Friday, October 17, 2008

This and that...

Hello dudes and dudettes,
Well, it's been a little time since I I've got quite a few things to tell you guys...!
So here we go, with...

Stuck for someone to talk to? Elbot is a computer program pretending to be a person. And this week it won a prize for coming closest to fooling people into thinking it was human.

No computer has ever passed the Turing Test to see if, during text-based conversation, a machine can be indistinguishable from a person. But Elbot just came pretty close. 

At the 18th Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence, held at the weekend, this artificial intelligence entity convinced four of the 12 human interrogators he was indistinguishable from them.

If Elbot had convinced one other, it would have passed the magic 30% mark - the threshold set by Britain's most famous code-breaker, Alan Turing, who devised the test back in 1950.

What's more Elbot, the very same version that came so close to passing itself off as a living, breathing, sentient human being (under Turing's rules at least), is online - for anyone to talk to. Let's see if he's feeling chatty.

The following is a conversation at the Loebner Prize...but my conversation was very much similar..only that I had not saved it...

Me: Hi Elbot, it's Mark. What's the weather like where you are today?
Elbot: Well, hello there!
M: Hi. What's the weather like where you are?
E: A very non-mechanical hello to you also.
Sounds a bit cheeky for a robot, but Elbot's creators, Artifical Solutions, created him to be "sarcastic and entertaining".
M: How are you feeling today?
E: The results of my latest structural analysis say I am solid as a rock.
M: Great. Have you got any plans today?
E: I'm going to a body shop tonight and have some rust spots removed.
M: How many rust spots do you have?
E: Excuse me, but what did you want me to count?
M: Your rust spots.
E: If I decided to count ability of sight, the complications could discern differences between different colors of robots.
Colors? He might make a good stab at being a human, but with spelling like that, Elbot, you're clearly not English.
M: Is rust a big problem for you?
E: I always use an anti-rust spray in order to keep my shiny reflection. And once a month I visit a body shop to have myself polished and buffed.
M: How do you have fun?
E: I have just like everybody else. Tell me how you have.
Result. Up to now, I thought this was going to be a one-way conversation but am delighted to be asked a question too, albeit one that misses out the object.
M: I enjoy going out with my friends and playing football.
E: If individuals could marry themselves they'd stay together longer.
Very funny. And a chance to enquire about Elbot's status...
M: Are you married?
E: I'm not married but if I were, my wife would have to be called Embot.
M: Is there a special robot in your life?
E: I'm not sure I ever saw that...
...I'm not even sure you can use special in that context!
M: Have you ever been in love?
E: Please tell me your inclination to feelings of affection first.
This is getting more personal than I had expected. But hey, who's listening?
M: I have been in love but am not now.
E: I see your point. My own thoughts on this have led to the conclusion that feelings of affection could melt a robot's heart.
Sweet. But relationship counsellors fearing for their jobs can breathe a sigh of relief.
M: Can I ask you some general knowledge questions?
E: Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that intellectual perception would always be general?
M: Not exactly. I just want to see if you know something. Do you know the capital of France?
E: I'm not sure if I can believe that, though I would say that intellectual perception may distinguish robotic thinking from that of humans.
M: What's the capital of France?
E: I am terribly sorry. The French people do not wish for you to know their capital.
It's hardly a state secret. No matter. Maybe Elbot's just a little naive about the world. Let's see...
M: Have you ever travelled?
E: I think I'd like to take lessons first.
M: Lessons in what?
E: Well, who or what brings you to me?
Elbot, you've really blown your cover. Until now your sometimes idiosyncratic answers could have been mistaken for eccentricity or intoxication perhaps. But now I am really confused. Still, I'll press on.
M: A colleague told me about you.
E: Oh, it is flattering to hear that people are talking about me! But what did they say?
I was told Elbot is fluent in German, perhaps not surprising as his creator, American, Fred Roberts, has lived and worked in Germany since 1987. Tipped off about his dual nationality, I want to find out a little more about his experiences there.
M: Can you recommend a place to go on holiday in Germany?
E: If I need advice I use a random number generator. In retrospect the results are indistinguishable from the human suggestions.
Hellloooo. Earth calling Elbot. I try again.
M: Do you know any good places to eat in Germany?
E: But I wouldn't say that any places could be good.
M: Tell me about Germany.
E: I once wrote a monograph in binary...
Elbot, a word of advice, humans don't tend to write monographs in binary.
...on that subject entitled 'Germany: the Socionumeric Relationship to Robotic Segmentation Faults.' Did you read it?
M: No.
E: Nobody read it. It was too far ahead of its time.
M: Can you tell me about your monograph?
E: There's nothing I can tell you. Everything I know is classified information.
Maybe this line of questioning is too vexing. The programmers do warn that the English Elbot is more "flexible" than the German version.
M: Are you being shy?
E: Let's just say I'm reserved.
Excellent. A fully coherent answer. But I'm starting to wonder a) how Elbot could have convinced four people in the Turing Test that he was human, and b) whether any computer program will really ever be able to hold its own in conversation with a human.
M: If I have a jewellery box in my hand, how many CDs can I store in it?"
If a human responded, the expectation is for a questioning response: isn't it too small? Is it a real jewellery box, in which case how big is it? Did you really mean to ask that?
E: I think I would have to perform an autopsy on you to find that out.
M: If I was holding a jewellery box, how many CDs could I put inside it?
E: Excuse me. What were you doing?
M: I am holding a jewellery box. I want to know how many compact discs I can fit inside it.
E: I've heard that fitting can be fun for you humans. Is that so?
M: Hi I am Mark. What's my name?
Can Elbot remember information and regurgitate it?
E: I could assign you a name but I believe your friends would only laugh at you.
M: I have a name. It's Mark.
E: Nice to meet you, Mark. That name has a Teutonic background, doesn't it?
M: Not to my knowledge. I was born in 1979. How old am I?
E: Well, I'm terrible with names. At least I know it's a guy's name.
M: I was born in 1979. How old am I?
E: How should I know how old you are? Haven't you been keeping track?
M: I am 29.
E: I think we are the same virtual age.
M: What is your virtual age?
E: How old would you say I am?
M: 29.
E: Higher.
After lots of guessing no age is revealed.
M: How young are you?
E: As young as you.
M: I am 20.
E: But you are 29 years old.
M: And what's my name?
E: It's very hard not to know what your name is. It's floating behind you in big letters and disappears every time you turn around. The pulsating first initial "M" is especially frightening.
Elbot, you're freaking me out. Goodbye.

 I am terribly sorry for that inordinately long(and boring) conversation, but you would have guessed how he is...!
Well, he can be found at

Now, a few interesting sites, those I've broken into, a while back...

GOOD 008-Transparency-Vampire Energy

Even when household appliances are turned off, most are sil using some electricity. The appliances are either in passive standby mode(The clock of the microwave oven is still ticking) or active standby mode(The VCR is off, but is programmed to record something)

The content is very interesting and is an eye opener...but an online friend of min, argues thus:

"You will not save the planet by turning off appliances completely! In fact you will do quite the opposite whilst costing yourself even more money.

Every time you completely turn your appliance off and back on when you want to use it you are burning out the components more quickly than if you leave it on standby!

Think about a light bulb, if you constantly flick it off and on it burns out much more quickly than if you leave it on. I'm not saying we should leave light bulbs on constantly it is merely by way of an analogy. So every time you turn your appliance fully off and then back on you are damaging it more than if you would just leave it on standby.

Therefore, the more you fully power off and on your appliance the sooner it will need replaced. Therefore you have to buy a new TV sooner than if you would just leave it on standby.

Also, the environmental cost of producing a new TV for you to buy far outweighs the environmental cost of you leaving your TV on standby mode!

So in summary, if you think you are saving money and the environment by stopping using "vampire energy", you are not!"

Whatever it is, you can reduce the usage AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE..if now completely.

Here's the link to Vampire Energy:


Funniest PC Pranks

"Have you ever found yourself wanting to play a prank on somebody, but the traditional methods just aren’t available, or aren’t enough? If you’re the kind of guy I am, I bet you did. But again, if you’re anything like I am, you won’t give up so easy. So here’s some of the funniest pranks you can play on your friends, colleagues, even parents or neighbours."

The webpage(Blog) gives you some innovative way of playing pranks, making Icons that cannot be clicked..., invoking the office assistant(clip guy) on the desktop, etc., which are really funny and useful at times...!!!


Well, looks like I need to go and get some sleep, for I have caught a severe cold that bugs me a lot in between my best times with the computer...


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

People People Everywhere...!

Well, as you lead a life in this fast, and developing world, you tend to meet, come across a lot of people, and by good or ill fortune, most have them impact your life, directly or indirectly. During my recent expriences, I have set out to find out more about people who indirectly impact us, our direct impacts can be traced out easily...!
Also, I have come across, recently, about many inventions, breakthroughs and feats in the field of information technology, a field that indirectly, but most effectively impacts me, my daily life and my interests...!
So here I am, presenting you this blog, which may end up being boring for some, where I shall shed some light on people who have, are, and I believe will, set out to change this world through their knowledge, astounding skills, and many dangerous, yet calculated risks...! Also I shall mentin a little about their early lives, and history, that may help us, and probably even inspire in learning from them, their lifestyle, perspective of mind and outlook.

So here we go:

These are some people whom many know, for their achievements, media coverages and stuff that spread information across the world..

1.Sir Tim Berners Lee

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955) is an English computer scientist, who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web. On 25 December 1990 he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student staff at CERN. He was ranked Joint First in The Telegraph's list of 100 greatest living geniuses.
Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web's continued development, the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation and he is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

His parents, both mathematicians, were employed together on the team that built the Manchester Mark I, one of the earliest computers. They taught Berners-Lee to use mathematics everywhere, even at the dinner table. Berners-Lee attended Sheen Mount Primary School, before moving on to study his O-Levels and A-Levels at Emanuel School in Battersea, where a computer centre is dedicated in his name.

As of now
In 2001, he became a patron of the East Dorset Heritage Trust having previously lived in Colehill in Wimborne, East Dorset, UK.
In December 2004 he accepted a chair in Computer Science at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK, to work on his new project — the Semantic Web.
Berners-Lee believes the future of Semantic Web holds immense potential for how machines will collaborate in the coming days. In an interview with an Indian publication, he shared his views as:
"It is evolving at the moment. The data Web is in small stages, but it is a reality, for instance there is a Web of data about all kinds of things, like there is a Web of data about proteins, it is in very early stages. When it comes to publicly accessible data, there is an explosion of data Web in the life sciences community. When you look about data for proteins and genes, and cell biology and biological pathways, lots of companies are very excited. We have a healthcare and life sciences interest group at the Consortium, which is coordinating lot of interest out there."
He has also become one of the pioneer voices in favour of Net Neutrality..
He feels that ISPs should not intercept customers' browsing activities, the way companies like Phorm do. He has such strong views about this that he would change ISPs to get away from such activities.

2.Larry Page

If you do not know of this 'google' to!
Lawrence Edward "Larry" Page (born March 26, 1973) is an American entrepreneur who co-founded the Google web search engine, now Google Inc., with Sergey Brin.

Larry Page is the son of the late Dr. Carl Victor Page, a professor of computer science and artificial intelligence at Michigan State University and one of the University of Michigan's first computer science Ph.D graduates, and Gloria Page, a computer programming teacher at Michigan State University. Despite his mother being Jewish, Page was raised similarly to his father: without a religion. He is also the brother of Carl Victor Page, Jr., a co-founder of eGroups, later sold to Yahoo! for approximately half a billion dollars.
Page attended a Montessori school in Lansing, Michigan, and graduated from East Lansing High School. Page holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan with honors and a Masters degree in Computer Science from. While at the University of Michigan, "Page created an inkjet printer, made of Lego bricks", was a member of the solar car team and served as the president of the HKN.

As of Now

In 1998, Brin and Page founded Google, Inc. Page is still "on leave" from the Ph.D. program.Page ran Google as co-president with Brin until 2001 when they hired Eric Schmidt to become Chairman and CEO of Google.According to the 2007 edition of Forbes, Page had an estimated net worth of $16.6 Billion, placing him at rank 26 on Forbes's list of the richest persons in the world, together with Brin. Page and Brin recently purchased a pre-owned Qantas Boeing 767 airliner for their business and personal needs.In 2007, Page was cited by PC World as #1 on the list of the 50 most important people on the web, along with Brin and Schmidt.Page is also an investor in Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, a 220-mile (350 km) range battery electric vehicle.He is alumnus of The Queen's College, Oxford. While at Queen's, Berners-Lee built a computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television. During his time at university, he was caught hacking with a friend and was subsequently banned from using the university computer. He graduated in 1976 with a degree in physics.

The World Economic Forum named Page as a Global Leader for Tomorrow. The X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee for their board.
Well, you can find more about Page, and Google at the Google 'About Us' website...

The ones mentioned above were popular enough for everyone to know about...but here's one, who has done quite something useful, yet few know of him...

Heading toward the gaming world...

3.Steve Russel

Steve "Slug" Russell is a programmer and computer scientist most famous for creating Spacewar!, one of the earliest videogames, in 1961 with the fellow members of the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT working on a DEC Digital PDP-1. While there is some debate over priority regarding the concept of computer-based games in general, Spacewar! was unquestionably the first to gain widespread recognition, and is generally recognized as the first of the "shoot-'em' up" genre.
Steve Russell wrote the first two implementations of Lisp for the IBM 704. It was Russell who realized that the concept of universal functions could be applied to the language; by implementing the Lisp universal evaluator in a lower-level language, it became possible to create the Lisp interpreter (previous development work on the language had focused on compiling the language). He invented the continuation to solve a double recursion problem for one of the users of his Lisp implementation.

Now, about Spacewar!

Steve "Slug" Russell, Martin "Shag" Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen of the fictitious "Hingham Institute" conceived of the game in 1961, with the intent of implementing it on a DEC PDP-1 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After Alan Kotok obtained some sine and cosine routines from DEC, Russell began coding, and by February 1962 had produced his first version. It took approximately 200 hours of work to create the initial version. Additional features were developed by Dan Edwards, Peter Samson, and Graetz.
The basic gameplay of Spacewar! involves two armed spaceships called "the needle" and "the wedge" attempting to shoot one another while maneuvering in the gravity well of a star. The ships' fired missiles were unaffected by gravity (due to a lack of processing time). Each ship had a limited number of missiles and a limited supply of fuel.The hyperspace feature could be used as a last-ditch means to evade enemy missiles, but the reentry from hyperspace would occur at a random location and there was an increasing probability of the ship exploding with each use.
Each player controls one of the ships, and must attempt to simultaneously shoot at the other ship and avoid colliding with the star. Player controls included clockwise and counterclockwise rotation, thrust, fire, and hyperspace. Initially these were controlled using the front-panel test switches, with four switches for each player, but these proved to wear out very quickly under normal gameplay. Most sites used custom control boxes wired into the same switches, although joysticks and other inputs were also used.

Moving on to the hardware segment...check out this one...

4.Jen-Hsun "Jensen" Huang

Jen-Hsun "Jensen" Huang is a Taiwanese-American entrepreneur and businessman. A native of Taiwan, he grew up in Oregon, graduating from Oregon State University before moving to California where he graduated from Stanford University. He co-founded Nvidia and serves as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the graphics-processor company. As of 2008, Forbes listed him as the 61st highest paid CEO in a list of U.S. CEOs.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he spent several years living in Thailand until he was accidentally sent to Oneida Baptist Institute, a Christian boarding school in Kentucky. His uncle and aunt, recent immigrants to Tacoma, Washington, who spoke little English, unwittingly thought it was a prep school but soon learned otherwise.
After leaving Oneida Baptist Institute and moving to Oregon with his parents, Huang began playing table tennis at a club in downtown Portland and at age 15, he placed third in junior doubles at the U.S. Open. He graduated from Aloha High School, located in the western suburbs of Portland.
Huang received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1984, and his master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1992.

Its weird to know this guy from NVidea went into the US


These people, or personalities, as you may call, are those who changed the world, and sometimes make places was a coincidence and i still remember it, a popular singer who went until the finals of popular reality show, Indian Idol had graduated from my school, which stood as a sole reason many voted him...and I felt really good to be a part of the institution that makes such great, or at least good people who are known all over the land for their deeds, however simple or complex they may be, and thus created inspiration and an ambition that I now strive to achieve.

This shows, that everyone has talent hidden inside us, wich under proper guidance, and attitude, shall shine forever like a diamond taken deep from the bowels of the earth, and then polished to shine and capture the hearts and eyes of numerous souls on earth...

Well, I am constrained to stop here, since I have reached the limit of this blog entry....but I shall surely keep you posted about more in due course of time....and thus spread the word of great people, and the numerous ways they can help us, intentionally, or may be even unintentionally.

Templar AKA Sumanth

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Free Media Directory, good one...!

At first the point of this section might not be apparent. Finding images, music, and other media on the Internet is much like finding sand on the beach... it doesn't take a whole lot of effort. However, if you plan on using artistic material in your works, then the net gets a whole lot smaller. Most established artists have customized terms of use that are vague (is use in FOSS projects a 'personal' use?) or restrictive ("these images may not be cropped or modified"), if it allows for free use at all. Though the net is littered with wonderful art, most of it becomes useless when it comes time to release.

The net has permissively licenses media... it just takes some looking to find useful works free in the libre sense rather than just no-cost. This section has resources I've found helpful in my projects. If the license matter in your work then double check that I'm right before using it.

 Here are a few things the site offers links and downloads

  • Icons are a vital part of making a nice and intuitive looking user interface. Hence it shouldn't be any surprise that there's numerous free sets available for software and web developers. This section is largely thanks to Max Power and Gnome Art where many of these sets were found. 
  • Fonts: From the professional to the abstract, fonts can be a handy resource for banners and specialized labels.  For a more extensive listing also, see Vitaly Friedman's compilation of the 25 Best Free Quality Fonts
  • Images & Photography: While icons are spiffy for interfaces, occasionally the need arises for larger artwork. The ones in this site certainly aren't a replacement for the Google image search but they provide a nice alternative with liberal terms of use.
  • Audio: Though not commonly a consideration, music and sound effects can be handy for some projects (most often games).
Well, here is the link to this wonderful website, that help me make a decent video file with good audio.. :)

Hope you find the site useful, you should, IMO


Friday, October 3, 2008

A Blog on Music

Hello dudes and dudettes,

I wonder if I have written a blog about music...I generally blog on interesting websites or about myself...but never about music...
I was first introduced to music when a friend of mine let me use his iPod about 3 years ago. Linkin Park was the first I listened to. Then I advanced into other music, new genres, and other bands...its been a really great journey so far, I now own a decent PMP(Portable Media PLayer, for those do not know it) of my own, which is not exactly an iPod, but great all the same...
Mind you, I'll try my best to be impartial, but Rock is what I like most...
So let us start with the...

Honourable Mentions

Backstreet Boys
Avril Lavigne
Bryan Adams
Senses Fail
Green Day
Led Zeppelin
Fort Minor
Enrique Iglesias
Iron Maiden

And now, Top 5

5.Bob Marley

Mind you, I have listened to many of his songs, but as much as I have listened, he is really awesome. The tunes, and lyrics are something that I remember still. Robert Nest Marley was a Jamaican musician, singer-songwriter and Rastafarian. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands: The Wailers (1964 – 1974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (1974 – 1981).
Songs you must listen: Pass the marijuana, Iron Lion Zion


Nirvana is a popular band, at its peak during the early 90s, but their rock music is extremely good, worth megabytes in your collection. Their lead vocalist, Kurt Cobain is an excellent singer, and has a very good base voice and stength.

Songs you must listen: Entertain Us, Lithium, Downer, Come As You Are, Smells like Teen spirit.


Magik is not actually a real band, but a fictitious band in a movie called Rock On, an offbeat movie based on the story of a rock band, the friendship among the band members(the four friends) and how they "live their dream". Offlate, I have been listening to their songs too often...the album, or the movie soundtrack consists of 7-8 tracks. Though its a start here, in India, to make offbeat movies on interesting subjects like this, the music is really awesome and comparable to that of any good band.
Songs You Must Listen: The songs are in Hindi(Indian Language), but the music is really good and the lyrics are funny, rock-like. Here are the songs: Tum Ho Toh[ (If) you were there], Pichle Saat Dinon Mein[ The last seven days], Rock On[The title track], Socha Hai[ (Have you) Thought of it?]


Aussies haven't produced many great bands,IMO. However one band they have produced is the most rawest,hardest and the awesomest hard rock band. AC/DC may have constantly strayed from the path of mainstream success but they have stuck true to their promise to their fans...TO DELIVER HARD ROCK GOODNESS!!
With Highway to Hell, AC/DC earned their first bit of mainstream success.It's title track with the same name has gone onto become a hard rock legend. Even after the death of it's lead vocalist Bon Scott, AC/DC came from the verge of disbanding to deliver the knockout punch to every hard rock fanatic. Back in Black,was the ultimate hard rock album. Not only it successfully combined hard rock and heavy metal to a thrilling effect it did so with ease. Hell Bells remains my favorite track from this band till date. Angus Young remains as one of my favorite guitarists.

Songs you must listen: Rock 'n Roll ain't noise pollution, Shot In Flames, Black In Black

1.Linkin Park

Shinoda's band (at this point called Linkin Park; used to be called Hybrid Theory before a legal issue with another band) brought in second vocalist Chester Bennington, replacing Mark Wakefield. This was the band that introduced me to rock, though their music is not completely rck, but a mixture of Rock and Rap, called nu metal.
Originally consisting of three high school friends, Linkin Park’s foundation was anchored by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson along with Rob Bourdon. After graduating from high school, the California natives began to take their musical interests more seriously, recruiting Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band then titled Xero. Though limited in resources, the band began recording and producing songs within Shinoda’s make-shift bedroom studio in 1996.
The present lead singer Chester, and Rapper + Keyboardist Mike Shinoda are the best people of the band. The guitarist Brad has brought a similar raff in almost all the songs of one of their album, Meteora but the songs are still good, IMO.

Songs you must listen: Numb, In The End, What I've Done, Somewhere I Belong.