Friday, August 31, 2007

My score is 94980 in first attempt.. What is yours

This post on Digg got me interested in the Ramps game and since it said Physics, being a Physics fan that I am, I started trying the game. Took me about 30 minutes to finish all the levels and end up with a score of 94980. So again, my score is 94,980. What is yours ...

Link for the game is

Update: Image has been updated to hide the passwords :)

Update 2 Here is my second attempt at the game. I crossed 100k but couldn't still beat some of the scores posted in the comments.. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Redemption of a man's lost dignity - Chak De India

One man, Kabir Khan captains the Indian team and takes it through to the World Cup finals, where they meet long time nemesis Pakistan in finals. He thinks its just a matter of 70 minutes and all there was is to go out there and give his best shot. Little does he know that his pride, dignity are at stake just because of his religion. Hell breaks lose on him not because he misses a penalty stroke in the penultimate moments of the game just like a zillion people before him have, but because he is a Muslim in Indian team and because he happens to have the sporting spirit to congratulate the winning team. Accusations of his being sold out to the country where he belongs to, take an uproar in the media and with the aam junta and he is forced out of the team and his ancestral home with a label as Gaddar (The traitor).

Spending seven years in anonymity Khan returns for a redemption of his lost glory. His aim, to convert the silver medal that he had, to a gold in the world cup.. As he mentions later on to the committee in an intense way, he spends these seven years in preparing for the interview with the Association. The path to the World cup is not easy for the Khan, because of the politics in the Association and more than that, the diversity in the team which has lost the identity of a 'team' by itself. Its the dignity of the person at stake and yes he delivers big time..

Thats the story of Chakk De India in short, but the way it unfolds itself on the celluloid in the direction of Shimmit Amin is excellent. CDI works big time not just because of the powerhouse performances of the cast, but because of the intensity of emotions portrayed during the duration of the movie. A girl is willing to desert her family for the love of her game while another is willing to do 'anything' for the position of the captain. Another girl is out there to teach a lesson to her boy friend according to whom the National game of India is just a stick and ball game. And yet another is out to prove her parents that she can make a mark in the world of Hockey. And above all of them who will do anything to get his dignity restored..

CDI may not reap harvest of profits for the Yash Raj films but it will surely stand out as one of the best attempts by the production house ever. Though I personally dislike Sharukh Khan for his over the top performance I cannot help but appreciate his performance in the movie. He is restrained, a wide gamut of emotions overflowing in him during the movie, from a coach who pits his girls against the men's hockey team for a chance to go to the World cup to the person who inspires the same team against the six times champion Aussies with a powerhouse speech. Seventy minutes is all you have in your life that could make a big difference in your lives, he tells the players, and you could easily associate that to yourself in all the crucial moments in life. For example, 3 hours is all you have in IIT JEE to enter the premier institutes of India or to spend the next four years in colleges which do not justify their existence as the Engineering colleges of India.

The girls perform equally well, Bindia as the senior player who has a wonderful game, but would refuse to play as the coach says just because she is a senior player in the team and wants the things her way. Watch out for her intense portrayal when she offers herself to Khan for the captaincy of the team. Though Vidya as the captain doesnt have great scenes in the movie, she does leave her impact when you leave the theater. Balbir, who transforms from a person who doesn't have a restraint on her anger to the person who uses it properly against the Argentinians in the Quarters. Komal, the bubbly young girl who wants to teach the Memsahib Prreti a lesson by making the maximum number of goals but passes the ball to her at the last moments of the finals for the sake of the nation. And above all my favorite among the lot, Preeti Sabarwal who almost loses her breath for a place in the team and is out to prove her boy friend Abhimanyu Singh that she has a career of her own as an independent woman and doesn't heed to the whims of the star cricketer. She is my favorite among the lot not because she is a gora memsahib as mentioned by Komal, but because of the enigmatic look that she carries with herself throughout the film. A look that portrays dis interest in the pettiness of Komal, a look that shows her determination for proving her might to her boy friend, a look of respect for the coach while at the same time disliking his ways, a look that leaves you haunting even after the movie is over as to what was really going on in her head while enacting the role and what emotion she was actually trying to emote more than others..

CDI might not fit in the regular Bollywood dance and routine but it is definitely worth a watch. I am sure the film would bring the same kind of inspiration about hockey as was brought by Rang De Basanthi in the youth about the country as a whole, but guess what, just as days pass by, CDI will not be able to retain the inspiration just like RDB couldn't. I still remember seeing a lot of Yahoo groups formed by youth of India who got inspired by RDB, but that was all it could go to, before it became just any other thing. Sure, CDI will generate excitement about our national game Hockey, and might retain it for a year or two, but in the wave of cricket that sweeps the nation by its feet, the national game will keep trying hard to justify its identity in the nation, until the Association and the government decide to do something to retain the lost glory...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Getting things done - Using memory where it is actually needed

This post of my previous roommate got me interested in GTD (Getting Things Done). Being the lazy guy that I am, I didn't get to read entirely of the concept and how to use it, but during a quick glance at wiki there was one statement that caught my attention. "If you could do something in less than 2 minutes, you must do it immediately. Procrastination is not going to help you. Another thing of interest is the fact that you should spend your time and brain in what matters the most, in doing things, not in remembering them or in thinking about what needs to be done.

This got me thinking and I realized that I spend more time in recollecting similar things again and again and many times end up not doing it. For example, whenever I do my laundry, most of the times, I forget to put my towels for laundry along with my clothes, and I usually end up going for a second round that is actually not necessary ending up paying $2 more. Not only that, every time I visit Walmart, I spend more time thinking about what I need to buy, than the time spent in finding the item or in getting it at the counter. Inspite of that, I end up missing something or the other making another trip all over again. Then I thought about how my Mom used to do it when I was young. She kept a book and before going to the grocery store, she would think about all the necessary items, make a list of it and take it to the store thereby saving the time to think of things at the store. I wanted to follow this approach, but there is still a problem with this approach. Every time, you will make a list, and during the making you spend your memory thinking of all the items that might be necessary. A small but significant amount of memory is being wasted in this process. Also there is a chance of losing that note book or if it was maintained in a excel sheet, maintaining a lot of them and tracking them is an issue. I thought about this for a little while, and I zeroed down on an approach and this has been working pretty good for me.

Here it is..

List down all the items you would ever buy from a Walmart or a Target in an Excel sheet or even better in a Google Spreadsheet. Look at your past couple of months receipts if you think you are forgetting some. Spend some time in preparing this list, since its only a one time task. Once you feel that your list is as complete as it can get, keep it handy. Every time you visit a Walmart or Target, check against the list and note the items that you are currently out of.. What does this save you. It saves you the cognitive process of recollecting what items you are out of, since you have all the items that you need in the list and you are checking against it.. This does save considerable amount of memory that you could probably use for some other tasks :) This was my approach. If you think of a better approach or you have a better approach that you follow, please don't hesitate to drop a line in the comments..

This is not applicable to just the Grocery list. This is applicable to anything and everything. For example, you can make a list of all things that you would ever need to take to a laundromat, and when you get ready to go there, check against your list, and you know what you missed... If you are a consultant and keep shifting frequently, then make a list of all the places that you need to change address in. The next time you shift, all you have to do is to check against this list. Google Docs is the best place to save this information because, your computer might crash or you might change your system but you will still have all your lists safe. If you are thinking, what if Google goes down, then all I could say is, (though I don't believe this would happen in the near future) Bad time, you need to prepare your list one more time...

Also you can apply this to your goals in life. Make a list of all the things that you want to do. If you could do something in less than 5 minutes, don't list it, just go finish that task and come back. Once you have set up your tasks and goals, arrange them in short term, medium term and long term and also based on their priority. When you have some time to do things, you should use that time to do one of these rather than in 'thinking' what to do at that point of time. This does matter because time saved is time spent effectively.. After all, it makes no sense in spending time in thinking of the same things redundantly like preparing a list from the scratch everytime.... You might come up with a rapidly different approach to your issues, but at the end of the day, the idea is focusing on the tasks than in thinking about the tasks to be done over and over. Good luck...