December 30, 2010

Minolta 28-100mm

The kit lens I got with my Sony maxes out at 70mm. The 35-70mm minolta, though it gives excellent photos, is limited to the same focal length. I was on the lookout for a telescopic lens, particularly a 100-300mm or the 75-300mm "Beer can" which is quite rare now. Among the daily alerts I get for the subscribed keyword "minolta" on ebay, most are for lens caps and accessories but one day the effort paid off! A guy was selling his defunct Sony A100 alongwith a Minolta 28-100 macro lens. I PMed him asking whether he was willing to sell the lens individually. He relisted it immediately. Bhaiya came to the rescue when Dad's card failed and ordered if for me pronto.

The seller, even after selling it dirt cheap, was kind enough to throw in a Marumi UV filter and a original Minolta lens hood! A great deal indeed.

At the wide end, the equivalent focal length translates to about 42mm at f3.5 which is fine for portraits. The focal length at the other end is 150mm which should came in handy for some shooting distant objects. Will try for a larger focal length when I've saved enough.

Below are a couple of test shots:

December 24, 2010

Schooldayz: 2004 Tsunami

At the enrichment camp...

If it wasn't for one of our "petu" friends insisting on eating breakfast first, our sunday morning stroll to Kalpakkam beach would have been our last.

December 2004. Atomic Energy Central School-2, Kalpakkam. It was the last day of Enrichment camp, an annual affair where all the so-called "bright" students congregated from about 20 schools nationwide. I don't know how I made it to the team.... the scorns I got in the class reflected that pretty well. Bharat, Sandhya and I were representing Manuguru. I suppose they were the real deal and I was backup.

All was fun...

Four days went by fast and we had a real great time. Physics, Chemistry, mathematics.... science biggies were called in to lecture and inspire us. I remember how, in the mathematics class, I watched helplessly as everyone around me was having wicked fun answering questions. Physics and chemistry were ok though and I had no trouble keeping up. We skipped biology classes and
spent time in the library where I finished a Jack Higgins novel.

We even won a quiz...

On the fourth day, a quiz programme was announced and we wrote a small screening test with questions that varied from science to sports. Bharat and I made it and were to take on three more teams in the final showdown. Meanwhile, Sandhya read poetry onstage and we missed most of it. Then the quiz. My first time on stage and it had to be in Kalpakkam! The home team was there too and we were kinda sure we'd be ripped apart in minutes. Turned out, it was the best fun I ever had! After a nail biting series of rounds, the final quickfire was were we got the edge. For the last question I did something which still cracks me up... I was to name the sports personality from the picture shown. I knew the answer but not how it was pronounced.

I wrote it down for Bharat to read, to which the quiz master quipped "Are you solving it or what?". Bharat slowly read it out like it was written YE-LEE-NA ISAN-BA-YE-YA. Bingo! Right answer! We won the quiz.

The principal gave us a nice pat and handhsake when we got down stage. Sandhya and another girl congratulated too but our enigmatic Sir didn't even smile.

We went to our rooms all fired up... waiting for prize distribution the next day. The next day would be the most shocking and memorable day of my life... and no prize.

and then it happened....

It was Sunday. One of the friends I'd made, who was from Kaiga, suggested we skip breakfast and spend some time on the beach. His friend shrugged it off and settled down for his meal, which was served in the school hall. We all drew up our chairs in a circle and sat down. We were
almost finished with breakfast when a few kids ran in through the front gate screaming. They were sobbing and muttered something in tamil I couldnt quite catch. The vice principal then screamed "EVERYONE!!! UP!!!" We left our folders and bags on the chairs as we ran upstairs. Through a small window on the stircase I saw what the commotion was all about.... water. It
came with such force and in such quantity, it freaked the hell out of me. It took a mere minute to flood the whole ground floor.

The sea water had picked up the red mud from the nearby ground(from where the kids had come running). All chairs, bags, our folders and Bharat's camera were washed away. We then went into a classroom facing the sea and saw to our shock, another big wave coming in. Bikes, bicycles and scooters were floating around in what was left of the parking shelter. There was no sign of the school gate.... nothing at all. We prayed for our lives as there was only one floor and a further rise in water level meant we were done for.

I don't mean to self-pat but I told Bharat it looked like a Tsunami(I'd read about it Cussler's Dragon). My doubts were cleared when a Physics teacher confirmed, it was announced on radio that a major earthquake off the coast of Indonesia had created a massive tsunami.

the horror...

The water subsided in about 20 minutes leaving behind a trail of destruction everywhere. The principal's office, the record room, the library... all were ruined beyond repair. Rescue buses were called in which took us to Anupuram colony where we were given a classroom for refuge. Most of the the kalpkkam residents were there. I borrowed a cellphone and sent an sms home that I was safe. We left for Chennai the next day at dawn and stayed at Sir's place before catching the train back home. I didn't take my Kodak to the camp(I still can't figure out why) and Bharat's camera was washed away in that big devastating wave that killed thousands...

Near the End

Near the End by Mat Zo. Now that's trance!!! Only speakers with good low frequencies can get this one right. Non subwoofer configs needn't even bother.

December 14, 2010

I saw 19

I recently came across this list by Visual Effects Society of what they think are the Top 50 visual effects films of all time. Indeed, many of the movies are timeless classics... though I'm not too sure about the pre 50s ones. The one's I've seen are in bold. 19 in all :-)

50 most influential VFX films of all time:

1. Star Wars (1977)
2. Blade Runner (1982)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3. The Matrix (1999)
5. Jurassic Park (1993)
6. Tron (1982)
7. King Kong (1933)
8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
9. Alien (1979)
10. The Abyss (1989)
11. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
12. Metropolis (1927)
13. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
14. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
15. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
18. Titanic (1997)
19. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
20. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
20. E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
22. Toy Story (1995)
23. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
24. The Ten Commandments (1956)
25. The War of the Worlds (1953)
25. Forrest Gump (1994)
25. Citizen Kane (1941)
25 The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
30. The Terminator (1984)
31. Aliens (1986)
32. Mary Poppins (1964)
33. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
34. Forbidden Planet (1956)
35. Babe (1995)
36. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
36. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
38. King Kong (2005)
39. Planet of the Apes (1968)
40. Fantastic Voyage (1966)
41. Jaws (1975)
41. Ghostbusters (1984)
43. Sin City (2005)
44. Superman: The Movie (1978)
45. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
46. The Lost World (1925)
46. Return of the Jedi (1983)
48. What Dreams May Come (1998)
49. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
50. Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1958)
50. The Fifth Element (1997)

I never got around to watching Star Wars...don't know why. Will watch it in full HD glory on my new Benq G2220HD and Creative 4.1 !
In picture: From Blade Runner, this scene will remain my favorite for a long long time. Beautiful, poetic, chill inducing, sombre... I'm running out of words.

December 9, 2010

Speed of Light

Too many trance posts, I know. I have nothing else to write about now.

Speed of light by Alphawezen from Lounge Couture vol. 2

Touch me
I am losing shape
Look I am invisible
Can you say my name

If there's a perfect sky that we came from
We'll be like stars forever shining on

Catch me
I am almost there
How can I be near
I am highspeed
I am everywhere

I couldn't catch your smile
You are blinded by another side
I couldn't say goodbye
You are traveling at the speed of light

You and me
We never cross the boundary
That's how I know you
I can hear you say

You and me
We never unweil mysteries
Once you are shining
We never tried again

You and me
We never cross the boundary
That's how I know you
I can hear you say

You and me
Always traveling separately
When I try to reach you
You are miles away

You and me
We never unweil mysteries

Touch me
I am losing shape
Look I am invisible
Can you say my name

If there's a perfect sky that we came from
We'll be like stars forever shining on

Catch me
I am almost there
How can I be near
I am highspeed
I am everywhere

You couldn't read my mind
How I wanted you to hold me tight
I couldn't save that night
I was passing by at the speed of light

You and me
We never cross the boundary
That's how I know you
I can hear you say

You and me
We never unweil mysteries
Once you are shining
We never tried again

We are flesh and we are free
Wa are drift wood in the sea
From the distance we are stars
Like there is a face on Mars

Wa are lost and we are one
We are neighbours to the Sun
Slowly drifting out of sight
Traveling at the speed of light

December 4, 2010

I am

I am by Chakra(vox remix)

I am your truth, I am your destiny.
I am desire and despair.
I am your glow inside, your beating heart.
I am the love that leads you there.

I am your soul.

I am the darkness where you disappear.
I am the light that leads you safe.
I am the shepherd of your laughter and your tears.
I am your pleasure and your pain.

I am your soul.

I am the faith that keeps your spirit strong.
I am the sunlight in the rain.
I am the universe inside your mind.
I am your pleasure and your pain.

I am your soul.

I am the courage that inspires you.
I am the knowledge that you gained.
I am the people you will choose to be.
I am your pleasure and your pain.

November 28, 2010


Overflow by Chris Reece (Original Mix)

This is my first listing from the Chillout genre. I'll probably use it for my next video compilation. A long one.

November 27, 2010

Pecha Kucha was great

Japheth mentioned it a little while ago about people in creative arts meeting and presenting at Pecha kucha meetups. The funny name is actually Japanese for 'chit chat'.

Out of the blue he called today evening from GVK. There was a PK Night today starting at 1900 hours. I was at Tolichowki and my first reaction was no. And with less than an hour for the programme to begin... I told him I'd think about it.

1900 hours sharp: I was at GVK. We walked into what looked like a front porch and quite a crowd. A projector and sound system was in place and we settled down on a cement seat wall on the extreme left. The view was good from here and away from the lights. Japheth's friend Nidhi started the programme with a rundown of the rules. 20 slides to a presentation, 20 seconds
for each slide. Three audience questions for each presenter.

I have a very bad memory and I am not sure about the exact order of the presentations but here I go anyway:

The first presentation was about "How we percieve creativity". I don't know if it's just me but a lot of things just went over my head. And the presenter clearly had trouble keeping up with the slide speed. I don't blame him... 20 seconds is too short.

The second presentation was about "adopting stray dogs". This presenter too had issues keeping up with the slide transition but had no trouble whatsoever in putting her point across. One guy at the back was hell bent on getting his presence felt but her point blank answer and the audience's support did him in.

Then a presentation on climate sustainibility by a girl who's been to Antarctica "and back!" as Nidhi put it. She presented some eco friendly projects other countries were taking up to do their bit for the environment.

Architecture was the theme of the third one and the fresh grauduate from JNTU did a great job presenting his work right from the awesome sketches he did whilst in college to the flood shelters he designed for Bangladesh.

A software engineer presented his take on how "Ideas can change everything". Or something. One slide was about how blowing up a Rat's skeleton to a size similar to an Elephant's results in it collapsing. Bone density was not discussed.

Another one on environment. This guy was good.... he did a good job syncing his words with the slides. The slides themselves were crisp and to the point. I particularly liked the way he defined activism.... learning, thinking and educating peers.

Then the last presenter came and introduced himself as Joseph. There was something familiar about this guy... I'd seen him before somewhere. Then he said the keyword "wedding" and click! Joseph Joe Radhik. This guy's been on my FB page for a while now. He has a funny,not-so- clear profile picture. he'd chosen his best shots for the slideshow and sure enough it worked
like a charm. Every photo was met with oohs and one even got loud applause, and I have to admit the one he took at Shamshabad was a masterpiece.

A book was passed around for contact numbers before curtains. Japheth stayed for a little while interacting while I headed for the gate and waited there. My people skills are still pathetic.

A presenter had highlighted how it was so very eco friendly to use public tranport to reduce our carbon footprint. As he zoomed past me on his two wheeler, I caught the usual 49M bus back home.

Pecha Kucha is very very good platform for upcoming designers and entrepreneurs to promote their stuff or better, for activists to spread awareness. I don'tknow if I'll ever go onstage in my life but IF I ever conquer my stage fear, I'll definitely present at Pecha Kucha. Yakusoku.

PS: I have a feeling I'm missing one presentation. If, by some miracle, you landed landed on my page and were there at the meetup, please let me know in the comments.

November 21, 2010

School Dayz: Fight!

Only Bharat, Atir, Nirosh or Nitin can recognize this.... it's an "Identity card".

Back in class 10 when texting, internet or full fledged gaming was not quite there, we had little choice when it came to leisure. Our computer lab was strictly "no games" and an attempt by a guy at playing Delta Force was met by a loud resounding blow to the back(fragged!). We passed time in between classes playing pen fights. The objective was simple: you knock the opponent's pen off the table. That's it.

With time new rules were added, we started playing in teams of two and before long we were playing "Pennalympics". Bharat and Nitin were US of A while Atir and I settled for Germany. I don't remember why we went for that though. We named our pens too... mine was Quicksilver, bharat's Viper and others I don't recall now. My signature move was the "heli" which was very effective when executed well.

We spent hours playing it...sometimes even after school, though we stopped after a very scary encounter with the vice principal THATS(yeah, we called him that). We even had audience.... Girls from across the benches would watch and we'd have trouble concentrating on the game :-p

When I come to think of it now, it all looks so stupid!
But no amount of counterstrike or CoD can equal that fun now.... period.

November 20, 2010

First 50

First 50 freehand car sketches. I did these in the last one month... too slow I know, considering I have to finish 950 more in the coming 4 months!

Note: Heavy image. May take a while to load.

November 9, 2010

TranceUpdate: (M)elodium

Palimpse by melodium, my latest find in trance music. Two tracks standout, Guitar theme and Insomnia(love this one).

Ambient trance is not very common and has even less takers than the regular fare, explaining why I didn't find a video on youtube!

So I made one myself making this video my first Tranceupdate upload! I used footage from my trips around Manuguru in the last few years.

I just found a whole DVD of unused footage in my CD album! Next video....

November 7, 2010

DIY: USB battery charger

I have a spare BL-5C Nokia battery I sometimes use for my "DIY" projects. Every time the charge runs out, I have to put it in a compatible phone and use the AC charger to charge it. I'd read about charging batteries using USB and decided to give it a shot.

Things I used:
1- A piece of thermocole
2- USB cable from a broken mouse
3- Two paper pins.
4- Thin wire from IDE cable.
5- Cutter
6- Fevicol

- First I destroyed my useless Microsoft mouse and extracted the cable. I needed only two wires: the red one (+) and black(-).

- I then drew a rough diagram on paper for the charger body. The dimensions of the battery holder and the placement of charger pins is very important. Here's the rough design sketch:

- I then proceed to implement it on perhaps the most easily available crafting material of all- Thermocole. I remember how I used to cut out rectangular shapes, mark some buttons with sketch pens and play around with them as cellphones, calculators and even laptops!
The shape is pretty straightforward. A rectangular slot cut precisely to the dimensions of the battery. I gave a few millimeters headroom for the contact pin assembly.

- For the pins, I cut a thin strip from a non dust eraser. I wrapped one thin wire from the IDE cable to each of the paper pins and securely inserted them through the eraser strip taking care about the distance between them. That was important.

Batteries have a third contact in the middle used for identifying battery type. Something to do with phone compatibility but of no use while charging.

- I attached the wires to the USB wire in the correct polarity.

- Then used plenty of fevicol to prevent loose connections that are so very common in my projects.

Finally, after a coat of cheap black sketch pen and some red...

The charger is working fine but taking a little too long for a full charge. I built another one to be used in reverse as a battery enclosure. This one is neat:

November 5, 2010

School Dayz 2: Rajesh

Teacher's Day 2006: Rajesh all smiles as he played maths teacher to class 8 students.

He was an enigma. Though he was our classmate for a good 7 years, he's remembered for all the wrong reasons. We were very good friends back in class 5. We played cricket together and hung out, we even went to the same tuition. Often competing in academics, it'd lead to some friction every now and then. His histrionics aside he was, in essence, a normal person. He laughed, he played...he even sang.

Then something happened. He suddenly turned forlorn, gloomy and detached. It was class 6 and he was still doing good in studies, there is no known cause why this happened. Before long, word started to spread that he'd lost it. Very few people believed that, myself being one. Frequently fluctuating from being normal to outright insane, we were often convinced he was faking it for attention. He was however polite to everyone and talked at length when I met him at the school play ground in early 2008.... that was the last time I ever saw him.

We lost Rajesh in 2008 to a freak accident, the details of which are shady to say the least. It's not known what was bothering him, nor are the facts of how he passed.

God rest his soul.

November 4, 2010

Still learning

My entries for the new Brandpotion competition by Education Times. The first one,
I made using a stock image on an Indian boy and some illustrations depicting physics, chemistry and mathematics. I'm still a noob at PS so the end result came out a little too dull.
So I used only text for the second ad. Minimalist and to-the-point. :-p

November 1, 2010

School Dayz 1

Memories tend to fade with brown rust, new experiences and new thoughts scrape away inch by inch until all that is left is a vague, unclear recollection that goes away altogether with time.

I have mentioned this time and again: nothing will ever come close to the fun I had in school. The last 4 years have been a long black void.... I might as well have been on an island. a tribute to my schooldays and to aid my memory years down the line when a job and 'other things' start to take a toll on me, here's a new section on my blog: School days, where I'll pen all the great things we did at school.

Araku Trip: I know this will bring a wicked smile on one reader's face atleast. I admit... I don't know of another topic to start with so here I go anyway. The news started doing the rounds in early october 2004, a trip was being planned. While usually the school settled for Kinnerasani and other nearby villages, we'd somehow managed to convince our school administration for a long trip. Or maybe the credit goes to one senior whose dad was the principal then.... maybe...

The excitement was contagious.We just couldnt stop thinking about it.... at school, at tuition everywhere! On 27th of october started our journey from colony to Khammam station with Mr.K.R Rao, Mrs Sridevi, Mrs Amulya and Mrs Hebsiba escorting. My memory of the bus journey part pulls a blank...I don't recall anything at all. Maybe I slept, maybe I was lost... In tech terms, it's like they all got overwritten by useless crap.

The train came late and the journey was cool, we played antakshri until one of the passengers got pissed and threatened to lodge a complaint for nuisance! Come morning we were greeted with the sweet air of Visakapatnam at 7:00 A.M. The plan was to cover Borra caves first before heading to our prebooked accommodations, so we were given a 'food packet' on the bus itself for breakfast. The chutney stank so bad, most of the packets went out the windows. Some who gave in to hunger threw up pronto. Again, my memory's all but wiped here too. All I remember from the trip to Borra is the 'Cheliye Cheliya' playing on the speakers and some girls laughing about my green satchel(which I now admit looked funny) and yellow cap. And yeah one guy made breathing hard for the last few rows on the bus...courtesy his bad stomach.

Now the accommodation. In what proved to be the best example of inequality against boys, all girls and lady teachers got rooms complete with bedding and separate bathrooms. As we boys walked to the end of the building expecting similar lodging, we were shown into a large hall with bunk beds. The beds themselves were bare with flaking, blackened wood. Some expletives were muttered which didn't go down well with Sir. For a bathroom we had a large tank in the large open play ground and we were asked to "freshen up" right there! The toilets were ancient mud installations with no electricity. We slowly settled in.... laying newspapers and sheets on the rough bunk beds and looking for candles when Sir came in with a surprise. There was a paid guest house just alongside and he'd booked it. He'd understood. We were relieved. ...

Dinner was great, typical andhra fare with rotis and fried vegetables thrown in. A camp fire was lit in the large ground and we slowly gathered around it. Antakshri was played followed by charades. And then we danced...
Like those flashback scenes that play in movies, the round dance around the fire with Sir encouraging us still plays in my mind like it was yesterday. The starry sky, the orange light, the wicked laughs...

My Kodak KB10 was useless for night time photography, How I wish I had my dSLR and prime lenses then!

We retired for the night before starting for the city next day. Again I don't remember how the day was spent...we were at Kailasgiri hill at around 4. We had fun taking pictures at the Titanic point from where some of us went to a gaming alley. We had burgers and played board soccer(which now if I come to think of it, was a waste of time). One guy among us was a depressed soul, he had trouble getting along with know... he was interested elsewhere. We tried our best to contain him but he ended up getting a strong scolding from one of our teachers. We then went to the INS Kursura, a decommisioned navy class submarine. As was obvious, the boys listened intently to the guide as the girls wandered and chuckled. We all hit the sack after dinner as we were to start our return journey the next day. And we were dead tired anyway.

30th of october: On the bus from Khammam to manuguru, I think we stopped at kothagudem for breakfast. Or was it the chennai trip(Feedback welcome)? I asked around for photographs from the trip... I don't know why but even my close friends who took pictures on the trip have denied having any photographs. I just wanted a different perspective. I didn't hide my pictures now, did I?

Note: 'School Days' as a post title is already taken by a lewd, NFSW japanese cartoon series. So I've settled with the 'z' in the spelling.

Never let you go...

All you trance haters (ie most of my friends), Try this. Put on a pair of Sennheisers and pump up the bass a little bit... then listen to this:

I found you- Interstate- From ASOT 2005

"Never let you go..

Thought I lost you, in the darkness, of a lonely night
Then I found you, in my arms and, holding me so tight
When I'm with you, and I kiss you, I can feel your heart
Don't you know that, I'm the one to, keep you safe and warm..

Never let you go...

Update: The lyrics are a little lame. All I like is the "Never let you go" part.

October 29, 2010

TranceUpdate: Forget Me

Forget Me by Eide and Andre(Estiva remix). The original is great but lacks punch, Estiva's reworked track has jus the right amount of fast paced beats and slow rythms.

The embedded vid is from Above and Beyond's Trance around the world.

Which reminds me, the official Top 100 DJ list is out. Armin's on the top followed by Deadmau5, PvD,Above and Beyond, and Schulz among others.

October 24, 2010

Freezing works!

I was going around sites looking for easy DIYs and computer hacks when I found one that just made my day! There was this long forum thread about how freezing dead rechargeable batteries can bring them back to life. We're all aware how our camera and laptop batteries seem to grow tired with every use and retain less and less charge with time. It's called memory effect.
Everytime a battery is used partially(as we all do wth laptops and cams), the leftover space on it "dies".... Suppose we use up 90% of a full battery and keep it aside, some space in the unused 10% of the battery does not charge next time... This way with time, a battery finally breathes it's last. Or so was thought.

Apparently by stroring a battery in sub zero temperatures for long , the chemicals in it can be "re-oriented" and given a fresh lease of life. I was very skeptical of this method first cause it made no sense. Also, it reportedly worked only on Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) and Nickel Metal Hydride(NiMH) batteries. These are extensively used in AA and AAA sizes and some cameras too.

Mine is a 5 year old dead Lithium Ion(battery) and the forums were already rife with claims that the method didn't work with Li-on. I decided to give it a shot anyway. I wrapped(as instructed) my bulky laptop battery in a moisture proof plastic cover and shoved it to the back of the freezer. I cranked up the thermostat to "maximum"(my Aunt was not amused) and waited. A full 4 days later... my bro took it to his room(ya, he's using the relic now) and charged it a full 12 hours before giving it a try.

And guess what..... it works!!! WOOOHOO

It gives 8 minutes now but with 20 or more charge cycles it should give a healthy 30 minutes or more. Cheers to uber geeks and their forums!

October 19, 2010

Persistence and windows

After what may go down as the most frustrating 6 hours of my life.... I finally succeeded in installing Windows xp on my bro's Jurassic Acer. Last time I tried, I ended up settling for the PCOSlinux which to be honest fared quite well. It handled pdfs, docs, music and video without hiccups. The problem was the experience.... the unfriendly desktop, the alien folders and a general lack of oomph made it lackluster compared to Windows. And it would'nt accept USB internet devices. And that's a big bummer.

So I brought it over yesterday to give it another try. Here's what happened:

Trial 1: Made a USB bootable flash disk using WinToFlash and tried it on the laptop(USB boot activated). Nothing. Something about a hal.dll file missing and just no boot from USB.
And I've heard linux kindof tries to prevent windows installations :-p

Trial 2: Downloaded DBAN, a nuking tool to wipe my hard drive. After a couple of hiccups starting on bootup, it loaded and wiped my hard drive clean in 2 hours. 40GB of RAW unpartitioned space

Tried booting from flash from Trial 1 again. Nothing.

Trial 3: Tried loading the setup files and boot initialisation commands using the command line. Went ok for a while before hitting a roadblock. Some files were missing. Nevertheless, I tried booting from the disk and wallah! Nothing.

Trial 4: Read on a forum that formatting using the inbuilt windows formatter didn't work with some drives. Downloaded HP's formatting tool and tried the procedures from above 1 and 3. No luck.

Trial 5: Downloaded USB_prep8, a set of batch files to create a bootable disk. One component PeToUSB refused to recognize my 8gb Kingmax pendrive. I googled that too... apparently it supported flash drives upto 2gb only formatted in FAT16 files system. Now come on...

Trial n: I don't remember how many combinations I tried of the above programs, and before long it was morning, a full 6 hours spent on the dead laptop. I was sleepy as hell and almost giving up. Then I struck jackpot.

I tried WinToFlash again with FAT16 as filesystem and all features turned on(like format, EULA info etc) and the program took about 10 minutes to make my USB drive.

I was welcomed with the setup screen on bootup and the files loaded in a record 20 seconds!!! In twenty minutes, the laptop was running on the friendly neigherborhood super OS, WINDOWS XP!

Then I retired to my bed for a "chain ki neend"

October 18, 2010

October 14, 2010

Classic rediscovered

Burning Up by Kuffdam was a mainstay on my playlist until I lost it sometime in December due to a hard drive crash. This Mango remix has haunting lyrics(yet to figure em out though) and a perfect beat to match it. Just found it on Youtube again.

October 11, 2010

Dynamite...nuff said

Movie reviews are dime a dozen these days. Some good, some bad.... and some paid. But let's face it, everytime a new movie's released we hit up our favorite review site to get a heads up. Afterall we should get our money's worth, right? I have my own method: for older movies I check the imdb score, rotten tomatoes rating and a few established reviewers(I hate masand types btw).

Last time I posted a review here was bollywood movie "Striker". First up, my blog hits don't run into the millions, so expecting visitors flocking to my page for a review is foolish. My intention is to kindof soft persuade my friends into watching it by posting a review here. One of my best friends thinks I'm weird because he ends up sleeping everytime he sees a movie I suggested. He's yet to understand that he's not over the cliched romance or actions flicks yet. Anything arty or offbeat and zzzz, he's bored.

So with a view on "suggesting" a good movie for my handful of readers.... here's my review on the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite.

The plot revolves around a high school nerd who for some unknown reason, is named Napoleon Dynamite. Set in a remote American town in Idaho, the movie is about the life of this nerdy outcast clad in tucked in undersized T shirt and an elastic pyjama. A pair of spectacles completes the look. He befriends a mexican exchange student, Pedro and the rest of the story is
better seen than discussed. There's nothing much to it, it's a simple plot. But how it builds up to a nostalgically sweet finale is what makes this movie stand out. I wasn't aware of the cult status this movie enjoys- Hell, Idaho celebrated a national festival in it's honor for a few years. Don't want to spoil the fun for my friends who're going to watch it(I can give you my copy any time, gimme a call), but one song to the end of the movie made me sick with nostalgia... almost to the point of breaking into tears. This endeth my 9 line review.
Watch it
And oh... my aforementioned friend here need not watch. The movie's pace is too slow for you buddy.

Image source:

October 5, 2010

Chasing lyrics

Everytime I come across a great vocal track... finding it's lyrics is piece of cake. There are two tracks though which have proven really difficult....I've scoured the internet for the lyrics with no luck. Chasin a feelin by Quivver was an instant hit with me... the beats and the electronic background line was like magic. The next one Leave a sign by Irisdeejay is yet another track I'd love to sing along with. I am not dat good with english... any help with the lyrics appreciated.

Chasin a feeling

Leave a sign

October 2, 2010

C up C down

College life sucked but atleast it gave me something to write about. The past few weeks have been really slow...first I got sick, then went home for some rest. Now that I'm back, I tried hard to think of a topic for my new mind's all blank. My blogger buddies are participating in competitions... technology, movies and the like. I don't do that.

Why not write something about current events? In any case I'm used to reading my blog like a diary so this'll come in handy as a history reference in the future :-p

Commonwealth Games- 70,000 crores of wealth shared commonly between the organisers. They did such a fine job at it... falling bridges, false(lol) ceilings falling to the ground, filthy buildings, snakes in bed, paw marks on bedsheets...the list goes on. This merely reinforces a point we all know already. Corruption is everywhere- right from the smallest of offices to the grandest of board rooms.

Ayodhya - The nation sat in mute silence, paramilitary forces were bought in, shops downed there shutters in what was undoubtedly the most awaited verdict since independance. Political parties were ready with their agendas... whichever way the verdict went they had something to gain from it. Elaborating on this is unnecessary. What they did not anticipate was this: normal
folk had long let go and give a _ _ about the outcome. As it were, the verdict was met with calm and dignity, as our PC himself put it. Any hopes of the communal forces on either side were put out in a puff.

So corruption is at an all time high and babus are busy filling their coffers, On the bright side common people have moved on from this communal crap. We were fragile once and communal political forces exploited us to their advantage. We are now mature, open minded and tolerant.

Image Courtesy: Found this funny cartoon on blogger friend Iswarya's FB profile. Kindof sums up the whole issue, nai?

September 30, 2010

Long time No post

This is bad. One full month and just 3 posts!

Internet is an addiction now and with no PC here... I've missed one full week of updates. Not that I lost critical emails or anything... a couple of facebook notifications and one flickermail is all :-p
What's made life worse is the lack of my daily dose of tech news, cracked and youtube randoms.

In Manuguru, I caught fever again and had to see the doctor for a full examination. He wrote 6 tests in all,results came in yesterday evening- all normal.

Booked a last minute AC ticket to Hyderabad without Dad's consent. with the ayodhya verfict coming today... I didn't want to get stuck there incase of trouble.

Back now and doing a lot better... looking forward to some productive work.

September 18, 2010

Green...and then some more

I'm really bummed about not having updated my blog in the past few days. I caught 'viral' fever and the last coupla days were spent recuperating in bed. All fb updates and responses were via my netbook.
Now for the time being, I'm posting a few pics from my recent Bhadrachalam pics here.

September 1, 2010


I know- of the 5 or so readers of my blog, only one will actually bother to load up this vid. And I know he's gonna like it :-)

I'm getting sick of describing every great track I come across. The deeper tones apart from the dhishum dhishum is what makes these tracks different. This new find is just like my long favorite "A different feeling" by Simon Patterson.

Moonshine by Steve Birch(Patrick B remix)

August 29, 2010

My first Review!

My review of the Canon S90 point and shoot camera was published by
Shutterskills is an Indian website dedicated to photography.

Here's the review.

Looking forward to writing more :-)


August 27, 2010

DIY White Box

A sheet of themocole and a cutter. And fevicol. This was all I needed to make an apparatus essential to product photgraphy- the White box. It is basically a three sided rectangular box with provision for attaching powerful lights. The walls act as reflectors and prevent harsh shadows. All those nice sharp images of watches, perfumes and jewellery are all thanks to white boxes. I made one myself and attached a coupe of CPL lamps up top for the white glow. Pictures below:

My first experiment was shooting drops of ink in a glass of water. This proved very very difficult as synchronising the shutter with the drops was almost impossible. I didn't have help at hand nor was I equipped with a remote shutter release. I then shifted focus to other normal things and the results are below: