Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Yesterday, while browsing through the Internet, which I do a fair amount of, I was struck by this realization. Our Internet experience would have been so much poorer & exceedingly dreary & tedious without the invaluable service provided by the Google search engine. Its bots, crawling through the near-infinite maze of web pages on the Internet, indexing them, categorizing them & then, making just the relevant pages available to the user in the form of search results, when the user keys in a particular search string. Such ease & convenience in accessing information has, thus, made it possible for a much greater number of people to gain the knowledge & information they seek, without having to encounter brick-walls in the form of protocol, hierarchy, red-tapism, or even prior knowledge in the field in which the information is sought, at each step of the way, as is the prevalent practice in the traditional stream of knowledge dissemination.
It is indeed true that the Internet, itself, has made possible for dissemination & acquisition of knowledge in a manner & scale far greater than traditional means introduced earlier. However, without the help of a search engine to bring it all together, & inform us that various portions of information we seek are actually available at different locations, our search on the Internet would be akin to groping our way through the dark, in the hope of getting lucky. It would have lead to the Internet being a network of disparately located islands of information, virtually isolated from one another. A person, who is aware that information about a topic is available at a given location [web site], may not also have known that additional information could also be accessed at another website, without the help of a search engine to point that out, as would be the case today. Data ghettos we would end up with, as opposed to the ocean of information that the Internet is today.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
MiG-29 aircraft [MiG-29UPG] of Indian Air Force [IAF] to fire Russian Kh-35U Anti-Ship missile [Photograph]
The photograph, above, shows an Indian Air Force MiG-29 aircraft, currently in Russia to receive a Mid-life upgrade, loaded with a Kh-35U Subsonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missile . The entire fleet of these Russian-origin aircrafts are to receive a Mid-life/Life-extension upgrade. Following the upgrade, these aircraft are to be identified by the nomenclature UPG as suffix, i.e., MiG-29UPG. Capability to launch the Kh-35 missiles are being incorporated into the MiG-29 aircraft as part of the upgrade package decided upon.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I have been using my new handset since the past week - a Sony Ericsson Xperia Active [also sold by the name ST17i]. Filled with glee, owning my first handset running Google's Android Operating system :-) . While it came with Gingerbread installed out-of-the-box, a notification to install Ice Cream Sandwich has already been sent across. Being my first handset running the Android, still getting to know my way around the O.S's environment. Getting a hang of things, however, wasn't really any issue. The interface is so wonderfully intuitive that I was able to get going with the phone even without having to take a look at the user guide.
Intend to explore the handset a bit, initially, in its factory default configuration. Once I develop a fair amount of comfort with the device, will jump right into the game, rooting1 it & a Cyanogenmod install, if available. Have already installed MoboPlayer & a Notepad app from the Android Marketplace.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Computer Science, or rather 'Computer Engineering', is quite a buzzword in India. Every Engineering College that has started in India in the past two decades or so, has invariably had Computer Engineering as one of its first course offerings.
This phenomena is not hard to figure out, though. Ever since the "IT-boom" India witnessed, first gaining widespread public attention in the 90s, an inordinately large number of students, those about to take up undergraduate studies, have been influenced by the promises & challenges of this sector. As a result, wanting to reap the benefits of the opportunities offered by this sector & enjoy a lucrative, high-paying professional career [compared to the other sectors in India], one has seen students rush to apply for the course in far greater numbers than other branches of Engineering1.
Such rush is not without complete justification, either. Nearly every major company in the field of Computer & Information Technology has a sizable presence in India, & expanding their operations here. The nature of work done at these centers, too, is said to be rising higher up the value chain. Thus, in order to cater to the increasing demands of qualified professionals required in these industries, newer educational institutes. as well as the older, established ones, therefore, ensure they have a Computer Science department in their portfolio.
However, as with anything else, with a quantitative surge, one tends to witness a qualitative dip. This is no different for these educational institutions either. The variance, quite often vast, in the quality of education imparted in each institutions & the the infrastructure they posses, calls for a need to put them in perspective, assigning rank, in order to visualize a clearer picture of the situation.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Budding photographers, perhaps even those who've bloomed, especially those interested in wildlife photography should find this bit of news very helpful. German wildlife photographer, Uwe Skrzypczak is giving away as a free download, a copy of his book, 'Wildlife photography: On Safari with Your DSLR: Equipment, Techniques, Workflow'.
I just finished downloading his e-book. I was actually hoping it would have lots of high-resolution photos of the wild [National Geographic-like], which was what primarily piqued my interest in the download. With my eye still nearly wholly shut, what with the spurious coffee I'm drinking, which I'm quite sure is just mud water, I missed reading the description of the book. This, as it turns out, was not so bad a thing to have happened, & not just because it is a free download. Quickly going through his book, I realised that the author has put in genuine efforts in writing it.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Each year, India plays host to the Singapore Army & their Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force [RSAF], as they arrive in India, to carry out their annual military training exercise. This unique arrangement, agreed upon by the two countries, arises from the fact that Singapore itself has insufficient land mass or airspace to undertake such exercise, required to hone & sharpen skills, on its own soil. Their Air Force bases itself in Indian Air Force's Kalaikunda Air Force Station in the state of West Bengal, while the Army has been conducting their war games in the ranges of Babina [Uttar Pradesh] & Deolali [Maharashtra].
This, naturally, should work to the mutual advantage of both nations involved. The Indian Air Force [IAF], I presume, benefits a shade more than the other branches of the Indian Armed Forces, from this annual engagement. This is because, Singapore's Air Force fly, now Lockheed Martin's, F-16 multi-role combat aircraft [Block 52 (C&D variants) & also an advanced variant of the Block 52 (Block 52+)]. The same aircraft, albeit, flying mostly older variants, form the spearhead of Pakistan Air Force's [PAF] fighter fleet. Thus, for the Indian Air Force, this yearly engagement with the Fighting Falcons must be helping it gain a great deal of understanding of the aircraft's flying characteristics, learning of its Achilles Heels that could be exploited. This, thereafter, could help IAF fine tune it tactics, needed to neutralise the bandits, in event of any future confrontation [someone had, sardonically, perhaps more appropriately, referred to the PAF as bandicoots].
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Heard this song a couple of weeks back. Virtually captivated, since then, by the sublime & mellifluous feeling that seems to descend in the room each time I play the song. As the song, titled Ganga, played, I sensed being transported away from the hustle & bustle of a grindcore-sque life, even if for the brief moment, while the song is played. 'Nuff said. Listen.
Despite not knowing the language [Punjabi] in which the song is sung, had no difficulty at all feeling for myself the pathos being conveyed. The song, as stated in the video, is from Rabbi Shergill's forthcoming album, whose previous albums, too, had an awesome list of soundtracks. Eagerly awaiting the release.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
India, with its socialist form of democracy had always enjoyed a warm & cordial relationship with the erstwhile U.S.S.R. [its legitimate successor being present day Russia] since the early days of Indian democracy.
Significant military co-operation between India & the Soviet Union, however, only began post India's debacle against China in 1962, following which it undertook a significantly large modernization & expansion program of its Armed Forces. Looking for suitable supplier of military hardware to arm its expanded Armed Forces, India approached many countries, among them the U.S.S.R. Thus, the PT-76 light tank became one of the first major Russian [Soviet] hardware to be inducted into the Indian Armed Forces. Since then, Russian military hardware has, for all practical purposes, become synonymous with the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces. Not surprisingly the Soviets/Russians are the largest supplier of defence equipment to India, by a huge margin over the second largest supplier. This statement of fact is unlikely to change for a long time to come. With time, this generally mutually beneficial relationship based, primarily around trade of defence equipment & other strategic systems has only grown stronger and deeper.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
IBM is giving away for free, copies of Cloud for Dummies, a book sanctioned/sponsored/written/whatever-ed by it. You can either ask for a hard copy, which will probably take time to arrive if at all, or you can choose the e-book option and download the 75-odd page book instantly. I preferred the latter, the tree hugger that I am [not, nevertheless].
A quick look through the book evoked a fair bit of interest. It is, as the front page indicates, targeted towards mid-sized enterprises who could leverage the benefits of Cloud-based services & storage for their benefit.
A cloud service that I find immensely useful would be Dropbox. Complete integration with Windows Explorer means I can upload to the cloud by simply copy-pasting within the windows environment itself.
I even tried syncing content between two [or more] Dropbox accounts. It worked perfectly, though I don't use it in this configuration.
You could sign up for Dropbox using this link [referral]. You sign up for an awesome service, while I get some 256 MB of free additional space.
To order your copy of Cloud for Dummies, you need to enter your details here. Fill it up with garbage data, if you are choosing the e-book option.
Monday, September 05, 2011
News that Russia's prototype fifth generation fighter aircraft the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA would make flying demonstrations at Russia's biennial MAKS airshow, the MAKS 2011, made the airshow all that much more worth looking forward to. Needless to say, lots of pictures of the aircraft performing at the airshow are now available online.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Mainstream Media [MSM] in India has, as of 27th August 2011, been on a spree of unrelenting, unceasing coverage of a fast undertaken by a gentleman named Anna Hazare. For the past 12-odd days, beamed through the airways into our living rooms is a macabre spectacle of a septuagenarian man killing himself slowly via a self-imposed starvation, egged on by a cheering crowd of ~15000 [generous] around him. Doctors, who have taken an oath to ensure their patient's good health & well-being, look-on without acting against it, even as his health deteriorates.
Television viewer in India has been trippin' on this heady concoction of death-threats, rage, blackmailing, infused with the hyperbole-induced melodramatic narration by television news reporters, anchors & ably assisted by "experts" invited by the channels. However, in midst of this melee, one crucial, & potentially damaging bit of news has found absolutely no coverage at all in any form of media.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
On the 6th of August 1947, on the brink of India's independence & the creation of Pakistan, a party was held to bid a warm farewell to those officers who had chosen to be part of the soon-to-be created Pakistan. Major General K.M. Cariappa, who would later rise up to become the first native Chief of Army Staff of India [subsequently promoted to Field Marshal] delivered a touching speech on that occasion, in which he said,
Friday, August 19, 2011
I read, & then I read some more. While a fair bit of what I read are good while I read it & no more, there are others I find more interesting, possibly useful & would want to be able to access it again at a later date. Naturally, a copy of such a reference material, I archive on my HDD. However, accessing that file, based on the content [text] inside the document is cumbersome. Some software like Google Desktop search need to be installed to make it possible.
However, the desire to be able to access the information from anywhere lead to me create 6 other blogs, where I tag those news items along with their respective URL, anchored around the title, for future reference - jotting.aame.in, news.aame.in, sena.aame.in, f35.aame.in, mrca.aame.in, j20.aame.in. My own personal bookmarking service
However, a major drawback in this method of online archiving is that I need to manually add a title & URL to each news item. I also have to write a brief description of the URL's content, for me to be able to use the search feature in the Blogger's Navbar to search at a later date. Needless to say, with an average of 110 news items awaiting me in the inbox each morning, this method of online archiving wasn't quite working out as I had envisaged & I was posting infrequently there.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Came across this picture of the launch of satellites using India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV]. While varied launch photographs of PSLV & Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle [GSLV] themselves are quite readily available on the Internet, this particular photograph caught my attention.
This photograph seems to be taken during that phase of the flight sequence when the PSLV's countdown has just about entered the positive counting [looking at the propagation of the flame front underneath the vehicle] & its umbilical cords are still attached to the Launch Vehicle [T+milliseconds]. To be more broad-based and, thus, correct, the photograph here depicts the flight sequence of the PSLV between T-1 to T+milliseconds in the countdown. The photograph has been taken from an elevation almost as high as that of Launch Vehicle itself - not many such pictures of Indian Satellite launches I've seen. Most pictures available are that of after visible lift-off.
Tuning into Doordarshan every week to catch the latest episode of Turning Point would be the high point of TV watching during the days of single-channel Television. Turning Point was a weekly bulletin that showcased important Science & Technology developments taking place in India. While the host of the program changed over time, one section of the program remained unchanged through the entire duration the program was telecast. Towards the end of the show, Professor Yashpal would pick up a post card and read out a Science-related query sent to him by a viewer. Then in his own imitable manner, he would go on to explain the associated scientific phenomena and answer the question in a manner that was understood by all. Such joy watching Turning Point was - simple, yet informative & engaging.
On page 10 is the story of Professor Yash Pal's surname, or the lack of it :)
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
On the 3rd of August 2011, the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG invited journalists for a visit to their plant in
Lukhovitsy near Moscow. The following are some of the pictures taken during the visit.
RAC MiG has been contracted to supply the Indian Navy with 45 MiG-29 variants fighters. Of these, 8 of them would be in the twin-seater trainer configuration [MiG-29KUB], while the remaining 37 would be the conventional single-seater version [MiG-29K]. 11 aircrafts are currently operational with the Indian Navy.
The entire fleet of MiG-29 aircrafts operated by the Indian Air Force [IAF] too has been scheduled to undergo a Mid-Life Upgrade [MLU]. 6 of the aircraft would be upgraded in this plant seen below, while the rest would be carried out by Indian Aerospace company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL]. One significant development to be featured in the upgraded aircraft is the transition from performing Hard Time-based Maintenance of the aircraft to On-Condition Maintenance, thereby optimizing usage of systems & bringing about cost advantage to IAF's operations. Once upgraded, these Indian Air Force fighters would then be designated with the suffix UPG - MiG-29UPG [single-seater variant], MiG-29UB UPG [twin-seater variant] - the twin seater's designation, though, is often written as MiG-29UPG UB also - will update upon finding the correct one.
The following pictures show the Indian Navy's & Indian Air Force's contracts being executed at the MiG plant.
Monday, August 08, 2011
While using the Internet it has often occurred to me that, on occasions, there are certain information that I choose how to access when required rather than actually remembering the information itself. For example, the other day, while Googling something, I came across an article. While it was interesting, I did not want to read it at that moment nor did I bother to remember the URL or tag it using Read it Later. Though I've yet to read the article, but almost a week later I still know how to access it:
- Google the keyword that originally brought up the result
- Go to the third page of the result
- Click on the relevant URLs on that page
- In the page that opens up, is the URL to the article I was interested in reading later
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Professor Dr. Daulat Singh Kothari was, arguably, one the most prominent individuals who played a critical role in setting up the infrastructures required for carrying out defence research & development in India. It was under his leadership that India set up the Defence Science Organisation [DSO], the precursor to the Defence Research & Development Organisation [DRDO]. The DRDO was later created by consolidating the various other defence labs being run under the jurisdiction of other administrative bodies. Thus, quite rightly, he is called the Architect of Defence Science in India.
The talk he had given as the then Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister of India holds true & has become even more relevant in this day and age we live in,
Science and warfare have always profoundly influenced each other. This has grown with the growth of science itself and now modern warfare is completely dependent on applied science (-war has been described as applied science-1 and methods of precision mass manufacture which originated in the last few decades........
....In any country the standard and efficiency of weapons and equipment of its fighting services is, in the ultimate analysis, largely, if not entirely, determined by the technological and industrial potential of the country. Any marked disparity between them is neither possible, nor, if artificially sustained, can it survive for long.
Not only was he a well-regarded Scientists, but also his knowledge about religion and spirituality evoked great admiration & respect - a truly well-rounded, multi-faceted personality he was. His dedication to his work & persona has left a lasting impact on those who came in touch with him.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
While it was possible to erase the highlight using the Eraser tool available in even the most basic photo-editing software, it would've made the task very tedious & time-consuming due to small space available to move the eraser around between two line of text. Moreover, there was always the risk of accidentally erasing a portion of the text in the picture, thereby rendering the picture useless for my needs.
Friday, August 05, 2011
with all credit & due apologies to Peter Landesman for lifting & then twisting the title of one of his articles
While going through the stack of news in the inbox
today yesterday morning, I came across an article, written by a Brazilian. The article called for getting Brazil's defence programs & industry up & going by hiring from among the number of highly trained American Scientists & Engineers.
Brazil will never find another opportunity like the one that is available today with NASA laying off thousands of highly qualified scientists and engineers who are specialized in the aerospace area and are ready to go to work immediately on these projects.
This kind of endeavor brings many benefits to the Brazilian economy such as high paying jobs, innovation, new technologies, and also shows that Brazil is serious about becoming one of the leading nations in the 21st century.
The fast development of a state-of-the-art defense and aerospace industry in Brazil has become a priority for Brazil to go up to the next level and become one of the leading nations in the 21st century.
With the recent closure of America's Space Shuttle program, a large number of them are expected to lose their employment. Thus, their experience & knowledge would be an invaluable addition to any Science & Technology program they choose to associate themselves with.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
America's Space Shuttle: 135 flights, 1 page [& India's own Shuttle program thrown in for good measure]
Friday, July 29, 2011
June 8 has been recognised as the World IPv6 day. The recognition of the significance of the day, though, is mostly restricted to individuals involved in the running & upkeep of the network & enterprises who depend on the Internet - cloud computing, web hosts, online services & their kind. Basically people working behind the scenes to ensure you experience an uninterrupted & uninterruptible Internet connection.
However, the continued growth & evolution of the Internet depends upon a successful, & desirably smooth, migration & adoption of the IPv6 standard. With each passing day, the footprint of our online activities & number of devices we use to go online are only increasing. The use [&, often, abuse] of the internet is steadily creeping into increasing aspects of our lives & our dependence on the Internet to get work done too is on a steady ascent. Thus, knowing about IPv6 [Internet Protocol version 6], even if a little bit, is
critical for the continuation of our way of life useful.
A simple, easy-to-understand explanation of the IPv6 & its use has been illustrated in this infographic.
Click on the image to view a larger-sized image
An infographic explaining the need to migrate to IPv6
Click on the image to view a larger-sized image
IPv4 is being succeeded by IPv6...err, poor counting skills? what-evah happened to the IPv5?
Currently following the IPv4 standard, it would be logical to assume the one succeeding it would thus be termed IPv5. However, as we now know, it is IPv6 that is all set to take its place. No, it does not have anything to do with IPv5 being numerologically inauspicious or some such other mind-whacking, gobbledygook explanation.
The reason for this is because [not-so] long years ago, when we made a tryst with Internet, we had to formulate effective set of rules [protocols] for communicating with & over the Internet. Thus, as part of specifying such a set of rules, the Internet Stream Protocol was proposed. It was generally identified as ST. A later iteration of the protocol, ST-2 was also identified as Internet Protocol version 5, that shortens to IPv5.
As a result, when time came to name the successor to IPv4, in order to avoid confusion with ST-2 that was an unrelated protocol, the good folks at the Internet Engineering Task Force [IETF] decided to name theirs IPv6.
How is IPv6 important to the end-user [you, me, your neighbor's hawwwtt wife-kind of people] & what if the transition does not take place?
Transition has to take place & will take place. Continuing with IPv4 is not an option, unless growth of the Internet is to be capped - an impossibility, or some way is found to scale it up to match that of IPv6 without hampering its performance. However, no such method is currently available. Questions whose answers, however, are being debated is the manner in which the migration process is to be undertaken.
image via: IPv6 with Henry Yu
Yet for the sake of argument, let us consider a hypothetical scenario where no such transition is to take place & people are to continue with the IPv4 standard currently in effect. As indicated in the infographic above, any 2 internet-enabled devices, in order to be able to communicate with one another, must have an IP address assigned to it, for identification, during that session of communication.
With the number of possible IP addresses that can be generated under IPv4 reaching its limits, a situation would arise in the not so distant future when a device that wishes to connect to the Internet finds that its ISP does not have any IP address left to allocate to it [dynamically assigned IP addresses, a practise itself borne out of the need to make effective use of IP addresses & avoid surplus capacity]. Thus with no IP address available, the device would therefore be unable to log on to the Internet - BUMMER!! Workarounds deployed even now to prolong use of IPv4 are known to render number of Internet services unusable.
4,29,49,67,296 [~4.3 billion] IP addresses can be generated (232) following in the IPv4 standard & they have been estimated to be used up by within a year from now.
IPv6, on the other hand, can generate 3,40,28,23,66,92,09,38,46,33,74,60,74,31,76,82,11,456 unique IP addresses 2128 [~340 trillion trillion trillion or 340 Undecillion - a number so large, even Microsoft can't comprehend it - Live Writer marks Undecillion as a typo] - enough for handling the estimated increase in Internet usage.
Related: IPv4 address exhaustion
Cool. So lets all jump into the IPv6 bandwagon then. What's the problem?
The simplest & the most important reason - *cost*. Enterprises migrating to the IPv6 standard would have to undertake acquisition & setting up a whole new set of software platform & network hardware infrastructure, including DNS servers, capable of handling Internet traffic through IPv6. The cost of such an undertaking would quite easily run upwards of multi-millions of American dollars [not Zimbabwean], depending on the scale of operation. Say an enterprise does setup its IPv6 infrastructure and is all ready to connect to the internet an go about its business as before. But can it? Barely. This is because while it itself migrated to IPv6, other networks with which it had been communicating have not yet done so, possibly owing to the costs incurred. An IPv6-based network can only communicate with other IPv6-based networks. It has not been designed to communicate with an IPv4 network.
In order to overcome this "oversight", new instruction-sets have been devised to get them to talk to each other. However using such an interface increases latency, besides degrading the performance. Thus in order to ensure optimal performance while communicating with an IPv4 network, the enterprise that had migrated to IPv6 may just decide to retain its earlier IPv4 infrastructure & operate it alongside when the need arises - thereby essentially doubling cost of operation - now why would anybody want to be an early adopter?
Errr...okay then, but how do I know if my ISP is an early adopter and supports IPv6?
If you can open Google's IPv6 site, you are good to go: http://ipv6.google.com/
India, meanwhile has set itself a target of March 2012 for a full roll-out of IPv6.
The National internet Exchange of India [NIXI] is setting up the required infrastructure & conducting training to enable & help adoption of the IPv6 standard - details.
On a related note, check out this inforgraphic prepared by Cisco titled, "The Internet of Things"
A data from the infographic,
By the end of 2011, 20 typical [American] households will generate more Internet traffic than the entire Internet in 2008
I've added the words inside the parentheses.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A collection of hi-resolution pictures of the variants of the MiG-29 aircrafts in operation with the Indian Navy & Indian Air Force.
The Indian Air Force [IAF] has been operation the MiG-29 aircrafts since the mid-80s, a purchase decision made in response to the Pakistan Air Force receiving, from the U.S, Lockheed Martin's F-16 multi-role combat aircraft [variants of which, received in the 90s, bore an uncanny resemblance to soybeans - shape-shifting technology anyone?!].
The Indian Navy [IN], on the other hand, has contracted RAC MiG to acquire 45 of these aircrafts for operating off its long delayed, not yet inducted Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikramaditya [formerly an Aircraft Cruiser Admiral Gorshkov, renamed from its original name Baku]. Hopefully no subsequent Aircraft Carrier it plans to build and operate [IAC-1&2] would carry them as the sole aircraft - successful induction of the Naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] could see them operating in a hi-lo configuration alongside the MiG-29s.
The Indian Navy's MiG-29 are designated MiG-29K [single-seat] & MiG-29KUB [twin seat]
click on the thumbnails to view larger-sized pictures
IAF has been operating the MiG-29 [single-seat] & the MiG-29 UB [twin-seater aircraft]. As part of an agreement signed between Indian & Russia, IAF's entire fleet of MiG-29s would be upgraded to match the standards & capabilities of the latest variant of the MiG-29, the MiG-29 SMT. The upgraded aircraft would be designated MiG-29UPG [single-seat] & MiG-29UPG UB [twin-seater].
click on the thumbnails to view larger-sized pictures
Uploaded a lecture where the Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency [ADA] spoke about technologies & features that are to become part of future airborne combat systems & the challenges that designers face in realising these technologies - Future Air Combat Systems - Technologies, Features & Challenges
Monday, July 25, 2011
Had been reading about the On-Condition Maintenance process over the weekend, since last week. Having read a fair amount of content, thought of putting what I've learnt and understood in writing, in order to consolidate what I've read about it. As my folks say, writing down what has been learnt improves learning & understanding.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Monday, July 04, 2011
Found these pictures of the Main Battle Tank, Vijayanta, earlier in service with the Indian Army. These are licensed manufactured British Vickers Tanks that were later successfully adapted for use in varied configurations as Bridge laying, Armoured Recovery Vehicle etc. Successful demonstration involving incorporation of a more powerful & reliable power-plant & up-gunning its main gun to a higher caliber were also made, but did not find a favorable response from the end-user.
They were to be withdrawn from service by 2008. Counted four of them at my place, being used as monuments outside defence establishments - quite imposing, they look.
The Heavy Vehicles Factory [HVF] in Avadi [an acronym for Armoured Vehicles and Ammunition Depot of India], Tamil Nadu currently houses the country's only assembly line needed for putting together battle tanks in service with the Indian Army.
Click on the thumbnails to view larger-sized images
Friday, July 01, 2011
Had been using the j.mp URL shortner bookmarklet for long for posting to Twitter. Recently discovered that the bookmarklet was no longer doing so & was instead creating shortened bit.ly URLs, both URL shortening services being run by the same enterprise. From now onwards, in order to create a j.mp URL, one has to sign in into the service & only then would it be possible to do so - *hate* signing in anywhere & avoid it as far as possible.
Turns out, as of the time of posting, bit.ly & j.mp URLs are inter-changeable, i.e, if you had created a shortened bit.ly URL, then it is possible to shave off 2 more characters by simply replacing the bit.ly by j.mp without any change in result. Critical, if one posts on twitter, where character real-estate is a premium. However, with growing number of URLs being shortened with their service, it may be just happen that they decide to turn j.mp & bit.ly URLs unique. Until that time, no signing-in required to create a shortened j.mp URL.
Original shortened bit.ly URL: http://bit.ly/ujkp5
a j.mp URL created by replacing the bit.ly: http://j.mp/ujkp5
Was looking up something, when I came across this site still hosted on Geocities. Ran a Google search query & found out, as the URLs above indicated, around 60,000+ sites continue to remain hosted on Geocities. This does not count their service in Japan, which they continue to run. However, considering the fact that Yahoo! was supposed to have shutdown Geocities.com, it was indeed surprising to find these pages still there. Will try searching around for an answer. Some kind soul could cut short my work & save me some time by posting the answer, in the comments below, though.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Some pictures of the ship MV Wisdom currently stranded on the Juhu beach in Mumbai. The ship, more like an empty hull as it was on its way to being dismantled in Alang from Sri Lanka, drifted towards the beach after cables being used to tow it snapped.
Click on the thumbnails to view larger-sized images
Was curious to see it first-hand for myself. The manner in which the monstrosity is positioned, it would not seem out of place in an apocalyptic disaster movie made in Hollywood. To see it sitting there on the beach with people, looking tiny & miniscule in comparison, milling round made for a surreal & bizarre sight.
Save for the near never-ending commute to reach places over there, thankfully something that need not necessarily be endured by many here, the city itself feels not significantly different from my place. Nearly every major commercial operation - malls, brand biggies or corporate establishment, operating there are mirroring their presence here with more clamoring to open shop. What is most striking about the place, however, thanks to the relaxed FSI the city has enjoyed for long, are the innumerable skyscrapers that dot & define the skylines of Mumbai [or "Bombay" as the Anglophones here still prefer calling it]. The ones currently under construction are all aiming to reach even higher, competing to look as different from the one adjacent as possible, bearing virtually no resemblance in form or shape to the ones already standing.
A manifestation of a lifestyle quite unique to the city, I found, is that of people engaging in quasi-graphic public display of affection [PDA] as can be witnessed on its beaches & parapet walls bordering the beaches. My place being a fairly accommodating & chilled out city in most parts, its not uncommon at all to see couples here holding hands, cuddling or pecking in public places whose environs evoke such amorous urges; eyebrows here don't rise up as high as it would elsewhere with the display of intimacy of this kind.
The kind of PDA people were indulging out there, however, seems to take the concept of PDA to an all new level, nearly blurring the distinction between the P & I*, & very often transgressing it. Such behavior could possibly be explained by the exorbitant cost of living Mumbai is known for, that often does not permit an average individual to acquire a living accommodation large enough to afford the kind of privacy needed to engage in acts of intimacy he/she desires, with the presence of other family members around in the house at the time. Thus for couples in search of their private moment, anonymity seems to make up for the privacy, or lack of it. A stranger sitting adjacent, not likely to cross paths ever again in a city as populated as Mumbai, is a non-existent entity as far as the couples are concerned, thereby giving them the space & freedom that is unavailable to them otherwise in an actual indoor location.
Okay. Done claiming to possess knowledge of human psychology & behavior & attempting to sound intelligent, or at least that is what had been the intention while typing in the last two paragraphs. Trying hurts too much and there is a limit to it. Whatever!
Also recited a small prayer, in binary, while passing by Lamington Road - not enough people on-board who shared the interest to make a stop there :(.
* - indoor