The IT Crowd?

(This article was originally published in Entelechy, edition 32, Jan 2012. It is being published here in full with some annotations.) It has continued to surprise me over the last 3.5 years how few information technology students actually bother to use the innovations of information technology to improve their productivity in any manner. More importantly, they are usually unaware of the products themselves. Recently the issue was brought to the fore when Skish Champi pointed out that Zimbra Collaboration Suite had great calendar integration (and I agree), and we as a college are still struggling around with sending meeting emails and reminders.

Toggling Proxy settings quickly with Pentadactyl and Firefox

If you use the excellent Pentadactyl plugin for Firefox to get vim super-powers to the browser, here is a quick and painless way to toggle between a direct connection to the internet or using the default proxy settings. Add this to your ~/.pentadactylrc command proxy -nargs=1 :set! network.proxy.type=<args> nmap up :proxy 1<CR> nmap np :proxy 0<CR>Now pressing up (Use Proxy) will enable Manual Proxy Settings while pressing np (No Proxy) will use Direct Connection.

Tic-Tac-Toe with Redis and Backbone.js

This post is a technical overview of my Tic-Tac-Toe implementation. It is a zero server-side logic, pub-sub based, realtime, multiplayer game which uses Redis and Backbone as the key enablers of real-time and moving logic to the client side, respectively. Now that all the buzz-words are out of the way, the source code is on Github. There are rough edges with reliable communication, security holes do exist, but for the most part it works well.

Why Indian students should attend college

In recent months, the number of posts extolling dropping out of college, or of people recounting their experiences (mostly positive, probably because the negatives won’t share) has increased substantially on Hacker News (I believe Steve Jobs effects on humanity extend here too). Meanwhile the The Story of Average Indian ‘Techie’, What’s your GPA? and other posts bring to the fore some things I do agree with: Most computer science curricula are outdated or just poor quality The majority of students are in it for the money The professors are almost always bad In fact I didn’t particularly like most of my CS courses either.

A High-Five Experiment

Final exam time is always a time of stress for students. When you have 6 exams in 6 days, the time just before the exam is one of general apprehension and attempts at mentally revising all the key points. Everybody notices that in the glum looks students have walking into the exam hall. Fortunately, the fourth year in DA-IICT is pretty light, and due to a multitude of projects, me and Naman had only a couple of papers.

Have some humanity

This article was first published in Entelechy (Issue 29, September 2011), the in-house DA-IICT magazine. “Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” -- Max Frisch DA-IICT is one of the few colleges in India to make humanities courses mandatory for students. It is sad then that most students treat it as a course to pass, and not as a way to gain insight into the world they’ll spend the rest of their lives in.

Talk the Walk

Prelude A few months ago, on the way back to Gandhinagar from attending I wondered if it would be a good idea to walk from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar to get home. The distance is 25km. The people accompanying me immediately shot down the idea :) but it stayed in my mind as something that had to be done at some point. So no, we didn’t just wake up at 4:30am one day and decide to walk to Ahmedabad.

Life's Little Things: Board Shorts

If you tend to forget your shorts at home when you go swimming, board shorts that dry quick and can be squeezed hard are an invaluable investment. Posted via email from nikhil's posterous

Life's Little Things: Chocolate

If you can afford to buy a slab of chocolate once in a while, enjoy it. Few things in life come in small packages yet have great joy inside them. Posted via email from nikhil's posterous


Inspired by The Setup and Pratul’s post, here is how I ‘get my work done’. Hardware I currently use a four-core i7 15" Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD. I love it. For backups I have a Western Digital 160GB hard drive. I use cheap Skullcandy earphones when I need them (I usually prefer speakers). Operating System I used to be on Arch Linux until I got the MBP.