Saturday, October 26, 2013

Why you must see Gravity

As the year was starting, all you sci-fi fans must have seen trailers one after the other featuring aliens, crafts, suits and basically shit happening in space. Check out the following play-list which features the popular 2013 sci-fi movie trailers which blew our mind (until we saw them that is).

No no, hey, some of these are really good. I enjoyed World War Z, Star Trek into Darkness and a few others a lot. But one shined brightest, and that movie is Gravity.

Image Courtesy: Warner Brothers

Gravity was good because of its sincerity to story telling. In interest of not spoiling the movie for you, I can only say that it is a focused movie and it sticks to its plan.

Image Courtesy (all forth): fxguide

The movie stresses on the harsh conditions of space which make Earth's harsh places look happy happy land full of ponies and rainbows. Earth is our home, the one and only truthful home, there's no denying (at-least for now).

Gravity, the perfect name chosen for the movie, consistently gives a good lessen of the Newton's 3 laws of motion:
  1. An object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.
  2. The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass.
  3. When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.
Taken from Wikipedia

This means, in the absence of a land under you, once an object is flicked in a direction, it will keep on going there until it hits another object or some external force is applied on it. And given how far apart things are in space, you can more or less say that that object will keep on going on it's path "forever" in our measly human terms. And if that is a human being?

Gravity uses this formula the best. It keeps you on the edge of the seat by this simplest fear of physics' one of the most important laws: "If I lose hold of anything, means I am gonna continue on my path to nowhere, completely alone, until I am dead". Thank fully on Earth, we have a consistent non-stop force gravity acting on us which is keeping us here, and basically shaping our life.

Sandra bullocks acting is awesome, something which is not even worth mentioning, because that's who she is: A very good actress.

George clooneys acting is awesome too. His role and the character is super and his jokes will act as coolers for your rest of the thrilling experience of the movie.

This movie is best seen in 3D, I generally love 3D and I am not the regular everyday human being who goes around saying "3D sux". I am sorta used to it, but this is one of the rare movies in which my eyes were flickering by reflexes when things were coming on my face. This means, you have to go to cinema and PAY FOR IT TO WATCH IT? OH MY GOD! REALLY? IT'S THAT GOOD?

I want to talk about some things which are worth mentioning, but they are spoilers, so please avoid reading this paragraph if you haven't watched the movie yet. Stop reading here and go to the next paragraph after the image right now. Stop reading. Now. Not kidding. Stop. Are they gone? Good. The movie is from a singleton perspective of only two Hollywood actors, both brilliant (Sandra and George). This means no ground control crap and clichéd melodrama, "Oh, our astronauts are up there, we don't leave anyone behind", "Mr. President, now is the time to make a decision", "The jet engine fuel is running out, our astronauts are stranded, don't you have a heart Sergeant?!" etc. ... all this, is not there! They even made fun of the most clichéd dialog of Hollywood movies, "I have a bad feeling about this". This is not a movie that will try to make you cry by putting a helpless subject in a hopeless and tight situation (it might as well actually), instead ...

This movie will leave you in awe.

You love science? You will love how well they have portrayed the newtons laws of motion, and the general beyond earthly extreme conditions of space.

You are a visual effects person? Get impressed by reading this. (Also, all images on this post are borrowed from this page)

You don't love science? You will still... wait what? You don't love science? Weird. Anyway, you will still love it, in fact my suggestion is to keep all the science stuff aside and just go with what the movie is showing.

You are a conscious human being who is self aware? GO WATCH IT!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review and what I think about the Galaxy Note 3

So Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 came out and I was like, meh, now we will see hordes of people yapping about it continuously, poking me if I heard about it. Haah, I say, I am untouched by your materialistic mediocre desires man, I am a free soul. And what more can they do beyond Note 2 anyway? Note 2 has everything, everything done in the best possible way, so Note 3 must be just a small little increment over Note 2, that too probably unnoticeable. It is just a device for gadget freaks to drool on for a month or two and then forget about it. Hehe, conformists.

I skimmed over the specifications and I was like, yeah, just what I thought, incremental changes.

At first I was like, haah, 1080p screen, bravo. What next? IMAX screen on the phone? Pffft. Then it has 3GB of ram, yeah like that's something big. The processor is a quad core, quite fast, I even heard that 3 of the cores are sleeping in regular usage, one core itself is that fast. It has some good GPU too. Ok ok, it is quite a processing beast. I get it.

I could use that processing power to do more cooler everyday cloud based productive stuff which make life easier, like play Asphalt 8 in full blown graphics. I mean, I am sure on Note 2 it is full blown highest quality, but with 1080p and better frame-rate it must look even better. I know I agree with all of this. But really people should just understand where does all this ends? It is not about the processing power or ram and shit, it is about how best a device is suited for you, right? Of course I am right.

I was roaming around the mall like any other person on this planet, because roaming around in the mall is super hip, I noticed a Samsung's outlet, and I thought, hey I like my Note 2, what the hell, lets go check out its sibling Note 3, see what the fuzz is all about.

As I picked up the Note 3, I felt it much lighter than the note 2 in my pocket. This stinged me a bit, but I am a man of steel. I brought out my note 2 in one hand (on which I don't use a lame ass cover, coz that's how raw I am) and kept note 3 in other hand, switched hands to confirm, and Yup, Note 3 was much lighter. Well anyway, in India we consider lighter things to be cheaper, haah, you don't fool me Samsung.

Then as I was using it, I realized the screen size is physically bigger (of course with its 1080 pee resolution, pfft), yet the phone size was the same. But, but ...

Also Note3's screen was brighter than Note2's ...

I flipped it over and saw a nice matt finish which doesn't collect finger prints like the Note 2, meh. Then I saw it from the side, and it was slimmer as well than the Note 2! But... lol! that's for girls, I am a man, big and heavy phone is no problem for me.

Then I started using the stylus, and felt the stylus has an extra amount of friction which is good for drawing, something Note 2's stylus lacks. Before I thought I should storm out of the store because I was getting BORED, I thought of looking at the camera too.

It can do video, 1080p at 60fps. It can do 4K size video at 30fps. Note 2 cannot do the above things. Sigh.

It felt so good in my hand, the Note 3. Faster, smaller in my hand, lighter, crispier, brighter, damn! But my Note 2? I kept myself together thinking Note 3, for the hardware it packs, will never give the battery backup I get in Note 2. Haha, its all good, universe is not shattered yet.

While coming back home with my heart a bit broken, my friend messaged me on WhatsApp, that Note 3 (which he recently bought, that bozo) on regular usage including phone calls, texting, some 3G browsing and occasional snapping of pics is giving him 3 days of battery backup with some juice left. On such a usage, my Note 2 gives me 2 days of battery backup.

Ok, that's it. WHAT THE FUCK?? HUH?

That was the last nail! How can Samsung make something better than Note2? Every small and big, nitty and gritty things which were wrong or lesser with Note2 is taken care of in Note3. Who the hell you think you are Samsung? Huh? Make a device better than Note 2? Who does that? Don't you have a heart? When you make something as awesome as a Note 2, you take an oath to never make anything better than that! Look at you making a note 3 and putting it out there, I bet you don't even know how to do anything else, or even care about anything else. What about the ... the .. ozone hole, or the global warming... or the ... white tigers... or the the .. you know, what about those things? They don't matter right? Who cares! Oooh ooohh, lets make a Note 3 instead!

I am sure there is some kind of sorcery going on over here. I finally realized the design of Note 3 is not the processor or ram, or may be none of that exists inside it. It must be just a big ass battery and a mana catcher.

Yeah, a mana catcher. It pulls the magical energy of the universe, which we generally cannot access, into the phone, and does amazing stuff on the screen. How else is it possible? That much processing power, being light, with that battery backup? It doesn't add up. I warn you people, don't go into this serious Illuminati business.

And just look at the price, haha! 45000-ish rupees. As if everyone is Mukesh Ambani walking on the streets, going around in the town, buying a Note 3. Why would you do that? Make something so nice and put a price tag like that on it? It's not even about the money, its about principles. What about the children? And their's children? The atoms, and quarks, the universe, the peacock who wants to fly... You know what? I wrote a small poem, yeah I did, you wanna see? Yeah right here:
Samsung Galaxy Note three,
More like, I ain't buying please,
Coz you so expensive,
Please spare me.

My note 2 is still better.

* The friend I am calling a bozo, is not bozo at all, he is an awesome friend :)
* This post, all text and images are made on my Note 2

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Durga Pooja, Jabalpur, 2013

A very happy Dussehra to all of you. Dussehra in Jabalpur as you know from my previous posts, is celebrated in a grand manner with streets crowded to make four wheelers unfeasible to ride, lots of things to buy and a general festive essence in the atmosphere.

Following are some pictures from select places from unaccountable numbers of places Durga Pooja happens all over the city. I wasn't home this time but thanks to internet we are always connected.


Type 2 Khamaria
Image Courtesy: Devashish Mukerji, Jabalpur

Cantt. Board

City Bengali Club

DB Club Entrance Pendal

DB Club
Q Type Khamaria

Prem Nagar Kalibari

Tagore Colony
Image Courtesy: Aakriti Ghosh, Jabalpur

Other than that, I have been working on this drawing and I want to share it with you. Durga the invincible, the goddess of power:

Only the sketch:

Check out the above 2 drawings on deviantart, for higher resolution prints.

Once again, happy Dussehra, be prosperous :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Simple and Easy Ray Tracer

This is possibly one of the simplest ray tracer, written not to technically achieve anything, but to understand the basic theory. This code is minimal, written in C, uses just the algorithms needed to trace, very less pointers usage, and no use of any external libraries other than ones which come packaged with Gcc by default. The code implements the following lighting models: ambient, diffuse, specular, hard shadows, reflections and one sided refractions. Please find the download link after a sample output, it is shared with the most relaxed license.

    Download [Zip, 16kb]    

This was done for a one day workshop at BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus few days ago (for their technical fest ATMOS). The challenge was to teach introduction to computer graphics and the basic theory of ray tracer, in one day, to a wide range of undergraduate students who may not be coming from a computer science background. I hope the students gained something and found it interesting.

Our team: Adi Shayan, Sneha Venkatraman, Yash Agrawal, Shiben Bhattacharjee, Naveen Kumar, Nitish Tripathi

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ouya, our savior from the cliched console gaming

All you gamers out there who have pretty much stopped playing games because of the plethora of cliched titles that you have been playing, a new hope has just jumped out of nowhere few days ago. I don't want to talk about it's details because the makers have said it in the right most form. Please read here, OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console. ... did you read it? Alright cool, let me tell you why this is important to be supported from us gamers.

Give me an honest answer. Aren't you bored of every single major game title that come out on the biggest consoles out there? One game after the other is about the same modern warfare shit. Same hack and slash games with just different characters and a yet another epic *cough bullshit cough* story. Take cover behind a waist height object and shoot. Even the joy of dodging and shooting has completely gone today.

Now the question I asked you above is gonna haunt you, because you will ask how will Ouya change this? You know what, Ouya may not at all. But what I want to say is Ouya will bring a change which us gamers are looking for since 2006, and it is that video games will once again be about gaming. Video games today are all about Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, and not about awesome game developers and their franchises. The market also tries to do that to you. At E3, GDC etc., the console giants get the biggest stage to have their key note and in general have the biggest audience. In a way, they decide for you, who are the best game developers.

You may ask, how is that a bad thing? A good console maker will try to bring only the best games on their consoles. Which is absolutely right! But what is also right is that the console maker has the upper hand in deciding what is to be played on their system.

Look, as I made it clear, I am not talking about innovative gameplay here. I am not expecting to see Portal type innovative stuff every month on the Ouya. I will end up playing first person shooters only. But what will be awesome is that now the competition will be between game developers and not publishers.

Competition between developers make them try experimental, different or refreshing things if not innovative. Competition between publishers make them force developers to stick to the current formula. You know what I am talking about right? Bungie is fucking bored making Halo since ages, when they so wanna try something new. Wouldn't you be excited to see Bungie's take on a horror adventure game? They might make something kickass! I am not even a fan of Bungie by the way, but I am just trying to not get biased in any form myself. How about Team Ninja making a futurist space Ninja game? Serious Sam with 4 players co-op? How about someone making Mirror's Edge in the right way this time? Ooooh lets play Quake 5 with the joyful meaningless shooting of aliens by dodging bullets and not taking cover like a sissy? Forget about all this awesome happy stuff I just talked about if you wanna stick with how things are right now.

Ouya comes with it's share of problems is what PCWorld says, I have to give it to them, they have good points there. Please read here: Android-Powered Ouya Isn't Without Its Share of Problems. But I still want to defend Ouya because I think PCWorld is over thinking (or under thinking, I don't know man).

That's right, its Android. I got a bit "errr" myself when I read it first. For its maximum reach to all type of app developers, Android comes with its performance issues. I hope Ouya has a good mechanism of having ways for Native code support on their system for heavy video games. I don't know if its possible at first glance, but can I say its not impossible? After all Ouya's hardware in a typical case won't change, so why not some native code support for say, just Ouya-centric games?

Which brings me to their next point. It is correct that at launch, there will be a pile of games and garbage at the same time, made by random good or bad developers all around the world. But then that is where user rating system comes into picture for Ouya. Find reviews at the Ouya game store, ratings, comments, sales at one place. Also there will be many developer who would want to make games for Ouya only, or may be a version exclusive for Ouya. You cannot say no to that. The overwhelming support for Ouya, kind of says developers are ready to develop for gaming and not for Android's holiness.

And finally the strongest point, Piracy! I have really little to say. However every hardware gets hacked, that has never stopped people from buying games and enjoying being a part of the community. This is where it comes down to how Ouya wants to put it. If they can do something like, you cannot be part of the online Ouya community if you are running non-store downloaded or non-registered stuff. I would really like to share my comments and thoughts on games, or share my scores with my friends. Those who don't like to, can happily pirate and live under a rock.

Hey and I am sure we will get to see, in time, how the left half of the controller looks like, I believe I can promise you that.

Woah look at that, how much I have written. Woooh! Lets see what happens, only time will tell. I am supporting Ouya because I am fucking bored of what's going on right now.