Aditya’s Law Of Run Rate

If the runs scored in an over are equal to the current run-rate and the numerical value of the current over, the run-rate is increased by 1.

For example, if the Delhi Daredevils are pwning the Kings XI Punjab, and score 152 in 15 overs, their current run-rate is…

So now, Piyush Chawla is sent into the attack. At this moment, Virender Sehawg is batting at 78. He’s really angry, that Chawla was picked ahead of his Delhi buddy Amit Mishra in the World Twenty20 squad. So he goes all boom, bang and all that.

Do note, that Chawla is bowling the sixteenth over. So Sehwag scores ten plus sixteen runs in the over, which equals to twenty-six runs in the over. That takes the total to 178 of 16 overs.

It may surprise you, that the current run-rate is 11.13. If you do some simple math, the run rate has increased by…?

Tell me in the comments.

January Wrap-Up

The new year began with a bang. In terms of stats.

Bang!

Bang!

See that? I was so surprised during the middle of the month, that I even wrote a post expressing my disbelief and joy. So here are the posts that made Shadow Line so popular. And oh. It has even appeared on some popular quiz blogs, for which the credit goes to Shikhar Gautam and Shreyans Jain.

Posts That Made It Big

Posts That Made It Big

Not bad, eh? Notice how the home-page got so many hits? I did. Astonishing.

Thanks guys, for making my humble blog so popular. I mean, look at the stats two years ago. Near zero. And look now. Great stuff.

And you! You feed subscriber! Yes, you there. A special thank you to yoo too. Woo hoo!

Valentine’s Day? Republic Day? Same Thing Anyway

O hai Indian readers. Happy sixty-first republic day to y’ all. My television picture tube has died, thus rendering me unable to watch any of that parade. Which was pretty boring last year anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I simply hate BPL and Doordarshan. Things might change if Doordarshan will broadcast the Commonwealth Games in high-definition in 1080p. That is, if the Games ever happen. And even if they do, we’ll probably see poor organization in HD. I’d rather be watching Manchester United pwning Hull City in HD (which Europe watches in Sky Sports anyway).

But the main reason for this post was Twitter. You know, Twitter, that microblogging site that has taken over the world ever since Shashi Tharoor, Crater SRK and Bill Gates joined it. Today is Republic Day, and Google has a spectacular doodle. Way better than new year. Understandably, Happy Republic Day is trending on Twitter. But the reasons for apocalypse are clearer. It is not Mayans, but this.

Twitter Trends

Twitter Trends

So why Twitter? Why associate Valentines Day with India’s Republic Day, both of which have no connection whatsoever, apart from the fact that the former is fervently discouraged? Are you hinting at a Nehru-Lady Mountbatten relationship? I don’t think so. Valentine’s Day is more than a fortnight away, and even if people are talking about it, it should have a different trend.

In other, completely unrelated news, Shadow Line reached a whopping three-thousand views mark yesterday. Thank you, readers! And especially to those who have subscribed to the RSS feed. I’ve already reached thirty-thousand views this month.

Reverting back to the primary topic, I’d like to welcome you, sir, to our great country.

Don’t ask me who he is. Figure out.

Statistical Improbability

Originally posted on Linux4Indians.

I finished my Social Science pre-board yesterday, came home, and fired open Firefox. Facebook, Echofon, and Mail. Then I visited WordPress, and checked the Shadow Line stats. I hadn’t written anything new of substance (last post was on new year’s day), and didn’t expect anything magical. Just the regular, measly 300-odd page-views for the day.

HOLY SAUCY PASTAS!

Page Views For Thursday

Page Views For Thursday

Well thank FSM mom wasn’t home, or she’d think Social Science had finally taken its toll over my brain. Of course, this was a one-day occurrence. The Avatar Movie Review post. Probably some people had gone bonkers over the fantastic movie, and wanted to read about it. Of course, it didn’t stop me from tweeting about it.

But it happened again. Yesterday.

Blog Views For Friday

Blog Views For Friday

And is already happening again today.

Blog Views For Saturday

Blog Views For Saturday

This can mean only two things:

1) The world is ending because the Mayans are enraged with me writing giving a bad review about their movie.

2) I’m making it big in the blogging world! Yeah, baby!

Review: Avatar

Avatar Release Poster

Avatar Release Poster

Director: James Cameron

Producer: James Cameron

Jon Landau

Writer: James Cameron

Cast: Sam Worthington as Jake Sully

Zoe Saldana as Neytri

Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch

Review

When was the last time you saw a film which had you awed, and you thought about it even days later? When was the last time you saw something so divine, and saw flawless, that you felt like applauding? Probably, the last time that happened for me was when I saw Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Never. Ever. Before. Has a movie been made like Avatar, which combines an extremely high budget ($230 million plus $150 million for promotion), great acting and a fairly good plot along with a message to make a thundering impact on the souls of all viewers? I doubt it.

Avatar has taken India by storm. Tickets had been booked a day in advance, and watching the current show in 3D is out of question, unless you plan it a day in advance. I saw Avatar at PVR Plaza in Rajiv Chowk, and the cinema hall was jam-packed.

The main character, Jake Sully, is a crippled US Marine who signs up for an Avatar programme which involves mining this mineral called Unobtanium, so that an energy crisis gripping the earth can be solved. (For those who don’t know, Unobtanium is a name given to any material which is “un-obtainable” to run anything. For example, an unobtanium-made-pulley may be frictionless, which is pretty impossible). This wicked stuff is available on a moon (Pandora) which orbits a planet which further orbits Alpha Centauri. This stone can be obtained only with the cooperation of the Na ‘vi, tall, blue-skinned inhabitants of Pandora. They’re primitive as compared to the humans, but more physically capable. They also have these USB ports in their hair, which they can plug into trees and horses. Badass, this.

Basically, the main character, Jake Sully, is on Pandora to control an “avatar” of himself, and become a Na ‘vi mentally, when physically wired up in a bunker. He’s got to convince the Na ‘vi to give him the Unobtanium, but finally realises that the humans are wrong. And he fights (in the end; this was inevitable) for the Na ‘vi against the humans.

You’ll notice that the plot is simple, and even predictable in some parts. But it’s not the plot you’re basically concentrating on here. It’s the visual effects. Of course, there are movies in the past which have made exactly the same blunder, thus compromising on other aspects and some who focus more on the plot, and not just visual effects. But Cameron does both, and makes a surprisingly good balance between both. The fact that Avatar is so visually pleasing, makes you forget the plot and think more about how Cameron made the environment? Remember: it’s a whole new world, and all new creatures, so it has to be made from scratch. Hundreds of people cannot by physically dyed blue, so that had to be CGI as well. What James Cameron has created and visualised is not mere scenery – it’s an entire universe, like the Middle Earth in LOTR, and unlike it as well, as Avatar cannot simply be shot in New Zealand. Cameron attached probes to all of his actors and used revolutionary new motion capture technology.

Everything you see here, is computer generated.

The acting is also great, although there is not much scope of acting. The emotions do come out well, especially in those scenes when the Na ‘vi’s homes are felled cruelly by the army. Their cries will echo even after a long, long time. Its that brief period of emotional connections that probably sets the pace for the next hour of the movie.

Something else is the totally believable universe Avatar is set in. I mean, the technology is not something which can make you go “Come on!”. Its something humans are close to achieving. In the end, it also gives an important message about saving the environment, and not getting into energy crises (which is not very far). But all this is unimportant; where Avatar really trumps is the overall experience of it. Of how everything seems to be there in the movie. Love, action, drama, emotion, jealousy, power, and so on. It may not be the best film ever, but it’s certainly one of the most complete and entertaining film. Do watch it, and do so in 3D, as that is how Cameron would like you to experience it. Looks like the huge $230 million dollar gamble, like Titanic, paid off.

Here’s the theatrical trailer for Avatar. Do watch it in full screen HD.

Detailed Ratings (out of 10)

Plot: 8

Acting: 9

Visual+Sound Effects: 10

Direction: 10

Feel: 10

Overall Rating: 9.4/10 [Fantastic]

Happy Birthday, PlayStation

PlayStation

The King

Fifteen years ago, a company named Sony released a gaming console named PlayStation. They actually felt that a newcomer could take on Sega (which was the world leader in gaming consoles at that time) and Nintendo (which was riding high on the waves of success with the Nintendo Entertainment System).

They were right. Despite being the underdog, PlayStation went on to become the best gaming console of all time, and also an example for all those hard-work-can-help-you-succeed reality shows on TV.

But why do I call the PlayStation the best console ever? No. Not because of the looks or hardware, but because of the legacy it went on to inspire. It was almost single-handedly responsible for boosting the gaming market, even though Nintendo had successfully revived it after the Video Game Crash of 1983.

It paved the foundation for so many consoles such as the trendy PlayStation Portable, the best-selling and most successful console of all time – the PlayStation 2, and the mini-supercomputer, the PlayStation 3. The controls of the original PlayStation were so popular, that the entire layout has been copied onto Sony’s other consoles. With negligible modifications.

PlayStation Controller

The Original PlayStation controller. Analog sticks were included later

The PlayStation 2 Controller - the DualShock 2

See that? NO modification.

The PlayStation Portable

A slight change here, to minimise space But the overall layout remains the same. Start and Select are still there.

The PlayStation 3 Controller - the DualShock 3

No change. Again. Except for the PlayStation button.

Games

Not only controller design, but, most importantly, the games released first for the PlayStation are now major money-spinners in the gaming market.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Tony Hawk is better known through the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, than by his own, marvelous achievements. Activision brought us this superb skating simulation game which had everyone hooked on. Activision didn’t stop here. They released Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 which also became critically and commercially acclaimed hits on its successor console, the PS2.

Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid

This time, Konami decided to teach a thing or two about stealth to PlayStation users. Metal Gear Solid came, and introduced us to Snake. A suberp story, well-built characters and breathtaking graphics combined with an excellent sense of stealth, made it a major success with the masses and critics as well. Konami was not new to the gaming scene – it had captured hearts with Contra – but this was something even better. The legendary Hideo Kojima showed that gaming is not only for kids. It has advanced to higher ages as well, as the plot for Metal Gear Solid could rival any Hollywood blockbusters’. Further, Konami released Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for PS2 Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops for PSP and finally, the best of them all – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for PS3. All were instant hits, and continued Snake’s story which began at the PlayStation.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

When you think about Final Fantasy VII, all you can say is… wow. Square brought us the best RPG game of all time, and Final Fantasy VII is regarded as the most influential games ever made. Rightly so. It used spectacular 3D Graphics, and brilliant character models. It also came with a gripping plot, even successfully incorporating drama into it, by showcasing the characters’ internal struggles as well as their road to defeat evil. Final Fantasy has run into as many as twelve titles, each being immensely successful.

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo

No game has ever, or will, transcend the boundaries between professional racing and gaming like Gran Turismo did. Forza can try, so can Need For Speed. But Gran Turismo always gets it right. Even for the PlayStation, it had superb physics and marvelous simulation. The game also had many other games in the series, all of them being immensely successful. In fact, Gran Turismo was the most selling game for the PlayStation, emptying 10.95 million pockets all over the world.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil

Resident Evil

Yikes. Resident Evil. Was. At its time. The most. Scariest game. It inspired other Resident Evil games as well, but none was so successful as the original, which first released on the PlayStation. It scared the living daylights off the most of us. But people still enjoyed it, and it became a best seller in the United States.

So that is all for now folks! If you like this article, please comment and/or rate it as well!

Competition Success Review #2: TCS IT Wiz 2009

At long last, TCS IT Wiz finally arrived at Delhi. It felt like the most awaited event of the century. Everyone was waiting for it. And it brought back horrific memories of previous year. I really didn’t want this to happen again. But fate had other ideas.

With the noticeable absence of Mridul, our quizzing team had become relatively weaker. Saumey (my current quizzing partner) is only in ninth-class (which was the same class I was in last year), and he is still raw. But he does have a remarkably wide knowledge field.

Gyaan.in had threads on TCS IT Wiz, and questions on how to prepare about it even before you could say “Giri”. I felt really amused at all this. Because you really cannot “prepare” for this competition. Its that knowledge of all previous years and current affairs snowballed into a large one.

Just the day before TCS (30th October) was Dad’s birthday, so I was up quite late. Next morning, I reached school all excited and jumpy. Meena Ma’am informed me that TCS guys had requested us to send thirty teams. That is not a typo. Thirty teams! Too much. We were sending six. Under no circumstances am I going to list them here. Before leaving, I took Sir Alex Ferguson’s aashirwad. It really helped, though the potency was a little low (he has other important matters at hand as well).

Shikhar and his brother turned up late. He claims he was late and his driver did Burnout-style driving to get him there.

Puts Paul Walker to shame

Puts Paul Walker to shame

School arranged only a Qualis for us. They obviously thought twelve people would sit comfortably in a eight-seater. With a driver.

Pictured: Comfort

Pictured: Comfort

This was the second-last image. I promise. Second-last.

So we stole Jaikishan’s Civic and Vedant’s Verna, and accommodated people into the Verna (the Civic was for return). It took a lotta time, and we finally reached the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

There was hardly any crowd. My guess was only four-hundred teams. After registration (and a quick chat with New Era guys), we made it to Dogra Hall, and grabbed seats. There was that usual survey and stuff, which could be exchanged for refreshments.

I looked around, and saw that the hall was full. But no people sitting on the floor like last time. Less people, better chances.

Giri made his trademark entry, and announced:

Due to overwhelming response, for the first time in the history of TCS IT Wiz, we are holding two prelims.

My heart sank. So there were a large number of people outside as well! Phew. My estimate was so wrong…

The prelims began, and it was easier than last time. We screwed up on that “decision engine” question, and wrote WolframAlpha, which was a common mistake many made. It was Bing. Saumey was excellent – contributing more than expected. He gave four out of twenty, which is quite good for a ninth class guy. He answered crucial questions like MNP and LinkedIn, which few knew. Kudos, kid.

Then we left for refreshments, and recession was visible. Pathetic food. Miserable sandwich, passable pattice, and, most importantly, Oyes wafers. Yes. OYES! The USP of Oyes was free points on cards, and ten would fetch us another Oyes! We immediately began collecting them, and accumulated eleven! Woot!

The second prelims were underway, and we waited forever. We were looking at the institute (where practically all of us wanted to be). Some kids had reached to the top of a building.

After a really, really long time, it was time to enter Dogra Hall once again. There was lot of pushing, and the entire stairway was jam-packed. TCS volunteers failed to control the crowd, which soon turned into a mob. Now, according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, a crowd becomes a mob if it breaks something. Naturally, the crowd broke a glass pane, much to the anger of TCS guys.

Meanwhile, Shubham and Arvind did something great. They entered through another gate (which was closed for us, dunno why), pretending to have lost a water bottle.

When we finally reached Dogra Hall, they had reserved an entire row for us. Giri returned, and announced the results.

For the first time,  we have had nine-hundred-and-nine papers to check! I don’t think any quizmaster has had so many papers to check before. First, the answers.

Saumey and I had pretended to have got only eight or nine correct. At the end of the answers, we had got fourteen. Not enough, I thought. Fifteen weren’t enough last time.

Before I announce the qualifiers, I would like to recognize the top ten teams. The team which finished tenth is…

The entire hall is quiet. Nobody even breathes.

… Aditya and Saumey Jain of Montfort School.

NO!

We went on to the stage to collect a t-shirt, a book and a Rubik’s cube.

Which class are you in?

I’m in tenth and he’s in ninth.

To the audience : I just found out that the level of quizzing improves so rapidly in Delhi. These quizzers are from ninth and tenth. Give them a round of applause!

I don’t remember the other teams, but Sopandev from DPS Dwarka finished seventh. What was really agonizing was that he had exactly the same marks as that of the sixth qualifier, but lost out on starred questions.

New Era qualified, but not Prateek’s team! Young Arnav and Apratim had. DPS Noida, who finished second last year, were also on stage. DPS R K Puram qualified yet again, with quizzers from ninth and eighth. That was something. Even Vivek Nair and Karthik qualified; they finished eighth last year.

The finals were really easy. We got seventy percent of the questions right. Especially in the connect round.

DPS Noida won the finals. It was a great experience for all of us.

On the return journey, Shubham disfigured my Rubik’s cube. 😦