Sunday, March 16, 2014


If Beethoven lived in the 21st century, instead of composing Symphony no 5, he would compose something that sounds like the first two tracks of the album "Time- I" by Finnish band Wintersun.

The venom spreads out after each stroke on the guitar, not necessarily after each beat on the drum. At this speed, it could be called speed metal, but it is so much more. The guitar is distinct, so are the beats on the drum. While the guitar sends out a message in each stroke, a series of beats on the drum summarize it. And then comes the layering, then comes the structure- the way it unfolds. Often an oriental note played by an acoustic guitar will take you from Finland to the Chinese mountains covered with lush green grass. But you will not get the time to stay lost there. The growling vocal will not let you rest, the clear vocals will tempt you to. The fast keyboard notes will guide you how to dance, the bass will make sure you do not fall. All of this will happen in a grand orchestration of music. You will not find the time to focus on a particular tone, let alone a particular tune- rather, you will stay in the moment. You may want to bang your head, but you will not. This is not the metal music as you expect. This music is to crush the forces that stop you from going forward. This music is black, this music is dark- this music is to remind you of death. But that is how you get reminded of life.

I was blown away this morning listening to them. You may too. Make sure you use headphones, and the highest quality ones you can find. Enjoy...

(Nerd details: Their music has a wide dynamic range, and full of minute details. So if you do not use high-fidelity headphones or speakers, much of the details will be lost and the music may even sound bland. In addition, if it is the first time you trying out black/ death metal, you may not like the music.)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A New Computing Experience with Windows 8: Dos and Don'ts, Likes and Dislikes

Some people will surely remember the derogatory remarks I made earlier about Windows 8. At that time I was using the developer preview version, and a lot of things went wrong. However, within a span of 6 months, things have changed, and it looks like, however improbable it seemed before, Windows 8 is going to be my favorite OS of all.

 I have tried double digit number of linux distros and have tried all the desktop interfaces. I am not an obdurate supporter of Linux. I liked to use it for its simplicity. Things just work, and once I set up the distro, I don't have to take much care of it except clicking on the update button bi-weekly or once in a month. For Windows, it used to take more. Registry cleaning, disk clean up, defragmentation, update antivirus etc. I was tired. Moreover, I didn't like that once in a while Windows would have the blue screen errors. I am a computer user, and not a computer caretaker. Though Windows 8 still requires disk clean up and defragmentation, a lot of those tasks have been automated and a user can just bother less to keep his OS fast and less bloated.

 A few days ago, I downloaded the Windows 8 release preview. I installed it on my cheap netbook, and was worried whether I would find the right driver software for all the hardware devices. I went ahead and took the risk. When I looked at my device status through the device manager later, I was surprised. All the drivers were automatically installed. Even the proprietary Radeon driver was installed. That was my first moment of awe with windows 8.

 I don't like anything flashy. I uninstalled all the video, photo, music, messaging, mail, people apps as soon as I entered into the metro interface. I uninstalled everything I didn't need. The metro interface was left only with the shortcuts of the programs that I normally use. It worked wonderfully for me. I don't miss the start button. The metro interface is my start button.

 Very soon I installed k-lite codecs, VLC player, Chrome, Firefox, Google hangout extension, skype, Office 2010 and Adobe Reader. I have been a massive Chrome and Firefox user. But this time almost always I use Internet Explorer 10. I have set up the adblock/ tracking protection and set my default search engine to Google. I really enjoy the inbuilt flash. Another reason I enjoy the Internet Explorer 10 is because of its ability to send clipped text, images to Microsoft One Note. IE9 could do the same, but it was not as fast as the IE10.

 I am not a fanboy. I want to use what's best. So far it has always been Ubuntu. But on my netbook Ubuntu feels sluggish, and deteriorates my experience with each new click. I am enjoying windows 8 and I will keep recommending it to people if they want a smooth experience, good battery life and less stress while working on a computer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pride and Prejudice: The Fedora 17 Edition

This afternoon I installed Fedora 17 Linux Distribution on my netbook. So far it has been amazing. In fact, it is so amazing, that I have decided to put in on my mighty-powerful desktop. Putting it will only make the desktop more powerful, faster.

There has been an war in OS world for a decade now. Windows sneer at the Linux users, the Linux guys mock the windows users. There is also another OS for the bimbos, that is Mac OS.

Mac gives no control over the OS. Windows gives moderate. Linux gives full.

To be honest, there are some applications on windows that I really enjoy (e.g. Adobe LIghtroom). The thing I don't like about Windows is, it comes in between the user and the application- which in my view is annoying. I don't have that many complains about OS X. The one and only complain I have against OS X is that it doesn't give any freedom to its users in customizing the interface. You are stuck with the gray bars forever.

The main thing I like about Linux is that I am fully in control. I can control every aspect the operating system. Once I set things right, I don't have to worry about it for years. With that said, Fedora is not a rolling-release distro. It has a life span of only one year. But that's okay with me, since I like to experiment with things. If you install Arch Linux or Sabayon, you can theoratically use it till the end of time.

I have set up all the things in Fedora 17. I have exactly what I need in it- nothing more, nothing less. This has been an amazing distro. I can say that because in last two hours I have tried all the weird things possible in it, and it has survived all.

The reason I mentioned "Pride and Prejudice" in the title is to get more focus on the fact that I am not trying to convince you in any way that Linux (or Fedora) is better. It is just my choice, and it goes the way that I want it to go. That's it. Clear and simple.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Learn Photography in an Involuntary Way: Develop the Photographer's Eye

One famous photographer said, "Your first 10,000 photos are your worst". I extend this statement, and say, "Your first 30,000 photos are your worst". By the time you take 30000 photos, you either give up photography or become a very good photographer. At the same time, if you do not have passion for photography, you cannot reach the 30000 photos milestone.

While, taking photos is the most direct way to learn photography, you can sharpen your eye for it in an involuntary way. Make yourself exposed to a lot of good photographs, and you will soon start developing the photographer's eye.

I would recommend you to add a bunch of photographers on Google+. When you are registering for Google+, the option comes up. If you have missed that step, search on "Google" for some shared circles on photography and add the circle to your own profile. Add as many photographers as you want. Soon you will see a pattern. Soon, you will discover what kind of photography you like. Follow them, copy-paste their style- it doesn't matter. Keep taking photos. Keep looking. In two years you will become a better photographer.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Measurement of Ambition: cm or inch?

You are as great as your ambition.

I have tore off more than 700 pages in 2005. All those 700 pages were full with my writing. Why did I tear them apart? Because they didn't survive my standards. It's funny if you look at it: your own writing didn't survive your own standard. So what are you supposed to do? Quit?

Quitting is the easiest option in any situation. If your personality allows it, then go ahead. QUIT.

To be honest, I didn't write much post 2005. I got a feeling that, may be writing isn't in me. I was wrong. I discovered that recently.

I found few pages that I had forgotten to tear off at that time. I read them, and I was engaged very soon. I looked for the other pages to know what Captain McGinity was going to do. I had picked up the name McGinity from one of the Sherlock Holmes novels. He was my dream character. At that time I used to read Jules Verne a lot. All the stories I wrote at that time had some influences from Jules Verne. I also wrote romantic stories. I couldn't finish any- because they were not real. I wrote one story every time I was infatuated with a girl. I often could not talk much with those girls. So I wrote stories to figure out how it would feel if we were lovers. Often those stories were unfinished, because I couldn't come to a decision what to do with them. I was not comfortable with the girl leaving me, I was not comfortable living with that girl my entire life.

So what does all these lead to? I didn't write crappy stories. My taste was too high. My taste is still high. This time I will work hard enough to be as great as my ambitions.

Did someone say, "The journey of a thousand miles start with a single step?"

Monday, May 21, 2012

How would Hemingway say it?

How would Ernest Hemingway say it?

"How would Hemingway describe it if it was going to rain the next day?"

This question was asked to Isaac Asimov by one of his editors when Asimov was still a very young man and was still an amateur.

In reply, Asimov came up with a very beautiful line which reflected nice use of adjectives, profoundness and a strong command over the language.

The editor said, wrong.

If it was going to rain the next day, Hemingway would say,

"It is going to rain tomorrow".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Another Dose on Writing

The problem starts when I deviate away from my true self.

The problem starts exactly when I suppress my own opinions and give in to the fantasies.

A piece of writing should be rock solid, not necessarily perfect. There is no second Hemingway, no second Charles Dickens. Yet it is possible to become a writer close to their heights by being brutally honest  to oneself.

Asimov's writing pattern is linear. Yet he is adept in creating extremely complex stories.

You often feel confused by the verbose nature of Stephen King's writing. Yet his writing wouldn't be this engaging without those words.

All the successful writers were true to themselves, at least in their writings. You cannot convince a reader something that you don't believe in. You can take that attempt in one or two paragraphs, or one or two pages, and may even succeed, but the overall writing will fail without exception.

How much have you written today? What was your excuse?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to refresh the mind?

How to refresh the mind?

I have tried to find the answer to this question. Searching through my life events, I have found one that has refreshed my mind so many times that I have naturally lost the count.

Every morning I wake up, I push the power button of my laptop. While the laptop turns itself on, I go to the kitchen and prepare a cup of tea. I prefer the Darjeeling tea which is fresh and still looks like leaves while I am boiling it in the water. The hot smoke and the hot air help me to get over my sleep. I, then, come back to my room and increase the volume of my laptop which is suitable to my ear but on the louder side. There is one track composed by Johann Sebastian Bach that I always listen to. Keeping it the same every morning, I play the track and look outside of my room. Slowly I come out to my veranda and let the morning sunlight penetrate my skin. I let the gentle breeze fly through I. Bach's music makes the air dance. When the sound reaches my ears, it is already a bit deemed, but it just soothes my mind. I slowly sip tea, feel the breeze, feel the music, and feel the morning sunlight. I feel so good. I just refresh my mind.

This is how I do it. I am sure you will find one such ritual in your life that you are celebrating for years, but haven't noticed it. You just need to find yours and make it as strong a ritual as mine- if possible, even stronger.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Canon or Nikon? Which one would you buy if your Dad was Donald Trump?

Canon or Nikon? This is the question that no one has been able to answer since the dawn of time (note: time started in the 1930s). I think most of the photographers think answering this question will prove them to be fools because one of these companies wins the battle over the other time after time, but (and a very big BUT) alternatively. When Nikon declares D700, Canon announces 5D Mark II- which, in fact, is better. When Nikon again declares a better model- D800, Canon promises to deliver a mighty 5D Mark III (and they delivered).

So which one? Canon or Nikon?

Consider this: Nikon delivered the lenses for the early Canon cameras. Canon seems to have forgotten this, and shows no sign of gratitude.

If you want me to sum it up in three lines, I would say it like this:

"Canon and Nikon don't give a damn about manufacturing your dream camera, because none of them considers manufacturing cameras as their main business. Canon is an optical-electronics company which makes cameras, Nikon is a lens company which makes cameras. You get the picture here."

Personally, I have used both Nikon and Canon cameras for a significant amount of time. I think the Nikon lenses are better, and the operation of the Canon cameras goes more smoothly.

You will hardly notice any difference in the image quality. As I said, Canon is an optical-electronics company, the noise performance is better (somewhat). On the other hand, as Nikon is a lens company, Nikon images are sharper (somewhat).

Which camera will you buy?

If you don't have much money, go for the Nikon D3200. If you have money, and want a full-frame camera, go for Canon 5D series. If your financial situation is in between, buy the Nikon D7000 or the Canon 7D. If your dad is Donald Trump, buy a Leica M9 Titanium.