Burning Man Tips for the First Timers

There is no substitute to reading official Survival Guide but it does leaves out many things. So instead of writing my detailed trip report I thought about all the mistakes I’d made and converting them to tips. Here it goes… Sun shelter (things that look like REI Alcove) is absolutely essential if you just have a camping tent. I would however not recommend REI Alcove itself because it broke after withstanding 3 days of sandstorms.

Integrating RSS And Calendar Essay Available Now

The idea of wrapping calendar information in to the RSS feed may sound very appealing. Almost every website owned by some kind of group or organization has their event calendar. The thought that you can aggregate them in to your “Calendar Aggregator” is just so geekily cool. What if people started putting up their weekend plans through some kind of RSS-Calendar and you can subscribe to them in your calendar program!

Jeff Hawkins - On Intelligence

If all research papers were published the way Jeff Hawkins published his On Intelligence, the world would be a different place to live. I strongly feel that this is the most important work in the field which is otherwise so bloated with wasted directionless efforts. This book is nothing like any research paper you might have read so far. It’s written in very personal way. Instead of just spitting out end product, thoughts and algorithms, author also tells you what other directions he was thinking about and what made him to go for this one.

Coolest New York Shows In Run

These are the some of the select broadway/off-broadway shows currently running in New York. Many of them ends soon. If you live in area, do check them out! GoogleWhack - This small production comedy had been consistently sold out in UK and Australia. Even if it hadn’t been, its pretty geeky enough for not to check it out :). We will be going to this show tonight! Ends December. Forever Tango - Looks extremely cool.

Hackers Conference @ NYC Starts

The Fifth HOPE conference featuring talks, workshops, movies and other events from several well known hackers including Steve Wozniak, Cult of Dead Cow, John Draper and so on is already started at NYC today (July 9, 2004). I’d read lot about many of these people dedicated to pure hacking in early years in the book Hackers and now its a chance to actually hear them! The conference has 70+ talks which itself is pretty long list even to browse through.

Venus Transit Tomorrow

This one is not a spectacular but its interesting because it’s rare and because of history. Specifically, in old times (pre 1900s), people used this rare event to measure distance between Earth and Sun. Infect astronomers didn’t knew this distance from a long time, so they invented so-called “1 Astronomical Unit (AU)” when they want to refer to this distance. In old times, everything was measured relative to AU, for example Venus is 0.

Chinese New Year Festivities

While my wife would be celebrating Chinese New Year on more native land of Hong Kong, there would be quite a few events happening in NEw York city. The big parade is on Sunday 25th in Chinatown with dragons and lions, all red and gold, along with other events. Chinatown-Online gives nice little info on traditions of Chinese New Year and other festivities dates. The major deal of New Year is, of course, lavish food festivities.

Venus with Crescent Moon

If you live on East Coast and if you looked in to West in last few hours you might have seen a real bright blob of light. It’s so bright and has “burning aura” (literally looks like flames) around it that I thought it will soon fall down as huge shooting star. So I just fired up my copy of TheSky software to see what’s going on and came out with some neat surprise.

Leonid Meteor Shower This Tuesday

This event is slowing down every year and so for some people it would be a reason not to care and for others it would be a reason to care even more, because next year it will be more slower :). But it’s still nice to see shooting stars with some predictability. This year, the peak time on East coast would be on 19th November between 12:00 to 2:30AM which is little earlier then past years.

Barenaked Ladies Live!

Barenaked Ladies will be performing live at New York on 22nd Oct. These guys concerts (there’s no female members in the band - for the unawares) are among the most fun live events, so don’t delay in getting tickets! Even more, these are the few of rare artists who prefer to perform live and then put the song in a album rather then other way around. I didn’t thought they would be doing any tours.

Evanescence @ Webster Hall, NYC

Evanescence will be performing live at Webster Hall on 16th Sep in New York City as part of their tour. This is little unusual because even the Webster Hall is kind of the top dance club in the City, I never heard any concerts happening there. But probably thats what makes this cool. Check for tickets and other tour locations. But beaware, tickets are being distributed by the worst ticketing site in the world.

Sunset And Moonrise

On Tuesday, Sep 9, Sunset is at 7:16 PM and moonrise is also at 7:16 PM. Cool right? Good way to see this would be at High Point State Park or a special hike from Sierra Club. My preference is former, undoubtably the best place in NJ to see this!


Before I go to bed, few more bits… This is to announce that this year’s VMA sucked. I used to see this show for it being totally different from other award functions (i.e. freaky, weird, explicit and eye-popping). It seems to be the general opinion that if it hadn’t been for Britney-Madonna’s kiss, this would have been the worse so far.

Mars Viewing

Just saw the red planet through my 4.5” telescope and 10mm eye piece. Unlike it was advertised on several web sites, no, it doesn’t get as big as moon when looking through modest telescope. Infect there’s barely any difference when I’d looked at it through same scope in last couple of years. So I just went in to some number crunching using fact sheet at Nasa’s web site, and it seems that Mars should look (at best) 30% more brighter and around 40% bigger then I’d seen couple of years ago.

Astronomy Events This Month

Mars is going to be the closest to Earth in recorded human history so far. You can go out at midnight and look in the South and the big blob of orangish yellow light (which you might mistake as air plane) is Mars. Even on the rainy nights you can see it lurking behind the cloud - it’s that bright. Infect it’s brighter then anything after Sun and Moon! Even in a modest telescope you can see it’s big bright surface magnified as large as Moon.

T3 On DLP and Matrix II On IMAX

When I saw Terminator for the first time few years back, it had struck me like a lightening. Though most people considered it just another action flick, it was one of very few movies which I guess could change lives and sets the directions. And so to the date, it’s still my #1 favorite movie. I thought there won’t be Terminator 3. When I heard about it, seen previews and learned that director is not James Cameron, my prediction for it was to be a soulless sure flop.

Jersey Starquest and other star parties

Star parties are event with all night deep sky observations and chance to meet other fellow amateur astronomers. The first one of the year at East Coast is happening this weekend at Hope, NJ. There’s usually crowd of 20-30 people with all level of skills. You can try all sorts of telescopes (some as large as 17”) and instruments for deep sky CCD observations and so on. There are going to be day time events, talks and presentations and sun spot watching!

Bolly Flicks On TCM

Turner’s classic movie channel will be showing three Bollywood movies in a row on every Thursday starting 8 PM. This is on experimental bases for the month of June. The bollywood movies have an average opinion of being stupid, mostly same, colorful, frequent with dance sequences with no reason and something that makes most females burst out of tears all the time. But the movies that TCM was showing since past few weeks were some of the very best, including my rare personal favorites, that’s far away from this average opinion.

Central Park Summerstage and 311

Central Park summer stage schedule is out. Mark your dates from their official home page. On 311, this is a new number you can dial in New York and ask any question or make any complaints - literally! This is due to effort of new mayor Bloomberg to combine several agency to one spot through one number! Want to know how to dispose refrigerator? or complain about that loud car alarm?

Jewel Moments

On one fine spring morning, a beautiful lady with the sweetest voice decided to walk in a gorgeous park and sing for whoever cared. It was Saturday morning, one of the least busy time of the week when rest of the world prefers to sleep after long Friday night. It was one of the most invisibly promoted concert - even a professional certified guide at Central Park just 200 feet away from the stage didn’t knew about it!