Saturday, October 23, 2010

Which of these is not a web browser?


Does this post really need any description?

Yes it does.

Why?

Because the participant was unable to choose from these four options. It took an entire audience vote to pick an answer.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blackmore playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony- When you add speed to feelings!




People who don't know Ritchie Blackmore and still listen to hard rock and heavy metal music should hold back, pause for a while and show gratitude for the man for whom the maddening rock and roll music has gone into such heights. He alone pioneered these two genres in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Deep Purple). Arguably his guitar riff  "Smoke on the water" is the most famous and greatest guitar riff ever composed (you may have heard it in the movie 'The School of Rock'). However in 1997 he completely changed his musical style and along with Candice Night (now his wife) came up with a Renaissance influence folk-rock band named Blackmore's Night . I have been listening to them since then and can't recall how many times I have listened to their tracks (probably 300 times or more than that: I remember every second of their every song, I can even anticipate what guitar sound will come next, the ups and downs of Candice Night's voice, even the way her emotional voice changes).

On the other hand, Beethoven is one of my most favorite classical composers (along with Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi). His 9th Symphony is the first one I learned to play on guitar. I still don't understand whether it represent's sadness, happiness or something else, but it is always good to listen to.

I am so excited to find this video that one of my favorite guitarists is playing Beethoven's 9th symphony in a grand style. He played with a Blues tone and added more elements to the original music. Anyway, no more reading. Enjoy the video!!




Monday, October 18, 2010

SPlayer: One video player to rule them all...!!!



In my 12 years of computer life I have come across many video players. I remember in 1998, Super Docoder was all I could think of. Later switched to Power DVD when DVDs got popular. When I became a little more pro, I started using Media Player Classic, Hero Super Player was a backup player. When I knew more about techworld, VLC got into my way. But let's be honest, VLC is ugly. I also tested WinDVD. Occasionally I use Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player 12 wieh K-lite mega codec pack.

If you go to www.cnet.com (Download.com), you will find the highest downloaded video players are GOM player, VLC player and KM player. Let's get a little more analytical.

Benefits and limitations of VLC, GOM, KM player.

1. VLC: It plays almost any kind of file, boosts sound to a great extent (sometimes makes it harsh to listen to). It's ugly and often freezes and crashes my system.

2. GOM player: Plays almost any kind of file. Has good default shortcut keys (left,right: for jumping forward/backward; up,down: for volume increase/decrease). It also automatically adds files to the playlist from a folder. It cannot play .VOB files well (DVD copy) and it doesn't integrate with the Windows 7 aero theme.

3. KM player: It overcomes most of the problems of VLC and GOM, but still it has some limitations. I have found if the video file is of low resolution (specially FLV files), it makes the characters feel like robots. Also, it doesn't have a good sound booster.

Now imagine a video player which has all the benefits of VLC, GOM and KM player and doesn't have a single limitation of any of theirs. Yes, that's what I am talking about. It is SPlayer. Probably it is Chinese/Japanese (not sure). But it is superb. It has been my default video player for months and has never made me upset a single time.

Let's look at its benefits one more time:

1. Plays any file under the sun.
2. Has navigation like GOM player (read above).
3. Boosts sound but doesn't make it harsh.
4. Automatically adds files to the playlist from a folder.
5.Automatically downloads subtitles. PLEASE READ AGAIN, automatically downloads subtitles.
5. It makes the pixel smoother. So the video looks better.
6. It has transparent control.
7. One click play/pause control.
8. Double click full-screen toggle.
9. Integrates with Windows 7 aero theme.
10. Doesn't make the system crash.
11. It has Home Theater feature (good news for Windows XP and Windows Vista/7 Basic users).
12. It has one click GPU acceleration feature.
13. In case you mistakenly closed one file, next time you start it SPlayer will resume from the last scene you saw.
12. Finally (but not the least), it is a small download of around 4.5 MB.

Well, SPlayer hasn't paid me to write all of these. I simply felt compelled to write about it as very few people know of it. Download it from this link (click it).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stuck with 5

Sleep, sweet sleep, beauty sleep! I have spent a considerable amount of time reading and researching on sleep. But somehow sleep doesn't like me. It only maintains a business relation with me.

I don't remember last time I slept more than 6 hours. 5 hours is my average. Mostly it varies from 4 and a half hours to 5 hours. I have tried many ways, but I can't increase it.

So yesterday I decided to take an ultimate attempt. I worked out in the gym for 2 hours. I was determined not to sleep in the day time (which I never do). I had more than enough rice (I am a massive eater). Ended the dinner with sweet deserts. At that stage my body became so heavy that I felt lazy to move my fingers to type my password. I thought I was ready to have a "death-in-the-hell" sleep. But I wanted to go beyond that point. I opened up a bottle of wine and drank half of it. I was supercharged to drown myself into sleep. But I had to do even more. People say brain exercises before sleep ensures the soundness of it. So I solved one Sudoku puzzle. It was hard to solve considering I had had half a bottle of wine.

Last minute preparation. I went to the restroom to get refreshed. Used some cosmetics as it is known that the aroma of artificial cosmetics makes you feel sleepy. I turned on my laptop and spent some time deciding who should I listen to: Mozart or Beethoven? I like Mozart, but I guess for sleeping no one comes close to Beethoven. Thought of listening to Moonlight Sonata, but got away from that plan as the music is fast paced. Finally ended up listening to another soothing piece by Beethoven and played it on an eternal loop. Opened up all the windows to ensure enough oxygen supply in the room. Drank that much amount of water which would not force me to go to washroom in the middle of the night but would prevent me from getting dehydrated. I was readier than ever.

Though I was extremely sleepy, I decided to do some breathing exercises from Zen Buddhism. I have learned some methods from the book "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nhat Hanh. Turning off the light, I decided to do that for 5 mins. Well, I don't remember after that. I slept. I guess that was 4 am in the morning.

The next thing I remember is getting up this morning. I felt so fresh. The wine hasn't made my body dehydrated. I was in a very good mood. Beethoven was still playing on my laptop. Nice smell of the morning breeze came into my nose. I felt I had hell of a sleep. I wanted to break my traditional 5 hour sleep record. I did. Or at least I thought so until I looked at my watch. It was 9 am.

I can't get away with my 5 hour record. It has choked me with its tightest grip. There is no way out of it. At least I would feel better if later in the day I felt dizzy or sleepy. No, I felt totally fine. I won't get my beauty sleep (The phase of sleep when you see dreams. It is usually easier to achieve if your sleep breaks once and then you go to sleep one more time for around two hours). Sleep doesn't like me. I am stuck with 5.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Probability of Probability

The probability of probability is 0 or 1.

Recently I read the book 'The Black Swan' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The book is highly philosophical and often shows the dumbness of probability. Here is my take:

We may say there is 80% chance of rain today. Truth is either it "rains" or it 'doesn't rain'. The probability is either 0% or 100%.

A coin may have 50% chance to fall on its head or tail. That suggests if you take 100 sample examples, 50 times it will fall on its head, other 50 times it will fall on its tail.

Suppose you experimented with a coin only twice. Both the times head came on top. So based on your two experiments, the probability of getting head is 100% which you surely know (from your practical experiences) is not true.

Well, NN Taleb used some similar examples in his book. Many people criticized this book as he (almost) insulted financial economists (directly). His logics are infallible and he has proved how many times they have been proven wrong (even Nobel laureates). When I read the book I didn't have any particular issue in my mind, I simply wanted to enjoy the book. And of course I had some expectations.

But the book has surpassed most of my expectations. It has taught me to be a skeptic, to be empirical rather than optimistic or pessimistic.

Lets look at another theoretical example (this one from his book).

In 1994 the price of oil per gallon was 27$. Some financial farms (based on probability) predicted in 2024 the price of oil for the same quantity will be 54$. Alas, in 1994 itself, within 7 months from the date of announcement, the price became 54$. So this is how wrong probability can be.

(note: my memory surely has betrayed me while writing the above paragraph. But please don't focus on the accuracy of the numbers, the concept is main and that is accurate).

NN Taleb pointed out one of the prime reasons this probability game fails because we always expect people will behave rationally in the given time which surely people don't do.

You don't know whether you GF is gonna dump you tomorrow. Based on the probability which is based on the statistics gathered from all your previous dates, you are gonna have a wonderful dinner with her tomorrow. But this probability appears to be right till the moment she dumps you. At that moment the value of probability is 0. If you have had 100 dates with her including the day she has dumped you, based on the statistics the chance of having another date with her is 100% (because she has shown up all the previous 100 times). But in reality it is 0. Human beings don't behave rationally and that's why we are human beings.

Forget all this probability game. If you meet an astrologer who is going to tell you your future, listen to him till he finishes and  the next moment give him a tight slap. Tell him he is a con man and liar. If he knew his own future, he would not take you as his customer. He would act smartly and avoid the slap!

Spider Woman

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Math Magic: Trick 1

You can surprise anyone by showing how quickly you can calculate whether one number is divisible by 3 or not.

Say 1235678. How you know if it is divisible by 3?

Add all the individual digits of the given number.

That is: (1+2+3+5+6+7+8)=32.

32 is not Divisible by 3.  Hence, the given number is not divisible by 3.

If a number is divisible by 3, the sum of all of its individual digits will also be divisible by 3.

Now let's take this number: 17746404.

Add them up:

(1+7+7+4+6+4+0+4)=33.

33/3=11.

So 17746404 is divisible by 3.

Now it's time for you to surprise someone.


Update:

My friend Anshul pointed out the trick is also applicable for 9. Thanks to him. 

Are you ready?

ready?
ready to get kisses?
ready to kiss me?
ready to be loved?
ready to love me?
ready to hear me singing?
ready to sing for me?
ready to make me smile?
ready to give me your smile?
ready to let me find you?
ready to get lost together?
ready to make our dreams come true?
ready to dream together?
ready?