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Mobile phone virus


Haven’t we had enough of viruses,trojans and worms on our desktops and laptops that now these villains make an entry into our mobile phone world also? What a pain! :-/  Well I never thought a mobile phone virus could be SO annoying! This being my first experience I was kind of caught off guard.

I do not own a high end phone or anything. It is a basic nokia phone with just bluetooth facility. Now who doesn’t dream of a fancy theme apart from the dull n drab default themes? So did I… Sadly the themes I downloaded were infected. Not only did these themes not work properly they also infected my phone! Within a matter of no time the analog clock display in the standard theme disappeared, the whole phone became VERY slow,some buttons stopped working… What a horror!

As always when there are problems and I dont know the answer, I close my eyes and (no not turn to god) I google!!! As usual the omniscient Google gave me the solution! God bless Google!

For those of you who are having the same problem here is the solution-format your phone
Caution: Do this ONLY when your phone battery is full else you are in for more trouble.

To format your phone, press *#7370#, then enter the lock code, which is the security code of the phone. After you format your phone it will automatically restart. You will not lose any data but all the settings will be set to the initial factory settings. After this your phone will work like a beauty!

The luck game called ‘Campus Placements’


This post is here to question the credibility of the placement procedure. The common belief is that the last bunch of people to get recruited into a company are the ones who are least intelligent or least deserving or the scum of the class. But is it truely so?

I too had this notion in my head until I witnessed the whole placement procedure unfold in front of my eyes!
One of the brightest brains got placed in the 10th company!!! I can now say for sure that the first nine were truely unlucky to not have him! He is one of the best logical thinkers we have around.
Another girl from my batch who has it all from sports to logic to all the credentials to get a job but somehow she got through her 11th company!What I do not understand is why everything is so unfair right from getting an admission in college to getting a job! I wish that no one is put through the kind of trauma these guys were put through. Doing everything right yet something going wrong. That something was LUCK! Not getting through the first bunch of companies cannot be attributed to lack of preparation, lack of logic or lack of soft skills. If these guys don’t have it then who does? This is my frustration and my happiness that makes me write this. Frustration that these guys were put through all this and happiness that this company got lucky by recruiting them! 🙂 🙂 🙂 (Yes I do think that this company is lucky to get them and not vice versa! )

The placement procedure is really a gamble. It depends on a LOT of factors like whether your having a good or a bad day, whether you go into the rejection panel, whether your interviewer sees what other people see, what kind of a mood your interviewer is in etc etc. We have witnessed all these factors play a role one after another. The sad part of the story was that it always happened to the same people. Like I said earlier, these people had everything to grab that job except the luck which sadly never went their way! But like they ‘kahani baaki hai mere dost!’…. Finally a company came which got lucky to get them! A happy ending finally! 🙂

Note: I have not mentioned another bright n lovely girl above. This mention is for her (the share2 of my visual cryptography scheme! 😛 🙂 )

For all those times you held yourself from breaking down
For all those times there were unanswered questions swarming around
There are times like these that make you realize
That after every dusk there is a dawn

Visual Cryptography example


Here is something me and a friend of mine implemented. It is called Visual Cryptography.

Okay, now what is VC all about. Consider you have an image which you wish to have as a SECRET! The condition is you and your friend should have a part or ‘share’ of the image which individually will not make any sense but when the 2 shares overlap, you can discover your secret. This is an implementation of Shamir’s Secret Sharing techniques (Yes the same Shamir from the RSA algorithm).

If you want to learn more about Secret Sharing here are a few links:  1 and 2

The image we used was black and white or in other words only 0’s and 1’s. This means if you want to see a point when the 2 images overlap light should be blocked. There are three possibilities for that (1,1), (0,1) and (1,0). These can be chosen on the basis of the input image or the secret image(here sayCHEESE.bmp). The file uploaded is in jpg format as bmp format is not a supported file format for upload here.

The shares are :

Share 2

Share 1






















Okay, now getting on to how to actually split the image into 2 shares. When we have a binary image we can be sure that each pixel is 1 or 0. One decision you need to make is when it is a foreground pixel do you want to see it as white or black. We chose it to be black and the code written is keeping that in mind. Traverse each and every pixel in the image. If it is a foreground pixel then light should be blocked ie, the corresponding pixels so created should be (1,1) or (0,1) or (1,0).  Remember to achieve this each pixel is split into 2 pixels. Yes, size is doubled but thats the price you need to pay for secret sharing! (Thats the EXACT same line my project guide said! 😛 ). This can be easily done using MATLAB as there are read image functions defined. Reading the bmp file through C and creating 2 new images would definitely be a mammoth task if I were to stick to C.

The code is available for download on the box.net on the right.

Once you obtain the shares, take a printout on transparency sheets and witness Visual cryptography in action! 🙂 It will look something like this:

For those of you who want to know more about this, I have uploaded a ppt on the right. Hoping you like it!

Your Dream Company?


I just wanted to know which is everyones dream company. Mine is undoubtedly Google because I think we use Google products more than that of any other company. From Gmail to Google docs to Google calender to blogger to Google maps and the mighty mighty Google search.


TOEFL experience


After I wrote the previous post I thought I should also publish one having about my TOEFL experience for those who will be taking up their TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). Well, I think for those of you who can speak english it should be a cake-walk! This test is aimed to test all four parts of a language which are namely reading, writing, speaking and listening.

On the day of the test, make sure you carry your identity proof. Here in India, ONLY passport is considered as a valid ID proof. So do NOT forget to carry it.

As soon as you enter your examination center, you will be required to read, write and sign a confidentiality statement. Once that is done you will have to keep all your belongings including your pen, pencils etc in a locker. After which you will have your photograph taken by a webcam. Probably I wouldn’t recognize myself in that photograph! It came out THAT bad!!! After being handed a few sheets and 2 pencils I was directed to my seat.

My test center wasn’t the best of places. The seating was just not comfortable and too congested. After an attempt to settle down the reading section began and I before I could realize it was done. But yes, I did find I had to make a conscious effort towards managing my time as the passages were very lengthy.

After that came the listening section. Most people think it is very difficult to follow the American accent. I realized it wasn’t true at least when it came to the test as the speed of their speech was moderate and thus easily understandable. But I think for this section it is very important we take notes especially when listening to a lecture on art, psychology, literature etc of which we have no prior knowledge. I remember using 5sides of paper for this section.

Anyway after this there was a break. Walked around a little and was back for the speaking section. This is the one section you should NOT be nervous else you might stammer and stutter which obviously is killer for the speaking section! There are 6 questions in this section. Anyway, easy stuff I am sure everyone can sail through this.

The last section was writing. Just 2 questions and more than enough time even for those who do not have great typing speed. One of the questions is to express your views on a topic while the other is write about a topic after reading a paragraph on it and also listening to a lecture. All of this is easy and I am sure that no one would find this exam challenging IF you consider your english skills average. This cannot be compared with the GRE test which is a nightmare! 😛

Your score’s will be available after 2 weeks and when they say two weeks they mean EXACTLY 2weeks!

For those who will be taking the test I would suggest you go through the sample questions, here is a link to it. Also, try speaking and recording your responses to judge yourself before you go in for the test.

The GRE Experience


FINALLY I am done with my GRE! What a relief! It has been a journey filled with tension, frustration and anxiety but now when I look back it seems amusing!

Three months of cramming words learning roots, similar words and a little bit of history here and there. Initially I used to despise the idea of mugging up words but a while later it was different. But it is not only the effort that goes in that makes it harder but also the tension of how my scores would be that would make the situation worse. Anxiety is a killer and I realized it very well this time. There would be times when I would be desperate to remember words and I knew it but just couldn’t get it! Thats the time you feel all your effort is down the drain as you can’t recollect when you need to. Thankfully I had a friend who had already been through the same process and helped me out through out!

Slowly but surely I was feeling better about it and FINALLY on the eve of D Day I had to travel for 5hours to get to my test center and No tickets available! Got really jittery and was just thinking of the horrible start I had to the GRE trip! Finally I had to travel in an unreserved compartment which meant standing for hours together in an extreeemeellyyy crowded train! Hmpf! Anyway to compensate for this disaster I ate good food as it always makes me feel better and brings a smile in every situation and this was no different…

Anyway the moment I entered the test center, my passport felt more like my alter ego. I had to keep it with me even when i went to the restroom! 😛 Anyway after I entered I had to sign a confidentiality statement and wait till we were called in to our alloted seats after having our photograph taken in a webcam (which as usual was BAD! ).

I was shaking when I walked in. As i entered there was a loooong weird tutorial containing the instructions for the exam. Though I had read it a million times before I did not have the courage to just dismiss it. I read half of it patiently and then got reeaaally bored and dismissed it.

Okay, now my test begins with the writing section. I think having the writing section in the beginning is a great way to relieve your tension as it not only helps you to just relax but also prepares you mentally for what awaits you.

Writing section I think is one of the sections we can sail through as you just need to think critically and be sure about your writing. Well like they say Analyse, Construct ideas and thoughts, Organize and Pay attention to your language. This is it!

After a 10min break it was time to get back to the REALL stuff! Thankfully I got the quantitative section first. I was gained my confidence after doing the math part of it and before I realized it was over. Managing your time for GRE quantitative is not an issue at all. It matters mainly for the most dreaded section which ofcourse is the VERBAL.

After another 60second break I started with verbal. The 2 pattern of questions I was scared about were Reading Comprehension (RC) and Antonyms. To my surprise all the Antonyms were cake walk but RC was awful! Having 3 RC’s itself is bad and 2 of them were more than 140lines! :-/ :-/ I knew the instant I saw the second RC that I was running out of time and so I chose options that looked “NICE” for the questions related to the second RC. The third thankfully was relatively shorter in length. Many times your actions defy logic in there. Logic says if you do not know the answer dont take a blind guess but eliminate a few options and guess wisely but what you do in there is a different story all together.

Some how was done with the test and it the next question was if I wanted to cancel the scores. Why on earth would I do that??? I cant go through the whole process again and decided to “View Scores” and I was relieved to see that the real score was much better than that I obtained in the Diagnostic Tests. And more than that I was glad that it was OVER…

The last step was choosing the universities based on which state it was in. Then it was THE END of the GRE episode in my life… And I sure was glad it is done! All in the quest of graduation!

For those of you who are yet to take up your GRE, you shouldn’t make the mistakes I made which are:
taking wild guess on certain questions
thinking your LIFE depends on this exam and stressing out yourself

Also that your scores depend a LOT on luck as it is a computer ADAPTIVE test (Assuming you know the difference between a CAT and a computer based test). So keep your cool and hope for the best!

When I was working on this post I realized a friend also has a similar post here is a link to it.

Tribute to Randy Pausch


More thann a year since Randy Pausch died leaving behind him a legacy one can barely imagine. A man who achieved his childhood dreams. A man who taught people how to live their life. A man who gave family utmost importance. A man who battled out against all the odds of life but eventually lost to Pancreatic cancer.

For me his life is the epitome of how one should live their life. His last lecture became the most popular videos.

His time management lecture at one point the first google result for time management, something he was extremely proud of. Here is the last lecture! A must watch for those who havent!


His never-say-die spirit is what he is remembered for the most! For me he was te symbol of hope and persistent hard work. What I liked the most in the Last lecture was the way in which the great Virtual Reality Researcher describes Brick walls. He is says the brick walls are there to separate the ones who REALLY want something from the others!

His aim to teach and attract young girls to the field of science and technology was achieved through Alice. A software that visually imparts programming concepts to young girls.  http://www.alice.org/

He did all he could to increase awareness and research funds to fight Pancreatic cancer.

In May 2008 he was listed by Time among one of the Worlds most influencial people. He is known to have given hope to all people who had lost the zest for life. He has not only changed the world for his students, family but also for all those who have watched his video and got greatly inspired.

To me what is special about Randy are the attempts he made to leave his young children a legacy in various forms right from his lecture,to his book and to all those special things he did for his kids and wife. This surely will have a huge impact on the way his kids think. I am sure they would price these more than anything else. Here is a picture of the man doing what he is best at-being with family.

These two pictures are simply great but nothing beats the one below!

PS:I was working on this post and I was asked to speak about a famous personality I admire! I had no problems at all there! No second thoughts! 🙂

Google Vs Microsoft!


The heading says it all! 🙂

Google is considered as a phenomenal brand that stands for its innovation and leadership and completes mammoth tasks in grace. Another thing that goes Google”s way is that it is known for its optimistic approach to future planning. Personally for me this is the one company that directly affects the daily lives of people. Microsoft on the other hand has revolutionized what software industry by its greatest innovations of Windows the legendary Operating system which till date gives the other companies a run for their money when it comes down to user friendliness and ease of use.

The only reason for dislike for the two companies is due to their voracious eater reputation which of course comes from the havoc that broke loose when the news about both companies acquiring Yahoo! came into being. But even then we love them both as they make the large information out there usable for us!

Is Google a threat to the company where the genesis of the most popular Operating System of the world happened? Is Microsoft feeling the pressure to prove this wrong? Is Google trying to push Microsoft out of the picture considering the rate at which this giant is growing?? Well, I have made an attempt to answer these questions. Read on…

Starting with the brand value of the two giants.

After being declared as the number one brand in 2003, Microsoft never really had a chance to get back to that position owing to the increasing fame of Google. The position which was once Microsoft’s is now unamiously that of Google as the formers market value dipping and the latter’s leaping at an astounding pace! And finally in 2007 Google was declared as the number one!

From the 20th position in 2007, to the 10th position in 2008 and then the top position later, there really has not been any looking back for Google. This does not mean in any way that Microsoft is not getting their pie in the market. If we look at their turnovers and profit there hasn’t been much of a change but their goodwill sure has been shadowed by that of Google. It is probably after this that Microsoft decided to give the search giant its run for money with developing its new search engine Bing which has surely come a long way keeping in mind its not so popular Microsoft Live Search.

Search engine arena

Bing claims to be a “decision engine” and that it doesnt jus ‘SPIT OUT’ results  on the order of popularity(am sure that would have hit Google really hard! ).  It’s designed to help people search the Web more intelligently — to find the right information that can aid them in making decisions. The benefits of using Bing are very subtle but only with use they become evident. It is not as intutive as one would want it to be. For instance, if we roll over the results, in the margin we might more links leading to more information. Bing is being suggested to be the best for product related , travel related searches where it not only gives the information but can also order the results according to preferences like cost, hygine etc.  The results that Bing gives are ofcourse different from that of Google which was very much expected as they use different algortithms. But it is said that when it comes to specific searches the results were more or less similar. One of the major drawbacks are that Bing’s video search tool has a preview mode that lets you view and listen to part of a video simply by hovering over it with your mouse. Trouble is, it works with porn as well as “family friendly” videos.If you would like to know more here are some reviews 1 , 2

One June 4, according to data just released by StatCounter Global Stats, Bing accounted for 5.62 per cent of all worldwide searches, compared to Yahoo!’s 5.13 per cent. Meanwhile, Google grabbed a typically monopolistic 87.62 per cent.

This new kid on the block is definitely off to a great start lets see whether it can be a threat to the search behemoth Google! (Being a Google fan it just doesnt sound so likely! 😛 But I have to agree that Bing is much better than its predecessor!) Some say that it took Microsoft a decade to make its way to the battle ground, turning up late to a fight that has already been won, the victor having since turned their attention to loftier pursuits. Its just a matter of time


In the same week Bing came out, Google unveiled their secret project Walkabout, or as we now know it, Google Wave. Google Wave addresses the simple question, “What would online messaging look like if we built it today?”. Google gas been working on this for two years but even then it seems they are still the only contenders in its area, with no other companies raising hands to say they were also trying to solve the problem Wave addresses.Google really knows how to be on the top! 😛

Wave brings together e-mail and instant messaging, as well as forums and blogs and wikis and business collaboration all in one new protocol.Rather than require a user to decide on a specific form of communication which the message will forever be bound to – like an e-mail or IM – Google Wave implements living messages. They are simultaneously e-mails and IMs. They are blogs and wikis and documents all at the one time. Some key technologies in Wave are Real-time collaboration, Natural language tools, etc.  To know more click here.

Here’s a video, I know its long but its awesome!

Operating System Arena

In this arena Microsoft sure has its monopoly. Let us see what happens with Google stepping in here also.Google is set to offer its free Android mobile-phone operating system for computers, opening a new front in its rivalry with Microsoft Corp.by challenging the dominance of the company’s Windows software.  This sure is turning out to be an epic-battle!

Web Browser arena

Overall IE numbers still dropping as IE8 gains share at the expense of IE7 while rivals like Chrome,Firefox and Safari gain users.  It is said that Chrome’s usage share climbed by 0.4 of a percentage point, from 1.4 to 1.8 percent, the largest one-month increase since the browser debuted last September. The gain represented a 27 percent surge over April. Good news for Google again. Though IE 8 is better than the earlier versions lets see if it manages to lure users but it is said that IE8 presents a special tallying problem for Net Applications. The trouble stems from IE8’s “compatibility view” feature, which lets users display sites as rendered by the older — and often Web standard-incompatible — IE7.

Who has the last laugh??? Well, it is really hard to say but I think seeing the innovative stuff Google is coming up with, it gives us users this feeling that it knows what we want! So for this reason I would vote Google! 🙂

Ref: 1,2,3,3,4 , 5-Very interesting! ,6

Firefox fan??


Mozilla Firefox fan???  

I dont know if I was… But definitely not any more! 😛 
 

This picture below is an effort that a friend and myself had made for a tshirt design competition for which we never even submitted this! But I would like to remind you all this was WAY before chrome was released!!!

See what boredom can do to people! 

 


If you ask me today, I will have NO doubt about Chrome being the BEST browser! 

Google Rocks! Chrome Rocks!  🙂

QR code


Wikipedia says it is old and was created in 1994 but to me it is very new and a funky looking code! Though I wish it was pink and black instead of the boring white n black! 😛 ( Somethings just dont change! ). I first heard about it when my techie brother-in-law told me about some geek friends of his who has the icing of the cake in the form of a QR code of the flicker album url! I was totally fascinated by the idea and I am dedicating this post just for QR codes!
 

QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Moreover, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

A giant QR Code linking to a website, to be read with a mobile phone. These kind of banners and messages invoke an instant interest in people to get to know what it really means and thus solve the purpose when it comes to getting publicity! 😛 

See, film stars are the only creatures who suffer from attention deficit disorder! 😛
 

Some features of QR codes that make them next thing to look out for are:

High Capacity of encoding Data

Conventional bar codes are capable of storing a maximum of approximately 20 digits, QR Code is capable of handling several dozen to several hundred times more information.

Small Printout Size

Unlike Bar code which hold information only horizontally, QR codes hold information both horizontally and vertically. This makes the printout size extremely small.

 Dirt and Damage Resistant

Even if the symbol is dirty or damaged, data can be restored.

Readable from any direction in 360°

This feature enables high speed reading. This is accomplished by position detection patterns in the code itself.

Structured Append Feature

QR Code can be divided into multiple data areas. Conversely, information stored in multiple QR Code symbols can be reconstructed as single data symbols.
One data symbol can be divided into up to 16 symbols, allowing printing in a narrow area.

 

 

As I already mentioned in the beginining that Qr codes are really becoming the ‘in’ thing for techies. There are some pictures of Bday cakes and chocolated where the birthday messages are encoded as QR codes! The person will have to feed this image to a QR code decoder which is inbuilt in many of the phones these days.

This is a chocolate bar with a Happy B’day QR code encoded on it! Cool huh?
 

Even on business cards we find QR codes to see more click here

After doing some research I realized that QR code was also making its presence felt in the arena of art. Dont believe it. Well see this for yourself.

puras-flores

Here, Artist Pedro Morales creates Qr codes like the one on the right here using small cloth flowers!!!! He calls his latest art ‘Puras Flores'(Pure Flowers).
I know it is a little hard to believe! But it is true! 

Here is a closer view of the same Qr code:

puras-flores-more-detail

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