30 November 2006

The Second Coming a.k.a Road Trip - 2

After the stupendous success of the first road trip the roadies (madcaps to many!) are back at it again (with a slightly smaller and a different team). On 8th December, there is a cycling trip from Madras to Pudhucherry (nee Pondicherry). The plan is as follows : Start from Madras on 8th, reach pondy the same day evening, chill out in pondy on 9th and start back for Madras on 10th. If you are interested, drop in a comment or pass on the word to those who are interested.
K.Shyam
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PS: There is a plan for a sub 24hr 360km cycling dash from Bangalore to Madras that has been germinating in my mind for quite sometime. But that is for some other day ! If we pull it off, we would do what even Tour De France guys have not done ;-)

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:06 AM 0 comments

29 November 2006

Repertoire

Viralgali thaandi valarndhadahi kandu;
nagan galai naamum narukuvadhu undhu;
Idhil yenna paavam, yedharku indha sogam

and

nilavinai nambi iravugal illai;
vilakugal kaatum velichatthin yellai;
oru vaasal moodi, maru vaasal veipan iraivan

I was listening to this interesting song from the movie "Marupadiyum". Sung by (who else? ) SPB and scored by (huh?) "God" Illayaraja.

What was more ironical is that the lyricist "Vaali" has given such gems of lyrics and also the utterly crass song "Samanjadhu Yeppadi?" from the movie "Indhu" !! Does that show Vaali's repertoire ?
K.Shyam
PS: No translation from Tamil to English as the essence of the lyrics would be lost if i do so.
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:05 PM 0 comments

27 November 2006

Free Left is not always right

You moronic KA-01-P-xxxx driver (who almost provoked me into breaking your windsheild with my helmet), in a T junction intersection, when you are in the tail of the T, there cannot be a free left. Use your common sense when you drive. How can there be a free left ? Won't you bang yourself into the traffic that is moving from left to right when you turn left ? Won't you cause a blockade ? Think before you drive. Just becuase there is no board that says "No free left turn" does not mean that there will be free left turn.
And to all other morons out there, stop honking at me when i am stopping at a signal. I refuse to budge before the signal turns green. You may be a hot-shot programmer or a CEO. I couldn't care the less. On the road we are all equals.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:47 PM 0 comments

FOSS.in

FOSS.in was pretty good. Learnt quite a few tricks and tips about KDE4, ALSA, and a few other techniques. Managed to get a copy of opensolaris. Now to see what new they have to offer. libyahoo2 was another intresting session. Overall, was quite good. And yes, met up with quite a lot of people and assigned faces to quite a lot of my folks from the irc channels. Also met up with Aswin, Vamsee, Atul Chitnis and quite a few more guys from blogcamp/barcamp days too !
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:44 PM 2 comments

24 November 2006

Nothing Surprising

The recent loss or shall we say whitewash that the Indian team suffered at the hands of the South Africans is nothing surprising. When we have some of India's finest batsmen kept out the team due to petty politics and ego issues, what else will happen ?
Yes i am indeed talking about arguably India's most explosive one-day batsmen (next only to the genius Sachin) Saurav Ganguly, and perhaps the most steady and consistent number three batsman VVS Laxman.
To be fair to Ganguly, he was indeed going through a bad patch. But that does not mean that he has to be removed from the team. Sachin himself was going through a horrible time for quite a few one-day internationals.
So i think the time is ripe for a recall for Ganguly and Laxman. Note that i am not advocating that we should not bring in fresh talent. In fact, the team should have a mix of experience and freshers.
The team is steadily going back to the era of "If Sachin fails, the team fails".
What is needed here is an assertive captain. A captain who is assertive and who reposes faith in his players will definitely get the best out of his players.
Case in point is Steve Waugh and who else but Saurav Ganguly. While the performance of a captain with bat and/or ball is of utmost importance, what is also needed is the ability to assert himself and have the final say in any kind of issue.
So everything points out to just one answer. Throw out that bloody Chappell. As my colleagues at work would know, this is the not the first time i am saying this. In fact, right from the time we started loosing, i have been saying that the policy of experimentation is all but crap.
Cricket as like any other team in an organization, needs a ix of youth and experience. Plain experince or plain youth would make you go nowhere. Except Sachin and Dravid and to an extent Kaif, none of the players have any serious experience.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:37 AM 1 comments

23 November 2006

FOSS.in

The next three days (24, 25, 26) i will be at FOSS.in. Hope to catch up with those guys with whom i generally hang out only on irc. My laptop does not have Wi-Fi so i am not sure whether i can provide live coverage. I would still try to do it somehow.
Reminds me, that time is long due for updates to This piece of software. Patience. Patience. Will all happen in due time.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:45 AM 0 comments

22 November 2006

The Other Side

While the music listening community goes ga-ga over Rahman's Guru (I do agree a few songs are good in it. But as usual it needs listening to a lot more to grow on you. Usual Rahman), Vidhyasagar, whom i have always rated as the most serious contender to God Illayaraja in terms of melody, has slipped in another of his lilting pieces into the movie "Sivapathigaram". Check out the song "Atrai Thingal" from Here. Madhu Balakrishnan does a good job of the hummings and the pallavi. This song BTW is set in the ragam Darbari Kanada. Sujatha another of his "melody songs" constants does not disappoint either. With minimal orchestration vidhyasagar manages to give a nice soothing feel to this song.
In all, a brilliant song which makes you listen to it again and again !
Here are the lyrics:

Atrai thingal vaan idam
Alli chendo neer idam
Sutrum thendral poovidam
Sokkum raagam yaazh idam
Kaanugindra kaathal ennidammmmmmmm
Naan thedugindra yaavum unnidammmmm
Atrai thingal vaan idam
Alli chendo neer idam
Sutrum thendral poovidam
Sokkum raagam yaazh idam
Kaanugindra kaathal ennidammmmmmmm
Naan thedugindra yaavum unnidammmmm

Adi thoda,
mudi thoda aasai perigida,
nerum pala vitha pari baashai
Podi pada,
podi pada naanam podi pada,
keatkkum manathinil uyir oosai
Mudi thoda,
mugam thoda mogam muzhugida,
verkkum muthuginil ethigaasam
Urugida,
urugida yekkum urugida,
koodum anal ithu kulir veesum
Kulunginean udal koosida
Keranginean viral meinthidaaaaaaaa
Mayanginean sugam sernthida
Thalumbinean enai nee thodaaaa,
paainthidaaa,
aainthidaaaa
Kaanugindra kaathal ennidammmmmmmm
Naan thedugindra yaavum unnidammmmm
Atrai thingal vaan idam
Alli chendo neer idam
Sutrum thendral poovidam
Sokkum raagam yaazh idam

Udal ethu,
udai ethu,
thedum nilai ithu
Kaathal kadan ithu adaiyaathu
Irav ethu,
pagal ethu,
theangum sugam ithu
Saagum varaiyilum mudiyaathu
Kanav ethu,
ninaiv ethu keatkkum pozhuth ithu
Kaama pasi vara adangaathu
valam ethu,
idam ethu vaattum kathai ithu
Theendum varaiyilum vilangaathu
Nadungalaam kulir vaadaiyil
Adangalaam oru vaadaiyillllll
Thayangalaam idai velayil
Urangalaam athi kaalaiyilllll,
koodalil,
oodalil
Kaanugindra kaathal ennidammmmmmmm
Naan thedugindra yaavum unnidammmmm

Pure tamil/sanskrit words and not tanglish words ;-)

K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:44 PM 0 comments

21 November 2006

Two-Wheeler Highway Driving

Here are some observations about safe highway driving. In case you have some more, do post it as a comment.

1. Highway driving is not city driving. Period. So no overtaking from left. With the exception of golden quadrilateral roads where there is a separate lane, dont even think of doing it

2. There is no room for ego clashes. Many a times you will find the locals on some 100cc or 150cc crap trying to overtake you while you are on a bullet. For them it is a matter of pride that they overtook a bullet. Just let them do whatever they want to do. You stick to your speed. The moment you let your ego control you the room for error increases. Since the bike we drive is bigger and heavier, the damage caused to us by the bike falling on us is much more thatn what would have been caused to the local guy if his bike falls on him !

3. Always use indicators when you change lanes and when you overtake another vehicle. This serves two purposes. The vehicle coming behind you knows you are speeding up to overtake and the vehicle ahead of you knows you are overtaking and hence he will reduce speed. So start off by switching on your right indicator and once you are halfway through in overtaking switch on your left indicator. Use them even in day time. Nothing wrong in it. In fact, once you start using them in day time, using them in night time becomes a habit.

4. Never ever do double overtaking. If a lorry is overtaking another vehicle do not overtake the lorry.

5. If you find two vehicles in front of you overtaking each other and you have no space, brake and bring our vehicle to halt in shortest distance possible. If possible, try to get off the road. My practical observation is that most day time truck drivers will not force you off road. However, most night time drivers will !

6. Make sure you have two mirrors on your bike. This always helps during curves.

7. A blind spot is a spot just behind you which is not covered when you look into your rear-view mirror. Vehicles in this blind spot have known to be quite fatal for the driver. However eliminating this is pretty simple. While you are driving always keep an ocassional eye on your rear-view mirrors. This helps you to understand the vehicles coming behind you. From practise, i can tell you that this simple technique eliminates the blind-spot problem. While it is tough for the first few rides once you start doing it, it becomes easy.

8. When you dont have enough visibility, don't overtake. This includes uphills, right hand curves and left hand curves. The logic behind this is very simple. On a curve the distance you need to travel to overtake is more (in case of left hand curves) and your visibility is practically zero.

9. Always be patient when you drive. There is no such thing as "I am an experienced driver and i can go as fast as my vehicle takes me". You need just a split second of judgemental error to have a fatal accident.

10. Always leave enough distance between you and the other vehicle. Since we are on bikes, the distance to come to a complete stop is far more that the cars that we see on the roads. So if you dont leave enough distance, you may end up parking you and your vehicle under the vehicle in front of you !!

Ride safe !!
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:29 PM 2 comments

20 November 2006

Hoggenekal Drive

I have always been an vigorous supporter of creating contacts as they do help in the ong run. With the advent of the internet and social networking sites, things have been much easier.
One such "community" in orkut is a motorcycling club through which we did a drive to hoggenekal falls about 150km from bangalore.
Since this was my first drive with the group and a short one-day drive, there wont be a descriptive write up as my previous trip.
It was pretty good ride and luckily enough we did not have any accidents or rains.
There are however three different routes from Bangalore to Hoggenekal. The much ravaged and pothole ridden (from krishnagiri onwards) NH7, a route via rayalkottai from hosur (via denkanikottai. not safe for night time trip. So luckily we did not take the route when we came back.) and another route that starts off from Anekal and kind of follows the cauvery's trail itself (according to the locals there)!
So the next off-roading trip would be to get to hoggenekal via rayalkottai and return via
anekal !
As such the falls was amazing. There is a newly constructed bathing ghat where they have made the water flow down with great force. That was the best part of the whole drive. Made me feel completely refreshed after having slept for just a few hours the previous day.
The locals there speak a mix of kannada and tamil (the place is in the border ;-))
However, i think i need to put up a general post about highway driving in general !!.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:31 AM 0 comments

17 November 2006

Casino Royale - Review

The latest in the installment of Bond movies tries to usher in a lot of changes, possibly to gather the next generation of audiences.
Daniel Craig as the new Bond actually manages to pull of being Bond, though he needs little bit more practice in delivering his dialogs the way we are accustomed to seeing James Bond do ! In short, he needs to let his facial features; the eyebrows, the eyes, the pause in speech give all the effect that is needed.
The story is pretty simple. A poker game is being used as a front to fund international terrorism. How and what bond does to avert it forms the rest of the movie.
The new Bond girl, Eva Green does manage to get a few chances to act ! She however needs to have a look at those scenes where she comes out with a red lipstick. Looks gawdy.
There is no 'Q' to demonstrate the new gadgets and stuff.
'M' appears sterner with this new Bond. Suitably so as bond has just got his '00' status.
The stunts are of real high quality. In fact, the opening chase scene is simply magnificent. It is worth watching the movie again just for that sequence.
And finally if you are a fan of James Bond, you might be a tad disappointed with this one as it pales in comparison with the thrills in the previous movie, Die Another Day.
However leaving comparisons aside, this movie as a whole is indeed worth a watch.
While a lot of people may feel that this movie has a more humane bond (in a sense that he can get hurt and stuff), i for one feel that it means watering down the powers of the Super Spy James Bond.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 4:30 PM 0 comments

16 November 2006

Illayaraja Again

Many a time i have written about "God" Illayaraja in this blog. So here goes another of his haunting pieces.
As is known to many Illayaraja fans, he has given some stunning melodies for some totally worthless movies.
There is this movie called "Pattakatthi Bairavan". IMHO i think the moment someone names a movie like this they are bound for failure. Anyway, i am not going to go too much into that.
There is a song in that movie "Engengo Sellum". You can hear that song Here. It starts off with a neat mozartesque piano interlude (also bass guitar ?). When you think that this is one of those slow songs comes a stunning rhythm change with violins (what else ?) and soft drums and that bass guitar again. Man what a song what a song ! Add some stunning and soft vocals by S.P.Balasubramaniam (Who else?) and S.Janaki and you have an absolutely stunning song.
As is the wont with most songs of that period, this was rather badly picturized on Shivaji Ganesan (Gulp!!) and Jayasudha.
As they say, irrespective of the ocassion, a genius continues to perform at his/her best.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:20 PM 0 comments

15 November 2006

The Search Ends

For long i have been searching for a good mechanic in bangalore to take care of my Royal Enfield (Being royal, it does need special attention). Finally there is one. Muneer of Muneer Motorcycle works who has a shop in Timmiah road in Shivaji Nagar. To get there, take the road from M.G.Road towards commercial street (K.Kamraj Road). However, instead of turning left into commercial street, keep going down on K.Kamaraj Road till you get an Arch on the left. Turn into this arch. This road is Timmiah Road. The garage is about 100mts away from this arch.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:54 PM 2 comments

14 November 2006

Snakes on a Plane - Review

Okay so i did say i have loads of time these days right ? And hence time to catch up on some more movies and bore ye readers with reviews.
"Snakes on a Plane" is one of those movies you watch when you have time on your hands. Loads of SFX, deep throated frightened cries and unintended humor (possibly intended too, watch where the snakes bite the people), make this a complete pop-corn movie.
It opens with a guy witnessing a murder of a prosecutor by a gang and the gang leader's attempts to kill him.
Samuel Jackson has long been one of my "cool" actors solely on the roles he did in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. In fact, i can't even imagine any other actor doing the role he did in Pulp Fiction. Anyway, he plays the cop in this movie, assigned to get the witness to court and testify against the gang leader.
The gang leader puts a cargo box full of snakes in the plane and when the box explodes, it is mayhem from then on.
Snakes from the cockpit, Snakes in the toilet, Snakes in the Handbag, you name it there are Snakes everywhere. There is also an Anaconda (or was it a cobra) which swallows a man !
While it can largely be debated as to whether the technique they use for eliminating the snakes work in practice or not, heck this is after all a movie. Remove your brains and watch the fun.
Finally there is also a subtle advertisement for PlayStation (Listen to the dialogs in the closing few scenes!).
Overall avoidable. But then again, if you are totally jobless and want to kill time (like i wanted to), you can have some 90 minutes of fun.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:29 PM 0 comments

In Mother Tounge

"வாழ்க தமிழ் வளர்க தாய்நாடு தமிழ்நாடு"
"தமிழன் என்று சொல்லடா தலை நிமிர்ந்து நில்லடா"

This is my attempt to start blogging in my mother tounge tamil. I do shamelessly admit that my "naa" and "naaa" are so very screwed up. So time to learn how to write them. Ah, now that i have loads of time with me.
In case you are not able to see the above text, go Here to get instructions to do so.
K.Shyam
PS: The above text says "Long Live Tamil, Let Motherland Tamil Nadu grow", "Say that you are a Tamilian, walk with your head held high!"
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:06 PM 2 comments

13 November 2006

The Departed - Review

The movie "The Departed", as shown in the final frame, is all about moles and rats. A gangster infiltrates the cops and a cop infiltrates the gangs. What happens when they find out about each other is what forms the crux of the movie, but unfortunately not so in this one ;-)
This movie is inspired/copied from the Hong-Kong Movie "Infernal Affairs". It has tried to add the usual Hollywood Masala to it to make it more palatable. That precisely is the drawback of the movie.
While the movie has stunning performances from Jack Nicholson and to a large extent Mark Wahlberg, both Matt Damon as the bad guy who becomes a cop and Di Caprio, the cop who becomes a bad guy could have put in a little bit more effort.
Whatever happened to the magic of Martin Scorsese is anybody's guess. The director who gave us some outstanding movies like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and to some extent Gangs of New York falters here.
Much of the movie is spent in developing the characters, something which is trademark Scorsese. However, central to this movie is the sequence of events that happen _after_ the moles discover themselves. Scorsese has faltered precisely at that point. Without that focus, the movie seems like a love triangle set against a gangster backdrop.
The editing and camera work is of high quality. The sequential cuts to narrate the story and to move it forward all do show that the Master has still not lost his touch.
However, as i said, some more movie time into the sequence of events that happen after the moles are discovered, instead of the unnecessary love triangle would have made this a first rate movie.
Finally, one fails to see the real purpose behind the love triangle in this movie. It has no bearing to the end, nor did it serve any purpose other that highlighting the tension within di-caprio's mind while being a mole inside the gangster's den.
As a final review point, in case one is able to get a dvd of the original hong kong movie, one is better off watching that.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:19 PM 4 comments

11 November 2006

Kubuntu 6.10 - The Experience

What to say about this distro which is catching everyone's attention (including yours truly) ?
A painless installation process (I did a complete nuke of my existing Suse 10.0), pleasing eye-candy. And something that is more important. An ultimate package updation process that brings you up-to-date with ease. Now that is what i expect from a linux distro. The ability to update. Suse 10.0 to be honest never even allowed me to upgrade comfortably to Suse 10.1. I always used to get some error or other.
And finally and most importantly, the acpi lockup which Suse 10.1 was causing to my poor laptop seems to have disappeared in Kubuntu 6.10. Now, here i come KDE4 ;-)
K.Shyam
PS: Seriously speaking, in case you are planning to install linux, please don't look at anything beyond Ubuntu/Kubuntu.
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:00 AM 0 comments

10 November 2006

Bangalore Barcamp 2.0

The second edition of bangalore barcamp is on folks. To be brutally frank, the first one was a sad affair. Could have done with a bit more effort on the halls and stuff. Total chaos. Now don't tell me chaos is the order of any unconference. Madras Barcamp was far better. Anyway, head here to register yourself if you feel like.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:54 AM 0 comments

09 November 2006

Bombay (Mumbai) Marathon

Bombay Marathon 2007 is back. Go Here to register yourself.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:47 PM 0 comments

About Time

"You can fool some people all the time, all people some of the time, but not all people all the time" so goes an age old saying. This is perhaps a good and a fitting example. Note that i am neither a supporter, nor against any politician there, but meddling in the affairs of another country is nobody's business. Serves you right Mr.Bush. Osama Bin Laden is still at large. Iraq is torn and war ravaged.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:31 AM 0 comments

08 November 2006

Helmet Comedies

I cannot help but smiling to myself when people say that wearing a helmet reduces visibility. If that is the case, then what is the rear-view mirror for ? If you are not accustomed to seeing a rear-view mirror and driving, who gave you a license to drive ? And now please don't lecture about blind spots and shit okay ? I have been driving for 14k+ kms on all kinds of terrain and under all weather conditions (almost. I drive a Royal Enfield you see). If you keep your concentration, there would be no chance of blind spots at all. So it is nothing but plain crap if someone says wearing a helmet reduces visibility.
The second comedy i read is that helmet reduces the horns you would hear from vehicles around you. Plain crap once again. It is not that your ears get plugged with wax. The helmet forms a protective covering around ears. Helps when you drive with lots of flies around.
The third one is lack of money to buy a helmet. Come on. A bike costs 16k (I am talking of TVS-50 types). A decent helmet costs 400rs. Few days in hospital costs anywhere upwards of a few thousands. You do the math
The fourth one is "It sweats when i wear a helmet." Better have drops of sweat running over your forehead than a doctor's stethoscopes or drops of blood !!!
Wearing a helmet saves lives. Period. No doubts about that. But please buy a proper helmet that has an ISI mark. Improper helmets could actually kill.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:21 PM 4 comments

07 November 2006

On the same ground

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that, for the same configuration (Intel Core2 duo, 2gb ram, ati/nvidia graphics, 15 inch), a mac costs _lesser_ than a dell ?
If you are not convinced try customizing a dell xps series !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:00 PM 0 comments

Happy Birthday

Ulaga Nayagan Padmashree Dr.Kamalahasan celebrates his birthday. Best wishes thalaivaaa and hope you give us more trend-setting films.
K.Shyam
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:03 PM 0 comments

06 November 2006

Deal Stuff

So you want to know about good deals ? Or want to inform people about new deals ? Then check out an emerging company Here. Login, blog about deals you find or read to find about new deals.
Things are slowly getting onto fast track and given sometime i think this is going to be a pretty useful site.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 1:23 PM 0 comments

Aatha naan pass ayten

Aatha naan pass ayten. (Mother i passed). Well that is what i have to say ! I managed to defend my thesis Here. The thesis was on.. okay we will skip that part shall we ? ;-)
Thanks go out to all you folks for your words of encouragement.
K.Shyam
PS: for the interested folks, my thesis was on Power-Aware Compilation Techniques for embedded processors.

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:58 PM 1 comments

02 November 2006

An Appeal

Someone whom i know wants to locate the Krishna Eye and ENT Hospital in T.Nagar Chennai as mentioned in This article. If you know the address, please do post a comment or reply to me.
Update : Found it. It is at 39, Burkit road. Thanks to those who mailed me.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:47 PM 2 comments