I would still watch an Aamir Khan movie!

I loved the #AIBRoast and I also love Aamir khan as an actor. These two things are not going well together for many people these days. For me, both AIB and Aamir are excellent professionally. Aamir’s comment didn’t matter to me much, although I did feel a bit sad.

To be honest, people have gone too far with complaining about AIB event. Writing blogs, tweets, etc are fine unless somebody takes legal action. Expressing views is good for both sides. So if Aamir has a personal view, I don’t really care about it much. It’s his view, not mine. However I felt a little bit sad same as I felt the comments of other people against Roast.

Anushka sharma put it very correctly for me, its democratic society and beauty of it is that everyone is entitled to have+express their opinions. Another point here to observe is the hypocritical part of this (whatever this has become). Go read TOI article from Twinkle Khanna, she puts it right on the money.

Coming back to Aamir Khan, I am not sure why people are so angry with him. Some say he is being hypocritical, considering most of our society wouldn’t that be normal?

All I want to convey is that I don’t care much about his opinion on this. Don’t worry Aamir, I would still watch your movies with same enthusiasm.

Those who liked the #AIBRoast checkout Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. It’s damn good.

Congratulations Kejriwal: Not yet!

Let me say this head on, I define myself as apolitical. I do that because I believe in results, not promises. I don’t care who promises what, but I care what are the results whoever delivers them. The only politics I have followed most intensely till date is the Presidential debates of US Elections, and the reason is they are pretty decent to watch. The one got me excited about these debates was from The West Wing with Santos and Vinick(watch it, you might like it). But even these debates do not give any constructive details, except some qualities of the leader. So It’s pretty safe to say that I don’t indulge in Political discussion, at least not as supporter of any political party.

Now this post has been in drafts since last sunday, but while I am giving it finishing touch I am also watching the inaugural speech of Arvind Kejriwal. His party has won the Delhi election with an extreme majority and you can see social media flooded with the praises of the man who made it possible. I have not followed the election but I have followed posts on social media some close friends supporting BJP or AAP. Now you can give credit to anyone you want, Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi people, AAP volunteers, BJP volunteer, Kiran Bedi or the #5SaalKejriwal music.

To me it looks like people are taking this as a big achievement for Arvind Kejriwal, but I would say he has done nothing yet. I would congratulate him, everytime he delivers. And I don’t mean I am waiting for those results counting hours or days. He is promising big things, and it won’t happen in hours or days. But the problems will start appearing in hours or days for sure, and how he deals with them will be important. As he already admitted in his inaugural speech that he already senses some arrogance in party. There are 67 MLA from his party, and I am only sure about him. Rest 66 are going to become a great responsibility of Arvind. This might be unfair and crude, but that is how leadership works. I learned that very recently with personal experiences. Another question which also bothers me is, will he continue to be leader of AAP? He clearly said that he is going to stay in Delhi for next five years. In that case, I would like him to become leader of Delhi and give the AAP leadership to someone else. The views of a Political Party and the Governing body can not be expected to be same all the time. Hence having leader of both being same person is bothering me a little bit. But may be he already has that in mind, so lets give him some time to make these changes.

I like Arvind Kejriwal. I follow him on twitter, but I do not follow AAP or have any views about them. I am also not a resident of Delhi, or even India for the moment. So I am not sure how fair it is to comment. But I will for sure congratulate him for every result he delivers.

Major takeaway for me from the recent elections: Stay Apolitical, at least for Indian politics of today.

All the best Delhi!

IEEE Collabratec

Very recently IEEE released a new project, in a pilot phase. It is called IEEE Collabratec. Collabratec is the new online community based platform from IEEE. It is a jumble of things inspired from many existing platform such as LinkedIN, Zotero, Mendley, etc. Through the pilot IEEE wants to know if it is right kind of mash-up. I am here to answer that, no wait, not that exactly that. But I am here to write my views based on my experience till now. To be honest, I can’t pass a judgement yet about it. So I am gonna just pass some remarks, and give Collabratec some more time before I take a call on it. All of these are personal views and I may be completely wrong in understanding perspective behind some things.

collabratec1

Let’s first talk about design and looks. I think I have tried many community platforms, and design is to blame for the ones I don’t use much. The colour theme of Collabratec is pretty nice, and so as the font. It looks pretty professional and kind of cool in some way. I am also ok with Sliding menu and flag based notification. I think these details are pretty much standard. In common design the only thing I did not like is the IEEE title. It seems overcrowded with the title. I would be more comfortable if header of page could be compressed. I see header divided into three strips. First one with Menu, Notification, Profile, Sign Out, etc. buttons. Totally fine with it. In the second one, there is one green “IEEE Collabratec” title and then blue “IEEE” title in same row. The only thing useful in that strip is the search tool bar, which can be moved easily up in parallel to Menu strip. And then there is third strip just title of current page (Home, Profile, Library, etc.) and Toolbox widget button. I think it would be much better, if all three strips can be combined in single strip. Actually something like that happens when you scroll down on any page. I think “Menu” title could totally go away and replace it with current page title. For me “IEEE Collabratec” title in the browser tab is more than enough to be aware that I am using IEEE product. Search bar can go in the middle of the first strip and Toolbox widget can go near Notification and Add Contacts button. That’s all for the design. Rest is fine, or may be I haven’t figure out much.

Now lets talk about Profile page, as it is one of important page. Somehow profile page design is quite descent and simple, but not very appealing. To be honest I was expecting something different than usual social networks, so my opinion on this might be one sided. However the content is good, I think it just need to be represented in some other way. Interest should be moved elsewhere, because if someone has more than 50 interests it will be so much long. Or may be just highlight some key ones on the page and leave rest with a “more” button.

Next important part for me is Research Groups. What are Research Group? The definition need to be clear, and how they are different from the Community? Can any one create a research group? May be I am not interpreting them well, but from what I understand its not clear enough. I even tried to create one, called “Writing Practices”, hope someone will delete that one ;). I envision the “research group” feature as a great platform for people to talk and share things related to specific technology. But if not moderated by IEEE or representing society, many may just get filled with spam posts, so moderation is a good feature. Also for me this is an important part of the platform, hence this represents the value and credibility of IEEE. So research group need to be kind of face value of IEEE’s involvement in boosting research, but quality one. When I say moderated, I totally understand how difficult and may be impossible it would be, as there will be thousands of it. For example, there can be multiple research group created by users for “Wireless Communication” but one of them should be “verified” group of IEEE, which is moderated by the representing society/technical committee. I think research group and community are a bit related, as for one research group different community people can participate. Linkedin has groups as well, and they get so many spams even in moderated ones. In the end, may be it is not just very clear to me. It might make sense after I start using one. 🙂

About other pages, it’s kind of work in progress. Most of things with such products rely on number of users and activity from users. So I am sure with increase in users things will evolve much better. About the Community page, don’t rely on Google too much please.  Not sure idea of access the community on Google+ will work in favour or against. But I don’t use G+ much so my views are one sided. Events is something can’t understand clearly. Not sure if vtools (meetings) is being replaced or what? Library is supposed to be replacement for G+ drive? But these things have most features as “Coming Soon” so I will wait.

Last thing, I completed the survey for feedback. Somewhere in it there was a question asking about “How many people would you like to include in a typical research group?” It really varies, for some more than 20 but for some may be 1-5. Couldn’t answer that one correctly.

Once again, I may have failed to see perspective of the designers and developers. So If I got something wrong, please let me know. Hope this helps out in making Collabratec better. I am really interested in the success of this project, but with extreme caution.

Shashank

 

And another New Year is here!

I don’t think I really enjoy the new year celebrations. Its one of those things, I see with a bit of negativity. I try to put positive thoughts, but negative ones take over. I just keep thinking, another year and nothing accomplished. The greed for success dominates hope of the new beginning.

In any case, I tried my best to celebrate this year as well. 2015 is here, and to be honest 2014 left with good things. Some really good news were delivered to me in the last two weeks of 2014. Well, its gone now and I should move on to what’s next. 2015 is important specially I am at a stage where I need to be productive, both at work and at home. So it is going to be a busy year. In any case it would not be unfair to say that I deserve a busy year. As they would say in theatrical style, this year is my make or break year. I am pretty serious about it as well.

I have no resolutions, I don’t think I ever believed in them or at least I don’t any more.

BTW. These days I am hooked to “Thats how I got to Memphis” from The Newsroom final episode. Loved that show!

Shashank

Age of Announcements

I am an Entertainment lover. I love to read stories, watch television or movies. And when it comes to fiction, I love it more than anything else. So eventually I love comics, graphic novels and obviously superhero movies. Either Marvel or DC, I really like both of them. If you want to know which is fav of mine stick around a bit more. So where was I, yes about movies. So I love movies but not the announcements. 

CA_Supermovies2

Many people these days get so excited about announcements on television, comic-cons or even at announcement events. People start anticipating the announcement to build anticipation of movie, which is more crazy than the sentence itself. Once the anticipation of movie takes off, I am sure some of them already love the movie. I saw some harsh comments about bad reviews of movie Gravity last year from the anticipating audience (which I really doubt had seen the movie). How can you do that? I mean how can you love something blindly without watching. Same goes for teasers and trailers, people start loving the movie even with trailers. Ok I also get excited about movie after watching trailer but I do not start giving reviews about it which sounds like “It is awesome movie”.

Anyway its not like I am not excited, I am. I am really glad that today Marvel announce new movies for next four years or I was glad when Warner Bros/DC Comics announced their movie plans till 2020. But I still need to watch BatmanvSuperman or Age of Ultron before liking or loving these. However one things got stuck out from today’s Marvel event, which was that there was no news about Black Widow movie. I am kinda sad about it, because of two main reason. First, Black Widow is one of the characters I have always liked in Marvel. Second, Scarlett Johansson deserves her own superhero movies and thats not just because she is so hot but because of what she has done with the character in Iron Man 2, Captain America 2 and Avengers 1. Still I am hoping Joss Whedon will do some cool things with the character, may be putting her directly toe to toe with Ultron/Vision/Thanos or any other badass villain.

Now to conclude, it is pretty clear after today’s Marvel event that my next few years of Cinema is going to be very busy. There will be at least 4 superhero Marvel/DC movie each year till 2020 and who knows what happens after that as I will be entering my 30s by then. In any case looking forward to watching all these movies with some good stories.

For those of you who stayed to know my fav comic universe, that is DC. I like Marvel Cinematic Universe but not their comics that much. My first and only preference in reading is DC. On Television DC has been very good with Gotham, Arrow, Flash, Smallville, etc. However I am not much impressed by DC when it comes to movies till now. But I am hoping that is going to change with BatmanvSuperman.

LLAP
Cyprus Kirk

LaTeX: Some handful tips to begin with

LaTeX is an essential language used by people like me. Ohh you might wanna go back and read my introduction, to know about people like me :). Its kind of like HTML for researchers, just document markup language instead of web stuff. Statistically I have been using it since 2009. I installed Kile back when I was in Undergrad, and back then it was always boring for me. But I am really getting to explore it now, hence writing about it now.

So LaTeX was first developed by Leslie Lamport (Thanks to PDES[1] classes, I really get to know him). And then it just went on to become popular and now its maintained by many people. Ok intro covered, now lets move on to more practical stuff. Wait, one more important stuff, its not pronounced latex but laytek. Because latex is the stuff from tree used for making natural rubber so it would be weird to call it latex. I used to pronounce it latex until few days back a colleague corrected me.

Now very basic concept of LaTeX. You write your document in .tex file using special markup instructions. Then you compile this .tex file using a platform. I am currently using Kile as the platform for LaTex. Kile is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Its also quite user friendly. Here is a screen shot from the Kile in Ubuntu 12.04 on my machine.

Image

In the screen shot you can see the IEEE tempelate (available here) opened. You just start writing in the file and compile it to generate the pdf. Use the PDFLaTeX button for that. Now how to write in LaTex that will follow in my future (hopefully) posts. But just to give you an idea there are two kinds of text while writing in .tex file. One is the plain text, which would be most of the part. You write it as you write in any text input software. Another is the commands, for which syntax usually starts with a backslash “\”. Using backslash you define certain things, and everything which follows the command comes in between braces {}. For example if I want to write my document’s title I would write it as following

\title{LaTeX: Some handful tips to begin with}

Usually a tex file is divided by sections. Such as if I wanna write the abstract, I would use command to indicate that its abstract section and then start writing as usual.

\begin{abstract}
This document helps you to write a tex file.
\end{abstract}

There are many more complex things but we will talk about them more later on. One more thing, about the formatting. You dont need to care about the format of LaTeX file. Just download a class file, which should be again available in the package from IEEE (if you are following IEEE Paper format). And include the class file using following line

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran}

This would come in very initial lines of your .tex file.

Thats all from me on LaTeX for today. Here are few excellent existing resources on LaTeX which you might wanna look into:

http://www.andy-roberts.net/writing/latex
http://www.electronics.oulu.fi/latex/examples/example_1/
http://www.latextemplates.com/latex-for-beginners

Hope this helps.

[1]PDES is the Parallel and Distributed Embedded System course which I take as part of my doctoral studies.

Things that makes me happy

[PS: Here when I say happy I mean full of joy, relaxed and positive!! Happiness can mean diff for diff people]

You can not be always happy, because you are never satisfied with your self. But still there are few rare and very particular things which makes you feel full of positive energy. These events/things or whatever makes us happy, are also the reason sometimes we get strength to move on. Just like others there are many things which makes me happy, irrespective of the circumstances. And here I am gonna talk about few of them. Not top or best , these will be just few out of many. Whatever makes me happy and teaches me to live in the moment. Why I am writing this? No reason, other than that I feel happy 🙂

A chat with my mom: Mother, can make you happy with many reasons. For some its her hug, for some its a little nap in her lap, for some its awesome food by her, or for some its just a sight of her smile. For me, its the conversation. If I was ever to dedicate a song to her, that would be this. She is really ma pal. I have debated, argued, fought, cried and laughed with her in our conversation. I really dont have words to explain how I feel, but there is not a single conversation in the world I can’t have with her. She listens to me very patiently and keeps trying to talk to me when I am being impatient during the conversation. Whenever I am sad she is one of few people I can talk to. Even though in past few years our most of the conversation happened over phone, I never feel she is away from me. Its been almost ten years I have stayed away from home, while travelling around the globe, for my education. And everyone tells me that I have made big sacrifice by staying away from the home, good care, comfort, food, etc. But in truth its been a big sacrifice for her. Also frankly at some point its also a good thing. It has strengthen my relationship with her.

Any episode of Smallvile: The story of young Clark, and his journey to become the Man of Steel. I am a big fan of science fiction and comics, hence its obvious that I love Superman. But there is something different about Smallville. I have no particular reason, but I simply feel happy while watching Clark saving the world. I cry when he is hurt, I jump when there is thrill, and I applaud when he saves someone or the whole world. Smallville is and will always be close to my heart.  Its the first tv series my brother recommended to me. I just simply cant forget how excited he used to be while talking about it. And whenever I watch it I miss him as well. Thats a bit sad part, naah I am happy that I miss him! 🙂

Shashank