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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Game May 28, 2006

Posted by dhar in Books.
2 comments

Warning: For Sci-Fi and Fantasy buffs only. 🙂

Here is a small Sci-Fi and Fantasy game. The funda is simple. Each clue points to an excellent but not necessarily famous Sci-Fi / fantasy novel. Use to clue to guess which one.

1. Low Key Lyesmith

2. Hiccup Forest

3. Ansible

4. Planet IX

5. The Unthinking Depths

6. Progris Riport

7. Kinakuta

8. H.O.L.M.E.S IV

9. The Luggage

10. Time Tombs

11. Grok

12. Sparrowhawk

13. Pilman Radiant

14. Saidin and Saidar

15. Mazer Rackham

16. Melange

17. Number Ten Ox

Answers within a couple of days. A score of around 5 should be average, anything above 8 is excellent and crack above 12 probably means you are a cyborg. 

My Problem May 28, 2006

Posted by dhar in Misc, Technology.
5 comments

All over the blogosphere, people raise their voices for or against some issue. A number of people raised their voice in the IIPM fiasco, while others protested the Reservation issue. Some protested the way Da Vinci Code was being treated.

Quite a few of my friends use their blog to talk about issues close to their heart. And talk passionately and with unwavering belief, they do. My problem is that somehow there is nothing I seem to be bothered about, nothing I care about immensely to blog about.

The only things that bother me, even slightly, are usually tech related. Network Neutrality, for instance. While I support the High Tech Broadband Coalition's view, I am always left with a nagging feeling there might be some small merit in what the telcos have to say.

Wonder if there is something abnormal about this kinda behaviour?

Photoshop: Transform your Landscape Shots May 24, 2006

Posted by dhar in Photography.
2 comments

Sometimes the landscape shots I get are dull, dreary and grey. The scene is pretty good and you dont want to discard the picture. For instance, this picture I shot was pretty useless.

But you can use Photoshop to transform such shots into something enchanting and captivating. Here is the final result of my manipulations of this image in photoshop:

I have posted a short tutorial on how you can achieve such results. You can read the tutorial here.

Online Videos May 23, 2006

Posted by dhar in Misc.
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Full Length Cartoons on YouTube.

Watch Videos Online: PeekVid. (via Anand). PeekVid even has episodes (001 to 185) of Naruto, one of my favourite Anime series.
Enjoy!

Bridge of Birds May 22, 2006

Posted by dhar in Books.
3 comments

Against the exotic backdrop of China thirteen and a half centuries ago — a land filled with magic as Tolkien's middle earth — two odd companions seek the Great Root of Power. Number Ten Ox is a strong and eager, but rather naive, young peasant; Li Kao is a wily sage with a slight flaw in his character and a weakness for rice wine. Together they undertake a perilious quest to save the children of Ox's village from death by poison.

The path they take leads them to a homicidal matriarch, the cruelest duke in history, monsters both visible and invisible, men more deadly than monsters, treacherous labyrinths, pleading ghosts whose pleas are incomprehensible and the gradual realization that before they can accomplish their task they must complete another one: solve a baffling mystery that occurred a thousand years they were born.

Sounds interesting? Then you gotta read Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

PS: Not sure of the legality, but this looks like the original draft of the book. Incidentally it differs a bit from the final version.

PPS: Anyone here ever read Jason Cosmo?

Undercover May 21, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.
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Undercover: Bad News for Mac Thieves

Cost Effective Diffusion Filter Substitute May 21, 2006

Posted by dhar in Photography, Technology.
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A diffusion filter, often used by photographers to get soft lighting effects, costs a lot of money. Here is something different that you can try and get similar resumts (YMMV):

Just stretch a pantyhose in front of the lens and secure it with a pair of rubberbands. If the lighing is not as soft as you want, just experiment with the tautness, till you get the right lighting level.

Voila, now you have an easy to use,cost effective diffusion filter replacement.

Free Crypto Book! May 20, 2006

Posted by dhar in Books, Technology.
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If you are looking for a good book on Cryptography, you can try the Handbook of Applied Cryptography. It is available as a free download. 

Those into crypto, can also try out Schneier's Self Study Course in Block Cipher Cryptanalysis.

HTTPS and WordPress May 20, 2006

Posted by dhar in Misc.
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Cool find of the day. WordPress.com runs a https server. If you so desire, you can connect to https://dhar.wordpress.com. Neato!

Improve Your Digital Pics May 18, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.
3 comments

For those into Digital Photography, these two programs may be indispensable:

  1. Noise Ninja
  2. Perfectly Clear

Another application which I plan to try out once I am back in India is Lightzone. Have been hearing lot of good things about it. But before you get started with these applications, it might be a good idea to calibrate your monitor. Spyder2 comes highly recommended.

Are there applications other than Photoshop, Picassa and Gimp that you have used and found useful? If yes, just use the comments section.

PS: Sample images showing the two tools in action will be uploaded soon.