Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Month: April, 2005

Firefox hits 50 million downloads!

Firefox, the Open Source browser has hit 50 million downloads! Absolutely amazing!

I remember when I used to use Internet Explorer because I didn’t think there were any good browsers out there. I also remember when I even flamed Mozilla (I knew this would bite me in the ass later), but that was because this guy I didn’t like, who I used to work with, used it and it was kinda like a “guilty by association” thing. But anyway, this right here, is really noteworthy. I don’t think any other Open Source project has even grabbed the attention of your every day computer user as much as Firefox has.

Ever since I downloaded Firefox I’ve had a markedly better browsing experience. No pop-ups, no browser hijacks, and tabbed browsing! I don’t even know how I got along without it! Firefox wins hands down over IE with its simplicity, speed, functionality and inuitive browsing experience. Why don’t you Open Source critics take a look at this? If they think Open Source can’t produce anything worthwhile, they should take a look at this. This is what Open Source can achieve. Firefox is well on its way to being a household name.

Congratulations to the Firefox team! Also, if you don’t have Firefox, go and get it now!

Calendar

I made a little calendar that shows you all the dates in a particular month that contain one or more journal entries. You can use < and > to jump backward or forward by a month, or use << and >> to jump backward or forward by a year. I think it’s pretty neat. Wasn’t all that hard to code either. I need to start working on a new Photo Album now…

U2

I went to the U2 concert yesterday. The last time I saw them was four years ago. I remember that experience being absolutely amazing. It was also my first real concert. I couldn’t wait to see them again. Fast forward a little less than four years to a cold January morning at the Glendale Arena. Abhishek and I went there at about six in the morning to get the tickets. They weren’t going to start selling until 9, and were going to hand out arm band at around 8, I think. So this is how the whole ticket thing was going to work. There was no first-come, first-serve. They gave you an arm band with number on it. After everyone had received their arm bands, they would pick a random number to serve as the starting point. Then sequentially, from that number, they would go forward and loop around until one less than the starting point. For example, let’s say we had arm bands numbered from 1 to 100. Let’s assume that they picked 60. Then everyone goes sequentially from 60 to 100, and then from 1 to 59. I guess it was sort of fair, meaning everyone pretty much had an even chance. Anyway, Abhishek and I stood far apart in the line because we didn’t want to get numbers close to each other since that would ruin our chances. I think he got 13 and I got 30 or something. After getting our arm bands, we went to sleep in my car for about an hour. Then, while pondering our chances, we decided to check out other sales venues. They were all packed, so we decided to stick around. At 9 o’ clock, they picked some random girl to draw the number. I remember being really anxious. She picked 15. That meant I was 15th in line. But since they had 12 ticket counters, I was effectively 2nd in line. Anyway, Abhishek and I checked the seat layout to figure out the best seats for the price. We wanted section 223 since that would put us directly in front of the stage. When I went up to the ticket counter, the lady told me that I couldn’t pick anything. So I just asked her to give me the best 8 tickets she could. She gave me 8 seats in section 223. Sweet.

Fast forward to April 14th. Warm April evening. We were all in front of Glendale Arena, waiting to go in. “We” consisted of me, Sadhana, Parthavi, Josh, Suhrid, Abhishek, Apurva, Parag, and Tanjot. Josh had brought me about three small bottles of Sauza, which I hid in my socks. They didn’t even pat us down as we went in. We lounged about for a while and got some stuff to drink and then went in to see the opening act. I was surprised at how calm I was… I wasn’t very anxious or anything. In fact, I wasn’t anxious waiting for this entire concert to happen. Somehow, that made it better because I didn’t anticipate or expect anything.

U2 came on. It was just pure ecstacy. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time. I can’t even begin to describe the surge of emotions that went through me. The music was all around me, surrounding me. I was whooping and singing, no, shouting along to the songs. It was a wild trip the entire way through. The three little bottles of Tequila helped too. Sadhana claims I was moving too much and slamming in to her, but as usual, she says that because she is on crack. Ok maybe, I slammed her a little bit. This dude next to me, however, was playing air-guitar. But most of the time I was just singing along and clapping. U2, of course, was promoting their new album, so they played a couple of songs from there. But the best part was when they started playing their classic stuff – War, Joshua Tree, and Achtung Baby. They even played stuff from Boy, and also from All That You Leave Behind. Oh yeah, and their stage effects were awesome! It was somewhat like a light show. They had these light trails going around the (circular) stage. They also had some sort of curtain or something in the background that would display images. Then you have just the band themselves… simply awesome. The chemistry they share between each other, and with the audience is so rich. They are very few bands that can elicit such a response from the audience. When they played “Where The Streets Have No Name”, you could barely hear Bono because the entire arena was singing along! Then of course, you have Bono’s monologues. He said something that was really poignant. He said that a certain tsunami happens every day and still doesn’t make it on the news. A 150,000 people die every day in Africa because of AIDS, and that still doesn’t make the news. How fucked up is that?

Anyway, to sum it all up… It was just quite simply, an amazing concert. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time, and I haven’t felt this happy in a long time. My voice is gone, and my throat hurts, but hell… it was worth it.

Ancient Code

I am a pack rat. I keep anything and everything in the vague hope that I might need it someday. It doesn’t help when something like that does happen, and I DO need something. Then I feel vindicated and it only serves to re-enforce the behaviour. But anyway, I have these computer disks that are more than 11 years old. They are from 1994. They contain a bunch of GW-BASIC programs that I wrote. The disks are pretty damn old, and almost falling to pieces. I last used one (the one with all my code) about two years ago and did a directory listing. The only thing that did was screw it up even more. It’s now impossible to access the disk. But anyway, that’s on stupid Windows systems. I knew that I could still access data if I really wanted to – raw data. I put the disk into my FreeBSD machine and ran a dd command, while ignoring errors. It took a long time, but finally it dumped all my data out to a file. I then ran a strings command on it to get text. It was like a time-capsule. I saw all this code that I had writted more than a decade ago. I had been programming for at least two or three years then, but 1994 was when I wrote the most code, I think. I went out of my way to make the output messages from my program sound professional. But well, actually it all sounded kinda funny. However, if I hadn’t done any of that, I wouldn’t be where I am right now and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now. This was where it all started… where I became a programmer. Anyway, here are some snippets, along with my comments:
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