Monday, July 20, 2009

Playing with water

Shutter speed and ISO experiments at a small fountain near home...

400 ISO shots at 200mm zoom

Like frozen ice

Mini parachutes

Oxygen: "Lemme go, H2O!"

Slow shutter exercises

Until now, I used to think such over-smooth water-flow shots were the doings of software tweaks...

Well, a Sunday evening hour well about summer here...the moment the camera was out, out came rain too...and the sun's sleeping on the job around here!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bee shots!

There's so much beauty in the minutest of things that we can find in our backyard...

How about bees for some modeling?

Check out the eyeballs on the dude!

The chopper has just landed!

Nature and camoflauge!

Kannada script self test result: 86%

Enthused by Sandesh's post on Kannada script usage, I decided to so do a self test on how much of the Kannada alphabet did I remember after all these years of not using most of them...

There were 50+ Kannada alphabets that I learned in school. Today, I decided to write them down and then see how many would I miss and which ones.

Turns out, I remember only 86% of the 48 official alphabets of Kannada...(Am, Aha, Ksha, Trr, Ghnya don't count I learn, according to this source here.)

I always thought I would not get to a point where I would forget any of the Kannada letters -- so I'm disappointed with my performance. I think I should take up Kannada imposition -- write a blog entry or two in Kannada to teach me a lesson.

But in the meanwhile, I thought of uploading my answer paper for a day when I take this test again, some 10 years down the lane I presume, so that I can check back how my memory fares across years.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mr. Obama is cool

Once in a while, when you frequently hang around hiphop websites, you get chanelled to some morally good stuff as well. That's a big find when you're talking about the present state of the culture of hiphop - moral guidance does not fit in there. Parental Advisary sticker does.

So, when I was hopsurfing yesterday, Friday evening, I dropped by a popular hiphop website and found a video of Barack Obama's recent speech (2 days ago) at the annual NAACP convention in the US - the title was "Obama Urges Black Youth To Be Scientists & Engineers Not Ballers & Rappers!".

This under-2 minute clipping to me had, by far, the best statements I've heard from a man from a community where the youth seek guidance - the long ignored African American community. Obama's expectations were heartfelt - yet not to be considered pleaful, they were earnest - yet put in a touch of tongue-in-cheek way inviting the community to take a chuckle at themselves.

I found the video posted on Youtube - the 2 cheerful minutes on youth are the 28th & 29th minutes.

But I urge you to watch the whole video...I'd never seen Obama speak before but this poignant speech from a man about his community moved me. He's a strong character...and cool... by any measure of the word.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Check your processor before upgrading to Windows 7!

THe more I read about Windows 7, the more I find out how about I am not ready for an upgrade for at least a couple of years.

I first thought that VirtualPC will be needed to run WinXP compatible programs -- which sounded ridiculous, I'l leave it at that, to spare sarcasm. Today, I read that this support for virtualization is far more native to the processor you are running on than earlier VirtualPC versions. This means, that the VirtualPC that ships with Windows 7 requires either an Intel processor with VT support OR an AMD processor with a V tag, where V stands for virtualiation in both cases. This gives user having such a processor the advantage of running Windows XP applications just like a normal Windows 7 application, without having to bring up VirtualPC or anything. This is a more interesting proposition than I earlier thought...BUT....the requirement for a specific Intel model puts the plans to rest for good.

My laptop processor, a Core 2 Duo one, does not support VT.

So, even if I would have been wooed to upgrade to Windows 7 going by rave previews and post-release reviews, this one disability would undo all of my wilful enthusiasm.

So, until something really nasty happens to my laptop, I am not looking at Windows 7 for some time to come...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Google Wave Preview

Google Wave Preview

I realize that I am way beyond the 2.9 millionth viewer mark on this preview of the Google Wave platform. I wonder why it took me so long to come across this!

I sat through the 80 minute demo with breaks in between....and I'm impressed...and confused.

I'm impressed with the stuff Google is putting out with Wave - really brilliant! Just have a look.

But my confusion is what is worth delving deeper into. There is all this new development that is happening in the internet... Android, Web 2.0, and the works...there's so much of it... and I... am still motivationally and inertially stranded on the desktop, which I love a lot, needless to say. I use the word stranded because I really am beginning to wonder if I do not get on and learn the bits and bytes that make up a web developer's toolkit, I should be cheating myself off an opportunity to get into this fun looking collaborative bandwagon.

Looking at the way the big blokes that shape up computer technology are going, they're really bringing the development platforms for desktop, the web and the mobile, down under one pinning in the form of a development platform that abstracts away the deployment platform. When you have a common development plaform, there will be languages commonly available for programming applications -- it is very likely that these languages are OO languages. While this gets me more relaxed about starting development on such a platform, I strongly feel that if and when something goes wrong on the deployment platform, it is not going to be debuggable or serviceable easily in the programming language you developed in -- rather, it will be in the "rendered" language, which is some web scripting language like javascript, because we are talking html as the final deployment technology here.

So, to sum it up, until now I was subconsciously preoccupied on a low prio thread on when or if I should start playing with web development. I can safely say Google Wave now makes it a conscious preoccupation with medium prio for me!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Which one is right for you? (Win 7)

Which one is right for you?

It appears that I'mma have to stop thinking about an upgrade of my Vista Premium to Windows 7. The link above indicates that for running XP-compliant software on a Windows 7 box, I need to use VirtualPC!! Hwwatt!

That quite throws a spanner in my upgrade works pal! I have a humble 15 month old laptop with a Core 2 Duo wth 2GB RAM -- and you're telling me that I'll have to run Windows XP to run Windows XP programs on Windows 7 ?!? Are you out of your minds?!

LOL, and guess what's the first USP Microsoft is putting up for the Premium Home edition of Windows 7....Record Live TV!!! Is your head swimming?! I mean, why will I do a 49$ upgrade from my Vista Home to a Windows 7 Home, lose all possibilities of running Windows XP programs (yes, the Windows XP Mode as they are calling it, runs only on Prof. and Ultimate Win7 versions) and get a Record Live TV option along with some usability gimmicks -- and the MS marketing jokers think non-agnostic people like me are going to buy it ...right. I'll have to borrow an Eminem verse for a reply, "Comizzon, wu' kinda fizzuckin' presumption izzat!"

So, it appears to me, that unless all this Windows XP mode is NOT the same as running the whole blooming XP itself in a VM, I'm sticking to Vista until the day MS puts out an OS that needs Vista to be boxed up in a window.

Nutts. And BTW, an upgrade to Win7 Professional costs 99$. Exactly...a sack of nutts.

Analyzing a bluescreen dump

Today I started my laptop to see a message from Vista that it had recovered from a severe error and it provided me a kernel dump as a place where evidence could be found. Being a weekend, and having rekindled the interest for doing some WinDbg surfing, I downloaded the Windows Debugging tools package and started looking around for ways to identify which driver caused the bluescreen.

Googling helps and before even I thought of analyzing the dmp with WinDbg, I ran DumpChk, another tool in the debugger toolset, to create a readable version of the dmp. In this readable version, I could verify from googling that the bluescreen was caused due to an inconsistent power state. I couldn't get further information on this topic. So I ran Windbg and analyzed the dmp there.

The GUI is very friendly given the kind of low-level analysis one does with WinDbg. So, Windbg took a short while to look up symbols from the microsoft online symbol server and save it on my "downstreamstore". After a while, it had downloaded symbols for quite a few drivers that I guess were referenced in the crash report, amounting to a total of 15 mb. Once the symbols had ben loaded, I was given the option to run the Analyze command that goes like "!Analyze" in windbg syntax. - but I didn't even have to type this because the GUI offered me the tip along with a hyperlink to the command text that I just had to click.

The analyze command did give me more information -- it told me that "A device object has been blocking an Irp for too long a time" was the reason for the system to be halted. Unfortunately, Windbg couldn't fish for more information on which driver exactly caused this problem because it seemed to have problems with loading some dll's, as it spewed recurringly the following:

The call to LoadLibrary(exts) failed, Win32 error 0n2
"The system cannot find the file specified."
Please check your debugger configuration and/or network access.

This was strange because Windbg had just managed to download symbols from microsoft online...okay, more googling ensued....this time looking for a way to resolve the LoadLibrary problem. Finally, I found a possible explanation in a German discussion site, and thanks to some basic German that I've picked up, I managed to learn that the debugger extensions are not getting loaded. Voila! I then recollected that I had stopped short of installing debugger extensions thinking that it would consume a lot of disk space...and so I went and updated my installation and reran Windbg...and sakkatt -- this time, Windbg was able to point out the offending driver: athr.sys, which I googled to find out that it is my wireless network driver from Atheros -- which is true.

This piece of valuable info on LoadLibrary(ext) failing was hidden among so much other garbage out there in google results where they were mostly make ext a DLL of its own called ext.dll. I was even surprised that a post in EggheadCafe also treated this problem as if it were to do with missing DLL dependencies for ext.dll, with an added reply from someone who could be mistaken for a Microsoftian, who said that this was a regression issue (it was in this case, because the originator reported of problems with upgrading to a new windows debugger version or so) and was being looked into.

Well, a part of Saturday well spent. Its always fun to learn that you learn when you set out learning :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Made of lead loops and a slow-pitched drum sample for a back beat. First starts off with mellow sax and then picks on some electro drops. Lounge music for machines.

I took the shortest time so far in coming up with this song because almost 80% of the samples were stored on the palette with a continuum of my liking, and so I would almost rake up 4-5 samples bacc to bacc and place them on the song arranger -- its the drum beat that gives the song its frame.

The lead loop samples are fun to explore and I have only gone through like under 40% of them. So I mostly will have at least a couple of more tunes coming out of lead loops alone.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


A new entry to the playlist. This time, I played around with drum samples. Drums in themselves weren't sounding complete so I added some vocal samples. The female song vocals were bearable but the male rap vocals are god-awful on the Studio. So I reduced the pitch on the male shoutouts to get a more hiphop-sounding voice. That way, I'm not so cross with Hiphop Studio because even though they got a non-Afro-American to do hiphop shoutouts, they did give the ability to tweak sounds to the tune of your liking..

The end result of this is Drummeremmurd. I named it so because at one point I had given an echo effect to the entire song - then I pulled the echo out and gave the effect only to isolated vocals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Playing music on the blog

I used tips on this link and signed up at eSnips to host my music and the player too...

Hiphop Studio - a real toy!

Yesterday, I was panning around the Software section of an electronics media store when I came across the Hiphop Studio 6 edition rom eJay being sold at 5 euros - i rewinded the sight a bit and said to myself, "Iz u kidding??!"...and so I brought the box home to lay back kill the rest of the weekend in front of the laptop, creating some hiphop music while having fun.

I must admit I am thrilled with what a layman with an ear for music can come up with, toying around with such inexpensive software -- let alone what possibilites professional software bring (Sony's Soundforge for instance) ...but that's deviating....and so, with my 90 first minutes that I spent on the software, I came off creating this "1st Beat" of mine. This is based on the "Create a beat in 5 minutes" tutorial but I made the beat more sparse and removed some of the vocal samples and added more percussion, bass and SFX samples instead...

And then today, having the whole evening to spare, I went about creating another beat using just bass samples....There are 5000+ samples with legal clearance that come with the software and the bass samples are quite large in number. The result of playing around for another 90 minutes is this creation called "Bass Dive" (pronounced Base Dive for the uninitiated..., a play on the word Bass intended here with Dive...i think you catch the drift.) Whle I started out creating a beat that can be looped for a hiphop record, it became more of a song, at least to think of it in my terms, and had a lot of fun making it! I used over 25 different samples, each running 2-4 seconds (mostly 2) to piece together this got-a-kick-out-of experiement.

There was one nagging sample that the Studio refused to seamlessly gel with the followup sample and so I had to mend this in Wavepad after exporting the song to wav from the Studio. But the hasty editing (it would take way too much time otherwise) is still apparent -- you will hear an unexpected glitches (3 times in the first half, six times in all, as I duplicated most of the song to form the second half) and then you know what I'm talking about.

Hope to bake enough songs to make my very own album ;-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Focal length and filter exercises

A closeup of the toy's face at 55mm macro.

A 200mm shot of sculpture atop the opposite building

A macro shot using the 200mm lens at 145mm. The ability to narrow down the focus with the long range lens renders the background window pane that is 2-3 inches behind the bee-doll in a blurry way to give more prominence to the focused subject.

An exercise on applying filters. Above is the original macro photo shot at 55mm. Below is the same photo with Red enhancement filter applied, which is one of the camera's inbuilt postprocessing options.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Helpful links on digital photography and the D60

Nikon's own D60 tutor site with entry level tutorials:

A nice and helpful blog I encountered, maintained by professional photographers. Here's their online book on basic nature photography:

Hello, D60

I played around a bit and got to click this photo with the camera itself using 2 mirrors, which is noticeable in the aliasing of letters.

This grid compares the Nikon's sensor (left photos) with our Sony DSC 4.1MP's sensor (right photos). Nikon is able capture the room's ambience as it really is while Sony is able to slurp up only a fraction of the available light.

This is a crop of a photo taken with the Sigma 55-200mm lens with full-zoom, statically placed and shot with self-timer to avoid camera shaking in my hands. The doll was 10 feet away from where I shot the snap. The image can be improved by using a higher JPEG quality level setting but the texture of the 1.5 inch carrot can still be seen.

With a small test of field view comparison, I can preliminarily conclude that the zoom of the lens at 200mm is similar to that of my old 10x Samsung binocular's. So to me it looks like, 200mm lens == 10x zoom.

This shot was taken in complete darkness with the Sigma lens at 55mm with self-timer and static positioning. The camera took all of the 30 seconds (max exposure time) to finally give this shot - for a moment I thought the camera was 'hanging' but finally I heard the shutter close. The faint light came through the window from the sreet lamp. This shot was auto-calibrated to be shot at ISO 400 sensitivity (checked this in the image properties using the camera's playback). The 10.2 MP image had enough pixels in it to correctly render the dimly lit dwarf and pig dolls (to the left of the upper shelf).
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nikon D60: Diamond in monkey's hands!

The feeling that I right now have is not dissimilar to the essence of the kannada proverb, "Mangana kaili MaaNikya", the title of this blog. With a new, highly sophisticated "entry-level" (just to scare novices like me) digital SLR camera - the Nikon D60, finally out of the box and in to my untrained, eager hands, I just can't wait to explore its capabilities!

Single Lens Reflex technology equals mind-boggling photos - with that expectation set, I will begin a learning journey that I hope to catalog on this blog with pictures and observations. Hopefully, I will even get to try out other SLRs and compare their strengths with our Nikon D60...but to begin with, I will stick to some standalone, "Hello, World" tests.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

KIDiddles Song Lyrics - A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go (Version 1)

Finally, finally! The song I've been looking for the lyrics of, ever since I graduated from listening to nursery rhymes (i.e. around 16 years of age)...
KIDiddles Song Lyrics - A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go (Version 1)

I'd heard this song on a Walt Disney cassette tape and had carried the tune fresh in my mind so long...these lyrics serve the tune best..not the bob dylan verion of the song, which has too many words in its opening verse to fit into the tune I know, which I plan to sing with my guitar sparsley strung in the background and record this -- for my son ;-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Up in smokes

Mumbai up in tv's streaming in lands afar...the anguish and the sunken feeling...a feeling of hopelessness and a search for reason..."how can you take someone's life?"...questions richocheting in a mind that speaks seldom to itself beyond asking such questions of the dark kind...

May the bereaved find solace...god knows where...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008