Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year ...

This is the year of cow ... so ...

Shanthi's flower lessons ...

Recently Shanthi has been attending "Dutch style" flower lessons, that are customized for Japan. It is taught by Rieko at the Hanapot. A fun filled lesson, I accompany Shanthi and Solomon to the lessons for 2 reasons,

Translate lesson which are in Japanese into English,
Most importantly to take care of Antony Solomon when the lessons are on.

I enjoy the lessons too, because
I can learn flower arrangement without actually having to pay for it and
I can learn new Japanese words (silly me ...)

After I started attending the lessons I learnt the mildness of color they use. Back home in India we believe stark contrasting colors are georgeous, but here they use simple colors and make things look milder and cool. For example the reeth uses mostly light colors, but it look good ...

Week before last, she made the wonderful christmas reeth. I enjoyed it's look very much. Except that I dropped it when I tried to hang it and it lost it's shape (a bit though) ...

And last week, she made yet another beautiful full green stuff, which is also cool and mild (some people would like to term it dull ... though). This week she made this veritically aligned New Year special stuff which was by far the best (according to me). It did cost special too. But in any case she is enjoying these lessons, and I will accompany till such time Solomon is old enough not to disturb her.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Birthday parties ...

Nov 7th was Antony's birthday, 10 days later was Ravi's kid, Vishu's birthday and yesterday was Teja's birthday. So we were eating a lot of cakes recently, with Christmas falling on the 25th. As always I was the photographer yesterday too, and I snapped a lot of photos. Am attaching a couple of them.

Now, it is holiday season here in Japan, with temperature hovering around zero degrees, I have been happy to stay back inside home all times.

I plan to finish some of the training courses stipulated by the company before I start off my next assignment. Hope the procastinating days are gone ...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lighting a candle ...

Recently I was busy with Christmas and my office. My project got over yesterday and I was busy as I had to finish a few things.

As for Christmas, it was less than usual, I received 10 shirts as gift from my sister, Shanthi and Solomon received a couple of dress each and a sweater.

Anto's special pair of Puma shoes looked cute, I was surprised to see such good finishing in such a small scale. Anyway I thought it was worth the high price.

The other day, Solomon (Anto) imitated his mother's way of lighting candle. And we happened to film it, and thus this video. Enjoy !!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Meltdown ...

After I started working in 1999, this is going to be most challenging year owing to the economic meltdown. The news isn't good in Japan too, Toyoto corp. which symbolizes Japanese economic strength is going red in 71 years. Why should this happen, are these problems created by guys who play with stocks. Or those (stupid) banks in America which gave away all the money to home owners ... Like many including Paulson I don't know either ...

I dont know what to do, the JPY-INR exchange rate is floating like anything ... I dont know whether to send money to my country or not ...

Whenever I am confused I always wait and watch, and this time though it is frieghtening ... I decided to wait and watch ...

God bless !!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Test cricket's more interesting than ever before ...

Recently South Africa chased a mammoth 413 against the mighty Australians in their own backyard. While many are happy to discuss the reasons for this Australian defeat, I am happy to see that few teams have already started outplaying the Aussies, and this will make cricket more interesting than ever before.

On a philosophical note ...
Recently, I was watching the movie Matrix, in which Neo defeats "Agents (Smith)" when he starts "believing in himself". In this note, it's just that more team think that they can chase huge totals instead of playing for a mostly sure "defensive defeat" ...

On the other hand, Australia will be alright once they start believing that "they are invincibles, no more"...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Anto in his dhothi ...

Recently Anto has been sporting this green Dhothi (Indian style wear), like everyone I like it too. Shanthi had made numerous videos of it, at-last I got a chance to upload it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Computer scientist's holy grail?

For a long time we know that Resistor, Capacitor and Inductor form the basic elements. We also know to use a combination of these elements to create complex circuits.

Now make it four, add the newly created, but the 30 year old, "memristor"

Discovered as early as in the 70's, but got into the limelight after scientists from HP really made one. It is taking us to the nano age, really. It seems that the potential applications include "brain emulation".

Read more about it at spectrum and also wikipedia

Now, if you do not have time to read through the entire article, I want to quote the following paragraph from spectrum,

"... However, even a mouse brain simulation in real time involves solving an astronomical number of coupled partial differential equations. A digital computer capable of coping with this staggering workload would need to be the size of a small city, and powering it would require several dedicated nuclear power plants."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tamron Vs Nikon (Expensive 1 to 5)

One of my class mates (Dennis) from Engineering college days is getting married. Thinking of taking some snaps for the wedding, I thought of buying a lens with a large aperture for portraits. For a long time I had been eyeing the Nikon 15-55 F2.8, but it's highly expensive (JPY 150K) that I was postponing the purchase. Especially with JPY clocking its peak.

But then recently when I was checking the Tamron's website, I came across the Tamron 15-50 F2.8 AF. Man, it costs around JPY 33K. Which is roughly 4 times cheaper or a 5th of the price of its Nikonese counterpart. I can't believe my eyes. Now its time to start reading the reviews ...

What's in store ...

Once upon a time, reading "IEEE spectrum" was enjoyable for me. It was an eye opener into many things that I did not know of. Those days I understood the future technologies and thought that it will definitely help improve human race.

These days, I am slightly disturbed with the following technologies

- Artificial Intelligence, After some years, all you will do is teach a computer and make it work for you. Or buy an already intelligent off-the-shelf computer and ... then "What will you do?"

- Neural or Brain mapping, Computers can read your brain, remove or add information. Like the one shown in the film Matrix. I do not know the technical term though. Direct Brain Access (DBA) or something ... It will be good, if this is used in a good way. But hmm.... kowai

Imagine a situation,
We have developed a machine that can add or remove contents to or from human brain. And there is a simple machine mal-function or worst, this is in the hands of some "really bad guy". I do not want to think more ... on this. It is really really scary.

- Gesture identification
A good technology, machine's will be able to understand our gestures. And if those machines are intelligent and in some way do not like our actions, then ... ;-)

- Nano technologies etc etc ...
Super computer microprocessors the size of ball pen tips, electronics printed on clothes, invisible or transparent electronics. They have 100's of good applications and 1000's of not so good ones...

Now, I may be sounding a bit negative. That is exactly how I feel about these future technologies. May be I should stop reading "IEEE Spectrum" ... ;-) or what?

Monday, December 15, 2008

387 scored in the fourth innings ....

This is great news for the "shell shocked Indians", especially after the Bombay carnage.

Tendulkar (is from Bombay) and he once again did it for India. From now his critics will have to find a new reason. What an Innings from our "little master"?

I attribute this test to the entire Indian team.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Abbeee abbeee ... (probably it means gran-ma gran-ma)

Mom, this is for you.

Anto (that is how every one in my family calls Solomon) recently started talking using some language which is foreign to perhaps everybody.

We made a video of that, and I am attaching that for my mom ... enjoy !!!

忘年会ーBou-nen-kai [Forget year party]

Yesterday I along with Shanthi (my wife) and Solomon (our kid) attended the year's first bou-nen-kai 「忘年会」. This is a party to forget any (every) bad thing(s) that happened during the year. Yesterday's party was for the tennis circle called "the november" that I am part.

For Shanthi and Solomon, this is their first time attending a bounenkai. They had a good time enjoying all the food that was served. Solomon was in his good spirits and he did not cry. He was wearing a sherwani. I had a chance to discuss with my mate Mr. Masa. I have never seen someone who can talk more about cars that this man. He can exactly tell each and every Japanese car's dimension.

After discussing with him I decided 2 things.
1. Buy a toyota car (possibly harrier)
2. Apply for my driving license ;-)

BTW, Toyota will stop making Harrier from next year.

Photo courtesy, Jeffrey (my friend who writes this amazing blog)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Definition of a dream

Yesterday late in the night I was watching a program called "人体~セックスと人体機能~" in the discovery channel. The english reading is "Human body ~ Sex and human body function ~". I happened to see yesterday's part from the series. Yesterday's was all about brain's functionality. In that program they defined the meaning of "dream".

It was mentioned
"Dream is nothing but, uncontrolled thinking", and they added great scientists always dreamt solutions to their problems, and this was possible only due to "uncontrolled thinking". It was a very interesting definition, because from time to time, I have dreamt about solution to some complex algorithm related questions that I have come across ...

Can we term a scientist "a day dreamer", why not?

How little we know about the world.
We start at the atomic level, and stop at the milky way galaxy.

We need better microscopes and telescopes eh ...