Bliss

Two 'seminars' to deliver tomorrow. Nothing seminal or innovative, sadly.

I have nothing to offer the world. A murky perspective on it. Very murky. I have a lot of work to do be doing.

Today:
Diya pushed me off to the shop to make a few purchases to stuff herself with. I was pissed off with her. I fumed along. A few steps from my front gate just before the main road, I passed a little girl who might have been about seven or eight years of age, dressed in what might have been a blue t-shirt which somebody discarded for one of those blue tube tops. She might have filled it out if she'd been 5 times her size. It clearly wasn't meant to keep her warm.

A cold wind blew.

She was no match for the bag of rubbish on her back. She carried it so well. And as I walked by, I glanced at her. Time slowing down. And I heard her sing a merry tune. Something she'd been lucky enough to hear on the radio (while they weren't playing ad jingles.)

Bliss can be found in the most unexpected of places.

It could be just around the corner.

And I just turned the corner and walked on to the shop much calmer.

I'm obliged to that little girl.

On vacation

Arrivederci, I say to all those who don't read anything that I write.
Arrivederci, I say to all those who do manage a few lines.
Arrivederci to one and all.

The grass may be greener on the other side.
But then again, there's always enough envy to go around. And hey, it's free!

Voulmunde!

Voul: kannada islaang; n. an untruth, lie, something that is not true, falshhhood
Munde: generic n. any other person
Voulmunde: kannada/hybrid (cognitive reverie language - a product of a twisted and idle mind); n. a person who leaves off vouls incessantly.

Okay, here is a conversation that amma, me and Nitya shared one rainy evening.

Not very clear, not very relevant to anything at all, staying true to the content on this blaaahg!

A lot of weird voice-mod-you-lay-shun, and hahahahahaaas, and besides, you can learn malayalam as well. Just listen, and you'll be amazed by a few truths that are put out in the conversation. Besides, you'll learn to love my voice. It's an awk-wired taste.

Don't think for the next 14 minutes and 35 seconds. Promise yourself this.

Download it here.

We appreciate the kindness of the people behind the Internet Archive for hosting this. Go there to see what Google looked like when it first came out in 1998. And other sites way, way back in the past, before AJAX, or Flash, or JavaScript, or HTML! (last one not to be taken seriously!)

Untitled 1

Blogger seems to be strangely put off by my posts... It's not even giving me the complete menus.

I often question myself: why am I putting all this out? And who gives a shit! The truth be told, I think a lot of people just visited because I happen to be one of the few who's blogged about Handbrake. And the more posts in which I mention the word "Handbrake" the more hits I get thatnks to Google! Whoo hoo!

Amazing profits, those guys have made 46% quarter-on-quarter!

Ah, life, goes on.

I need a little notebook to put all those thoughts down. Not this one that I'm using!

Nitya has been weeping from 4:30 onwards. Because I didn't take her to tuition.

I recorded a conversation between me, amma and Nitya earlier in the week. It made no sense and those two had no idea we were being eavesdropped upon by that little white matchbox on the table.

If you can understand Malayalam, or even if you can't it'll be a great opportunity to learn.

I'll upload it once I can find the free bandwidth. I mean, somebody's gotta host it, right? If there's something you didn't understand. Which is most likely going to be the case, let me know.

Play2Fun!

CRACK! The ball flies off the bat, parting from it with a kiss that I heard 50 feet away at the boundary line. The ball soars high in space. It soars. It soars some more. And then yanked down by gravitational force, it comes down lower and lower. And with a dull-heavy-cushioned sound, it lands into my outstretched palms. Cheers!

After 5 years, it feels good to be playing.

I'm not cricket crazy. I like the game, I think it's quite a nice game. (Redundant, I know, but I like the game!) I've never been to a single match in the stadium (very rarely happens these days), I've never been an "Boys In Blue Must Crush the Other Team" type person. I believe that like any other game, the more my heart races and BP rises during a game, the more fun it is. It doesn't matter if India wins or loses, (like that Dhoni guy says!) if it is a game I can remember till two days after its been played, then I think it is a good game, worth losing a few hours of unproductivity (actually, I don't get how sitting in front of a TV watching Mr. Sreesanth emulating my bowling style, is makes it otherwise!).

Any game takes a lot of spirit to be playing, if you're good at it, good, go out there and play your heart out. But don't play to win. It defeats the purpose of the game, and is an insult to its inventors. (They had nothing better to do on a lazy weekend, so they took a piece of wood and a nice smooth stone and that was the beginning of broken windows, and of course, Fevi Kwik!) They who played the game for fun didn't play for trophies, or cups, they played it for the heck of it. Since when did swinging a piece of wood at a sphere covered in leather, or hitting wooden sticks with the sphere become such a great thing? Yuvi might have scored 6 out of 6. But I'm pretty sure he didn't do it because he saw that nice fat cheque waiting for him back home. The Ozzies sure enjoy mercilessly crushing the other teams, they know they're going to win and they're having fun while at it. I'm not saying that you should slacken your approach to the game, instead, play because you like to have fun! There is no way you can say, "Ah, if I'd done things differently...": no regrets.

Even if you're not into sports, (I know a few people who consider surfing the web for no apparent reason aka whiffling a sport. "Hey I dugg x articles today! So cool, can you download the entire Steve Jobs keynote collection from 1980 for me, please."

The game. That's what we're there for. The game.

So, pass out the snacks and enjoy the game. If you're thrilled and discussing it long after it's over, I've got a sure hunch that you enjoyed it.

One Week Later:

Ah, amma's back home and so are the siblings. It's nice having somebody in the house. For one it's company when you get back home. Fights aplenty, and noise that accompanies it. But then one feels at home. Otherwise, it's this empty and purposeless existence till dad comes home at late at night. Ah, and suddenly, all friends seem to have no reason to drop in and break the monotony.

Dandiya day tomorrow - wonder what's going down at Cosmos. It should be fun. I shall try and check it out.

Ever wondered why the senior girls are so so so... nice? ah, I can't stem the flow of italics. I even thinbk in italics when I see the senior gurls. (Yes, typos are very very very nice...) But then when they go by and you stop thinking about them till you see them again, it is so nice. Why wouldn't I want to marry her? I can take her home to amma. She's not a bad girl, she's so nice!

Nice
might be about the most worn-out adjective in my lexicon, as of now. Maybe lexicon is going too far, but vocabulary should do it. The boys (or should I say, the men) I know only indulge in a number of activities when it comes to females (preferably of the homo sapien variety): look. drool. hyperventilate. point out excesses/criticize shortcomings. drool some more over the excesses. fantasize; fan. some more; generally, this is the routine. And it really makes me wonder, is this what I should be doing? Am I any different, or do I indulge in the very same activities myself in the privacy of my cerebral cortex. Are my friends in admiration of beauty or are they just relishing the fact that guys will be guys. Are the CDs and Cassettes people right? Are they?

BSNL finally thought it was time to give me my first telephone bill, nice! :0
They'll be delivering the connection by the end of the month, so I'll be casting pods all over the place before you know it.
Give me some review units please! :-) I would like to put something in on the podcast.

I've made some new friends, they don't appear to be too worse for the wear after 20+ years of living, infact, I might even learn something, and there's never a bad time for that. You of all people should know that.

I've not been able to think of a single name for the podcast that I'm thinking of starting. Infact, nothing has been thought through yet, I was planning to get some voices from people I know to see how I can put things together. You need someone backing you up for things like this. And, I need a nice headset to communicate effectively as well, the fan noise in the background doesn't really help clear things up. Clarity in static - that would be more like it.

The Zune was selling for USD 99 on Woot. Amazing. These things are so cool. Looking at the currency conversion rates, you have a really nice 30 GB model for about INR 4000! Hell, that's cheaper than the Shuffle! And best part, you can squirt! (:-))

Ah, when will Microsoft wake up and realise that people here want to listen to music? Start marketing it here, you idiots. Leopard launches in a few days. Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon is launching today. Lots happening in the tech world. Ah, but nobody's covering anything here in India. Sadly, I find myself wishing there was a weekly podcast on stuff that's relevant to the Indian subcontinent. Because nobody's even heard of Ubuntu here. They're still filching old copies of Red Hat (v. 7.x) and thinking Linux doesn't get better than this! Oh, for shame! Pre-ordered Gutsy, it'll be arriving in two months. Ah, ah, ah, I wait and wait.

Girls | Stocks | Whine...

Where were they all this time when I was scouring the internet, knowing not what I did?

Love their FlickR photostream. They've used some nice B&W to bring out the shades.

Scott Bourne's a happy man, and he's making all those geeks out there happy too.

Top 100 in the iTunes podcast list. The first episode is out. Go get it and get wired.

Can girls be trusted with tech? Yeah...

Drool drool.

What is wrong with me?

I know it's been a while, but then what can be done, I've not slept for nights. I feel a bit whiny. And there's not enough interesting conversations for most of the day till dad comes in at night. The stock market is just rising and I'm still in two minds: hold or buy? We just started tracking the markets using financial parameters, well, maybe one of those - P/E Ratio. It's at a pretty high level right now and it's not safe to buy, but then the more we wait, the more it goes up. The Sensex just hit 19 with three zeros today. Nifty up by 4% today. I don't get it, when will it end, when will I finally start breathing? When will I finally stop feeling like a fool for cashing in two days ago? Ah, ah, I am in whino mode!

SO, it's GirlsGoneGeek.TV
from Scott Bourne's Podango productions. Scott Bourne is a regular member of the MacBreak panel. Check it out. Worth a listen. You get to hear girls talking geeky, not something heard everyday here. And they've got a bunch of lovely desaturated (tech speak for B&W) up on FlickR.
Killed a creature.

No.

No.

No.

It mustn't happen again.

Funny, I'm handbraking 'A Beautiful Mind' now. Exporting at:
  • very high bitrates 1 mbps or more.
  • Anamorphic - so it'll fill up the screen
  • 192 kbps AAC
  • 2-pass encoding, it's going to take a few more hours to mux
  • Ouch! This thing is hot hot hot!
Ah, yes I reverted back to the default Waste-ah theme. What to do, so many choices, so many choices.

Opened up my PC today. Screenshots coming tomorrow.

Internals are done. College tomorrow.

Handbraked! | CRTs are not worth it

If you haven't noticed yet, I use Feedburner to keep tabs on how many people and how many people subscribe to the feed on this site, and there I found that many visitors from places like Oslo, Winnipeg, Chihuahua, Nice, and a bunch of other places were coming down to visit.

A lot of people seem to be wondering how long the muxing process in Handbrake would take.

I thought that just bringing them here and not giving them a solution to their problem was unfair, so if you guys are looking for a figure on how long Handbrake's muxing process takes, a ballpark figure would be about 3 hours. That's how long it took to mux the 192 kbps audio with the film. The used my laptop.

The film was about 2 hours long. Handbrake gives very high detail regarding the video encoding, if only it would do the same for the muxing of audio and video as well.

So, depending on your configuration and the length of the video, it could take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. Pretty long process, so if you have something else to do in those 4 hours, then go ahead and do it. Because the progress indicator which is stuck at 0.00% most of the time is not going to be of much help. So, my advice: if you are encoding a full-length feature film, running time about 2 hrs, then just leave your PC running and leave the room. There's one thing you can do to speed things up, create an ISO of the disc from (DVD Decrypter is good, I don't use anything else, except Nero for a change) which you're encoding the movie and then, mount that ISO using virtual drive software onto a virtual drive. Use Daemon Tools for this. Then Handbrake it. This works and you'll find that it may speed things up a bit. And your disc is less likely to get scratched will safely in its case.

Here's an extract from the Handbrake FAQ on their site:

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Stuck at 100%? Try these tips.

Here's the deal with getting stuck at 100%...

It isn't stuck. (Usually)

It's still working on the conversion. Those comfortable in Terminal can use "top -o cpu" to see that HandBrake is probably the top item, and still using a large portion of your processor(s) speed.

Canceling the conversion at this point is virtually guaranteed to result in a broken file. (It's possible to get lucky, but if you've spent hours converting so far, why risk throwing it all away?)

Give it time, and it will almost always finish.

Many people have reported various voodoo actions to prevent this from happening. Waving a dead chicken about is probably just as good, and really now—couldn't you put that chicken to better use, by making a yummy sandwich?

From my own experience, tempered by what I've been seeing reported here in the forums, all I can say is that the pause is usually associated with particular discs, and that lower-end machines are more likely to be delayed at the end like this. (My PowerBook G4 1Ghz with 1GB of memory was delayed often, but my PowerMac dual 2Ghz with 2GB of memory rarely is.)

There have been times when I've returned to my faster machine and found it paused at the end of a conversion, and "top -o cpu" didn't list HandBrake at the top. In this case, all I needed to do was access the drive the converted movie was being saved to, and the process completed. This has happened maybe twice out of hundreds of conversions.

The only magic bullet here is time. Patience will be rewarded.

The most costly bullet is to get a better machine/more memory... But that's not a guaranteed solution - it just worked for me.

So generally, HandBrake really isn't "stuck", it just isn't displaying the last step(s) it needs to finish before the conversion is complete.

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Don't handbrake Handbrake! They know what they're saying.

Note, I've found that most people don't realise that computers do actually consume a lot of power, especially if you use a CRT monitor (those big bulky ones that weigh a ton!). So, turn off the monitor if you don't have to look at the screen that frequently. Only leave the monitor on while you are using the machine. And by using I mean, sitting at the keyboard, typing out a blog post, or a recipe for chicken biriyani (I have one that my grandmother gave my mother, who in turn gave it to me, I'll put it up later). So, remember if you can, get LCDs - they cost a little more, but the savings on power will be enough to make up for that little extra expense.

So remember, turn off your monitor when you're not using it. Go for LCDs, they're less power-hungry and they look cooler on your desk. Or go for a laptop. But even with those, there are issues. There was an article in the recent PC Magazine (Reduce, Reuse, That's It by Sascha Seagan) about how even laptops are becoming power-hungry these days. So, if you're trying to convert that gaming rig of yours into a notebook, please don't. Visit Good Clean Tech for more info.

And remember, with handbraking - patience is virtue, and nicely encoded movies for which people the world over will thank you. :-)

Conversation

Crankshaft|Chateebasi

How am I?|I'm good?
Good who?|Good for a few minutes.
Why?|Because -
Because?|Don't because for my stretch in Bangalore Central.


This was the caption for reasons unknown, of the blog mainpage, right under that neat little heading.

I still don't know why.