Pointless

No really, it is. I try to go to sleep early, really I do, but I just lie there awake until around 3, when exhaustion overcomes me. As a consequence, it’s really hard to stay awake in class and sometimes I find myself being shaken awake at the end of a class not remembering when I fell asleep. It’s not possible to go on like this anymore. Something must be done, holidays must be granted. Please, for the love of god. It all seems so pointless. Like this cat, for instance:

Sisyphus Cat

Some photos I took while in college

I stay in the college residential halls for a couple of hours and have lunch sometimes. Last time I was in Selaiyur Hall, having nothing to do I snapped a couple of shots of college. The camera on the phone is funny and has some funny settings, if you don’t change the default you’ll get pictures that look like the aliens are landing. Yes I just ran a script to resize some of them and then resized and put the rest in last, it shows doesn’t it? :D Design was never my forte.

Anyway, the point is, it’s a pretty nice looking college.

Vaikom Basheer – Perch – Moonshine and Skytoffee

Moonshine and Skytoffee This Sunday, me and the family went for a play by Basheer performed by Perch at the Museum Theatre. Apparently my granddad used to tell my father Basheer’s stuff all the time, so the parents were rather enthusiastic about the whole thing. Pipe and Bikram were there too – gone out of their minds. Anyway, the show was actually pretty damn good, and remarkably low priced for such a nice job. The play itself is really nice, I wonder how much I’ve missed out from not reading Malayalam literature. That’s why it’s useful to know people like Samyuktha who’ll tell you about stuff like this and not reserve tickets when you ask for them :P

It was lots of fun and it had all sorts of memorable characters and the like, and though in the beginning it seemed a bit forced, after a while everyone just slipped into their parts and it went off really well. There were some nice bits where they came to the audience and played around with a few of the front seat people, having a little fun at their expense. Yep, it’s worth watching but unfortunately Sunday was their last show. You can, however, watch next week’s play Sangathi Arinhya: Same group, same time, same place. And yes, don’t worry, it’s in English.

Pongal Holidays

Yay! I’ve got a whole week’s worth of holidays coming up, courtesy of it being Pongal for a few days. That’s one thing I love about India, there are always festivals for you to have holidays on. Of course, one thing I hate about India is the number of festivals involving a noisy bunch of people breaking melons on the roads and then proceeding to slip and crack their skulls on the same mashed melons a couple of days later. Like one of Pipe’s acquaintances said, “Why are they wasting vegetables?”

Anyway, what’s new is I’ll be posting much fewer ads after this last one because I can’t bear the sight of looking at the index page so full of that stuff. So another month and it’ll be clean all over again. It didn’t help that Google’s latest update sent my PageRank back down to 2 so I won’t get that many ads to post either. That’s a good thing, I suppose.

The Xerox Is A Lie!

We wanted to take a photocopy of our notes for tomorrow, but the places right outside college didn’t have any power so they couldn’t do anything. So we went across the station to West Tambaram and then through the subway and when we came up we saw a huge sign promising Printing, DTP, Xerox, blah blah, so we went up the stairs and…

That’s my classmate Deepak. And yes, the video is low res, but what do you expect, it’s from my phone-cam. If the video doesn’t play in the player you can just copy the link address. The 3gp file is the smallest, but the default quicktime file is the only one that doesn’t need either flash or java.

Catch-22 at the reservation counter

The Tambaram Railway Station likes to be almost disabled friendly. For a long time they had a ramp for people to wheel up, except the ramp seemed to be blocked for use, there was one of those big traffic control barriers across it. Now the barrier is gone, but the ramp is a sight, the handrail rises at a funny angle so that at the bottom the ramp it’s at the level of your ankle and at the top it’ll be at the height of a standing person.

Another example of their almost-helpful policy is the following sign. How Nice!, one would like to say.

Catch-22

There is a problem, of course, the sign is on the first floor. You can get to the first floor only by using the stairs. This is a classic Catch-22! If you can get to the sign, you aren’t eligible for the ‘priority’ because you aren’t disabled and if you’re disabled you’re eligible but you can’t get any ‘priority’ because you can’t get up there in person. The Railways has quite the penchant for black humour.

Tests – Complex Analysis

We have tests, and I’m reaping exactly what I sowed: nothing. It’s quite painful really, to go there and stare at the question paper and have no clue whatsoever as to how to solve what’s there. I was planning on getting the text book, but Higginbothams was closed on Sunday, and so I didn’t have a textbook. Other universities were very helpful though, and this is one reason I love foreign colleges. They have all sorts of lectures put up in PDFs so you can get a hint of what you’re getting. They’re not complete though, I think. You still need a textbook, which I never did get till around half an hour before the test. Yeah, that’s just asking for it, especially since I haven’t attended one hour of this class before.

Anyway, here’s a couple of useful links:

Meanwhile, I also noticed a bug in File Roller. It will ask you for a RAR password if the RAR archive you’re downloading isn’t yet complete (which would be the case if it was downloading and not downloaded).

Mathrix ’08 went off surprisingly well

Anna University - CEG - In The Rain - With a funny cameraWell, I’m rather happy because we were playing against the Engineering crowd, people who actually study all that C stuff for a living and who have a lot more invested in the whole thing. It went off rather well, though they didn’t give us any cash prizes there were a couple of certificates.

Quiz:

The quiz wasn’t all Maths, there was some Maths history and some general bits and a rather interesting round with a concealed picture that was revealed bit by bit. There was some strong stuff though, and personally I think that bit was given just a bit too little time. One of our team’s questions, for example. I went and made a mistake working it out. I had 50 / 25 written out in one particular part and computed that to be 25. My arithmetic always sucked. Anyway, they scored you partly on the method and partly on the answer so I got half the points anyway. In any case it wasn’t that important because we finished rather near double the closest team :) which was a good feeling. It was nice winning, they gave us a certificate each and a copy of some book that looks like its for people preparing for job interviews. Ah well. Oh yeah, they also gave us a rather big shield, but we had to sign that we were going to give it back after a month :)

C Debugging:

Remember what I told you about triple pointers? Well, today those people set us some tasks that were decidedly not debugging. They were some good questions, that I’ll admit, but my lack of knowledge of the usual library functions came back to bite me in the ass, so I had like more unfinished programs — must learn to focus effort. ­I have to admit that those unfinished ones weren’t going anywhere. So I figured out this brilliant method to swap variables using the ^ operator and was rather proud of myself. It turns out, however, that that is one of those old tricks that everyone uses. I was born too late, that’s my problem. Anyway, I managed to place second so its a bit of a consolation. They gave me another book, this time about being a leader. It’s cool, but I don’t go in for that kind of stuff.

I’m happy, thanks Anna University.

Mathrix at Anna University

So we went to Anna University today for Mathrix ’08 and it was actually pretty nice. I left early in the morning and caught a share auto to the CEG campus where they were going to hold the events. While we were travelling it started raining like mad, and when I got off I had to take refuge along with some other people in a traffic policeman’s shed. The only problem was I had to keep standing. Ah well, better dry and standing than wet and sitting.

So I managed to get inside Anna University and to the venue in time. Yay! First on the list was:

C Debugging:

A while ago, someone mentioned something about this event in Arun’s blog and I found it hard to believe that such crazy stuff would be asked. My mistake, I should’ve heeded the warning. It was crazy man, CRAZY! There was a little timer in the corner and it would keep ticking down the seconds till twenty five minutes had run out. On the screen there was this box with code that usually goes something like this:
Find the output:

#include
int main()
{
int i = 24;
int * Iptr = &i;
[gibberish looking stuff involving TRIPLE POINTERS! Which sane person uses freaking triple pointers?!!]
[some more stuff]
return 0;
}

Triple pointers?! What hater-of-all-things-human uses triple pointers? And then to make it worse they had questions about a pointer to a pointer to a character pointer returned by a function that accepts a pointer to a character pointer. Man, you know what? I don’t know the damn language, I’m going to say that, and I’m never going to be able to program stuff in anything other than python if its all like this. Jesus, imagine writing Hello World. No way, I’m not going near C unless I’m in a Hazmat suit. Needless to say we were near the bottom of the pack, if not last. On the way out this girl organising it asked if it was easy, I said it was ‘Interesting’ – which it was, it gave me insight into my programming skills. Then there was:

The Quiz:

I had to walk through the rain to get to the quiz, and I was drenched by the time I got there. No umbrella you see. Waste of time standing inside traffic booth. Anyway, the quiz itself was pretty nice, not too tough except for the last page that was full of computer science stuff and had some weird questions about definitions. Since there were no negatives we guessed :) It turned out well, I have to go for the finals tomorrow. That’ll be cool, I bet they’ll ask all sorts of engineering stuff and I won’t know anything. Ah well, worth a shot I guess and besides, it meant I didn’t have to go to class today :D

Incidentally, about that traffic policeman, a really sad thing happened. He was sitting there waiting for one of those police vehicles to come by, and when the fancy Hyundai Accent showed up he ran up to it in the rain and tried to talk to the cops inside, but they just said they weren’t going to do anything and sped off all nice and warm inside their car. All he wanted was a raincoat, he was grumbling about how they could’ve just given him the raincoat.

College Starts Again

Yeah, so college starts again from tomorrow. And unless I’m wrong we have tests starting from Friday. That’s pretty bad because, having attended only two hours out of the 150-odd so far, I have no clue what we’re going to have a test on. There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this paper well. I’ll just have to count on the good old 2 out of 3 rule and make the other two tests count. Life’s heating up again, just like in the 12th, it’s time to apply to a college for a post-grad course, and I’m not sure where I’d like to join. Best give everything a shot, I suppose.

The thing is I’ve suddenly gotten into the scheduling habit, so I’ve got a lot of things all carefully marked on my laptop calendar marking every thing I have to do. I’ve never been one for to-do lists and as a consequence, have never manage to get things done :) or at least I haven’t been organised for the past 3 years, but it’s time to put the shoulder to the wheel so this blog post is here to remind me later about what I’d hoped.

I just realised that this whole thing reads like a New Year Resolution. It’s not. I don’t make New Year Resolutions on the first of January, that’s slightly short of a real new year for me.