Friday, April 27, 2007

bill gates is giving his money away!

i get a lot of these chain mails stating that bill gates is giving his fortune away to people who forward a given mail, or that aol will donate 10 cents to some kid who needs a brain transplant. all these mails have one common feature that they claim microsoft, aol or some other combination of big internet/computer related companies are tracking this mail.

this kind of stupid misinformation and waste of internet bandwidth (not to mention unwanted filling up of my inbox) pisses me off no end. i've tried many approaches, none of which have worked so far. these include replying with:

"this is a rumor - check (insert link here) for more info"

"i can't believe someone as intelligent as you can think that one big co can track every single mail. do you think if they had so much power they wouldn't have known all your secrets by now?"

"i know how email works. it's not possible for any one organisation to track any email"

"i can't believe that a computer student like you spreads rumors like this...were you sleeping in class for all of last year???"

anyway...neither of them have worked frequently enough to be touted as generic solutions to this generic problem. so i finally hit upon this solution - and surprisingly it works better than all of the above!!!

"i just checked with (paste big co's name here from original mail) and they told me they are not monitoring this mail."

talk about fighting misinformation with misinformation!!! i guess thats the only way you can convince misinformed people :D

cellphone virus

today i got this very funny mail from my MCA classmate:



Hi All,
Its very important news for all of you. Do not pick up calls from the Under given numbers.

9888308001,
9316048121,
9876266211,
9888854137,
9876715587,

These numbers will come in red color, if the call comes up from these numbers. Its with very high wave length, and frequency. If a call is received on mobile from these numbers, it creates a very high frequency and it causes brain hamrrage. It's not a joke rather, it's TRUE. 27 persons died just on receiving calls from these numbers. Watch Aaj Tak (NEWS), DD News and IBN 7.

Forward this message to all u'r friends and colleagues, and relatives.



reply-freak that i am, i couldn't help sending this mail in response:


if you get a call from 9833511193, please do not answer it. it's a very dangerous virus. it's called kristopher and is a cellphone virus. after you answer the call, you will have to listen to a half an hour lecture about how gullible you are and how you should not believe anything you hear before verifying the facts. you will also have to listen to a very emotional lecture about how people don't think anymore, and how even MCA students who have (hopefully) studied wireless technology do not have the intelligence to realise that such a thing is not possible. in such a situation, please do not say that "i was bored and forwarded it for timepass", or anything similar, because that will trigger off a hidden payload in the virus which will cause it to make a hypersonic wave through the cellular network, which will cause the phone to explode and kill atleast 10 people in the radius, and cause permanent brain damage to people within a 20 km radius of the phone.

this is real. it was on the news. 45 people died in the past 30 minutes. it was in the times of india, dna, mid day and hindustan times. it was also on aaj tak, ndtv, dd news and cnbc. nokia has confirmed that this threat is real and is trying to make a fix for it. the fix is applicable as a special 'brain patch' to be worn over the head. this brain patch will prevent all radiation, but it will also block all sounds too. executives at sony-ericsson were unavailable for comment.



feel free to put your name and number in place of mine and use it on unsuspecting/naive/mentally challenged acquaintances of yours who send you similar mails :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

communication underload

an empty mailbox is so depressing.

i'm a very "communication" person - i love to talk, i love to text, i love to chat, i love to scrap, i love to comment one my friends' blogs, i love to receive and send e-mail. till around a week ago, i used to reply to pretty much every single mail that reached my inbox (excluding spam and notifications of course :D).

for the past few months, ever since most of my MCA class started working, we've been in touch solely through email, specifically through this yahoo group that's exclusively for my classmates. not stuff like "how are you" and "how's work" (because most people are usually fine, and work is usually the same today as it was yesterday), but random conversations over email. for example, someone forwards/posts a message on the group, then someone replies to it with one line of his/her thoughts/comments, then someone replies to that reply, and so on. we had email threads that were 50 messages long and counting...and sometimes multiple threads simultaneously running (is this sounding like a java program?? whatever :D). i loved it. at this rate, it felt like i'd never lose touch with some of my best friends, and those awesome times we've had at VJTI will continue, even though we end up in different cities or even countries.

it was too good to last.

some of my friends started complaining that there are way too many posts on the group, and their mailboxes were being flooded, and that they had to resort to bulk deleting of group mail. so they asked me to stop replying to group mails. i told them they could filter all group mail into a separate folder, maybe ignore a thread if they've seen that the originating message wasn't useful. they told me to stop replying to group mails instead. i said, ok, i'll stop. but it was too hard a habit for me to break, and i didnt want to kill this community over something as petty. i went back to my usual replying in a few hours. i also gave them my whole reasoning about keeping in touch etc etc. they were unimpressed. a month later, they asked me to stop once again. some of my friends who i know read my mail and also love to talk to me in my offline life, also supported their request. it was very depressing. i felt betrayed. after all, i wasn't doing all this for myself, i was doing it because our class was such an amazing community, it would have been a shame to dismantle it just because some of my classmates didn't realise the value of something they had and were about to lose.

anyway, that was the last straw. i decided to stick by my resolution this time. i've replied only a single digit no of times this week. initially there were a few others who used to reply, some threads that took a few days to lose their momentum. now it's all stopped. other than a couple of college notices, there are around 5 people posting mails, which are (pretty much all) senseless forwards that i've read before. not even one line added by the person forwarding the message.

this community is officially dead. i'm sorry, but i'm not gonna revive it. if you wanna keep in touch with me, mail me a personally addressed message, or call me. i'm pretty sure you will do neither. in that case, goodbye. it was nice knowing you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

inspiration

i went to church today after a long time. to put it more accurately, i paid attention to what was happening in church after a long time. that long time has also been a turbulent and (quite often) depressing one. in retrospect, it all fits in - if the first gospel i listened to was so inspiring, all the others i missed would probably have been so too...

anyway, here it is (thanks to EWTN)


John 21: 1 - 19

  1. After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.

  2. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan'a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb'edee, and two others of his disciples were together.

  3. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

  4. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

  5. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No."

  6. He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.

  7. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.

  8. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

  9. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.

  10. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught."

  11. So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

  12. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

  13. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.

  14. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

  15. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

  16. A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."

  17. He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

  18. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go."

  19. (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."




anyway, i've read this before, but then there's this one line that struck me today: verse 6 says "cast it on the right side and you shall find some". something that could have been taken quite literally, after all, jesus probably knew where the fish were, or he could've summoned them there right then. but what struck me was what had been happening before: the apostles had been fishing all night had hadn't caught a single fish. that struck me as the exact same situation as what i'm in right now.

i've been casting my net in vain for a long time now. there was a time when i thought i was happy, but that happiness wasn't sustainable - and then it stopped sustaining itself. i now realise that i wasn't quite fishing right. i'm sure the apostles had cast their nets on the right side of their boat many times before that night. the difference was that, the last time around they weren't just trying their luck - they were doing what jesus told them to do.

maybe that's what i've been missing all along. i've been doing the right things all along (ok...definitely not *all* the right things...and a lot of not-so-right things too), but i've always been doing them for myself. i guess that's what i've gotta change now. it's not gonna be easy, just like any other change, and especially one as profound as this one. i'm gonna give it a shot anyway. wish me luck - or better still, pray for me :)

ps: while you're at it, please pray for daf too...her exams start in a few hours :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

hope and hopelessness

sometimes i hate hope.

hope is what makes you feel you aren't screwed when you actually are...and then you finally learn you really were screwed after all, and that you'd probably have clawed your way out *atleast a little* if you knew back then how screwed you really were. so now, post-realization, you're feeling a little hopeless and very cheated too. besides feeling screwed, which you should have felt anyway.

last night was a really dark night for me. fine, there was no electricity at home till about 12:30am, but it wasn't really the light. it was because i tossed and turned in bed for three hours *after the electricity came back*, measuring what i had in life other than my hopes. i wasn't surprised to find the answer: very little.

i was tempted to blog my feelings in all their uncut, unblurred intensity while i was still tossing in bed, but decided against it (they were depressing to the point of being borderline suicidal, so yeah :D). i was also tempted to call someone and (almost) cry on the phone, but decided against that too. insomnia messes things up a lil extra, and you don't want your best friend to panic at 2am :)

i woke up today morning with the sun on my face (gotta move the bed damnit!!!) it deluded me that today's gonna be a great day, i'm gonna be early for work, i'm gonna march ahead of my schedules (been planning that for a long time now :P), and that's all i have to do. everything else will take care of itself.

i realised what's really the problem with hope. hope makes you see the rosy picture far away, without reminding you of the thorns on the way there. so when you look down and neatly sidestep the thorns, you don't realise your rosy picture is getting further and further away...cos it never disappears until you lose all hope, and so you don't really realise where you're going.

so there it is. i dunno what to do with hope.

life without it??? i dunno what that would be.

life with it??? it's getting screwier and screwier, and i'm doing nothing about it.

maybe the problem lies somewhere else, but i'm too sleepy to think about that now :(

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i love...sorry hate my job

i've realised today that all it takes for me to start hating my job is:
  • two consecutive nights with less than four hours sleep each (not necessarily work related, insomnia will do too)

  • a cold

  • a headache

  • a deadline

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the opposite of privacy

today, in an after-lunch walk with a colleague of mine, he told me that he used to be totally into online privacy and all, and used to promote/develop software that helps keep your identity secure online, till one day he realised that he wasn't using his own software. so he decided to pretend he didn't know anything about himself, and try and dig up as much info about himself as he could.

apparently he pinpointed himself within 10 feet of his actual location, found his full name, and found a way to get his telephone number (but didnt actually get it because of the potential side effects of hacking into his ISP's database - especially since his location could be tracked down to the last 10 feet :D )

then i told him that he could google my name and get my phone number, or vice versa. i forgot to tell him that he could google my name and get my home address and a pinpoint over it's location in a map too, but i guess i made my point.

so all this got me thinking - what does privacy mean to me today? do i really care if someone knows where i live and what's my phone number? (obviously not, cos i'd not have put it up then). what about my birth date, my parents'/relatives'/friends' names, my email addresses, my middle name, my school, my colleges, my employment history?

could a person possibly pretend to be me and get away with it? i think it's very possible. all these pages will also be cached in google for a long time. scary. i'm the only "kristopher noronha" on google. even scarier.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

recycling friends

i have this one friend on orkut who's got 1000 friends on her friend list (which btw is the max orkut allows you to have). and she's been stuck at 1000 for quite a while now - around 8 months, atleast. i remember the time i tried adding her, orkut said that i couldn't cos she already has "too many friend requests". a few days later she added me.

anyway, the weird thing is that her friend list keeps changing (atleast, i know a few more people who were added later, which means **someone** must have been kicked out to make space). so now everytime i scrap her, i also do a quick check to see if i'm still on her friends list...after all, i might get recycled too, someday.

all this got me thinking - what's the whole thing about recycling friends in general...is it a random personality trait, or something that only people who make friends too easily have to do, or is it something that happens to all of us? do we have like a fixed number of "best friend", "good friend" etc slots, so making a new best friend requires someone else to get slightly demoted or something? i dunno. i wonder. and i wonder if i'll ever know.

i hope i never ever have to 'recycle' any of my friends ever.

Monday, April 02, 2007

coffee lows

i've been a coffee drinker for most of my life. i used to never start my day without a large, steaming mug of caffeine spiked milk. i study best at night, and as the exams draw closer, i usually end up taking regular doses of black coffee throughout the night, till i give up and finally go to sleep. it seemed like coffee really had a simulating effect on me. then recently, i read an article in BBC's "science and nature" newsletter about coffee not being the boost it was thought to be. i was skeptical, but thought it was worth a shot.

before that, some background info:
ever since i've started working this january, i've had this problem where i start feeling extremely sleepy (even dozing away at my desk) in the afternoon. strange thing is that it doesn't seem to have much correlation with the amount i've slept the previous night (i usually get 7 hours, which used to be adequate during my college years). i also didn't correlate that with the fact that my average cups per day had gone up from 1 to 3, and i had started drinking much stronger coffee that the one my dad used to make at home.

back to my experiment. i decided to eliminate my coffee consumption for a short while, to see what effect it had on me. i decided to start on a weekend, as i spend my most of my weekends lazing in bed anyway. in retrospect, the effect could have been purely psychological, but the fact remains that i've almost stopped feeling sleepy during the day, and i've started waking up earlier too. i don't feel sleepy in the afternoon anymore (except after a heavy lunch), and dozed off only once (after catching only 3 hours of sleep the previous night, so i guess it doesn't count). i now also sleep an average of just 6 hours a day, and that goes down to 5 hours once in a while. i haven't had a sip of coffee for the last 2 weeks (actually 3, but i had coffee once by mistake - force of habit), and my life's actually improved ever since.

anyone else wanna try this out, tell me what happens...

phone-y dreams

I had some strange phone dreams last night. in my dream, my oneplus one (which has stopped working in real life) started working by acciden...