Monday, December 26, 2011

me, mulan and my friend's lab tuffy

babysitting my friend's lab till the 10th. the giant dog is just9-10months old :D
when he's not sleeping, he drives us nuts






Friday, December 23, 2011

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Just read Suzanne Collin's book- The Hunger Games

Been a while since i read something i just couldn't put down. the story is rivetting from the get go. you get some tid bits about the world while the protagonist takes you through in first person narrative...while hunting and going about her daily illegal regimen ;) and then you learn about the annual deathmatch reality show that the book is named after.

Collins says that the idea for The Hunger Games came to her one day when she was switching between multiple television channels. The lines between a reality show competition and war coverage "began to blur in this very unsettling way." [6] She also cites the Greek myth of Theseus, in which the city of Athens was forced to send young men and women to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, as inspiration for the nation of Panem; she explains, "Crete was sending a very clear message: 'Mess with us and we'll do something worse than kill you. We'll kill your children.'" [6] Collins also said that similar stories hit her hard when she was young, since her father fought in the Vietnam War and she was frightened knowing that he was there.-wikipedia

this was the first book i read on my tab using the Kindle app. Read the whole book in under 12hrs.. pretty much my speed with a printed copy.. so looks like this Kindle/ebook reading mania has something to it! have already picked up the 2 sequels... looking forward to some good holiday reading now ;)

infact am also looking forward to the movie now

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Batman Arkham City

Was a bit anxious after reading terrible reviews of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.. but i had no choice, i'd already preorderred it months back.. so just had to wait and see what i got.(all screenshots were taken from my machine using Steam's Screenshot feature)

The technology:
Was a bit painful to begin the game.. Mainly because of the DRM.. Games for Windows Live had to do a few updates before i could actually start the game!..

the menu is fantastic..its made up of freeze frames from a shot of batman leaping off a roof.. when you click a button it plays through a few seconds and freezes at the next screen

i quite enjoyed going back and forth.

i played a few minutes in the default settings.. which looked pretty decent.. but there was a terrible audio stuttering issue. Not to mention some jerkyness during the fight parts. So i restarted the game.. but with a reduced resolution.. left all other settings switched on default. That did the trick.

The Storytelling
the story blew me away from the start. You start with catwoman fighting some thugs near a vault somewhere in Arkham City.. and then she gets captured by Two Face. The story then shifts to the entrance of the prison city, where Bruce Wayne is holding a press conference and protesting the existence of the controversial prison.

He gets captured by some stormtrooper/commando types(working for Hugo Strange) and is taken to Hugo.


the following screenshots will be enough to prove that all batman fans need to play this game! The game looks great on my 2-3yr old dell! ...

Batman Arkham City

Was a bit anxious after reading terrible reviews of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.. but i had no choice, i'd already preorderred it months back.. so just had to wait and see what i got.(all screenshots were taken from my machine using Steam's Screenshot feature)

The technology:
Was a bit painful to begin the game.. Mainly because of the DRM.. Games for Windows Live had to do a few updates before i could actually start the game!..

the menu is fantastic..its made up of freeze frames from a shot of batman leaping off a roof.. when you click a button it plays through a few seconds and freezes at the next screen

i quite enjoyed going back and forth.

i played a few minutes in the default settings.. which looked pretty decent.. but there was a terrible audio stuttering issue. Not to mention some jerkyness during the fight parts. So i restarted the game.. but with a reduced resolution.. left all other settings switched on default. That did the trick.

The Storytelling
the story blew me away from the start. You start with catwoman fighting some thugs near a vault somewhere in Arkham City.. and then she gets captured by Two Face. The story then shifts to the entrance of the prison city, where Bruce Wayne is holding a press conference and protesting the existence of the controversial prison.

He gets captured by some stormtrooper/commando types(working for Hugo Strange) and is taken to Hugo.


the following screenshots will be enough to prove that all batman fans need to play this game! The game looks great on my 2-3yr old dell! ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Acer iconia tab - verdict


After more than a month of use heres my verdict:

the Acer Tab A500 can do the usual stuff that other tabs can, like:

general use - great for reading webpages, twitter feeds, cbr(comic books), pdf etc
video playback - is fair.. depending on what app your using(players with gpu support can take advantage of the tegra)
gaming - until the tegra 3 only games come along.. this is pretty much as good as the best.
hdmi out - self explainatory
(havn't tried coz i have no tv or monitor to try it with :P )
art - as a designer/illustrator this is a major boon for me. coupled with Autodesk Sketchbook pro and Adobe Ideas.. i've already started using it in my actual art workflow.

cameras - have only used them(front and rear) for skype and putting a photograph into one of the art apps(ideas and sketchbook) for tracing. worked well for that.

stuff it can do that other tabs can't:

standard usb port: with the honeycomb 3.2 update it can play videos and other media from an external hdd or pen drive.

potentially unlimited storage: i keep almost all my movies on a pen drive or my 1tb portable.. and can play them on the tab via the standard usb port.. no need for cumbersome adapters(see this if you don't believe me)


Acer gives you 3 games (preloaded). when you go to the gameloft site you get 3 more premium(thd grade) games free.

so if your a gamer(like me).. this is a smarter choice than even the transformer(based on a few gripes i heard firsthand about this from transformer and xoom owners)..

lots of hacks and roms and support on XDA forums.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photos to 3d models with FOSS

Decided to do a tutorial on how to turn photos of objects into 3d models free and opensource software(just figured out this stuff last night)

In this example i took pictures of my coworker Anoop and turned that into a 3d model.


.
I used the following software:

Pix resizer(for batch optimising the camera images.. . you can skip this if you like): http://pixresizer.en.softonic.com/

Autodesk 123D Catch (for using Autodesk's free cloud service):
http://www.123dapp.com/catch

Blender (for further editing of the 3d model):
http://www.blender.org/

The Social Radio

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Social Radio

Found this today..
its an app that reads out your tweets for you. Had been looking for it a while back, but never found an app that did it till now.

the added feature is that it can play your music in the background.

good idea, been waiting for this app for a while.. but it wasn't logging in to twitter on my acer a500 tab :( reinstalled again but no use.

works on my gt i5801 though..

get it here (market)

SIZE: 2.8M
PRICE: Free
average rating: ?????
my rating: ????? (-1 because it won't run on my tab)

UPDATE:
Been it touch(several mails and tips exchanged) with Roberto Gluck at www.thesocialradio.com he's been trying to solve my tablet issue. really appreciate the effort on their part.

update: they sent me a .apk to try out on my tab.. it worked! my revised rating: : ?????

random interesting stuff at the Sunday Soul Santhe

Sunday, December 11, 2011

random interesting stuff at the Sunday Soul Santhe

Fire dancers at sunday soul santhe
[flickr video=6497807977 secret=753b4ac601 w=600 h=338]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Soul Sante this weekend!

Soul Sante this weekend!

its Kingfisher soul sante time this sunday .... 11 dec .. palace grounds.
this time we have atleast 100 lamps, eco friendly tshirts and bags available..


to see what it looked like last time click here and here

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Bypass online censorship

spending the day phone free

How to Bypass online censorship

So theres a lot of chatter online about certain people in the govt. who want to censor facebook, twitter and other online social platforms/sites/networks.

Obviously the parties proposing this have no clue about how technology works..
so this post will either
a) go over their heads
b) make them thank me for giving them pointers on more effective ways to block content(best of luck with that)
c) make them say even more ridiculous stuff (like "ban all web enabled devices")

in any case, for those of you panicking that FB or Twitter will get blocked in india or something like that, heres how you can access them through any firewall(even your office one).

So here are a few Ways To Access Blocked Sites(whichever part of the world you may be in)on your desktop(for android tablets and other devices click here).

1) Redirection using a URL shrinker
Sometimes its just the URL thats been banned. Converting it to another shorter URL with short URL services like bit.ly , MooURL, SnipURL etc.. might work..

2) The Wayback Machine Archives
The Wayback Machine is an online service that periodically keeps a copy of almost all websites on the Internet.. in some cases from the date they first went live! Clicking on the latest copy of what Wayback Machine has should give you access to a slightly older version of the blocked site.

3) Use a Proxy website
these sites let you to take advantage of their proxy or domain to surf other sites as anonymous. The drawbacks are speed.. and in most cases flash content won't work.
Just google the word "proxy" and try any of the resulting sites.

4) Use a translation service like AltaVista BabelFish, Google Translate to view a translated version of the blocked site.(basically the translated version will be coming to you via their site rather than the blocked domain). You can even use the same site to retranslate back to english.

5) If it a news site or blog, then all you need to do is Subscribe To its RSS Feed
and read it with an RSS reader, or have it send the new posts directly to your email.

6) Use Tor - www.torproject.org

or one of the browser bundles they provide.
(i prefer the older OperaTor(uses opera) as it requires no configuration at all)

for more ways to access blocked site, google "ways to access blocked sites" or go here

for android tablets and other devices try orbot

to learn more click here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

spending the day phone free


forgot to put my phone in my pocket before leaving home today!
..been years since i did that :P
now i get to spend the day phone free..