Urban graffiti

I love going around a city looking for street art.  It feels like a treasure hunt.  You never know what you are going to get: a wonderful piece of art that you love, art that you don’t quite like, or maybe an empty wall; you never know in advance.  The compositions might be thought-provoking, colourful, or simply some elaborately caligraphed phrase or name; maybe all of them!  Often the story does not stop at just going and looking at the art, almost always there are associated stories behind each piece.  I find trying to seek out these stories an incredible experience.  I think it speaks about a city’s character, history, culture and maybe even its “personality”.

Since I have been living in Amsterdam for quite sometime now – inspired by a talk I attended at the Van Gogh Museum by Nicole Blommers – I have been trying to spot graffiti around Amsterdam.  I have managed to put them on a Google map.  You can check it out; I’ll keep it updated as I explore more and find new artworks.

Simple git blame function to follow C/C++ functions

function git_blame_fn() {
    if [[ $# -lt 2 ]]; then
	echo "Insufficient arguments."
	echo -e "\e[1mUsage:\e[0m $FUNCNAME <fn_to_blame> [options] <src_file>"
	local fn=$1
	git blame -L "/[a-zA-Z0-9_*]\+ \+${fn}/,/^}$/" ${@:2}

Some mplayer -slave foo

I am an extremely lazy person. That means I am always looking for ways
to do things quicker, easier and with the least bit of effort. This
incessant obsessive search for alternate solutions often leads to some
quite cool discoveries.

This particular post is to share with others as lazy as myself who
hate to get off their bed to change the movie or volume of the mplayer
instance playing on the desktop when you have your laptop lying next
to you. Of course this is easily solved with some money if you buy an
LIRC remote (mplayer supports it). But the challenge there is to
actually find a decent remote that works with PCs (damn you
consoles!). Hope this keeps you on your bed longer, so here it goes:

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How it started

I recently made an emacs theme with dark looks, thought it would be good to share with others. I love the look and feel of emacs when run inside the terminal. So I was looking for a way to get a dark look for my emacs when I was using the gui. A helpful emacswiki user (ZWZ) pointed me to a theme he had worked on, so I started off from there.

Mostly I wanted a theme that would make the transition from the terminal to gui seem seamless.

How to use?

Just install color-theme from http://www.nongnu.org/color-theme/. And go ahead and grab dark-emacs from my github repo. Put it in, say ~/.emacs.d/, and call it from your init file (e.g. ~/.emacs) like this,

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Using OpenOffice.org Impress templates

I recently gave a talk presenting my research progress at the University. Everyone in my lab uses beamer and LaTeX, I am however of the opinion LaTeX is very restrictive with its formatting when it comes to presentations. For documents the structured approach of LaTeX is awesome. But for presentations I would rather have the flexibility of a point-and-click interface. Gives you a lot of room to present things the way you like.

So now to the object of this post, I chose OpenOffice.org with the ooolatex plugin as my office suite of choice. I ended up creating a template to suit my needs, and this post is just to document my thoughts/reasons behind the design.

Anyone can download and use the template from here here as long as they agree and adhere to this Creative Commons license.

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History is made!

1TeV beam @ the LHC, officially the highest energy beam in the world.

1TeV beam @ LHC

Forgotten casualties of `war’

If only they knew they would be forgotten and disowned so easily, they probably wouldn’t have done it. I am referring to the terrorists who were killed in the recent Mumbai terror attacks in India. The bodies of the terrorists are still lying at the morgue. Their country has refused to take the remains back, and the local Muslim community refuses to let them be buried at their cemeteries, as they feel the terror attacks were misguided. This was recently reported by the BBC.¹

What this led me to think, would they have done what they did if they knew they would be in this predicament later on? Weren’t these naive young individuals led to believe they were about to become `martyrs’, never to be forgotten in the history of the sub-continent? Usually the actual terrorists are regular people who don’t know better, and have been misrepresented the truth. If only we could get this to them before the soothsaying `holy men’ preaching violence against humanity to serve their convoluted purposes.

I believe the correct information is extremely powerful when it comes to dealing with misunderstanding between people. In this particular case we could have done nothing to prevent this (other than better patrolling of course), but we do have a serious internal security problem. Isn’t increased awareness the way to go ahead? And the first step to awareness is unaltered education. I add that adjective as not too long in the past we had a government who wanted to rewrite the text books, wanted to control what was being taught in the schools. Although we have survived that, we still haven’t made much progress over making education more accessible throughout the country. The free mid-day meal programme has largely been a failure due to rampant corruption at the various ranks of the government. I believe once a self-consistent system of basic education is in place, which is free from any external tampering and is self-sufficient we could be on the right track.

Once the information is out there, the common man/woman can be trusted to make their own `informed’ decisions. After all don’t you recall what Swamiji said?

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in Man.

¹ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8370017.stm