My Easel

August 6, 2007

The Real Fake Steve Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 10:30 pm

The latest buzz on the blogosphere is the unmasking of Fake Steve Jobs– the anonymous blogger who, for more than a year now has assumed the self-interpreted persona of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. A very creative interpretation at that.

‘The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs’ is one of my favourite blogs- the kind one looks forward to each day. Funny, nay- hilarious in its parodical portrayal of Steve Jobs. And the blog is popular too. 700,000 hits last month. His readers have included, at one point or the other, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs himself. The real one.

Well, I’m not too happy about the fact that he’s been unmasked. I enjoyed the intrigue. And from what I can see from the post that did the dirty deed, not a lot of people are happy either. Read the comments.

So who is FSJ? Daniel Lyons. A reporter for Forbes. Read this for a more thorough account. His real blog is here. His colleagues at Forbes have been having a blast through all this.

Through all this, I hope that this does not dilute FSJ’s voice. He claims it wont. He promises to come back ‘badder than ever‘. Well, in FJS’s very own inimitable style, peace and love. Namaste!


August 5, 2007

Math Puzzle

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 9:04 pm

I’m usually pretty good at pointing out the flaws in mathematical puzzles that give contradictory answers… the types that give you results like 1 equals 0, you get the idea.

I just found this one that has had me stumped:

First we set:

x=0.999999999…… (infinitely recurring)

Multiplying both sides by 10, we have,

10x=9.999999999….. (infinitely recurring)

subtracting the first equation from the second one,

10x – x = 9.999999999…… – 0.999999999…….


9x = 9

We divide both sides by 9 to get,

x = 1

so do we have, from the first statement,

1 = .999999999….. ?

Apparently, this is true! No kidding. Yeah, I was pretty surprise as well. I expected to find a hitch in the proof, an inconsistency of some sort. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I looked it up online even. You’d be surprised how popular this issue is on the web. Amongst mathematicians at any rate. Wikipedia has a pretty exhaustive, and somewhat exhausting article about this here. The image you see at the beginning of the post is from there. So is the alternative proof that follows:

\begin{align} 0.333\dots          &= \frac{1}{3} \\ 3 \times 0.333\dots &= 3 \times \frac{1}{3} = \frac{3 \times 1}{3} \\  0.999\dots          &= 1 \end{align}


Oh, here is another interesting piece of information I found while looking up this puzzle. Though quite a few of you probably know about this: Any recurring (non-terminating repeating) decimal can be converted to a fraction. Use the method in the first proof.

Here is a related page with some other elegant examples.

(Update: I hit the publish button before I meant to post. Here is the ending)

This puzzle illustrates the somewhat philosophical issues in our interpretation of mathematics. While we inherently believe that the number .999999999….. has a last 9 at infinity, one must realize that there is no last 9 and that the expansion of the number never ends. Stating that there is something at infinity is meaningless. We often treat infinity as if it were a number, or a location (a point on a number line). This is something we need to get past.

This entire discussion curiously reminds me of a particular strip from Calvin and Hobbes. This one:

July 29, 2007

Über-geek love song

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 1:26 am

Here is an awesome and hilarious a cappella song written and performed by a group calling themselves “The Klein Four“.

Lyrics here.

Gosh, I actually understood about 80% of the song! And I’m not even a math major. I really need a long break.

July 27, 2007

Meow…. Uh Oh!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 8:20 am

Here is a story that has caught everyone’s attention. Oscar, the cat that lives in the Rhode Island nursing home, apparently has the knack of predicting the death of patients there by curling up next to them. The staff start calling family when this happens, because the patient usually dies within hours.

This story has become quite popular in the last few days. Reuters, CNN, CBC and Yahoo News have all covered it. Darren Barefoot thinks the cat is knocking off patients when no one is looking. Ze Frank has an interesting title to the rather frank (pun intended) entry on his blog. What’s more, even the New England Journal of Medicine and WebMD have covered the story.

(Photograph courtesy I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER)

July 25, 2007

Ref: Mumbaiya guide to Harry Potter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 12:52 am


Here is a great post from fellow blogger and student Karan Desai. It is the Mumbaiya guide to Harry Potter: A hilarious guide for someone who hasn’t read the Harry Potter books and doesn’t understand English. It’s transliterated from Hindi, so international readers won’t get this. But Mumbai locals (no pun intended) will really enjoy this.

One from the guys:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 12:40 am

As a follow up to my previous post, here’s the kind of forward I might enjoy:

I’ve gotten this email a number of times, but it’s never failed to bring a smile to my face. It also illustrates my knowledge on the subject, or the lack thereof. πŸ˜€

Finally , the guys’ side of the story.
(I must admit, it’s pretty good.)
We always hear ” the rules ”
From the female side.

Now here are the rules from the male side.
These are our rules!
Please note.. these are all numbered “1”

1.Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport.
And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmailing

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s
what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem.See a doctor.

1. If you won’t dress like the Victoria’s Secret girls, don’t Expect us
to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are.
Don’t ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways
makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something
Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both.If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” We will act like
nothing’s wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, Expect an answer
you don’t want to hear.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape.Round IS a shape!

Many thanks to Ankit for sending it across.

July 20, 2007

Fwd… or Not!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 1:46 am

Dear All,

I get a LOT of email forwards everyday. While I appreciate the concern some of you seem to have about my lifespan, the lifespan of my mother/father/brother/sister, my love life, my wealth, the safely of my computer system…, I beg that you act with some discretion before you hit that ‘forward’ button.

Why should I care, you ask?

Well, there are some people who get hundreds of emails a day. Yes such people exist. These people have to spend a significant amount of time and effort going through their inboxes weeding out the bad emails. There is so much more one could get done if one did not have all that spam to go through.

Bandwidth costs and Disk space.

One of the ways spammers aggregate email addresses is by sending out these forwards. So all those people who are so concerned about that poor girl with cancer dying suddenly find themselves the recipients of tons of spam.

Recognizing a chain letter

Chain letters and most hoax messages all have a similar pattern. From the older printed letters to the newer electronic kind, they all have three recognizable parts:

  • A hook.
  • A threat.
  • A request.

The Hook

First, there is a hook, to catch your interest and get you to read the rest of the letter. Hooks used to be “Make Money Fast” or “Get Rich” or similar statements related to making money for little or no work. Electronic chain letters also use the “free money” type of hooks, but have added hooks like “Danger!” and “Virus Alert” or “A Little Girl Is Dying”. These tie into our fear for the survival of our computers or into our sympathy for some poor unfortunate person.

The Threat

When you are hooked, you read on to the threat. Most threats used to warn you about the terrible things that will happen if you do not maintain the chain. However, others play on greed or sympathy to get you to pass the letter on. The threat often contains official or technical sounding language to get you to believe it is real.

The Request

Finally, the request. Some older chain letters ask you to mail a dollar to the top ten names on the letter and then pass it on. The electronic ones simply admonish you to “Distribute this letter to as many people as possible.” They never mention clogging the Internet or the fact that the message is a fake, they only want you to pass it on to others.

Why People Send Chain Letters and Hoax Messages

Only the original writer knows the real reason, but some possibilities are:

  • To see how far a letter will go.
  • To harass another person (include an e-mail address and ask everyone to send mail, like the Tommy Hilfiger email).
  • To bilk money out of people using a pyramid scheme.
  • To kill some other chain letter (e.g. Make Money Fast).
  • To damage a person’s or organization’s reputation.

What to do when you receive a chain email:

  • If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. Delete it.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Delete it.
  • If you’re unsure, do not send it out. Verify it’s authenticity. Snopes and Hoaxbusters are great places to do so. Google will work fine in most cases as well.
  • If there is no contact information, it’s probably fake. Legitimate warnings and solicitations will always have complete contact information from the person sending the message and will often be signed with a cryptographic signature
  • Even if there is contact information, be wary. It’s quite easy for anyone to get back at someone they’ve got a grudge against. One common way seems to be to send out emails asking for blood donors. These emails often have the name of a person with their phone number. Most of these people go through hell dealing with the phone calls they get from concerned strangers.
  • One way of stopping yourself from getting annoying chain mails is by using the ‘reply-to-all’ button with a link to Snopes. The humiliation that follows generally stops the other person from ever forwarding emails. Use this with the utmost care.
  • If you don’t want to risk losing friends over this, send a private reply to the person who sent you the email and include a link to Snopes.

If the email is great and you’re sure it isn’t a hoax,

  • Whatever you do, do not send out the email to everyone you know.
  • Determine whether a person will appreciate the email before choosing to send it to him/her.
  • Add a brief message to the top of the email explaining why you’re sending the message. Don’t send it if you can’t think of one.
  • Delete all the email backlog before sending out the message. It’s a real pain to have to scroll down through thousands of lines of text and ugly graphics to have to read like ten lines! Copy and paste instead.

Move on if you read any of this in the email:

  • If you love your mom/dad/brother/sister and want to add 5/10.20 years to his/her life, email this to everyone on your contacts list.
  • If you don’t send this email out to everyone on your contacts list, you will never fall in love/the person you love will hate you.
  • in the next 60 seconds send this to all the people on ur list and
    the person that u are thinkin of will do something special to show how
    much they care about u! if i dont get dis back i guess ur not my
    friend. If u have alot of love for someone copy and send to ur whole
    list in r true love will surely come 2wards u!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • If you don’t send this to anyone in the next 10 minutes, you will have bad luck all your life.

I know it annoys a lot of you when your email gets slammed with jokes, hoaxes, chain letters and the like. It annoys me, too. But I do appreciate receiving real inspirational/interesting stuff from friends. All I ask is that you be just a bit more discriminate in what you send.

Most of what you forward is to your friends. Well, you wouldn’t want to threaten your friends, would you? What would you call a statement like “If you don’t forward this, you’ll have bad luck all your life”? You wouldn’t want to manipulate them emotionally as well right? It takes about a minute to check the authenticity of an email. Sending out bad emails persistently will cause you to lose your credibility.

P.S. The reason I am posting this (well, beyond the fact that I get scores of bad emails each day) is that I got an email saying something along the lines of:

“If you have a function/party at your home and if there is
excess food available at the end, don’t hesitate to call 1098 (only in
India) – child helpline. They will come and collect the food. Please
circulate this message which can help feed many children.”

1098 is the emergency line of ChildLine India, a charity. They will not come and collect any excess good you might have. There are other ways of using that food. Be imaginative.

P.P.S. Read this for another great point of view.

P.P.P.S. Some material is shamelessly copied from Hoaxbusters.

July 15, 2007

Mumbai Local: K9 Express

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 3:17 am

I almost forgot about this one. I uploaded this a while back on to Flickr, promising myself that I’d put it up in a blog post once I had gotten comfortable with the whole blogging ordeal. Here it is:

I took this photograph a couple of months ago. A dog entered the train I was in. As soon as the train started moving, the dog tried to get off. It seemed to think better of it though. It did however, stay near the door all the way. It got off two stations later. This was one trip not a lot of were going to forget in a hurry.

P.S. Notice the oddly rigid cop to the left. Here is another picture where you can see the cop better.

Shift Happens

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 12:56 am

Interesting video. Check it out:

If you can’t see the embed above, check it out on YouTube.

July 13, 2007

Google: The best place to work at?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 8:47 pm

Now, the Googleplex, I hear, is a great place to work at. Well, more like the kind of place I would like to work at.

The Googleplex has always been famous, but this photo-essay by Time Magazine gives an awesome insider’s perspective of what it’s like to work at the company that has been called, for a while now, the best company to work at.

Here are a few of the ‘perks‘:

  • They have a rock climbing wall.
  • You get to take your dog to work.
  • You get to work on couches. No need of those painful office chairs.
  • Recreation Facilities – Workout room with weights and rowing machine, locker rooms, washers and dryers, massage room, assorted video games, Foosball, baby grand piano, pool table, ping pong, roller hockey twice a week in the parking lot.
  • They have a rock climbing wall.
  • Free food. Healthy lunch and dinner- Gourmet cuisine at that. Snack Rooms with bins packed with various cereals, gummi bears, M&Ms, toffee, licorice, cashew nuts, yogurt, carrots, fresh fruit and other snacks. Dozens of different drinks including fresh juice, soda and make-your-own cappuccino.
  • The cool 3D rotating image of the world the toggle switch that allows you to view points of light representing real time searches taking place all over the world.
  • Did I mention the rock climbing wall?

Hmmm…. Why oh why didn’t I take up computer science?

For all the NPoV sticklers, here is a Microsoft guy’s point of view.

P.S: Free food means free coffee right?!! πŸ˜€

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