Testing IFTTT Recipe

This is a Test post to see how IFTTT (IF This Then That) works to cross post from Blogger to my Facebook.
:-D

Why are short batsmen so effective?

Finally the Cricketing world seems to have woken up to the fact that short batsmen, from Don Bradman, Alvin Kalicharan, to Sunil Gavaskar, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, are very effective.

The article examines the ability of the short batsmen to pull ferociously, pirouetting quiet quickly, smartly - due to their lower Centre of Gravity (which is not explained in the article).
The next point which is raised in the article is the difficulty in bowling to such batsmen on correct length.

I feel that point will be hard to justify for two reasons.  If true, then all the world's greatest batsmen should be short.  Or at least the number of runs scored by batsmen who are within 5' 6" should be considerably higher than those who pop up over five and half feet.

If Sachin Tendulkar at 5' 5" is the world's leading run scorer in Test Cricket, he is quickly followed by near six footers.  The second highest is the 5' 10" Ricky Ponting, 3rd is Jacques Kallis at 6' 2", followed by Rahul Dravid who is in between at 5' 11".

I also find it difficult to believe that it is difficult to bowl a worrying length to such tiny batsmen.

What happened in the case of the unfortunate Phil Hughes proves that batting in cricket can be dangerous, and requires utmost concentration, whether you are short or tall.  Phil Hughes at just one inch over the five and half feet arbitrary scale could not dodge that fatal delivery.






Chennai Music Season Concerts Schedule December 2014


Last year, I promised a (Carnatic) Music lover that I will attempt to collate the complete schedule of concerts or kutcheri’s for the Chennai December Music Season 2014.  With an estimated 5000 performances or more at 65 Sabhas in just over a month, the Chennai December Music Season must be one of the largest Music performances in the world.

On 1st of December, that friend slipped me the supplement pages from The Hindu – a pointer that I should make good on my promise.  So I went about collating the kutcheri timings from as many Sabhas as possible.  And ended up with about 36 organisations, including Narada Gana Sabha, Brahma Gana Sabha, Vani Mahal, Krishna Gana Sabha and The Music Academy, among others.
The number of kutcheris or concerts totalled a whopping 2000 plus events, feature more than 400 artists.  The sheer number of
  • concerts – at 2000 plus;
  • sabhas – 36 at last count;
  • artists – 400 plus says the spreadsheet; and,
  • dates – 45+ days,
created a headache of its own.  How to display the information, in a meaningful way?

Putting it up as a spreadsheet – MS Excel or Google Sheet, is of no practical use.  For unless the user knows how to use advanced ‘sort’ and ‘filter’, he or she is sure to mess up the data.  One single moment of forgetfulness or a thoughtless click would skrew up the list – and the user will never realise it – till he or she ends up at the wrong venue at the wrong time.

To get more technical, while a spreadsheet like an MS Excel or Google Sheet is a very good tool to compile, hold, analyse, and understand data, it is not the tool for presenting or displaying data.  That is the reason MS Excel (and others) have in-built graphs and what not – so that data can be displayed in way people can understand easily.

So it was time for an outside-the-box solution.  I can put it up as a mobile App, but it requires more time, effort and skills, and as a lazy-doozer, I always run short of those three.  There is one more I run short – moolah – but that is not the subject of this article.  So instead, I hit upon the solution – the first time it has ever been attempted.

A simple, widely – and freely – available solution, suitable for viewing on PC, laptops, mobiles or handhelds, with all the search capabilities of MS Excel, with an interface to Maps to show venues, and inbuilt reminders, invitation and print capabilities.  Yes, you got it – Google Calendar.

So, here is the Google Calendar of the full schedule of Madras December Music Season 2014 displaying the date and timings of over 2000 kutcheris by more than 400 artists at 36 sabhas.  A real, true, magnum-opus – even if I say so myself.

It is searchable by artist, venue, or dates.  If you do not know how to use Google Calendar, a very good how-to is at [http://learn.googleapps.com/calendar]

Go ahead and enjoy.  If you like it spread the word, visit often, or encourage me by donating or even better – sponsor your company’s advt. in this blog.  Here is the actual link for the Google Calendar
Chennai Music Season 2014 Schedule

PS:
  • Yet to add Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, and Tamil Isai Sangam.
  • If any Sabha wants to add their schedule, please send the fixtures preferably as MS Excel through contact form.
  • The end times of the performances are approximate.  Errors may be present.  Please check the dates, venue, timings, and performers with concerned Sabhas to be doubly sure.
Image for Pinning:

San Thome Basilica 3D in SCARM

One of my very first attempts at 3D buildings for my Chennai 3D fad, was the San Thome Basilica.  It is believed to be built on the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the apostles.  Whether it is true or not, the beach right behind San Thome is where I consecrated my father’s ashes in the sea, and hence holds a special place in my heart.

Is it any wonder that I attempted a 3D visualisation of it a first?  But not well-versed with the intricacies of the SCARM, my first attempt was not so good.  Though a resemblance of the San Thome cathedral could be created, it still was crude.  I guess, it is not easy to 3D build something of Neo-Gothic style.

So today, I attempted to redraw it.  As you can see, having learned to work better in SCARM did make a difference.  The lines are smoother, the alignments are true, and the church walls themselves are in better detail.

Here is the comparison image – of the 1st attempt, the current one, and the snapshot from which I worked.  Does looks nice, is it not?

san-thome-basilica

If anything, I think the upper part of the tower, with the spire has to be reworked to make it a little larger.

The octagonal pillar-towers are made by copy-paste and then rotating a rectangle thrice: 45, 90 and –45 degrees.  Rest of the intricate structures, including the spires - big and small - are all modified gable-roofs and cones.

Make a Diamond Railway Station Sign in SCARM

Have you seen the Railway Station Signs in UK and India?  It is formed by a Blue Stripe bisecting a Red Circle on a White Diamond – diamond like the Ace of Diamonds in a pack of cards.  When I started to plot the train stations as a part of Chennai 3D, it decided to mark the spots with such a free standing board-sign.

And immediately ran into problems in SCARM (Simple Computer Aided Railway Modeller).  The software has 4 basic figures in a rectangle, a polygon, a vertical cylinder and a horizontal cylinder, and an additional Roof figure.  It does not have a Diamond. 

Though a diamond is nothing but a square titled 90 degrees, there are no options in SCARM to rotate-tilt the Square in the fore-and-aft or forward and back direction – that is rotate it on the X axis (or the Y axis for that matter).  The current rotate function moves the rectangle or any other object only in a athwart or left and right direction.  Thus at first glance, it seems to be an impossible task with SCARM 0.9.25.

But I style myself ‘mad’, and is known as an unconventional, outside-the-box problem solver for nothing.  Thinking a problem through, with the objective always in sight, while aware of the possibilities, and minding the restrictions is the way to find solutions, and the way I work.

Shameless self-promotion apart, the solution came out in a few minutes.  A diamond is nothing but a normal (isosceles) triangle sitting on top of another inverted (isosceles) triangle.  The next hindrance was there is no Triangle figure in SCARM 0.9.25.  A few more minutes offered the next step in the solution – hacking or modifying the inbuilt Gable Roof figure.

Here is the snapshot of the Railway Station Signboard and its ‘unassembled’ view.  As you can see, there is
  • a black rectangle forming the post,
  • a normal triangle or modified gable roof forming the upper part of the diamond;
  • an inverted triangle forming the lower part of the diamond;
  • a red circle or horizontal cylinder with a white one nesting within;
  • and a blue rectangle forming the stripe.
While the other parts are self explanatory, here is a short description of how I formed the triangles by modifying the Gable Roof in SCARM.
On the SCARM 0.9.25:
  • draw & select a rectangle along the X axis;
  • select ‘gable roof’ from figures for the rectangle;
  • change the colour to White;
  • rotate the roof by 90 degrees (because the ridge of the gable is formed along X axis, while we want it along Y axis);
  • set the base height (vertical position) and height in the properties pop-up;
  • you can delete the original rectangle, the roofs will remain;
  • save it as test.scarm.
SCARM-railway-station-signboard

Now open up the test.scarm file with a text editor – my poison is Notepad++
  • locate the TFigRoofs and adjust the width or thickness of the triangles (and the circles and stripe later);
  • adjust other parameters if and as required.
Here is the snapshot of the scarm file with the parameters explained (as I understand them).

SCARM-modifying-roof-as-diamond

Go back to SCARM, assemble them together, Group them, and – Viola, there is the Railway Signboard made in SCARM.  The Top Triangle is adjusted to be a little longer than the Bottom inverted Triangle to hide the ‘eaves’.