Thursday, July 31, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

cheezo pointed me to this lecture by Prof Randy Pausch at CMU. This lecture was called the "The Last Lecture", as professor was suffering from an pancreatic cancer. Inspite of all the treatment given, he was told he had only 3 to 6 more months. He died on July 25, 2008.

Its an insiprational lecture, where professor presents insights into how he anaged to achieve all his childhood dreams, how one can enable others to achieve their dreams and some of the lessons he learnt in life. He comes across as a wonderful character, cheerful and full of energy. Couldn't believe when he actually did some push-ups in front of the audience!

My take backs from the lecture (there would be no point if I had not learnt anything from it ;-))

  • "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted" true !!
  • Prof. on obstacles (ref to as brick walls) that tend to discourage you from following your dreams: "Brick Walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things". So if the drive to achieve something is too strong, the better the chances of someone breaking the wall. He goes on to add that, the obstacles are there to keep the "others" away and to just let you dont lose focus and keep pursuing !!
  • If you don't like someone, then you probably do not know him/her enough (or long enough). Everyone has a good just have to wait to see it show.
Hope I have not missed out on anything...On the whole, an amazing lecture ! A must watch...

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

On moving to KDE4

I am a Gnome suer. Have religiously stuck to it for all these years. It is not that I did not venture out into the KDE domain..I did. And the first time I had, I had found it quite uncomfortable to work with. But, with so much talk about KDE4.0 and now KDE4.1, I was kinda tempted to give it a try (I know am late in doing this !!).

So I finally installed KDE4.1 on my Ubuntu Gutsy installation. I am no good at analyzing or commenting on piece of software, however, here goes my first impression...look and feel-wise...

  • Too large Icons: The icons on the desktop are too huge by default (Or is it only my particular setting I do not know) !! The desktop looked all cluttered and not a least bit appealing...and visual appeal is the first thing you would look for.. I was rather disappointed !
  • O2: In this default theme, the icons besides being larger, also have a shadow of sorts which makes the desktop look really ugly. You right click on the file, the terminology of the menu list options is quite different. Normally, you would have options pertaining to the file, ie, file related operations. However, the list here is : Icon settings, desktop configuration, alignment, add or remove widget, etc. Not sure if it is the same in earlier KDE versions.
Not that the above are not with all other things, these also are! This was just my first impression :-) Frankly, I somehow do not feel encouraged to spend the time and configure the entire desktop.

So what did I like thus far ? Hmm...can't think of anything...maybe I am missing something ?!?!

Nevertheless, there is no denying that some of the best apps are available on KDE! Just that I use them on gnome soooo many others!

Post publish edits: I must admit that I have not read all the facts on KDE4. varun just informed me that one of the idea is to have no icons on the desktop! But since I already had lots of stuff lying on my desktop, I probably saw the undesirable result. So, I think the right thing to do here is to read the facts first and go back and do the settings...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

X-Airport Road (Bangalore)

So the curtains finally came down on the HAL Airport. For those staying on Airport Road for more than 10 years, it was a mixed reaction. Some were happy that there would be no disturbance anymore and that the Airport Road traffic would ease, while others (the frequent travelers) were disheartened as they would now need to travel more than 50 km to get to the airport which was earlier a 5 minutes drive (for someone like me!). And for some others, it was just an _emotional_ attachment (sounds weird, but true).

There were many advantages of having the airport so close to my house. Of course, the biggest advantage was that I didn't have to leave home 3 hours before a flight. Second, it was so easy to go and pick up relatives and friends coming over. And the hidden advantage...many a times, friends and relatives did not have the time to drop by (coz they were on a short trip, or whatever else the reason), I used to either just catch up with them on the road across my house when they were headed to the airport, or at the airport itself (since it was walkable for me). Alas, this can happen no more! Now, I can't even think of going to the airport to pick or drop someone (a waste of time and money both).

However, as was expected, the traffic on Airport Road has decreased significantly. Its so much easier to cross the road now. The traffic gets cleared in one green signal. Even at night times (during peak international flight time) there used to be heavy traffic..but now, its like any other road.

So, overall I think it was beneficial as till now since I didn't have to travel, I have been enjoying the improved traffic situation and less pollution. But the day I have to travel or need to drop or pick up someone, I am sure to complain :-)

I wonder if there is any plan to change the name of the road ?! It still is airport road..though whenever I refer to it with that name, people tend to correct me by saying 'its old airport road' !!