Iran is front and center in all major new outlets these days. Iran has been the errant relative of the international community the last few decades, and has shot into prominence since George W Bush’s moronic invention of the ‘Axis of Evil’. Iran fared prominently in the last major international political event – the US Presidential Elections. John McCain chanted ‘bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran’, but thankfully, the majority of the US electorate saw that as completely unnecessary. Conservatives kept talking of Regime Change in Iran by hook or by crook, though, so now that Iran is showing signs of the same ‘by hook’, the US audience in particular and the international community in general, is understandably excited. Read the rest of this entry »
I find the finger movements of accomplished piano players to be poetic and mesmerizing. I don’t have delusions of ever reaching that mastery, but I do want to be able to play a few notes on a piano when accosted by one! So, a few years ago, I bought a cheap (but 61 key) electronic keyboard from Craigslist – a Casio CTK-400. And it sat in the closet till I was suddenly bestowed with oodles of time 2 months ago.
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I have passively wanted to participate in programming contests for a long time. The last I was in a contest was when I was in 11th grade. We programmed in Basic on an IBM PC-AT (yes – it had a whopping 10MB hard drive!). I solved 2 out of the 3 problems. My partners mulled over a 3rd problem and I only got halfway through the 4th problem. Boy, that was a long time ago! The last 5-6 years, I’d remember about programming contests after reading some article on Slashdot, run some Google searches, come up mostly empty, and promptly forget about it. But today, while browsing through the Google Jobs website, I learnt of this thing called TopCoder Arena. That started an interesting journey, and now I’m all pumped to try out some contests. From what I see, very few people solve the toughest problem in the set, so if I practice well, I’ll definitely be able to win a few contests!
But this post is not about how to win a contest – this is simply about how to start using the excellent, free resource that is TopCoder.
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Employment opportunities in USA are at a record low in a quarter of a century and a lot of unemployed workers are trying to shift or change careers into fields with existing jobs. Unfortunately, almost everybody is trying the same strategy, so most fields that have jobs available are going to stagnate soon. The advantage will go to those who act the fastest and appear to offer the most employable skills. Read the rest of this entry »
A list of interesting places to visit in the Twin Cities.
The food scene in the Twin Cities is surprisingly diverse considering that Minneapolis/St. Paul is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. On the other hand, most Twin Citians seem to congregate within their cliques, and stick with their known eatery choices. Recently, I faced the option of leaving Twin Cities to work somewhere else, and although I didn’t choose that option, I realized that there is a lot that TC has to offer that I haven’t explored. So, I am starting with a long list of interesting restaurants that I want to try or revisit. I’ll also be blogging my experiences at these restaurants as and when I visit them.
Rating: ****. (4.5/5) Cuisine: Chinese
Location: Calhoun Village Shopping Center Address: 3236 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
A general belief about Chinese restaurants is that they are only as good as their Hot and Sour Soup. That adage was proven again at 1st Wok today.