Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scare of Firefox 3



What the hell is this? The problem which I thought is over is still there – alive and kicking! Do you know what is causing this trouble?



Supposedly the fastest browser of all is not the lightest one – at least with some of the recommended add-ons. Look at the amount of memory it is having for breakfast!

Look at the sharp drop of blue line [indicating RAM usage] when I ‘killed’ FF3 -


Each time it happened, I had to hard-shut the machine. Apparently, this happened due to some add-ons. I started the FF3 in safe mode and uninstalled some of the add-ons. Now FF3 is working fine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Interesting Links

No Smoking Hotospot [Global Warming Myth]

…The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

Big Mac Index [Global Currency Valuations against USD]


What Bush And Batman Have in Common

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Interesting Link:

Pi or 2Pi: That Is the Question

In February this year there appeared in Physics World an article entitled Constant Failure by Robert P Crease of Stony Brook University, in which he showed in how many formulae of physics and mathematics 2π turns up, rather than π. This article struck a chord with me, since even after many years I remember the feeling of "cognitive dissonance" when being taught that the formula was 2πR rather than πD.

Do not forget to read the comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dark Knight – 4 Reasons Why It Rocks


Above: 3 reasons why Dark Knight is awesome movie

A day before yesterday, I went to watch the much hyped superhero flick – Dark Knight. It had already generated enough curiosity for being the last completed movie by Heath Ledger. I also liked Christian Bale after ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘3:10 to Yuma’. He is an actor with a lot of substance and in future he is sure to portray some memorable characters.

Just before the intermission in the movie-theatre, I thought the movie is over! And, I was still very happy to have watched a good movie!! But it did not stop there…it went on entertaining me till I came out of theatre as a hard-core Dark Knight fan. No wonder that Dark knight is currently No. 1 in IMDB’s Top 250 movies.

Here are some things which I liked about this movie -

1. Heath Ledger:


I was surprised to see how well he has portrayed the Joker. Heath Ledger is very successful in that he conveyed the right tones of Jokers’ personality. He was not supposed to be a Joker actually, he had to be a psychopath and it’s what Heath appears in the movie. Especially watch the scene when he claps in the cell on news of Gordon’s promotion – that was really terrifying.

Most of those who have watched Jack Nicholson as Joker will agree with me that Heath is better than jack in role of Joker.

It is very sad that he took exit exactly when he has shown so much promise.

2. Aaron Eckhart


Aaron Eckhart was the real surprise package of this movie. The role of firebrand public prosecutor came to Eckhart not as a first choice. The director sought out Matt Demon and several others for this role before Eckhart was considered. But whatever happens, happens for the best. Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent overshadows even Batman in many parts of the movie. Harvey Dent is supposed to be the White Night in Gotham – but due to tragic death of Rachael, he is transformated into Two-face. And this is the best part of Eckhart’s portrayal.

3. Good acting by almost everybody

This movie is one of those rare ones, where everybody of the cast gives 100%. During movie, you never feel that any of the casts is out of place or situation. Special mentions are Caine, Freeman and the man who played Gordon.

Off course Bale is always there.

4. Christopher Nolan

After a movie, how many characters do generally linger in your mind? Only a few in most of the movies. In case of Dark Knight, everybody lingers. Right from the prisoner in orange prison clothes who throws away the dynamite switch, to the Joker’s man whom Harvey tries to kill by doing a toss of coin. Credit of this character development must go to Nolan.

What I liked most about Nolan is that he has brought so much depth in Batman movies – both Batman Begins and Dark Knight. Superheroes are not search and rescue operatives like most of the flicks showcase them. Nolan focussed on the moral dilemmas in mind of the superhero instead. And he succeeds in that. Hats off to him for giving us this movie!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Inflation – Where Are the Real Culprits?

In this excellent article, on Livemint.com, Murad Ali Baig points out to the exact share of oil price rise in Inflation. Price hike for every commodity and everything else is attributed to the sky rocketed oil prices. However, as Baig points out that

“…. (but) only few realize that the Rs3 (roughly 8.5%) increase in diesel prices would affect freight transport costs by only a marginal 0.12%, that is equivalent to 12 paise on every Rs100 that is spent on what one purchases.”

He further writes -

“Elementary arithmetic will however show that the cost of transport in the cost of most goods averages just 5% and the cost of fuel is usually about 35% of this cost. India’s four million trucks and one million buses have to additionally pay large finance costs, depreciation, staff salaries, tyres, repairs, taxes, bribes, etc. So if the cost of diesel is just 35% of 5%. it is barely 1.4% of the cost of most of the goods that one buys.

Therefore, the recent 8.5% increase in the price of diesel should only have an impact of about 8.5% on this 1.4% or a miniscule 0.12%. It will vary a little and be even less on high value goods that are transported over long distances and a bit more on milk and vegetables that are transported over short distances.”

You can read the full article here.

Today I got this interesting email which illustrates the role of speculative hoarding in Inflation. Common people also engage in it oblivious of the impact it may have on their purse.

Email is long, but worth reading.

Nice Logic - It May Work!!
A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the Kirana store he pays Rs. 12 a dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last a week he normally buys two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to Rs. 16. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are Rs. 22 a dozen.
When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. He checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business. The huge egg farms sell 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit. The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.
As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there. He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.
Then week before Diwali the price of eggs shot up to Rs. 40 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.
This pattern continues until the price of eggs is Rs. 60 a dozen. The man says, “There must be something we can do about the price of eggs".
He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs.
Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need. He ate 2 eggs a day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.
The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggs in his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs. Maybe wouldn't need any all week.
The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.
At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price.
The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the %$&^*&% eggs even if they were free". The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying again.
The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2 or 3 eggs at a time. Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers would start buying by the dozen again".
The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers but the egg farmers liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, those chickens just kept on laying. Finally, the egg farmers lowered the price of their eggs. But only a few paisa.
The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen."
Slowly the price of eggs started dropping. The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers.
The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for. Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while.
And those chickens kept on laying.
Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell.
The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price.
And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.
Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.
What if everyone only bought Rs 200.00 worth of Petrol each time they pulled to the pump? The dealer's tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tanks. The tank farms wouldn’t have room for the petrol coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fiends.
Just Rs 200.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill up the tank of your car. Don't drive to places where you can walk. Don't drive to places where you are just driving because you have a vehicle to spare. You may have to stop for gas twice a week, but the price should come down.
Think about it.
Also, don't buy anything else at the fuel station; don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Firefox Finally Sends An Update

FF3 for Blog

Lately I am extremely annoyed with the crashes and memory leaks of Firefox 3. The browser which made a world record of highest number of downloads in a single day, is actually not that stable after all.

But here is an update to Firefox 3…let’s see if it does any improvements.

In case of Firefox issues, I turn to Opera, which IS most reliable for me…

Google Docs Launch Templates

Google Docs Template

Google Documents is a very useful tool for knowledge workers. Today they made it better by launching Templates for documents. There are templates for Resume, Business Plans, Venture Pitch, Wedding Planner, Project Plan etc. Some templates, like the one above for Presentations, look stunning.

Read more about templates here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tweaking Day

Today, it was a day of tweaking for me. I tried to change a lot of things about this blog and realised that small tweaks take a long time. So here I am – fatigued from clicking Ctrl-F5 (which refreshed the page overriding the cache) the whole day.

At the end of the day, these are the things which lingered on my mind:

1. Tweaking takes real long, but you need to do it once in a while. See at the changed look, isn’t it cleaner and refreshing?

2. Google ads (or any ads for that matter) create clutter, not money, for a small blog like mine. So, gone are all ads.

3. Go with one of the default blogger theme. You can tweak it to suit your style and needs. The freely available themes across Internet have so many blind-spots which you just can’t edit only because blind-spots are so many there. Plus, standard themes are a plus when you post content with a blog editor like Windows Live Writer (which is highly recommended). To read more about Live Writer, go to these excellent posts on Digital Inspiration.

4. Not copying, but you can model the design on some nicely-designed blog. I like cleaner interfaces with readable fonts. Google’s blogs were a natural choice for me. Except the image in header, Many things resemble Google’s blogs. See here and here.

5. You need to look in right places for answers and you need to use right tools. I used Firebug, SnagIt, Picnik, IrfanView, and this blog proved to be of great help, not to mention the uber-notepad for editing comparing the HTML’s.

6. This tweaking is worth it. Though there some things on which I still need to work, overall, I am happy about what I see.

Next, I will add the widgets which I use regularly. But that – some time later…