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.