Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Amida Simputer

The Amida Simputer - the portable handheld computer - designed and developed by PicoPeta and manfactured by BEL hit the market recently on 26th ...

A few of us were given a simputer each at our workplace (BEL) to evaluate for a week before the launch - its amazingly stable and feature-rich.

A host of innovative features from gesture recognition (motion sensors) to being a mobile device connecting to the net from landlines (though at home somehow I could not manage to connect some busy signal/sending password, but some of my colleagues managed to connect successfully) or CDMA phones, a handful of games, an MP3 player, an image viewer, browser, anywhere text scribbling/erase and many many more nifty utilities. The gesture recognition thingie is real stunning; flipping the device you can navigate or move through pictures, ebooks, notes... I actually managed to take notes at a meeting using the scribble feature using the accompanying stylus - it has a touch screen and a soft keyboard for all the work ...

It connects to PCs - has two USB ports (one master, one slave), one serial and mic in and headphone out apart from inbuilt speaker; even a terminal with all your commands supported. The whole thing is a software layer called Alchemy over Linux, currently kernel 2.4.18 - runs on an Intel StrongArm processor with 64 MB RAM and flash storage of 32 MB. Once charged to full using the battery charger it last for 6-8 hours. 3 variants exist now - one colour (LCD/TFT screen) and two monochrome variants - with appropriate prices.
Its portable, easy to use and navigate and extremely handy. A very cool gadget indeed fully concieved and developed in India - exhibiting the power and reliabilty of Linux ! And coming from the stable of the IISc professors and research grads it will go a long way ...

More info at :

A story from Slashdot on the same event ...

Thursday, March 25, 2004


Big Five Test Results
Extroversion (44%) moderately low which suggests you are quiet, unassertive, and aloof.
Friendliness (64%) moderately high which suggests you are good natured, trusting, and helpful but possibly too much of a follower
Orderliness (68%) moderately high which suggests you are organized, reliable, neat, and ambitious but possibly not very spontaneous and fun.
Emotional Stability (42%) moderately low which suggests you are worrying, insecure, emotional, and nervous.
Openmindedness (76%) high which suggests you are very intellectual, curious, imaginative but possibly not very practical.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
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The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted |||||||||||| 48%
Introverted |||||||||||||| 52%
Friendly |||||||||||| 50%
Aggressive |||||||||||| 50%
Orderly |||||||||||||| 58%
Disorderly |||||||||||| 42%
Relaxed |||||||||| 40%
Emotional |||||||||||||| 60%
Openminded |||||||||||||||| 70%
Closeminded |||||| 30%

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Listening to:
Ghazals by two brilliant singers - legends...

Mausam ko isharo se kyo bula nahi lete
Jagjit Singh

Dhua bana ke fiza me udaa diya mujhko
Lata Mangeshkar An amazing ghazal

Fedora Core 1 is not allowing installation of packges directly out of the CDs using the add/delete software feature.
Got the 3rd CD yesterday through my copy of Linux For You. They had a great promo ad campaign for the mag (first of its kind focussed on Open source and Linux in Asia) - a superb punchline :



(Pun ?)

The Da Vinci Code

is a speeding thriller with insightful historical facts(fiction) thrown in
The writing has an inherent crackling speed, is a natural page turner, but it seems the language gets insipid sometimes meaning he (Dan Brown) does not express the emotions of his characters apart from fear and uncertainity.
The writing has very little real literary depth, only in patches - the portion before the death of Silas and the ending, family reunion is subtly handled . Sometimes the story felt almost childish reading - very funny you may say, but thats what I felt.

Anyway overall 3/5 should be my score for the novel. Merging history with the fiction in the novel is done well - almost flawless. And the description of the places and locales also short yet vivid. He has kept the novel equally fast paced throughout. The incidents are believable and thoughsometimes seem like a concoction since he has thrown in actual historical monuments and current european facts everywhere to keep the reader involved(fooled). The twist of events before the end leave you stunned. The ending was as usual in such novels, inconclusive - 'A conspiracy theory never has any conclusions'.

A book that I long wanted to read, but it was simply overpriced when released initially - Some 500+ buck; finally got it from Rick.

Ustad Vilayat Khan - the sitar maestro passed away. This sitarist a contemporary of Pandit Ravishankar, is said to be a more brilliant performer than the latter. But Ravishankar used better marketing techniques to get more famous and popular world wide. Not that Ravishankar is a lesser musician but he used gimmicks such as shifting base to the US, teaching Beatles members and his more recent infamous relation with Norah Jones - apparently she is his daughter. May be he has a more world wide outlook and made Indian music more familiar in the west ? But purely based on sheer excellence, I have heard and read in many places that Vilayat Khan was always a notch higher.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Currently Reading:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Yogananda
(The true life account of a yogi since his young days with unbelievable accounts of rishis and saints, miracles and spirituality)
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
(The Holy Grail and the scandalous history of christianity, the church, Mary Magdalene as the companion of Jesus, all revealed in hidden symbology and secret societies who possess the key to the documents revealing this and more; and a fight to obtain them as the protectors are all murdered for this very reason and then starts the thrilling sequence of events - a well written book in a gripping novel almost entirely set in France starting from its Louvre museum (where the Mona Lisa is))