Friday, December 30, 2005

Black in Time top 10 movies of 2005

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black made it to Time magazines Top 10 movies of 2005. Black is at Number 5. However, it is in the Asia edition of Time. The article can found on the Time Asia webpage.

Time's Richard Corliss says

This is an unofficial remake of the 1962 U.S. film The Miracle Worker, about the deaf-blind child Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, who penetrated the wall of dark silence to introduce Helen to the world of words. Bhansali, whose last film was the mega-soap opera Devdas, extends and reconfigures Keller's real-life inspirational story. Now the girl, an Anglo-Indian called Michelle McNally, pursues her education at a "normal" university. And her Annie Sullivan is a man — the man of Bollywood cinema, Amitabh Bachchan. As the plot ripens, and the grownup Michelle (Rani Mukherjee) emerges from the girl (Ayesha Kapoor), she must cope with both her teacher's ambitions for her and her emotions for him. This is an unusual film for India: no songs, a running time under 2 hrs. and most of the dialogue in English; yet it became a box office hit. It could also be a test for Western audiences unused to the fever pitch of Indian melodrama; they may need a warning label — Caution: Extreme Sentiment (May Be Contagious). Everyone else can dive right into the bathos and savor the brave, passionate performances of Amitabh, who harnesses gravity and humor to his magisterial machismo in what may be his greatest role, and the two Michelles, who revere and adore their teacher as the one man who matters. In so many Indian films the deepest searches are for romantic ecstasy and for reconciliation with the father figure. By addressing both these needs, Black is more than a noble weepie; it is the ultimate Bollywood love story.

I disagree about it being a love story. Its the ultimate anti-thesis to the Bollywood love story. Bhansali already excelled at the ultimate Bollywood love story in "Devdas" and "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam". The true bollywood love story of 2005 year is "Parineeta". The thing I hate about Western reviewers is that they see a couple of bollywood movies and think they know the entire genre. Imagine seeing a movie like Constant Gardner (another to make it to Time's top 10 list) and making a generalization of all British movies.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The real story behind King Kong : A satire

Two things were always at the back of Peter Jackson's mind. One, Titanic is the all time biggest earner and Steven Speilberg's name creates the biggest buzz. With great resolve Peter Jackson wants to break these shackles and rein over filmdom. He starts looking for a movie to remake that has a truly international appeal. He decides to watch all this favorite movies starts with Titanic, Jurassic Park, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and the Green Mile. As he watches these movies his heart wells up with sorrow. He does not want to remake one, he wants to remake all of them, at the same time. Now we understand that Hollywood was going to let Jackson make pretty much anything he wanted, but how was he going to convince them that it was "ok" to shoot four movies at the same time. He decides to take a few weeks off to think the matter through. At home in New Zealand he feels a new calm descending over him and a power guides him to his journal he wrote as a kid. He looks at an entry where he talks so eloquently as a eight year old about making King Kong. He chuckles to himself wishing if only life were so simple now. Then in a momemt of a lifetime, it hits him. All his sorrows were washed away with a single wave of the ocean. He realizes he could make four movies at the same time. It would just have to be called "king kong".

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Social Progress in India?

Kaushik Basu is Economic professor at Cornell University. He has an article on the bbc about social progress vs. economy in India. He has an article on Whither social progress in India? . The issues he mentions are child labour, gay rights, stem cell research, caste discrimination, gender discrimination. But he only gives numbers and facts for child labour and non-existent gay rights. Why not talk about the others? There are other social issues, like dowry, female infanticide, misuse of the dowry protection law, lack of elementary education facilities in rural places, etc. Punjab has the highest male/female ratio compared to any other state.

Child Labour: Somewhere between 10.25% and 19.90% of all Indian children between the ages of nine and 15 are labourers.

Gay Rights: Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code categorizes homosexuals as criminals.

He claims today's India is more intolerant than 50 years ago.
Rebuttal: India has a Muslim President, Sikh Prime Minister, a communist party part of the central goverment in a country with a Hindu majority. How are we less tolerant than the Indian 50 years ago? India has also had a Women prime minister. In the last two hundred years US is still to have a woman or a black president. Most presidents fit the protestant white male category. If I remember correctly there have been only 2 Catholic presidents, JFK being one.

Even with the so called economic development there are still huge parts of India with there is no running water, electricity, and roads. About 30% of India still lives below the poverty line. Child Labor stems from poverty and not social or cultural situations. Everybody should be able to atleast provide for themselves a basic standard of living. People who cry themselves hoarse about outsouring don't realize that if 10,000 US jobs move to India, is just sliver of the cake. Standard of living has improved for the middle class, but we still have a long way to go to make India a economically developed controy. And if we truly equate social and economic progress, I think we have made equal progress in both.

Nice couplet

Har ek baat pe khete ho tum ke tu kya hai
Tumhi kaho ke ye andaaze guftago kya hai

Rago mein daudte phir ne hum nahi kayal
Zabakahin se hi na tapaka to phir lahoo kya hai

I love the way the words flow. If anyone knows enough Urdu to explain what the last half really means, please do let me know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Guide for Tourists visiting India

I came across an interesting article I came across on BBC. The local administration in Ajmer, Rajasthan prepared an document to inform tourists about cultural dos and don'ts while visiting India. I have taken the guidelines from the article, "Indecency guide for tourists to India" .

The guidelines say:

  • Men should never touch women in public, even to help a woman out of a car, unless the lady is very elderly or infirm

  • In Indian culture... men socialise with men, and women with women

  • Married couples in Asia do not hug, hold hands or kiss in public. Even embracing at airports and train stations is considered out of the question

  • Generally it is improper for women to speak with strangers on the street and especially to strike up a casual conversation

  • Drinking alcohol or smoking in public, no matter how innocent, are interpreted as a sign of moral laxity and are not acceptable.

The only thing I kind of disagree is the smoking in public part. I don't think smoking in public is considered as bad. It depends on where you are though. If around conservative Indians then it definitely would be not looked upon kindly.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lara Surpasses Border

Brian Lara surpassed Alan Border's 11,174 by 13 runs to become the highest run getter in test cricket. He took 35 fewer tests than Border to achieve the target. What's been great about Lara is that the West Indies have looked a very pale shadow of their world champion days. But time and again Lara has been this supernova that makes everyone sit up and take notice. He got back is highest score in a test match last year in April by scoring 400 runs again England. That shows his true class. Not only did he do it once it did it again.

Border was very gracious in his remarks on his record being broken.

"I pass on my congratulations to Brian Lara," said Border. "He is a very worthy holder of the mantle of the greatest run-scorer in Test history. I played against Brian when he made his century in Sydney in the season of 1992-93 and I would rank him as one of the best three batsmen in the world."

Sachin Tendulkar maybe a more consistent batsman than Lara, and thats why I think he will overtake Lara someday soon. He is pretty close at 10,000 odd runs. But I don't think he can ever score 400 runs or play some of the innings that Lara has played. It seems strange but there are more Dravid and Laxman innings that can be compared in that league. Especially the one at Eden Gardens when they batted the whole day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Shah Rukh's New Look


Check out Shah Rukh Khan's new look for the movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (Never Say Goodbye!). This is a Karan Johar movie. Well we can either hate Karan Johar movies or love them, but can't certainly ignore them. He assembles a unparalled cast for the movie with Amitabh, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Abhishiek, Urmila, Priety, Kiron Kher, and Arjun Rampal. The lead in the movie are Shah Rukh and Rani. The premise of the movie is that both Shah Rukh and Rani are married to their respective spouses. (I think Shah Rukh Khan is married to Urmila, and Rani is married to Amitabh. Yup not Abhishiek but Amitabh) They both think they are happy in their respective marriages until they meet each other. What starts as happy banter turns into love. Now I think the premise is nice and all but if Karan Johar turns this into another K3G, it will be really sad. Its a very hollywood-esque theme. I mean you don't have married people falling in love in Hindi movies. So its a first of its kind. The film is currently being shot in New York City. Well since its a married couple falling in love, it had to be in the US, gosh they can't show Indian couples in India falling in love with other people. The unofficial dictacts of bollywood cinema still strongly control the themes of the movies made.

My best three of the year: Black, Sarkar and Parineeta. Brilliant movies. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lalu's 15 year reign ends.. what does that mean for Bihar?

So Lalu's reign ends with the NDA coming to power in Bihar. The new government has to be very careful and not turn into another Lalu regime. Bihar has the lowest per capita income, lowest literacy rate, really bad law and order situation, murder, rape and kidnapping are rampant. If you have travelled by road in Bihar, its very easy to know that the infrastructure is almost non-existent. The new goverment has an uphill task of rebuilding Bihar. The first thing they should work on improving the law and order situation. Then Bihar can take a leaf out of other emerging states. Uttaranchal has offered tax sops to companies for setting up their units there. They are also designating certain parts to be industrial areas. Haryana is another state that really hard to bring invesetment. Gurgoan is attracting a lot of IT companies with new developement. Poverty breeds a lot of ills, so creating lucrative jobs in Bihar is key to its development.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Caption Contest


Here is an interesting picture, come up with a caption and win bragging rights.
Oh and for those wondering what is being advertised, its "chilled beer".
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The third Potter movie was better than the earlier two, and keeping up with traditional this Potter movie turns better than all three. Yup better than the third one too. So what changed? Its no longer a movie for children. The plot, the story and the setup is very much like a regular movie. Good action, some suspense full momements, exciting thriller, normal human emotions like jealousy and competition, someone dying, and elements of a love story. I think the movie does quite well in combining so many facets and yet doing a good job of it. This movie is definitely darker than anything seen so far, its PG13 rating is very much required. Well the gang has certainly grown up a lot. Daniel Radcliff does not look a 14 year old who is is a mismatched with the 17 years old. Ruper Grint looks very buff and grown too. And to think the movie seris just skipped one year 2004 where they didn't have Potter movie out. The first came out in Novemnber 2001. There are a lot of talented actors on the cast, but most of them end up being neglected, but thats what the book is for. Read about how each character is developed. Ralph Fienes is totally wasted as Lord Voldemort. His look is erriely similar to the one he had in English Patient, the strechted skin and bald look. But I gotta to admit he does bring something special to the character of Voldemort. Bredon Gleeson as the Dark Arts teacher is another delight. For Harry Potter fans this is a real feast, and for non Potter fans this is a good watch given the dearth of good movies in theaters. In fact dare I say its better than the book in some ways. The book rambles for about the first 100 pages, about the appearance of Voldemort and the Quidditch world cup. The movie gets straight to it and finishs the those events in a well executed 15-20 minutes. Like a good thriller, very well paced. The cnn review claimed that movie tries to do too much. I don't think so. I think it is fit to compare it to a movie like Independence day in terms of entertainment value. The Goblet of Fire is bang on and fits perfectly in that category. It was funny last night on abc they were showing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Well the movie wasn't funny but the fact that all the actors looked so young was funny. I don't really know how they can keep the same star cast for the rest of the movies given the rate they are growing up. Go see it, its a good one.

Queen Mary

This is a picture of the ship Queen Mary taken from a boat on the Long Beach harbor. The Queen Mary is cruise ship from the 1930's. Its now been converted to a hotel and doesn't go to sea anymore. The interior definitely gives the feel of it being old. It has wooden boards instead of regular flooring. The strange thing being on the Queen Mary made me feel like I was in B'bay in Morarka House. It probably the sea breeze and the old look.
 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pathan & Sehwag stop the rampaging Proteas

Irfan Pathan and Virendra Sehway demolished the Proteas dream of equalling the Aussie's unbeaten run of 21 matches. The path to glory ended at 20 matches for the South Africans. After being reduced to 35/5 on a Flat wicket in the previous game, the Indians bounced back with a good win. The five match series is leveled at 1-1 now. Winning 20 consecutive matches is no joke. Given the hectic schedule of mordern day cricket, its even more commendable. A lot of teams are preparing well for the 2007 WC.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dull Diwali Releases

This year the movies released during Diwali are really lacklusture. Have I seem any of them? No. The point being I don't even want to see any of them. Traditionally we have seen some of the best movies being released during diwali.

Unassailable lead

India have an unbeatable lead of 4-0 in the 7 match series. I think this is the time it can experiment with its team. There is an adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". But the point is, it is going to break sometime ( a winning configuration). So better be well prepared for it. I think the one thing that they can really experiment with is Dhoni's spot in the batting. Like Adam Gilchrist, I think he would do really well in the opening slot. And drop Sachin to a one down position. And Yuvraj should take Dhoni's spot in the line up. I think getting rid of Ganguly has strengthened the batting line up. But we should not make haste in writing the obituary of the Bengal Tiger. If anyone he has the potential of working hard and making a strong comeback. With Dhoni doing so well Dravid must be breathing a sigh of relief. It means that he won't be asked to don the gloves anytime soon for the ODIs.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A thought about holidays

A Happy Diwali to all the readers of this blog !!! I feel funny writing this, because more Americans read my blog than Indians ("more" is a relative term, hence out of the total people who read my blog). So I was thinking what am I going to be doing this Diwali? Go to school, take a midterm, read two papers for a class, and then go to a class. This got me thinking what if the weekend was only a day long, "just Sunday" and then have more holidays throughout the year. It would be like India, where you do have a holiday for Diwali, Christmas, Eid etc and not have a two day weekend. On an average we did have about 3-4 days of holidays in a month. America is a true melting pot, with more and more immigrants becoming a part of the mainstream culture, having holidays for different religion festivals in not totally an alien concept. Though how would Americans (or as a matter of fact even immigrants) feel about cutting short the weekend? Given the American lifestyle cutting short the weekend seems a more radical concept to get used to, even though the total number of days you get off would end up the same. I would like comments on this issue. Just see if people can even remotely think about such an idea.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Compositional Logic for Control Flow

This might be an interesting paper to look at. Since I do look at the control flow in low level languages to compute heuristics, A Compositional Logic for Control Flow by Gang Tan and Andrew W. Appel. This paper has been accepted for publication at VMCAI (Seventh International Conference on Verification, Model Checking and Abstract Interpretation (VMCAI 06)) 2006. The abstract is available for a read. I guess I have to wait for this paper to be available to look at it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Beautiful Song

Do Naina aur Ek Kahani, Thoda Sa Badal Thoda Sa Paani, Aur Ek Kahani (2)
Do Naina aur Ek Kahani

Chotsi do jheeloon mein woh beheti raheti hai (2)
Koi sune ya na sune kaheti raheti hai
Kuch Likh kar kuch zubaani
Thoda sa badal Thoda sa paani Aur Ek Kahani
Do Naina aur Ek Kahani

Thodi si hai jaani hui Thodi si nayee (2)
Jahan ruke Aasun wahi puri ho gayi
Hai to nayee phir bhi hai to purani
Thoda sa badal Thoda sa paani Aur Ek Kahani
Do Naina aur Ek Kahani

Ek khamat ho to doosri raat aajaati hai (2)
Hooton pe phir bhule hue baat aajaati hai
Do nainon ki hai ye Kahani
Thoda sa badal Thoda sa paani Aur Ek Kahani
Do Naina aur Ek Kahani

Was hearing this song from Masoom. Its written by Gulzar. This is my recent favorite these days. Sung very well by Aarti Mukherjee. Though I got to admit I haven't heard her name that often. I am sure I have heard some other stuff from her but just can't place her in my head. There is a 4 CD set of Gulzar's songs out "Mera Kuch Saman". I would say its worthy of collection. The songs in it ranges four decades. This song is not in the collection but another song from Masoom, "Tujhe se Naraz Nahin Zindagi" is on it. There are songs from Bandini, Anand to Maachis and Pinjar. Great for listening in the evening. Well recently I have been listening to it while writing my MS proposal :). This is a recent addition to my songs by Pankaj Udhas, Mukesh, and Jagit Singh. They are up there in my most listened to list. I guess I should make a note of all the music I listen to and make sure to thank all the singers, composers, musicians in my thesis. Well I am pretty sure without the music I can't and I won't get there. I distinctly remember that while writting my ASE paper I was in the Yanni and kishore kumar mode.

More cricket updates

Well I guess I should be more careful about making blog posts during Mike Jones' class, or atleast make sure to change the time stamp :). South Africa beat New Zealand in the second one day international in the best of five matches. South Africa now leads 2-0. South Africa elected to bat after winning the toss. They made 201-9 with a very patient 51 from J. Kallis. I didn't see the match but given that the match was played in Cape Town, I figure that the wicket has some zing to it. The ball was swinging a little and bouncing off the seam. With the pitch doing something a score of 200+ is defendable but nowhere close to being a safe one. The kiwis were moving along fine but then collapsed. Nitni took 3-29. Well so what is so special about this match? (Well I don't write too much matches that don't involve India) This was the South African's 11 consecutive one day victory. With this win they level with West indies team of 84-84. The Aussies are still up there with 21 sucessive wins. Thats going to be some mountain to climb. But maybe the South Africans are finally ready to put the whole Hansie Cronje, match fixing , low team morale behind them and emerge back to cricketing scene with full force. With everyone so focussed on beating Australia in the upcoming world cup, the Proteas might sneak one in. My early money on the WC champs is the South Africans. Well as the time comes closer, I will cease to be rational in my predications and will be biased in supporting India more and more.

The Mohali match

Some good fast bowling put Sri Lanka on the backfoot from the beginning. They could never really recover from the early blows. Well the middle and lower order did not dig their heels to get their eye in and play some sensible shots. They were bowled out for a really low 122. In mordern cricket, its not even a score that can be defended on a flat wicket. The outfield is very lush at Mohali, and if the bowl is struck cleanly it will go racing to the boundary. Sachin is really enjoying is comeback. I think the break has done him good. He has come back revitalized, with a greater hunger for runs. To seal his legacy as one of the greats he needs to lead by example in the coming World Cup. This might be last World Cup for him. Well for the Lankan fans the match was over even before it began.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tendya is back with a bang!

Sachin Tendulkar is back with a bang fellas! A knock of 93 in 96 balls hearalded the return of the maestro. I had been pretty tired of reading "Sachin is finished" in various forms in the Indian tabloids. I guess they need something to fill space and given the obessession of Indians with cricket and Sachin Tendulkar in general, the tabloids were just filling their pages. Also the whole Ganguly and Chappel incident was taking precedence over "cricket". A mammoth 350 at the city of oranges (Nagpur is famous for it oranges) was simply too much for the big hearted lankans. Again the ever dependendable Rahul Dravid played a stellar knock of 85.n.o. The star of the show was Irfan Pathan. He has the potential to turn into a really allrounder. He has the potential to turn into India's Wasim Akram. India ended up by trashing Lankan by a 152 runs. The key is to keep the momentum going. I think this is the biggest thing to take from the sucess of the Aussies. They never relent or give up no matter how bad the sitution. Their persevarance is notch above all other teams. It has happened too many times in the Indian cricketing side, one good victory and then just fade away. The next match is on the lush Mohali ground. Its a beautiful stadium and a one-day match produces great enthusiam.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

TeXPoint is Free!!

One of my friends said that I didn't mention in my post that TeXPoint is free. Well I say it now, "It is Free!"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Using LaTeX in Powerpoint

So all of you who have suffered through trying to insert formulas, write equations or any kind of technical jargon in a Powerpoint it is a pain. TexPoint is a great add-in for Powerpoint that
allows Latex symbols to be very easily added to your powerpoint presentation. TexPoint has two
modes inline ( which allows you to add LaTeX directly on your presentation) and display mode (which takes the LaTeX text and generates a bitmap for it. Once the bitmap is generated you can easily edit the text embedded in the image. You don't have to recreate a new image every time. Currently TexPoint only works for Office 2000/XP/2003 or Windows 95/98/NT/2000. They are currently developing a port for MacOSX.

You have to install Latex and Ghostscript on your machine before you can get TexPoint to work. I use MikTex for my Windows. It is very easy to install and use.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


This was in an Indian Newspaper today

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) has just included a new speaking component which may deter Asians who are well-versed in “textbook English’’ but not in spoken English.

This additional component will add the greatest strain on students from smaller towns. Some of these students have a great technical background, good math skills and are very hard working. Spoken English does not come very easily to them. But if accepted to a US University they can pick up this element within a few months. The article mentioned that the listening section will now have an American accent to simulate more real life experience. The ear takes a while to get accustomed to accents. TOEFL basically turns into an exercise of reading, listening and speaking a standardized Americanized English. There are certain advantages to this approach. International students are tested on this level and those who succeed will have an easier time when in the US. But a standardized approach also doesn't allow the language to grow. Any language that does not evolve dies after a certain amount time. International students with their different flavors of English bring something new to the University when they decide to come to the US for a higher education.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Handicapped Parking Issues

I been at BYU for 5 years now. There have been umpteen times when I have seen people park in the handicapped spot without a permit. Other times I have been astounded that people getting down from the car appear perfectly healthy and normal even when they have a permit. There was girl once who was bragging to one of my friends about how she had gotten a temporary permit when she twisted her ankle once. The ankle healed in a month but since she had a year long permit. This enabled her to get good parking for a year. Well this can atleast be explained with the fact that parking on university campuses is always tenacious.

There are some facts of which authorities who design handicapped parking are not even aware of. Even when people are not misusing the handicapped parking there are many times that all the handicapped slots are simply full. There are many places where they have very few handicapped slots. Among those slots here lies the problem: whenever there is a handicapped slot there always some extra space next to the parking lot for people with wheelchairs to get in the wheelchair. A lot of handicapped passes are handed out to old people, people with heart conditions, people who use crutches etc. There is a integral difference between afore mentioned people and people in wheelchairs. People in wheelchairs actually need the next space next to the parking lots to be able to get out of the car and get into the wheelchair. The others just need a parking spot close to their destination. If the local authorithes could realize this fact, and mark certain spots for people in wheelchairs only this could resolve a lot of issues. It is a lot harder for people in wheelchairs if they don't find an accessible spot compared to the other people with handicapped permits. I cannnot even think of getting a car modified so I could drive it because my horror lies what if I don't find any empty handicapped parking slots. There is no way I could park the car and get out of it.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

A really good episode. Jon Stewart on Crossfire . Rumor has it, Crossfire got cancelled because of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Kate Winslet in the American Express Ad

This is a long time since I have liked an advertisement so much. Its the new
Kate Winslet in the American Express ad. Alluding to her different roles over time Kate Winslet says in the ad
At 17 I went to prison for murder
By 19 I was penniless and heart broken
I almost drowned at 20
My mind started to go at 24
Then I had my memory erased at 28
And by 29 ..... I was in neverland

My real life doesn't need any extra drama
thats why my card is American Express"

In the 94 movie "Heavenly Creature" she plays a trouble teenager who with the aid of her best friend murders the latters mother. This movie is supposed to be based on a true story. In Jude (based on Thomas Hardy's book) she is the girl in love and ends up poor. Oh the drowing is her biggest grosser at the box office. The titanic ofcourse. She play novelist Iris Murdoch in "Iris" who suffers from Alzehmiers Disease. The memory erasing is Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind and ofcourse the last one being Finding neverland. The background score of the advertisment reminds me very much of the score from "The Hours".

The Kate Winslet ad can be seen at the American Express page

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Movies in Summer 2005

Here is my take on the movies I saw during summer 2005.

Hollywood: This has been a shocking summer from Hollywood. Unlike most summers I was gaping at the movie listings most every week. There would be nothing appealing enough for me to go to the theater. But here are the some that I did watch.

Mr & Mrs Smith: This film opened with great hoopla with Pitt and Jolie's personal life being the forefront. A out and out fluff movie but was entertaining while you were watching. They shared great chemistry, had some good one liners, and some well executed action sequences. You have to make sure that you put to sleep your logical and rational side of the brain while you are watching it.

Batman Returns: I was bored for the first half hour of the movie, and then it was just bearable. Great acting by Morgan Freeman, Micheal Caine, and Liam Neeson. Though their roles didn't do justice to their acting abilites. Katie Holmes needs to learn to smile and talk with a straight mouth. But mainly I thought Christian Bale didn't have enough screen presence to carry the movie on his shoulders.

My Two best films of the Summer:
The Interpretor: A great action/suspense/thriller. This is what Hollywood is good at. For a change they had a good story on it. It does try to bring out some issues about the apathy of the western world towards the suffering of African countries. Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman shine in their roles. There is a subtle moral in the movie without it being preachy.

The Constant Gardener: A British diplomat's wife is murdered in Africa. He goes on a quest to discover the truth about his wife. Ralph Fienes is great as usual. He has a very British quality about him that makes him come across as a very intelligent actor. The thing that makes this movie very real is that most of it was shoot in a slum in Kenya. The widespread poverty and suffering comes across as very real. No set
can do justice in being as hard hitting as the real thing. The acting is top notch. The story is also very believeable and potrayed realisticly. The last half hour kind of drags a little but there are enough twists to keep you entertained.

Bollywood: I was kind of pleasantly surprized by what Bollywood churned out this summer.

Parineeta: This tops my list of the summer. A very well made movie. You have to see Devdas again to really know how good Parineeta is. You can acutually empathize with the main characters. Their relationship comes across as naturally and not put on like it did in Devdas. Again since it is shot mostly in Calcutta, you get the Calcutta feel. Had some good music to top it off.

Sarkar: A very good adaptation of the GodFather. You know why Ram Gopal Verma is the king of his genre. For a change they give credit to Mario Puzo. Abishiek is the revelation, because you expect Amitabh to be good. The heroines don't have much to do but fit their roles.

Paheli: A visually rich film. A good attempt for hindi film to be different but the film doesn't have enough to keep engrossed.

TV shows: Since there was an acute lack of films to watch this summer I saw four seasons of Alias today. For those not into it, it is the female version of James Bond . Jennifer Garner is your Jane Bond, she is the one who saves the guys. It is mindless show which you can watch with your brain turned off. A good show to see if you just want to vegetate and relax.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sania Mirza vs Maria Sharapova

This the first time I saw Sania Mirza play tennis. Everbody expected to be outbeaten by Sharpova, and thats what happened. There are some very obvious things Mirza needs to improve on. The media has to been talking about that. The first and foremost is her service. If she is to be a force to be contended with, the serve needs to rise a few notches above what it is right now. The next thing is her fitness. She needs to train harder and build herself. She is a short girl given the height of women players. She needs to be much fitter to compete at this level of the game. She showed great spirit and ambition. You can tell she has the fire and the desire to be a champ. She also has some good groundstrokes. People have been talking about her strong forehand. The fourth round appearance was her best ever performance. This will definitely get her ranking pushed higher than her current 42. Given the dearth of sporting heros in India, she could tryly become one. It is important for her not to lose her focus in all the adulation and remember that the game always comes first. At this point it seems she is taking each step at a time and that whats she needs to keep doing. She does deserve credit for being where she is. Three Cheers for Sania Mirza!!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Google Talk

There has recently been a barrage of VoIP applications. Starting with Skype. Google introduced its latest chat client Google Talk which allows you free PC2PC calls. I have used a variety of chat clients over these years. Among the long list is Msn Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messanger, GAIM (both on Window & Linux), Trillian, and Fire. Compared to all of these I found the chat client for Google talk the simplest and cleanest. There are no extra fringes nor any clutter on your chat window. When msn messenger came out with version 7.0 I think I had an anuerysm. The nudges, all the other emoticons, your picture and the picture of the person you are chatting with were all there too. So why did we need all this to simply instant message. Google Talk takes a different approach you don't see the emoticons, nor a very fancy profile. It will make you think of the ICQ days. Well I don't see myself getting rid of msn messenger sometime soon, given that all my friends and contacts have accounts on those. I still need to try to call someone using Google Talk, and see what the latency of voice is.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Snatching Defeat from the jaws of victory

Just when it seemed that the Indian cricket team was getting its bearing it managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When the sixth wicket fell, with still a hundred runs required to win; I was quite sure of an Indian victory and stopped looking at scores. Taking nothing away from the two Sri Lankans who played very sensibily and held their nerve, the Indians certainly lost this one. Chaasing a target with the lights, with the outfield getting heavier is not easy. This bring forth the absence of a strike bowler. It is very difficult to believe that after the World Cup India seemed like the only team capable of giving the Aussies a serious fight. Now having to qualify for the ICC should be treated as a serious wake up call. In a country of 1 billion people obssessed with cricket, I am sure we can find and hone talent to make India reach the pinnacle of the cricketing world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Jammed CD with Roxio Direct CD

Never ever put a formatted CD in your CD-R drive and try either to write, read it. It will just jam and if you try to exit it will give an error something about the Roxio direct CD kernel has locked
the object. In this case take a paper clip straigten the clip and push it in the hole drive. It will go in about a inch or an inch and half. This will pop the CD tray and you can pull out your CD and throw away your formatted CD. It only costs so 50 cents.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Desi Consumers in US

I read this interesting article in Time magazine. It was called "Chasing Desi Dollars". It wasn't an Asian edition of the Time magazine, it was the US edition. I am not bothering to put a link to the article, because after a few days you can't access an archived article on Time without being registered. It is interesting that a "desi demographic" is begin recognized as a market in the US. Their choice of words in using the term desi is even more fascinating because even though very commonly used among South Asians, it is not a term commonly used by the Western world espcially in America. Here are some interesting facts that were in the article.

  • 64% of Indians in the US have a bachelors degree vs the 24% of the total population

  • The 2000 Census revealed that during the 1990s the number of Indians in the US more than doubled making them the fastest growing Asian minority

  • Indians commanded $76 billion worth of disposable income

  • Indians median household income is $64,000 -- 50% higher than the national average

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cloning-based Context Sensitive Pointer Alias Analysis using Binary Decision Diagrams

This paper presents a solution to the problem with scalability of context sensitive call graphs. When the programs become very big, inlining function calls becomes exponentially large. It generates a BDD to implicity represent the calling context. This allvieates a lot of problems.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Restaurant review : Zupa's

We went to this new place for lunch today "Zupa's". Turns out the guy who owns the place used to work at Novell's cafeteria in Provo. Its serves soups, salads and sandwichs. I had half soup/half sandwich. I really liked the grilled panini. The foccacia was just rightly toasted not too thick. I had the vegetarian panini instead of the three cheese one. The amount of the cheese was not overwhelming which is what I like in my sandwiches. They give a chocolate covered strawberry with any dish you order. Its basically nutella on the strawberry. Given the time of the year where the strawberries are so good. It was a real nice end to the meal. Its right next to Olive Garden, and was pretty full with the lunch crowd. I give it a thumbs up for a lunch place. Also you can get done in 35-40 minutes depending on how long you take to order or how long the lines are.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Actress of D : Rukshar

I came across an interesting tibit of information. The actress who is opossite Randeep Hooda in D who plays the actress Bhakti Bhatnagar is Ruksar. She did a movie which is atleast 10 years old. "Yaad Rakhegi Duniya". It had Adtiya Pancholi and she had cancer or a congitnal heart disease. Something fatal I can't remember what. But she died at the end of the movie. She had a very goody goody look in the movie. Plus the character was very mischievous and bratty. The role in D is totally different. I think she did a decent job in the movie but doesn't have a screen presnence in the movie. In fact Isha Koppikar even in the miniscule role of Chunky Pandey's wife comes across much move effective.

Since D is a prequel to Company it is so easy to imagine Ruksar's character metamorphing into Manisha Koirala's character in Company. I think it is good they didn't use the same actors. It would have negated the effect of D. It might have done a little better at hte box office. Well for any movie based on the underworld in typical mumbai style has a very small demographic that it appeals to. And it has done great in Mumbai.

The fickle Indian Media

Yesterday I was reading on timesofindia, how the Aussies are marked for downfall and talking about worthy successors. It takes a lot more than two defeats to break team. This could be indicative of a trend or could be just a flash in the pan. The thing that bothers me is that the Indian media espeically the sports journalists write totally in black or white. Its either Sachin is finished or Sachin evokes exterme terror in the mind of opposing teams bowlers. Its the same thing about everything. May it be Chappel's stint as coach, the bowling department or Ganguly's batting. India certainly has the talent to become the best team in the world. But so do a lot of other teams too. It takes a lot more than talent in today's day and age to become the top team. One of the things is consistency, discipline, hard work on fielding, the tail having the ability to wag.

I think the media needs to become more responsible and not faun so much rehtoric. Is it so hard to write articles logically and rationally. I am not branding all journalists but this is the general picture I get. Sports is capable of evoking extreme emotions in a person, so the other mediums should act a pacifier.

Friday, June 10, 2005

WAMP project

I am going to keep a running story of how I did my WAMP project (Windows/Apache/MySQL/PHP).

If you are running Windows XP and need to develop using MySQL and PHP, instead of downloading each of these three things seperately and configuring them just download the WAMP Server This will install all the three things.

The first road block:

When I opened a mysql command prompt it asked for me for a password.
The password is just an empty string. So just hit enter and works fine. But do remember to change the password.

The second road block

I already had IIS running when I installed Apache. both listen on port 80. So you have to change the settings of one or the other to listen on another port. I am thinking about just disabling the IIS. Well lets see how it turns out.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Latex Symbols

Here is a good reference for all the Latex Symbols.

Latex Symbols

Friday, March 25, 2005

Microsoft Power Toys

So for all the linux geeks our there and wanting multiple desktops to play around with here is your answer .. "Microsoft Power Toys"

Power Toys

They have other stuff too like having actual images of the object that your when you hit Alt Tab and stuff like that. So here comes the funny part. They make a big deal about saying its not supported by Microsoft so don't expect any support or anything like that. So here is my guess some Microsoft people did it for fun. (If it was supported by Microsoft it prob wouldn't be free ;) ) So imagine a conversation between a linux supporter and a Microsoft guy

Microsoft guy : Well I don't have to recompile my kernel to read my USB drive.
Linux supporter : You don't have multiple desktop :P

And thats how the story goes.

Quote of the Day "There is not such thing as being too rich, too thin or having too much bandwidth"

A Farce called the Bangalore Test Match

My question is what was the curator thinking when he made the Bangalore pitch. A placid wicket with nothing in it. Imagine the plight of fans if the series at been at a tantalizing 1-1. Even without that a good pitch would have given India a chance at the number 2 ranking on the ICC test ratings. Everyones been cribbing about Ganguly's form. I think he is very talented by lazy. He hasn't worked on overcoming his shortcomings specially against the short ball. Being the most sucessful Indian Captian has not had enough people baying for his blood. I think he can rise to the challenge and prove he is a world class batsman

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Papers I need to cite for SPIN paper

Data Flow Analysis for Verifying Properties of Concurrent Programs (1994)
Matthew Dwyer
Proceedings of the ACM SIGSOFT '94 Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering

For the definition of the admissible and consistent

Generalized BF Search Stratergies and the Optimality of A* published in the ACM journal by Dechter and J. Pearl

Another FSM heuristic:
The Right Algorithm at the Right Time: Comparing Data Flow Analysis Algorithms for Finite State Verification (2001)
Jamieson M. Cobleigh, Lori A. Clarke, Leon J. Osterweil
International Conference on Software Engineering

Validation with guided search of the state space
C Han Yang David L Dill
Annual ACM IEEE Design Automation Conference archive
Proceedings of the 35th annual conference on Design automation - Volume 00 table of contents

Interprocedural static analysis of sequencing constraints

Source ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM) archive
Volume 1 , Issue 1 (January 1992) table of contents
Pages: 21 - 52
Year of Publication: 1992

Kurt M. Olender University of Colorado
Leon J. Osterweil University of Colorado

Computation of interprocedural control dependence

Source International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis archive
Proceedings of the 1998 ACM SIGSOFT international symposium on Software testing and analysis
Year of Publication: 1998

Mary Jean Harrold Computer and Info. Science, Ohio State University, 395 Dreese Lab, Columbus, OH
Gregg Rothermel Computer Science, Oregon State University, Dearborn Hall 307-A, Corvallis, OR
Saurabh Sinha Computer and Info. Science, Ohio State University, 395 Dreese Lab, Columbus, OH

An Experiment with Inline Substitution

Cooper,Wall and Torczon
@article{ cooper91experiment,
author = "Keith D. Cooper and Mary W. Hall and Linda Torczon",
title = "An Experiment with Inline Substitution",
journal = "Software - Practice and Experience",
volume = "21",
number = "6",
pages = "581-601",
year = "1991",
url = "" }

Monday, March 21, 2005

LN Mittal

Here is an article on Mittal's rise to the third richest man in the world.

Forbes article

Vernal Equinox

Today is technically the first day of Spring. Well it depends on what Spring bring for you. The cold dreary winter is gone and here comes a season full of allergies. Whoohoo!!! Spring has the most positive connotation of all seasons. Does a season really affect how we feel? Are people happier in sunny beach California than in people in say Boston? Is the need for light a genetic thing or an envirnoment conditioning? Some one told me that 60% of people in Alaska suffer from some kind of depression.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Trail based heuristic

S. Edelkamp and T. Mehler. Byte code distance heuristics and trail direction for model checking Java programs. In Model Checking and Artificial Intelligence (MoChArt), pages 69–76, 2003.

Here is the link for the call for Papers MoChArt 05

Its a workshop.

Victory at Eden Gardens

India finally overcame history to beat Pakistan at Eden Gardens. The ever dependable Kumble bowled India to a famous victory. Special kudos to Rahul Dravid who hit two centuries, one in each innings. The thing that is getting really cliched is calling Dravid an unsung hero, underated blah blah. I think the media likes to play that up every time he does well. I think it does him more diservice than any good. Everybody knows that Dravid is a key player in the Indian cricket team. I think comparisons between him and Tendulkar and Ganguly should stop. In all circles Dravid's talent is appreciated and recognized. And if the media claims otherwise, then it is grossly wrong.

I think the Bangalore test is going to be a draw. I have been at the bangalore stadium for the India- South Africa test match and its just lacks a soul. Well it will depend on the pitch. I would rather that the test match be in Chennai.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

For Firefox fans

Here is finally a game which works good only in Firefox and doesn't really work in IE. Linux geeks ko Salaam !!!!

Make words

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

1/3 rd traffic on the net comes from torrents

I came across this article from slashdot, it claims that 35% of the internet traffic comes from BitTorrent. I believe that statistic but am amazed. This article even talks about how bittorrent works and stuff like that. What it doesn't say is that it's a negotation based protocol. So can't just sit there and leech, you will have to share.

BitTorrent Article

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Interprocedural control flow graph

Here is a paper which has an example of interprocedural control flow graph among other things.

Computation of Interprocedural Control dependence by Harrold, Rothermel, and Sinha

Published in 1998 ACM SIGSOFT

Constant Propagation through procedures

Interprocedural Constant Propagation: A Study of Jump Function Implementations by Dan Grove(Sun Microsystems) and Linda Torczon(Rice Univ).

Published at SIGPLAN 1993


An implementation of interprocedural constant propagation must model the transmission of values through each procedure. This framework is modeled by a jump function. This paper reports on a comparative study of jump function implementations. It shows that different jump functions produce different numbers of useful constants; its suggests a particular function, called the pass-through parameter jump function, as the most cost-effective in practice

Static Analysis for Memory Operations

An Efficient Static Analysis Algorithm to Detect Redundant Memory Operations by Keith D. Cooper and Li Xu

Published at ACM 2002

Part of the Abstract:

As memory system performance becomes an increasingly dominant factor in overall system performance, it is important to optimize programs for memory related operations. This paper concerns static analysis to detect redundant memory operations and enable other compiler transformation to remove such redundant operations.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hybrid Petri Net Representation of Gene Regulatory Network

This paper exploits a hybrid Petri Nets for representing gene regulatory networks. A hierarchial approach with HPNs makes easier the arrangment of the components in the gene regulatory network based on the biological facts and provides a prospective view of the network.

Reason for using Hybrid Petri nets: Representing a continous value such as a concentration of mRNA or protein is an essential factor in expressing gene regulation. Can do it only with HPN. It allows to handle the continous factor.

Modeling of metabolic pathways, extracellular and intracellular signaling pathways, or gene regulatory networks.

Things that you need to do:
Model discrete values : is certain protein present or not
Model continous values : like concentrations of certain things
Account for time delays associated with transitions ( time it takes to transcribe a gene or something)
Speed of the transitions that can take place.
Associate probabilities of the transition taking place.
This makes two kinds of transitions discrete and continuous (I don't really know what a continous trasition really means)
Something to represent the feedback mechanism ( this is key)
Also need to account for the Protein Protein Interaction
Protein DNA Interaction: Postive of Negative Effect on the synthesis of the protein associated
with a gene.
Solutions and Reactions and Enzymes
Dynamics of the reaction. (forward or backward)
Paper for that

Things that can be used to model these things
Hybrid Petri Nets
Hybrid Automatos

Modeling and querying biomolecular interaction networks

This is an interesting paper I found Click Here

The references of this paper might also be interesting and can lead to some background for us to start with.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Symbolic model Checking of biological systems

This is a poster on ideas for symbolic model checking of biological systems.


Model Checking Biological Systems

N. Kam, D. Harel, H. Kugler, R. Marelly, A. Pnueli, E.J.A Hubbard, and M.J. Stern: "Formal Modeling of C. elegans Development: A Scenario Based Approach ". In G.Ciobanu, G. Rozenberg (Eds.): ?Modeling in Molecular Biology?, pages 151-173, Natural Computing Series, Springer 2004.

N. Kam, I.R. Cohen, D. Harel: The Immune System as a Reactive System: Modeling T Cell Activation with Statecharts . To appear in Bull. Math. Bio.
An extended abstract of this paper appeared in Proc. Symposia on Human-Centric Computing Languages and Environments, pages 15-22, Stresa, Italy, September 2001. IEEE, © IEEE Computer Society Press

N. Kam, D. Harel, and I.R. Cohen. Modeling biological reactivity: Statecharts vs. boolean logic. In Proc. 2nd International Conference on Systems Biology, Pasadena, CA, USA, November 2001

Detecting infeasible paths statically

Refining Data Flow Information using Infeasible Paths : Published in the Fifth ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering and Sixth European Software Engineering Conference in 1997. By Rastislav Bodik, Rajiv Gupta and Mary Lou Soffa.

Key points of the paper.

1. Some of the paths in a program are infeasible and will never be executed. In data flow testing, imprecision may lead to the selection of def-use pairs which are impossible to test because they lie on infeasible paths.

2. A conditional branch has a static co-relation along a path if its outcome can be determined along the path from prior statements or branch outcomes at compile time. Experiments show that from 9-40% of conditionals in large programs exhibit correlation that is detectable at compile time.

They present an alogrithm for the detection of branch co-rrelation and identification of infeasible program sub-paths and then they present the def-use pair analysis that excludes def-use pairs spanning the identified infeasible subpaths.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Control Flow Graph

Building a Control-flow Graph from Scheduled Assembly Code

This paper presents an algorithm for building correct CFGs from scheduled assembly code that includes branches in branch delay slots. The algorithm works by building an approximate CFG
and then refining it to reflect the actions of delayed branches.

Excerpts from the paper that I think are important to understand the paper

-- The control flow graph (CFG) is a fundamental data structure needed by almost all the techniques that compilers use to find oppurtunities for optimization and to prove the safety of these
optimizations. Such analysis includes

global data flow analysis
construction of a SSA graph
data dependence analysis.

--Branches that target an address held in a register (as opposed to an immediate constant) introduce a level of uncertainty that produces spurious edges in the CFG.
Add an edge from the block containing the branch to every block that it might reach.

The compiler can narrow the set by finding all the labels that the program loads into registers. This is safe unless the program performs arithmetic on a label value and branches to the result.

For a more precise analysis : Call-graph construction with function-valued parameters. (Cross Reference this)

Base Algorithm:
The first step partitions the code into a set of basic blocks (single assembly instruction)
These become the nodes in the CFG. THe second step looks at the branches in the code and fills in
the CFG's edges to represent the flow of control.

To show the exploration algorithm can use the style presented in the page 4 of this paper.
Do we assume that branches only see target labels and not arbitary PC addresses???

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Property based heurisitcs in Model Checking

Here are some papers that should be read for property based heuristics. There isn't a ton of heuristics stuff. In fact Willam Visser seems to have done the most.

1. Directed explicit model checking with HSF-SPIN
by Stefan Edelkamp, A. Lluch-Lafuente

2. Symbolic guided search for CTL model checking
by R.Bloem, K. Ravi, and F.Somenzi

3. Validation with guided search for the state space
by C.Yang and D. Dill

4. Guided Model Checking with a Bayesian Meta-heuristic
by Kevin Seppi, Mike Jones and Peter Lamborn

Static Analysis for Model Checking

Here are some must read before doing any kind of Static Analysis in Model Checking. This is mostly structural based static analysis. Most everything I have found is in the Java PathFinder. Nobody seems to have done it with Murphi or SPIN. I guess the way Murphi and SPIN are designed, it would really hard to do similar kind of things.

1. Byte Code Distance Heuristics and Trail Direction for Model Checking Java Programs
by Stefan Edelkamp and Tilman Mehler

-- cite this paper for FSM

2. Heuristic Model Checking for Java Programs
by Alex Groce and W. Visser

-- this paper has the interleaving thread stuff

3. Combining Static Analysis and Model Checking for Software Analysis
by G.Brat and W. Visser

-- cite this paper for on-demand heuristic

4. Model Checking Java Programs using Structural Heuristic
by A Groce and W. Visser

-- cite this paper as an example of structural heuristic

Thursday, January 06, 2005

NASA - Swades - Pathfinder

This is just an interesting titbit. Only Indians who are hindi movie fans and into Formal Methods will most probably notice this. In the movie "Swades", the main protoganist is a NASA employee and is visiting his own country (Swades). There is manning a bookstore for a friend. The bookstore is called "PathFinder". For all those who are familiar with software Model Checking know that there is a NASA product called the Java PathFinder. So this got me thinking on whether the mention of PathFinder was a coincidence or whether they knew it was a NASA product. The thing is they make it a point to show the name of the shop that what makes me think it is more than a conincidence.

Using Runtime Analysis To Guide Model Checking of Java Programs

This paper takes the Eraser algorithm which detects data races in a program by studying a single run of the program and from that trying to conclude whether any runs with data races are possible.

This was implemented in JPF2 and it can be run Eraser mode. This is implemented specifically to see if there are unprotected variables. This can yield in lots of warnings that are not valid.

For our research, combined with static analysis, a few runs of the programs are done. Relevant data is collected. If there is user input we should test the boundary values in a finite system. And some random values. Mark the critical points in the program and see if the values at those points change drastically or not? If they do change drastically then see what is causing it? Whether it is system stuff or whether it is user stuff or even random? This could help us detect where the major fluctuations occur in the program. This information can be used to guide the heuristic alongwith the static anaylsis. Ideally this information should lie on top of the control flow graph.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Tagore books at BYU

These great Tagore books are available at the BYU library.

Mashi, and other stories
PK 1722 .M374x 1972

Translation of the Choker Bali
PK 1723 .C53 E5 1964

Broken Ties, and other short stories
PK 1722 .A2 B76x

Stories from Tagore
PR 6039 .A2 S65 1918a

The hungry stones, and other stories
PK 1722 .A2 H8 1916

PR 6039 .A2 G6x 1914

The post office
PR 9499 .T34 P6 1914

The Gardener
PR 6039 .A2 G3

The King of the Dark Chamber
PR 6039 .A2 K5 1915

read books online

I found this really good site where you can read a lot of classics online. I started looking for short stories by O Henry and found this site. There are novels, short stories, poems from authors from 18th and 19th Century.

Read books online

This has everything from Mark Twain to Rabindranath Tagore.