Saturday, February 16, 2008


A few days back a colleague asked me to review an email that he was about to send to an engineer working for a company that outsources to us. Let’s call the colleague X and the intended recipient of the email Y. X sent me the email and X and I were going over it at my desk. I knew what the email was about so I skipped the first paragraph and was reading the rest of the email, when X asked me, “What is copulation process?”

I was taken aback at hearing this question from X. I did not understand the relationship between the mail we were reviewing and the act between a male and a female of the homo sapien species except that the word mail is a homophone of one of the entities in the heterosexual act of procreation. Also, one would not normally expect X to talk about such subjects, since X apart from being vegan, has never shown any signs of interest in the fairer gender. Thus he keeps away from all things feminine just as he does from all things bovine.

I asked X, why he was asking the question, to which he replied that Y had mentioned it in the last call that X had with Y. Now this was completely shocking, because I’ve been working with Y for about 18 months, and speak to him once a week, every week. He has never in the afore mentioned time frame spoken about anything other than work, only deviating from the task at hand to exchange pleasantries. Seeing the bewildered look on my face, X pointed me to a line in the first paragraph of the email that X had written,

“When I gave the XXXXXX1 file to the Copulation process, it generated YYYYYYY with the following errors…….”

On reading that line, I realised that the process in question was compilation2 and not copulation! X misheard what Y had said and since X’s knowledge in such matters is non existent, he thought copulation was some fancy jargon for something technical.

I proceeded to correct the offending line and suggested some other changes to the email. I told X that copulation had nothing to do with the task at hand without explaining to him what it was and X went back to his desk leaving me with a big grin on my face and blog post in the mind.

1 The names of the files have been changed to protect their privacy, since they face the risk of being thrown out their /home directories if the files they share the directory with found out that they had been inside the other

2 Technically speaking the process in question was assembling and not compilation.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dodecahedral calendar

Made my own dodecahedron calendar today. See this link for more info (via lifehacker).

Came out better than I expected it would, given my ineptitude at cutting and sticking. When I cut something in a straight line, it comes out looking like a cartoonist's representation of a thunderbolt and I am as adept with a glue stick as is nerd hitting on a hot blonde - it leads to quite a sticky situation, but the whole thing just comes unstuck.

Useful addition to the table and completely worth the effort :-)

new Keyboard

Got myself a new keyboard yesterday. The move was motivated by the deviant behaviour of a couple of key keys in my old keyboard.

The enter key:Once it was hit, with one's finger, it would as its name suggest enter into the space available so that it could make contact with the necessary bits of the keyboard, to allow the computer to recognise that the enter key had been pressed. Then quite unlike its alias, it would decide not to return from that position, thus giving giving me more "enters" than I had asked for.

The 'right' shift key: Quite the wrong behaviour, from this one. Once it was pressed and shifted out of its position of rest, it simply refused to come back, thus giving me lowercase with CAPS LOCK on, inverting cases and never once making a case for itself for good behaviour and bringing upon the keyboard capital punishment.

Things back to normal now!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It was five past midnight

Last night, which was the last night of last year, I, like many other people was celebrating the onset of the new year, occupied in the most natural of all nocturnal human activities - sleeping. I had gone to bed just a little after midnight, thus ushering in the new year in semi wakefulness. At around five past midnight, when I had reached sheep number 7, the calm of the night was broken by the call of Bell's invention. After time had decided to bring in the new year, the phone decided it was time to ring, in the new year.

A call on the land line is quite a rare occurrence given the many cell phones at home, and a call after midnight an even rarer one. I let the ringing continue hoping that ignoring it would make it stop and having a hunch that in all likelihood, the call wasn't meant for anyone at home. As I reached sheep 15 the ringing stopped and I was beginning to drift off.

Just when I had bid good bye to the sheep, the phone rang again. I thought that whoever it was must be quite desperate to get whoever he/she was trying to reach given the time of the night and thus decided to do something about the phone. I got my behind off the bed and picked up the phone and said "Hello".

The voice that greeted me from the other end was sort of high pitched, the type that one does not associate with grown up men. My brain dumbed down with the onset of sleep, for a moment thought it was a woman. At that thought synapses fired, the neural net was suddenly abuzz with activity sending signals to the rest of me to become alert, and suddenly the journey from the bed to the phone seemed worth it. That burst of alertness provoked more thinking and this is the unfortunate bit, the rational me realized in a despair inducing burst of logical deduction that if the voice was indeed that of a young woman, then the call was certainly not meant for me.

After reaching this conclusion the brain decided to begin the shutdown sequence again. At that time, the voice at the other end asked for "Arumugam Sir" and the tiny number of awake grey cells in my head, realized that it was boy and after realizing that, the gray cells went to sleep. I said "wrong number" and hung up, dragged my body to bed and dozed off.

PS: Happy new year!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stirring tale

On a sleepy Monday morning, a bunch of software engineers tired after a morning's work of checking email forwards, catching up on the world news and cricket scores, decided to take a break and thus found themselves in the pantry milling around the multi fauceted vending machine - the dispenser of all things useful and necessary for the preparation of a hot beverage. It can dispense milk, hot water (sometimes one has to put one's gustatory organ to the test to distinguish between the two) and politically incorrect and seemingly racist, black coffee.

After filling one's cup with the liquids of one's choice and after having added requisite powders for flavouring and measured amounts of sugar for sweetening, one can imagine the shock as one discovered that the stirrer - the wonderful invention that can fuse together disparate ingredients into a wholesome cup of joy, the instrument responsible for creating many a storm in a tea cup, the catalyst of an invisible molecular miracle that stuffs solids into the empty spaces within a fluid - was not in its usual resting place of a tumbler half filled with water. As an aside one might also add that it's quite fortunate that the tumbler cannot live up to its name on this own, unless one puts it down with say a swipe of the hand. Now it's not uncommon an occurrence to find the stirrer missing from its resting place; since quite like a migrant worker, the stirrer works away from its watery abode in a cup in a far away hand.

Thus one proceeded to take a look around the room to find the hand that had the stirrer, and the horror, the horror - the stirrer was not to be found in any cup in the room. Then one looked down and found in dustbin, among used tea bags and other things that had reached the end of their usefulness the stirrer. Having never before faced such a predicament in one's coffee making lifetime, one proceeded to face the bitter truth and had one's coffee shaken, not stirred. Coming to think of it, the truth was bitter because one had the coffee shaken, not stirred.

The stirrer was not rescued from its graveyard and thus was destined never again to work its magic in a cup again. In its place stands a poor replacement - a spoon. Even though it is adequate for the job, stirring isn't what it was made for. Sigh!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Vim like other great Free / Open source software has excellent documentation and a brilliant help system. In fact it's so good that it even knows the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. (:help 42)

It even knows about the Holy Grail, just in case you are looking for it (:help holy-grail)

But the one that takes the cake is what you get when you type :help!

Love software with a sense of humour ^_^

Monday, October 22, 2007

Debt deduction

Me: That thing cost 280
GB: Ya
Me: I paid 60 for auto
GB: Ya
Me: (giving him a 100), So I owe you 140 - 60 = 80
GB: Ya
Me: You owe me 20

I know that I don't know Maths, but can't believe GB didn't find anything wrong with it!

Of course, he does know now that I owe him 10 bucks and plans to use my line of thought in future transactions...

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Check this out. I've no idea why they put our picture but I ain't complaining! No, we din't win, we topped the prelims and then got royally whipped in the finals. Nevertheless, it was great fun. Superb questions beautifully put together. Also managed to meet up with lots of old buddies. Had a blast!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

QFI Open Quiz 2007

The QFI Open Quiz is happening on 3rd June. Details are available here. Going by the shows the quizmasters have put up in the past it promises to be loads of fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

water, biscuits, chicken, dosa, ice cream, burp!

Some days back a colleague of mine; whom I shall refer to as X to avoid disclosing any details about the person such as name, gender, blood group, shoe size etc.; put up the following GTalk status

Life is like a normal biscuit, if you add love which is butter it becomes a butter biscuit

The above statement is so utterly butterly undelicious that it prompted a slew of GTalk status changes from colleagues

Life is like chicken, if you add butter which is love it becomes butter chicken

Life is like soda, if you add lime which is love, it becomes lime soda

Life is like ice, if you add cream which is love, it becomes ice cream

Life is like Palar water, if you add love, it becomes corporation water

Undeterred by the responses, our friend X cooked up a second status -
Life is like dosa, if you add onions which is love it becomes onion dosa. (Note that this statement is grammatically incorrect and coming to think of it the process of making such a dosa might bring tears to your eyes and after a while you life might stink)

At this point I’m wondering if there is a point to this post, and apart from the 3 that are in this statement, the point is that this is a blog and if I add a post which is like love then it becomes an updated blog