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So, is 'The Conjuring' THAT good? I mean, it is a classic enough to be rated 8.1 on IMDB? My opinion (just mine!) is it isn't a classic, but is an excellent modern horror movie with all the cliches and jump scares that you expect from an American 'Horror' movie. I watched the movie in INOX, chennai and it has subtitles in English. It's pleasantly surprising to see subtitles for an English horror movie, not that it hasn't partially detracted me from following the action on the screen.

*SPOILERS*
Coming to the movie, it starts with two nurses experiencing weird disturbances due to the presence of a toy. Later they come to know from a paranormal researcher couple (The Warrens) that the toy is possessed by an inhuman or demonic spirit, which is constantly trying to possess vulnerable people.

So, from here, the usual story starts. A family of 8(??) moves into a house located in a huge piece of land on the country side. And again as usual, they start to experience strange things in and around the house, like the clock stopping at 3:07am, pet dog getting killed, suciding pigeons, rattling doors and a cellar which is poorly secured by the previous owners. Many of these occurences are common in these horror movies and in this movie too, they are no different.

So the family gets concerned and seeks help from the Paranormal researcher couple. They initially ignore it saying there is always a rational explanation for most of the 'strange' things. NICE! Sense prevails; Wait what?...Aren't the paranormal researchers supposed to be the MOST interested in the supposedly haunted houses? I may be wrong, but they look uninterested in going deep into it for the first time.

After few more minor incidents, the mother successfully manages to get the Warren couple to to their home. After careful observation of house for probably what looked like 10 minutes, the reserachers come to a conclusion that the house is indeed haunted. Wow, that was so UNEXPECTED!! So, they think exorcism is their only option. They record the incidents using a tape recorder. But when the researcher couple play it at a later time, they hear their voice and the demon's voice, but not the mother's voice.

They go to the house again to gather evidence, that's necessary for them, to get the exorcism approved by the church. They also bring a cop to the place to corroborate the evidence. This character is a nice addition to the routine story. The cop manages to evoke few laughs from the audience in the climax part. From here, the story picks up pace and we manage to see the demon possessed in a horrific and ugly looking middle aged woman. This particular scene of the demon jumping on the girl scared the **** out of the audience for sure! And there are lot of such scenes in the movie which also happen during the performing of exorcism. A few people, most of them women, in the theatre almost shouted with horror when these scenes came. So, I must say these jump scares are well done. There are some hair-rising scenes like a piece of clothing flying away and hugging the demon, the warren lady seeing her daughter in a lake etc. that are very well done and unexpected.

At the end of it, it's well worth a watch, but most probably the movie won't be remembered after you walk out of the theatre. I like horror that is of unusual kind better and this is not one such movie.

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Airtel has plunged to new lows recently. It had introduced a new VAS called 'Smart Bytes' for it's broadband users a few months back. After reaching FUP limit, 'Smart Bytes' automatically presents a page randomly while browing (doesn't matter if you are in the middle of booking a bus/train ticket) asking the user to either buy few extra GB(s) or continue with reduced speed of 256Kbps. There are multiple issues I'm a lot of users are facing with this VAS.

- Airtel redirects to this VAS page at random times while browsing. This is very irritating to say the least because after it redirects the page, you will losr track of the URL you just typed. So for an Airtel user memorizing URLs is a must have skill.
- Airtel redirects to this page every 15 min/30 min/1 day or whenever it feels like, even after the user chooses to continue with the plan. This is THE biggest reason (no, not FUP limit!) why Airtel is annoying me these days.
- Airtel's 'Smart' bytes is actually either 'Too Smart' or 'Dumb' or both at the same time, just like our politicians. Even now, as I'm typing this post, blogger is complaining about an error while saving my post. I'm sure that ugly 'Smart Bytes' page has something to do with this. Fortunately, Google's blogger is 'really smart' unlike Airtel's so-called 'Smart Bytes'; It saved my post as soon as the connection came back.

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Hi.. It's been a long time since I posted any thing on this blog. There are some things I'm busy doing these days and playing cricinfo fantasy game is certainly one of them :) One of our colleagues set up a fantasy league on cricinfo at the time of WC and asked interested people to join. Since it is the WC, many joined the league and showed great interest in playing the game and getting to the top position. The league was a great success and we all have enjoyed it. And as you know, there is a circus cricket going on in India and we thought there won't be much interest in playing fantasy games. But we were proved wrong as the people have really gotten into the game, atleast till now. As IPL has 74 games, it's easy to forget making changes to the team before a match. So I developed a simple script in python and used a cronjob to change the trump and make replacements at a particular time before the match starts. I thought it would be a good idea to share it here as some people may find it useful

1) Download the script from pastebin, save as 'ci_fantasy' and make it executable
2) Change the variables tid (Team ID), 'login_email' and 'password' inside the script
3) Usage Examples:
       a) For printing the team
           python ci_fantasy
       b) For printing the team along with list of all available players
           python ci_fantasy -p
       c) For replacing a player
           python ci_fantasy -r 'old_player_id1-new_player_id1' -r 'old_player_id2-new_player_id2'
       d) For changing trump
           python ci_fantasy -t 'new_trump_player_id'
       e) Replace a player and make the replacement as trump
           python ci_fantasy -r 'old_player_id-new_player_id' -t new_player_id
   You can combine the 3 options (i.e., "-t","-r" and "-p") as you like
4) Setup a cronjob (crontab -e) on your linux machine. You can use the following tool in case you don't know how to generate cron commands
http://cron.nmonitoring.com/cron-generator.html
The below example will replace Raina (9388) with Hodge (9290) and make Hodge as trump at 7:38pm on 18-04 :-
38 19 18 4 * python ci_fantasy -t 9290 -p "9388-9290"
* On Windows machines you can create scheduled jobs in a similar way

Suggestions are welcome
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Since ASE came out, I really wanted to try out developing some apps with it. But as python ASE sucks compared to the Java API, in many ways, I had no option but to use Java API. Fortunately, this application is simple enough :p

Before using this application, please make sure that you have a free way2sms account. You need to enter these details in the text boxes provided on the main screen along with the mobile number of the receiving person and the SMS message.

Here are few things you may want to know
1) 140 character limit per SMS
2)  Some sort of Internet connection is mandatory
3) Aren't the above enough ? :D

Download the latest version (1.0.5) from HERE

Update 26/08:
Fixed force close bug which was seen when the network access is slow
Update 28/09:
Version 1.0.2: Updated the application to take care of the POST parameter changes in way2sms website. Earlier versions won't work now!
Update 12/01/11:
Version 1.0.3: Added support for picking numbers from phonebook. Multiple numbers can be entered either manually or by pressing contact picker multiple times (seperate each number by a comma ',' if you're entering'em manually).
Update 02/02:
Version 1.0.4: Fixed the bug which causes the messages to mobile numbers starting with either 0 or +91 to fail. (Thanks to Vivek for letting me know about this through comments!)
Update 12/02:
Version 1.0.5: Updating app as due to changes in way2sms website, v1.0.4 stopped working. (Thanks to sugan & anon.)
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Ever wondered how you get so many spam e-mails to your inbox with in minutes of posting your e-mail address on a popular website/blog? Most of those spam e-mails are sent to you by bots, whose job is to search(scrape) the web pages for text that match the signature of e-mail addresses. This is accomplished by using powerful scraping tools. One such tool is BeautifulSoup

Forget e-mail spamming for a moment, there are a lot of other things that you can do with these tools. e.g Scraping ebay.in's facebook community 'wall' for all the posts. The following python code shows how this can be done with the help of BeautifulSoup.

If you observe the source code for web page, you'll see that each and every post on the wall is under the tag span class="UIStory_Message. So we have to parse the page for finding out all the 'span' tags, which have the 'class' attribute set to 'UIStory_Message'. The method 'bs.findAll', shown below, does exactly that. Also we may want to print the names of the post's author before every post. From the HTML source, you can see that these names are available as text under the tag span class="UIIntentional_StoryNames". This tag is just before our post tag span class="UIStory_Message. As we already have references to all the post tags, we can find out the name tags by calling 'findPreviousSibling' and the name is available one level deep, under the 'a' tag. Finally, we can call 'getText' method to get the name of the post's author.


If this is confusing, please see the official BeautifulSoup documentation

#!/usr/bin/env python
__author__ = "Kasi Viswanadh Yakkala"
 
import os
import re
import sys
from urllib2 import urlopen
from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulSoup

def ebayin_fb_parse():
    frontpage = urlopen("http://www.facebook.com/ebaydotin?v=wall").read()
    bs = BeautifulSoup(frontpage)
    fbstories = bs.findAll(name='span', attrs={'class':'UIStory_Message'})
    for s in fbstories:
        fbprofile_name = s.findPreviousSibling(name='span',attrs={'class':'UIIntentionalStory_Names'}).a.getText()
        print fbprofile_name,':'
        try:
            print s.getText()
        except:
            print s.find(text=True)

# HOW TO USE
""" Main Function """
if __name__ == "__main__":
    ebayin_fb_parse() 
 
 
This song is a true master piece from Sirivennela Sitaram Sastry Garu. I listen to this song very often and find it to be very inspiring. I bet nobody other than Sirivennela garu could write such a beautiful song. Thanks to my good friend Karthik, who originally found this video and shared it.


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If you have a way2sms.com account and want a quick way to send an SMS without the hassle of logging in to the website, you can take a look at the python script that I posted at snipplr

I have provided the necessary instructions on how to use the script in the above page. I sometimes use it for sending important reminders/notes to myself. The best thing with way2sms SMS service is that the message at the receiver side will still be shown with your number as the sender! However, here is the worst part if I may say so, way2sms puts a signature at the end of your SMS. Without this signature, I don't think they can do online business!!