Arun Raghavan

Extremely pithy tagline here

TAG: life


It’s been long since I wrote about anything non-specific. I guess it’s a common symptom amongst bloggers from my generation (age jokes will draw ire). For me, it just stopped being so important to say anything, what with every major insight seeming pretty ciichéd and/or obvious by the time I got down to writing it. Can’t you just see the brain cells sizzle away?

As I was wont to do in days gone, let me start with books. I spent a long time re-reading books, sometimes more than once. Seemed to take a lot less effort than reading new books. Ditto movies, when I had enough time to watch them. Of course, bite-sized chunks of TV series were easier to grok as well. With a conscious effort now, I’ve started reading more new stuff, the latest of these being Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Gripping book, that. Incidentally, if you’ve not read Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, you’re missing out on what I am certain is one of the best SF works in recent times. Have been promised access to the remainder of his novels featuring Takeshi Kovacs, so looking forward to that.

On the music front, I sold off my guitar a year and a half ago (the neck warped too often) and now intend to buy a new guitar. Saw a fairly decent and not-too-pricey Granada at Furtado’s, and it’s now somewhere near the top of my acquisition list. As before, my tastes are (a) relatively esoteric, and (b) temporally out of phase. My latest obsession are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, about whom Rolling Stone has a brilliantly written article that borders on idolation.

Moved to a new house, and unpacking and settling in slowly proceed. All the running around before this and now mean that I still have to establish a proper working environment and discipline. I’ve been trying (with only moderate success) to maintain a reasonably “normal” diurnal cycle. Should be more successful as things settle further.

I’ve got a couple of work related blog posts lined up in my head, but that’ll have to wait for later. I hope this particular post heralds some exercising of atrophied writing muscles.

Good night, world.

The times they are a-changin’

Yesterday was my last day at NVidia. I’ve worked with the Embedded Software team there for the last 15 months, specifically on the system software for a Linux based stack that you will see some time next year. I’ve had a great time there, learning new things, and doing everything from tweaking bit-banging I²C implementations with a CRO to tracking down alleged compiler bugs (I’m looking at you -fstrict-aliasing) by wading through ARM assembly.

As some of you might already know, my next step, which has had me bouncing off the walls for the last month, is to join the great folks at Collabora Multimedia working on the PulseAudio sound server. I’ll be working from home here, in Bangalore (in your face, 1.5-hour commute!). It is incredibly exciting for me to be working with a talented bunch of folks and actively contributing to open source software as part of my work!

More updates as they happen. :)

Knock knock …

Been a good week. I crossed 50 commits to Beagle. They’re all pretty modest contributions, but it’s been awesome fun.

In addition, pkgcore 0.4.4 has my patch to support HTTP proxies for rsync. This was a fun patch to write, small as it is. The code is beautiful, and Brian Harring (ferringb) and Patrick Lauer (bonsaikitten) walked me through a lot of it. Good stuff!

I’ve also been working on splitting the gnome-python* ebuilds to make the dependency trees for packages that use these bindings a lot saner. This has been longer and more painstaking that intended. It wouldn’t even have happened if Jim Ramsay (lack) hadn’t made an excellent start with the gnome-python-desktop split, since all subsequent work was based on that. Hope this is useful to someone, though. :-)

As I said, a good week.

Maybe I’m too cynical

There’s a talk by NRN going on. Got bored and walked off while he was preaching the importance of putting the good of society above our own.

The talk was preceded by a short speech by Arun Shourie. He had the audience in fits, slamming politicians, and actually making the point that NRN was trying to make a lot better. That is some dude, that is.

All Or None

This is one awesome song.

The power connection in my room was out the last 2 days, so not much activity online. Instead, I played a little squash, some tennis, disgusted myself over billiards, read a little Vonnegut, and generally lounged.

Last night, and I had a visitor in the tree right outside our rooms — a Common Hoopoe (the Wikipedia entry reminded me that I’d seen one of these in Haroun and the Sea of Stories). The little guy fell asleep somewhere amidst our boring photography session.

Closer look at the Hoopoe

Hoopoe in a tree


It happens with Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, xkcd, and A Softer World (I can’t really bring myself to read ASW for long). An alternating feeling of being socked in the gut and then kicked in the head when you’re down. And then wondering, how does he know?.

Then there’s the one about Gandhi.

Oh, and last May, I got one of these:


What is it? Nothing much, other than open to interpretation. :-) The tat’s done by Deep at Dark Arts, Frazer Town, Bangalore. Didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would (some disappointment there). Thanks to for the pointer.

I think I used to have a voice

Ah, I’m back. In a revolutionary fit of life changing, I have decided to try to be regular about blogging again. And as I type this out, I have completely forgotten everything that I wanted to blog about. Flup.

Books. I got my hands on a few and, shockingly, read them. Going through a manic Kurt Vonnegut reading phase — Hocus Pocus, Breakfast of Champions, Slapstick, Slaughterhouse 5, and, in due time, Galapagos. But the biggest news item, book-wise, is that I got my very own Rs. 100 copy of Raise High The Roofbeam Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction. Pristine condition. W00t.

Our hostel has a little library, and I’m allegedly in the advisory committee for that. They made the mistake of getting me to buy books from Bangalore. You should’ve seen the twinkle in my eye as I entered Blossom with 2000 bucks to spend wisely.

Been looping on this song for a while now — Blink 182 – I Miss You.

Oh, and Poets of the Fall will be here for our cul-fest this time. That’s this Saturday. Awesome. I’ve not made it to the salsa crash-course this time, though, unlike last time.

Placements happen in about a month. I’d taken up some work on the placement team (our placement system is really anti-student — you get one job and you’re out of the process. Stupid.). Walked out in a huff after a while because of the usual kind of stupidity.

Oh, and I got a Canon PowerShot S5 IS. ‘Tis a beaut, no doubt. Now to figure out how to use it. :D Got some nice bird shots thanks to guru . Will post them in a while (gotta leave something for future posts).

And thus I bid thee short adieu.


Saw some Outlook ratings recently (the page is dead, but cached here) for Engineering colleges. I’ve traditionally held that these rankings are bullshit. Ranks are often handed out on a highest-bidder basis, all else, including metrics, being decided arbitrarily.

Ignoring relative rankings, I scanned through for a list of colleges I recognised. There were a few of repute there, the Bangalore colleges I knew of, and some I knew of from people studying there. And the bottom line is that all the ones I know, in the words of Cartman, suck ass when it comes to education. And maybe that tells us a lot about the state of private education in India. That’s one I’ve sung before, so ‘nuff said.

What I wonder now is whether the next generation of adults is going to be the most cynical in recent history, or if we’re all going to delude ourselves into believing we actually learnt anything (and I don’t mean “lessons in life”) in college because it’s just easier that way.

And maybe it doesn’t even matter. Here, watch some Taylor Mali and feel good about it all.