Friday, August 28, 2009

Miniclip must-play games

I have had so much fun playing some really cute, challenging and creative games on www.miniclip.com that I thought I must mention them here.
They have a huge list of flash games but sometimes you come across some real gems....

1) BLOXORZ
)My absolute favourite ever - this game consists of a rectangular wooden block that has to be rolled around a rectangular 2-d maze and dropped into a hole without letting it fall of the edges. There are 32 levels of which the last few are really tricky. The levels consist of all kinds of special buttons and tiles which need to be rolled onto or rolled around. The cool part about this game is that for many levels even if you get a solution you wont be able to repeat it next time without thinking. A must try.

2)ClickPlay
This game consists of around 25 levels of really creative scenarios. You have to click around or click and drag objects until a play button appears on the screen. The aim is to finish the game in least number of clicks. Less than 600 will get you a bronze medal :). The whole game is in black and white and has that old cartoon feel.
If you get stuck google for the walk-through :)

3)Chronotron
This game consists of a time machine. Every time you enter it your future self emerges while your past self repeats its movements. You basically have to attain the level objective with the help of your past selves. It requires thinking in many dimensions :) Cute graphics and there is a very cool phenomena called time paradox where your past self dies while your future self is alive - which technically cannot happen- so your game ends. This game really got me thinking about how it must be made. Requires a lot of patience and thinking though.

4)Magic Pen
This is a rather unusual game. It consists of a drawing of a ball, a flag and some objects between them. You have to get the ball to the flag by drawing other objects and using them to push the ball. Do go through the instructions before playing. It requires great amount of artistic skill and a different kind of thinking. No wonder I couldnt make much progress :(

Do play and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking angels

Who says angels dont walk on earth? I am surrounded by angels in my life.

Angels who get me a birthday dress and even give it for stitching when I am too busy preparing for placements, who turn off the lights and get me water when I am lying down in bed-too tired to get up(though they are equally tired) and who come all the way to college to give me my tiffin because I refuse to eat out.

Angels who rescue my cellphone when I leave it in college, who give me those all important write ups every time I demand them, who are ever ready to give me a ride to college(sometimes going out of the way to drop me to a place of my convenience), who tow my bike to the garage when it breaks down and who come with me to collect and check it thouroughly after its serviced.

Angels who call me up late at night to tell me some weird questions and their answers for my next day's viva, whose house is always open to me and I get a full delicious meal whenever I visit and who are bothered enough to explicitly insist on a missed call so they know I have reached my destination safely.

Angels who care enough to persuade me to communicate when I am upset and retreating into a shell, who are ready to listen when I am so excited about some small achievement and talk about myself for hours, who motivate me when I enter into my "Damn, life sucks....I am a loser" mood and who are ready to just 'take-over' my responsibilities when I ditch out last minute on meetings.

I think this list can go on and on.
I am blessed......Thank-you Lord and ofcourse thank-you angels.......

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The tale of X and Y

X and Y are 2 people in a relationship. It can be any relation- siblings, lovers, parent-child, friends anything. Y means far more to X than Y realizes. X remembers every conversation and every joke shared with Y. X values all the opinions that Y has. It really matters to X what Y thinks about X.
And then, one day, Y does something that may be a small thing for Y , and an insignificant thing for the world but is a big thing for X. X feels hurt. X wonders-why did Y do this? If only it had not been Y.......
Even if X confronts Y- Y wouldn't understand- coz Y doesnt know and Y may not care. And then X has to reconcile itself- "This is my problem, not Y's problem. For my perspective about this relation is very different from Y's"
After that, X changes, and the relation changes, but Y doesnt know and Y may not care.
How often have we been X?
How often have we been Y?
"For the world you might be someone, but for someone you might be the world."

Eisenheim-The Illusionist

I saw a movie called Illusionist recently. It was excellent. Really well-made.
And it got me thinking about how the illusionist or conjurer uses smoke and mirrors to create a mirage, an illusion. And the audience is so excited about what they see that they forget all about the conjurer. He uses all the tools of his trade- pretty lighting, unearthly speeches, clever hand-gestures, fancy clothes, smooth expressions - to fool people into believing something that isnt. He gives the people what they want because he just wants to make everyone happy. And all his tricks are so charming that people stop caring about the real person-what his hopes and dreams are, what he likes, what he really wants. And then the poor fellow wonders how did he end up being so lonely? Did he do 1 trick too many? May be now his defences are too strong and nobody can get past them.... Or may be it is the fault of the people- none of them want to try...
And so the illusionist stands - all alone on his stage.....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Geek Symptoms

You know you are a computer geek when:
  1. You hear trees and think children, binary search and recursion and not about those brown and green thingys on which fruits grow.
  2. To you 'windows' is a swear word (or 'that other os' if you are polite). You never look out of them. No wonder you dont know what trees really are.
  3. "Google is a search engine"- to you this sentence is akin to blasphemy. Thats coz Google is your dictionary, spell-checker, translator, postman, problem solver, calculator, convertor, locator, publisher, editor,artist, essentially everything.
  4. The only exercise you get is when you bend to turn on/turn off the pc or take a trip to the kitchen to get some drink. If you are a health freak you most probably do those 'chair exercises' where you stretch your legs in front of you, rotate your feet and think "Wow, aerobics is tiring..."
  5. You have weak eyes. Do try to take a break every hour and stare away from the screen.
  6. You speak 'Geekanese'. This language contains sentences like -
    "I think its time to refactor my cupboard."
    "Those newbies are having a flame war and adding noise to my list."
    "I just submitted a patch by skipping the tarring and simply gzipped the code."
    (I am unable to present an English translation of the above sentences as google translator does not support Geekanese yet. If you dont understand them count yourself lucky.)
  7. You hero-worship some and identify almost everyone of the following people: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Linus Torvaldus, Chris Mason, Valerie Aurora, Avi Kivity, Daniel Philips and Steve Jobs. (Ya I know you are itching to add some more names here-feel free to comment :))
  8. You are terrified of bugs because you know there is no pest control agency on the planet that can come around and zap them out for you.
  9. You are more comfirtable chatting online or texting than phone conversations. ("Its cheaper" is just an excuse. Stop fooling yourself) And real conversations with real people is a rare event.
  10. You have read through (and understood) all the above points and now you are wondering "This aint normal/expected/regular behaviour?"
Welcome to the world of computer geeks!!! Actually you were already here. If you are suddenly noticing other behaviour which you have been taking for granted all this while do comment. :)
Cheers!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My cooking bloopers

Hi,
I thought I'll write down some of the CRAZY mistakes I have made while struggling up the cooking curve and what I learned from them. Why I am writing this is because:
1)Life is too short to make all the mistakes that everyone makes so its good to learn from others' :)
2)Its funny. Lolz.

Ok here goes:

1)I actually put the rice cooker on the gas without adding water. Duh. By the time I realised what I had done the bottom (of the cooker) had turned black and some of the steel had melted into the rice. (Eeeyuck!!! Good-bye cooker) In my defence- I was 14 :P
Lesson- Never ever put a cooker on the gas without double checking its contents.

2)Once I had invited a friend over for a chinese meal(I was giving her my birthday treat). In a last minute rush I set a chocolate cake for baking. I think I screwed up with the soda bicarb measure because some part of the cake puffed up (like a bubble) while all the solid part just remained stuck to the bottom of the baking dish. In the end we scraped of the bits and had them with vanilla ice-cream. My friend was sweet enough to have it although she did refuse a second helping ;) Luckily for her everything else turned out great!
Lesson- Plan your menu carefully and prepare your desserts in advance :)

3)When I cooked my 1st pulav it turned out like khichdi. Reason: I added potatoes, overcooked the rice and undercooked the tomatoes. Umm I also forgot the spices.
Lesson- Cook your tomatoes and masala thouroughly and only add water in proportion to the rice not rice+ vegetables. Oh and never add potatoes :)

4)Overcooking pasta. I went through this phase where every pasta dish I made was overcooked. "Pasta dish" includes noodles, spaghetti, rice sevai, macaroni.......And I dont know if you have experienced this but eating an overcooked pasta dish feels like eating glue :P It took me a while to realize that:
Lesson- When you cook the pasta in water you must cook it for exactly the time given in the recipe and then wash the pasta in cold water immediately. Else it will cook further in its own steam.
However I am going through the undercooked pasta phase right now so may be someone can help me with this one :)

Tada!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recipe- sweet pumpkin puris

We made pumpkin puris on Janmashtami for bhoga. I did most of the stuff myself. Thought I'll record it here complete with secret tips from my mom :)

Sweet pumpkin Puris

Ingredients:

1 cup grated pumpkin(lal bhopala)
1 cup jaggery(chirleli-could the english equivalent be grated?)
wheat flour (approximately 200 gms)
oil to fry

Method:

1)Steam the pumpkin in a kadhai till it is cooked. The pumpkin will eventually release water.
2)When that happens add the jaggery and cook both together until it looks like a chocolate brown broth. Basically, the jaggery should have melted completely, becoming slightly dark.
Tip 1: Add a pinch of salt to this. A little salt adds a special flavour to jaggery based desserts.
3)Ok, now comes the tricky part. Take 1 bowl wheat flour and add the jaggery+pumpkin broth to it. You have to start kneading the flour so that it becomes proper puri consistency. Usually you know the amount of flour required and add appropriate water(i.e. the liquid) In this case it is reverse. Go on adding flour and depending on amount of liquid. Eventually you'll get a lump of kneaded puri dough.
Tip 2: Use a little oil in the end as a finishing touch to smoothen the dough.
4)Now 'belo' and fry the puris as normal. Fry them till they turn a deep reddish gold.
Tip 3: Make slightly thick puris(while 'beloing'). Otherwise they become hard after frying.
Tip 4: Fry on a medium-low flame. Too hot oil burns the jaggery and spoils your puri :)

Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Prime Evil

Thanks to swine Flu I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands.....
So just thought of publishing one of my better poems:

Prime Evil
Hungry, Hungry for your soul,
Wanting, wanting more and more,
Pleasure, pleasure only goal,
Lust, lust bleeds your core.

Rage, rage burning fire,
Fury, fury in your cry,
Pain, pain unfulfilled desire,
Anger, anger blinds your eye.

Counting, counting always less,
Struggling, struggling in a mesh,
Working, working increasing stress,
Greed, greed eats your flesh.

Mine, mine you falsely claim,
Claw claw as they depart,
Cling, cling to long dead name,
Attachment, attachment traps your heart.

Lesser, lesser beneath me all,
Mighty, mighty nothing I lack,
Harder, harder you will fall,
Pride, pride breaks your back.

Roving, roving jealous eye,
Gnawing, gnawing swallows whole,
Why, why, why not I?
Envy, envy poisons your soul.

Six, six evils prime,
Saviour, saviour only one,
Hurry, hurry there is no time,
Chant, chant or come undone.


-
Shweta Shetty


ThoughtWorks Placement Process

Thoughtworks selected three people from my college(Pune Institute Of Computer Technology) during the placement process in July 2009. (I was one of them :)) They had 6 rounds:
  1. Aptitude- which had flow chart based questions. You just have to be really, really careful while solving these- the maximum you can score is 12 and their selection cutoff can be as high as 10-11
  2. Group Activity- Groups of 8-12 people are told to design a software system. We had to design an intranet for a second-hand car dealership. Other systems asked were pizza delivery, online airline reservation, online advertising, etc. They selected 3-4 people from each group.
  3. Coding round(Read the next post)
  4. Technical interview round 1- 16 people reached this round. Each of us was drilled for an hour or so on C, OOP, Data Structures, Java, Puzzles and DBMS by a panel of 2 people.
  5. Technical interview round 2- 8 people reached this round. Each of us was interviewed for almost 3 hours. Our concepts and problem solving skills were tested in detail.
  6. HR- 3 of us reached this round and all of us got selected. However, Thoughtworks does end up rejecting people from this round too, so do not take it lightly :)
Basically Thoughtworks wants people who:
  1. Have strong technical skills
  2. Have good communication skills
  3. Who are passionate about what they do
  4. Who enjoy learning
  5. Who are confident, (but not overly so)
  6. Who are great team-workers
So if you are going to be appearing for the ThoughtWorks selection process, just keep your cool and be confident. The whole thing is also really grueling- you will need high levels of energy, patience and mental stamina. All the best!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why am I blogging?

Hi all!

Ok this is totally wierd. I mean I still cant believe I am blogging! I have been debating with myself for the past 3 months on whether I should blog or not.......Listing some of the reasons why I should not:
1) Kind of creepy letting strangers into your personal space
2) No time
3) My life's got too many varied aspects
4) Apprehension

And why should I?

1)Love writing
2)Knowledge/Information should be shared
3)Keep my English skills brushed up. I just reread the above stuff and realized my grammar seems to be going in the same direction as sewage(down the drain:))
(Hopefully I have corrected most of my mistakes)
4)Love reading other people's blogs so may be some one just might like reading mine:)

Anyways I am now compelled to introduce my future blogs
They are all going to be on crazily different topics - depending on whatever is going on in my head at that particular time.
They wont be regular and I wont even try writing regularly.
They will be entertaining(I hope:)).

Ok thats all for now.
Bye