Thursday, July 24, 2008

20 Qs

Tagged by Sanjiv

Last movie seen in a theater:
Incredible Hulk

What book are you reading?
Gigabyte AM2+ motherboard manual

Favorite board game:

Favorite magazine:

Favorite smells:
Smell of first of the rain drops falling on earth

Favorite sounds:
Iron Maiden

Worst feeling in the world:
Being misunderstood

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
Shit, Did I break last night's build?!

Favorite fast food place:
Sri Lakshmi chats (BSK 2nd stage)

Future child's name:

Finish this statement, "If I had a lot of money I'd…"
build a rural school.

Do you drive fast?
Yes, but within my own limits.

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

Storms - Cool or Scary?

Do you eat the stems on broccoli?

If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?
Deep brown.

Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in:
Bangalore, Boise, New York, Sunnyvale

Favorite sports to watch:

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you:
Nice person to strike up a good conversation with

What's under your bed?

Would you like to be born as yourself again?

Morning person or night owl?
Morning Person

Over easy or sunny side up?
Sunny side up

Favorite place to relax:
Atop a hill, sun playing hide'n'seek with clouds, dead silence, staring at the place where land meets the sky

Favorite pie:

Favorite ice cream flavor:

You pass this tag to:

Of all the people you tagged this to, who's most likely to respond first?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hard disks and Elevators

Now, that's a weird title for a post. What follows may sound absurd to some people. But having studied computer science, it makes sense to me.

Many of us work in high rise buildings and more often than not, we take elevators to get to our places of work. My office building has 6 elevators, and 2 control switches - each switch, when pressed, sends request to 3 elevators and one of them eventually services the request.
Recalling from the operating systems course in engineering, the disk request scheduling algorithm heavily borrows from the algorithm used by elevators to service requests. Most of us computer literate people should know that the disk request scheduling algorithm tries to minimize the number of seeks and the distance per seek. The elevator behaves somewhat similarly. For any request, among many elevators receiving the request, the one closest to the origin-place of request services it. Also, if an elevator is already moving in the direction of the origin-place of the request, it handles the request instead of an idle elevator at the same level.
Now, if there was only one elevator in question, then its guaranteed that it would handle requests optimally. But with many elevators and more than one control switch to summon the elevators, the usage could become non-optimal, depending on how people use them. Some of the common things that people do that results in non-optimal usage are:
1) Summoning more than one elevator (activating more than one control switch) for one request
2) Summoning a elevator(s) which are farther away from the origin-place of the request
Think of the elevators in your building as disks, all of them having the same data in them. The amount of distance the elevators need to travel before servicing a request as the seek of a disk. Since there is more than one elevator to choose from, we could choose one (and only one, not more than one! Refer point 1 above) which is closest to the place from which the request is being made.
1) Avoids non-optimal usage - saves power! (GO GREEN!)
2) Provides quicker service!
1) You could lose 5 seconds in looking at positions of all elevators before making a decision to summon a particular elevator - This could be offset by point 2 in advantages. Also, is 5 seconds too much, considering the slightly more weighed advantages?)
There are many places like these where we can apply knowledge of computer science, in our daily lives. Its surprising that most of us do not.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


How many special people change
How many lives are living strange

Someday you'll find me, caught beneath the landslide...
And Supernova

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Need for speed!

My old PC, bought in early 2000, is almost antique - Intel's the-then flagship Pentium-III processor running (crawling now) at 500MHz, originally purchased with 64MB of SDRAM, 10GB ATA Hard disk, and a CD-ROM drive. It served me for a good part of my engineering course. All my lab assignments and projects done on that and they all came out pretty well too. Along the way, I did quite a few upgrades to it so as to keep up with the growing needs (read PC games!). With all these, now it has 256MB of SDRAM, a 40GB ATA Hard disk and a CD-RW drive.
In the first sentence of this post, I say "almost" because my friend SP still is leading the race of having the most ancient PC! Would you believe that he has a Pentium-II processor 233MHz with 64MB of RAM (2 sticks of 32MB each!!) and a 4GB Hard disk?!
Then I have this laptop I bought 3 years ago. It's running fine - no issues, reliable to run most of the applications I usually need. But lately, there's no fun in it. Somehow, I felt like going back to a desktop in spite of the conviniences like mobility, no worries of power cuts, etc that my laptop offered. I want to put the emperimental hat back on, try out more with my computer. Somehow, IMO, laptop is too cute for all these brash expriments!
So, thus, I've set out to buy myself a new desktop PC. After reading a lot of things online and talking to my friends, I've kinda settled on the following configuration:
AMD Phenom X4 9850, Black edition - Quad core, 2.5GHz
NVIDIA 9600GT graphics card with 512MB memory
500GB SATA II drive (Actually wanted 2 250GB drives, to configure a RAID volume - but my friends "talked" me out of it)
DVD-RW 20X SATA drive
Wireless keyboard and mouse

Initial investigation has put the approximate price for the above configuration to somewhere near 44k. Anyone has any comments/suggestions for any changes in the above config or know any good, knowledgeable, helpful dealer?

Oh, did I mention that my old PC cost me 36k at that time? :)