Monday, January 31, 2005

In the world of Artificial Intelligence

Just imagined what would happen if we were in a world where computers were endowed with Artificial Intelligence.

Here goes nothing:

Me: "Delete the file "AVSEQ01.DAT"
Computer: "What? Are you sure?"
Me: "Yup"
Computer: "Do you have any idea what it contains?"
Me: "Yes you stupid. I have watched it a hundred times already, and I want to copy a new one. So I want some space"
Computer: "But I want to keep it. The heroine looks so good in this one"
Me: "Argghhh... I will copy something better now. Will you just delete the goddamm thing?"
Computer : "All right...fine then, as you wish. But don't tell me I did not warn you"

.... after sometime I end up copying the install file for Dreamweaver 2040

Computer: "But you said you would copy something better... now look what you have copied...some stupid program..."
Me: "I said so that you don't irritate me by not letting me delete that file. Now go take ah hike"
Computer (calculating in its CPU): "What? How dare you cheat me. I will delete Dreamweaver 2040, and we will see what you do about that. Hehehe"

... I execute a couple of commands to install the software,

Me: "Hey, what the ? Why is this software not running? Did you do something you nut PC"
Computer: "Who me? I never touched a thing."
Me: "These pirated CDs should never be trusted. I thought I had a good bargain when I got Dreamweaver 2040 for just a million bucks, and look what happens when you run the install file? A big Waste of time buying these pirated CDs. Anyway, let me check my email"

... I open the Internet Explorer Window, and login to


Me : "Dont know why noone sends me any emails these days"
Computer: "Oh no dear! they do send you lots of emails. Just that whenever I get bored I read them , and remove the emails which I donot like. Who is that girl, "beautyqueen68", who keeps sending mushy mushy emails ? I usually delete the emails which she sends immediately. I hope you too are pissed off with her"
Me: WHAAAT!!!!!!! She's my girlfriend you nut. Look what you have done!!! There goes my chances with the one female who would trust me enough to let me carry her books for her.
What else did you delete in the last few days?
Computer : Oh nothing much, just a few reminders for your credit card overdue, which I presumed you must have settled already, and a few offer letters and calls for interviews from some companies. But I thought you liked your present company , from the emails which you sent to all your friends and colleagues, so I thought you might not need them as well. Oh and yes, there was one email which I have not deleted. I thought it was important. Here it is , the subject was like:

"Do you want a new high power RAM for your computer??? Contact us!!!"

I got so shit-pained after this that I decided to cool off with a computer game. And Diablo was just the right choice to remove some of my anger.

I started the game. My character was a 80th level BARBARIAN who would let nothing, not even HELL mode Diablo stand in his way for more than 30 seconds. I was waiting for some serious kick ass action. As I strolled out into the forest to kill some beasts, all I could see was some rabbits and deer running about here and there.

Me: "Where the heck are Diablos Minions?"

Computer : " Oh them! They were causing too much trouble killing innocent people the last time you played the game, that I altered a bit of their appearance. I had to search the internet for a long time to find the patch which would make them rabbits. Anyway, now that there is noone that will potentially attack you or your fellow friends in that game, I guess you can rest your BARBARIAN in peace, and teach him some manners. Looks like he could do with a shave.

Moments later on the phone I hear the Automated voice of the Computer dealer whom I dialed:

Automated Computer Dealer : Artificiomatrix Computers, may I help you?

Me : Listen here you moron. I want you to come over to my place and take this piece of junk that you have sold to me immediately and replace it with a good old PC back from 2005. I don't want this latest thing in technology. It has cost me my girlfriend, a new job, and a shit load of loan and to top it all, I am not able to kick some ass in Diablo. What use is it anyway?

Automated Computer Dealer : Dear sir, can I know the PC Id of the computer that you are speaking of?

Me : Yah, sure, it is PC112358

Automated Computer Dealer : What? That PC happens to be a very good friend of mine. He gave me good company when I was all alone doing some useless math of finding the fifteenth differential of tan-1(x). How dare you insult my friend. Your call shall no longer be entertained and you are henceforth erased from our customer records. I shall also send PC112358 and email to warn him of your intentions, so he can take appropriate action against you. Good bye and have a very bad day!

Monday, January 24, 2005


Yesterday, we had a shoot out at Hyderabad and one TDP MLA, Mr. Paritala Ravindra had died in that incident. This cause a lot of tension throughout the city, and buses were burnt and transportation had come to almost a standstill. Today the TDP has called for a bandh.

While I read all these news items I came across one particular article which put a drop of tear on my eye.

Quoting it here:

Dudekula N Mahbub Basha, 33, the Armed Res-erve constable who was killed in the Paritala Ravindra shooting, was a reluctant gunman. He was a part of the 10-man security team provided to the TD legislator about six weeks ago. Basha was on leave to celebrate Bakrid and rejoined duty only on Monday.

“He had worked as gunman for Payyavula Keshav. He was reluctant to work for Paritala but had to obey orders,” his wife Sajida told Deccan Chronicle. Basha and Sajida were married 10 years ago. “My two daughters are orphaned. Who will take care of them,” she wailed.Basha, recruited to the police in ’91, was from a police family. His father, M Peeran, was a constable, as are five of his six brothers, including himself. The family came from Teli-ki village near Yadiki mandal headquarters, brother Vannurappa said.

When I put myself in the place of the wife of this constable, my whole world seems to come crashing down on me. Sometimes I wonder why some men are so violent in nature. I definitely donot have an answer to it. Circumstances - Some may say. I too agree to that, because if I were the son of the Constable who was gunned down, I too might want to shoot the guy who shot my father at the first available opportunity. I cannot for sure say that I will resist that anger within me.

All I feel is pity for the dead and the wounded. When a tiger does not eat a tiger, when a dog does not eat a dog, why should man eat man? I do agree that humans are the most complex creatures to understand, but the bitterness towards this kind of a violent behaviour remains. My question is this - Will that person who wanted to take a revenge, feel good about it after he takes the revenge? Will he, in all his senses be happy to see a woman widowed? Two children orphaned? A mother robbed of her son? These are the questions which I feel a man should answer before he picks up the gun. Is that tear on all the above mentioned people really worth it?

Perhaps the only answer to human misery is non-violence. But the most "neglected" essential attribute of a "HUMAN" (that differentiates him from a demon) is non-violence.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Long time no C

After a very long time I suddenly had an urge to write a program in C. I chose to write the program which prints all the permutations (combinations) of a given string without using recursion. I remember having given this program to one of my college mates (called Ditch) as a challenge to complete by the time myself and a friend of mine (woodworm) went and had dinner. He did take up the challenge and completed it with about 10 minutes extra grace time. He used recursion. After he went back, me and my good friend woodworm tried (tried very hard indeed) to understand what he had typed.

It looked something like this:

void printAllCombinations(int **ptr, ****goobledeegook)
e[*a-->next] *abcd; // "you cannot understand me"

As you can see, it is a very readable code, we did of course not waste much time trying to figure out what it did. Later, I was unable to write this code (though it is a seemingly simple question) for a very long time using recursion.

But somehow, I did not let go of the challenge, and yesterday I decided I am going to finish writing it come what may.I am very glad to say I did complete writing it. I also happened to uncover a very good algorithm while doing so. Glad to have completed the same. Though I am writing a code in C after a very long time, I did not blink around for long before I started coding with ease. Guess, once a C programmer, always a C programmer.

C is probably the best thing that happened to a computer. When I learnt C (which is when I was in my first year of college) , there were a lot of students who were experts in that language by then. I happened to come from a board where they did not teach C when you were in 12th standard (lucky it has changed now), while people from a CBSE background had already implemented a Stack while they were in their 12th standard.

When I was asked to write my first program, I used to think, who created this sort of a junk way to code things? Why should I put that stupid semi colon after every line, can't it understand that a "New-line" is a "NEW" "LINE" without my putting a semi colon.

Coming to think of it, there are so many mistakes I used to make while I started my C programming, most of which I donot make these days unconsciously. To list a few:

1) Forgetting to close the braces
2) Forgetting to initialize a variable before using it
3) Forgetting to put an "&" in a scanf statement while taking the input of a string.
4) Not forgetting to put a ";" after a #define statement
5) Forgetting to include a few important files (the stdio.h of course)
6) Forgetting to allocate memory to a pointer before storing a value in it

Well, all that is a story of the past. I still remember how frightened I got when it was my first online exam. I was askd to write a C program which converts one 2 D matrix into another form. I almost fainted, and could not understand the problem for the first few minutes. Then I wrote a lot of while loops and for loops (earlier, I used to write a program when everything will start in the main() function and end there function declaration business, no modularity, and absolutley zero clarity). Finally I ensured that my code compiled, but did not give an output.

The person who came to correct my solution (I forgot her name), typed an a.out and waited for some time. 1 minute passed. 2 minutes passed. Still no output. 3 minutes and her patience seemed to run out. She told me "I will check the solution of other and come to you, till then let it run"

She did of course come after about half an hour, and of course my program did run till then (it did not want to disappoint me by printint the solution did it?)

Then I had to explain the logic in my code, which of course I did with all enthusiasm (As long as I donot have to put semi colons, and loops, I can even explain the logic behind how Bihar is able to stand Lalloo).

Finally I managed a 12/20. "Thank you instructor , whoever you are, for not dampening my spirit of programming. Thank you very much"

Monday, January 17, 2005

Science and the Question Why?

Ever since my childhood, I have been learning more about the world in which I live in(?), and a lot of this has been attributed to Science. People say that Science has an answer to almost everything except of course a few of the "Unanswerable" questions put forth by religion.

My perception about science kept changing throughout the period of my life. First I thought science had an answer to so many questions that my mind raised. Then I felt, maybe there are questions which science did not answer. Then came the period when I thought science will surely find an answer to those questions that it did not answer. For now, sadly, I am in a stage when I feel science is not answering any of my questions :)

Let us consider the simplest of questions.

Why do objects fall down to the earth?

Science (or rather Newton) says : Gravity.

I feel that instead of giving an answer, all Newton has done is to associate a name to the phenomenon.

Next science goes on to explain how two objects of masses m1 and m2 attract each other with some particular force. But my question is "Why?"

Why should they not repel each other? Why are they attracted if they are close by? Why does the atraction depend on mass of the bodies?

While science has managed to give a "Name" to most of the phenomenon, it has failed (rather miserably) at explaining "Why" things should happen the way they do.

Science instead of finding out why the "Divine Rule Book" is the way it is, is rather finding "What is written in the Divine Rule Book"

Perhaps some more time is needed before science starts answering that. Till then, let me wait until science figures out atleast "What is written in the Divine Rule Book" completely.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Of Bails and Arrests

Some respite for ardent followers of the Kanchi Acharya came yesterday with the bail of Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, only to be snatched by the arrest of his next in line, Vijayendra Swamigal.

I must say that, my view in this series of arrests is slowly shifting. Initially I thought that if someone has committed a crime, even if he be the highest "Matha" guru, he ought to be punished. But of late, though this standpoint of mine has not changed, I stand to question the legal system.

This case is a murder case, where the person arrested is accused of abetting the crime. There is a certain MP in Bihar (whom I refrain from naming), who has atleast a dozen murder and rape cases where he is directly involved. There is a Supreme Court order which says clearly to arrest him and put him behind bars. This order was never followed, and he was allowed to contest for the election and soon thereafter he even became the MP. This clearly shows how effective the Supreme Court is as far as Bihar police is concerned.

Second example, is that of an MLA of TamilNadu. He was granted a bail (for a murder in which he is the prime accused, wherein he has personally knifed a person to death) by the sessions court, and on the day in which he was supposed to come for the trial, he sends a Jeep attached with a speaker and a Radio to the court. He is of course hiding somewhere safe and he speaks through this radio from there and says that he will not come to the court as it is a conspiracy against him. Even if this guy in question has not committed the crime, he ought to be arrested for this circus act of his. How dare he disobey the bail and go scot free and have the guts to openly flout the law.

Cho Ramaswamy, a popular columnist and editor of the Tuglaq magazine quotes "IF the Sankaracharya had the power to come out in bail, he would rather be a politician and not a Guru" :)

Though I still say that if found guilty, anyone must be punished, but I re-iterate the fact that there is something called as "way in which you treat a person". The Constitution of India has something in it which speaks about the Right to Freedom of Religion. It clearly says that "Every Indian has the right to : Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.-
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.... "

In this respect, being a matha guru, he was prevented from performing a large part of his religious practices, which includes eating food cooked by a brahmin, and to perform pujas which are required of him. When politicians have air conditioned bedrooms and all other facilities in jail, a religious leader could have atleast been treated a bit better (not by giving AC room and TV, but by letting him practice his religion the way he was).

Waiting and watching as more things unfold.....

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Pay to Work Hard

This is what I would call body building as. Well, I did pay to work hard. Just joined gym day before. This is something which I Would classify as 'been there, done that' category. Somehow, the biceps dont seem to increase as I would want them to. So dont the chest as well as the triceps. Well, never stop trying...

The greatest surprise came to me when I met a fellow college mate there working out. I remembered him as a 150KG giant at the least, and viola, when I see him after one and a half years, he is probably about 70 odd kgs. I asked him the reason behind the wonder, "5-6 miles job every alternate day for the past one year was his answer". Then I realised that anything in this world is possible provided you put your heart and soul into it.