Posted by: srajanmani | February 1, 2009

Things starting to fall in place for MozillaCampDelhi

It so happens that after weeks(ok, days :P) of preparation for organizing MozillaCampDelhi and making it a big event, things are starting to fall right into their place. The sponsors that we have talked to seem to highly impressed by the twitter idea(ok, Mohak will kill me for telling this, but it does serve to generate a lot of curiosity among people and so, you guys better watch out for it). The venue is another problem as it has not been confirmed as of yet but rest assured it wont be compromised with. The event will be convered by a lot of media both from television to print to online media. NDTV24X7, IBN Live and Sahara Samay have agreed to do the coverage for the the event and talks are in process with CNBC. Blogadda will be doing blog posts daily on their blog. YOUTHV will be the Youth Media Partner and will be promoting the event in all colleges in the NCR region. Pringoo is providing the Mozilla laptop stickers which is awesome! Routeguru will be the directions partner and OSS Cube is the organizing partner specially with Mr. Kinshuk of OSS Cube chipping in a lot of his personal time to make this  event a success. So, a lot of stuff is yet to be completed but the work is going on at full pace.  So adios till my next post and yeah keep checking the site for updates.

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Posted by: srajanmani | January 27, 2009

Mozilla Camp Delhi- 10th Feb 2009

This is specifically for all you Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird freaks out there- an opportunity to meet face to face with the people who develop the technology that you love to use. Mozilla Camp Delhi is the first such camp taking place in Delhi and it is an entire day filled of fun n frolic and of course getting to the know the people behind the scenes. They are:

Seth Bindernagel, Director Of Localization

Seth is Director of Mozilla’s localization efforts. He is a member of Mozilla’s Evangelism team and also helps the product marketing team with projects directed at open source community building and marketing. Before becoming Director of Localization, he launched the Community Giving and Empowerment programs at Mozilla.[From his Linked In Profile: http://linkedin.com/in/sethbindernagel] Official Blog – http://blog.mozilla.com/seth/

Arun Ranganathan, Standards Evangelist

As a Standards Evangelist at Mozilla, Arun works on Web API issues, ECMAScript issues, and general web platform issues. His vision revolves around the openness of the web platform and harnessing its true potential. [From his Linked In Profile: http://linkedin.com/in/arunranga] Website – http://arunranga.com

Mozilla Camp Delhi- I am attending, what about you?

Mozilla Camp Delhi- I am attending, what about you?

For all of you guys who have been waiting to get your hands on the iPhone 3G, specially the ones like me living outside US in a country with either insanely priced iPhone (which also is fixed to a particular telecom operator ) or with no availability at all, the yellowsn0w iPhone 3G unlock is like a godsent messiah( atleast for the iPhone freaks who are unfortunate enough to live outside the US).

This unlock as the “yellowsn0w” developers claim works fine on the latest iPhone firmware version v 2.2. However, just before you jump out of you seat in joy and leave to order the iphone, do note that the launch is v 0.9 beta, that is its not even a fully finished beta version of the unlock.  Also, do note that some people have encountered problems while unlocking their phone and switching it over to your favourite phone operator.  So I would suggest that you wait a little more for atleast the full beta version to release before taking in the final plunge. However for all those people whose hands have already started itching to own an iphone, go ahead and enjoy your ALL NEW and UNLOCKED iPhone 3g but be prepared to use it as a paper weight also.

iPhone unlocked

iPhone unlocked menu

iFart: Another treat awaits the iPhone owners: Apple has decided not to ban the iFart iPhone Application dismissing the claims that iFart was an obscene application. For those of you who are in the dark about the iFart application, it is an application that sells online on iTunes store for $0.99. What is basically does that it produces 26 different kinds of fart sound ( eeww!!) which include ‘Dirty Raoul’, ‘Bombardier’, ‘Silent but Deadly’ and lots more. After all how can Apple dispose off this application as it has been the most downloaded application for nearly a month now since its launch on 12<sup>th</sup>  December  2008. So all of you reading this, fart your friends away to glory and watch their face turn red after they have seated themselves.

iFart interface

iFart interface

Now thats a personal touch, isnt it!

Recording your own fart and sending it across: Now thats a personal touch, isn't it!

Now thats a very welcome new year gift, a double whammy- ain’t it!

Posted by: srajanmani | December 10, 2008

Nearly 3000 hits!

My blog is now inching towards 3000 views and considering its only a month and a half old, its pretty good. And the best part is that viewers are from all parts of the world(see CLUSRTMAPS widget to get an idea).Thanks to everyone who has been visiting my blog.

I am sorry for no no post in the past and the current week because of my ongoing end sem exams and so I have somewhat been isolated from my computer for these two weeks or so.

I promise I will come up with a good post as soon as I am done with my exams.

Till then, keep reading!

Posted by: srajanmani | November 21, 2008

GMAIL themes, finally!

Finally, oh finally after nearly five years of existence as a plain Jane, Google decided its was time to spruce up the looks of its popular Gmail email service. After having seen the popularity of theming addons like the popular Better Gmail 2 add-on in Firefox, Google finally decided to integrate themes in Gmail. And boy were they on target! Google introduced a set of 30 themes for Gmail, having something to everyone’s liking. With a theme Graffiti(my current theme, looks cool now) to girly themes like Candy, there is a large variety of picture or background based themes. For those who prefer simple themes, there are a number of color combinations as themes. And for those who like the default simplistic look of Gmail, there is a change; Google has changed the default theme to look a lot more smoother, crisper and sharper. Thus, google has something in store for everyone, from the typical 10 year old to the 70 year old person.

PS: For the people figuring out how to change the theme, go to Settings–>Themes and select the theme that you like. Also, try the black and green terminal theme, it will surely freak you out unless you are a true coding freak.

Now I wont be signing off without giving you guys a glimpse of the themes, so here are the screenshots:

The variety of themes is just great.

The variety of themes is just great.

Posted by: srajanmani | November 19, 2008

Imagine Cup 2009

IMAGINE CUP 2009

Imagine Cup is the biggest technology competition for college going students globally. This year its bigger and better than ever before. With a variety of competitions in place, there is a great amount of choice for everyone. Showcase your robots or let you art dazzle everyone, you decide.

One world. Unlimited possibilities.

People are starving.  Diseases ravage communities.  Basic education is out of reach for too many people.  Dangerous shifts in the environment affect millions as countries struggle to develop in sustainable ways.  It seems overwhelming – but we can’t throw up our hands and give up.  The answers are all around us in thousands of ideas that happen every day.  Solutions might be in the next few lines of code, a compelling photo or even a simple video game that can teach the world a lesson.

These small sparks set the world’s imagination on fire and lead to change that really matters.  Technology can be the force that transforms these great ideas into real world solutions.  And that’s the point of the Imagine Cup every year – to use technology to make a difference.
We need everyone – software programmers, hardware developers, artists and dreamers  – to imagine a better world, then make it happen.  The Imagine Cup brings together more than 200,000 students from over 100 countries around the world where they compete to help find the answers.  And no matter who comes up with the best solutions – everybody wins!

The 2009 Worldwide Finals: Egypt

Each year the Finals are held in a different city of the world. Past Worldwide Finals include Paris, France (2008); Seoul, South Korea (2007); Delhi, India (2006); Yokohama, Japan (2005); Sao Paulo, Brazil (2004); and Barcelona, Spain (2003). The 2009 Worldwide Finals will be held in Cairo, Egypt in July 2009.

The world can’t wait!  Register now!

The 2009 Theme: Solve the World’s Toughest Problems

In 2009, the Imagine Cup challenges the world’s most talented students to “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today.” Some might use technology to help a brother or sister get an education. Or find entirely new approaches for medicine.  Or discover ways to counter the inequalities that exist between genders around the world.  These students might ensure the sustainability of our planet or help deliver universal primary education.  Yeah, it’s that important.

The United Nations has identified some of the hardest challenges in the world today in its Millennium Goals. This year the Imagine Cup uses these ambitious challenges as a guiding light to inspire change all over the world. Learn more about the eight Millennium Goals.

Competition Categories

Software Design
Software Design

We are asking students to create real world software and services applications that use Microsoft tools and technology.  It’s not just about the PC anymore – students need to think about taking advantage of mobile devices as well.  Think big!  The judging requires students to use their creativity and drive if they want to compete on the world stage.  This is where legends are born and lives are changed – where an application starts as an idea and ends up being used all over the world.Visit the Software Design competition page to learn more.

Embedded Development
Embedded Development

The object of the Embedded Development Invitational is to unleash students’ creativity in an effort to change the world into a better place. They will develop their own embedded device whose function it is to better us all.  The Embedded Development Invitational challenges students to go beyond the PC desktop and work in both hardware and software to build an embedded solution using Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 and the provided embedded platform.

Game Development
Game Development

The object of the Game Development Invitational is to create a new game that uses both Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio 3.0 and Visual Studio. Competitors’ games should illustrate the Imagine Cup theme “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today.” This is a chance for students who’ve always enjoyed playing games to create their own game and at the same time help change the global community. The Game Development Invitational is a great opportunity for learning and advancement towards an important step in their budding careers either as a game developer or as an entrepreneur in the game business. This is the students’ opportunity to build a full game from scratch!
Robotics and Algorithm
Robotics and Algorithm

Robots need more than gears and wires – they require highly sophisticated algorithms to interpret and interact with the world around them. This competition is a mathematical obstacle course where students must navigate a series of brain teasers, code challenges and algorithmic puzzles to demonstrate their ability to understand the potential of robots in our world.  This exciting event takes place in a virtual world as students progress through increasingly difficult rounds.
IT Challenge
IT Challenge

Students are challenged to develop, deploy, and maintain IT systems that are elegant, functional, robust and secure.  This demanding competition requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the science of networks, databases, and servers. They also need to show their analytical abilities and make tough decisions in IT environments.
MashUp
MashUp

The object of the MashUp competition is to create a new and useful Web 2.0 application that is connected to the Imagine Cup theme “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today.” Students will use Microsoft PopFly to leverage current third party data and services available on the internet to create a new and unique tool that is effectively consumed by other internet users as their Imagine Cup entry.
Photography
Photography

Great photographers know a single image can change the world.  In this competition, students communicate a story that explores a critical issue through a photo essay of inspiring still images. The photos must grab the audience and illustrate the students’ personal insight into these global issues.

Short Film
Short Film

We all love to go to the movies but some of us love to make movies! Filmmaking is a technical craft combined with the art of storytelling using moving images. A short film has the difficulty of conveying a message in a brief period of time while also being visually stimulating.  In this competition, students will be challenged to create an original short film and also demonstrate excellence in filmmaking at all levels from concept art to polished editing.

Design
Design
The object of the Design Invitational is to create a solution of an innovative design for easier machines and human interactions by inspiring students to use the power of technology as means to manifest their creativeness.  The new, innovative design must bring a real benefit and address the challenges of the 2009 Imagine Cup Theme.

So recently I got selected as a Microsoft Student Partner (yay!). I am taking part in the Imagine Cup 2009 and ask all of you to take part too.

PS: In the registration form, kindly fill srajanmani in the referral code column.

Posted by: srajanmani | November 13, 2008

Windows Mobile 7 junked. Windows Mobile 6.5 on its way!

A lot of people have been eagerly waiting for for some reports on the launch dates of the much awaited Windows Mobile 7 which was expected specially by the Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 users hoping to get a free upgrade to the current windows mobile. Microsoft had remained tight lipped on this issue for a long time.

However, the zip has been unlocked by Microsoft and  none other than Ballmer recently stated that there would be no launch of Windows Mobile 7, rather only an update of WM6 called WM 6.5 will be launched sometime soon next year.

From the visuals released at PDC 2008 it seems that Microsoft seems to have borrowed heavily from the zune in the interface department making it better and funkier looking though it is still quite far from iphone’s slick and elegant looking Mac OS X based interfaced. ( The above comment is not meant to start any flame wars and is purely my personal opinion after just seeing the leaked pics and so there is absolutely no surety that the pics leaked may represent the actual interface.)

Microsoft definitely needs to pull up its socks specially in the mobile OS market before it gets lagged behind too much in the race more so with the Android development beginning to take place in full swing. Windows Mobile 6.5 definitely needs to be good( and better than Android-which is open source for those are unaware of this fact) looking and pack more features in when it does launch or it shall be knocked out of this round of Mobile OS wars.

Let the battle begin!

Here are the leaked pics of the interface:

The new zune inspired menu system

The new zune 'inspired' menu system

Another menu screenshot. Notice the facebook link embedded in the menu system.

Another menu screenshot. Notice the facebook link embedded in the menu system.

Posted by: srajanmani | October 29, 2008

Windows 7 Unveiled

This is definitely good news for all those people who have been waiting for a suitable upgrade to the not-so-user-friendly Vista. Microsoft recently unveiled crucial details of Microsoft Windows 7 ( Vista had a Kernel version 6.0 and Windows 7 has kernel version 6.1). Now with rising threat from both linux and mac os x (a big threat, in my opinion) because of the flaws in Vista, Microsoft was forced to make a statement about a newer version of Windows, more specifically about its release date. Now Microsoft claims that Windows 7 will be released in January 2010.

Also, Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Windows, said Microsoft was learning its lessons from Vista, and making sure that Windows 7 would be fully compatible with all relevant devices and applications on launch.

One of the new features it plans to introduce is the touchscreen capability that will allow users to select folders and control programs without using a mouse. On paper the multitouch support looks really tempting but only time will tell how useful the function is for practical purposes.

Among other statements, Microsoft also claimed that the new Windows will have faster booting times (we really need that) an updated task bar that includes previews of open windows, a new desktop look, and a set of features optimized for laptops.

Microsoft also plans to leave out Calendar, Windows Mail, Movie Maker, Contacts and Photo Gallery, which will now be available for free download from the Microsoft website. I think that is a bad move as I really liked the calender widget on my sidebar. However, it will help in having  the hard drive free of junk that you may never use, giving the users an option to download them off MS’ site.

Now all those people who love google docs( which includes me), the following is really good news. Microsoft Tuesday said it would launch free online versions of Office that would be supported by advertising. Now, the web document market seems to be heating up, specially with many sites like fanbox.com coming up. I really doubt this will be able to draw adverts as effectively as google ad sense does.

Lets see when Microsoft will be able to release the beta version of Windows 7. Also, the point to be noted is that will MS release a second service pack for vista before launching Windows 7( They did release 3 service packs for XP, so I think they will release one before bidding adieu to Vista ). Currently it is in the pre-beta stage. The Beta is expected to be released somewhere in mid December 2008 or Early 2009.

Update: Build 6933 was shown off by Microsoft at the Professional Developers Conference 2008. It had the new taskbar enabled which seems quite cool to me. Also finally MS has rid the OS of the stupid sidebar and now my cute little widgets can float anywhere on my screen a la Leopard. I am waiting for the beta 1 to release before getting my hands dirty! Hopefully the UAC wont so annoying this time to make me shift my OS preference all together (UAC and compatibility issues are the two major reasons I planned to give Vista a skip as my primary OS after dabbling around with from its beta release days). Also for all those people who shunned Vista due to its so called exhorbitant system requirements, you can breath easy as recently Windows SVP Steve Sinofsky showcased his personal laptop during the keynote which ran the OS smoothly. The netbook reportedly ran at 1Ghz with 1 GB of RAM. This is very neat considering that the requirements are essentially the same as that of Vista which was released two years back.

Meanwhile have a look on some of the leaked Windows 7 pics:

Another Leaked Screenshot

Screen shot of about windows

The new windows 7 desktop effect

The new windows 7 desktop effect


The new taskbar released in build 6933

The new taskbar released in build 6933 which allows you to have a view the programs running in each of the tabs.

The widgets can now float acroos the screen like in Mac

The widgets can now float across the screen like in Mac OS X

Finally, Windows has integrated remote search as well!

Finally, Windows has integrated remote search as well!


Peek a boo at the new windows media player 12 ( doesnt look all that different from WMP 11, does it?)

Peek a boo at the new windows media player 12 ( doesnt look all that different from WMP 11, does it?)

For more screenshots go to : http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/win7_m3_screens.asp .

And yeah thanks to Paul Thurrott for these awesome screenies!

Posted by: srajanmani | October 28, 2008

HAPPY DIWALI!!

Hi, everyone.

I wish all my readers (current and prospective) and everyone in general a very HAPPY DIWALI. May you and your family have a properous year ahead and all your dreams are fulfilled. Have a rocking time today and play safe!

HAPPY DIWALI

HAPPY DIWALI

God Bless!

Srajan

Posted by: srajanmani | October 20, 2008

.kkreiger: A pocket sized powerhouse

In this modern day world when the application sizes are bloating up like anything, rarely do we do we encounter an application that is as clean, graphically appealing and slick as .kkreiger. The most fascinating part of this game is that it offers full fledged graphics of a quality equaling the likes of Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament and a first person shooter game play lasting for more than an hour and is yet able to pack in all of the above in 96KB, which is a miracle in itself by any standards. Just to give to idea, a single CD holds up to 700MB – over 7,000 times .kkrieger’s size. Unreal Tournament 2004 for example, which typically comes on DVD, requires more than five gigabytes, which is more than 50,000 times the disk space in comparison. The game was released way back in 2004 and was developed by a German game development team called .theprodukkt. The game as of 2008 is still in its beta stage, though many patches and bug fixes have been released for users across various platforms. The best part is that being a single mission demo it is free. To know how the miracle was made possible, read on.

The game uses volumetric lighting and intensive shaders

The game uses volumetric lighting and intensive shaders

All of the above is made possible by using .theprodukkt’s authoring software called .werkkzeug. The core of this engine lies in the form of procedural programming.  With .werkkzeug, one is able to create textures, 3D meshes, camera-movements, animation and synchronization to the music. .werkkzeug allows you to do all the above like any other game engine but the stark difference lies in the way it stores the data. Unlike regular engines which export the rendered images and textures into various file formats, it uses procedural generation which stores the manner in which the image was generated and not the image itself. Thus all rendering takes place in real time. This allows the designer to incorporate a high resolution and detailed texture into the game in less than a hundred bytes.

For further reduction in size, graphics such as 3D meshes are made from simple graphics such as cubes and cylinders which are then deformed to form the desired shape. As a result, mesh library becomes redundant. Further, The game music and sounds are produced by a multifunctional synthesizer called V2, which is fed a continuous stream of MIDI data. The synthesizer then produces the music in real time. All the above pretty much accounts for the long loading time of the game and also the high system requirements of the same.

Just look at the HDR lighting and the textures used. They can easily put HL2 graphics to shame.

Just look at the HDR lighting and the textures used. They can easily put HL2 graphics to shame.

.theprodukkt has also released a computer generated video called .debris which shares its engine with .kkreiger. The video is seven minutes long and is generated in real time. This video has more eye candy than its predecessor in the form of intensive shaders, enhanced textures and volumetric lighting. The graphics are of such high quality, that they can easily give most of the modern games a run for their money. All this results in pretty high system requirements, especially in the graphics department. And like its predecessor, .debris takes only 177KB.

The textures used in this video are roughly equivalent to the textures used in the games of about 2 years back which even then occupied a few GBs of space on your hard drive.

The textures used in this video are roughly equivalent to the textures used in the games of about 2 years back which even then occupied a few GBs of space on your hard drive.

Importance of procedural programming lies in that fact that has started a reverse trend. In a world where file sizes of applications are bloating with every new version, .kkreiger and the likes have revolutionized a counter trend .Procedural programming may well take over the traditional method of programming and file storage in the near future. It is also the need of the hour, else five years down the line even a hard drive of a few terabytes may seem insufficient for an average gamer.


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