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Showing posts from July, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises : a brutally honest review

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This post is what its title claims it to be. A precise, unbiased and a thoroughly honest review of what was clearly the most anticipated offering from Hollywood this year.

How am I so sure that this is? Mainly because of two reasons. One, I am definitely not a Batman fan-boy, so I did not ignore plot holes and fallacies which I clearly remember choosing to do while sitting through the last Harry Potter installment. Two, I had heard a lot of both, positive and negative reviews from a host of other people and I had them all playing in my mind during the 3 hours. I thus watched the movie from what was a rather mixed perspective - composed of skepticism and faith in equal measure, and this is the reason why I hope the review is honest and unbiased.

And oh, huge spoilers follow. So tread at your own risk

One, the story.

On an absolute scale, the story was good. Not just good, it was quite brilliant. It had all the required moments, evoked all the right feelings, had the right twists in th…

The Euro crisis

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This post was originally written for Youth Ki Awaaz. You can read the originally post here.

The economic and political success of the United States of America, since the end of the second world war had prompted their cousins across the Atlantic to dream of an entity that could be called the United States of Europe. But between this vision and its implementation lies a plethora of political, linguistic, financial and nationalist borders that cut up and divide Europe into small nation states, many of which are similar in physical and economic size to the states of America. This proliferation of borders in Europe has had a crippling effect on the economic well being of Europe, especially after the European states lost the colonial hinterlands in Asia and Africa whose natural resources were the bedrock of their economic health. To compensate for the loss of the colonies, European nation states have been dreaming of an economic and political union that would rival the Russian confederatio…

The Foundation series and why it is quite simply the greatest epic trilogy ever written

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And though the title of this post is long, I'm not joking even one bit. It may not have the extravaganza of The Lord of the Rings but there are few things it doesn't do as well. If not better.

Right, in all probability you aren't familiar with the Foundation series, so I should, as a good commentator,  give a brief heads-up about it. So here goes.

The Foundation series was the triumphant climax of Isaac Asimov's career as a writer. It was a career that saw the rise to glory of one the greatest science fiction authors of all time. The sort of glory that dwarfs that of Douglas Adams and possibly even Carl Sagan. And while Asimov's stories revolved around "how science fiction" rather than "what science fiction", they played a crucial role, not only in the way the genre developed, but also in how science has evolved today.

What set Asimov's stories apart? Simply put, everything. His science fiction isn't the sort of science fiction that one …

An Open World

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This article was published in the June 2012 issue of Linux For You,

It reflects on how open source is the natural outcome of, and fits in so well with, theglobal software ecosystem, which includes the Internet and the World Wide Web.
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I shall begin by explaining what this article is not.

This article is not something technical. It is not a tutorial. It does not have lines and lines of code. It is not a set of tips on how to get something done. While I have absolutely nothing against the aforementioned types of articles and I have immense respect for the writers for writing the same and helping newbies like me learn new stuff, I am just not experienced enough to write such things yet.

But I am, nevertheless, an open source fanatic, a lover of all things Linux, and I have, over the past few years developed a certain understanding of a certain bigger picture that the whole concept of open source implies. This understanding is what this article is about.

Before we talk about open source,…

The Presidential Elections 2012 - simplified

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This post was originally written for an internship program for Youth Ki Awaaz, India's leading youth platform. You can read the original post here.


The President of India is a mere figurehead within the structure of the Indian state and has no role to play in the economic, social, and cultural policies of India. In general, he or she acts as a mere postman and transmits the decisions taken by the government and gives it the aura of a sovereign decision. Except under one unique and special circumstance, when the Government of India ceases to exist.

When does this happen? It happens when a general election to the Lok Sabha results in a fractured verdict that leaves the country with no obvious party in power or a Prime Minister, and so no Government. This is when the Indian state regresses back to what someone would say “a barbaric and ungovernable state”. Without a clear mandate, each political party tries to use all resources, legal or otherwise to cobble together a semblance of temp…

Using PHP to download a MySQL table as an Excel sheet

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This is one of the arbit ones, really. This needed to be done for one of the closing modules of my summer project at Ericsson, and though I searched high and low on the Internet I couldn't arrive at any definite solution.
However this bit of code does work. So feel free to try it out and use it if you need it.
So what are we doing here? Quite simply, a MySQL table exists in your database and we need the user to be able to see it as an Excel spreadsheet. In fact, as you'll see in the code that you can download it in any format be it, csv, ods or even docx and txt. But yeah, spreadsheet formats look good for tables and hence the priority is on that.

Here's the whole code.
<?php mysql_connect("localhost", "YOUR_MYSQL_USERNAME", "YOUR_MY_SQL_PASSWORD") or die(mysql_error()); mysql_select_db("DATABASE_NAME") or die(mysql_error()); $count = 0; $sqlquery = "select * from TABLE_NAME" ; $result = mysql_query($sqlquery) or d…