What's New? - August 2000

· Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 11:52 PM ·

Today we had the Semiconductor Devices exam after all!  It was from 2 PM to 5 PM, but because no college buses were available, it was a really long time going back home, because Ganeshan, Nagesh, Sharad and myself had to go to Ghatkesar first, then take a bus back to Secunderabad.  Anyway, I reached home at about 7 PM, and then saw the second half of Falling Down (directed by Joel Schumacher), on STAR Movies.  It has really excellent acting by both Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall, and a nice script by Ebbe Roe Smith.  Later I finished the Doom I Soundtrack Page, now all the Doom I MIDI files are available there.  The Doom II Page is coming soon.  Apart from that, no more updates to this site today.

Ganeshan gave me another wallpaper that he made, one of The X Files.  I'll be adding that here later.  Also he told me today about loadlin (I couldn't boot Corel Linux after installing it, this program is supposed to load it from Windows).  I tried using it, but still couldn't get it to work.  Probably Corel Linux has to be installed using the ext2 filesystem for it to work well.

Tomorrow we have our C and Data Structures exam (finally!!).  I also have to submit my Computer Programming Record Book tomorrow.  I have to write about 4-5 programs more now.  The Network Theory exam is on 2nd.  My Practical Final exams are on the 4th, 5th and 29th of September.

· Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 02:30 AM ·

[Written with reference to 29th Aug.]

Thanks to all those who voted at my poll!  60% liked the black background-look better, 40% went for the other look.  So I've retained the feel of the site, and still made it look different because of the background image.  Thanks, Nagesh, for giving me your comments.  I appreciate you visiting the site regularly and giving me your feedback.  I will keep adding to this site regularly.  Like today, I added a WAD review of StationX by Russ Ringer.  It's a Doom I map that I downloaded two days ago, along with a couple of others.

As I wrote before we had no exams at college the last two days.  I'm still not sure about tomorrow.  We may have the prefinal exam of Semiconductor Devices and Circuits, and then again, we may not.  Anyway I studied for that today, and there's only the Transistors and Electron Ballistics part left over, which I will do tomorrow morning.

· Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 03:20 AM ·

Just this update, then I'm going to sleep - I've changed quite a few things here!

  1. There's now a background image for all the pages, so the site looks a little more stylish.
  2. I removed some font settings from the top frame, so that I control more things with the style sheet.
  3. Speaking of style sheets, I modified those too.
  4. Started work on the Doom Soundtrack Page.
  5. Added TheCounter.com Site Tracking facility (http://www.thecounter.com) for more detailed statistics.

And I forgot to mention this last time - I want to thank Ganeshan for giving me my theme on The X Files.  I thought I had lost that, but fortunately he had a copy.  Next time I update my themes site, I'll put that up.

· Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 12:57 AM ·

[Written with reference to Aug. 28th]

Our internal/prefinal exams were supposed to be over by today, but we're still stuck with the last three exams.  Last time I had written that we were supposed to have the C and Data Structures Exam today.  But due to a violent protest at Basheerbagh, buses weren't operating properly.  As a result, guess what?  No exams today, and no exams tomorrow as well!  The CDS, Networks and SCD exams are yet to be conducted, but I have no idea when they'll be held.  The schedule for the practicals exams has been announced, we'll know all the details soon.

I spent more than an hour (10:55 PM to 12:05 AM) installing Corel Linux now (Red Hat Linux 6.2 for some mysterious reason absolutely refuses to allocate partition space on the hard disk).  The install finished successfully (that was a big relief for me, since the installation made me worry a lot!), but I don't get the LILO prompt at startup.  I'm going to have to resolve this somehow if I'm going to use Corel Linux.

So what have I added to the site now?  I've changed quite a few things too.  Here we go...

  1. Added a new wallpaper of Mulder and Scully from The X Files
  2. Added a few more MIDIs to the MIDI Files Page
  3. Reorganised the MIDIs page so that the Doom and Doom II Soundtracks are on separate pages
  4. Added a picture of Robert Prince to those two pages
  5. I've now moved the various Javascripts off the HTML pages.  I made .js files for them, and I just insert the scripts wherever I want.  Makes the HTML code a lot neater, and the scripts are more independent.

I saw two movies on Saturday - Lethal Weapon 2 and Shanghai Noon.  I'll write reviews for them soon.

If you're going to install Corel Linux, remember - the progress bar it shows you is for the WHOLE installation procedure, not for each individual part.  So don't get scared if the progress bar freezes at 25% for half an hour, saying that it's formatting your disk!!

Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 12:15 AM

[Written with reference to Aug. 25th]

There's a lot to write about today!  First of all, the rains which have been causing a lot of damage to some areas of the state were the cause of a lot of confusion at college today.  Since yesterday was a holiday, there was a doubt as to which exam would be held today - among the 150 or so of the I Year students (out of about 300!) who came to the college today.  It was finally decided to postpone these exams.  For those who weren't there, let me clarify things - the remaining prefinal exams will be conducted as follows -

The timings are 2 to 5 PM.  The practical external exams will start from 2nd September.

More important news: my brother Varun's homepage is finally up!  Go to Varun's Home at http://varun87.tripod.com.  It's a very nicely designed site - but you must view it at a resolution of 800x600 or higher.

Today I finished playing the first episode of Quake (shareware).  And then I did some updating.  The updates on this site are -

  1. I've put up some more screenshots from Quake here.
  2. I also added Varun's wallpaper of Spear of Destiny to the Wallpapers page.
  3. A review of one of my all-time favourite movies, Reservoir Dogs, has been added to the Movie Reviews Page.
  4. Two C Programs have been added to the Computers Page - a program to convert an infix expression into a postfix expression, and a program to sort an array using different techniques.

And since everyone seems to be liking the current look of the site, let's keep it that way.  You can still vote for your choice, however.

On TV, today's episodes of Black-Adder II (Episode 4, "Money", written by Richard Curtis/Ben Elton), and Goodness Gracious Me were very funny.  Tintin on Cartoon Network was very good too, today's episode was "The Secret of the Unicorn Part 1".

Thursday, August 24, 2000 - 03:05 PM

Today we had a holiday because of the rain!  Today's exam is postponed to tomorrow, and all others are pushed forward by a day.  I came home by 11:30 AM, and then played a few levels of id Software's Quake shareware.  And I added quite a lot of things to the site, and made many improvements, which are...

  1. Added a new page to the site!  It's the new Wallpapers page, with some of my original creations.  You can go there and download a few backgrounds for your Windows or Linux desktop.
  2. I asked Ganeshan (a.k.a. Ximor Iksivich) today whether I could use some of his wallpapers here.  With his permission, I've included two of his wallpapers on that page - the excellent Worm-Hole and Dermios.
  3. An idea I've had for quite a few days has finally been implemented - just see what I've added to the top of the page.  You can now change the background music, stop it, and resume playing it after you stop it.  Stopping it this way is better than clicking the Stop button of your browser (which will unnecessarily stop animations also).
  4. After playing some Quake, I added a few screenshots from that game here.  I really had a lot of fun playing Quake today.  I'll be adding more Quake related material soon.
  5. I also made some changes to the Movies Page.
  6. Added some more MIDI selections as background music.

The links on the left side are slowly growing!  I'm already planning to include a page on my favourite Books, and later, a page with some of my drawings.

Thursday, August 24, 2000 - 01:05 AM

[Written with reference to 23 Aug.]

It rained almost the entire day today.  The weather was nice (it's raining now as I type this...).  Yesterday I installed two excellent freeware programs.  The first is Desktop Architect 2.0 by Ken Foster.  This latest version of Foster's desktop theme-management software is better than ever, with more features, better documentation, etc.  At 1.96 MB, it's worth the download.  I installed it off the August 2000 CHIP CD.  (I won a three-month subscription to CHIP magazine by signing up at ZDNet India - if you want to have a shot, you can go to http://www.zdnetindia.com/chipmag and sign up).

The second program I installed is IrfanView 3.21, created by Irfan Skiljan.  This fantastic image viewer (a long-time favourite of mine) has tons of features and improvements over the previous versions.  For those who installed the program from CHIP CD March 2000, note that that was the 3.05 version, this latest version was released on 20th July.  It's a 485 KB download, and you can get a lot of plugins for it too.

What I added on this site today:

  1. The Miscellaneous Section has now been nicely subdivided into different pages, so there's no longer a bunch of pictures all at once on that page.
  2. I was playing about with a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar today, and I ended up with a nice GIF image of her.
  3. I also subdivided the Music Page into different sections.
  4. The Lyrics of the theme song from Friends is here.
  5. Yesterday I changed the poll on the site to ask you: Which design of the site do you like better?  Have a look at the pictures on that page, and vote for whichever design you like best.

Ganeshan today gave me some of his wallpaper creations.  The one I liked best (and the one I've got now on my desktop) is called Worm Hole.

Today's episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Doppelgängland, was a terrific episode, written and directed by Joss Whedon.  Anya the demon convinces Willow to do some witchcraft in order that she may get her necklace back (the one that caused so much trouble in The Wish), but this has a nasty side-effect - it brings back the vampire Willow from the alternate dimension into this one!  A great script and well-handled action scenes at the end made this a very enjoyable episode.

Tomorrow I have an exam on C and Data Structures.  Then on 25th, Network Theory, and on 26th, Semiconductor Devices and Circuits.

Wednesday, August 23, 2000 - 01:45 AM

[Written with reference to 22 Aug.]

A couple of days back I tried to connect to the internet - and to my dismay, kept getting messages that there was no dialtone, etc...!  I tried reinstalling the modem, plugging the phone cable into a different point, but to no avail.  I thought there was a problem with the modem.  Today my brother told me that there was a part of the cable that seemed "chewed up".  He was right, so I went and bought a new wire, and everything's working fine now.

On July 26 I wrote an update after finishing studying for the IT exam - that exactly describes the situation now (that's what I call déjà vu)!  Tomorrow is the 6th internal exam and Prefinal in Computers and Information Technology, which also includes Numerical Methods.

I've been asking my friends about which design of this site they like better - the one with the black background, or the one with blue.  [There are pictures of both here.]  Nagesh told me the blue look was more "formal".  (Thanks for the feedback.)  Right now, I've changed the look back to the black background colour.  You can still however mail me with your comments on the look, because it just takes me a minute to change the entire look of the site.  You can also tell me if there's anything else you'd like to see on the site.

Today, Varun played a terrific Doom demo - a speed run of episode 1 (at easy skill) in just 6 minutes and 48 seconds!  And that was just practice for an actual speed demo he's planning to play.

Sunday, August 20, 2000 - 12:19 AM

[Written with reference to 19 Aug.]

I've made a number of additions to this site.  Although these were made two days ago, I didn't have time to upload the new files.  Here is a list of the changes I made:

  1. The Javascript that displays the date has been modified - it will now also display the time the page was opened.
  2. It also displays a suitable greeting depending on the time - like "Good Morning", etc.
  3. People who view this page at a resolution less than 800x600, or with colour depth set to 256 colours or less, will now be warned by a Javascript popup dialog box saying that this site is not going to look as it is supposed to at their screen settings.
  4. People using older browsers will also get a warning popup dialog box.
  5. I removed the style sheet setting that displays image backgrounds as a hover effect for hyperlinks.  I think it's better without them.  If you liked those instead, tell me.
  6. At the bottom of this page you'll be told what browser you're using and what your screen settings are.  This is all I know to find out using Javascript (for now).

The last two days I had my English (18th) and Mathematics Exams (19th).  I've done well in English, but Maths wasn't too good, at the same time, not too bad.  [How did you do, Nagesh?]  A lot of my friends said it was difficult.  The next exam (on Monday) is Applied Physics.

18th was also Rajeev's birthday, so Happy Birthday Rajeev!  [See you on Monday].

Yesterday I watched part of Dark City on HBO.  Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas and starring Rufus Sewell is one of the most visually impressive movies I've ever seen.  It has a very imaginative story and is very well acted.  It's a lot better on the big screen though, because on TV the widescreen photography and the sound aren't as effective.  The same goes for Trevor Jones' score for the film.  Today I saw Blade Runner on HBO.  This futuristic science-fiction movie starring Harrison Ford was quite slow-moving in the first three-quarters, however the scenes leading upto the ending and the beautiful visuals made everything worth watching.  This was the original 1982 version, so it's a little disjointed and things are not properly explained.  The Director's Cut Edition (1992) of the movie is supposed to be much better.  I will have reviews for both movies on this site as soon as my exams get over.

Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 02:07 AM

I made another update to this site while I was downloading Duke Nukem 3D Shareware.  I've written more information on the page About Me....  I also got back the MIDI file which I had created sometime back (by mixing two songs from Heretic and Doom II!) called Karthik's Mix.  I think Doom/ Heretic fans will have no trouble at all in guessing which two songs I've combined.  Here I have a small shot of my Duke download in progress, and a shot of the completed download dialog box.

More on Duke soon, on the Games Pages!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2000 - 11:30 PM

Yesterday I was talking about our Computer Programming Practical Test, do you want to know what program I had to write?  A program to solve equations by Gauss-Seidel iterative method!  Especially when I hadn't read the algorithm for that, I found it quite difficult to do the program - I had to come up with the algorithm AND the program right there!  Anyway, this wasn't an official test, since only six of us showed up for it (!).  My prefinals start the day after tomorrow, so I will not be going to college tomorrow.

OK, so what did I do here today?  Nagesh told me he liked the MIDI of Aqua's Barbie Girl, so I've uploaded a lot more songs.  Nagesh, if you're reading this, go to the MIDI Page, and listen to the new songs.  Here are some I think you'll like - I'm a Scatman by Scatman John, Chariots of Fire by Vangelis, Absolutely Fabulous by Pet Shop Boys, What is Love by Haddaway.  There are more on the MIDI Page, go have a look.

I got a couple of OLD games today - Dangerous Dave [by John Romero, 1990], Grand Prix Circuit (A CGA 4 colour game) [Accolade Entertainment, 1988], and Commander Keen 4 Shareware [id Software, 1991].  I will try to put up some Commander Keen shareware games on this site, they are really a lot of fun to play.

Tuesday, August 15, 2000 - 11:44 PM

I found something new today while experimenting with style sheets - I used the background: (url) attribute for the hover effect of a link, and guess what I got.  JPEG backgrounds when the mouse pointer hovers over a link!  This effect will only be noticeable in Internet Explorer.  Apart from implementing this on the site, I've gone back to the older look - the one this site had late last month (the blue background).  All I had to to was to modify the style sheets a bit - and all thirty or so pages change!!

I've got a practical exam in Computer Programming (C and Data Structures) tomorrow.  The way it goes is this - questions are printed on strips of paper, and everyone has to choose one at random.  If I'm lucky, I'll get an easy one!

It's been a long time since I played Blood.  I installed the v0.99 shareware and played it today.  I'd forgotten what a brilliant game this is, it's so much fun to play (but difficult!).  It's music score sounds terrific on a 32-bit sound card!  I couldn't get the sound in the game to work, however - the setup program said something about a DMA conflict.  I tried many settings, changing DMA channels, even the IRQs, but still no sound.  Maybe it will work with the v1.11 version, which I've asked Varun to download.  He also downloaded Doom Legacy today - and it is a terrific Doom port.  It's the only one I've seen so far which has a nice software renderer as well as a terrific OpenGL renderer.  I will have screenshots from Doom Legacy and all the source ports I have, on a page coming soon (after exams, or sooner if possible).

Srikanth, you've visited my site again, but you still haven't signed my guestbook!!

Sunday, August 13, 2000 - 04:18 PM

I did some reorganising on this site today.  More files have been placed into subdirectories, so that it's easier to upload.  My Doom Demos are also now in ZIP files, so the download file size is one-fifth the previous size.  The demos also have an accompanying text file with detailed statistics.  There are also some new Doom GIFs.  And I added a picture of my brother and myself here.

I also made an index page for Linux Elite - this site by me and my friends will be appearing soon.  Right now there's just a page announcing it's opening.

Sunday, August 13, 2000 - 12:58 AM

[Written with reference to Aug. 12th]

Our Ist Year Engineering Final Exams are starting on September 13th, and the prefinals are starting on August 18th.  So today the syllabus of Network Theory, Semiconductor Devices, Mathematics was completed (more than 5 units out of 6 in Networks and Semiconductors was done, but everything could not be completed due to lack of time).  On Monday the Practical Record books of Computer Programming and Semiconductor Devices have to be submitted.

So what's new on this site?  Well, here goes:

  1. Style sheets tweaked slightly.
  2. Added movie review of Operation Condor: Armour of God II, one of my all-time favourite Jackie Chan movies - read it now.
  3. Changed the "Programs and Java" page to "Computers and Internet", because it will have general computer-related material too, not just Java programs.
  4. The page on Using FTP is here!  Satya Srinivas, that's especially for you, and Nagesh, you will probably find it useful also.

Today on HBO I saw Rush Hour at 9:30 PM.  That was an edited for TV version, so the dialogues were altered to tone down the language in the movie.  Because of that, the movie just didn't seem the same!  Other interesting movies this week on various channels include:

Ganeshan wrote a simple, basic text editor in C.  He's given me the program in both DOS and Linux versions (he ported it).  The disk he gave me also had some nice images on it.  Speaking of programming, I downloaded Robin McLeod's port wHeretic (the latest Build 9), and also got the Heretic Source Code from his site.  I don't know enough of C to really do something with it, but I thought I'd just have a look.  The source is an 829 KB ZIP file, containing .C and .H files, and a few other supporting files.

Thursday, August 10, 2000 - 09:02 PM

I added more MIDIs on the MIDI Page, and one song that deserves special mention is Jim Latham's excellent Theme from the Men In Black Animated Series.  I also updated the reviews of Dark Breed and Bloodfist VI which I had written yesterday.  The Movie Ratings page has information about my classification system.  The style sheets on this site were also updated, I now use Trebuchet MS as the main font.  The style sheet however takes care of things if the required fonts aren't available, because alternate font settings will be used.  Satya Srinivas emailed me again with more information about his upcoming website.  It seems very interesting and I'm waiting for him to put it online.  Srikanth, if you are reading this, sign my guestbook, it's just a few clicks away!

Coming Soon: The FTP Page I'm supposed to write, Ways to know if you're Addicted to Doom, and movie reviews of T-Force, Blackbelt, more Bloodfist movies, The Dead Next Door and more.  More MIDIs and pictures will also be added.

Our college prefinals will start on 18th.  Tomorrow will be the last Semiconductor Devices Practical for me, and on Monday the record books have to be submitted.  I have to complete that now, so I will upload the new files to the site later tonight.

Thursday, August 10, 2000 - 01:20 AM

[Written with reference to Aug 9]

Just a quick update before I go to sleep.  Yesterday I downloaded a whole lot of MIDI Files, so you will be seeing more of those on the site soon.  I also have started writing movie reviews, and the first two of them are up - Bloodfist VI: Ground Zero and Dark Breed.  I modified the style sheets a little bit too, so the colours here are slightly different.  Another thing I've done to improve the site is to organise everything on the server into folders.  Of course, this won't make any difference to you, but it does make the site easier to manage.

I also visited a couple of great sites yesterday.  One is the Flip Side Movie Emporium, which deals mostly with low-budget movies (it has a great design), the others are Tempe Video's Website and Dead Next Door.Com (these websites are all about the films of J. R. Bookwalter and associated movies).  Two more sites dealing with B-Movies are The B-Movie Mailing List and Badmovies.org.

August 07, 2000 - 11:30 PM

[This is especially for Nagesh and Srikanth - if you are reading this, go here now.]

I've been asked by some of my friends about tips on website design, FTP, etc., so I thought I'd set up some pages here on this site with information about all these things.  The first thing I want to write about is FTP and uploading files, since I promised my friend Satya Srinivas I'd do so.  He is now getting ready to put his website up on the internet.  He emailed me about this the day before yesterday.  As soon as it is up, I will have a link to it on my Friends Sites Page.

I've taken some screenshots of FTP Explorer in action (transferring files is very easy with this excellent program), and I'll have these shots up here as soon as I can (exams, exams!) along with some movie reviews (looong overdue!).

Yesterday I watched Lost In Space (1998) on HBO.  I enjoyed this movie a lot.  (Starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert, Jack Johnson, Written by Akiva Goldsman, Directed by Stephen Hopkins).  The visuals in this movie were really great, and it was well written, too - with a good science-fiction storyline, and a lot of the elements that made the series so enjoyable ("Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!").  There are also brief appearances from the cast of the original series in the film, and it has a nice remix of the Lost in Space theme music during the end credits.  The excellent score for the film was composed by Bruce Broughton.

I think it will be about a month or two before I can do any real updates on my sites, that's because the 6th Internal Exams + Pre-Finals will start on August 18th, followed by the Final Practical Exams, and then, the Final I Year University Exams starting from September 13th (yes, it's been postponed).

August 04, 2000 - 11:57 PM

Today we got a new 20 GB Seagate hard disk!  Also, we now have an ALS 4000 32-bit sound card, and you won't believe how terrific MIDIs sound, especially Robert Prince's Doom music.  Today after college when I came back home, I had barely opened the front gate when I heard the Close Your Eyes MIDI (a song from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) in great 32-bit sound!  Now I'm going to rebuild my collection of MIDIs, and I'm going to get more than I ever had before!

I saw the first episode of Black Adder II (which takes place many many years after the original Black Adder stories), it was really excellent.  Also, today's episode of Goodness Gracious Me! was nice too.  Some time back the cable operators here started airing the HBO channel, and I saw Dead Calm (Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane) yesterday.

Site updates today include

  1. Changed the side navigation - now it looks better and I decreased the number of links seen there
  2. Added a page on Site Reviews to the Links Pages
  3. Changed the Links Page to group Family/Friends Sites, Other Sites and the Reviews Pages together
  4. More screenshots on the More... Page

I'm going to have to reinstall Linux on this new hard disk, which is something I've kept aside for tomorrow, or maybe Sunday.  I also have to complete writing the Practical Record Book for Semiconductor Devices tomorrow, so I don't know whether I'll have time to do a full install of Red Hat Linux 6.2 (yes, I'm planning to do a FULL install this time).

Okay, Srikanth, you wanted me to send you some screenshots of my Linux desktop?  Well, they're all there on the Miscellaneous Page.  You can have a look right now.  I thought they would be too big to send through email, so I've put them on my site for you to see.

August 02, 2000 - 12:32 AM

[Written with reference to August 01]

The new hard disk will be operational tomorrow!  This means I can finally start downloading all the files I had before again, and I'll also be able to update my sites properly from now on.

Last night I went to Planet Romero (or John Romero dot com)!  Yes, the site is finally up  (I've been waiting for it for months!)  The site is not yet fully operational, but it looks like it's going to become another of my favourite sites!  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about - John Romero is one of the creators of Doom, Quake, etc.  His site will have information on all the games he's worked on, as well as source code, and a LOT of other stuff.  So wait for the site to be fully up!

It's been quite a while since I played Quake II.  So today after returning from college I installed it again and played it for sometime.  I actually managed to record a demo, but I have no idea how to play it back!  (Soon)  Then I started modifying this site.  Once again, I managed to come up with a totally different look just by changing the style sheets!  Here are all the modifications I made:

  1. Completely different colours
  2. Fonts are also slightly different
  3. Javascript to add the site to your favourites menu automatically!  (Only for Internet Explorer users)
  4. The logo has been changed (made with Paint Shop Pro)
  5. The style sheets now have some class definitions (so that I can control the appearance of the tables more easily!)
  6. The animated GIF of the Doom Marine on the Games Pages was also modified (the last frame has been raised by a pixel!)
  7. More songs added as background music
  8. More songs added to the MIDI Page
  9. Some images from "Pic of the moment" have been removed, and two were added
  10. Parts from this page were rewritten

No movie reviews yet.  I still have to come up with a proper layout for a review page.  Once I've done that you can expect to see a lot of movie reviews here.