Tuesday, March 22, 2011

End of Part 1

I just finished schooling. And I feel like Harry Potter at the end of The Deathly Hallows.

My school life had been what I believe it should have been. A perfect platform for life, a nice learning experience, and a lot of exposure.

To my juniors,

Here are some of the things I've learned from school.

  • Do 5 stupid things per day.
  • Ask 5 answer-less questions per day to 5 different teachers (or to 1 teacher if you are willing to take that risk)
  • Do not laugh inside the room of the principal.
  • If you don't actually have an illness, do not skip the morning assembly. Vice principal will be patrolling.
  • Never note down the time table. Teachers never follow it. Just keep all your books at school. You wouldn't be opening them at home anyway.
  • Know what day it is, every day. You don't want to go to school on a Sunday. Nor do you want to be in bed at 10 o'clock on a Monday morning. And always wear the right uniform, if you don't want to be standing out from the crowd.
  • Never be absent (unless you have conjunctivitis). Everything happens on the day you are absent.
  • Participate in every competition. Just tell your teacher you're attending without asking what the item is. If it's a quiz and you don't know what the answer is, create the funniest answer. If it's a literary item, make the most of the free time and paper you're given. If it's a stage item, just set the stage on fire.(In fact, preparing for some of these items will make you competent for situations that you may face later in your life)
  • If you don't play at least two games, you're good for nothing. The ground is one place (after the loo) where you're the king and you rein free. 
  • Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But fortunately at school you're always safe.
  • Some nights, life sucks. But it'll be alright by next morning.
  • Some days, life rocks. But it'll be over by the time you open the textbook.
  • If you are ever going for an excursion, make sure there are no temples in the area where you're going.
  • Find many reasons why parents meeting is canceled this month.
  • If you want to score 100%: Just chill out. If you can learn well, you can score cent.
  • If you really want to score 100%: Forget every word in this post. Our exam system is pretty much screwed up (as on the 22nd of March, 2011) that scoring 100 is impossible unless you waste a considerable amount of time mugging up the slightest details of your textbook. Stop enjoying creative pursuits in the core subjects (or extracurricular subjects). Learn what you're being taught. Repeat that again and again till you can easily reproduce portions of your textbook.  
  • Set realistic aims for your projects. If you really could make that 3 idiots helicopter on your own, you'd be in a special school. Nobody ever did a project that their seniors hadn't done.
  • Exams are designed to be hard. If you'll surely pass, write only what you know. If you'll surely fail, copying is fair, provided you learn what you copy.
  • When you need help, call someone.
  • When you feel really down, call your best friend.
  • Try to schedule your birthday on a holiday. It's a lot more healthier and cheaper.
  • Don't make the following birthday resolution "I'll start learning properly from today onwards". It never works. 
  • Don't think about the future. There's only the present.
  • If you break test tubes, just throw the pieces away before anyone sees. If you break the burette, you're dead.
  • Be active in house activities. But know when to slip out of teachers' sight. You seriously don't want to be 'Maveli' (or worse, his assistant) in the theme show. 
  • Choose what your heart says when you are alone, choose what the teacher says when one's around.
  • Play a lot of "truth or dare" games because you'll soon realize that life's a big dare
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • The best part of volunteering is the food. Ask for it.
  • Always eat from your friend's plate. Your mom's food, you can always have.
  • Be sure that the unexpected will happen. If you're singing, the mic won't work, if you're dancing, the song'll stop in between, if you're playing tabala there'll be a gaping hole in its face.
  • If you don't have a love or at least a crush there's nothing to worry. It just means that you haven't attained puberty, and you have a lot of time left. If you are in love, you know.
  • Never lose hope. One day she'll say "yes".
  • But friends, if you don't have friends, at least a handful of them, it means you're not learning one lesson that school must teach you - to connect with people. Remember all those friendship forwards you receive everyday? Make them meaningful.
  • Do not keep anything for the future (Except may be homeworks, they may be forgotten by the teacher). Because time flies, and you may miss things for ever. If you have nights when you lose breath in your bed thinking of how dear your friends are to you then please, for the sake of love, tell them that.
  • Finally, have fun. Have a lot of it.
    Shatter window panes
    Break benches (in teams)
    Start a fight (for fun)
    Do no pay vehicle fee. Enter the bus without a bus pass
    Miss the bus, walk home, try to earn a suspension en route
    Hack the main computer in the lab, copy all official photos to your pen drive, put up a status update as proof (remember to log out and clear history)
    Sit in another class and see whether the teacher notices you
    Increase the volume of the song gradually till its barely audible for the teacher
    Push others into the swimming pool. (Keep your watch inside the bag before doing so)
    Swap class name boards
    Pass chits asking about the teacher's love bite
    Conduct polls and debates on who's better - Mammootty or Mohanlal
    Form circles and conspire
  • And do every imaginable thing on earth. If you can't do it in school, you can't do it anywhere else. (From doing business selling pirated version of kaspersky, to digging hole for planting your own tree sapling)
And then, one day it'd all end. All your friends excluding none will wave you bye and go away. Some may even go without a glance at you. May be you'd meet them again some day. Hey, that was the story my father wrote. Everyone will be on facebook. If not, they'd keep texting. If they don't you can. And then you'll join a nice college (if you're lucky) and make a lot of friends there. And then you'll decide the climax of the story - you can forget everyone, or do keep in touch.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Syncing Firefox History, Bookmarks and Possibly More Across Profiles

When firefox fans start installing multiple addons at least one of them will slow down firefox to a point at which they decide to switch to chrome.

Some users find that running "firefox -P" or "firefox -profilemanager" will show a dialogue which can be used to create a new firefox profile (which will function as a fresh installation of firefox)

But then, when you create multiple profiles you run into the issue of syncing history, passwords, bookmarks, cookies...

You can solve this problem using no addon, no plugin, no dropbox integration, no internet at all. The answer is symbolic links.

Linux users must be familiar with symbolic links, but it's available in windows too.
(For those who don't know how a symbolic link is different from a shortcut: If you make a symbolic link on your desktop to a file in a remote corner of your external hard disk, the OS will treat that file as being present on the desktop itself, but the actual location (in terms of magnetic memory) will be, as you guessed, the other device. This works for folders too)

Here's more about symbolic links (and making them)

Now, exploiting it for syncing firefox.

  • If you are not already using firefox, switch to it.
  • Start firefox with -P parameter. ("firefox -P")
  • Create a new profile, named "fresh"
  • Open the firefox profile directory (Help --> Troubleshooting information)
  • Backup your deafult profile (if you care about it) (just copy it to a new name)
  • Copy this post to notepad (or leafpad) and close firefox (I think this's important because firefox won't allow you to touch its files at least while it's alive)
  • In the directory of the fresh profile find files like bookmarks.html, cookies.sqlite, downloads.sqlite, formhistory.sqlite, permissions.sqlite, places.sqlite, prefs.js, search.json, search.sqlite, signons.sqlite and folders like searchplugins, and the folders of whatever extension you love.
  • Delete them! (Moving to trash will be wise)
  • Create symbolic links to the corresponding files and folders in the default profile.

Done!

Now, for making sure you haven't connected the superior venacava to the aorta:
  • Run firefox, first with 'fresh' profile.
  • Check that you can access history, etc.
  • Quit and run the default profile.
  • Make sure you haven't lost years worth of history there.

Statutory warning: Messing up sqlite files is known to cause irrecoverable damage. But I've been extremely happy with this particular workaround. If you can find the right way using the internet when you're in doubt, you can definitely try this at home.

And, happy browsing.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Call For Donation

Read The Hindu : States / Tamil Nadu : Woman gifts daughter sight on Women's Day

It's so very easy to make use of your body after your death. And it may be via donation that you did the greatest deed of kindness in your whole 'life'.

You can call 1919 (toll free, India) to reach the nearest eye bank, and ask them to pick the cornea of your nearest relative (or if you're the dead, make arrangements that your dearest will call the eye bank). Or if 1919 doesn't work checkout this list of eye banks in India. (I was surprised that there was an eye bank even at Dhanalakshmi hospital, Kannur)

Here's an FAQ about Eye Donation

If you want to step it up, and make a pledge, here's an Eye Pledge Form (there's also an eye bank locator under it) where you can pledge your eyes and be a sight ambassador (like I just did)

There's another way you can make use of your carcass. Body Donation. This may be a bit more tough to set up. Because you have to prepare an affidavit before your death and submit it to the nearest medical college. (But burning or burying your body also takes a lot of effort). And do tell this to your grandparents (:P There's no point in running away from the obvious)

PS: A related thought. If they make assisted suicide legal, will they also allow live people who want to die let science make maximum use of their live body by allowing fatal experiments (like observing the regeneration of liver, removing parts of brain, etc) take place? I would die to do that.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mantras, Positive Self Talks: Motivation at Your Tongue Tip

We've all had it. Moments of slump, when the whole world seems to be crash landing on you. May be on the eve of an examination. May be while preparing for a very important meeting. Times when you feel let down.

Everyone has those moments of desperation.
And a lot of losers give up at these moments of weakness.

But winners react differently.
They close their eyes, or look straight into them in a mirror.

And they talk directly to themselves:

"I am a winner. I have a dream. I have a vision. And I do everything I can to be there. I am happy. And I am strong. I am invincible. I defeat all troubles that come my way. I finish first. I finish strong. I am a winner. I am a champion, to be precise. I rock. I am awesome.  I am the alpha and the omega. I am God!"

They finish telling that (if they can wait till the end) and they are off to slay the trouble they had been facing. And then there won't be anything on earth to stop them.

Confidence is like a nuclear bomb. You set it off, and it gulps everything in sight.

And the detonator is self talk. Tested. Proven.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Small Guide to Critical Thinking

Whatever you read, whatever you hear, whatever you think, ask yourself:

Could the opposite be true?

That's all there is to critical thinking.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

(Un)happy Women's Day?


What makes girls today wish they were born as boys?
Why has every Women's Day article I read today focused on the injustice towards women and not on their achievements?
Why do they even have to build a site explaining women's rights in Islam?
Why did I think of founding the sisbro organization (a volunteer organization that helps unaccompanied sisters arriving at railway stations and bus stands to reach safety by sending them authorized brothers seeking nothing but sisterly affection in return for their care)? And why did I have to worry about it being a failure too?

The answer - not soul stirring, not at all surprising, but the most ignored and the least sought out - is that we, as a people or a society, have not grown. How progressive can we expect an average member of a society described by the supreme court as having "low ethical levels and rampant commercialization" to be? We are immature. We are incomplete. We are illiterate. We still lack the mindset, the outlook, and even the vision of a constructive culture.

And above all we are not ready to correct ourselves.
Or to be more accurate, we are not brave enough.

We are not brave enough to:
  1. think about different solutions
  2. question injustice
  3. publicly and outrightly reject commercialization (especially the exploitation of women's sexuality, and men's carnal desires)
  4. swim against the stream (the stream which's been flowing only in one direction from the beginning of time)
  5. break taboos
  6. raise our voice
  7. stop 'giving' equal status to women
  8. let high school students of either gender sit together (I'm particularly adamant about this one. You believe they have their own different set of problems? I believe that's been the problem behind all these problems. Girls and boys may have different bodies, but they do have the same minds. Their problems may be different in appearance, but they're the one and the same. And there's no compromise on this point)
  9. realize that giving birth is not the only work a woman can do efficiently (especially considering the growing population of India)
  10. ask ourself whether it's easier to talk about sex and birth prevention or about rape and sexual abuse.
  11. start accepting what's good in other cultures (especially the western culture. Ya. I know that's gonna make earn me a tag of a pro-western idiot. But there's no denying the fact that many of the problems that our gloated 10000 year old culture faces now, is not at all a menace in the west, because their culture by design eliminates the causes of these)
  12. stop editing and re-editing your comment under this post to conform to 'moral standards' and start changing the world
  13. go and get a life
    Most Indians have nothing to think about other than their boring work (which, we don't realize is, not compulsory), and gossips. There are cooler things to do in life. (And when your mind is stretched by a new idea it never regains its original dimensions)
Happy Women's Day, then.
    PS: As I say that, I see another steamy song on the tv in which the fingers of the hero grazes over the bare skin of that sleeveless, and probably shameless new actress, and I (even I d:) can't control the animal instincts hard coded into my brain.

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