Journal entries year 2015

From raju


Dear math geeks, today is not "PI" day. With rounding, it would be next year March 14th. But since we are talking about "irrational" things anyway, I will go ahead and have a pie today.…/2…/it-s-a-good-day-to-eat-pie


Google seems to have a knack for coming up with a crappier UI over time. First it was gmail, then google maps, then google contacts and now google drive. What happened to the good old principle of - If it aint broke, don't "fix" it?

2015-03-24 contains videos on each element in the periodic table. I watched couple of them and they are pretty amazing.


Website of the day: . URLs copied from Google search results (such as links to PDFs) are more complicated than they need to be. The tool on the website removes the unnecessary parts, leaving the page's original URL. Double like!


Evolution is a dumb process that involves billions and billions of creatures operating in random, selfish, and stupid ways. But put it all together, wait millions of years, and you have the iPhone 6+.

I find this hilarious! I guess only Scott Adams can come up with stuff like this.

Fatal Aircraft Crashes and Deaths

Between 2000-2014, in the U.S., there were 62 fatal crashes (Charter flights: 27, Corporate/Private-owned: 35) on high-end corporate aircraft and 13 on U.S. passenger airlines. During this period the total fatalities on the Corporate were 275 (Charter flights: 116, Corporate/Private-owned: 159) while on the U.S. passenger airlines it is 512.

While deaths on passenger airliners have exceeded corporate aviation between 2000-2014, that trend has reversed in the second half as air carriers have gotten safer. Between 2007-2014, the total fatalities on the Corporate were 106 (Charter flights: 28, Corporate/Private-owned: 78) while on the U.S. passenger airlines it is 50.


(Last edited:2015-05-15)

My credit card got hacked

It seems someone forged my credit card and swiped it in Chicago, IL today. Luckily chase detected it as a fraud and sent an alert. I immediately cancelled the credit card but it is making me worry as to what else might be going on. Anyone with a similar experience?

(Last edited:2015-05-20)


Currently reading "Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks" by Ben Goldacre -


Here is a bug in "grep" package that I reported more than 8 years ago and has been fixed by upstream only recently.


I never imagined there would be a "proper" way to cut the branch of a tree until I saw this video - . It does a great of job of explaining it!


Hamsini is growing up so fast. Now a days she seems to understand everything we say. This has some surprising side effects when coupled with excellent hearing skills of a toddler. The other day I whispered to Santhi to take a toy away from her, she immediately looked at her mom vigorously waving her hands cooing no, no, no.


Once in a while I receive invitations to participate in usability tests, give feedback on an existing/new application, answer product surveys etc., This normally happens when companies release new product/functionality but not always. The requests are from reputed companies. So I am not talking about spam here. I used to take part in these before but decided not to do it anymore except for open source projects.

The outcome of these surveys is ultimately based on popularity. For example, companies would be more inclined to implement a feature if it is requested by a lot of people as opposed to helping a few power users. There is also no transparency in how the feedback is used in designing future strategy. Also, my interests do not align with the majority most of the time. So the whole charade is a time sink.

There is one exception. There always is! Open source projects do not suffer with this issue. The bug tracking system is open to all users, provides transparency. Implementation of new features is not purely based on popularity. So unless your company is open source or somehow overcomes the above issues, please do not contact me for feedback.


Tyaagaraja Keerthana dubsmash!


Finally someone said it! A funny video where Mark Zuckerberg was asked how to stop Candy Crush invites on facebook.


This comic is very funny -


I recently bought a Dual Bay External Hard Drive Enclosure and two Western Digital Blue hard drives. My intention is to store family pictures and videos on one drive and use the second drive as a backup. The hard drives arrived 10 days ago on 2015-11-06. I tried to check their health today by using gsmartcontrol and found that SMART is not enabled on them. I sent an email to the debian-user mailing list asking for suggestions.

Next steps: Searching the web a little more, I found that Western Digital offers a hard drive diagnostic tool for windows. I should try that.


So it turns out that in order for SMART to work on a hard drive, it matters whether it is connected internally or externally via usb. In my case it looks like the USB bridge device is not supported by SMART. I sent an email to smartmontools-database mailinglist for further guidance.


Wikipedia is running their annual fund raising. Please donate whatever you can. They accept as little as $10 and it is all tax deductible.

I am not a big fan of donations and charities except for some minor exceptions. Wikipedia is one of them. What you give to them actually has an impact.


Here is a video that cracked me up today - Java vs C++


What is the gender of Maggi?Male or Female?


Male. Because it will be ready in 2 minutes...!!!


A nice article on why it does not make sense for India to participate in the current climate change talks.