Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Holmes, Dupin, Feluda, and more...

An exciting affair this summer, right before I start graduate school, is taking some time to go back to reading some of the classic detective stories. I have always been an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, Dupin, and one of the most brilliant Bengali detectives, Feluda. Of course, the list of my favorite detectives is not exhaustive, it includes other famous characters like Poirot and Marple, two incredible creations of Agatha Christie, and other Bengali detectives. We had a collection of detective books in our house, and even though I have been away from home for college for sometime, I was glad to find some of these books still lying around in the bookshelves. These books not only help me to reconnect with some of my favorite characters, but bring back memories as I open them, for many were gifts from 'folks'.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Change in blog look

I decided to change my blog look to a simpler, more elegant white background instead of the blue one. There are also a few other changes, all for the purpose of making the appearance simpler, and putting less strain on the eyes. Hope you all like this new look.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quote 0

"A mathematician is a machine that converts coffee into theorems." - P. Erdos

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Netflix Prize grand winner 2

In my last post, I did not make it clear that the paper describes one part of the total system. It only deals with one of the many models that comprise the whole system. Hope this clears it up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Netflix Prize grand winner

I got my hands on the paper describing the system that is now the grand winner of the Netflix competition. The paper is written by Yehuda Koren. Koren basically showed how to improve Netflix's recommendation algorithm by incorporating information about the changes in the ratings over time. I have only read a few beginning parts of the paper, but it looks very intriguing, and I am interested in knowing the details of the technique.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bangladesh wins first test series, yay!

For the cricket crazy nation of Bangladesh, the most amazing thing has happened - Bangladesh has won the first ever test series. And what a win! We whitewashed West Indies in the Caribbean venue. The final innings of the second test match was almost a disaster for Bangladesh, losing a few quick wickets and struggling to keep the run cycle crunching. However, a brilliant partnership turned the match in Bangladesh's favor, leading to a terrific 2-0 test series win. Great job!

Friday, July 17, 2009

An evening of hanging out in Dhanmondi

I spent a great evening in Dhanmondi today, hanging out with Murad, Lenin, and Khaled. All three are friends from high school with whom I have been out of touch for a while. I saw Murad almost after three years, Lenin it has been about four years, and Khaled, I think it has been almost ages.

It was truly amazing to see these people from my good old high school days. Although, I have been in touch with Muard quite often electronically, and sometimes with Lenin, but nothing makes up for the excitement of seeing friends from the past in person. When I got the call from Murad in the afternoon that he is hanging out with Lenin and Khaled in Dhanmondi, and if I can come over, I was really excited in getting the opportunity to hang out with some old friends after many years - and let me just say here, these people have changed, or rather evolved, into some great human beings. We tried calling two other friends from high school, whom I haven't seen for two years, but they couldn't make it today.

Dhanmondi is also a place that holds lot of memories for me -- both my sister and I went to our beloved school in Dhanmondi for many years, till high school. I took a walk around Dhanmondi with Murad later in the evening, heading towards Dhanmondi lake to hang out. Dhanmondi lake is an amazingly beautiful place with lot of memories of playing cricket between classes in school, after labs during high school, and of course, the exquisite chicken roll from this street shop at the corner. The street shop still exists, but unfortunately they no longer make that chicken roll. Hanging out there was still great, except the place was overcrowded because of the weekend. The evening event then reluctantly concluded after a few hours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Machine learning blog

I just added a link to a machine learning blog in 'some interesting links'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

User friendly error messages

I am pretty sure most of you are familiar with the many 'user friendly' messages that Microsoft Windows often spits out. The new firefox (with TraceMonkey) just crashed on a particular webpage, and simply failed to recover the page after restarting a number of times (no, my net connection is not the issue). It has been a while, as far as I remember, since I came across such a nice error message.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The awesomeness of home cooked meals

I have been back home in Bangladesh for about three and a half weeks. It has been two years since I last came home, and I realize this time how much I have missed home cooked meals and traditional foods! I never really felt this craving while I was away; I did miss the food, but I had come to accept this hollowness quite well. But being back now, and tasting the food that I almost never got to taste for the last few years in college, my craving for traditional foods has spiked tremendously. One goal for summer at home -- discover the intricacies of Bangladeshi cuisine and what makes it so delectable.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mozilla firefox 3.5 with TraceMonkey javascript engine

Firefox 3.5 is now available! Why am I excited? Well, I am not excited about the fact that Firefox just released a new browser version - they do it quite often - but this version has a JIT (just in time) compilation technique built in, the TraceMonkey javascript engine, which I have been hearing about for a while. I just changed some configurations in my browser to take full advantage of TraceMonkey. Hopefully Firefox already did a good enough job to prevent a catastrophe of my browsing experience.

Three Cups of Tea - An amazing tale of a real life Indiana Jones

I finished reading this book a few days ago. I simply want to go on and talk about this book, but I am going to restrain myself and say this: this book is an amazing, epic tale of a real world person, and if you get a chance to read this book, just grab it. I can promise that it will be worth your while. Here's a link to the book.