Introducing “Shunya”

I take great pleasure in introducing Shunya – a brand new blog of mine.

Shunya is my second blog and is primarily going to be a reflection of my experiences as a webmaster at the Stamford International University as well as some of the choicest picks on numerics & computing.

Couldn’t help trying out WP 2.7 RC1

Though I’ve been away from blogging a good while due to extreme load at work and family front – I’ve been keeping a pretty close watch on the progress of the blogosphere. Thus, I couldn’t help but get my hands on WordPress 2.7 RC1 the moment it was released.

Here I am… loving every bit of it 🙂 Some minor hitches here and there and plenty of room for improvement – all taken into consideration there’s just one word for it – Terrific!

BSOD revisited

Here are two extremely funny renditions of the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) that is such a part and parcel of the whole Windows series… I dug them up from this site today.

Banging on the BSOD

BSOD after downloading 99%

Have fun !

15 feet away

Here’s something really cool that came to me by mail today. Take a good look at the picture below. It’s none other than the Father of Relativity, i.e. Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein transforms to Marilyn Monroe

Now unglue yourself from that chair and while keeping your focus on the picture, start moving back. About 15 feet / 5 meters should do good. And… What the heck !! 😮 What’s Marilyn Monroe doing in there?

Google gets a new favicon

Google's Old and New FaviconsWoke up this morning to upload the theme and noticed a strange new icon in some of the tabs. Didn’t spare a second glance at them till much later.. when I decided to see what lay behind those strange new tabs. To my surprise, they were Google Search results …branded with a new logo. It’s quite a far departure from the earlier blockish icon they had – and it’s going to take some time to get into that familiarity mode with it. This definitely was one of the “lesser” surprise changes on part of Google.

The differences

As you’ll notice from the picture I’ve compiled, while the earlier one had distinctly defined edges with a solid white background, the new one has a hint of gradient in the background with no hard-edges. The icon is also transparent and looks pretty cool on a backdrop of any given colour (except a close shade of blue or course – where it’s rendered almost invisible). This shouldn’t be of any major concern to Google as the icon is supposed to appear only in the browsers address bar, which in 90% of cases sports a white background. Google’s new fancy seems to be rounded-corners and this icon is no exception. The upper-cased “G” has fallen out of favour for it’s lower-cased counterpart – “g”.

Shortly after this I was hunting for any other news articles when I came across one from Google Blogoscoped in my feed reader. They’re wondering if Google is undergoing a large-scale re-branding while sticking to their self-proclaimed core value of Thinking and Acting like an underdog.

Chaotica: New theme for Chaos Laboratory

Finally got around to doing something that has been pending for ages… i.e. give the site it’s own look & feel.

There are plenty of good WordPress themes around – but almost all are overused. I needed something fresh and unique (if possible). I had contacted a few designers but their starting prices ranged $300 to $400 – something that I would rather spend on getting better hosting (dedicated server maybe) or on advertising. In the end, what had to be done – had to be done. Got down on my hands and knees and started designing one on my own.

Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Fireworks helped me a long way in designing all the graphics for the theme. Thanks to Twitch for the logo (lab flasks) – that really brightened up the page.

Once the initial issues with the CSS were sorted out, it was time to port it to WordPress. That was the easier part though and you can see the result proudly on display here. Incidentally, I decided to name it “Chaotica”. Yeah, I know – it’s pretty cliche. But that’s the best I could come up keeping at par with my site name. Maybe you can suggest a better alternative for me!

There are plenty of “cool stuff” that I’m yet to implement – but whatever I’ve put up so far isn’t bad for a first-timer ! What do you say ?

Been busy designing a new theme for Chaos Laboratory

A quick note to everyone… I’m coming up with a leaner and meaner theme for Chaos Laboratory. I’m almost done. Should be able to unleash it in a day …or two, at the most. Learnt a hell lot in the process – both CSS and WordPress Theme design wise – not to mention, bending some popular plug-ins to work the way I want.

My own plug-ins – namely, LiveSig and curreX are both in need of critical updates which I plan to do over the weekend. Till then 🙂

SCSI harware galore at incredible rates!

SCSI Hard DriveIf you’re an I.T. professional and / or are responsible for purchases in your I.T. department, this online store can prove to be a delight. Discountechnology is a San Diego based reseller of information technology equipment, hardware & systems – who, as of now, are offering quality hardware (especially in the SCSI Drives category) at massively discounted prices.

The discounted rates don’t come with any compromises in quality. Rather the store utilises alternative sourcing methods such as OEM excess to build up their inventory and thus are able to provide these discount hard drives.

They are certified resellers for enterprise networking equipment from Cisco, Juniper/Netscreen & FatPipe Networks besides offering a range of enterprise storage solutions. End of the day, their strongest point still seems to be a wide array of SCSI equipment. Their stock is quite exhaustive when you consider hot swap hard drives or internal scsi hard drives. The products offered cover all major brands like Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu etc. – brands that everyone’s familiar with.

Discountechnology takes a different approach at serving the products by placing an extremely high emphasis on quality. The offer only the best-of-breed products by carefully filtering out all the inferior ones, leaving you with a comfortable selection of only the top-notch ones. DiscountsThis goes without saying even for the used products, for they enlist those which have been factory re-certified solely by the original manufacturer.

Another cool thing about their store is that they offer helpful pointers every now and then to enhance your shopping experience. For example, while browsing their SCSI Hard Drives catalog I was faced with the choices of either going for the hot swappable ones or the internal/external ones. I was wondering which would serve my needs best when I noticed this link that offered me a clear and concise explanation between 80-pin (hot swappable) and 68-pin (internal) ones. Damned cool I say. Throw in the all new ultra-low international shipping rates and you’ve pretty much got the best deals possible.

Find it hard to believe? Drop by and have a look yourself !

Getting back to blogging…

Getting back to bloggingFinally… decided to shake off that writer’s block and squeeze some time out of the demands of fatherhood and get back to serious blogging.

Oh Yes ! For those who didn’t know, I was blessed with this beautiful little bundle on the 10th of February, 2008. Life has never been and never will be the same 😀 The bundle is a “he” – i.e. a son and has been nick-named Adi (which roughly translates to Ancient or The Very First. He’s an absolute delight to be with, though more than a handful, when he realises he’s home alone with me. More on that later…

Other than that Google decided to strip me off my pagerank, which stood last at 5 as I was involved in paid-blogging – a policy that sent up such an uproar all over the blogosphere. Seems like Google decided to take it all out on the smaller sites (mine dropped to ZERO) while just marginally denting the bigger ones. Zero is where it stood for several months – till a couple of weeks back I saw it jumping up to 2. My site’s crawling back into the PR space I guess. Luckily, it didn’t affect my traffic anyhow and although I had stopped blogging altogether, the older content was enough to keep up a steady flow.

In the professional front, my work-load has trippled. Learnt many new tricks (I had long wanted to) – such as developing a complete WordPress theme right from scratch. I picked a template out from the free ones provided by TemplateWorld and got going. The result after 1 week of messing around with the WordPress Codex can be seen here. I’m kinda proud of it and I must say, not bad at all for a weeks work starting from level zero.

Updated a few of my WordPress plug-ins too, namely curreX and LiveSig – making them way cooler and better. Also shifted the plug-in base to the SVN hosted by WordPress.

More later… in the upcoming posts. I’m teeming with ideas and the next few weeks will see plenty of them pouring forth.

Cheers!

OnlineCasinoBluebook: Your ultimate guide to online casinos

Online CasinoDoes that risk-taker in you makes its presence felt every so often? Does that involve gambling? Lets face it – all of us would squirm inwardly with pleasure at the prospect of making a quick bundle online. And many of us have tried out their luck sometime or the other. To cut our work short for us, there are millions of online casinos sprouting up at every nook and corner of the net. But do you even know for sure that the casino you’ve blown up a fortune at is for real and not just some scam site designed to make you part with your savings in the shortest possible time? If you’ve had panic attacks on such issues – fear not, cause Online Casino Bluebook is here for your rescue.

The site maintains a nice list of the top ten (and legitimate) online casinos along with a couple of pertinent factors that can help you choose the casino that is right for you. These include the world rankings, welcome bonuses offered, payout percentages as well as solid reviews. The listed casinos are the ones where players will be able to play number one Vegas style casino games like craps, baccarat, blackjack, slots, poker, keno and bingo. The site maintains separate listings of casinos that offer a single type of game only (Poker, Bingo, Roulette etc.). They’ve even dedicated a section to No Deposit Casinos where you don’t have to pay up a bundle beforehand to start playing.

If you’re in a dilemma even after studying the list, you can always get in touch with their support team – who’ll guide you through the process of picking the best casino tailored to meet your needs.

Been cheated/scammed by an online casino ? They can advise you in this regard too, or just point you to sites which act as the casino watchdogs on the net.

The site has a very simple yet easily navigable layout – with easy access to all the important links that you may ever want. However, it could definitely do with a face-lift (a better template, that is). End of the day a bulk of the netizens tend to trust more of eye-candy sites.