Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TV Remote tester

Fatima keeps throwing or dropping the TV remote. She also keeps taking it apart from time to time. I believe we've had four or five remote changes over the last one year or so. The TV wouldn't turn on last week. It's a monitor-turned-TV which does not have buttons to change channels and stuff. I found that a component lead in the remote was broken. Tried to fix it but it didn't work. Couldn't decide if it was a faulty TV or faulty remote, so I set out to web search for TV remote testers.
I found several different DIY schematics, but the technique that I liked best was to view the remote through a camera. Point the remote at the camera, press a button and you should see a white LED flashing. The camera captures Infrared radiation. Simple and effective. The remote was broken. I bought a new one. The TV was also at fault, the IR sensor in the TV had to be replaced.


There's a thread these days on Telecom Grid Pakistan mailing list about the proposed 20 paisa per SMS tax. A poster hinted on how cheap SMS make them the ideal easy way of mobilizing a mob, for instance, in the long march case. The post as well as my reply are way off topic, so I'm posting a reply here.

May I suggest that roads, railways, and telecom are the enablers of growth and development. Branding SMS as the easiest mass mobilization instrument is a flawed argument. For that matter, cars and trucks have been used to carry explosives. Shall we ban them, too? Notice how this discussion is headed way off topic. Every facility has a way to be misused. You can't justify taxing it to lower the risk. Besides, if the government is going to play foul, they should be willing to see the mobs on the streets. To be fair, they haven't seen anything.
I would like to see a million percent tax on cigarettes, cigars, tobacco in general, paan, chewing gum. Those are non essential items. Instead of making wheat, onion and phone calls more expensive, tax these items by the millions of percent. These are luxuries, as are the beamers and the mercs. Oh, but the industrialists would halt that move fearing loss of revenue. We've seen several examples lately of when the ministers talked about rationalizing the prices of local cars (Suzuki Moron, for instance). What did we get? Nada.
Again, if the telecom sector fears loss of revenue, they'd try to fill a few pockets to scrap this bill. But the telecom sector, apparently, isn't doing well anyway.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I am wondering.......

I'm wondering! Some of the things are tested on the third world first. For example, WiMax. They've identified many deployment issues with the technology before they deploy it in the developed countries, if ever. New medicine are launched in third world countries. It helps identify side effects with no legal costs. Human cost in the third world does not count. Surgery related equipment similarly follows.
On the other hand, some things are not tried on us first. For instance, electricity market deregulation, whereby a consumer can purchase electricity from a number of different retailers. Markets for trading power are established. As far as I can tell, the idea originated in the UK. Am I wrong?
Please comment on what you think placing some innovation in one of the above categories.

Pop quiz (including solution)

Time is a relative term. Aging doesn't affect certain people as much as it does the rest of us, like Michael J. Fox, Tom Cruise and, of course, Bryan Adams. He was born November 5, 1959. So, here's the quiz: how old will he be on November 5, 2009?
50? Wrong answer. Haven't you heard "18 til I die"

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Garbage characters in files

A friend of mine here at LUMS just told me of an issue he had last night. I thought I'd blog it down just in case someone else would tumble upon it.

His C++ program was writing to a file. While debugging the program, the file contained what he expected. But when the program closed, the file contained some garbage characters near the beginning before the meaningful data. He discovered that it was because he had opened the same file in the program twice.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Last night

This is a true story about what happened last night. It rained cats and dogs in Lahore last night. Hearing the sound of the rain, I immediately got in the mood for "it". We got out of the house and ran over to my car giggling as we got soaked. We drove over to a secluded place with no one around and got out of the car.
Soaking up the skin desperately hoping to ease the prickly heat. I ran my hands over her body at the front first and then the back and watched it get cleaned. I immediately got an idea. I got the shampoo out from under my car's seat and a rag. I washed the rag in the rain and applied some shampoo onto it. I washed her white body with the rag it starting at the top. Some vehicles started to go past us, and I was embarrassed but did not stop doing it. I had not washed my car in ages. What were you thinking you pervert?