-January 2010 had ascertained fairly well, what hardware I was going to build my Computer with.

I had also set myself a strict budgetary restriction of Rs.50,000 INR [around $1090 USD] – under no circumstances was my rig going to cost more than that. With this constraint in view, I set about building the rig, ably advised by the wonderful people at the ThinkDigit Forum.

The current configuration of my Rig is as follows:





Athlon II X4 620 (2.6GHz)

Rs. 4850 INR
[$105 USD approx]


Asus M4A785TD-V EVO

Rs. 6500 INR
[$141 USD approx]


ATI Radeon™ HD 5750 chipset - based Sapphire Graphics Card [1 GB DDR5]

Rs. 8650 INR
[$189 USD approx]


VS2GB1333D3G (2 * 2 GB)

Rs. 5800 total
[$126 USD approx]


1.5 TB Western Digital SATA Caviar Green

Rs. 5900 INR
[$128 USD approx]


Samsung 2233SW

Rs. 8900 INR
[$193 USD approx]


Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000

Rs. 1000 INR
[$21 USD approx]


iBall Laser Precise Speedster - Mini

Rs. 500 INR
[$10 USD approx]

Optical Drive/Burner

LG GH22NP20 DVD writer [SATA]

Rs. 1050 INR
[$22 USD]


Cooler Master Elite 330

Rs. 2450 INR
[$53 USD approx]


Gigabyte Superb 460W

Rs. 2350 INR
[$51 USD approx]

Bluetooth Dongle

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs 75 INR
[$1.6 USD approx]

DVI Cable

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs. 300 INR
[$6.52 USD approx]

DKE-2 cable

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs. 100 INR
[$2.1 USD approx]

Exchange rate [assumption]: $1 USD = Rs. 46 INR

I also scavenged some Hardware from the old computer, thereby saving me some moolah that I used to buy the other hardware whose cost would otherwise have pushed my budget above the Rs. 50,000 – a BIG No No!.





Altec Lansing ATP3



Altec Lansing AHS502i



APC Back-UPS ES 500


The total amount came to Rs. 48425 INR [$1052 USD approximately], well within my allotted budget, much to my folks surprise, if I may add Smile.

Assembling a computer after a gap of nearly 3-odd years, I was a little nervous at the beginning, but then preparing myself by reading the manuals and keeping them at the side while I assembled the rig did the trick – assembled it without issues the first time itself.

Haven’t run any benchmark tests yet, but working with CATIA, while there is a video encoding taking place in the background along with optical disk burning and a small analysis being carried out using Ansys, not to mention music playing, did not quite bother the computer one bit, as I was easily able to do my work in CATIA with no hanging or time lag occurring. Was working with a simple assembly and the analysis too was pretty basic – haven’t tried any complex stuff yet.

Using Windows 7 Ultimate Edition [x86] as my primary OS [meaning only 2 GB of my RAM is being currently detected by the OS] and have left around 300 GB of HDD space un-partitioned for other OSes.

Warning/Note: The Asus Motherboard manual mentions Kingston’s KVR1333D3N9 2G in its list of recommended RAM sticks. Reading this I had first purchased that RAM as it also cost less. However, right from the moment I booted my computer for the first time, I started facing problems that varied from the computer hanging up suddenly to the computer getting restarted automatically. Finally after I went to my vendor, he suggested that I change the RAM and take the Corsair RAMs instead, which incidentally does not happen to be in the Asus’s list of recommended RAMs for the motherboard.

Some of the more pictures of the rig.

My new Rig -

My new Rig -

My new Rig -

My new Rig [GPU] -

Uploaded these and the rest of the pictures, including that of my old computer, on Picasa Web – Rig Pics.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Warbird in Pune: MiG-23MF Flogger Aircraft [aka Vijay]

Update: More pictures in the MiG-23 have been posted - Warbird in Pune: MiG-23 MF Flogger Aircraft [Updated]

I first saw the aircraft one evening a couple of years back when I was returning home from college after an exam. It had just been brought at the location and Air Force personals were in the process of placing the aircraft in its current resting place. The sight of this huge, majestic bird sitting on a trailer in the middle of the road was a sight to behold and even as I was driving, I could barely take my eyes off the beauty – much to the distress of my folks when I told them about it [for reasons I’m still trying to figure out].

Travelling by that road, passing by the aircraft each day on way to College and back, became a much looked forward to activity for the day. Even after the much shorter route to the College was re-opened for public conveyance, what with its flyovers and concretized roads, I would often take a detour just to have a glimpse of the aircraft perched on top of its platform, proudly looking over the road – it owns that stretch of the road it is visible from.

From that day onwards, one additional ritual that I started on exam days was to take a detour to pass by the aircraft on way to the College [the other one is to stop or slow down while passing by the Shiva Temple at the Unit Line Peer Baba]. I could swear that, blessed by the Soviet Engineers who built this Engineering marvel as I passed by it, my performance in the exams slightly changed for the better Smile.

In fact, my route to College took me past yet another Warbird – the English Electric Canberra, which is placed within the campus of the AISSMS College of Engineering.

Today, after procrastinating for nearly 6 months, I finally bought a data cable cable to connect Mom’s 6300 with the computer. I had taken these pictures many moons ago [timeline of my activities can often stretch inordinately long, much beyond the expectations of most people].

It is a MiG-23MF that was configured for Air Defence operations. The aircraft has been placed in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Garden situated on the Mumbai-Pune highway around 2 kms from the College of Engineering, Pune with a Shoppers Stop in between.

Click on the Thumbnails to view larger sized photographs

Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune

Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune  

Will post some more photos & a video clip of the aircraft, including one that shows its tails number [SK 423] clearly, in some time – got to hunt for the memory card its stored in.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Resume YouTube video download after a computer shutdown or restart

Disclaimer/Warning: Downloading videos from YouTube may not be the most legal thing you could do on the InterWeb.

If you are using Free Download Manager [FDM] to download YouTube videos, then resuming downloading of the video may not be possible after you have shut down or restarted the computer.

Before shutting down [or re-starting] the computer, you may have first stopped the video download in FDM mid-way and then proceeded with the computer shutdown. On restarting the computer when you try to resume downloading of the video from YouTube, you find that download is no longer possible.

Downloading long videos from YouTube especially becomes a problem if you are unable to resume the download and have a slow Internet connection.

Solution: Instead of first stopping the video download before shutting down, let FDM continue downloading the video even as you shut down the computer. The next time you boot the computer and launch FDM, the YouTube video that was being downloaded will automatically resume its download from where it had left off.


Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible [weekend YouTube viewing]

But it was not an American was a Russian one

The world’s first production aircraft incorporating radar stealth characteristics, the F-117 Nighthawk was produced by the Americans. Yet the genesis of this US aircraft and [to a lesser extent] subsequent aircrafts possessing radar stealth can be traced back to the work done by a Soviet Scientist, Petr Ufimtsev.

When he first put forth the equations that would enable one to generate profiles for deflecting radar waves away from the receiver, the resulting surface profile so obtained lead Soviet Aircraft designers to conclude that an aircraft having such a surface would be incapable of flight. Yet, the Americans, who had been struggling to come up with their own stealth aircraft, made use of Ufimtsev’s work and finally succeeded in building the Nighthawk.

An interesting documentary report, Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible tells the story of how the Americans built their first stealth aircraft with the work done by a Soviet scientist to maintain/establish their supremacy over the Soviets themselves.

Language: Russian, with English subtitles

Duration: 10 mins 44 secs

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 02 [Duration: 10 mins 44 secs]

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 03 [Duration: 1 min 50 secs]

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 04 [Duration: 10 mins 44 secs]

Report gives one a feeling it was made by someone who yearned for the Soviet days, when, undoubtedly funding for Science, especially that which could have military applications, was virtually unfettered & a feeling of condescension for the Americans too is apparent – not surprising I’d say.


Understanding Nuclear Energy and Technology [suggested weekend reading]

Generation of energy through the Nuclear route – either fission or [in future] fusion, is a much misunderstood & unjustifiably feared concept amongst most individuals. A reason for such irrational aversion for Nuclear energy could be due to improper understanding of the principles & processes involved in the generation of Nuclear energy, brought about by inaccurate information from sources best not referred to.

Yet, the tangible benefits obtained from harnessing Nuclear energy & inherent advantages of energy generation the Nuclear way, makes it imperative that people are made aware of the facts & imparted with the right information about Nuclear energy, dispelling their fear based on incorrect information received thus far. Generating awareness & dispelling myth about Nuclear energy is especially important in India, considering that Nuclear Power plants are going to be set up in India in a big way, in the coming decades, to help meet energy requirements, a fact made possible due to the waiver received from the NSG, the Hyde Act & the 123 Agreement [PDF] signed between India & the United States of America in 2008.

Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90sThe book The Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90s attempts to do just that. Using easy to assimilate, simple language, the author, Professor Bernard Leonard Cohen, explains, in sufficient details, the concepts of Nuclear energy generation and the various aspects related to it, like the actual danger posed by Nuclear radiation, cost of electricity generated the Nuclear way etc. Dispelling with the use of Mathematical equations or avoidable technical terminologies, yet putting forth the correct information, this is a book one must read to become more aware and gain better understanding of Nuclear Energy.

The complete book has also been made available to reading for free by the author himself in the HTML format - The Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90s.

The Virtual Nuclear Tourist !  Nuclear Power Plants Around the World is another site that is a venerable source of information about Nuclear Reactors and plants around the world. It also has an exhaustive collection of URLs to other related site of interest & collection of related photos. This informative site is a result of the efforts of 1 man. I wish, though, that he had provided for a better navigation through his site – a small yet significant inconvenience.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Write a Research Paper within seconds [and present it at Science Conferences]

No kidding! You can actually author a “Scientific Research paper” within seconds that could very well get accepted for presentation at a Science Conference of considerable repute [or disrepute as things would stand after things come out in the open].

The guys at M.I.T. have coded a program named SCIgen that will do just that – all you got to do is enter the names of the people who are supposed to have “authored the paper” & viola!! an impressive-looking Computer Science Research Paper, complete with graphs, diagrams & an array of references, is churned out in seconds.

“SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.”

As admitted by them, these papers [if at all one would like to call them that] are, in fact, complete gibberish making absolutely no sense.

In spite of this, stuff churned out by SCIgen have regularly been accepted for presentation at various conferences, including one sponsored by the IEEE.

Here is my 8-page paper, Knowledge-Based Methodologies for Hash Tables, co-authored by me a few minutes back ;).

Knowledge-Based Methodologies for Hash Tables

I wonder if any of my friends in College, who had studied Computer Engineering, had submitted a SCIgen-generated paper as part of their 6th Semester Curriculum – wouldn’t be surprised if they did & got away with it :).


SCIgen on Wikipedia

SCIgen Blog - The birth of SCIgen


Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action [suggested YouTube viewing]

I recently received this very old & rare documentary about Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, without doubt, one of the finest Indian Scientists of International repute. As would be evident in the documentary, it was sanctioned by the Govt-run Doordarshan not so long after his untimely death in a plane crash – so brace yourself for some un-Discovery Channel-type narrations & reporting.

Had to split it into 3 parts in compliance with YouTube’s 10 min limit.

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action Part 02

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action Part 03

It is quite unfortunate that India, in spite of being home to some the most brilliant Scientists and Technologists, makes virtually no effort to highlight their works or accomplishment & make the common Indian aware of the greatness of their work and achievement – Prof Dr. CNR Rao immediately comes to mind; a person for whom the much-deserved Nobel, for his pioneering work done right here in India, remains elusive till today.

Indian film-maker would rather rip-off some Hollywood movie and turn it into Hindi instead of making an inspirational yet equally entertaining movie about some of our Scientists & technological achievements, a genre that Hollywood biggies do not shy away from working on & have made some amazing movies.

Growing up on a staple diet of uber-slick, fast-paced documentaries shown on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel, one may, initially, be a tempted to stop mid-way. Nevertheless watch the full report – it will grow on you as it progresses – amazing stuff.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Suggested reading for the weekend 2010.06.19

A few days back I stumbled upon this interesting set of reading material that could serve as a good starting point for anybody interesting in understanding Defence Technology or just Technology, in general.

Popular Science & Technology Series

Having been published during the late 80s-mid-90s period, the information provided is dated. Nevertheless, the simple and lucid language used to explain concepts & technology in these booklets would serve as an ideal primer for further, more contemporary reading.

In fact, going through these booklets, I could not help but feel that books such as these could be incorporated into the curriculum of students studying in Class 9 and 10 [possibly even 11 & 12] as added reading recommendations. Studying the principles of Science in the regular textbooks, a student, while going thorough these books would be able to relate those principles in real-world applications, esp., defence applications, thereby generating evoking greater interest for the Science in the student.

The current issue of Sadhana carries an interesting paper detailing the Hydraulic design of India’s prototype Fast Breeder Reactor. Of special interest are Fast Breeder Reactors to India, especially the third stage of the fuel generation cycle as it envisages conversion of Thorium, of which India has the second largest reserves in the world, into an unstable energy-liberating fissile material, thereby ensuring self-sufficiency of energy reserves.

Overview of pool hydraulic design of Indian prototype fast breeder reactor (PDF 2.72 MB)

Happy reading


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disable comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot] - Update

It appears that either the Google guys introduced this feature on a date after I posted about it [possibly after reading about it on my blog :D] or I was just so plain careless that I did not notice it.

Any which way, as I found out there is indeed a feature in Blogger to selectively disable comments in specific posts as and when needed. It resides just underneath Blogger’s online Blog editor.

Enable/Disable Comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot]

No need to do anything I’d said last time. Wish that some kind soul create an add-on for Live Writer so that it may be done from within it.

P.S: Returned back to find that Blogger has messed with my Blog template. List of missing customizations:

  • Social Bookmarking widget missing
  • LinkWithin widget missing
  • Read more option missing (Blogger’s new Page break too not working with my template)

Work needs to be done.