Ankh Morpork's Finest Coder
Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sleepless in Tempe
I've tried to lie down and sleep thrice since midnight. Somehow my body doesn't want to shut down for maintenance even though my eyes are almost closing. What's worse is I have to be in for work at 9:30am.

News Stories of Interest

The Sardar Has Spoken
A Canadian radio station has been censured for broadcasting "abusive" remarks about the Sikh community. Psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux, host of the Doc Mailloux phone-in show on Montreal's CKAC-AM station, had referred to Sikhs as a "gang of bozos".

Power-hungry PCs cost users dear
People who cannot be bothered to turn off their computers properly are costing both the environment and their own pockets dear, a study has concluded.
Computer magazine PC Pro measured the electricity consumed by PCs, printers and TVs. It found many devices were extremely hungry when it comes to eating power.

Two Journalists Arrested for Saying President Heard Ghosts
Reporters Without Borders today called for charges to be dropped against two Malawian journalists who were arrested yesterday for reporting "false news" after they quoted an aide to President Bingu wa Mutharika as saying the president had abandoned his official residence because he believed it was haunted.

Only in Malawi :-)

Well i'm going to try give sleep another chance. If you like dance music & the show 24 on Fox, check out the 24 theme - the longest day (armin van buuren dub) on the digi-fix.com website. Its pretty neat.

To Linux or not to Linux..
That WAS the question. I just finished downloading Red Hat Linux 10 (Fedora). There are 4 CD's (ISO image downloads) and 1 recovery CD.

My Plan:

- Install a dual WinXP & Fedora on my "powerful" machine.
- Install Windows Server 2003 on my pentium 2 machine for "server" purposes.

The Idea:

- To mess with Linux & get a feel for it.
- To use MONO (.Net for Linux) & get a feel for it.

Long Term Goals:

- The world seems to love Linux cause its "free". Is it really worth it?
- Maybe if the job market trend suddenly spurts to Linux, I might at least know a tincy bit.
- I might even try writing device drivers for Linux again (I wrote a PCI device driver a Loooonnnngggg time ago).

South Park
So you wanna watch South Park but you don't own a diamond mine to pay the cable company with & you don't run Kazzaa cause it's wrong! Well what does a moral but bankrupt (as opposed to "morally bankrupt" hehe!) person like you do?

Download from http://www.digi-fix.com/ thats what!!!!

All the latest episodes are put up there in RAR form. Download, unrar and enjoy. WARNING - Sell your soul to Real Player at your own choosing!!
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Access Denied!
Seems the access to our labs etc has been revoked all of a sudden today! Yep, elevator access is DENIED! No idea whats up. Tried calling facilities management but they don't handle that sort of thing so who knows when its gonna get fixed. So, i'm going to be in the lab till late. Say around 9 or 10pm. Downloading stuff from the ELMS site at school so its gonna take a while.

Lucky for me I have 2 new albumns to listen to as I wile the time away.

Music - JBT + Queens of the Stone Age
I just bought:
Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze
The John Butler Trio - Sunrise Over Sea

The Queens of the Stone Age sounds pretty nice so far. I am ripping it as I write this. I'll keep you updated on how it is.

For now..here's a review of the albumn Lullabies to Paralyze from Allmusic.com

Before heading into the studio in early 2004 to record the fourth Queens of the Stone Age album, Lullabies to Paralyze, the band's guitarist/vocalist/chief songwriter, Josh Homme, kicked out bassist Nick Oliveri for undisclosed reasons. Since Homme and Oliveri were longtime collaborators, dating back to the 1990 formation of their previous band, Kyuss, this could have been a cause for concern, but QOTSA is not an ordinary band, so ordinary rules do not apply. Throughout their history, from Kyuss through Queens of the Stone Age's 2002 breakthrough Songs for the Deaf, Homme and Oliveri have been in bands whose lineups were as steady as quicksand; their projects were designed to have a revolving lineup of musicians, so they can withstand the departure of key musicians, even one as seemingly integral to the grand scheme as Oliveri -- after all, he left Kyuss in 1994 and the band carried on without him. Truth is, the mastermind behind QOTSA has always been Josh Homme -- he's the common thread through the Kyuss and QOTSA albums, the guy who has explored a similar musical vision on his side project the Desert Sessions -- and since he's wildly indulging his obsessions on Lullabies to Paralyze, even hardcore fans will be hard-pressed to notice the absence of Oliveri here. Sure, there are some differences -- most notably, Lullabies lacks the manic metallic flourishes of their earlier work, and the gonzo humor and gimmicks, such as the radio DJ banter on Deaf, are gone -- but it all sounds like an assured, natural progression from the tightly wound, relentless Songs for the Deaf. That album contained genuine crossover pop tunes in "No One Knows" and "Go With the Flow," songs that retained QOTSA's fuzzy, heavy neo-psychedelic hard rock and were channeled through an irresistible melodic filter that gave the music a serious sexiness that was nearly as foreign to the band as the undeniable pop hooks. Homme has pulled off a surprise of a similar magnitude on Lullabies to Paralyze -- he doesn't walk away from these breakthroughs but marries them to the widescreen art rock of R and dark, foreboding metal of Kyuss, resulting in a rich, late-night cinematic masterpiece. One of the reasons QOTSA have always been considered a musician's band is that they are masters of mood, either sustaining tension over the course of a six-minute epic or ratcheting up excitement in the course of a two-minute blast, all while using a familiar palette of warm, fuzz-toned guitars, ghostly harmonies, and minor-key melodies. While Lullabies is hardly a concept album, its songs play off each other as if it were a song cycle, progressing from the somber Mark Lanegan-sung opening salvo of "This Lullaby" and steadily growing spookier with each track, culminating in the scary centerpiece "Someone's in the Wolf." The key to QOTSA's darkness is that it's delivered seductively -- this isn't an exercise in shallow nihilism, there's pleasure in succumbing to its eerie, sexy fantasies -- and that seductiveness is all musical. Specific lyrics don't matter as much as how Homme's voice blends into the band as all the instruments bleed together as one, creating an elastic, hypnotic force that finds endless, fascinating variations on a seemingly simple sound. Simply put, there is no other rock band in 2005 that is as pleasurable to hear play as QOTSA -- others may rock harder or take more risks, but no one has the command and authority of Queens at their peak, which they certainly are here. They are so good, so natural on Lullabies to Paralyze that it's easy to forget that they just lost Oliveri, but that just makes Homme's triumph here all the more remarkable. He's not only proven that he is the driving force of Queens of the Stone Age, but he's made an addictive album that begs listeners to get lost in its ever-shifting moods and slyly sinister sensuality.

Damn Its 12:30am already!!!
How quickly time flies when your doing nothing. I came home early to get some sleep so I can get into work early and get some serious stuff done.

Anyways, I guess it will have to be a bit later now. I ordered some stuff from Newegg.com. Nothing major, just a microphone/headset $2.75. A Kinwin external usb 3.5" hd enclosure for my spare 250GB hd for $28.47. Finally, a USB-2 PS/2 port cable for my KVM switch for $7.49.

Total is $38.73. Those thugs then charged me $14.78 for shipping on Fedex Express Saver. What a rip off but sadly, I didn't realize my error before the order was processed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Audible.com - A sad tale.
I have been a big audible.com fan since Dec 2003 when I got my IPOD for the sole purpose of listening to Audiobooks. I had at that time felt that my "consumption" of lesuire reading was non-existant and so I decided to take on the $20 a month subscription to pay for the two books a month I got in return. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I managed to get the complete Terry Pratchett series. From his first book to the latest one, i've heard them all. Every night, I let my computer play a book as I lie in bed and listen to the story.

Sadly, I will have to shut down my subscription after April 10th. Unfortunately, I've spent way too much money on these "books". At last count - $20/month * 16 months = $320. I've got 43 books (actually I bought some books too) so I spent $400 on books.

43 books. I never realized just how many I had. Its worth every penny I spent on it. I might restart it when I have a proper job but for now, funding is low and this is a $20 a month I can't spend anymore.

So long, Adieu & Thanks for all the fish!

JBT - Music
Tonight just by chance, I got to listen to the beautiful sounds of John Butler Trio. This Australian group was performing one of their songs from their new albumn Sunrise Over Sea on the David Letterman Show. Now, I'm pretty skeptical of groups who show up on these "Shows" but sometimes, just sometimes you get to hear sounds that make you tap your toes and join in with lyrics your hardly know and really make up.

Here is a review of their 2005 albumn from allmusic.com

The John Butler Trio's U.S. debut album, Sunrise Over Sea, is phenomenal — from the opening notes of "Treat Yo Mama," a muscular and soulfully expressive roots rocker, to the final strains of the expansive, ten-minute-long opus "Sometimes." The John Butler Trio is arguably the best musical group Australia has to offer in 2005, and Butler's superb, bluesy riffs and innovative melodies are only part of the JBT musical equation. The sturdy rhythm section of Shannon Birchall (on bass) and Michael Barker (on drums) gives added life to hit contenders like the powerful "Company Sin" and the buoyant, breezy "Better Man." If the mid-album blues vignette "Damned to Hell" seems an ill fit at first, its lo-fi, banjo-strummed presentation shifts effortlessly into the warm, heartfelt "Hello." On occasion, as with the uplifting acoustic number "Peaches & Cream," Butler's voice recalls the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis, but Butler and his bandmembers are without question on their own trip. And one only needs to hear the magical love song "Seeing Angels" to feel the trio's transcendental power.

This group is definately going to be my next purchase.

Seven Thousand'th Visitor
Yep. It was just a few weeks ago that I myself became visitor # 4000. And now, its #7000 for me.

Indian food & how to cook it

My good friend Vivek kindly posted a PDF file on his website with 332 indian recipies. Good stuff. And if your cooking, make a little extra for me. :-)
Monday, March 28, 2005

Ut 2004 Again
Did I or did I not say that I kicked ass. Lookie here. 26 holy shits.

And here's a view of me getting the holy shit with a head shot!

Unreal Tournament 2004 Holy Shit
Yep. Thats right. 12 Holy Shit Kills. I'm also Unstoppable. I rule UT!!!

Finally I am writing again
Sorry to say i've been sick for the last 2 weeks. Some virus or something. Whats worse, my jaw hurts now. I guess old age is creeping up. So a while back...about 7 years, one of my molars broke and left the never in the gums. Turns out this is VERY VERY bad and can get infected and would need the section of gum and jaw removed permanently. SO I need to get the nerve out. Of course being a student, we have NO dental coverage. Stupid health care!! As a result, instead of this costing me 200 dollars max, i'd need to shell out much more all out of my own pocket and it stinks cause i'm broke.

So...I need a job...and quick! I need medical coverage so that I can get that damn nerve out of my gums and not have this pain.

Theres a limit to how much Motrin 600mg you can take for the pain. Yesterday I took two and I felt my heart beating faster, my breathing was shallow and I didn't feel at all well.

So..if someone wants to hire me or knows of any jobs that will sponsor a H1, I would be most happy to hear from you. :-)

As the saying goes...Give me a job or give me death! (well close enough...)

P.S. Is it illegal for a dentist's firm to not send you your records if you request them? I went to a dentist in San diego when I was there for a conference to get the pain meds and they won't send me my records even after they say they will. What should i do?
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Tempe Improv with Jim Gaffigan

Friday, March 11, 2005

Ode to Yesterday!
I had the distinct pleasure to meet a guy from M$ yesterday by the name of Brett Humphrey. He's an extremely bright and cool guy. (He tells a story about how a friend of his at apple sent him a new IPOD and as a joke, he wants to load WinCE onto it and send it back!) We talked to him for about 2 hrs and Sreekar (person I work with & all around cool guy) demonstrated his part of the project which is the face recognition. He even captured Brett's visage, uploaded it into the database and managed to make the app recognize him; all in a matter of minuted. Sreekar and team(vivek & greg) have done a marvellous job with the face recognition. (But it uses java...shhh! Don't tell them I told you!)

Other things we talked to Brett about was how "inept" SAPI is, what can be done about it and how we should approach the issue. Also on the agenda for our coversation was how you create a WYSIWYG XML editor. The idea being that HTML editors use the WYSIWYG approach to allow you to create html without you having to know HTML. In the same way we want a "Word" like application that instead of using .doc files will use .xml files. I think we gave Brett something to think about.

Brett very kindly offered to come back today (friday) to help us (me!) design a "core" for the XML editor thingy. I can't wait! This man has worked on so many different projects at MS. I'm just salavating at the opportunity to work with someone who has years of industry experience, esp with design & knows so much.

On that note, CUbiC, where I work, has just deployed iCare Reader v1.0.1. This monumentous occasion was marked with the setting up of a Reader station at the ASU Disability Resources Center. I had the pleasure of giving a few of the people there a run through of our app. I must say, they were all very thrilled and excited with the prospect of using the Reader. Its days like this that give you joy in knowing that what you do can help someone else. I would like to get pictures of the new iCare Reader put up on the CUbiC Website. So far all of the pictures are of the older versions. This new one is sleak. Its all black and it just looks so nice!

Thats my ode to yesterday and I'm sticking to it. Ole!
Thursday, March 10, 2005

BBC World Serice Radio
GOD I missed this beautiful thing. The beeps just before the news. And then informative, worldwide news coverage. I need to make it a point to get these and listen to them. Ideas?

C'est Moi est la Precious!
5:15 am and I'm one question away from finishing the hwk...finally! Can you see the glee in my expression. The GLEE!!!

The monitors look cool. I did a new gradient desktop and I like it. Especially with the lights out. I Love my Monitors :-)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I woke up
I woke up at 10pm. Groggily walked to the kitchen. Had some water, plopped down on the couch for 10 min while the simpsons was on. And now I'm starving. I wish I could get indian food delivered to me at a cheap rate. That would so make my life. Well enough of that delusion :-) and back to the footlong subway veggie thingies. Its a salad in a bun!

Nevermind the last post
I need to wait 20 min for the ipod battery to charge up so i can have some music while I make my way home. So today I learnt about RSA. We got to see a proof of why RSA works. Boy I am thoroughly confused. I know what I'm doing during spring break. So much for having fun.

Oh SCORE!!! Enjoy this Win32 to Microsoft .NET API Map.

Killing me slowly...
I really should stop this business of staying up for days on end. I've been up since 6am on Tuesday. I need to stay up more. Have to finish that dam homework still.

Then I need to prepare the iCare Reader machine for deployment to the DRC. Yes, we are deploying iCare Reader v1.0.1 on thursday at 1pm. I just hope there aren't lots of people around because I'm looking more and more like a mix between a zombie and a sleepy dog.

I need to brush my teeth too...yech...and take a shower....hmm...maybe I should go home...take shower, brush...sleep for at least 3hrs and then come back.

Ok so see ya all in 4 hrs then :-)

Welcome To The New Ankh Morpork's Finest Coder Blog!
Welcome to the new Ankh Morpork's Finest Coder Blog! As you will notice, the whole blog template has been redesigned and chiseled to perfection by moi. I'm still not too happy about the color of the Title but thats a minor issue.

The yearn for change was spawned with the new & refreshing look from Appwiz's blog. Also please note, there is now a "Links" section on the sidebar to the left. Here I shall post some of the "blogstars" I have come to visit on a daily basis. Truth be told, this format now allows me to add more content or post more piccies to fill the wide open spaces.

Homework Sucks!
Just thought you should know...HOMEWORK SUCKS! I was so bored with the hwk that I decided to write a program to do some very meanial work. Thats for question 1. This is horrible code. Don't ever write this. I'm bored and desperate so i'm excused. Besides, the grader is not looking for code. I'm gonna include it just because I can. I'm CS goddamit! I WILL WRITE CODE! THAT IS MY MANIFESTO! EVERY HOMEWORK WILL HAVE CODE IN IT!

using System;
using System.Collections;

public class MyClass
public static void Main()
string s = "SENDMOREMONEY";
string e = "CASHNOTNEEDED";
int [] x = {9, 0, 1, 7, 23, 15, 21, 14, 11, 11, 2, 8, 9};
ArrayList encryptResult = new ArrayList();

Encrypt(ref s, ref x, ref encryptResult);

Console.Write("Decryption Pad \t= ");
for(int i = 0; i < e.Length; i++)
char c = e[i];
int want = (int)c - 64;

int have = (int)encryptResult[i];

int res = want - have;

if(res < 0)
res = 26 + res;

Console.Write(res + " " );

int w = Console.Read();

public static void Encrypt(ref string s, ref int[] x, ref ArrayList list1)
if(s.Length == x.Length)
ArrayList list = new ArrayList();

Console.Write(s + "\t= ");
for(int i = 0; i < s.Length; i++)
char c = s[i];
int curr = (int)c - 64;
Console.Write(curr + " ");

Console.Write("Pad \t\t= ");
foreach(int y in x)
Console.Write(y + " ");

Console.Write("Encrypted \t= ");
for(int j = 0; j < list.Count; j++)
int y = (int)list[j];
int next = (y + x[j]) % 26;
char c = (char)(next + 64);
Console.Write( c + " ");

Friday the 11th
Plan: A few friends and I are setting up a Spring Break Pre Party. (actually its the only party for spring break thus far...we are all poor college kids with nowhere to go).

6pm - Meet at Vine for quick dinner and beer
6:50pm - Go to Tempe Improv to see comic Jim Gaffigan
10pm - Go to see Robots at Harkins
12am - Go to Four Peaks for "night cap"

x:zz am - Come back home & crash

y:tt pm - Reboot!

{x, y, zz and tt are unknown variables in our equation.}

This plan is brought to you by your host, Nero Valentine (I'm Nero Valentine silly).
Tuesday, March 08, 2005

1:30am & I'm...
Reading - Communications using Symmetric Cryptography in the book Applied Cryptography. Author is Bruce Schneier.

Listening to
- Gomez, Ballad of Nice & Easy (Albumn is In Our Gun).

- water in a 40oz. Subway cup.

- eclipse mints (what can i say...nothing's open at this hour).

Sitting in - my office on the 3rd floor (above a borders bookstore).

Sitting on - a very comfy "steel case" chair.

Planning t0 - read till 7 or 8am and then head home for a few hrs of sleep.

TechEd 2005
Scott Hanselman has the TechEd 2005 Badges proudly displayed on his site. So to give meaning to TechEd on my Blog, here is my contribution.

TechEd 2005 - Orlando. I won't be there Cause I'm Poor!!!

Thats me...being shocked at how much it costs to go to TechEd....us college students never get to go anywhere cool. Why M$ WHY??? :-)
Monday, March 07, 2005

What are the odds?
I found this quite hilarious.

Odds of being killed by lightning (per day) - 1 in 9 billion (2^33)
Odds of winning the top prize in a U.S. state lottery - 1 in 4 million (2^22)

Odds of winning the top prize in a US state lottery and being killed by lightning in the same day - 1 in 2^55

Albums I need to get. - Scratch that I got!
Gomez - Split the Difference
Massive Attack - Blue Lines (5/5 - All Music)

Gomez "Fever"
For those who know Gomez, you should understand the pun of this blog entry's title, "Fever" from the song Rosemary.

Over the last few weeks, I have been listening to nothing but Gomez. I find the lyrics to be so deep and soothing. The accompanyment of the musical instruments doesn't "clatter" the sound they produce but rather fits like a jigsaw puzzle. My favourite songs are We haven't Turned Around and Rosemary. They say that there is a mix of blues in their vibe. And I whole heartedly agree. To quote "the feeling of being lost in both love and art is paramount." Rosemary reminds me a bit of the old 60's & 70's french music my dad for some reason had.

Holy Shit! I was right. I just looked up Rosemary on Allmusic & even they say "A fabulous slice of modern-day psychedelic music, it accurately captures what many '60s-influenced bands hope to aspire to."

History of the ID
In September of 1990, a group of game developers from Softdisk, a computer software publisher in Shreveport, Los Angeles, moonlighted by working on a project utilizing an engine that Softdisk didn't want used in their own games. Why? Because the engine didn't work in CGA, like the restof the company's games. That turned out to be a big mistake.

The game the group had developed was released as shareware in December, and in January the group left Softdisk based on the game's success to start their own company. The rest, as they say, is history. That little company was called id Software; the company that went on to produce such megahits as Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and Quake. Their first game? Commander Keen.

Commander Keen is a pretty fine platform game in which you play a boy genius, Billy Blaze. You have to collect toys and candies. There are weird enemies in the game. The game isn't only for kids, it's a true delight for gamers of all ages.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Weeeee....I have 4000!!!

Apparently, I was the 4000'th person to visit my own site. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Questions on C#
Mike Stall's C# pop-quiz about equality. Given a local variable x declared of type ‘int’, what do the following C# expressions evaluate to?

  1. x == x
  2. (object) x == (object) x
  3. (System.Object) x == (System.Object) x
  4. (int) (object) x == (int) (object) x
  5. (float) x == (float) x
  6. (int) x == (int) x
  7. (int) x == (float) x
  8. (float) (int) x == (int) (float) x
  9. (System.Int32) x == (System.Int32) x
  10. x.ToString() == x.ToString()
  11. (object) x.ToString() == (object) x.ToString()

The Answers.

I watched this movie last night. Its quite an interesting story. While at some points you are left wondering how the main characters know these other characters, on the whole its quite nice. And the best part is that when you see an intense martial arts sequence, you'll most likely see it again in action replay from a different angle. The martial arts they use in the film is Muay Thai. Its quite deadly but these guys seem to handle it with no worries. Apparently all stunts are done with the people, no stunt doubles, no cgi graphics. Its all them. So as a spoiler, when you see the main character, Ting, kick someone in the chest, they are being kicked alright! The action sequences at some points made me cringe. It can't be explained. You have to see it to know what I'm talking about.

So go see it!
Saturday, March 05, 2005

Life is an undulating emotional experience
Up and down, up and down. Why?
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

BillyG is to be knighted
Slashdot and all are buzzing about Bill Gates getting a knighthood. But this is OLD news. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3428673.stm

His shield will be "The Blue Shield of Death."

Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire or KCOTMEOOTBE Or Knights of the Old Republic - British Empire Edition

(Darth Raymond) "I challenge you to a duel, Master Gates."
(Jedi Gates) "All right, just let me boot up my light saber."

10 minutes pass

(G) "Ok, my blade's on."
(R) "Then to battle!"
(G) "No, wait, now I need to turn on Windows Media Player so I can change my saber color."

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The next chapter in the Elder Scrolls role-playing game series has been in development since 2002.
Here's a sample. More available on gamespot.

Halo 3
IGN has an article claiming to reveal a few rumours from around the industry. The most interesting of these rumours is the possibility that Halo 3 is in the works already, and what's more is being targeted at the PS3 launch date in an effort to undermine Sony. From the article: "The release of Halo 3 at the precise launch of PS3 is a pure, military tactical move, similar to the PS2's greatest lineup ever launching simultaneously with the launch of the Xbox and GameCube. It's designed to counter Sony's upcoming launch with the best weapon Earth has on its side, Master Chief."

Magnetic Stripe Snooping at Home

"Have you ever wondered what information is actually stored on all those cards you have in your wallet? Well, it turns out you can find out yourself! An excellent project, Stripe Snoop started by Billy Hoffman, a Georgia Tech computer science student, contains schematics, source code and a wide variety of information about the standards used to store all sorts of information on your magnetic cards."

This reads much like the RFID2 shamble where a malicious user can find out the details on your RFID card by using a hand held scanner. "Crypto-enabled RFID products, including Mobil SpeedPass and various car keys, have been defeated utterly by Avi Rubin, et. al. Details are at rfidanalysis.org. An academic paper is also available."

Blog Was Down But Now its Up
The blog has been down due to a FTP error on my server. It was corrected in 2 seconds by the very capable brinkster live help. So now I can post as usual.

Digital Certificates & .Net
C# & Digital Certificates. Our crypto class is gonna have a project using Digital Certificates but they want us to do it in java....JAVA! To which I say...AAAHHHEEELLL NO! So I thought I'd mess around with the X.509 stuff.
Cool Articles:

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