Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Image Maker

The Pacific Film Archive at Berkeley is having a film program on Abbas Kiorastami these days. Kiorastami is an Iranian director who apparently has a reputation for making great movies with very simple themes and experimenting with different new techniques.

I watched "Where is the friend's home?" yesterday which is definitely an illustration of at least the simple theme part (I do not know a lot about "techniques" to comment on the other). The movie is about a kid who wants to return his friend's notebook or else the friend is going to be expelled from class the next day - that's it! But the way he captures the child's thoughts, and the unconcerned reactions of the elders who do not understand the urgency of the situation, is a thing of beauty. Highly recommended if you can lay your hands on it.

The program has quite a few films, but I am really curious about "Ten" - a film which was shot virtually without the director. The subject was always on the front seat of a car with a camera on the dashboard - Kiorastami was not present but merely instructed the actors. Let's see...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

When the protector destroys!

Ok.. this dramatic title is to point to point out this bug in the latest update of Symantec Antivirus. It thinks that two files necessary to windows are viruses and goes ahead to delete them, resulting in a windows crash and the feared "blue screen of death" (saying that a memory dump has been saved).

I spent a good part of the day trying to figure out the problem, blaming myself for incorrectly installing Ubuntu, until I managed to rule that out through some checks. When salvaged enough to run, Windows was able to detect that the problem was due to Symantec and say that Symantec is working on a solution. What followed was my first experience with trying to get help from "customer care" asking them about the nature of the problem and what can I do about it. I ended up being redirected from one number to another for 90 minutes, thanked them for their non-support and said I'd figure it out myself. What a fun day!

Finally, if you found that boring, here's a video of "Indian Superman" to atone for it:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Physics Puzzle?

PS: Thanks to Naresh for this. The sparks are a bit difficult to see, but the second one can be seen.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Finding Tahoe

I have been out of the blogosphere for a long time now and I do not know if I will continue to blog after this post. But here is a first-hand account (in pictures) of Berkeley's "Theory Retreat".

The students of the theory group at Berkeley planned and organized a 4-day trip to lake Tahoe, a skiing resort near the California-Nevada border. The idea was to rent a cabin, stay together, have fun and also do some work. My first rendezvous with snow and first attempts at skiing - yes, I fell all the time - but it was fun! For those who condemn me for not scaring the world with my own pictures - there is one below.

Update: Should mention that this was our constant companion!