Friday, December 29, 2006

Q3 Nostalgia

I recently found my Quake III installation CD ROM while cleaning up and organizing the huge pile of CD ROMs in my room! Suddenly I was hit by a nostalgic feeling of missing all the fun me and my friends used to have in college lab while playing Death matches and CTF(Capture the flag) missions in Quake III when we were in our final semester of Engineering!




The game play used to go on for hours! We used to take small 5 second breaks by either by pressing Alt+Tab or by turning off the monitors when the lab managers/instructors or even our lecturers came around!

Best of such situations, One fine day, we were playing Quake in the laboratory in the last row of computers, me along with 3 of my friends 2 per team. The whole lab was vacant. We were half way through the game and suddenly the Head of our Department showed up in the laboratory and headed towards us! All of us managed to somehow switch off the monitors before he came to the last row! He had a doubtful expression like what we did in the last row when the whole lab was vacant! For our lucky fortune, each of us had a pile of documents related to the projects we were doing and we reasoned out that we were sitting together and discussing about the implementation of the project since the lab was vacant ;)

Then came along like bullets, a series of questions related to the project! All my friends looked at me with a scared expression on their faces and they all relaxed and smiled when I answered those questions at the same pace not giving him a moment to doubt, for we still had quake running on the systems with only monitors turned off! Finally, he probably felt our reasons and my answers were reasonable, he wished us all the best in achieving the goal we set for ourselves on the project and left the place.

We were very fortunate not to have speakers on any of the systems in the lab, else we would have been probably thrown out of lab and the lab manager would have checked upon us every time we were in the lab!

Everything rolled over my thoughts in a moment! College days were the last when i played Quake death matches and Need For Speed races! We even used to have contests in the college fest for these games!




The last contest in which I played, we had Quake with the Afterwards 2 mod. Afterwards mod is the best Quake mod I have played till date! We generally used to play for a limit of 100 frags with over 12 people running around the Arena! We had sometimes even played for 200 frags!

Quake has been the most addictive gave I have played ever! I was fully into gaming till i was in college and have played all sorts of computer games, the very first game I was hooked onto was Wolfenstein 3D which is probably the great grandfather of Quake, and one of the best FPS games of its time! I was so addicted to the game that at a point of time, I had around 80 mods of Wolfenstein! Some other games which were of my interest are Roadrash, Need For Speed and the whole of the Age of Empires series!




Now I wonder if I will ever play Quake 3 death matches with my same gang of friends over a network! I guess dream is finally turning into reality as one of my friends is setting up a computer training center and I have suggested him a Quake death match challenge between us friends for the inauguration ceremony of the center! ;)

Frag 'em!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A bit relieved from work...

Finally i feel i am a bit relieved from work! With a release scheduled around the corner in a couple of weeks, development has been brought to still and bug fixing happens only for very very severe bugs!

All these days, my whole work schedule was upset! Used to get in and out of office at timings which seemed very odd when compared with my regular work schedule...

Unfortunately once i even ran out of fuel in a place where there was no petrol available anywhere around 5km radius, and to make things worse and make me feel even bad, it was on a Friday night at 12:35 PM (I know all of you out there who are Software Engineers would definitely understand why i felt bad about this). I will write about this incident in another post since it is a separate story by itself and can span pages!

I am very happy that finally i am getting some time to sleep in the normal sleep hours!

Now i am trying hard to get back to my regular work schedule which should be easy since still we are in a bit of what i call relaxed mode of software development.

Remembered a quote from one of my friend's email signature... it brought a smile on my face now :)

Work Like a dog, Exercise like a demon, Party like a rock star!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Phenomenon called YAARI

Social Networking Rocks!

Here's an excerpt from a comment i left on the blog of a social networking site called Yaari

Social networks will become an inseparable part of people who are hooked onto internet, as of now, the net is drawing more and more people towards it… People will definitely get in once they start recognizing the awesome power and usefulness of social networks (for example, i started orkutting more after i got in touch with school friends with whom i had lost contact for past 8 years)…

Yaari is a new entrant in the whole plethora of social networking sites out there! None of these sites were interesting to me after i came across ORKUT! But Yaari is a different story! I am hooked to Yaari since the time i joined, It has cool fresh look and feel with vibrant colors and guess what, The interface is done in AJAX! Rearranging page elements is as easy as it can get!

Will write more on Yaari sometime later... try it hands on!

So long gone...

Damn! it has been 2 months since i forgot i had a blog! All off a sudden today i remembered that i had a blog and i have not posted on it for the past 2 months...

Work's been keeping me away from all other stuff from past 2 months... Hope i will have time to breathe and write blogs sometime soon!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yahoo! decides to go open yet again...

Yahoo! has done it again, some months ago they showed interest towards Open development by giving out the code for their AJAX Libraries, now they take a call to give out the source of one of their legendary and killer service, Yahoo! Mail.

This was announced by Yahoo! officials along with Chad Dickerson, head of the company's software developer relations program, on September 30th 2006.

Lets hope that other Services like GMail, Rediff and Spymac open up too for there are lots of developers in the community who can make all these services better.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Does Java Suck?

When fiddling around with wikipedia recently, i got to an article accidentally which defined why Java sucks inspite of being the best. The article written by Jamie Zawinski can be found here.

Since it has an awesome explanation of the fact that java has it's own drawbacks and limitations, i had to rethink on those and conclude the same even though i
was/am/will continue to be an avid Java fanatic.

Feel free to jot down your thoughts as comments...

Monday, September 25, 2006

This is what i call a cool digital Camera....

Finally something's here which deserves to be called the best digicam you would have ever seen... Despite being weighted at around 3 kilograms, the Seitz D3 digital camera and Seitz 6x17 panorama camera rock! It has a 640 x 480 color display!







Check this out here fellas... it rocks!

A sample pic taken in this dream is given below...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An awesome fact that keeps on striking my thoughts forever...


If A Pretty Poster And A Cute Saying Are All It Takes To Motivate You, You Probably Have A Very Easy Job. The Kind Robots Will Be Doing Soon.


Once upon a time... Ranganath... The philosopher... To Quote or Not to Quote?

Recently surfing around in the net, i found a quote which i wrote a couple of years ago and had submitted to a quote site... Though this quote may not be true in all cases, i sometimes feel i am a philosopher, one who knows many things about nothing ;)

Here's the link for the quote. It's the first one on the page...

I feel the converse of the quote is also true in many cases, but that quote was based on real life experiences in my job...

When i said YOU, i had meant some people and when i said things i had meant a few technologies, but i later realized that it applied to 90% of people and most of the technologies ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006

One more Cool Java Swing Component...

Started working on one more complex component... Named it OutlookStyleTabbedPane, after the Pane that you can see on left in the MicroSoft Outlook 2k3. Here is an initial glimpse of it... two images, the first one shows how it looked one day ago, and the second shows the latest look.





The beauty of Java Swing is that it's developers kept open a lot of room for Creativity instead of doing everything themselves, This is not true with most other technologies.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Trip to Kodaikanal... Feels like Heaven...

I had been to kodaikanal, a hill station in Tamilnadu, India, with my friends over the past weekend. The place is awesome and is Nature's creation at it's best! Actually it feels like you are in Heaven with all the clouds floating around on roads!

Check the snaps here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Carnatic Vocal 1nd year results announced!

The results of my Carnatic Vocal exam for 1st year i took at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore were announced today and i secured A Grade :) This was my very first exam in Music i have ever taken making this a very memorable day for me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One more Trophy...

I took these snaps also along with the ones showing my other Trophy.

The silver background in the snap below is actually my Philips DVD Player!



The snap below again shows the same trophy with a new stage ;) The red background is a Hardbound notebook in which i write the notes for my Carnatic Vocal classes ;)



I like the shadow casted by the Trophy on the red background :), looks cool!

PS : Sorry but i have smudged the name of the company for obvious reasons ;)

Finally managed to take a snap of my Trophy...


A couple of days back, i finally somehow made myself free for some time and took a snap of my Trophy, which i recieved for "Excellence in Execution of Work" from my company.

By the way, this is the very first snap for which i did some stage setup for the subject of the photograph ;)


If you could not read what's written on the base of the trophy, check this...


PS : Sorry but i have smudged the name of the company for obvious reasons ;)

This very blog you are reading was featured in Mid-Day bangalore edition...

Will update this once i get the scanned image of the featuring article from one of my friends...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How True...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Awesome!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Kishore Da...

I am very depressed that i could not post this yesterday due to a technical problem at my internet service provider's place which kept me offline for about almost 36 hours.

I just wanted to say Happy Birthday Kishore Da!


Duniya Kehthaa Hain Mujhko Paagal, Main Kehtha Hoon Duniya Ko Paagal. - Kishore Da

(Rough Translation : The world calls me mad and crazy, I call the world mad and crazy)


Yesterday, 4th August, 2006, was the 77th Birthday of the immortal singer Kishore Kumar better known as Kishore Da amongst the millions of fanatics around the world including me ;). Kishore Da a name synonymous with powerhouse left a great landmark in history of Indian film music.

He was versatile genius. An excellent singer, a great comedian, director, producer, composer. He excelled in whatever he took on and was an enigma.

Believe me when i say Kishre Da is my GURU, my inspiration and my idol, and even today, most songs i can sing fully are the songs sung by Kishore Da, Frankly speaking, i cannot sing anything well other than Kishore Da's songs.

He was a charmer, a legend. He had a very very charismatic personality, and i believe when people say he could make anyone burst into laughter in a moment with his actions. See the various moods of him below, and i bet you too will believe it!

The Various Moods of the Charmer...





An Indian Stamp Issued in 2003 in Commemoration of the Legend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hollowed by the Name...

Ever dreamt of being invisible? It could be possible in the near future as stated by Dr Ulf Leonhardt, a theoretical physicist at St Andrews University in Scotland. He believes the most plausible example is the Invisible Woman, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes in the "Fantastic Four".




Reuters recently published an article on this, which could be found here.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Fedora Funda....

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Ananya Experience...

The visit to Ananya came in as a sequel to the three Dream Computer Program sessions we handled successfully. We decided to visit Ananya on July 29th, 2006.

As i had told before that i would write more, i have given below is an excerpt about Ananya from a site called Learning Network. I have posted it since i found it to be very descriptive ;)

--- excerpt ---
Ananya is a residential school on the grounds of Devi farm outside Bangalore and a home to around 62(latest data, at the time of my visit) children. Ananya, which means unique, caters to the needs of children who are not admitted into other schools either for social, economic or academic reasons. The children come and stay at Ananya’s farm during the weekdays and go back to their city lives over the weekend and during the summer break. One couple and one abandoned woman stay at Ananya full time and cater to all the needs of the children. They, along with three other teachers who attend on a daily basis, work towards enriching the lives of children at Ananya.

Ananya Shikshana Kendra (ASK) is a school where the children are encouraged to question and find answers with the teachers as guides. Emphasis is on self-learning through a creative approach. Classrooms are open and have an adaptable curriculum, which respond to the individual needs of the children. The children are grouped according to their ability rather than age. The focus of education is on emotional, physical, social development along with academic development. The children appear for the school leaving certificate exams as and when they feel ready and receive appropriate vocational training via Ananya’s outreach with Maya and other organizations and individuals.

Ananya Centre for Teachers (ACT) is a medium where teachers and individuals working with slum/street children meet and exchange ideas. Ananya organizes workshops and trains the participants in various aspects of teaching to make them more innovative and creative and also design teaching-learning aids that are appropriate for the children utilizing them. They regularly invite different resource persons who provide input for personal and professional growth. Parent-teacher meetings are held thrice a year. The meeting enables Ananya to identify issues of concern to the families. The meeting bridges the gap between the school and the home environment.

Ananya learning centers are bright, airy, and child friendly, have individual desks that children can arrange according to their needs. It contains self-study and self-assessing materials that are arranged by levels of difficulty and are easily accessible. Classes are not necessarily held within the four walls of a classroom, the grounds of Shibumi are their open natural laboratory.

Future plans at Devi Farm include building hostels for children, sheds for vocational training i.e. pottery, carpentry, screen-printing etc. Ananya wants to cultivate organic farming to grow our own food grains, fruits and vegetables, rain water harvesting and use solar energy wherever possible and preserve the bio diversity and prevent the felling of trees in and around the farm. Ananya is keen on networking with other organizations to share ideas and resources.
--- excerpt ---

Ananya
is a 45 minutes drive from KAPS IT, the place which had the computer lab we used to teach the kids, Dr Shashi Rao, founder of ananya, had come to the place where we all started off, to take us to Ananya.

The name Ananya is a Sanskrit Word and means Unique, One of it's kind, and i can say for sure that Ananya is really a very unique and brilliant concept from my personal experience.

The place is very cool and calm, far from the crowded hussles of the city and located amidst lots of greenery. We reahced there at around 10:30 AM.

Most of us who went there did not know people from other than the batch we belonged to, so we had an initial informal introductory session to start off. Sometime later Dr.Shashi Rao and the kids took us around the campus and showed their open-air classrooms, the residences of the staff and so on. We roamed around the campus for some more time and then went into "Arivu" (which means Awareness in Kannada), the library at Ananya.

Dr. Shashi Rao explained to us in a very pathbreaking way what Ananya was all about and where they were heading. We learnt the lives of certain children at ananya, the difficulties they met with and how Ananya hepled them come back on the right path to life.

This went on for a couple of hours. After this we again roamed around the campus for some time playing around with the kids till the lunch was ready ;)

The food served was simple and tasty. We all sat around and had the lunch happily, this part took some time since people were eating at varied pace :)

We waited till everyone finished eating and then left the place. Some people stayed back and had a good time playing around with the kids. Unfortunately i could not stay back and have fun since i had to meet some of my friends as we had planned for a get together.

Overall, the visit to ananya was awesome, i would love to go there agaan whenever possible.

And the bottom-line is
Visit to Ananya = A Lifetime Experience which will cherish forever.

I had heard that there was always a selfless way of leading a fruitful life if possible by enriching the lives of others, I saw many such people at Ananya.

First encounter with Dream A Dream...

Since i heard about Dream A Dream I had always wanted to get involved with atleast some activity with them whenever i had some time to spend. Finally i got a chance to work with DaD(read Dream a Dream) when i got involved with their Dream Computer Program :)

In Short, Dream Computer Program exposes the kids attending the training to basics of computers. As an initial step, we(around 13 people - Me[Ranganath], Vikram Rai, Vikram Balakrishna, Sridevi, Satheesh, Tanu Niwas, Bhavya, Yashwanth, Vijayan, Jason, Srikanth, Avardhan and Devendra) all attended an Orientation session on how to teach in this program, on 10th June 2006, by Dr. Rajkumar Rao.

The orientation session was great and we all had a great learning experience attending it. Also got some fundaes from Shashank Gupta, the Co-Ordinator of the Dream Computer Program ;)

I am now indeed very happy that i got a chance to share the Dream :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

ToolDockLayout

Continuing the work on JAnimationShop, i found the need to dock the toolbars at various edges of the Application window. In Java, as far as i know, there's only one way of automatically doing this, using BorderLayout.
Unfortunately, as explained in How to Use Tool Bars and many other similar resources on the internet, The window edges where you wan't to dock your toolbars should not contain any other component!
This restriction comes from the BorderLayout class, to make this more clear i have given below 2 excerpts from Sun's Java documentation!

With most look and feels, the user can drag out a tool bar into a separate window (unless the floatable property is set to false). For drag-out to work correctly, it is recommended that you add JToolBar instances to one of the four "sides" of a container whose layout manager is a BorderLayout, and do not add children to any of the other four "sides".


A border layout lays out a container, arranging and resizing its components to fit in five regions: north, south, east, west, and center. Each region may contain no more than one component, and is identified by a corresponding constant: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST, and CENTER.


So to overcome this deficiency, i decided to write my own extension of BorderLayout to achieve the ability to add multiple components at each edge! This proved to be a wrong approach since BorderLayout only supports 5 components to be added directly to the container using it!

Finally, i made up my mind that there was no way out other than writing my own Layout manager to do the needful.

One fine day i sat for about 20 minutes in front of my computer fiddling around with JAnimationShop code and wrote a brand new Layout Manager called ToolDockLayout. This layout manager can dock multiple compoents at various edges of a container, and is very simple to use. Below are some screenshots of JAnimationShop revved up with ToolDockLayout. Will add in more details and the code at a later point.



Sunday, July 16, 2006

Vocal exam done :)

Finished my 1st year Carnatic Vocal exams today... Four more years to go of the Total Five years course i am learning at Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan in Bangalore!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Carnatic Vocal practical exam for 1st year done :)

Today, I finished my Carnatic Vocal practical exam for 1st year i took at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore :)


Monday, July 10, 2006

What happens when you don't reboot a Windoze XP machine for 24 days?

The total time the system was up as given by "uptime" is given below
\\INDPD45 has been up for: 23 day(s), 21 hour(s), 43 minute(s), 10 second(s)

The system is used as my development machine at office, It is a DELL Optiplex GX280, with a 3GHz Pentium 4 HT Processor, and 1Gig RAM.

And after almost 24 days of continuous operation, windoze started painting windows without titlebars, empty buttons and so on (i tried to take a couple of screenshots which did not happen), forcing me to do a reboot! So just thought i would write this post before i go for a reboot ;-), It's fun to write in a browser window without a titlebar!, and only Windoze users can afford such luxuries :-p

I checked the memory consumption, and more than 50% of the 1Gig i had was free!

Now, i have seen Linux systems running as web servers with just a Pentium 3 processor with speed less than 1GHz, and 128Megs of RAM, and go on for months and even years in some cases without needing a reboot!

The bottomline is "Windoze needs to doze often!".

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Carnatic Vocal theory exam for 1st year done :)

Today, I finished my Carnatic Vocal theory exam for 1st year i took at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore :)


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bonus...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Whole day spent on Hacking my A780...

Konsole on OPIE
OPIE Applications
Qonsole on A780(This is a full fledged console!)
Resized Qonsole on A780(It can be moved around!)
A780 Screen 1 captured using Screen Capture
A780 Screen 2 captured using Screen Capture

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

2 years of professional life...

Today marks the completion of 2 years of my professional life, but still i hope to go back to college some day ;), I miss my college life a lot!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

HierarchicalTable - Finally a Work in Progress ;)

Finally started working on the HierarchicalTable component which i wanted to takeup long time ago, that is when i first had a chance to look at it ;)

A Hierarchical Table is a variant of a Tree Table. It can display very complex nested table structures, that is, a row in a table when expanded can show another table as a child node, and the child table can show another child table and so on. This is not only limited to tables and can be used for nesting any regular Java Swing components as children of rows in the TreeTable.

Worked for almost 8 hours continuously on this today and finally got the nesting working, but there's lot more to be done to get it into a proper shape.

Luckily i had a TreeTable already available, else i should have spent a lot of time in creating a TreeTable in the first place since TreeTable has a legendary complexity as far as i know. It's not that easy to write something like a TreeTable, kudos to the guys(Scott Violet and Kathy Walrath of Sun Microsystems) who wrote it :)

The picture below shows an ugly W.I.P.(Worki in Progress) version of what i am developing.



The pictures below show what i want the component to look like once it is full done and functional.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

A killer Java Component called TreeComboBox

I was lately thinking of developing something which could hold me in front of my development computer at home for a couple of days! (i badly needed to develop something new like the CheckBoxRadioButtonTree and the killer TableCheckBoxCellEditor)

So apart from working on JAnimationShop, i started working on a reusable component called TreeComboBox, which i found to be very interesting.

This is a killer component and in the Java third party component market, i have seen this only on the JIDE components package. I had a chance to take some time off work ;) and look into JIDE demos at office since i was evaluating some of their components for prospective usage in the GUI of the product that i am working on, and found TreeComboBox to be very innovative though not new.

I have also done some more components in the past which are similar to those in the JIDE repository, but then i did not know that something called JIDE existed. Will post about those sometime later.


The TreeComboBox is an extension of JComboBox with a JTree embedded in its dropdown popup. So, instead of searching and selecting the necessary list item from huge list of dropdown items, user will be able to see an elegant tree structure, select the tree nodes, expand and collapse them and possibly do anything they can do with a normal JTree.


The TreeComboBox can take a ready made JTree or can take a TreeModel and create a JTree from it, and can show the tree in the combo popup.

This one took me almost a day to develop! I had to put in too much thought into get it working to the fullest effect. I am now in the process of cleaning up the code and removing internal dependencies(if any) and make all fields private/protected and provide accessor methods to those. After all , this can be actually called a Component only after doing all these ;)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bill retires...



The above Image is taken from The Joy Of Tech comic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Couldn't resist posting this!

JAnimationShop saves the day at office!

A couple of days back, I had put in the animation shown below(here it's not animated though) in a dialog to show indeterminate progress!

The problem with this animation was the frame delay which was so less(actually zero) that the Java Image Animator thread was just blazing through the frames making the animation look very fast and gawdy!

Since this resulted in a change request/fix task raised on my name to slow down the animation, I had to edit the animation in order to slow down the frame delay!

I was at office and did not have any Animator tools that I have at home, so I decided to use my very own JAnimationShop!

Luckily I had something called a frame properties editor in JAnimationShop which could be used to do lot of frame level stuff and changing the frame delay was one of them and saved my day!

Now I really feel very happy that I could use JAnimationShop for something critical(atleast from my perspective... after all I have a good reputation for doing things quick and slick).

Weekend Coding Marathon!

Spent most of the past weekend coding! This is one thing i had stopped doing at home for more than 6 months now... Did lot of long pending refactoring for my pet project JAnimationShop



Did some amount of refactoring, and also Added some improvements to existing features and tried to improve the usability as a whole.

Some of the existing stuff that were hacked for better looks :

  • Total re-layout of all the components(too bad the locations were hard coded earlier) to move on to a dynamically resizing, self healing fluid layout.
  • All toolbars are now detachable and re-dockable.
  • The color palette can also float and dock!
  • Decided to use Substance L&F as the default for this project due to its smooth eye-candy finish and crisp looks, the substance color chooser was a major attraction though.

Some of the new features i added are :
  • Added a new concept called workarea, which is nothing but another workpane within the same window and can be used to edit a different set of animations if needed. (These are similar to virtual desktops on Linux). To facilitate this, a new Tabbed Pane appears below the menubar and toolbars(if any), and users can switch workareas by switching the tabs.


  • Revamped the whole design of the core part of the editor, the desktop pane which was in the middle and evolved it into a more usable component called Animation Work Area, which is mentioned above.
  • Each workarea shows tabs at the bottom to indicate the animations and previews being edited in that particular workarea, and is isolated from other workareas.
  • Any number of such workareas can be added or removed dynamically!
  • Added numbering to the workarea tabs to make it more visually appealing.


  • Substance L&F also provides a small preview of Internal frames which makes it more lucrative to use in an image editor.


  • Added a generic wizard which could be customized to create different wizards and currently working on the "New Animation Wizard".
  • If customized, Substance L & F can be used to provide more eye-candy stuff than these, but i am not planning to do it since it would close out the option for the users to use other look and feel classes they may like(Substance is just the default L & F i would be bundling, or rather testing on!).
Still to come... since i am continuing the marathon throughout this week... this post, i have been writing by taking breaks in coding ;)... more updates to follow...