This and That: 6th Edition

Long time, no blog. Random things have been collecting since the last post, waiting to be blogged. Which means, it's time for another edition of This and That.


It's Republic Day!


Last Friday, we had a company offsite event - the first since I joined. The day started with a bunch of decently fun games which was followed by some lunch and finally three games of bowling (ooh.. tired hand and back!)

One of the morning games went like this: everyone stands around in a circle. A ball is thrown and someone catches it. Now whoever is standing on either side of the catcher have to call out the names of each other - the slower one drops out.

One of the guys was getting to repeatedly call the name of his right side neighbour and so he took to calling out the name by reflex. Unfortunately, when the ball landed on his left, he still called out the right-neighbour's name!

As they say, "There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things." ;-)


I've finally finished uploading all photos from the Italy album to Flickr.

Congratulations!

It was a pain with the 20 MB per month upload limit until I gave in and signed up for a pro account. This is most certainly a variation of the bait and switch scam, I say!

Speaking of Flickr, have you seen my recent phonecam photos? Check out blue potatoes!

Blue potatoes!

I don't think I've mentioned this on the blog: we got an Xbox console at home. I know, I know - I am late to the party. What can I say, I am a retro-game player ;-)

I've played on it for all of two days in the last one month :-) Maybe it'll see more action once I get GTA San Andreas.^

Last week, we sought out and rented a couple of region 3 DVDs to finally put the DVD playback kit of the Xbox to some use. That's when I realized what a piece of crap this kit is.

If you don't know what this kit is, it's just an IR receiver that plugs into the Xbox unit and a conventional looking remote control. The DVD playback functionality is actually built in to the Xbox - this separately sold kit just makes it "accessible."

So we power up the console, put in the disk and start fiddling with the remote. Guess what - the remote doesn't come with any batteries! How's that for an out of the box experience! With no spare AAA batteries around, we ended up watching that movie using our usual TV-out-from-laptop trick.

Next day, armed with newly bought batteries, we loaded up Constantine. Another revelation which made it absolutely clear what an unmitigated disaster this kit is. You can't change the volume with this remote, navigation is unintuitive and you can't even switch-off the box from the remote!

I can't believe Microsoft actually charges for this thing. Moreover, all the required software is built right into the Xbox - why force this kit upon us? Why not just let us access the DVD menus with the game controller?!


My userid on PublicGyan is 42. heh!


I read this nifty statistical analysis of IMDb movie ratings today. It's interesting to find that the median rating is 6.4 and not 5.0 which does confirm my own theory that by and large, anything below 6.5 must be avoided. I have also come to regard anything rated 7+ as watchable while anything rated 8+ to be a must watch. The analysis just confirms that nicely - 8+ rated movies are in the 94th percentile!

If you follow my movie ratings, you'll see that I use a five point scale. Roughly, the ratings mean this:

5 Must watch!
4 Recommended
3 Timepass
2 Avoid!
1 I can see why people commit suicide

I am leaving for Hyderabad this weekend and will be returning on 6th Feb.


For the past week, I've been spending some time now and then writing some code to replace Blosxom which currently powers this blog. I love Blosxom for its simple approach to blogging but hate it 'cos it's written in Perl and I don't want to learn Perl just to make Blosxom do what I want.

When I heard that Rael Dornfest, the creator of Blosxom, had himself switched to Typo, I realized it was time to junk Blosxom for good. Since I happened to be playing with web.py at that time, I decided to put together something with web.py which would replicate what my current Blosxom setup does.

The results so far. It's a bit bland, but that's just a matter of putting in some nice templates. As you can see, most functionality is already in place. Once I get feeds and comments working, I'll switch.

BTW, web.py is a delight to use. The learning curve is so shallow - it reminds me of my first few lines of PHP code; except, this is cleaner and much more elegant :-)

Oh, one more thing. I am looking for a name for this blog server. Suggestions welcome!


Finally, I leave you with something that's finally seen the light of the open internets.

The Great Dictator - a Nefarious Nev and Courteous Cue Street Productions.

There are lots of in-jokes, but hope you had a laugh. :-)


^ You do know my birthday is around the corner, right? ;-)

Comments

The box's dvd controller sure is sad. Not to mention the box only plays region 3 DVDs (any $79 dvd player is region free). But then, we got it for free, and watching a movie on the comp is no substitute for watching it on the TV! I think in my old place, we used the box more as a DVD player than a gaming console.

So did you install XBMC? Maybe that's what I'll end up doing!


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