Wednesday, October 31, 2007

good passwords

there are many rules that should be typically followed when choosing passwords:

  • easy to remember (without writing down somewhere)

  • not dictionary word/words

  • resistant to social engineering

  • resistant to permutations and combinations that can be arrived at through social engineering

  • atleast 7 characters, maybe more for sensitive data

  • should not match previous pr other currently held passwords

  • contains a mix of upper- and lowercase alphabets, numbers, and symbols

the day has arrived when i need to add one more to them:

  • should be possible to be typed on a cellphone

this rule is apparently the hardest one to keep, and ends up being the deciding factor on my selecting a password. as it is, finding a password that fits the rules above is pretty hard, and a password that satisfies those rules is, almost by extension, hard to type on a phone.

as a result, most of my current passwords will probably not change till i get a new phone - i've invested too much time into getting them right for me to throw them away for any other reason.

sometimes i wonder why i go to such lengths to justify my laziness.

btw, for the bordering-on-obsessively-curious, here's a list of the sites i access atleast a few times every week from my cellphone:

Monday, October 29, 2007

tweet, tweet!

just when it seems like social networking sites have been done to death, something came along that was radically different - so different, in fact, that i was convinced to sign up on the day i first heard about it - unlike the usual period of indecision that lasts a few months for other sites :)

twitter is a social network that lets you post what you're doing right now, a random thought, or pretty much anything you want to say, a.k.a. a "tweet". it's geared toward one-or-two-liners (140 chars per post, to be precise). there's a global timeline, which you share with all twitterers (and which also makes chatting with total strangers about random topics possible), and your personal timeline, which contains your updates, as well as the updates of your friends and people who you are following.

oh amd there's an even nicer place to tweet from: your WAP cellphone. seriously addictive.

check it's a real nice way to maintain your presence online and keep your friends updated, and of course, if you join up, don't forget to add me!

dancing in the light

i'm not much of a dancer. in fact, till some years ago, you would have to drag me with all you've got (*and* be stronger than me :D), if you wanted to get me to the floor, let alone dance. then i discovered trance, and it became very hard to not move when listening to some of my fav tracks (especially at the volume i play them at home :P)

dancing in public was just a small step away from dancing in private, especially if i was sufficiently high...and it's really energizing, besides having the cool side effect of letting me drink more before i'm down and out ;)

still, however much i enjoy grooving to the music, i used to never dance in public under bright lighting. i guess that's because my moves are rather retarded (ask any eyewitnesses for more info :P), and it's just something i wasn't comfortable doing.

that's when last saturday happened. my office's it department's annual offsite. aamby valley.

i was pretty surprised when at 2pm it was announced that the dj will start spinning his stuff shortly. in broad daylight. on an open air dance floor, which was actually a tree-surrounded lawn.

'nuff said. hopefully other people were to busy grooving to notice. and if they weren't, i hope they don't ever mention it :P

oh and if you think open-air dancing is something you'd rather not have on your "been there, done that" list, you should watch this video: eternity by armin van buuren. simply mindblowing.

as an extra special touch, the sunset looked even more spectacular as it filtered through the trees onto dancing people. both in the video and on saturday.

ps: eternity is also my ringtone for a very special (pun not very strongly intended :P) friend marj - miss you!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

my "dyslexia day"

i was feeling particularly dyslexic on monday. here are a couple of the gems that turned up during an arbitrary conversation while pacing up and down my terrace and 'observing' the people on the road that passes my home:

me: i can't believe it, all these years and i never noticed this cute building in the girl opposite me.

me: hey...cute girl just drove her building into the car!

bring on the mud, painting brushes and a water pistol!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

how to embarrass yourself at work (part 2)

as usual, something that happened to me, but again a few weeks ago - i'm still playing catch-up with the posts i've typed on my cell:

for reasons i'm not sure i should disclose here, i had a week of interviews scheduled at work. prior to the whole interview process, my group of joinees had a couple of weeks of presentations by the people who were to interview us later.

i had an interview scheduled on a certain day (thursday, to be precise...wonder what's it with me and doing stupid things on thursdays :P). so i was supposed to be interviewed by this one guy (i shall save my creativity for someplace better and simply call him mr x) at the cafeteria at 3:30pm sharp. as most cafeterias go, this one is pretty roomy with plenty of tables, with around 4 or so chairs around each table. 3:30pm being the time when people (myself included :P)who've had an early lunch start feeling hungry again, the place was moderately occupied.

that's when my usual handicap struck: i have an absolutely terrible memory for faces, names and especially forming any connection between the two :D. so i was now looking for mr x, who is supposed to be seated somewhere at one of the 30-odd occupied tables in the cafeteria. lots of vaguely familiar faces, some with people who i know are being interviewed (mostly from the look on their faces ;)), and many unfamiliar faces too. damn.

i decided to narrow down my options. mr x didn't mention anyone else in his email and calendar appointment, so i assumed he would be alone.

strangely enough, that eliminated all but one table from the contention.
zoom in on man seated alone at a table.
pan to my wrist-watch.
late, but hopefully not too late.
pan back to man.
looks vaguely familiar and slightly senior.

since i'm relatively new to my (new :P) job, i usually assume any senior-looking guy who looks familiar is a someone i've seen during one of those presentations.

so far so good.
he has a plate in front of him.
plate is empty.
damn. that means he arrived long ago.
he's staring at the plate.
double damn. he's probably frustrated at having to wait for me.

at this point i was thinking: better late than never. i could always apologise for having not recognized him, what with the spate of interviews and all. i could pretend to have been searching for him all this while (which i was, but he was obviously early while i was not :()

walk up to guy.
"excuse me? are you mr x? i'm sorry to have kept you waiting."
"oh, i'm not mr. x"
"oh...i guess i'm mistaken then. i have an interview with him in the cafeteria and i can't seem to find him. do you know mr x?"
"no, i don't"
proverbial foot in mouth.
i run away.

in a stroke of desperation fuelled inspiration, i remembered that the intranet has a searchable corporate directory, and most people have been kind enough to put up their photos up to, but they typically do not update them from the day they join the office. still, something better than nothing.

i race to my desk.
unlock computer.
open directory.
breathe atleast 5 times while directory opens.
enter name. hit search.
breathe atleast 10 times while directory loads.
photo on screen.
take deep breath.
verify name.
look at photo again.
light skinned, middle aged man with short hair and a mustache.

the guy i had approached earlier was clean shaved and bald. thank god they didn't know each other. wonder if that guy was just trying to not add insult to my injury.

take deep breath.
look at photo again.
run out.
run back and lock desktop.
run out.
see 3 men enter the floor from a nearby entrance.
man 1 looks familiar.
man 1 smiles at me.
man 1 has a mustache.
man 1 is light skinned.
man 1 has short hair.

i slow down while heading to the cafeteria. didn't want to look weird, running in front of them to catch a table while they amble lazily behind. besides, my breath is already 20 metres behind me, and my heart is definitely on my keyboard. i slow down to a very measured amble, so that they catch up with me at the cafeteria door.

i swipe my id and open the door.
man 1 is talking to man 2 and 3.
i turn around a metre away from the door.
collect my wits.
"hi, are you mr x? we were supposed to meet."
"no, i'm not. i recognise you. you're kristopher. i interviewed you two days ago."

ahhhh...uhhh...can't talk with both feet in mouth. make best possible attempt at mumbling "too many interviews. too many people. please kill me now"

run back to my desk.
bury head into keyboard.
try to bang head on keyboard.
almost break keyboard into two.
decide i can kill myself more effectively with mouse instead.
ask everyone i see to please kill me, quick.
someone drags me to cafeteria.
man enters cafeteria behind me.
walks up to me and shakes my hand.
asks me if i want to grab a coffee.
offers me a seat.
"hi kristopher, how are you?"
man is alone.
man has mustache.
man has short hair.
man is light skinned.
man looks familiar.

apparently man recognises my face from searchable corporate directory.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

transport tunneling: RoHC

Q: what do you get when you ask a computer engineer to take a vehicle from place a to place b using another vehicle?

A: a new transport tunneling protocol.

a couple of weeks ago (yeah, my blog buffer a.k.a. cellphone at work here :D), i was a first-hand witness to the implementation of a new transport tunneling protocol. i call it RoHC, short for rickshaw over hand-cart.

in what was probably a pilot experiment, a set of four men strapped a rickshaw, with it's driver and all, onto a two wheeled handcart and proceeded to transport it along linking road, in the same direction as i was going on my way to work.

i'm yet to think up some intelligent motivation for them doing what they did, but if it was pure humour (geekish or un), they sure succeeded. i so wish i had a camera on my cellphone...the picture was worth remembering, maybe even turning into one of those 'this happens only in india' mails. if only.

on a more computer-related note, this is actually a perfect (though unconventional) example of a transport tunneling protocol. of course, this would be a rather academic example, since the rickshaw did not contain any payload (i.e. passengers), but it's a perfect example nevertheless. the rickshaw just 'hops' onto the underlying transport (i.e. hand-cart), which then takes care of routing it to the tunnel's destination, without the rickshaw bothering about how it got there. once it reaches it's destination, it can 'unhop' onto the road and proceed wherever it intended going in the first place.

i'm waiting for the day this example finds its way into a computer textbook. it will definitely liven up the class for a few minutes, atleast. and it's bound to strike a chord in indians, who are used to seeing absolutely arbitrary things on the roads :P - and the concept isn't entirely new either. tanenbaum gave a similar example when he said:

never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down a highway :D

Sunday, October 21, 2007

buffer overflow and other blogging stories

i've now reached a stage where i've stopped typing posts as i think of them. till i clear my 'buffers', i'm gonna concentrate on posting stuff that's already been typed and sitting on my cell. call it a buffer overflow if you like, but the backlog's just gotten too much for me to handle. i just hope nothing interesting happens for the next 10 days of my life or so :P

anyway, i've actually reached post number 100 in 220 days. i wasn't really sure i would make it this far...but i guess i underestimated the power of boredom at work, randomness in my life, and the feebleness of my 'lazy' filter :D

i just discovered 10 minutes ago that someone loves my blog so much that he/she has submitted my blog to some random blog index on my behalf yesterday. how cool!

Last man standing

after quite a while i went out with my buddies to gorai. Among other things, it was a celebration of my friend coming back to india after almost a year. As usual, we started late - even later than our usual late. We were so late that we actually had to wake the night watchman to book our room and get the keys. That too, at 1am - the previous record was midnight. A good 5 hours later, all 4 of my friends had passed out (one out of drunkenness, the rest out of exhaustion), and i was the only one left awake. Unfortunately for me, we were staying at a place pretty far from the beach, so i have nothing left to do other than gaze at the sky turning from indigo to pale blue and listen to the birds wake up. That done, i guess i have nothing left to occupy myself with for the next 3 hours. Good morning, everyone :)

ps: this post was typed on my cellphone around 3 weeks ago, at 6:05AM on 30th September 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my "special olympics" connection

in a fit of boredom and an attempt to add fuel to a nicely raging fire, i jumped into a nice but arbit flamefest on facebook a couple of hours ago. thanks to the meditative nature of my last trip to the bathroom, i have now realised why.

to put my thoughts in context, i must (as usual) first quote something, this time a famous anonymous internet quotation:
Don't try to act hardcore with the keyboard. Fighting online is like racing in the special olympics; even if you win, you're still retarded.

- anonymous retard

my counter quote:
if fighting online is like racing in the special olympics, then i'm the non-retarded guy who's pretending to be a retard so that he can race backward while juggling in synchronous siteswap. i'm not running to win, i'm running to make a point. if i win, that's just another thing to brag about.

- kristopher noronha (a.k.a. non-anonymous non-retard)

restroom productivity techniques

since as far as i can remember (possibly ever since i was toilet trained :D), i've always enjoyed time spent in the restroom. this is obviously in part due to the relief of...umm...relieving myself :P, but apparently there are a lot more reasons, described here in chronological order of their discovery by myself:

  • mediation - nothing beats the peaceful atmosphere of the loo. it's comfortable, quiet (except for a few notable exceptions), and relatively free (again with notable exceptions)

  • reading - discovered way back when i was in middle school, busy reading a novel that was too interesting to put down. since the only thing that could possibly drag me away from an interesting book is nature's call (the only one i really HAVE to answer :D), it seemed like a very natural solution. subsequent practice of reading newspapers in the train (when i reached college) made me skilled at reading the newspaper without a table, and without making a mess of the paper (much to my parents disgust, which they thankfully got over much later :P))

  • playing hand held console games - again picked up for the same reasons and similar accident as reading, but with much greater naturality as these games are even harder to put down. it also has the side effect of making my brother keep his hands off my games. in retrospect, this one was really a no-brainer :P

  • talking on the phone - probably more out of convenience than choice, but definitely a great efficiency booster. after all, i only have so many hours in a day, and crapping doesn't require me to use my brain or mouth. a classic case for multitasking, which probably set the stage for my career in computing that followed a few years later :P. this one was possible only after my folks got a cordless phone, and got even better when i got my own cellphone a few years later. thankfully i have many friends who are either deaf to the sound of flushing or don't mind the thought (again, exceptions abound, but they can usually be circumvented by intelligent use of the hold/mute button ;))

  • gaming on my cellphone - same reasons as console gaming, but even better thanks to the variety of games available, ensuring that you can switch to another game once you get bored of one :D

  • listening to music - discovered by happy accident, after hanging up on a hands-free call (the actual sequence is: i listen to music while traveling home, someone calls me on my way so i talk on my hands-free, and once i get home i just HAVE to go, so i'm in the 'room talking on my hands-free. once the call gets over the music resumes. discovery!). these days i listen to music while doing pretty much everything - sleeping, eating, showering (i kid you not!!! my trusty phone has a nice loudspeaker), and hence, restrooming :P)

  • chatting - typically on yahoo, which has a pretty good WAP interface (i have an ancient cell :P) - this one more out of boredom than any pressing need (no puns intended ;))

  • e-mailing - again, for same reasons as chatting, but more suited to restroom than chatting as it can be suspended while i address more pressing matters (like working off my cramps, or taking/making calls :D)

  • sleeping - started off more out of chronic sleep deprivation than anyting else, but greatly gained importance and frequency once i started working. little known fact: 15 minutes of sound sleep on the can helps much better than an hour of wakeful dozing at my desk, however comfy, and definitely better than all the coffee i managed to down before i quit

  • playing su-doku - definitely better than playing games on my cell (i dont have any other hand-held gaming devices, but the same philosophy applies). it also has a few other benefits, like being combined with newspaper reading, and beating my bro to grabbing the puzzles pages (which my brother and i invariably have a race for on holidays)

  • blogging - this happened quite recently, when i realised i haven't been blogging as much as i wanted to, while i wasted hours of super-productive meditation time playing pool or worms world party on my phone

  • tracking my finances - since i track my expenses on my phone, this is a perfect place to analyse how my money has been poured down the drain (no puns intended :P)

  • and finally, for today's addition to the list: giving job interviews on international calls. 'nuff said.


the above post was *NOT* typed in the 'room, although i wish it was. (damn! another potentially saved hour!!!)

do not take this post as an excuse to ask me if i'm on the can every time i answer the phone. if you do, i shall use my discretion while replying. post-facto accusations will be met with the same response.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

zen and the philosophy of traffic signalling

my daily commute to work (by rickshaw, if you haven't been following my blog) involves 4 to 6 traffic signals, depending on how many shortcuts i end up taking.

the first of them has a very distinctive feature though: it inspires disobedience.

that's right, it's one of the least obeyed traffic signals i've ever seen. on any given day, at any given red light, atleast one vehicle jumps the light. on bad days, only one vehicle jumps the light. on good days you'll find 5-10 vehicles merrily ignoring the red.

on one super-bonus-free-for-all day around 50 vehicles (in fact, every single vehicle that was in front of my rickshaw on the road) decided to plow straight through the red light without even slowing down. i sorely missed having a camera-phone at the time - it would have been quite a sight if captured on video :D

strangely enough, the disobedience isn't even universal - it only applies to vehicles traveling north-south, and in the morning. i've noticed it at all times between 8:30am (when the signal is switched on) and 9:20am (which is about the latest time i can pass that signal and not be late for work). i'm still in the honeymoon period of my job and don't want to start turning up late yet, so later timings will have to wait atleast a couple of months :P

still, the signal is always obeyed in the evening, and the disobedience is pretty much limited to that one direction only. there were a few exceptions, but i guess they usually get deterred by the stream of signal breakers in that one direction and would rather forfeit their right of way in exchange for being alive and undented (undented is *not* the opposite of indented, despite what it mysteriously seems like to my rather limited brain :P).

most interesting of all, i've even seen traffic cops break that signal, surrounded by a horde of non-cop vehicles that they apparently couldn't care less about. hmmm.

blog overload

my cellphone has 7 pending posts typed out and ready. all i have to do is get down to actually posting them :D

wonder why inspiration always comes in spurts. oh damn. post number 8. or not. or...ah forget it :D

good thing my phone has a gig of space on it :P

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

you are my sunshine

my mom loves to break into song every now and then, and last night was no exception. she was bustling about the kitchen, doing something or the other that moms are always doing (probably making dinner :D), when she broke into a song that transported me back to another era, some 20 years ago, when mum or dad would lie by my side and sing for me and hold me tight when i couldn't sleep. i know they would still do it for me if they had to. and the same goes for them too:
you are my sunshine,
my only sunshine
you make me happy,
when skies are grey
you never know dear,
how much i love you
so please don't take
my sunshine away.

i'm so glad to have another sunny day.

ps: ted, bert, aunty bitty, i can't help thinking about you right now. i guess your sunshine is in heaven :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

how to embarrass yourself at work (part 1)

warning: many parts coming up later. i seem to be very good at this.

my office building has a set of automatic sliding doors, the sort that have some kind of optical sensors and open automatically when you approach them.

one late evening, after a long day at work (over 12 hours, to be precise), i got down to the lobby on my way home. walked up to the sliding door.

it did not open.

i thought the sensor didn't detect me for some reason (a bug, maybe?). i stepped back, and approached the door again.

still did not open.

being a very regular computer user, i decided to take the usual computer problem workaround: try again.

the door simply did not open.

at this stage, i tried waving out at the sensor, thinking that for some reason it didn't seem to recognise me moving toward it and might be more captivated by lateral motion.

still no response.

i decided to make the sensor's work a little easier. i jumped up at the sensor while waving at it, trying to get a combination of linear and lateral movement. as usual, i used the "try and try till you succeed" approach.

apparently it didn't help much.

at this stage, the night watchman got over his mirth and walked up to me and pointed at the "open door" button.

no one told me they switch off the sensors after 8pm :(

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

i've been reading for the past few days, and it's been so full of awesome comics, i'm not passing individual links to my friends anymore. case in point:

so yeah...check out - it will leave you laughing. i promise.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

toilet humour

for reasons i just can't fathom, i've never looked at the inside of the door to any of the stalls in the restrooms at my workplace. till today, that is. what i found definitely kept me amused for the duration of my stay on the throne today :P. either someone was very bored, or my coworkers haven't been sufficiently toilet trained, or both :D

i quote verbatim:


please ensure that this toilet is flushed after use

leave the surrounding areas clean, and dry always

ensure that you use toilet paper provided

always remember you could be the next user

seats are to sit and not squat on. this is a western style toilet. use it like one.

ensure the above is followed.

on an even lighter note, someone farted with gusto while i was pondering the rules that now governed my only (i thought) place of freedom :D - i guess that's one of the few things still allowed, for now :P

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

new ways to get to work

i usually need to reach my workplace at 9:30am. as a result, i end up taking a rickshaw at around 9am, and pass the same places at almost the same time. now that wouldn't really be that big a deal, since most of the things i see on my way to work are either things that stay put (buildings, trees etc) or moving things that are unremarkable and probably don't make the same trip at the same precision as i do. there are just a few noticeable exceptions, namely a company bus and school bus that i usually see or pass on my way, and...a dredger!!!

that's right, someone drives a dredger everyday from don bosco, borivli (atleast that's where its route meets mine) all the way to croma, malad (where i take a short cut off the main road to dodge the last couple of signals on the way to work) - and at pretty much the exact same time every day!

there could be many reasons why someone would drive a dredger every day on the exact same road at the exact same time, but the most obvious one to me is the same as why i take a ric at the same time and on the same route every day: to get to work. so i now know of someone who literally dredges his way to work :D

Sunday, October 07, 2007

super funny historical descriptions

i usually don't post jokes here (unless they're incidents from my life, which is almost entirely a joke :P), but i gotta make an exception for this one. no description required. just read on and laugh away :)

  • Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

  • Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

  • Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

  • The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

  • Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

  • In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java.

  • Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus."

  • Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw.

  • Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah."

  • It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet. Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

  • Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

  • Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

  • Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.

  • Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

  • The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered the radio. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

Friday, October 05, 2007

kristopher's hierarchy of knowledge

just as the quest for fulfillment of needs led to the postulation of maslow's hierarchy of needs, my thirst for mindless trivia has led me to put forward my hierarchy of knowledge. since i have only one claim to fame so far (and approximately 5 people know about it, including myself), this is also another (hopefully better received) claim to fame. this also being the first piece of philosophy that actually bears my name it its title, it should also make my name more popular - it's currently ranked 392, down from 134 when i was born :(

btw google's current acknowledgment of my existence is limited to corrections of my (easily misspelled) name. thanks to saurabh's bubble-bursting postulate, that isn't a very good thing in any case. it'll be great if google associates me with something nicer, like "metaphilosophical absurdities" or "deranged ranter" or... (insert choicest derogatory adjectives with geekish connotations here)

ah, i get distracted easily. not again.

so, back to the hierarchy of knowledge. in the same vein as maslow's hierarchy, you could arrange it as a typical pyramid. and now for the exciting climb to the peak:
  • level one: awareness

    this is when you know what something is. at this stage you should be able to identify it with some reasonable degree of confidence, either by its characteristics, behaviour or any creative means of identification you can think up (i for example, can identify my cellphone by the crunching sound it makes when i sit on it. hence, i have attained level 1 knowledge about my cellphone.

  • level two: functionality

    this is when you know how to use the thing. this obviously doesn't imply that you should know *all* uses of the thing (for example, i consider myself a level 2 paper cup user, but i never knew that it could be used to boil water over a flame - and since this is my theory i've decided to refer to it as a characteristic rather than my ignorance). this is also restricted to primary functionality (refer aforementioned characteristic vs ignorance principle). a more esoteric functionality may be substituted for the primary functionality, but it should be related to its primary functionality (eg, burning stuff using a projector and a magnifying glass qualifies, but using a mousetrap as a means of projectile propulsion does not)

  • level three: aesthetics

    this is when you know enough of something to be able to customize it to your likes and dislikes, and hence use it exactly the way you feel like, possibly combining the primary functionality with other secondary functionality

  • level four: the knowledge equivalent of self actualization

    this is a level that my vocabulary and sense of expression/creative naming hasn't reached yet, as the title suggests. this is when you gain knowledge that neither helps you gain additional functionality, nor does it add to it's aesthetics. this is what i regard the supreme peak of knowledge, usually characterised with a feeling of geekish nirvana (not to be confused with the buddhist one, but close enough to not be able to tell the difference :P)

damn...this is just a couple of screens!!! i hope it's long enough to get me your work, people!!! link here if you can!!! :D

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

unproductive but geekishly fulfilling things to do at work part 2 (a.k.a. how to almost break a chair)

my new job doesn't involve products with code names, and telnetting into external websites doesn't work anymore (and there is only so much satisfaction you can get out of pretending to be a browser, given that most webmasters are incompetent, lazy or both ;)), so i've been forced by boredom and pure geekish innovation into new avenues of discovery.

my subject: my trusty chair.

my chair at work has been promoted from a piece of furniture to a complex system of all kinds of complex machinery, and i've realised (in sparsely distributed moments of wisdom) that there's much more to it than meets the eye.

initial exploration of my chair was limited to getting it to a point where i could sit comfortably in it. now that that objective has been fulfilled, the next thrust of exploration was to get it to a point where i could comfortably sleep in it (sleeping being a close second to sitting when it comes to things that i usually do in my chair, and definitely the most far :P)

as an aside, just like maslow's hierarchy of needs, i have my homegrown hierarchy of knowledge (kristopher's hierarchy of knowledge, if you like)

a thorough discussion of the hierarchy will have to be postponed to another day (and another rambling, almost-pointless blog post). for now, it will suffice to say that i just attained its highest level w.r.t. the chair :D

so yeah...the highest level: discovering things about the chair that do not affect my comfort (either sitting or sleeping) in any way. this involves finding out what mysterious and highly inaccessible knobs and levers do, since they obviously do something, but were meant to be used by a chair administrator rather than a general user.

for example: there's a knob right below the seat in the centre that adjusts how responsive the backrest is when tilting back/forward. not terribly useful, unless you're particularly malnourished or are too light to muster the force to tilt the chair when you lean (believe it or not, there actually are a few such people in my class...i intend selling this vital piece of information to them for a price :P)

ps: there was supposed to be a punchline here, but i forgot it as this post has been saved in my drafts for over a week. what an anticlimax! i should do this more often :D

Monday, October 01, 2007

oh, god!

after a long period of dull inactivity and tons of debates with incredibly narrow minded people about god, religion, beliefs and (strangely) reality, i finally read something that got me thinking. nothing convincing enough to shake my (possibly irrational) steadfast belief in a single, benevolent god-figure. not even convincing enough to consider it a possibility. (btw, i still haven't figured why i believe in whatever i've chosen to believe in - it's just one of 'those things')

a bit of background first (hmm...i seem to be dragging a 'bit of background' into my posts quite often...wonder why :P) - i read this on the dilbert blog, a place renowned (in my eyes) for debate on things that make you go hmmm (i'm sure the shmoo's going **wheee** over my hmmms right now;)). anyway, so i was saying, the dilbert blog. damn cool place, that. oh wait, that's not what i was saying. i was saying that that's one of the places where god and reality and religion and belief systems get discussed quite often, usually with scott adams doing the equivalent of throwing a lighted match into pre-heated petrol and watching frenzied cognitive dissonants(?) jump into the fire :D. oh and bad analogies are also quite recurrent in the comment section of that blog too (i guess my reading has been teaching me stuff ;))

so much for background. i'm sure you've lost me by now, if you ever had me in the first place (no puns intended ;))

anyway...what stood out was this post that proves god exists. not that i need any proof, having already admitted that my beliefs already are irrational enough to be too hard to explain to any human being, including myself. apparently "some guy on the internet" prove that god exists. that's fine, because i dont really need pr...oh hell. i'm stuck in an infinite lopp here. lemme out!!!

ah...i'm out!!! so i wanted to say (but didn't end up saying) that his proof of god's existence was interesting, first of all because i haven't heard it before, and secondly because it's the only thing that i don't believe that i also don't think is stupid. yeah, i know what that means. i'm sorry folks, but if you ever tried arguing with me about god's existence and i just sat smugly or replied in linguistic monosyllables (yeah...hmmm...i know...hmmm...true...hmmm...what you say...hmm), i was probably thinking you are either stupid or incredibly narrow minded. don't take it personally. being broad minded is probably a bad thing anyway :D

anyway, if you aren't bored enough by now, i quote the blog verbatim:
  1. It is impossible for one person to see reality through the eyes of another.

  2. By definition, a reality you can't enter via any form of transportation is another dimension.

  3. You comprise 100% of your dimension, because no one else can share exactly your perception.

  4. If you are the entire universe within your dimension, you are God by definition, since you are everything within your own dimension.

the best part of this theory is that it fits perfectly with my theory of everything (as does every other cool theory :P), other than the fact that what's called 'god' in this theory is called 'anything' in mine :D

anyway, after a very long ramble, i've finally forgotten what i wanted to say.

oh, i didn't (**damn!!!**). read the post. and the comments. won't say the other thing i wanted to. just read it. you might spot it anyway.

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