My Blog

Welcome! What is this blog for/What will be blogged here? Well, frankly, only time will tell that ... ;-) The plan is to have stuff like ... what I plan to do/Interesting things that I want to share. My interests and hobbies ... and what I'm doing/not doing for it. Random thoughts/Opinions. Just about anything I feel like writing! have fun!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Gmail: Server Error

Got a Server error on Gmail right now and this is the error message :)

"Gmail is temporarily unavailable. Cross your fingers and try again in a few minutes. We're sorry for the inconvenience."

Sunday, June 27, 2004

In the Spirit of C.

Just read an Artima article titled In the Spirit of C. Its been a while since I programmed in C/C++ - it was fun to do that, both in College and Work. After I started with java at work, I have lost touch with C/C++.

This is an interesting article by Greg Colvin about the evolution of BCPL, B, C, C++ and java.

It bases its analysis on the facets on the spirit of C as documented in the first ANCI C standard:

  1. Trust the programmer.

  2. Don't prevent the programmer from doing what needs to be done.

  3. Keep the language small and simple.

  4. Provide only one way to do an operation.

  5. Make it fast, even if it is not guaranteed to be portable.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Hotmail boosts storage capacity.

I love competition!!! :)

Hotmail is increasing the storage capacity from a measly 2 MB to 250 MB! This will start from July onwards.

Meanwhile Rediff has boosted its mailbox from 5 MB to 1 GB.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Gmail: Hot!

I can't believe having an email account could be so hot!

Its fun to watch the kind of things people are willing to swap for a gmail account - from books to recipes. Not just that - the frequency at which such requests are posted. By the time you reach the end of the first page, just refresh - and you see a couple of new messages. Or just refresh after less than a minute and watch the number of "views" for the messages - you can watch it grow.

This site gets messages more frequently than a hot topic on slashdot!!!

Another site Gmail engine, does not have messages but it displays the number of refreshes - which grows by thousands each time you refresh.

Glossary: Definition Lists.

I was wondering what was the appropriate tag for the glossary. Most people seem to use tables for their glossary - but thats not the most appropriate tag. I feel that the Definition List tags should be used for presenting the glossary.

So the html will look something like this -

<h3>Glossary of Terms</h3>


<dt>Kaprekar Constant</dt>
<dd>A number that remains unchanged on applying the Kaprekar routine on it.</dd>


Now gotta write some CSS for displaying the definition list. I didn't like the default look.

Came across a cool site for displaying lists (especially the folder tree section). It looks good, but not what I'm looking for.

Google Labs News: Site-Flavored Google Search.

This allows you to do personalized search. You can specify the categories that the topic you are searching is in.

This is a feature I was waiting for a long time. Whenever I search for "Roche" in google (or any other search engine) I used to get more sites on the company Roche, or news articles on it - but what I need was genealogical information and not a company information! This was something that people in the XML circles have been touting since the beginning, though I didn't see much come out of it.

So now I can specify my categories and generate a html that would ideally return you the results that you want. I tried it for genealogy, but didn't get what I expected.

I used these categories -

Home -> Family
Society -> Genealogy
Society -> History
Society -> Military

[If you are researching a specific region, you can add that too]


There was only one site flavored result on searching for Roche! This will take time to build up, I assume.

Google Labs News: Google Groups.

Looks like a direct competion for yahoogroups. I like competion! ;-)

I created a group for the ROCHE/RO(A)CH(E) family genealogy at Google Groups. Unfortunately it did not allow me to keep the group name as Roche, so I kept it as RocheFamily.

Roche Family Genealogy
Browse Archives at

Google Labs News: Web Alerts.

Went to the Google Labs after a long time. Found a few new intersting things out there.

Web Alerts

"Google Web Alerts are sent by email when there is new information on the web matching the search you specify."

You just enter a search term, your email address and the frequency at which you want to be notified. A nice way to keep track of new web pages on a specific topic.

I added an alert on Kaprekar. Lets see how it works.

Note: This is different than Google News Alerts.


I feel its time to add a Glossary to my project pages.

Gmail Feedback - Filter Comments.

Today seems to be a day for Gmail feedback. ;)

Here's another comment I submitted. Its to do with the filters/rules that I can create for incoming mails. Currently the filters do not have a name or comment fields.

Browser: Firefox 0.8

Is it possible to have a comment field for the filters?

Such a field will help me in identifying, in the future, the purpose of the filter. If not a comment, even a name field will do.

Gmail Feedback - Label Hierarchy.

Sent another feedback to Gmail today. Gmail allows you to apply "Labels" to messages. You can create as many labels as you want - these are identified by a name.

Here's the feedback I submitted -

Browser: Firefox 0.8

Is it possible to provide for a hierarchy of labels?

I tend to label messages based on a classification. Right now I have too many labels floating around at the same level. If a hierarchy of labels is provided, then it would be possible to club all the technical labels (XML, SVG, Java, etc) under a single label - Technical; all the personal labels (Friends, Family) under a Personal Label and so on.

Going a step further, I could have multiple levels of labels (for e.g., Personal -> Friends - > School, College).

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Search Engine Keyword and Back Link Tracker.

I've been using the Search Engine Keyword and Back Link Tracker site for a while now. Its neat. A very convenient way for me to track the ranking of my sites (on Google Search) - with just a click of a link. It allows me to track the ranking of my site for a set of keywords (specified by me).

Advogato ...

Ok. Advogato is still down ... its been toooo long. Guess I'll forget about it for now. :(

Space Ship One.

Here's the Press Release from Scaled Composites and some Photographs from the launch of the first private manned vehicle beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Google to the rescue!

Google has become a kind of online encyclopaedia! Whenever we need to find something or check on a new topic we tend to go to google. Though there are some good search engines around (say, teoma, vivisimo), I still tend to go to google more often. Altavista used to be my default search engine before google came along. But I used to find it good only for technical queries.

Today we were having a discussion on a term and then I went to Google to clarify it. Just search for "define:" followed by the term and lo you get a bunch of defintions summarized from different sites!

SpaceShipOne Successful!

Just saw it on tv - SpaceShipOne's flight was successful!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Coloring the ends.

Been trying to color the ends of a line (in SVG) with the minimal amount of code. I asked in the svg-developers group and the w3c svg group, but didn't have much luck in either of the places.

I cracked the problem today. All I needed to do is to use markers!!! So back to KaprekarCircle now!


Space Ship One is sheduled for its first public flight this monday - June 21st 2004. They will go for the ten Million Dollar X-Prize after a successful launch tomorrow.

It will launch from Mojave, California - go to a height of 100 km (thats where "space" officially begins) and then land back where it started from.

Wishing them all the luck!

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Kaprekar Project: Original Description.

Placed the description of the project I had submitted for registering the
Kaprekar Series Generator on Sourceforge.

Project Sites: Old html pages.

I saw some of my old html pages still turning up on search results. I wonder how long it would take for them to be purged from the google index. All the new pages are php pages and the old ones have been converted to php pages.

I had put the nofollow and noindex meta tags to the html pages; added the noarchive tag too today.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Tintin Movie.

I've read Tintin for years ... some of them over and over again. Its been a few years since I read them.

I read from James Tauger's blog that Spielberg's plans to make a trilogy of films based on Tintin! Thats great news! I'm waiting for it!!! Looks like James has started a blog for it.

Handling TODO lists.

What software to use? - Treeline, Need to Know (NTK), ToDoList or TreePad?

Gmail @ Slashdot.

Gmail new was at Slashdot today.

Apart from Gmail swap that I mentioned earlier, there is a Gmail Machine! The concept is that the user visits/refreshes the site until s/he gets a specific number (1337). When the user gets that number s/he can claim a gmail account! Nice way to make ppl come to your site again and again! It seems the page has been loaded 18,295,255 by the time I reached it!! In fact ppl are donating their gmail invitations for a link on this page!

The article mentioned a few cool Gmail tools - Gmail Loader, Gmail Pop3 and Gmail Tray.

Stylesheet Servers.

Feel too lazy to create your own CSS? ppl have made it easy for you!

Check out the W3C Core Styles. Just Pick your favorite style sheet from there and point directly to the w3c site for the css! It can't be easier than that!

Want a different style? Check out the tigris style site and use their CSS.

If you want to learn CSS, on the other hand, there are plenty of sites for you ...

Census & Genealogy.

Ok, the census site does have a genealogy section.

They have a name distribution file which gives the frequency of surnames and names in the 1990 census.

The Roche entry reads -

ROCHE 0.006 52.290 2053

So, 0.006% of the population sample had the surname Roche, and it ranks 2053 in popularity!

From the male first name distribution -

CONRAD 0.022 83.595 456

So, the name Conrad ranks 456 in popularity and 0.022% of them had this name!

The female first name distribution is also available.

Coat of Arms in SVG.

Sodipodi has a few civic coat of arms in svg.

If you want to see more of these (images though), check out International Civic Heraldry.

Wonder if any family coat of arms are available in svg - would surely of interest to me, as a genealogist.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Computer Languages History.

O'Reilly has come up with a poster with the timelines and origins of fify programming languages (of the more than 2500 documented ones).

Their source is the diagram created by Éric Lévénez ( In fact you can see a more clearer poster (in b&w) at his site.

In his site you can also see the diagram for the history of unix and windows.

The Language List contains a list of all the 2500 languages.

A Map of Languages in the United States.

Found this in a CNN article. The Modern Language Association has created a Language map for the US using the 2000 census data.

The site seems to be a bit slow right now. I could not load any of the maps. I could check the detailed information where the summarized data is presented in a tabular fashion. You can select a state or zip code and find the language distribution. This is cool.

You can also select a language and see its distribution across states.

Unfortunately it clubs certain languages into groups - like "African Languages", "Other Indo-European Languages" - while fine on a graph/map or pie chart - while giving "detailed information" they should have allowed us to input the language code to check for the data.

Lynx Viewer.

Found a Lynx Viewer on the net.
So now I can test my project sites - Kaprekar and Matra - for lynx too!

The Diane Rehm Show.

This is a wonderful informative programme on the npr radio station. You can check it online at The Diane Rehm Show.

Today's talk was to be on Making neighborhoods more pedestrian friendly - no it wasn't about controlling the car traffic as you may initially think! It was about obesity in the US. The theory was (as I gathered from the preview) that by making the place pedestrian friendly - i.e., by having most places (like shops, PO etc) at walking distance from the home - would encourage people to walk instead of taking their cars.

I feel this is not enough! Consider myself - I take my car to check my mails from the mailbox - which is within the apartment complex that I live in. I feel a basic change in attitude is needed here.

Unfortunately I missed the show, so don't know what they talked about. Just got a jist of it based on the preview about the show while I was driving.

Kaprekar 2.1b released.

Released Version 2.1b of Kaprekar yesterday night. The main changes include removing dependency on the Ganita package (Huge and Number classes).

So now the Demonstrate process usese BigInteger - and consequently can handle numbers with any number of digits!

Also changed the algorithm a little bit to improve the performance while seaching for Kaprekar Series.

Gmail Gems.

There seem to be a lot of sites devoted on Gmail on the net. Until now I never noticed any of them! :)

The sites range from testing the spam filter of Gmail to swapping of gmail accounts.

And there is a site for Gmail Gems for some Gotchas.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Gmail: Internal Server Error on html attachment

I sent an html attachment to myself on my Gmail account. The file was around 5K.

When I opened the attachment in Gmail, it refused to read it and gave an "Internal Server Error"!

Something is definitely wrong!

I forwarded that mail to another of the accounts and the attachment was fine!

I've reported this incident to Gmail.

Can push sponsored links down the screen on Gmail!

Found an interesting bug on Gmail!

If you have a threaded message, Gmail displayes it as a deck of cards.

For all the cards (except one) the top line (which shows the from and to fields) is a link. This is not so for the top-most card (i.e the most recent message).

Click on any text on this line (i.e. the top line on the most recent message) and watch the "Sponsored Links" section move down!

I have notified gmail of the problem.

Photo Blog.
I'm still thinking if I should start my photo blog. I've got tons of digital photos (starting from 2000). Many of the old photos would still be interesting ... and there are new photos, of course!

But why download tool for that? ... will have to check that out ...

Ok. Gmail does have its shortcomings. Not a major one :)

Sent this feedback to the Gmail team -

For the record, the browser is Firefox 0.8, but its irrelevant for the question.

Can you please provide an ability to group a set of contact email address?

I can use it for two purposes -

1. To group together friends, so that I can just type one address in the to field. This will be more like a mailing list.

2. To bunch together multiple email addresses of the same individual. Since one contact entry can point to only a single email address, I need a mechanism to link together all the email addresses of one individual.

Note that one email address could belong to multiple "groups".


Bots on my site.
Have been seeing a lot of bots lurking around in my kaprekar and matra sites ... plan to add a page, mainly for my reference, of a list of bots found on my site with a description about them. Right now there are around 10-15 of them.

Gmail again! :)

Subscribed to my low-volume list ... the filter rules works fine and is good.

The refresh on the mailbox is so fast ... I didn't believe at first that it refreshed ;-) Hope this same performance is maintained after it goes live.

Advogato is still down.

The site still says -

"The server which had been hosting Advogato,, is currently down. Unfortunately, Manish Singh, who admins the machine, is in the process of moving, so it may take a few days to bring it back online.

If beta doesn't come back up soon, then I'll be looking for a new host for Advogato. I've gotten several generous offers for hosts, but had thought that beta's problems would be resolved sooner.

Thanks for your patience.

Raph Levien"


Hey Manish! Please move fast!!! :)

Gmail: First Impressions.

My first impressions of Gmail is good!

The presentation is the same simple and uncluttered one we are accustomed to on the google search page.

I like the way threaded messages are clubbed together - like a deck of cards. Thats cool.

I'll subscribe to my mailing lists using my gmail id now ;-)

Just for fun I checked my trash folder in Gmail ... and here's the message I found there -

"No conversations in the trash. Who needs to delete when you have 1000 MB of storage?!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Yahoo Mail and Gmail Invitation.

Today's a great day for email services!

This morning Yahoo! announced that it will increase its storage from 6 MB to 100 MB [ny times]
But Yahoo services seem to be hit by a sudden upsurge in user volume ... their mail service is too slow today. :( Not just that, even the other Yahoo services seem to have suffered.

I came to my blog site to jot down this news and the say - how I wish I get the gmail invitation. I clicked on "add a new post" and when the page displayed ... I thought I saw something in the home page ... went back to it and ... wait ... wasn't that a invitation to create an id at gmail!!! Thats great! Been waiting for it for a while - and no, I don't mind the text ads (better than those flashing image ads).

I wonder if this has anything to do with the Yahoo announcement ...

So, I've created my id. Will slowly move over to gmail. Its QoS is supposed to be good.

I still have my hotmail id ... only 'coz thats one of my oldest ids. Just incase anyone contacts me there. Will slowly transition away from it now. Hotmails 2MB sounds too tiny, now (just over half a decade later!).

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Year X Reunion.

Its going to be ten years soon - since our batch passed from engineering college. I have proposed having a "Year X Reunion" and ppl seem to be interested. Lets see how it goes. Since most of us are here in the US, it will most probably be here. Don't know how many will be able to make it ... still have to decide on the time and location ... and the activities and duration.

It will mostly be a one day get-together/party. Maybe with around 50 of the around 400 batchmates - along with the families. Even 50 will be quite a crowd!

Time flies! Its hard to believe that ten years have gone by! Things have changed a lot since our time in college. I haven't met most of them since we graduated - probaby only around 40-50 of them - mostly in the first two years after graduation. In the last two years I haven't met anyone from my batch (though met a few juniors). I met around five of our guys three years back. Been corresponding with many through mails and mailing lists.

Would be fun to meet all of them after so long a time!


Stumbled across this site -
- again today. It kinda gets addicting ;-)

Also check out

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Still waiting for Advogato to come back up again ... this whole week has passed and I still see the message "Advogato is temporarily down" ... hope it doesn't become permanently down!

Kaprekar Site: Making it XHTML Valid.

Slowly moving towards making the Kaprekar site xhtml valid.

The biggest culprit was the <p> tag. Out of years of habit, I hadn't closed any of them. Removing this problem reduced the number of validation errors to the minimum. Another one was the use of the < sign in the proofs without escaping it to &lt;

Right now there are only a few issues to be solved -
1. XHTML does not have a "target" attribute. I have used the target attribute in the navbar - this invalidates all my pages. Need to find if there is a non-javascript alrenative for this one. If not, will have to just delete that attribute.

2. The second problem - only on one page (release: changes) - is the use of the font tag. This one was somehow missed when I changed my site to use css. This will be an easy fix.

3. The last problem is the missing alt attribute in the img tag - again only in one page (playing with numbers), so should be easy to fix.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Added two more dtdtrees to the Matra site - RSS 0.91 dtdtree and XHTML strict dtdtree.

Added floral white background to the pages.

Underlined links - so that its apparent that they are links.

More modifications to the Kaprekar site.

Added an introduction to the UML SVG documents.

Added floral white background to the pages.

Underlined links - so that its apparent that they are links.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

SVG & Genealogy.

I had left a note for myself on 26-Nov-2003 saying "SVG & Genealogy" ... yep, thats it. But I remember what I left that note for. I wanted to check if I could use SVG to visualize genealogy data ... or to write an application in SVG to input genealogy data. Its been a long time since I left that note, but haven't gotten to this task yet. Hope to work on it sometime in the near future..

Speech Synthesis Markup Language.

Added the Speech Synthesis Markup Language dtdtree to the Matra web site.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Modified both the Kaprekar and Matra web sites. Added a separate CSS for the print media. Now the navbar and ads won't print - which you fire a printout - so only the content will be printed.

Added Google search and ads on the site.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Wireless Markup Language.

Added the WAP Wireless Markup Language dtdtree to the Matra web site.

Purple Pilcrows.

Read about the addition of Purple Pilcrows in Tim Bray's Blog. Which lead me to Simon Willison's Blog - specifically "plinks - a purple numbers variant".

A neat idea indeed! That looks like a cool idea for my blog ... not that anyone links to it anyway ... or maybe, more appropriately, this would be pretty good for my project web site - especially the documentation and FAQs.

Released version 2.0b of Kaprekar Series Generator.

The main changes in this release includes addition of a Gui interface to the application and processing of hexadecimal numbers. Other changes include a few minor bug-fixes and changes to the algorithm.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language.

Added the Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language dtdtree to the Matra web site.