Another day, another moment, another thought, another post

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Desert Blue: Simple yet powerful

Stuck to only 2 channels at home, I got a chance to see Desert Blue on RTE TWO. It was very simple yet powerful. Story about an unknown town called Baxter, where Peter Sarsgaard in his endeavor to put the town on map creates the worlds largest ice cream cone. He aspires to create a ocean park but a big cola conglomerate spoils his plans. Coming to town are a professor and his daughter. The professor is interested in America's road side attractions and his daughter, Kate Hudson as Skye Davidson is a hollywood bred. She meets Brandon Saxton III as Blue Baxter. The story is beautifully set in classic rural America. The place has no cable, no cell phones. Revolves around the people in this town, max cast would be say 15 people. It captures the simplicity in their lives and their needs. I would recommend this movie to some one that wants a simple movie, yet powerful in dialogs and message. Time to revisit Maniratnam's classics.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Classifying Music: Workarounds but a starting point

First off get ID3 Editing API for Java. Download songs in groups, like say I downloaded by movie. Use File manips to rename all downloaded file name to mean what the song is ie song name. Now use the ID3 api to modify the ID3 tag details like artist, composer, genre and yada yada yada. Since you are editing a logical grouping, the annotations wont change. For example, a folder with all ARR songs, will have genre Rahamanisque, composer ARR and so on. What I proposed earlier is more about adding more meta-data. Genre will not be Rahmanisque but a URI to Rahmanisque. ARR wont be there instead an URI will be there and so on. In fact ID3 evolution is quite interesting. If only there is some way computer science can extend a day by a few hours...

Classifying music : Why Tim Berners Lee made so much sense in ISWC.?

I try to abstain from blogging about stuff I do in my research and today I wanted to do something and I realized how semantics can change the way we do things...
The task is simple: Classify all the MP3's I have from time so long ago into artists and genres. I began to use WinAmp to do the job manually for each file and surprisingly the stupid thing doesnt save the genre information. I wanted a genre called Rahmanisque. Come on one cannot box the genius of ARR into a blues r rap r jazz r classical r folk r anything... Same with the songs of the God (read as Ilayaraja). I had to type for each and every song. I downloaded some API to annotate using Java... Small piece of code and still I had to enter, although I found a way around. Now if we all had an ontology of genres, define what each genre means, then all one has to do is to search for the most appropriate genre from this and add it to mp3. Now think about extending this over some P2P sharing like Kaaza or even a point share system like cooltoad or even something thing like blinx or singing fish. Voila we can no longer worry about how Agni Natchatiram is spelt (AgniNatchatram, Agni Nakshatram and so on), but still get what we want. It is not all that difficult. Now each person can build his own ontology and then shares with a community. In the case of music, the community is possibly the fans. Best place to start would be the recording companies, who along with the numerous DRM crap that they want to dish out, can add this information. MP3's have already enough places to capture metadata using ID3. Now extend ID3 to hold more information. Information sharing now needs motivation more than technology. One issue is, once something like this is initiated, we will soon have people writing papers about automatically annotating content and the skeptics will rule over. Scalability, linguistics yada yada yada.... But certainly a manual meta-data addition is not hard. I added meta-data for 10 songs in 2 mins. Now 10 people for 2 mins a day and we have 3000 songs. If we can get 2000 man minutes, that is about 10000 songs a day. Semantic content sharing may not be that hard afterall...
Tim Berners Lee's talk about how ontology creation, perceived more as a social exercise can lead to creation of such a comprehensive shared resource got me thinking..Something for music would be so cool ...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Media: Dishing out more BS than ever

I happened to read this article about coaching geniuses. Had names like Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson and et al. Comes to a grand conclusion, "There is no such thing as coaching genius".
I definitely dont agree with passing this verdict on Bill Belichick, the venerable man under the headset on the New England sidelines. 3 super bowls in 4 years, the first one with a QB by name Tom Brady, the second one with offensive line banged up and no running game, the third one with the defense banged up. All three times a defensive back by the name of Vrabel had touchdowns. You cannot talk about his genius after one 5-4 season. For god's sake the season is not over yet. So what if the Colts beat them Monday Night? Remember Brady has never lost in the dome and road to SuperBowl passes through the dome !!! Remember as the season goes on the Pats going to get more and more healthier..Remember Mike Shanahon does not have a John Elway... Talking about coaching genius even before the season ends shows the lack of sensible content for these never ending journos to talk about.. Just another example of creating news when there none and as Reverend Eric Cartman puts in "When you create news that did not happen, all you get is crap worse than the one you get out of you back!!!"

Losing perspectives

The recent Kushboo contoversy about pre-marital sex being ok as long it is safe, is being talked all over in the context of culture. Honestly, I am proud of the conservative culture of Tamil Nadu with Chennai lately falling prey to "Development". However the joy of walking the mornings in Triplicane with those suprabhatams echoing from each household, the morning coffee, the hindu paper, the prayers, hmm simple things have defined our identity. Things like pre-marital sex have never been and should never be discussed in public. What is Kushboo trying to say?
As much I disagree with the whole discussion on abortion by the federal government, I disagree with Kushboo's remarks as well.
That it is offensive to tamilians has been overstated by the those people claiming to safeguard the tamil culture. That they are morons and politicians waiting to exploit the emotions need not be stated. and that they will never be successful by crying foul at english names for tamil films, and these kind of remarks as long as tamilians remain the sensible voters they are, (Come on we are so much better than the rest of the country. How often have we had a Laloo or a Mayawati or a Mulayam or a Dharam Singh???), these people can never get to be the policy makers.
It is also offensive that she had to say this in public for economic and social reasons. The key word in her remark " Pre-marital sex is ok, as long as they are SAFE". Now, SAFE is a big question... What percentage of people know what Safe sex is? In a country where going and buying a condom is still considered under the blanket, how many of them will really be riding the risk factor?
Now given the immaturity of the modern Indian economy, can we afford teen pregnancy?
A society that still views divorced women with an attitude, can it accept single mothers? Will schools be courages enough to break taboos and give places to children of poor single moms? Poor is important for the rich can buy their way through.
There are lot of aspects to oppose to what she said than just culture. For once, can we let our heart keep quiet and let the brains talk?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Funny yet thoughtful

At a time when religions are getting more and more into marketing themselves, you cant help but laugh at this funny one.

Curious case of Sachin Tendular Part 1

I worship SRT. I lived my days in the last decade of last century yearning for his blade to compose a symphony that he also is capable of. I still worship him in the days of Dhoni's and Kaif's. As they say, pretenders can be many but the Emperor one. Sachin will always be the Emperor and a stupid tennis elbow and a bunch of idiosyncratic morons pretending to be expert columnists cannot change that. Fed up with all the talk about Sachin not being a matchwinner I did some research and found this link, that says a story to the contrary. (There is no Ganguly in here.. I dont understand why people cant have meaningful anchors !£$%) Sachin's average in winning games is second only to the "I bat late and not outs boost my average" Michael Bevan. Among genuine batters, he is right there. 28 of his 100's and 42 of his 50's have come in a winning cause that, accounted over a period of time, when there was one batter called Sachin Tendulkar is an accomplishment, that should make the "fake cricketers who now write columns in poor english" to just shut up. Add to it the 86 wickets and 57 catches the picture is all round complete. 56 times he has been the Man of the Match when India has won and in world cup 2003 he had MoM's along with the batter of the tournament.
On the contrary when Sachin has failed so has the team, however despite him having a decent 32 average in lost games the team could not play around him. Now if the rest 10 refuse to play who is to blame? He has 9 hundereds and 28 50's and 10 MOM awards in lost causes as well.

Sachin : The stats talk (Curious Case ... part 2)

How often do we see cricketers win 150 matches for their country? Of his 37 ODI hundereds 28 have ended up on a winning cause. Out of the 37687 runs scored by India in the 90's in winning games Sachin had scored 7985. The rest of the batters (averaging 6 a match there were 5 others) had managed between themselves 28934 runs at an average of about 5780 a difference of about 2000 runs. Considering India played in 122 winning games this factors to about 20 average points in a loose approximation.
To be a part of a lost cause and still not to lose faith in yourselves talks volumes about a person's character. Imagine how disterssing it would have been on that day in Chennai where 5 players could not manage 13 runs? To keep playing shows the passion this man had for the game. Money is not in the equation when Sachin is being talked about. Long after he walks off the field he is going to be making his millions. In books, endorsements, tv commentaries and what not..
Now if you are wondering why I took the pains to write a scipt to scrape of stats of cricinfo and make some sense into the numbers, I had an interesting conversaion on my way to Ireland at Heathrow. I saw a copy of Being Freddie by Andy Flinttof and passed a casual remark about how even Sachin hasnt written a book called Being Tendulkar.. The lady remarked "May be he hasnt done enough". If it is one man all of us want to be and not want to, it is Sachin. Flinttof is a star amongst the Beckhams and Pietersons and Camilla Joneses....

Sachin for us is a lone ranger, then now and forever.

Galway time

Finally after leaving Altanta on Saturday, I made it to Galway on Monday. Bad Chicago weather and London weather made me live of flights and airport food for longer than I planned. However this gave me a nice chance to get a quick tour of London and Chicago. My blog is going to be all tour diaries beginning now until I am in the good old anything but Greek Athens in USA....