Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Degree of "Promiscuity"

I was browsing randomly and came across this survey where the degree of "Promiscuity" is measured among the countries of the world. Bangladesh is in the list, so is Italy and Germany. If you are pondering over what "Promiscuity" means, here is the definition :
Having casual sexual relations frequently with different partners; indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.
Eamon, are you reading this post? Finland is in the top of the list! (Eamon is my friend who currently lives in Finland for his studies)

Good luck, man ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

এইসব তুষারমাখা দিন...


দেশের বাইরে দ্বিতীয় ঈদ করলাম। প্রথম কুরবানির ঈদ। গতবারের মতই, এবারও দিনটা ভালোই কেটেছে, খুব সকালে রেডি হয়ে সবাই মিলে নামাজে যাওয়া, নামাজের পর সব্বার সাথে কুশল বিনিময়, সবার খুশি আর হাসিমাখা মুখ, ছবি তোলা, একে একে সবার বাসায় যাওয়া; চটপটি, সেমাই, ফিরনি দিয়ে সকালের পেটপূজো আর দুপুরে বিরিয়ানি, মুরগির রোস্ট আর বোরহানি - ঈদের দিনে আর কি চাওয়ার আছে! একটা জিনিস হয়তো সবাই আমার মত মিস করেছে, রাস্তায় একটু পরপর গরু কোরবানির আর বানানোর দৃশ্য। দেশে আমি আর আব্বু মিলেই খাসিটাকে সাইজ করতাম। সকালবেলা হাত যে একটু নিশপিশ করেনি, তা না!

ক'দিন ধরে বেশ তুষারপাতের মধ্যে আছি, ট্রেন্টো শহরের আদি বাসিন্দারাও বলছে এইটা নাকি ইতিহাসের অন্যতম বেশি তুষারপাত (অন্তত বাঙ্গালিদের দেখা ইতিহাসে!)। তুষারের মধ্যে ভালোই লাগে, প্রথম কয়েকদিন খুব ঘুরেও বেরিয়েছি, সমস্যা হয় যখন দেশ থেকে আনা বাটা পাওয়ার কেডস পায়ে দিয়ে বাইরে থাকতে হয়। পা ভিজে যাওয়া সময়ের ব্যাপার মাত্র। পিত্তারেল্লো থেকে একটা কিছু কিনতেই হবে মনে হচ্ছে।

গতকাল আমাদের ইতালিয়ান ভাষা শিক্ষা কোর্সের ফাইনাল ছিল, আজ রেজাল্ট দিলো। ভালোই লাগে ভাষাটা, বেশ স্যুইট আছে! জার্মান শিখতে গেলে কি অবস্থা হবে, আল্লাহ মালুম। ভাবছি আগে থেকেই শেখা শুরু করে দেবো!

ছবি কৃতজ্ঞতাঃ সুজা ভাই

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Songs by RowD : Proud to be an IUTian



This song is composed by RowD, a band formed by IUT students. I like the composition, not as an IUTian but a general listener.
Way to go, guys!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

প্রথম ইতালিক চুলকাটা

ইতালিতে ল্যান্ড করছি প্রায় তিন মাস হয়ে গেলো। ঢাকায় থাকতে মাসে নাহোক দুমাসে একবার চুল কাটানো হত, সুতরাং বোঝাই যাচ্ছে চুলটা ভালোই লম্বা হয়েছিলো। আমার যে চুল বড় করার শখ নাই তা না, দেশে থাকতে করতে পারি নাই 'ইমেজ' জড়তার কারণে, একটা প্রোটোটাইপের মধ্যে পড়ে গেলে বের হয়ে আসা বেশ মুশকিল। এই ইতালিতে এসেও এত লোকজন চারপাশে, সপ্তাহ তিনেক শেভ না করলে "কি মিয়া দেবদাস হয়ে গেলা নাকি?" অথবা "দেশ থেকে অর্ডার দিছে নাকি দাড়ি রাখতে?" টাইপ মন্তব্যে জর্জরিত হইতে হয়। এইখানেও একটা ফ্যামিলির মতই থাকি তো!

অবশ্য চুল বড় করলে আমারে দেখতে ভালো দেখায় এই দাবিও আমি করতেছি না, বরং কেমন উস্কুখুস্কু আর জড়ভরতের মত লাগে।
এইসব নানাবিধ কারণে প্রায় তিন মাস পরে গত রবিবারে আমি চুলকাটানোর সিদ্ধান্ত গ্রহণ করি, তবে তার জন্যে আমাকে গাঁটের পয়সা খরচ করে কোন ইতালিয় নরসুন্দরের কাছে যাওয়া লাগে নাই, শহিদ ভাইয়ের চমৎকার রেমিংটন হেয়ার গ্রুমিং কিট, ফখরুল ভাইয়ের জাদুকরি চুলকাটা প্রতিভা আর রাশেদ ভাই-টনি ভাইয়ের প্রশস্ত বাথরুমে একটা আরামদায়ক চেয়ার - আমার মাথাভর্তি চুল দশ মিনিটে সাফ, পুরা সার্ফ এক্সেল দিয়ে ধোয়া কাপড়ের মতো!

ইতালিতে হলো না, দেখি জার্মানিতে চুল বড় করা হয় কিনা!

বিঃদ্রঃ - ইতালিতে চুলকাটা বিষয়ে আরো জানতে হলে পড়ুন সাদ্দামের কাহিনী!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A hate story

Ever since I bought my laptop, I have also brought one of the most drastic curses, using "Windows VISTA". I had never used it before, as I had been using XP for the last couple of years, the golden years, as it seems now!

VISTA is horrible, it takes up a huge portion of memory, always bugs with annoying confirmation messages (but eventually to gets attacked by a virus, Trojan or spyware), takes large time to start-up and shut-down (even on a machine with pretty formidable specifications); I just hate it!

As I could no more bear the tortures and torments of using this horribly freaky OS (but neither could I dump it), I installed Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex - I love the way they name the ubuntu releases!) in my lappy (thanks to Wubi, it was painless and quick).
And there comes heaven!
Intrepid works like a charm, takes less than one third memory than that of Vista, flawlessly connects with my university wireless network, plays songs and videos, thats all I need for now! (And no bothering with Antiviurs, Spyware checker etc. etc.. big relief!)

I wonder if this is the greatest cheat (or monopoly) that almost all laptop vendors provide the customers with the least efficient OS out there.

I think it is.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why am I so lazy?

Well, I have never been very good in time management and productivity enhancement. You can see the reflection in not updating my blog. It is not that I am not dead busy. I had three mid-terms last week but I was not too busy to write a few lines :(

Fahim and Shahan was complaining about in this in Facebook. How the hell do I spend so much time in Facebook!

So, what happens in this one month of 'absence-from-blog'?

I bought my first laptop, an HP Pavilion Dv5 notebook. I opted for buying the 14.1 inch one, but it was not available in the shop and I got this 15.4 inch with Montevina platform within my budget. It feels somewhat good to have one of the "latest" processors. (At least for me who have used celeron while everybody used Pentium and pentium when everyone used core 2 duo!).

For the first time I went to hill trekking in Monte Bondone, arranged by the University. It was a fabulous journey. For two hours we went up on the hill, which was sometimes too steep to carry on but was worthwhile as the exuberance experienced reaching on top of the mountain. It was biting cold but we were sweating. And the way down was more risky and fun, we passed some snow-covered fields, some steep hills where we had to lie down to go on, some jungles with so much bushes and trees that we have to cut them out and make our way..it was fascinating! I felt like I was in an adventure movie!

Well, much update for one day. Now I am going to play some cricket, as its a sunny Saturday after a week of rain and drizzle.
I think (!) I will update my blog more frequently.
Ciao!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Google calendar alerts you via sms!

I am a new user of Google calendar but it continues to impress me, just like any Google product. Primarily I started to use it for the class routine but eventually explored some of its more interesting features.
One of them is that you can set up reminders via SMS. Suppose you have a class at 8.30, you can setup the event in the calendar so that Google will send you a SMS 10 minutes before the class. And the service is completely free! I have set it up in my phone and as far as I saw, network operators in Bangladesh also can be set up.
See for yourself!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One of the most wonderful days:my first Eid ul-Fitr in abroad



I never imagined this day to be so enjoyable. No one would ever! The first Eid outside Bangladesh, without family, friends, usual treats, polao-korma-chotpoti, Eid jamaat; it could not be worse. Guess what, we had all of those here in Trento, Italy; only four and a half thousand miles away from home. On top of those, we have got Champagne and a Dance party!

The day started like just any other Eid day; being late to get up in the morning, I had a quick shower and got dressed. Though it was quite a cold morning, I felt the warmth inside me. About ten of us (who live in the same residence) got on the bus and went to the largest Eid jamaat of Trento, arranged in an indoor stadium. We were a bit early, the place filled up within half an hour. Muslims from different corners of the world were present. The khutba was in Arabic and Italian. I had some problem in the time of salaat. The salaat of Eid is a special one and as you may know, one have to make six "extra" takbirs in the two rakats. I don't know the exact rule but In Bangladesh, we had always followed it like this: three extra takbirs in first rakat and the other three in the next rakat. Here it was like six extra takbirs in each rakat,making it twelve extra takbirs in total. I was a bit lost, to be honest :(

We have "kola-kuli"ed after the salaat and monajaat and took some pics. We had two invitations- in Bipul vai's house and in Shuja vai's house. We traded off and first went to Bipul vai's place, where we were greeted with various kinds of traditional Eid day sweets- shemai (laccha and normal), dimer halua (sweet scambled egg?!), dorja (i mean jorda :P) and something more, I couldn't even remember. We watched some bangla channels after a long time and discussed about the new ads, which came out in the last month.
I had a feeling that it would be a good day!

We went out from there at around 11.30 and went to Suja vai and Muna apu's house. We had to walk for ten minutes os so, but it was all worth it! Muna apu was waiting with her arsenal of delicious foods. We wasted no time (only as much to say "Eid Mubarak apu"!), started with the special halim, then had the second course with polao and beef vuna, along with fanta and pepsi. We were all full, but the payesh had us all speechless! It was..yummy to the power yummy! Credit goes to Suja vai who had bought so good sugar, milk and rice that it could not go in any other way! (I think Muna apu will agree :P)

We had taken numerous photos and got ready for the next session. I had bunked two classes in the morning but could not miss the class of "Performance Evaluation" in the afternoon. So, me along with two other senior brothers went to the department. All others were persuading us not to go, but we had no way :(

After the class, we went to Dolon vai's home. He is one of the senior students, doing his PhD here. There we felt the cold, as the place is up on the mountains. Some photosessions took place and then comes the food. I heard Dolon vai is a great cook but realized it that day; there was polao, chicken roast, beef, salad and payesh. After that I had realized that I forgot to eat chatpati, but spent no time to dig in to the chatpati. :P
The university organizes "Welcome Party" for the incoming students each year and fortunately this year's party was on the very day, the Eid day. So we got prepared and went to the party. Too bad I could not change my dress as I did not have time to come to my room. The party was good, there were lots of food (though only a few were eatable for us) and drinks (juices, fanta and pepsi were the only eatables anyway!) and music and people. Some of us had the free champagne (and some got drunk). We danced for two hours with music from all around the world with a DJ. Altogether, it was a new experience for us, the newcomers.

The party would continue to midnight but we had another dawat to attend, and we left the party at about 10.30 and went to Bipul vai's place. I was not hungry but could not resist to have some polao with Bipul vai's special beef curry. We got on the bus at 11.45 and reached our residence at 12 midnight.
It was a great Eid, a great day full of fun, laughter, food and festivity. Surely I am lucky!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A sudden and nice dinner


This is the story how set theory leads us to a great dinner :P
Last night, I was sitting in front of the laptop, doing nothing. Tony vai and Rashed vai (two of my classmates here in Trento) came to talk about some set theory (!). After a brief and not-so-useful discussion, we were wondering what to do. Just then Muna apu called us to ask whether we would go to their house to collect the KUMRA SHAK (This backtracks to the morning while we 'stole' some kumra shak from a huge garden :P. In a sense, we helped the garden owner as we were sure that they consider them to just some weeds and would be happy to get rid off them. Win-Win situation!)

Though it was late at night and chilling outside, we three started toward Suja vai and Muna apus house. There is a shortcut through a jungle tunnel. At the dead of night, it was kind of scary to go through the dark alley, but we went through.

Warm was their house, so was the welcoming faces. We sat and had some nice adda. Initial idea was to get the kumra shak and return back to our residence to have dinner. But we gave up to the insistent couple and happily agreed to have dinner with them. And what a dinner it was! Kumra shak with chingri, Shuja vais special dim vaja, pui shak and lau curry, and some fanta afterward. We were all full!
This was a nice night out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

After a long time, from a new country


I have been in Trento, Italy for the last two weeks. And I am absent from my favorite place, this blog of mine for more than that. This is mainly due to the lack of a personal computer, which I can use "personally". I have not brought a laptop from my country, neither I am getting the scholarship this month. So, I have to use senior brother's laptops. Thought they are very considerate and sacrificing, it really is not always convenient.

Now I have got my personal id and password, which can be used to log in to the local LAN of our residence to use Internet. In the department we have wirelass hotspots. It feels good, though unlikely for me, to see people coming to the class with laptops and checking the email while the professor is busy with the blackboard! Hopefully I will join them in a few days :P

The first two weeks were gone for all sorts of processing, thanks to the highly bureaucratic system of Italy! We manage to roam around the city and also to some beautiful places. We went to Riva del Garda, the largest lake of Italy. That is the most wonderful place I ever visited. I have heard there are 21 lakes in the Trentino region. One problem is, all visits are to be made in summer. September is ending, today morning the temperature was 8C, who knows what will happen in December! Saddam has already got cold and taking medicine. I also have suffered from some allergic reaction from a "Dove" lotion. The doctor has told me never to use Dove products again :P

We also went to Bolzano, the nearby province of Trento. There we visited a little but wonderful lake (too bad I forgot the name), went to hilly roads and roamed around the city. Bolzano is as neat and beautiful as Trento. This is a dual language city- all signboards, bus stops, train stations, everything is written both in Italian and German. I heard that most of the people speak German, too.

We have started cooking, and it is coming out to be good! So far I have cooked all the curries (chicken, egg) and Saddam is specializing in Rice and Daal. The combination is working out well. The problem is we have to make iftaar, which we tried yesterday. The process of making beguni and alur chop was a bit tentative but they were tasty! :P

As for the studeis, I have to complete one year here and then move to RWTH Aachen to complete my second year and the thesis. I will have double degrees, (if I can complete anyway!) so it comes with the cost that I have to fulfill the requirements of both the universities. It is a tough task, no doubt.

That's it for today, the summary of the pending weeks. I wish to be more regular on my blog and I have every hope that I will do so.

Ciao! (Do you know that "Ciao" means both Hi and Bye?! )
------------
Some links to my Facebook photo albums:

Our journey from Dhaka to Trento
Tour of Trento
Tour of Riva del Garda-1
Tour of Riva del Garda-2

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hectic days with Ticket-ic problem

গত কয়েকটা দিন যা গেলো, পুরা মাথা খারাপ অবস্থা। ভিসা পাওয়া নিয়া মানুষ ঝামেলায় পড়ে জানতাম, কিন্তু প্লেনের টিকেট-এর জন্য যে এত গোলমাল সহ্য করতে হইতে পারে তা বুঝলাম এইবারে।

আমরা যারা ইটালি যাচ্ছি, সবাই খুব সহজে ভিসা পেয়ে গেছিলাম। তখন আমাদের খুশি দেখে কে! কিন্তু উপরওয়ালার মুচকি হাসি আমরাও দেখতে পাই নাই :( । তো ভিসা পাওয়ার পর যেইখানে থেকে আমরা বুকিং দিছিলাম ওই ব্যাটারা বললো, মাত্রই তো ভিসা পাইলেন, কয়েকটা দিন আরাম করেন, এইতো আমরা টিকেটের ব্যবস্থা করতেছি। আমরাও নাদান বালক ফটিকের মতো পায়ের উপর পা তুইলা 'ইউরোপিয়ান ড্রিম' দেখায় সময় দিলাম। এইভাবে কয়েকদিন যাওয়ার পর মাঝখানে খবর আসলো যে টিকেট নাকি পাওয়া যাচ্ছে না। আমরা পাত্তা দিলাম না, দুর্জনেরা তো কত কথাই বলে, সব কিছুতে কান দিতে হয় নাকি?

আরো কয়েকদিন পর আমাদের টনক নড়লো, বুঝলাম সমস্যা প্রকট এবং দিবাস্বপ্নের বদলে দুঃস্বপ্ন দেখা শুরু করলাম। আমরা নয় জন ইটালিতে উচ্চশিক্ষাগামী যুবক একসাথে টিকেট বুকিং দিছিলাম। সবাই প্যানিকড হয়ে পড়াতে সমস্যা ঘোরতর আকার ধারণ করলো - এই নয় জনের অনেকেই পারসোনালি ট্রাই করা শুরু করলো, এবং (যেহেতু বাঙ্গালি জাতিগত ভাবেই জোট বাধায় বিশ্বাসী) সবাই চেষ্টা করলো নয় জনের জন্যই। ফলে সব লো কস্ট সিটগুলি বুকড হয়ে গেলো (নিশ্চয়ই আমাদের মতো এইরকম আরো কয়েকটা গ্রুপ আছে!)। আমাদের বাজেটের মধ্যে আর কিছুই পাওয়া যাচ্ছিলো না। আমাদের একজনকে তার ট্রাভেল এজেন্ট বললো, "আপনারাই তো মার্কেট গরম করছেন!"

এইরকম প্রচুর টুকটাক কাহিনী হইলো - টানা দুইদিন বসে থেকেও টিকেট পাওয়া গেলো না, একজনের নামের বানান ভুলের জন্য সবার বুকিং বাতিল হয়ে গেলো, আবার একজন টাকা দিয়ে টিকেট হাতে নিয়া নিশ্চিন্ত হওয়ার পরের দিন জানতে পারলো আসলে টিকেট বাতিল। এর মাঝে একজন আবার সিস্টেম করে আমাদের সবাইরে বোকা বানায়ে নিজের ব্যবস্থা করে ফেললো। গায়ে-গতরে বাড়লেও এখনও অনেক কিছু শেখা বাকি আছে, এইটা বুঝতে পারলাম। এইসব কাহিনী যা বললাম, সব আমার নিজের দেখা। অন্যান্য সবার নিশ্চয়ই এই টাইপ কাহিনী স্টকে আছে। যাহোক, সবাই মিলে ট্রাই করার কারনেই গ্যাঞ্জাম হচ্ছে, এইটা বুঝতে পেরে সবাই দুই-তিন জন এর দলে ভাগ হয়ে গেলো এবং যতটুকু জানি সবাই মোটামুটি টিকেট পেয়ে গেছে, একদিনের চেষ্টাতেই। লোয়েস্ট দামের চেয়ে পাঁচ বা দশ হাজার টাকা বেশি দিয়ে অবশ্য।

অনেকেই বললো, এইটা নাকি বেশ কমন; খুব রাশ আওয়ারে এজেন্টরা কম দামের টিকেটগুলি বুক করে দামের লেভেলটা বাড়ায় দেয়। আর আমাদেরকে বেশি দাম দিয়েই কিনতে হয়। এই কাহিনীর 'মরাল অব দ্য স্টোরি' কি হইতে পারে সেইটা নাহয় না চিন্তা করলাম, কিন্তু আপনারা কেউ 'এহসান এয়ার ট্রাভেলস' নামের কোন ট্রাভেল এজেন্ট থেকে কোনদিন টিকেট কেনার ধান্দা কইরেন না কখনোই, তাইলে এই কাহিনীর পুনরাবৃত্তি হওয়ার সমূহ সম্ভাবনা আছে!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Condom ringtone for HIV awareness

Courtesy of Digital Inspiration, here is a condom ringtone that people think will help to raise awareness on HIV. Though the initiative is unique, in the sub-continent we still take the word 'condom' in a negative sense.

Time to (set the ringtone and) lighten up!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

5 Things: Its’ a Tag!

This is in response to Tanim's post. The rule goes like this, " All the readers who’re reading or commenting this post, all have been tagged! Don’t forget to answer the questions in your own blog."

5 things I hate most:
  • Dirty toilets (who doesn't hate that?!)
  • Loosing
  • People with cars, who splashes the roadside water on the people who are walking or going by rickshaw
  • Lying politicians
  • To be #1 in corruption
5 things I want most:
5 things you will find in my room (aside from me and my pc):
  • A world map hanging in the wall
  • A stack of dvds, hugely disorganized
  • A stack of books, hugely disorganized
  • My bookshelf-cum-wardrobe-cum-table (which I rarely sit on)
  • A good old SONY deck set, with two large speakers
5 things I am currently doing:
  • Preparing to leave the country
  • Learning some cooking
  • To spend as much time as I can with my family/friends/...
  • Watching Avatar season 3
  • Reading "উভচর মানব" (Amphibian Man), one of my most favorite books
What about you?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little puzzle

The problem is simple, you have four digits, namely 6, 4, 3 and 1 and all the arithmetic operators, i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at your hand. You also have braces, i.e. "(" and ")".

Now your job is to make the number 24 using each of these four digits only once. You can use any of the operators and the braces. For example, if you were asked to make 23, you would do it like this:

23 = (6*3)+4+1 or 23 = (6-1)*4+3

So, how about 24 ?

Image copyright: www.glasbergen.com

Monday, July 28, 2008

Is it too 'Cuil' to surpass Google?


A new search engine has come into being, by the name of 'Cuil'. You pronounce it just like you say 'cool'. Some former Google employees have built the engine and they claim that it is 'world's biggest search engine' having pages three times as many as Google. Cool, huh!

Apart from the dark interface, Cuil has some other differences from Google. It shows the search results in 2 or 3 columns, with short summaries. It also suggests some related search categories, which you can choose and see the relevant search results.

Overall, it may give us a new experience, but in my opinion there is no obvious reason (at least for now) to use Cuil insted of the good old Google.
And I am always a fan of white backgrounds!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tribute to Mahmudul Haque

মাহমুদুল হকের একটাই বই আছে আমার কাছে, "কালো বরফ"। বইটা তাও নিজের কেনা নয়, কে যেন উপহার দিয়েছিলো। লেখকের নাম আগে শুনিনি, হাতে পেয়ে তাই অনাগ্রহের সাথেই পড়া শুরু করেছিলাম। কিন্তু একটুখানি এগোতেই অবাক হয়েছিলাম, অসাধারণ প্রাঞ্জল লেখা, খুব পাওয়ারফুল গদ্য, এক নিঃশ্বাসেই পড়ে ফেলার মত।

বইটা যত্ন করে তুলে রেখেছিলাম, প্রিয় লেখকের তালিকায় যোগ হয়েছিলেন মাহমুদুল হক। উনার নাম না জানার পেছনে কারনটাও অযৌক্তিক নয়, ১৯৮২ সালের পর থেকে আর কিছুই লিখেননি। খ্যাতির শীর্ষে থেকে এইরকম নিজেকে গুটিয়ে নেয়ার কারন বোধকরি কেউই জানেন না। বাংলা সাহিত্যের সেরাদের একজন হবার মত ছিলেন বলেই শুনি।

মাহমুদুল হকের মৃত্যুতে জানাই বিনম্র শ্রদ্ধা।

প্রথম আলোর প্রতিবেদন
মফিদুল হকের কলাম
ডেইলি স্টারের সাহিত্য পাতায় প্রকাশিত মাহমুদুল হকের 'প্রতিদিন একটি রুমাল' গল্পের অনুবাদ

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where are we heading ?

Syed Monjurul Islam's editorial sums up my thoughts on the present situation of Bangladesh and especially the Caretaker Government.

I am an optimist. But I can't help loosing hope.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The "Dark Knight" returns




I knew the new movie of Batman would be releasing soon, but I didn't know its today. I am a frequent visitor of imdb and just a while ago, I discovered "The Dark Knight" has been released today (18 July). Well, that was not the point. I was stunned to see it in #4 in imdb's all time top 250 movie list! And the day of release has not yet passed!

It feels good. Christopher Nolan is one my most favorite directors/writers. He ought to be. Who else can deliver movies like "Memento", "Insomnia", "Batman Begins" and "The Prestige" in a row?! And now he returns with "The Dark Knight", maybe one of the most anticipated movies ever. If you don't understand what I'm saying, go see "Batman Begins", which is by far the best batman movie ever. (actually, I didn't like any of the others)

What about the cast? Christian Bale, as he was before, should be awesome as Batman. Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, Heath Ledger - they all are greats! (with movies like "Flawless", "Bill" and "10 things I hate about you"). I am not saying great casting always brings great results. I just have faith in all of them.

Though many of us will miss Ms. Katie Holmes as Rachel (Bruce Wayne's down-to-earth girlfriend), I guess Maggie Gyllenhaal has done equally well, if not better. I liked her in "Stranger than Fiction".

Heath Ledger has been my favorite since "10 Things I Hate About You". People are saying that he delivers a memorable performance as Joker in this movie and may get an oscar. I don't know if anyone has ever got a posthumous oscar award or nomination. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

But the question is, how long do I have to wait to watch the movie?
Not much, I hope.

Update:
Looks like "The Dark Knight" is breaking up all box office records, and #1 in imdb top movie list, with a stellar rating of 9.5!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On switching mouse hand and Google keyboard shortcuts


Though you may not have heard about RSI, may be free of what I am suffering now-a-days, apparently many people are not, and as a remedy, instead of using something alien, I think it is better to use keyboard shortcuts and switch your mouse hand.

Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, Google provides you with a wealth of them - just press '?' whenever you are Gmail-ing or reading your feeds in Google reader; you will be presented with an arsenal of keyboard shortcuts!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na

Disclaimer : No SPOILERS!

I am not into Hindi movies. I am always unable to remember the last Hindi film I saw. But now I can clearly remember the last two films I watched. Both of them are from Aamir Khan Productions : Taare Zameen Par and the recently released Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na. I guess all of you had watched Taare Zameen Par. If you had not, go fetch the dvd (which is yet to be out on the market!) and watch it, you will not regret.

As I have heard that Aamir's nephew is the lead actor in "Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na", I was a bit disappointed and thought it to be another family-member-upholding-thing. But that is so not true.

The film describes the classical story involving two best friends' dubious love story. Both of the lead actors, Imran Khan (Jai) and Genelia D'Souza (Aditi), are debutants. In my opinion, both of them have showed excellent performance. I loved Aditi's character more, Genelia just blends into it. Supporting roles are also done with perfection.

For me, comedy is always the life of a movie (well, in most cases). The storyline of this movie is cute and makes you laugh without punching in the belly. I must agree there is nothing "extraordinary", but its smooth and without the typical stumbling moments of hindi films (like the hero chasing a Pajero with a rickshaw). Anyway, that's one of the many things I expect from Aamir Khan. It is a sweet teen movie with loads of fun. A R Rahman's incredible music, as it does most of the times, perfectly goes with the flow and it also sounds very "young" and cheery.

Both Imran and Genelia expressed their gratitude to Aamir Khan but credit must also be given to Abbas Tyrewala who is the screenwriter, lyricist and director.

Liked the movie. Two thumbs up. Recommended to watch.

Update: Genelia, as it turns out, has not debuted in this film, rather way back in 2003.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Bangladeshi voice rocks the world



The video is watched in youtube over four and a half million times in Just two weeks. The soundtrack is in the top 10 in the Amazon's soundtrack download top chart (top 20 in the overall mp3 download top chart), surpassing singers like Madonna and Mariah Carey. It is all over the web. And, the singer of the soundtrack is a Bangladeshi teen named Palbasha Siddique, aged 17, who lives in Minnesota. The song she sang is "Praan" from Rabindranath Tagore's "Gitanjali".

The video, named "Dancing" or "Where the hell is Matt", shows "Matt" dancing (with his unique moves!) all over the world, to be precise - in 42 countries, with thousands of people.

Well, I went on to watch the video after getting these information. And after watching it, I really am feeling happy from inside. Such expression of joy, versatile colors mixing up to create an unique rainbow, the feeling is inexplicable! And how closely does the meaning of the song match the theme of the video.

Apart from the sweeet song, the video is creatively well-made, no wonder they take 14 months to make it. In fact, it is so amazing that I am having a hard time to pick up my favorite moment. I liked the part in Tongatapu, Tonga where waves from the sea splashes on Matt. Which one is your favorite?

As you would find it in her interview below, she is coming to Bangladesh in this summer and competing in Close Up 1 2008. Can't wait to hear her singing!

The full story and her interview in startribune
The video (standard quality) (recommended to watch the high quality version)
The lyric and the song (courtesy of The 3rd world view)

Here is the song in Bangla:

ভুলবো না আর সহজেতে
সেই প্রাণে মন উঠবে মেতে
মৃত্যু মাঝে ঢাকা আছে
যে অন্তহীন প্রাণ

বজ্রে তোমার বাজে বাঁশি
সেকি সহজ গান
সেই সুরেতে জাগবো আমি

সেই ঝড় যেন সই আনন্দে
চিত্তবীণার তারে
সত্য-সিন্ধু দশ দিগন্ত
নাচাও যে ঝঙ্কারে

বজ্রে তোমার বাজে বাঁশি
সেকি সহজ গান
সেই সুরেতে জাগবো আমি


Updates: 

  1. As it turned out, Palbasha is the sister of one of the senior brothers from my own college!
  2. Here you can see her performing in Close Up -1; its a pity that she was voted out after singing with such uniqueness and personality

Thursday, July 3, 2008

PicLens: an awesome tool for photo viewing

I am a frequent visitor of my friends' photo albums (I guess many of you also are) in facebook. No doubt facebook is great but the photo viewing system in can be made better. In facebook photo albums you cannot move randomly between photos and cannot see a full-screen view. If you want these features with a lightweight browser extension, then PicLens is for you. With this tool, you can view all the images of a web page in a nice looking 3-D wall. For example, have a look at the following picture, it is from a Flickr photo search page.


If you hover your mouse on any of the photos, that become the active one and you can click it to see a full-screen view. See the following PicLens view from one of my friend's breathtaking pencil sketch album in facebook. Here, the center image is the current selection. Now you can just roll your mouse wheel to see the previous or next photo or click on any of the photos to view it full-screen.


Good thing is, you can also view the author's comment for the particular photo. See for example:


You can integrate PicLens with any browser and it works on almost all photo-viewing or social networking websites.
Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Which laptop should you buy


Many of you already have it, many of us don't and fancy to buy one. I am talking about Laptops. Laptops come in every size, specification and color. Yet you may be unable to find the right one. Adjusting your budget and need, you should be able to find the right machine. Lets focus on some important aspects, from my point of view.

Budget: Laptops are priced from as low as 300$. For a decent one, you should be ready to spend 700$-1700$.

Mobility vs Display size: Laptops having larger screens (15-17 inches) are called 'desktop replacements', which you will buy to literally replace your desktop computer. These laptops are good to watch movie, have moderate graphics card to play recent games, and obviously - a bit heavy to carry around. They also will have shorter battery life. As graduate students, I don't think these laptops are suitable for us. I think we should go for the more portable family of laptops which have 13-14.1" display size. They have more battery life and you can put one in your backpack without any strain.

All the other technical specification are more likely to be state-of-the art:
  • Processor is most likely to be Core 2 duo/Centrino mobile/AMD Turion
  • Minimum 2 GB RAM. The more the merrier. I would prefer 3 GB.
  • Graphics card will vary on your choice. I probably won't play the voraciously resource taking games anyway. So, a modest one is okay for me.
  • Hard disk should be 250 GB minimum. Probably it will be 5400 rpm cause 7200 rpm hard disks for laptop are still too expensive.
Having seen all these specification jargons, you may ask - which brand should I buy ? Again, it is your choice. I will prefer HP, Dell and Toshiba, for no particular reason. (That's the power of 'branding'! )

If you firmly believe you will be able to live without using Windows XP or Vista, the best option would be to buy a Mac. They look awesome and you can get one with as low as 1300$.

I probably will go for HP EliteBook (which is yet to hit the market) Or maybe, I will forget all these findings and buy something else.

Here are some links that may be useful:

Laptop buying guide from Notebookreview.com
If your prefer a Mac
A very good HP laptop in $930
Filter laptops according to your need at Cnet.com

In case you think otherwise, share your experience.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bangladeshi fielders drop some catches and the match


Bangladesh played well today. On a flat batting wicket like this, some may argue whether 283 is competitive or not. I would say it is, as long as you back up the effort of the batsmen with tight bowling and sharp fielding. And don't forget this is the highest total for Bangladesh against India, by a long margin.

Kudos to Alok Kapali for playing such an innings. For the last few matches, I was filled with disgust whenever I saw Kapali coming out to bat. I don't know the reason, may be its his puffy look or it is that he wasted the talent he had. But today, it was all different. 10 fours and 5 sixes, fattafatti! And he did one thing Bangladesh is so unable to do- slogging in the last part of the innings. It was great to watch.

But all of the effort went in vain, largely for the drop-catches. Rayna was dropped twice and went on to score a ton, Gambhir also was dropped (that was a sitter!). These Indian players are in tremendous form and they hardly need a chance or two to rise to the occassion. Had the catches not been dropped, I believe it could be a tight match.

Bangladesh needs to carry on, taking the good things they learned from this match. I hope they will show some consistency in the next matches. No consistency in dropping-catches will be highly expected.

Picture courtesy : Cricinfo

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

For the last three days, I have been suffering from fever, headache, severe cold and coughing. You got it, I am virus-struck. With my weak and shaking hands, instead of writing something about, I am just putting on some interesting links for you.

Steve Job's speech on Stanford Graduation, 2005
Lego's digital designer.
Convert boring units to real-life objects.
Reducing camera shake
Make beautiful and customized clouds

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." Stay Virus-free (in all the possible ways...)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Add some spice to your life


If you are like me, you just like to sit idle, wait till your mom prepares the mouth-watering dish, jump on it as quick as it arrives on the table, and after some voracious moments, brush up your tummy and say - "you are the best, mom!" Life is beautiful, eh!

So far so good. Until a week ago, I didn't have to worry a bit about "preparing" or "cooking" food. It was always there. My mom and dad both possess the finest of cooking skills of all the people I know. And as a result, having a del.icio.us cuisine on the fly has been a normal phenomena. I had been so used to get well-cooked food ready on the table that I thought it to be a perpetual arrangement. Fool's paradise!

Now that I will be leaving the country for two years for minimum, the paradise I have been living in is lost. Completely. There would not be anyone out there with the dishes. Then would be the time for cooking. COOKING. Now is the time to learn cooking!

Though I had a premonition to be a unworthy pupil in the realm of cooking, I am surprised now to find the 'cook' in me. For the last few days, I have been co-operating my mom and dad in preparing the dinner. And I like what I am learning! I believe it flows in the blood..ahem! Cooking is just an art, it has to be.

Just to let you know, one of my friends is very good at cooking. He specializes in cooking for large no. of people. And he is damn good!
If, by any chance, you are interested, find some good recipes here.

From Heaven's kitchen it is me signing of, ciao!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Switching to Google from Yahoo and Google

Yes, I have decided to switch to Google completely! Not that I have not been using Google. Apart from my primary mail address, which is in Yahoo, I use the following Google services :
  1. Blogspot
  2. Bookmarks
  3. Notebook
  4. Docs
  5. Toolbar (with Firefox
Now, switching the mail account is the main concern, but I have more things to do. The reason is, I want to use a new Google account. That means, I have to switch from one Google account to another as well! The steps may be like this:
  1. Switching the blogspot account, which I thought would be impossible but found out to be a piece of cake.
  2. Switching the bookmarks. (As for now, I can think of Exporting the Google bookmarks to Firefox bookmarks and exporting the Firefox bookmarks to the new Google account bookmark. Dumb, as it may sound, no way out!)
  3. Switching the Notebook contents. (As my notebook is not that much populated, it will not be problematic. In general case, I guess it would work like switching the blogspot content; sharing the documents with my new Google account will do.
  4. Same goes for Docs.
  5. Toolbar is not a problem
Now, switching the mail account is always problematic with Yahoo as they don't provide POP or forwarding access. Many a days ago I used a small piece of tool called YPOPs which can sneak out into your Yahoo mail account and download all your precious emails to outlook express. Then you can export your mails to the Google account. (Who needs a mail client when you have Gmail?!)

Lets see if I can go on with these.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Strange message at boot time

Yesterday, my network interface card (built-in motherboard) bogged down (later, the network guy said it had been due to the 'thunderstorm' which blazed the night! I don't know whether its true or not, but they said they also have to replace some hubs and switches.) abruptly. Thanks to the Chinese products, I bought a cheap new card immediately (only taka 215 and without any guarantee!) and place it in the motherboard. I disabled the on-board LAN card feature from BIOS, making the new card as the only working one. But, after saving out from BIOS, just before GRUB is loads, a message came :
Intel UNDI PXE 2.0 Build 082
or Realtek RTL 8139(x)/8130/810X PCI Fast Ethernet Controller v2.13 020326)
Client MAC address: (then the mac address) GUID: (then the guid) DHCP...
And it tried to search for a DHCP then gave the following message :

PXE-E53: No boot filename received
PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM
After that, the usual GRUB menu came and all went fine. My new network card worked just okay. But the problem was, each and every time while booting, that same nagging message came, making the boot process slow and irritating.

After a bit Googling, I found that it was due to some settings in the on-board Lan Boot Rom settings. I went to the Intel PXE menu (by pressing Shift+F10 at boot time) and changed the setting from "Online network login" to "Default BIOS settings". The nagging message was gone.

What I don't understand how did the settings got changed ? Is it a automatic feature whenever you disable the on-board LAN card or is it something else ? Dunno.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What I am doing now a days

Well, not much. As the semester break is here, I am not taking classes for the next two weeks. The previous two weeks were not bad- 6 days of invigilation in the exam hall, one long meeting on next semester's course distribution and checking some exam scripts. And I watched some movies and IPL. I missed the usual "long drive" of ours for the last two weeks, mainly for my lethargy. I guess I am in need for some soul-searching.

I started learning some Python, the language they talk about so much. I learned one thing for the least - the name "Python" has nothing to do with the reptile, rather it is named after a comedy show which was the author's favorite. To suppress the growing concern inside, I also took out my algorithm book and started with reading the preface. No promises.

One of my undergraduate thesis groups sent me a call for papers. Problem is, we are in no position to publish a paper. We should be. It would be improbable to grab a hold of them in this semester break. Lest see if I can.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My first visit to the Italian embassy


The embassy of Italy in dhaka, as you may have guessed, is in the embassy road in Gulshan-2. The rickshaw fare is about 10 tk from Gulshan-2 circle. If I remember correctly, it is in road 79.
Last week, I went there with one of my friends. Not for any definite purpose though, just to get acquainted with the proceedings. I was a bit tensed to see a long queue of people waiting outside the gate. But we came to know that they have special services (not so special, as revealed later) for students and they let us in without much of waiting. Some people in the queue were grunting, of course.

Crossing the first gate (a very mundane looking one), we had to wait for some time. My friend and another senior brother prepared their documents. I was just wondering how many times I would have to come to this place. Just after a while, we went in through the second gate and met the embassy consultant. He was a Bangladeshi person and also one of the most confused person I have ever seen! He was unsure about most of the queries. I don't understand, why do you sit in a chair which doesn't fit you! By the course of time, we came to know that the Italian guy responsible for this consultancy was on leave and would not be available until next to next sunday. Till then, welcome to an world of uncertainty and chaos! I asked him about my case and was happy to see him living up to my expectations - he didn't know a thing!

My next visit there will not be as unfruitful as this one. Hopefully.

Picture : This is not in any way the picture of Italian embassy in Dhaka! It is a castle in Trento, the Italian city where I may end up if everything moves in motion.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Give a vintage look to your photos



I don't know if anyone will ever "need" this photo tool, but it seems interesting. Ever wanted to make your old photos look like new? I guess you did. But this Japanese website presents you a tool which you can use to do just the reverse - make your brand new photos look like "century old" ones. Have a look at the photo for example.

Just go to this website, upload your photo and see for yourself! The website is in Japanese, so you may want to translate it with Google translate. Even if you don't translate, its quite understandable. (Photos don't need words, do they?!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

On being Whitewashed


Well, I won't say it was utterly unexpected, but it certainly was not something I looked forward to.
Bangladesh is whitewashed in the 5-match one day series. There was not even one match where they put up a bit of resistance. Disappointing. Throughout the series, the batsmen got out by playing some poor shots. I have no problem if one gets out by a good ball, a deserving one. After seeing these five matches, I am really doubtful about Bangladesh's ability. Enough is said about "the talented and young side" who "would learn from their mistake".

One thing for sure, they are not learning fast enough.

On a more personal note, I also am whitewashed by something - may be with some sort of flu. Dizziness, sore throat, headache - the whole thing is not that painful but it really is disgusting. This flu-struck weekend has passed by quite quickly (ow, they always do!).

The coming week will be an eventful one. Lets hope that I will catch up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

শুভ নববর্ষ ১৪১৫


আরেকটা নতুন বছর এলো। বাংলা বছর, বাঙ্গালীর বছর।
আমাদের মতো করে আর কেউ কি পারে এত রঙ্গে এত ঢঙ্গে বর্ষবরণ করে নিতে! চারপাশের এত সমস্যা,এ ত অনিশ্চয়তা - সবকিছু পাশে সরিয়ে রেখে আর কেউ কি পারে আনন্দের জ়োয়ারে ভেসে যেতে..আমার মনে হয় না..

১৪১৫ সালের এই বৈশাখে সবাইকে জানাই শুভ নববর্ষ। সবার যত শুভ ইচ্ছেগুলো সত্যি হোক এই নতুন বছরে। আমরা সবাই আরো একটু এগিয়ে যাই সম্ভাবনাময় ভবিষ্যতের দিকে।

সবার জন্য শুভকামনা।


ছবিসত্ত্ব - উইকিপিডিয়া

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bangladeshi universities in Wikipedia featured list


I think many of you are wondering about the term - "Featured list". Let's get a brief overview on the rating system of Wikipedia articles first.

You may not be aware of the fact that Wikipedia articles have a rating system, which helps to identify the completeness, importance and quality of the articles. For example, when an article's first draft is written, usually it consists of introductory information and in Wikipedia terms these are called Stub or Start class article. These articles are in need of detailed explanation, elaboration, references and overall modification. Having fulfilled these criteria, an article can move on to be a B class article, which is the highest grade achievable without a formal nomination and review process.

Furthermore, if the author believes the article to be of high quality and also abiding by the standards, he can nominate the article for a Good article, A class article or Featured article status. Featured article is the topmost rating among these. These are actually 'the best' articles in the entire Wikipedia. Featured lists are just like featured articles - with the only difference that they are the best 'lists' among all. As Wikipedia says :
The featured lists are what we believe to be the best lists in Wikipedia. Prior to being listed here, lists are reviewed at Wikipedia:Featured list candidates for usefulness, completeness, accuracy, neutrality, style and prose according to our featured list criteria. ... ... Definitive. Outstanding, thorough list; a great source for encyclopedic information.

Now, the good news - the article on List of universities in Bangladesh has been identified by the Wikipedia community as a Featured list!! I was amazed to see the enthusiasm and dedication of the Bangladeshi Wikipedians. They were prompt to correct and modify the problems in the list identified by other Wikipedians. You can follow all the nomination and selection activities here.

This hard work has paid back - it is now one of the only 660 featured lists in the entire wikipedia! Kudos!

Photo : Curzon Hall, Dhaka University

Monday, April 7, 2008

Surviving in Dhaka: Traffic Jam



Though I love the city of Dhaka to my heart's content, sometime I can't help screaming out loud. Of all the thousand other problems of my dear city, 'traffic jam' and 'load-shedding' are the most menacing two. I believe many of you would agree on that.

This morning, for instance, I was cheerily enjoying the morning while going to the bus-stand by a rickshaw (getting a rickshaw in due time is another story, a painful one sometimes). Suddenly the rickshaw stopped and so stopped my whistling cheery mood - there was a long line of rickshaws and cars waiting. Yeah, that was a dense jam for sure and I haven't even hit the main road! After some grueling effort of the rickshaw-puller and following some short-cuts, I reached the bus-stand, just 15 minutes late than the usual.

The jam goes on in the main road too - in some places the road was cut for some construction purpose, somewhere else for underground gas pipes. The places left on the roads were mostly taken away by bizarre parking of cars.

No wonder I reached my working place 20 minutes late!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Post-weekend post

I just wonder whether I am getting lazier day by day or I had been so lazy at the first place that I can't be anymore- just the feeling is cutting deep. Either way, its no good news :(

And that's why it feels so bad when the weekend ends, when the ever dear Saturday night fades away with the (un)promising return of Sunday. Hectic.
After a long time, I have watched some movies this weekend. One of them is The Darjeeling Limited. The movie is about three brothers and their (apparently) soul-searching journey in India. I may have missed some inner meaning of the story but I enjoyed watching it. I like all the three brother's acting and the chemistry among them. As I have seen Adrien Brody only in "The Pianist" (as far as I can remember), I was surprised and amazed to see him doing a comic role superbly. The background music and some songs also were ear-catching.

I have also watched some cricket - India-South Africa test and ICL. Though there isn't any particular reasons, I am indeed happy to see 'Tema India' loosing the test match by an innings. And just to be informed, Bangladesh cricket team is leaving tonight for the tour of Pakistan. Hoping to see something good there.

Well, much reviewing of this 'smooth' weekend and now I must say, "Welcome, thee new week!"