Archive for April, 2009

Sachin reverse flicks age barrier for six

Last night I was watching the Twenty20 IPL cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders & Mumbai Indians and couple of strokes from Sachin Tendulkar really captured my imagination. I have been following cricket since I was a 10-year-old kid and never have I seen anything on a cricket ground like what Sachin did to the last ball of the eighth over from Chris Gayle. He had pre-meditated on that ball to scoop it over the keeper or the 1st slip. But Gayle being Gayle bowled it full & wide outside off stump and then came the mastery of the batting magician. He changed his stroke mid way and improvised to ‘reverse flick’ the ball past the short third man fielder much like a hockey player would yield his stick while maneuvering to outsmart the goal-keeper. Well, it’s more of a half scoop, half reverse flick shot in my book but couple of things stood out in that shot. Firstly, it’s his ability to adapt to the shot midway like he has done so many a times in his career; as we are used to hear that the great batsman, as he is, possesses at least two strokes for every shot in the book. Secondly, it’s the subtle reverse-cocking of his wrists to place the ball where he did. We all know how the wrist cocks when a right handed batsman flicks on the on-side but this was the exact opposite of that and hence the coining of this term ‘reverse flicking’. Well, I am not someone for neologism but there is so much buzz these days about shots like ‘Switch Hit’ that I couldn’t resist mentioning so.

Now on to the second shot which came on the third ball of the fifth over from Ishant Sharma. Ishant bowled a fast-ish bouncer over the over stump line and it was rising. Sachin simply ‘swiveled hooked’ it for six over mid wicket à la Calypso batsmen. His left leg was still in the air when the ball landed on the gallery for a maximum. Anyone having some idea about batsmanship, would tell you that the most difficult bouncer to hook is the one that has to be fetched from outside the off-stump.

These two strokes were neuro-transmitted onto my synapses indelibly and shall remain etched into my neurons and as well as my progeny’s if that is how it is supposed to work 🙂

So much have been said and written about the Twenty20 cricket being a young man’s game. While most of it is true, one would be foolish to write off class acts like Sachin. Before that game began Sachin’s T20 batting average stood at exactly 40 while his strike rate was around 112. While averages are not a true reflection of a batsman’s calibre in this format of the game, strike rates are a reflection of his ability to master this form of the game. After this game, his strike rate will be better (131.65) for it because of his 45 ball 68 at a strike rate of 151.11. And in my most humble opinion, in T20 great players have a strike rate of 150 & over. While I am sure Sachin will have his strike rate settled around there after he has played a reasonable amount of T20 games (he only played 15), the most important facet of this discussion is that ‘age is no barrier’ in cricket. I always thought Sachin is good enough to take India to an ODI World Cup title in 2011 on the sub-continent and I still hold onto that belief ever so strongly. More than anything, last night he has managed to discard off the few doubters in proving he ‘belongs here’ as well.  That the reflexes are still holding sway and that the 16 year old kid of 1989 is not worse but better for it because of age. That’s the value of his class. That’s the value of his greatness.

আমি বাংলায় গান গাই

I really couldn’t resist posting this as I thought my blog would seem incomplete without this song. This is my all time favorite song after my country‘s national anthem ‘আমার সোনার বাংলা‘. So there you go, here’s the shameless copy-paste of the lyrics for this song from this site:

শিল্পীঃ মাহমুদুজ্জামান বাবু
সুরকার/গীতিকারঃ প্রতুল মুখোপাধ্যায়

আমি বাংলায় গান গাই

আমি বাংলায় গান গাই, আমি বাংলায় গান গাই,
আমি আমার আমিকে চিরদিন এই বাংলায় খুঁজে পাই
আমি বাংলায় দেখি স্বপ্ন, আমি বাংলায় বাঁধি সুর
আমি এই বাংলার মায়াভরা পথে হেঁটেছি এতটা দূর
বাংলা আমার জীবনানন্দ বাংলা প্রাণের সুখ
আমি একবার দেখি, বারবার দেখি, দেখি বাংলার মুখ |

আমি বাংলায় কথা কই, আমি বাংলার কথা কই
আমি বাংলায় ভাসি, বাংলায় হাসি, বাংলায় জেগে রই
আমি বাংলায় মাতি উল্লাসে, করি বাংলায় চিত্কার
বাংলা আমার দৃপ্ত স্লোগান ক্ষিপ্ত তীর ধনুক,
আমি একবার দেখি, বারবার দেখি, দেখি বাংলার মুখ |

আমি বাংলায় ভালবাসি, আমি বাংলাকে ভালবাসি
আমি তারি হাত ধরে সারা পৃথিবীর মানুষের কাছে আসি
আমি যা’কিছু মহান বরণ করেছি বিনয় শ্রদ্ধায়
মেশে তেরো নদী সাত সাগরের জল গঙ্গায় পদ্মায়
বাংলা আমার তৃষ্ণার জল তৃপ্ত শেষ চুমুক
আমি একবার দেখি, বারবার দেখি, দেখি বাংলার মুখ |

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Money Quotes

quotes

Money is something you have to make in case you don’t die – Max Asnas

When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know it is – Oscar Wilde

Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale – Zig Ziglar

Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back – Anonymous

Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed – George Burns

Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair – Sam Ewing

Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence – Max Amsterdam

Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells – Max Amsterdam

Money money money must be funny in a rich man’s world – Abba

Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one – Benjamin Franklin

The art is not in making money, but in keeping it – unknown

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping – Bo Derek

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons – Woody Allen

Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery – Spike Milligan

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy – Spike Milligan

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you prove that you don’t need it – Bob Hope

If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy – Anonymous

What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money – Henny Youngman

Money isn’t everything, but it’s a long way ahead of what comes next – Edmund Stockdale

Scraping your way to RSS feeds!

I was looking for a way to get regular updates from a job site about a particular category even though the site doesn’t offer any sort of feed.

Then I stumbled upon a site called Feedyes.com.

What I basically did was to have an RSS feed ready for the site. It’s pretty elementary with the help of the above site really. You don’t even need to register in order to create an RSS feed for a certain site.

Only problem was that I didn’t have the RSS feed in XML format. I had to go to the web site to view so. Also the feed couldn’t really be customized in any ways.

There’s another site named Page2rss.com which does pretty much the same. Mind you none of the above sites are perfect yet they do a reasonable job of it.

So I googled a bit more and stumbled upon Feed43.com which let me actually write expression for creating the feed.

Here‘s what I came up with as an RSS feed version of this page. It lets you use ‘search patterns’ using regular expression and ‘output templates’. It’s a handy site even with all its limitations for unpaid package like polling intervals, maximum feed limit etc. Do give it a try.

I know there are several good articles like Creating a generic Site-To-RSS tool, When RSS Fails: Web Scraping with HTTP and How To: Scrape a Web Page to RSS Feed for doing the kind of the same.

What’s more I don’t know if you know this but both Yahoo! and MSN provides search result in RSS format.

Here’s the result using Yahoo! web search service for ASP.NET MVC and here‘s MSN’s version for the same.

But of course, it would help if Google was to have an XML feed of their normal Search engine positioning (SERPS) like Yahoo! & MSN do.

What it does provide though is an RSS feed for searching blogs. Try this.

There’s another gem I figured which actually lets you run XPath query for scraping into a web page for RSS. It can be used to search in an HTML document in a pretty straightforward way.

Well this has been a very long ride for scraping your way to another site but what if you want to stop others doing the same :). Enough of RSS Scraping, Scavenging, Stealing, and Content Theft, no? Talk about having a dose of one’s own medicine, right?

Anyway, have a look at What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content or better still have a read about the antonym of Scraping in IT terminology Information Trapping.

To wrap things up, do remember there are words like Copyright and Intellectual property / Intellectual Property Protection in the dictionary :). So use it in a positive way and enjoy the Scrapventure!

Update on 9th April, 2009: It was unfair on my part to leave off tools like Yahoo! Pipes and Feedity.com. While Yahoo! Pipes is a less than straightforward means to achieving our objective, it has powerful features like Visual query development which are missing from the rest. But I think what makes Yahoo! Pipes unique is that you can chain together arbitrary number of previous queries (pipes) and thus mash them up into one which would have all your filters/queries. It also provides input facilities. More on Yahoo! Pipes later on subsequent post perhaps when I would guide you through the process. Feedity.com, on the other hand, is a very straightforward means to achieving what we want. It’s quite efficient and intelligent with parsing too. Give it a try.

Update on 16th April, 2009: Microsoft Popfly mashup creator is another candidate for honorable mention 🙂

Weekly Link Roundup – 1

Links published on April 13, 2009:

101 Essential Resources For Freelancers

This article contains:

  • Must Read Articles For Freelancers
  • Blogs Freelancers Should Subscribe To
  • Forums For Freelancers
  • Where To Find Freelancing Gigs
  • Useful Tools For Freelancers
  • Freelancer Survey Results

Interesting Web Development Related Resources

This article contains resources on JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, ASP.NET AJAX etc.

10 Creative & Rich UI & How to Create Them

10 creative & rich UI in modern day websites and how you can create similar interfaces using the techniques mentioned in this post.

jQuery UI provides a comprehensive set of core interaction plugins, UI widgets and visual effects that use a jQuery-style, event-driven architecture and a focus on web standards, accessibility, flexible styling, and user-friendly design. All plugins are tested for compatibility in IE 6.0+, FF 2+, Safari 3.1+, Opera 9.0+, and Google Chrome.

CSS Dock Menu ala KDE

See it to believe it. It has quite amazing resemblance to the KDE environment or Apple Macintosh like UI.

Simple Round CSS Links ( Wii Buttons ): Quite a nice way to embellish your buttons or links through CSS. Give it a try.

Nice Bubble Tooltips written with JavaScript. The balloon like feature is attractive.

Programmer Competency Matrix: Very interesting way to calculate capability index for your fellow developers or yourself as a matter of writing!

20 Things Programmers Say When Something Is Not Working

This is a very funny yet a true representation of events during software development life-cycle.

Wikirank

They say statistics can never tell you the whole story but they don’t lie either. I remember, in a BBC documentary I heard that after 9/11 (10th of September) there were more hits in Google for Nostradamus than there were for Osama bin Laden. Now, I searched through Wikirank site for hits about Bangladesh in Wikipedia during the period of our Independence day and here’s the outcome:

17,527 Views on 26th March 2009

7,110 Views on 25th March 2009

6,535 Views on 27th March 2009

Here’s the direct link for Bangladesh.