Monday, October 5, 2009

Migrated to Wordpress

I recently shifted my blog to wordpress because I felt it was more advanced than blogger. Soon I'll post the reasons but till than point your feeders to this link.
See ya blogger!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My ride on Wave!

Google has always been a trendsetter in whatever it does and continues to be one. The fascinating products like Google search, Maps, Earth, Sketchup, Gmail and what not..I guess almost everything they've built. And once again, they come with a fascinating product that is surely going to change the way in which the world communicates. I see a instant of time in near future where emails, discussion forums and other communication tools will be "something that existed in past" because everybody will be too busy riding on waves. Yes I am talking about the most awaited, talked and twitted google product, Google Wave.

Lars Rasmusen along with his brother started working on this project back in 2007 at Google office in Sydney. For past two years they have been working on it and on 30th Sept 09, they went live for first public beta release of Wave, giving out 100,000 invitations who had registered themselves for being a part of Google Wave. Its still in beta so there are bugs and other issues but the reason why they went live was that they wanted to know how people would/will react to it. When the news of Google giving out Wave invites leaked out, there must have been enormous searching done on Google itself to search for them. Twitter is trending "Google Wave" or "#wave" for past three days and the incoming twits still continue to flow. A guy even put up an "e-bay" bid for selling Google Wave invite and within a fortnight, his bid received 12000 hits and the highest bid was $157. People have been talking, waiting for Google Wave, just to experience something magical. Currently Google Wave is used only by Googlers and now, the first 100,000 users would get to use it. The news is that it will be going live in mid 2010(or even early) and I cant stand my excitement.

So what's Google Wave is all about?
It's a online communication and collaboration tool that aggregates almost everything you do on web at one place. Each new conversation is called a wave and there are participant in that wave who add, edit, share content in real time. This video of Wave's first demo at Google I/O 09 shows some of the amazing features that it has which I am sure, will redefine our notions about communication. It has messaging, discussions, media sharing(photos, videos), creating/editing a document, inbuilt Google search in a wave itself and lots which must have been added since that video, all in one place. And the possibilities of what you can do on a wave are limitless.

Some reasons to get excited about Google Wave are that it's an open source, any developer can built an extension, it follows open protocol system same as that of email, anybody can start their own customised wave system, it can be embedded anywhere you want it to be, it comes preloaded with a bunch of cool applications and it's totally web based.

Who should look forward for it?
Everyone! Right from a naive user to a developer, it has goodies for everybody! Anyone who uses web for getting his work done by collaborating with other people present over there should be excited about it. I also see Google Wave as a potential e-learning tool basically for the virtue of it being to aggregate and collaborate stuff in real time.

The day is not far when we will be talking about wave and must have almost forgotten email, social networks, chat engines, twitter etc. It has been discussed as killer for all this apps, but being open minded, google has developed API's to integrate wave with almost all of this applications. What will really affect is the number of people who actually visit these sites to do all stuf, because after wave it can be done from one place.

Thanks to Google for yet another revolution in online communication! We are waiting...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

(Only)PowerPoint slides are not E-learning medium!

As the computer gizmo is hitting all sections of society, and being applied in every domain in which it could be applied, education/teaching is one sector where it is thriving rapidly to make learning virtual. Basically I don’t have any interest in teaching methods (though I come from a family which has considerable amount of people working in education field!), but I strongly believe and support the view that technology can bring drastic changes in much questioned Indian education system. I am not an authority either to speak on this issue but whatever information I have collected through meeting people, readings, internet etc. led me to pen down this post.
A workshop was going on in our college on “Use of Computers in Teaching” or what they call as ICT in Education. One of my higher secondary teachers was also attending this and told me that they were taught to make power point presentations. My father and mother have also attended such workshops in past few months (Dad even went to Bhopal for that) and were taught nothing different than Microsoft Office Suite, stressing more on PowerPoint. I guess anyone who attends such workshops would rarely practices atleast showing a ppt in the class, forget getting more interested in ICT in Education. There are practicality issues everywhere (and more complex ones in Goa) as far as teaching methods are concerned.
A rule which is being often quoted in education circles is that “One teaches his students as he has been taught by his teachers”. Since we have been following the so called Chalk-Board (or Get Bored!) system of teaching, and we (will) still practice that for future generations to come, after all we are Indians! The resistance for change in system is bound to be offered and education is surely not an exception. Come on people, we are not talking about the changing the systems fully (though it would be the best revolution that will ever happen in Education sector), we are here just to make the teaching learning process just smoother, better and effective.
Let me not get into teaching methods again, it can be altogether another write up I could make in coming days. My grudge is against all people who are the resource persons for such workshops mentioned above who propagate that using powerpoint presentations in classrooms is E-teaching and do not uncover the life beyond PowerPoint, or MS Office or even for that matter, Windows! May be the resource persons themselves haven’t heard anything beyond the 3 things mentioned above and try to push in whatever they can into Office Suite labeling it as E-teaching and society calls it E-learning.
Things have gone much beyond of Powerpoint, Office and Windows and people here are least bothered, unaware and un-updated on it. My second grudge is about these people who are unaware about technology that would make their life simpler, easy and smooth. For an instance to quote an example from my class, one of my lecturers had bought a new laptop and since my college is one of the only two educational institutions in Goa, who have moodle package running for their campus, started uploading ppt files of his course on moodle. There were no issues until one day he brought his laptop in class, projected a MS Word window in Full Screen Mode on the screen and started reading out whatever he had typed in those notes. It was one of his most boring lectures I had this semester. After the lecture was over, I went to him and asked “Sir, wouldn’t it have been better if you could actually had shown us how the particle behaves in particular state of motion (it was Physics) using a simulator or something?”
“Are there any such kinds of softwares?” He asks.
“Yes! There are plenty of simulator application available, and more plenty in Mechanics itself.” I replied, expecting him to be eager to know about them.
“You know to use them?” He asked again.
I said yes. I thought he would tell me to demo them but he just says “very good” and walks out of class.
This was so unexpected and moreover disgusting, that being a teaching staff of a noble science pursuit called Physics, teaching a fascinating subject ie Mechanics and moreover being an employee of a educational institute that boasts about being the pioneer in e-learning in higher education in Goa(I’ll talk about that later, that’s another breed of people out there!)
The moral of the story is if they don’t want to learn by themselves, how they expect their students to learn?”
I see E-Learning as an effective medium for learning and the best way to achieve it is FOSS. Wait, for all those who have been sleeping with their “Windows” shut and haven’t heard of this term, the term FOSS stands for Free & Open Source Software, a renaissance in computer software and technology. There are n numbers of applications available for teaching a specific domain which falls under the category of FOSS and are absolutely free to use and modify as per the user requirement. The worst part is that people haven’t heard about it, and those who have, are again not keen to opt for it. Again introduction to FOSS would be another post, Introduction to FOSS in Education/Teaching would be yet another but before that, my dear teachers and educationists please wake up and dare to think beyond PowerPoint, MSOffice & Windows.
Technology is dynamically changing life by changing itself too. When are we going to change?
Note:- The day I had that dialogue with my teacher, I went home and took up a task of collating information about e-learning applications available under FOSS category and making a toolkit for the teachers to use them. I know there is an ocean out there of such softwares but I would try to collect as much as I can grab from it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I have been upto these days?

"It's not that I am too busy. It's just that I don't want to take any responsibility". This was my FB status some days back. As you people already know(or else read About Me) that I am into too many things at same time which sometimes makes your living horrible, I thought of minimizing my domains. But somehow I am falling lose these days.....
Anyways here is a sneak peak of what I am upto currently
Two Assignments submitted already of yet to be given. For my DBMS project I am building a back-end database for an organization (MITRA in particular) and for Operating Systems some programs are given to be written in Shell Script I guess...haven't got the copy yet. For EDP ie Entrepreneurship Development Program, a case study of Sergey Bin and Larry Page, the founders of Google. And so are two physics....but I am least excited about them as of now!

2)Extra-curricular activities at College
I try to keep this as minimum as possible now. First of all, got permission to start a Computer Science Students club for which I was trying since last year. The activities will begin soon after reopening. I've named it as ADOCSS(Association of Dept. Of Computer Science Students)....may be changed later after deliberations.
Initiating a college community blog TigerPunditz for blogging about college issues. It's still in infancy stage and me alongwith Sir Andrew are working out on it.
In process of getting a film club started here on campus.

3)MITRA activities
It was decided during the last meeting of MITRA to organize a monthly activity about anything related to environment. In August, we screened a documentary "The Silk Spinners" but did not catch up the response I was expecting. Hoping good about the activity of the coming month..haven't decided about it though.
BTW, finally after a long lasted deliberation, we finally agreed upon to buy Cannon Powershot S10 IS for MITRA which will be coming next week. Totally excited about re-starting the photography.

Other than this, since Ganesh Chaturthi is fast approaching, busy with trying to make my room as neat as possible in whatever way I can! Also employed by Mom and Aunties Pvt. Limited for "Clean House Project" for no wages. So in festive mood

Random things
tweeting heavily..i mean as compared to before
finally wrote some poems after a long time...published on SPANDAN
yet to collect the rucksack given for stitching
drive once in week on highways
being insomniac....thats bad when you have got pracs at 8:30 in morning the next day
changed profile pic...many girls appreciated it(OooooOhh)! My answer was simple "I was bored of holding that cap for so long"

Old Pic

New Pic

What else?
See you next time than.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Come Back Post

Ohh! I just dont believe that I have been away from blogging for this many days of my internet life. Somehow that excitement of blogging has's just not blogging! It's almost in every part of my life....wait's not me only! I see people, things around...with no excitement. Looks like some dementors have sucked all happiness from around. This is just a short post to say that "All you netizens out there, I am still alive and will be back here soon.
And not with ongoging 4 blogs but it's better that I merge all of them into one and start tagging them properly....well! I'll be back..surely..just collecting sufficient excitement!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It is here finally....

If it was not for the cracking sound of thunders outside the window, I wouldn't have even cared to wake up in the middle of the night from a yet another divine sleep that I had last night. The good news is that rains are here, giving a surprise to meteorological predictions as always.
The morning was made special by the unmistakable fragrance of the virgin soil getting wet, and to add to it was some nice hot tea.
The jungles, which had gone dry over the summer would now be springing to life back displaying all the shades of green everywhere. I just cant wait to go to rove around....with so much to see, discover, love and conserve....rain is here again....padharo mharo des!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Call of Mhadei

"We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset has left us."

To experience what it means to be a wanderer, or rather a backpacker, we decided to camp in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary during the last weekend in January. The trip was planned mainly as an adventure, and wildlife had a secondary preference. The main aim of this trip was to imbibe the practices that are useful in camping amongst us so that it will help us in near future. I was reluctant to join the troup since I wanted to attend some other function in coming days. But the day before, while attending a seminar on biodiversity conservation by WWF-Goa, I was lucky enough to attend Rajendra Bhai's lecture on Mhadei, which changed my plans and I was on with rest members


But the trouble started from the Day 1 itself. Since I reached late on the Bus Stand, others had to miss one bus and to add on that, all the subsequent buses were canceled due the political gathering at sanquelim.. After those four hours of continuous wait and deliberations whether to go or not to go, or to change the destination, we finally boarded the Ponda-Mollem-belgaum bus and got down at Mollem and caught a bus to Valpoi from Mollem.

Getting down at Khadaki, we walked till Bhironda river bank. This was the first base site for our camp. The sun was already waving a farewell to the water of Mhadei and we were fortunate to see and capture this show. We dumped our belongings in one pothole so as to prevent them from dogs. Next move was to take a swim in the adjoining river and we felt fresh after that.

It was perfectly dark now and we lit our surroundings by the three torches that we had with ourselves. We sat and talked about our problems, future, conservation etc. Saish, Aniket and Me recited some poems of our own. I lied on Utkarsh's laps watching the sky lit with millions of stars, finding the arrangement patterns within them.

It was the time for dinner now, and they had Maggi noodles. Since, I did not like maggi, I managed myself on Bread-Jam and Cakes. Preparing the maggi was an ultimate experience and we all enjoyed it.

We sat to plan the next day. Our next destination was to reach Karanzol, a remote village in Sattari and from there walk till “Pishtyachi Kond.” Saish and me knew the route since we had been there before. Sharp at 6:30, a bus leaves to Karanzol from Khadaki and we decided to catch the same. I think we slept than under the open sky counting the stars overhead.

The next morning was not too far, and while waking up I found my sleeping bag was fully wet because of the dew drops that descended upon us. When Saish, me and Utkarsh woke up, we found Rohan and Aniket already busy preparing the tea. Even we joined them and had a nice cup of hot tea with little less sugar, but the sweetness of our spirit added to it was making it worth drinking hundred times.

It was 6:15 when we left Bhironda, and we had no hopes of catching with the bus. Still, an elderly lady on the way told that the bus comes at 7 o'clock. We hurried but atlast we came to know that the bus comes at 6:30 only and we missed it. There were no more buses going to Karanzol that day.

We tried stopping one bus of Zantye Cashew factory which takes the employees to the factory. Th driver agreed to take us but said he can drop us upto Karamali, a village 8 km before Karanzol. We got into the bus and got down at Karamali, from where we walked till Karanzol. There was no need to go to the village since the route to “Pishtyachi Kond” starts well before the Karanzol village but sometimes I cant resist my nostalgic attacks. Over my past visits to this village, I have developed a sense of affection towards this village. Saish preferred resting under a Jackfruit tree while I headed others to show around the village. I met Govind Kerkar, a resident of Karanzol and forest guard at Bhironda Soil Conservation Dept. who had accompanied us to Pishtyachi Kond last time.

We came back to Saish and after resting for sometime, started our journey towards Pishtyachi Kond. Since the time we woke up, we were walking and walking and just walking. We stopped by the way and hid our luggage ambush so as to reduce the burden to carry. After reaching deeper into the forest, we could hear the sound of water flowing adjacent by us. We badly needed water for drinking. We decided to stop here itself for lunch. Than came the three hours of splashing water sports that we all played and were back fresh for the lunch. The recipe did not change from last night and it was same, cake for me and noodles for others. Since it was late now, we canceled the plan to walk till Pishtyachi Kond since we would be reaching the village by night. We marched back calling it off for yet another memorable trip and a promise to visit again to Pishtyachi Kond next time.

At night, we slept at a temple in Karanzol after having our food in a local restaurant. Approximately, we walked about 45 odd kms that day and had no plans to continue the camp on the third day. We boarded the bus that leaves from Karanzol early morning and then were back to Ponda.

This trip to Mhadei was refreshing, but also thought provoking. The proposed dam project will surely be harmful to this place and not only Sattari, whole Goa will lose its elegance and glory. The water of Mhadei is calling out to its each son out there amongst us to protect her veil from being submerged under political wishes of neighboring states.