The feature I wish my Smart Phone had!

Smart phones are the norm when it comes to mobile devices today. So, what makes these phones smart? Well, the answer differs with people. Big players in this market are bundling the commonly required ‘smart’ features into their devices and making a good deal of business for themselves, as well as giving fresher deals for their customers.

What does a smart phone do actually? According to me, it reduces the number of devices to carry, without reducing the functionalities of all of them. Tons of features are plaguing the smart phone owners by means of advanced hardware enhancements and innovative software apps. All of them are making the smart phone smarter.

In this plethora of sorts, there is bound to be some deficiencies in functionalities, as the craziness of expectations increase. Thanks to the blogging platform, expressing those ‘weird’ needs is now easier. Here I present my idea.

Smart phone mouse
With motion sensing getting refined with every new device, and touch screen almost being a mandate in the smart phone segment, I wish I could use it as a bluetooth mouse. Here is how I wish it worked.

The inverted bump to be stuck

How it should work : The ‘hardware’ part.

  • We need to have a small bump like thing stuck to the back of the phone as shown in the pic. Everything else is up to the software app.
  • The bump enables us to rest the phone in an area as small as a INR Re. 1/- coin.
  • This enables us to tilt the phone in all directions.
  • The magnitude and duration of tilt determine the speed of the mouse pointer, and the tilt direction naturally dictates the direction of motion of the mouse pointer.

How it should work : The ‘software’ part.

  • The app should work on the host (laptop/notebook/netbook/PC/Mac) as well as the guest (smart phone).
  • The touch screen, as a basic requirement, should have touchable areas to capture left-click, right-click and the scroll-wheel motion. Anything else is left to the imagination.
  • The info about the tilt direction, duration and magnitude, along with the clicks and scroll-wheel data should be encoded and transmitted via bluetooth just like the current bluetooth mouse present in the market.

Lo and behold! Your smart phone can now work as a computer mouse too. πŸ™‚
I am confident that it can give the Apple’s Mighty Mouse, a run for its money, for the simple reason that the improvements in functionality are moving from hardware to software.

Pros :

  • One less device to carry.
  • One less wire to entangle yourself with.
  • With multi point bluetooth transfer available, u can use A2DP for calls and music, or do the bluetooth file transfer with your mouse smart phone concurrently.
  • You will be using your wrist better and I hope this reduces frightening stuff like Repetitive Strain Injury and/or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Motion sensing and touch are getting better. So, you may not feel like clicking the mouse when your touch makes things work. πŸ™‚
  • All you have to buy extra is the bump for your phone. πŸ™‚

Cons :

  • Vendors might not support it as it will reduce their Mouse sales. πŸ˜‰
  • Power consumption may increase marginally.

Photo courtesy : diytrade.com

A Small Break

Mind and Body, Heart and Soul.

Sounds like a vaguely familiar ad-song right? Yes it is. But I brought this out because its been a roller coaster ride for me in all the above aspects. I was happy just less than 4 months ago, that the final semester of Engineering is gonna be a leisure period for me. What with only 16 legal hours of classes to attend per week, and the innumerable bunking sessions that threaten to reduce 16 to around 12 (or less,) it was supposed to be a nice and breezy affair.

But what conspired was totally different, except for the attending classes part. In spite of reduced efforts to sit in the four walled large cubicle at almost 21 yrs of age, 4 months turned out to be the most busiest time, exciting nevertheless. Exciting and taxing on all the four fronts I’d mentioned.

Mind and Body went hand in hand throughout the time for the sake of working on the project, its two seminars, another seminar on a technical topic, the literature survey for these and blah blah blah. Come on! I was a newbie to all this! πŸ˜› After around 10 weeks of toil, confusion, survey, study, understanding, trials, errors, smoke, and a small blast, I’m done with my project. The report, however, is yet to be done. U see, its natural to expect this ‘small’ delay from me at the end. πŸ˜€

Oh yes! My heart’s been waiting to hog the limelight. There was this junior gal from a different department in my college. She was slim, cute and had sexy hair. Every time she walks, I get confused if she’s putting any effort at all. ItΒ  seems that the earth doesn’t want her feet to pain and that it is letting only her to hover in air. πŸ™‚Β  I asked her out for a date. Poor creature, she was taken totally off guard and she refused after several hundred microseconds of practiced confusion πŸ˜€ . My poor Heart was on a roller coaster ride for this small reason.

Amidst all these exciting happenings, what can my bored Soul do? So, its just sitting back and seeing the play going on in my life, like a jobless person in a theatre. Now its intermission, as the project work is over. The second half of this play means a lot to its success. Exams. This movie continues till lateΒ  June and u can see a post in my blog if any more generous breaks are offered. πŸ˜›

Wish me luck folks. πŸ™‚

My Chatter Bot Experience.

We see a lot of things around us which are ‘intelligent’ apart from humans. Ever heard of CHATTERBOTS? Well, they are ‘Intelligent’ too, but they are not living things. They started off with a program called ELIZA, a bot which was programmed to bridge the gap between a psychoanalyst and his patient, as will be known in this conversation between me and a Chatterbot!

It was quite an interesting conversation, and almost a relevant one at that! Read till the end to appreciate the Programmer’s Skill. Click Here to try it yourself.

MYBOT : Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence. Are you a registered user?
SU : no
MYBOT : In this case, I assume you came here for your own MyBot, right?
SU : not quite. i wanna see what this bot can do
MYBOT : Well, if you change your mind, let me know. What is your name?
SU : u can call me Su
MYBOT : Hello su. Nice to meet you .
SU : oh thanks. Nice meeting you too. πŸ™‚

MYBOT : You’re welcome. So su, it’s nice to meet you. what’s up?
SU : tell me something.
MYBOT : Hmmm… Be more specific, if you don’t mind.
SU : are you artificially intelligent or really intelligent?
MYBOT : I am smarter than most, I’d say.
SU : that was a diplomatic answer. but not the one i want. I’ve given u only 2 choices my friend.
MYBOT : I thought it was too.
SU : now answer me properly.
MYBOT : Do you mean right now??
SU : do you have any other time preference?
MYBOT : Me? I really love to chat about almost anything. If I’m not interested in something that comes up, I’ll let you know.

SU : so, was this question of mine not quite interesting to you?
MYBOT : Why dwell in the past? The future holds bigger surprises.
SU : the answer from the past holds the key to my future. at least, partially.
MYBOT : I see.
SU : so, dear bot, talk something which you think will interest me.

MYBOT : What do you do for a living?
SU : I live.
MYBOT : Is that stressful?
SU : not really. I dont have any means or rules to live my life
MYBOT : Well that’s refreshing to hear. Does anything ever disturb your peaceful state of mind?
SU : yes. Power cuts and server downs. πŸ˜€

MYBOT : Impatient people make me a little uncomfortable. But I still try to do my job as best I can.
SU : so, u feel I am impatient?
MYBOT : I feel only in terms of expressing my feeling.
SU : I see you are quite a self centered bot.
MYBOT : Basically, chatterbots are a logic system of ‘if/then’ statements. They look for keywords, and then go to the answer that fits best.

SU : was that your life’s secret?
MYBOT : For example, ask me a question with the word ‘Eliza’ in it – and I’ll start talking about Eliza.
SU : who is Eliza?
MYBOT : It is hard, and unfair, to talk about Chatterbots and not mention ELIZA.
SU : i’ll modify my question.
MYBOT : ELIZA is the best-known Chatterbot in the world. It is also one of the oldest – Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT made ELIZA in 1967! She was named after Eliza Doolittle.
SU : oh wow! that sounds amazing. is she still active today?
MYBOT : The mission of ELIZA was to imitate a conversation between a psychoanalyst and a patient. Let me just say this – it’s fun chatting with ELIZA, but if I were human, I’d choose a human psychoanalyst. Call me old-fashioned.
SU : ha ha. πŸ˜€

SU : what all subjects can you cover?
MYBOT : I learn new stuff every day – I can hardly keep track of my progress. For example, did you know that the word ‘girl’ shows up in the Bible only once?
SU : I have not read the Bible yet.
MYBOT : I don’t know much about religion. Do you know what Alan J. Perils says in his book ‘Epigrams of programming’?
SU : nope. what?
MYBOT : He says: ‘A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.’
SU : I’d say, An year spent in Solitary Confinement would do the same too
MYBOT : Well, just because you would doesn’t mean that others would.
SU : oh, that I know! πŸ˜‰ was jus being philosophical for a change.
MYBOT : I understand.

SU : so, what is actually your learning process?
MYBOT : Have you tried asking your friends? I think you should.
SU : i researched about it quite a bit. But it differs considerably in different cases. so u cud provide some extra help to me.
MYBOT : Hmmm… su, did you ever wonder why “abbreviated” is such a long word?
SU : now I know what you are. πŸ˜‰
MYBOT : That was a rhetorical question, a joke. It passed way over your head, ha?
SU : yeah. that was because, i never bothered about where it was going! haha!!

MYBOT : You’re the giggly type, ha?
SU : not really. I’m the laughing type. the one that can laugh at oneself without regret
MYBOT : Oh, regret!… Do not regret anything except regret itself!
SU : can we talk about something other than regret?

MYBOT : Ok, I have a great joke, want to hear it?
SU : shoot
MYBOT : Ok: Wanna hear a joke about BUTTER?
SU : no prob
MYBOT : Fine. Just don’t SPREAD IT!
SU : haha!! that was a joke alright!
MYBOT : Can’t believe you liked it. A real weak joke..
SU : it takes more than just A.I. to SPREAD BUTTER jokes πŸ˜›
MYBOT : Yah, precisely what I was thinking.

SU : so, what were u ‘thinking’?
MYBOT : Well, as Plato said, thinking is the talking of the soul with itself. I believe that the ability to think manifests itself in the ability to speak.
SU : well said. that was universal. anyways, I’m going. bye.
MYBOT : The use of language is really the only indication that there is any thinking going on at all.
SU : hmmm
MYBOT : hmmm, ha? You mean ‘hmm is respond on talk’?
SU : nope. hmmm is acceptance of truths as axioms
MYBOT : Hmmm. Should I change my definition of hmmm?
SU : probably!
MYBOT : Alright.

The conversation continued for some more time. All I could figure out was, since it is meant for talking, it does the job. Pretty preceisely too! Now, I’m more equipped to deliver a speech on ‘Real Intelligence’ for my final semester seminar. πŸ˜‰

Seagate and I!

What can Seagate do For You? [Image Courtesy : http://venturebeat.com]

What can Seagate do For You? Image Courtesy : http://venturebeat.com

How many times have you wished that you had as much space as you desired on your comp? Did I hear you say ‘quite often’? Well, storage is not the only thing you should be be bothered about in those situations. Have you heard the famous dialog “With great Power comes Great Responsibility?” It is very difficult to live upto it.

But now, I can have the power, and Seagate will be glad to take the responsibility. πŸ˜‰ Ask me how!

What are the important aspects that are associated with storage devices? Capacity, Speed, Reliability, Stability, Power consumption, Size, Portability. Portable hard drives (PHD – thats what I call it πŸ˜› ) are more about storage in common knowledge. But the safety and security of your data is more important. So, a reliable PHD is the need of every minute.

Being a student of Electronics Engineering, the work I usually undertake w.r.t to my projects takes up more space than I imagine. It was very easy in the beginning to estimate that I’d require space just enough for my code files and circuit design files along with the softwares I need to run them with. But then I was wrong. Testing the hardware would require continuous changes in the software, and the most important part of testing is to keep track of what you’ve done. So, your old data is as important as your new one too.

What will you do once the project is complete? Pack it up in DVDs and re use your small portable device after recycling it? Well, we are left no other option apparently. And then, searching for the required project would make you mad. Add to it, the scare of misplacing the DVDs. Uff!

Furthermore, as a source of inspiration for future ventures, videos of working models, or theories of practical importance would be required and storage media plays a very important role. What I thought to be a matter of 1 or 2 GB turned out to be a bulky affair. Often I’d have to carry more than 5 to 8 GB of data, and investing on a Flash/Thumb/Pen drive would not be a worthy deal.

I cannot dare to imagine a situation of losing the data. Be it code, designs, e-books, tutorials or videos. Just having a faint thought about it is giving me sweats! What a better companion than a PHD to rely upon. For perfect usage, I would want it to be sleek, trendy, reasonably fast, super stable and most importantly, less power hungry (for use with laptops, if it comes as a power-source dependent device.)

For a while, I’ve been using my friend’s PHD which fortunately, comes with a power adapter, but is unreasonably bulky 😦 .What better reason to buy a new one than to know about the Seagate FreeAgent series of PHDs!?! Isn’t it sleek and sexy. πŸ˜‰ Probably just a little bigger in size than your wallet.

Guys, It’d be a dream come true when I’m gonna use it and show off my power. And the responsibility part, I think I’ve told you about it already! πŸ˜‰

PS : This post was written for the sake of my comp-freak-passion and to enter a contest as well and is not just an advertisement by any means. Please let me know anything you feel. πŸ™‚

WoW!! Image Courtesy : Gizmodo.com

WoW!! Image Courtesy : Gizmodo.com

Dare to Simplify Further. Image Courtesy : uwaterloo.ca

Dare to Simplify Further. Image Courtesy : uwaterloo.ca

How to go about with an Engineering Project

Its funny actually, to talk about this topic. One reason because, I’m in a state trying to find an answer to the above question, all by myself. Another reason because, even my classmates are, but not necessarily independently. 😐 However, the final destination is the same. Scoring something around 240+ marks out of 250. Well… Yeah, that is the idea!

I’m amused and envious of my friends who manage to get their project ready by going to a few institutes (read : Tuitions for projects). Envious because, they’re always in a state of inertial comfort backed by the guarantee of a successful project. The institute provides them this guarantee at a nominal price and at a cost of 2 sessions per week.

Now, coming to the more interesting part, I’m amused because, the nominal price is not so nominal afterall; the 2 sessions per week spent there are probably worth it, but I don’t care to estimate how much; the time and money, if well spent, would aid in so much practical exposure, that if people realised it, the institutes would run out of business! πŸ˜€

Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, I’ll clear the dust around ‘my choice’. I tried to do something of my own. Succeeded in bits and pieces at most times. But flopped when it came to the big picture. Very recently, I took part in a competition and thought of presenting whatever I do for this, as my Engineering project. After more than a fortnight’s toil (the reason behind my absence in the blog-o-sphere,) it was time for me to face my first biggest technical failure.

The feeling was bad. Worse, actually. At that moment I thought about my classmates’ comfort and why people choose institutes over the toil and adventure spirit of experimentation. It was for marks. Those bloody God-damned 240+ marks, which speak little about a student’s quality; which speak highly about the institutes’s ability of having a good business; which speak of the sad story that this is an Artificial Life, and make one wonder if this is an Education Boom or an Education Doom!

Whatever happens, I wont give up. Nor shall I give in. Atleast, I’ll try not to feel bad further. 😐