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Showing posts from 2012

Android: Setting up ViewPagerIndicator

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Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"Everything is difficult before it's easy"

In Android applications, many times, you have a bunch of things that you want to show - that are shown one at a time, and you can slide your finger horizontally across for the existing pane to fly off and the new pane to fly in. To do this, you make use of Android's ViewPagers.

However, in order to let a user know that the sliding is possible and also to indicate how many such slides are available, there are some symbols that you might have noticed. Like hollow circles and a filled circle, for example.


To achieve this kind of effect, everyone over the Internet seems to suggest using a library called ViewPagerIndicator. And they are right. You can quickly set it up.

But if you are a novice, you will go through one hell of a time trying to set it up. You can get a host of issues that you might not know how to resolve. I found that there are a large number of people in various forums, including Stac…

Of Goodness, Pragmatism and Reciprocity

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Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"In Bangalore city, the general public is like the Joker. They work very hard to bring the White Knight down to their level"

Just the other day, I was reading an interesting article about reciprocity. Apparently, the maxim "One good turn deserves another" is imbibed into our culture very deeply, so deeply that we remember good turns done to us and return favours invariably, if not immediately then over time. A good demonstration of this can be seen in the experiment by a well known psychologist whose assistant got twice as much money for raffle tickets when he got the people some coca-cola to drink (as a good gesture), than those who didn't get coca-cola - and people who didn't like him but got coke also paid double of those who liked him but didn't get coke. Amazing, isn't it? The author goes on to say that reciprocity works everywhere.

But I don't think this theory works all the time at all. In fact, a couple of days …

The Monty Hall problem

Swami Gulagulaananda said: "You showed me a goat and made me a bakra"
There was an interesting discussion at office today. I'd heard about this problem before, but didn't know that the name of the problem is "Monty Hall" problem. The problem goes like this: Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice? [Source: Wikipedia]
If you have not heard of this problem, take some time and think about it. See what the solution is, according to you. Then continue reading... You will encounter views and counter-views.
Spoiler Alert:If you continue reading beyond this part, you will encounter answers
Apparently the correct answer to the problem is…

Autocracy

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"Auto-rickshaws and auto-drivers are unstable, the former because of three wheels, the latter because, well, that's the way they are... What?"

"There is one, go and ask him". "Do I have to? Alright alright, stop poking my ribs" I said. I looked at the auto-driver again. The uncouth man with a shabby shirt and unshaved face was sitting idly, looking at nothing in particular. He scratched his face with all five fingers of his hand, for he didn't have any more to spare. Then he stuck his little finger into his ear and drilled it for a few seconds, pulled it out and without much thought took it to his nose and sniffed at it. I made a face and turned to look at my wife. "What? Stop staring and ask him!" she said again. I began walking towards him, being deliberately slow, hoping against all hopes that he would suddenly start his vehicle and ride away. But no such thing happened and I eventually covered those ten metr…

Death to the queen

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"When people are pushed over the edge, expect the unexpected"

This is my first attempt to write a Rondeau. It's titled 'Death to the queen'
---

He stood in the darkness like the shadow of the night,
Not caring to be wrong, nor caring to be right,
And then she arrived with some forty men,
Sycophantic chicks around mother hen,
He picked his gun, resolved to fight.

For no peaceful way could befall his sight,
And this was the way to rid this blight
She walked unaware towards her den,
Death to the queen!

He remembered his son, playing with his kite,
Beloved wife, with a future very bright,
Burned them all, he remembered then,
By greedy leaders, who had spoken zen,
And had looted the country for the queen's delight

Death to the queen!

---
Epilogue:
Corrupt politicians loot the country, a country where the investigating agency (CBI) is as independent as the ring finger is from the middle. A country where the rich get richer and the poorer ju…

The Face Reader

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"I was told that I sucked at math... I still couldn't understand what his problem was"

"Well, hullo neighbour! What may I do for you?" asked my merry neighbour. He didn't look particularly smart, but he had a long list of degrees below his name-plate, the one etched in granite that was outside his home-office... - BA, BCom, BSc, LLB, and a couple of finance related degrees, I fail to remember those names. Who even does so many courses? "I was told you are good at palmistry. I also saw the board outside. I was just wondering if you could have a look at mine" I told him meekly. He was also good at numerology. This happened on the last day of my PU exams. "Why, sure. Come on in"

He handed me two pieces of crude cylindrical translucent glassy objects. "Hold these crystal pieces in your hand. They will drive away the evil spirits, the negative energy from you so that I can read it clearly". "What a loa…

Posting on Facebook - An authoritative guide

Swami Nikhilaananda was told:
"Remember, actions have consequences"

Just the other day, I was talking to one of my best friends who's in the USA. He said people simply refuse to step out of their houses to meet others and socialise, they would rather talk to the same group of friends online. The internet and social networking websites certainly have their advantages. Unlike over a decade back, talking to someone who lives hundreds of kilometres away from you isn't difficult today. In fact, you can see them too. And with social networking such as Facebook, the entire group of friends can see what others are doing, share and comment on photographs and chat together irrespective of where you are physically.

While everything sounds hunky-dory, there are quite a few disadvantages associated with social networking. In this post, I am going to pick only one, deliberately skipping privacy, security and other equally important issues - "The Etiquette Of Posting"

I d…

The Fruitcake

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I wonder if it is better to be fruitier than a nut-cake or nuttier than a fruitcake"

The boring drivel continued unabated. My chum on my left was busy doodling what I could only imagine to be a grotesque version of a rabbit. Or was it a witch? I rest my case. "This bally lecture seems to be unending" I said through clenched teeth "It's not like anyone's listening". He continued shading some areas carefully. "What do you think of it? I drew ginger" he said proudly. "Nice" I said to avoid the topic. Ginger? It looked like a dead rat. "You won't believe what happened to me yesterday" I told him. "I got an e-card from this girl I happened to meet recently. I don't know how to respond to it. What do you reckon I should do?"

He made a face. But it seemed like I had finally caught his attention. "What ho! A girl you say? To you? Surely you didn't concoct it out of your fa…

Work Life Balance

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"No matter how good one can get, there is always someone who is better"

[This story is based on an episode of Rurouni Kenshin - A beautiful anime/manga]

During the days of the Samurai, there was a Dojo in the grand city of Kyoto where many students learnt the art of swordsmanship. Among them was the hero of this story. The students were mostly good, but only this young man stood out from the rest. He was able to beat all of them with ease. He hardly felt that they were a challenge. One dark night, as the wind blew with all its might, and the rain fell down in torrents, this young man, who was on his way home beheld a sight that would change his life. There was an eerie shriek, one that made him instantly alert. He quickly clasped his sword, ready to swing into action, slightly skeptical however, for he knew not who the foe was. The shriek was that of a young woman who had just been robbed.

The masked bandit who had relieved her of her jewellery was …

Englees pleeze

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Horn, ok... pleeze!"

[In this post, I am making an attempt to mimic The Local Tea Party, which by the way, is not a site to be missed.]

This English no, it is a funny language. I know, I know you will say it is one old cliche. Look at that word, cliche. It is written like niche, but both are pronounced so differently.

Not to worry, I am not going to bore you with some good old lines that I ripped off a bunch of sites ok ma? I am going to talk about some experiences I myself had, and some experiences my friends had. Let me start with one that my friend had. It seems she and her fiance and some friends went to this restaurant somewhere in Bangalore. The waiter came and asked what you want? This fiance guy told it seems, 'Bring me one mohito...' Waiter gave one dirty look, then smugly told 'Saar, it's pronounced mojito'. See what happened there? Fiance was right in pronouncing mojito as mohito. But he seemed like an ass to that wai…

The Social Contract

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"By the end of this post, don't wonder if YOU are Jack... You most likely aren't. I learnt this trick from that book I have mentioned at the end..."

I recently had the misfortune of speaking to a 'hyper-sensitive narcissist' - Let's call this person Jack (Although John Doe or John Smith are more standard). Now let's assume you have met this person Jack and you are having a conversation. As the conversation proceeds, you start noticing that Jack has all the qualities of a megalomaniac but not actual qualities... Just grandiose notions about himself.

But in the conversation, Jack also mentions that he is extremely sensitive, which you notice when you made a crack which was taken very seriously. Now we come to an interesting juncture - The narcissism reaches such annoying heights that it makes you barf, and yet you cannot say anything on this person's face because, well, because you aren't Dr. House and because 'Soci…

The Bleeding Heart

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"When you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount"

(You might want to listen to 'Into Dust - Mazzy Star' in the background while reading this)

I was on my knees as I held her head in my arms. I didn't remember how I got there, but I certainly was aware that it all was very strange. The ground was white... sheer white. There was no grain of sand, just absolute  white. And at that one fraction of a second when I raised my head, it hit me, and etched into my mind the vast expanse of whiteness. It seemed to stretch in all directions, and there was nothing apart from the two of us in the middle of what seemed to be a great void. The two of us, wearing layers of white, were in the middle of nothingness.

But it was not this bizarre environment that startled me. It was her. I kept staring at her face. That lifeless countenance. For a fleeting moment, I could see her fair face with the slight blush in her cheek. The rosy hue a…

Most people do think alike

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Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"I definitely know what you are thinking..."

When I used to hear the term "Out of the box" and many similar terms, I used to immediately dismiss them as management jargon. I still believe that most people who do use these terms are using it just because it has a nice ring to it - not because they truly understand it. The truth is, however, that very few people actually think very differently.

I'll give you a simple example. This is a trick I learnt ages ago, from whom, I remember not. But go ahead and try this on others, and you will find this to be true. Now I am going to perform this trick with you, so play along, ok? Here goes...

Think of a number between 1 and 9Multiply that number by 9Add the digits of the two digit number that you got.Now that you have a single digit, subtract 5 from itIf the answer is 1, letter is 'A'. If the answer is 2, letter is 'B'. If the answer is 3, letter is 'C' and so on... So co…

Yahoo! Open Hack 2012 - An Experience

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Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Yaaaahhhooooooo!"

I was excited when I heard that the Yahoo! Open Hack was around the corner when I received an email and read the tweet - It was time for the mayhem to begin. This was my second Yahoo! hackathon. The first one had been a brilliant experience. There are a lot of things to speak about Yahoo Hackathon. The sheer energy of people around you makes you go wow. Most people have that aura of intelligence on them.

This year, the event was held at Sheraton, Yeshwanthpur. I reached the venue on time, well, about 30 minutes past the actual beginning time. I found that quite a lot of people had gathered before me and had taken their seats inside the smaller room. I was done with my registration quite soon, and I wanted to have some coffee. I had skipped my breakfast at home (as has become my usual practice lately) and then my eyes fell on them - the most coveted item of the Hackathon... No, not the prize, the bean bags. I picked a nice spot nex…

Pride and Belonging

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"If it is not intuitive, it doesn't mean it is not powerful - it means that we should put an effort to learn it. And no, I am not talking about software"

Let me begin this essay by talking very briefly (so as to not make it seem like my hobby-horse and bore non-technologists) about an editor called VIM. If you have any friends who are developers (and not hard-core geeks), ask them about it. Most of them would have barely heard of it, leave alone used it. Even those who have used it, will say that it is the least intuitive editor, that there are far more sophisticated and intuitive editors around. To be honest, it is a fact.

Let's take an average person and ask him to use the editors - vim and Sublime Text. You will find that he will find Sublime a pleasure to use. He will not like vim at all. Then you ask him to do a bunch of tasks to be done with the editor, and watch him struggle with vim as he breezes past while using sublime. Why? Is it …

The 99 Club

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I always remember what Buddha said - Desire is the root of all evil"
My friend Deepthi shared this nice story which I felt is worth sharing with the rest of you. I believe she got the story from the "ISKCON Bangalore" group.

The 99 Club
Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content. One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy.

Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the King’s woes and the servant’s story, the advisor said, “Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club.”

“The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?” the King inquired. The advisor replied, “Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this…

The Mob Psychology

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Honour, it seems to be a forgotten word"

"Honour, it seems to be a forgotten word" (or something to that effect) was the opening line of The Last Samurai. If you have watched the anime Kenshin or watched The Last Samurai, you get a good idea about life in Japan during the mid 1800s. People gave a lot of value to honour - Of course, some were extreme in that, Seppuku being an example.

Many of my friends have gone to the US for higher studies. I still remember them telling me that the US was not very different from India, except that there were lesser people, and the streets were a little cleaner (less dusty). They were vehement, and even said that the US was greatly hyped. But as time passed by, they seem to have changed their opinion, because with time, they have seen several differences.

If you are reading this post, you are most likely educated (I won't merely call you literate) and if you look around, you will notice that the foll…