Guide For Potter Newbies

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Written on 2:00 PM by Sarthak K

Below is a guide for those who have never read Harry Potter yet and would love to give the first 6 books a quick overview so that they can enjoy the 7th Harry Potter nicely. Even those who have read all books from the 1st - 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' to the 6th - 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' can read this to refresh thier memories!


PS: Feed readers will have to visit the blog to view this guide as it uses macromedia shockwave.

Harry Potter 7: One Month to Go

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Written on 5:19 PM by Sarthak K

Today: June 21
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Release Date: July 21

Only one month to go! Anticipation is at its peak even as news comes out that a hacker has got access to the digital copy of author J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book by breaking into a computer at London-based Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Warning: The rest of this post might contain spoilers about the end of the final Harry Potter book, or possibly a lot of made-up crap - don't read it if you think it will ruin the story.

For months now, leading up to the book's July 21 release, legions of Harry Potter fans have debated whether Rowling killed Harry or one of his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, in the final Harry Potter book. "Gabriel" has posted information at Web site http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2007/Jun/0380.html that, if true, would answer that question.

"We make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring," Gabriel said in the posting and he includes several details that he claimed came form the publishers computer, because of open access and exploits use that were located on Milw0rm.com.

Kyle Good, a spokesman for U.S. distributor Scholastic Corp., would not say whether the posting was accurate, but did warn readers to be skeptical about anything on the Web that claims to have inside information on the book's plot. "There is a whole lot of junk flying around," she said. "Consider this one more theory."

An earlier supposed Harry potter Book 7 leak was found out to be a fan fiction. However, this news has actually made it to the headlines of major newspapers and online journals. I hope its all untrue!

Article: Harry Potter Hacked: JK Rowling Deathly Hallows Ending Leaked Online?

Fruit could make 'powerful fuel'

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Written on 3:41 PM by Sarthak K

Scientitsts in the United States say they have broken new ground in biofuels, transforming plant sugar into a liquid fuel that packs 40% more energy than ethanol and appears to have fewer of its drawbacks. The sugar found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be converted into a new type of low carbon fuel for cars.


Fructose — the sugar found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be converted into a new type of low carbon fuel for cars. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is currently the only car fuel made in large quantities from biomass, under fast-expanding initiatives to wean industrialized economies from dirty, costly oil.

Biomass sources such as corn, sugarcane and other plants are rich in potential energy, in the form of large chains of carbohydrates. In their plant form, these long sugary molecules comprise six carbon atoms and six oxygen atoms.

But car engines like a leaner form of carbohydrate molecule — one with between five and 15 carbon atoms and with very little oxygen.

Most ethanol facilities harness biology, using enzymes to break down starch and cellulose to glucose, which is then fermented by a common yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide.

But the process takes days and the fuel still has relatively high levels of oxygen, which reduces its energy density, makes it evaporate readily and leaves it liable to water contamination by absorbing atmospheric humidity.

The process is renewable and environmentally-friendlier than fossils but not completely clean. Energy has to be used to harvest and process the biomass, and this makes biofuels carbon-positive, not carbon-neutral.

News Source

YouTube Remixer: Edit videos Online

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Written on 5:06 PM by Sarthak K

YouTube has officially launched YouTube Remixer, a new service that allows users to edit their videos from within YouTube itself.

The new feature is powered by Adobe Premiere Express and supports insertion of graphics, text and audio as well as overlays and in-video transitions. YouTube Remixer is nearly identical to Photobucket’s Remix tool; both are powered by Adobe.



This isn’t an offering that is going to be embraced by serious content creators but it is ideal for casual YouTube uploaders. The interface is fairly simple if perhaps a little bit dull and boring. Creating a one stop shop for all things video at YouTube is a natural progression path that gives prosumers another reason to spend more time on the site; it’s just that it’s grey, uninspiring and so very not Google. I can also find no personal appeal in adding Gingerbread men to my videos; however others may view the service differently.

Source: TechCrunch

The Northern Lights of Alaska

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Written on 2:20 PM by Sarthak K

A scenic natural phenomenon


The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake here Jan. 18. The lights are the result of solar particles colliding with gases in Earth's atmosphere. Early Eskimos and Indians believed different legends about the Northern Lights, such as they were the souls of animals dancing in the sky or the souls of fallen enemies trying to rise again. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang)

Original

Idea Cellular Customer Care Sucks

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Written on 7:07 AM by Sarthak K

IF you are living in Delhi, you sure must be aware of the GSM provider called Idea Cellular. After all, its the abode for you if you want ultra cheap call rates and sms - but of course, there are no free lunches. What Idea cellular offers through its cheap call rates, it takes back through its poor customer service.

For the past 2-3 days, I'm facing an odd phenomenon in my Idea SIM that I've never faced before. I have an Idea Prepaid sim card, and my balance has gone into negative without any rhyme or reason. In fact, yesterday when I checked, it was -3.66 and today its -5.66 rupees! I tried calling up Idea customer care at 4444, but the response I got was -

"All our customer care executives are busy, please try again later!"

I tried calling Idea customer care repeatedly for one hour, and got the same pathetic response. Then I called up randomly, once every half an hour - again the same situation!! Then I tried to sms their customer care (which is obviously free) at 12345, and this time my sms would not go because I would get the message -
"Message Sending Failed. No Network Support for Messages"

I then and there decided to write this post. My blood is boiling, and I really despise the Idea cellular punchline - "An idea can change your life!"

It sure does change your life by irritating you, annoying you and raising your blood pressure, thus making you more prone to depression and ill health!

That is why -

Idea Customer Care Sucks

If you have an Idea Prepaid or postpaid connection and faced such problems, please do comment here! Till that time, I will contemplate whether I should quit using Idea for my cellphone or not.

Deathly Hallows Deluxe Edition Cover Art Unveiled

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Written on 7:00 AM by Sarthak K

The Deluxe Edition Cover Art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'

was unveiled yesterday by US publisher Scholastic.

The art, by Mary GrandPré, who has illustrated all the American editions of the Harry Potter books, will be the wrap-around dust jacket for the book, inside a slip case.


The illustration shows Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, riding on a dragon.

According to the official Today show blog, this edition with a print run of 100,000 copies, will retail for $65 and contain 816 pages. Arthur Levine, US editor of the Harry Potter books, is noted in the article as saying that the Special Edition cover art is from one of his favorite scenes in the book, and was an image he specifically asked to be featured on the Deluxe cover.

Scholastic Vice President and Creative Director, David Saylor describes the scene as:

"Set during a highly dramatic sunset, Harry, Hermione, and Ron--clothes in tatters--cling atop a flying dragon in this astonishing artwork created by Mary GrandPré for the deluxe edition. As mist creeps down towering hillsides to a village below, questions arise about where the trio is headed and what has led them to this spellbinding moment."

See the Box Art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Deluxe Edition below:


The Harry Potter Scholastic website now features the Deluxe Edition cover art as well as the option to explore, up close, this amazing new cover.

News Source: The Leaky Cauldron

Pre-Order Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Deluxe Edition from Amazon.com

Site Review: Digital Filmmaking Blog

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Written on 2:47 PM by Sarthak K

Digital Filmmaking Blog is as the title says - a blog on film making - digital filmmaking to be precise. It is authored by who else, but yours truly :-) Its tough maintaining 2 blogs when blogging is a hobby you cannot devote your full time to!

It is quite unfair to review my own blog, but I'll give it a try. I'd rather appreciate that my readers check it out and post their thoughts and comments here. Now to the review. Filmmaking is quite a specialized subject, in which few people might be interested in. By those I mean people like film school students, amateur filmmakers, independent and short filmmakers and so on...

But those who are genuine movie buffs and appreciate the art and craft of cinema also follow the ways of making a film. It is quite exciting, challenging, well paying and of course a lot of hard work! Now my blog focuses on ways to make a good digital film - things like choosing the right camera, Shooting for the Web, DV Shooting Tips, how to film from a car and so on....

Most of the material I have there is stuff learnt in my film school (yes I'm a film student - just graduated!) , some from filmmaking books (not copy pasted though), some from the net and rest by reading other filmmaking blogs. The design of that site is pretty serious and decent. A smart, decent package on the whole I feel. The only problem - my posting frequency has declined and I'm trying to work myself on improving that! Would appreciate some comments...

Being on Orkut Could Land You a Job

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Written on 2:33 PM by Sarthak K

Orkut is one of the most popular social networking sites in the Indian subcontinent and even in some Latin American countries like Brazil. In fact, what Myspace is to America and Americans, Orkut is to India and Indians. Almost every Indian netizen has a profile of him or her on orkut.


But did you know that 25 per cent of job recruitment by BPOs in India is done through social networking websites? Read On...

A resurgent and hungry corporate India is actively scanning these social networking websites to fill up its ever expanding ranks. Media student Rajeev Pawar, 22, from Rizvi College and also an Orkut user recently got one such job offer. “I have been part of the BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) community on Orkut for a year. I was offered a job of creative writer by an advertising agency,” he says.

Human resources consultant Raghav, founder of HRinIndia Ltd, says recruitment through social networking websites is a new trend, but one which is expanding rapidly. Netscribes India, a knowledge solutions company, has been recruiting people through the social networking websites during the last year.

“We check the individual’s personal and professional background on the website and when we think it is as per our need, we contact the person. It is a new idea; but it’s working out fine,” says Nikhil Nagda, HR Associate, Netscribes India.

Even companies like Ma Foi Consultants experimented with social networking site for a short while, allowing individual departments to use Orkut for their recruitment needs. “We did use Orkut for head hunting. It wasn’t organised, but done at an individual level,” says Karishma Gupta, Head, Human Resources, Ma Foi. “But it didn’t yield much and we had to restrict access.”

A point that K Sudarshan, Operations Manager with HR Axis India, agrees with completely. “For all you know, the employee might not work at all and become a part of the social networking website for personal reasons,” he says.

Nagda, however, says that the benefits of using Orkut and other social networking sites like LinkedIn as a recruitment platform far outweigh its disadvantages. “The process is fairly simple. We go join the different communities formed within the networking sites. That allows us to scan profiles and then we initiate contact with people who have potential,” he says.