Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Anti-Indian put-down

A post on Slashdot, lately very hostile to India because of the outsourcing of jobs, referred to Srinivasa Ramanujan as "the Indian math guy." Hmm...

Books from Google

Google returns link to scanned copies of books. I googled "P G Wodehouse" & "R K Narayan," and found Introducing Jeeves & Financial Expert respectively.

While this is no match for the sheer volume of Project Gutenberg, it gives the feel of reading from paper, since we get scanned images.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"One dollar! Pie the Professor! One Dollar!"

Pi DayAmerican universities celebrate today as π Day. (Guess why?) The CMU Math Club organised (what seemed to me a trifle barbaric) event called "Pie the Professor," with an entry fee of $1. Curious why I called it barbaric? Hint: Pie is used here as a verb. Still don't get it? Watch the video! (1.92MB)

(Click on the thumb-nail picture to view the video.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Enna, soundu vidare?

Madras Tamil, that lingo of auto drivers and college students of the south Indian metropolis, has been sighted in Wikipedia! Tuckeraa keedhu ma...

Thanks, PM for the link.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

First day at CMU

It was a freezing day (-5 Centigrade max) when I set out late morning for our first day at Carnegie Mellon, which is a 15-minute walk from our apartment. I was swathed in a muffler, woollen cap, 2 layers of gloves, jacket (over shirt) and jeans (over long john) and two socks each in my sneakers to brace myself against the elements: This was just about enough.

Since I could not cook today (just moved in yesterday), my friends here took me to a guest lecture ("Using Reflection and Abstraction in Software Engineering") - free pizza and coke!

CMU RecreationAfter food, I went round the campus and was taken in by all the facilities here. The sports and fitness areas at the University Center (UC): basketball, squash, badminton, table-tennis, tennis courts and a sprawling football field. There were two gyms: one with machines at the UC and another predominantly with free weights. After seeing the libraries, I felt I would frequent the humanities one (Hunt Library) more than the Engineering & Science Library.

Later in the day, I visited (meaning, had a darshan of the building; not everybody is allowed inside) the famed Software Engineering Institute that revolutionised the way we do software development. It pioneered, among others, software processes (remember CMM?) and software architecture. I don't know how many other universities have a Master of Software Engineering degree.

I returned home at 8:30 in the night by the Escort Service van (run by the university police to take home the students safely in the late hours).

(Click on the thumb-nail picture to view photos.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Trans-continental migration

Our course moved from CMU's west coast campus in California to the main campus at Pittsburgh - right across the North American continent. So our class of 19 too effected a mass exodus today, moving into snowy region for the first time. And into a great apartment, thanks to our university.

There was delay in the departure of our America West afternoon flight. So the airport staff transferred us to a Continental airlines plane that was to leave a little earlier. Because of this, six of our friends who could not make it to the airport early enough were forced to miss this flight and others (of the 13 that went on the afternoon flight) could not get their luggage in time to check them in. The airlines authorities got them on a direct flight from San Francisco that night. They did not have to pay again (imagine missing a train in India and getting a free ticket on the next one) but the missed luggage was charged.
Pitts Travel Photo
On the flight, we were served some snacks, chocolate, chicken sandwich and juice. I could not have the sandwich since I am a vegetarian.

Travelling east, we lost three hours when we arrived at Pittsburgh at around 11 in the night. We were taken from the air terminal to the baggage claim area on a train. I am not sure whether this is because the place is quite a distance away (it was around 5 minutes on the train) or because the climate is such that we cannot walk in open spaces.

We experienced our first snow-fall (as we got down from the van arranged by the university to take us to the apartments). Touching the smooth powdery snow, I realised what a long way I have come from the humid tropical city of Madras. I do not wish to waste any more words - go have a look at the pictures: they tell the whole story!

(Click on the thumb-nail picture to view photos.)