Archive for November, 2007

Alicia Keys

Posted in Media on November 22, 2007 by Saquib

Alicia Keys has been an artist of her own style. One of the best things about her albums is the fact they sound better than the previous one – that being said, the artist herself haven’t proven anything of the peak quality as of yet. Sometimes songs really work when you are playing it on a Friday night party on background or listening to them on radio while coming back home. But if you sit and play it on your precious stereo, relaxing and trying to find something soulful – it’s likely that you would start skipping tracks. Then again, Alicia still has something, tracks like “As I Am” showed me her excellent ability of being a singer + songwriter, “Lessons Learned” has John Mayer’s guitar works, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” proves me that she has got powerful vocal skills, and lastly one of my favorites “Wreckless Love”which has a jazzy sensation with a touch of Stevie Wonder style. The album might not be the best to get compared to many other artists, but it proves Alicia is getting better with every release. Alicia Keys definitely has the ability to make stunning albums, but her work is not consistent among all tracks in the album. I would rate it 7.5/10.

Graduating and becoming an “Engineer”

Posted in Life with tags , on November 21, 2007 by Saquib

9th November, 2007 would be a memory for me. The day when of my convocation. Being in NSU for 4 years in School of Engineering & Applied Sciences – none of us could wait to finally touch the finish line. We finished in Summer 2007… and joined the graduation of Class of 2007. Among us have been all sorts of people – our Engineering & Applied Science class of 2007 were not just about studying, but also fun. From research, codes, theories, principles, and logics to music, tech stuffs, art, graphics, movies, sports, fashion, literature – you name it, we had it…. Many of us have joined work, many will, but I guess at the end the biggest part of our lives would evolve around the knowledge of our engineering education and the personality we built by going to the top private school of our country.

Photos here.

Matchbox Twenty’s Exile on Mainstream

Posted in Media with tags , on November 8, 2007 by Saquib

Eighth Grade – 1997: Now, I won’t deny I never listened to POP, but little was I aware of good music that exists outside that genre. We didn’t have CDs as popular back then, at least I couldn’t afford one. I was at one of my cousin’s place… and he played the “3AM” on Tape… I listened, I witnessed the most powerful musical experience till that day, and I was overwhelmed. It was Matchbox Twenty, it was a Band that showed me what True Musicians are capable of – I discovered a whole new genre in music, little did people around me listened or had much interest, those tapes weren’t available in Dhaka. I made a copy of the whole album, and I loved every moment of listening to it, in fact I still love playing those tracks.

In course of time Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty not only did keep up to my expectation, but surpassed it in many degrees. Song’s like “If You are Gone”, “Push”, “Crutch”, “Last Beautiful Girl”, “Unwell”, “Bed of Lies”, “Leave”, “Bent”, “Disease” – almost every single track from every album had an impression that’s gonna last as long as we know music. What’s even more fantastic, is the fact over 90% of the songs written by Rob Thomas himself – he is my idol, a personality that at a time made me understand the power and credibility of a musician’s soul – something way over mere commercial success.

Perhaps the most successful formula for Matchbox Twenty’s music is the awesome mixture of loneliness, psychological abuse, humiliation, anger, and hopelessness : feelings that surround so many of us, I can feel the music, because I’m used to feeling the same way, i can picture my past through Matchbox Twenty’s music – what more would I ask for?

In course of time, Rob Thomas and his band changed the style of their music in many of the tracks. Many recent releases have also been solo tracks, on several different occasions (e.g. New York Christmas). It’s clear to me, Rob Thomas doesn’t want commercial success (although he gets it anyway), but what he does is he doesn’t play it safe! He goes on with new lyrical styles mixing some old with it . The 4th album, is just that. “Exile On Mainstream” is very very different from many other tracks of his previous works. The album has only 6 new tracks, but they are also new in style of Matchbox Twenty’s music. It should be noted, every member contributed in song writing for this new album – just proves just how strong these musicians are. Most of the new tracks are more aggressive in pace, but goes around the same themes for lyrics.

I guess it’s must checkout because of some great new fast paced songs coming out from the Band. My favorite here are ” These Hard Times” and “I Can’t Let You Go” – absolutely awesome songs that themselves are really worth. But I wouldn’t say it’s the best album from the Band. The full album consists 6 new and additional 11 old hit tracks. This post is just for demonstration of all the new tracks. The quality of the MP3s have been reduced because I expect you’d only be trying out the songs, and then pay for the real album. There’s no way you can say the album is “same old” – its really all new, and cool but more new tracks might have added more fun to the full album. Download the preview low bit rate tracks from here and please, do post your comments!

My Linux Mods

Posted in Linux / Mac with tags , , , , on November 4, 2007 by Saquib

I started using Linux back in 2004, when my experience with Linux was simple – it did feel like I was using a free softwre. This is 2007, just 3 years into it, and I can’t imagine the pace of development. Have you really seen any OS upgrading itself so rapidly, taking over its competitors that used be lighyears ahead? You can find some of my old screenshots in this blog’s earlier entries, so do check those out as well. Those were still a lot advanced compared to boring Linux. This is now, the Linux evolved massively. The bugs getting fixed more often have made more amazing stuffs available to the open source world. I just love working in my Linux world at home, it’s what keeps me sticked to my chairs more than anything… I even miss it at work 😛 It’s amazing how in the method of comparison of all these Operating Systems like Windows, Mac and LInux, we tend to forget, Linux is all free! Ubuntu openned a new arena of possibilities with their OpenSource offers, everyone of us should really acknowledge such contributions.

Here‘s my sleek looking Linux… too many stuffs to show, so I just picked a few.

My Thesis Paper

Posted in Life, Windows with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2007 by Saquib

Two months back, i finished my Thesis work. It was an amazing experience for around 8 months time that I spent with my friends and faculty memebers to finish the project.  The work was basically based on CDMA’s core DSSS technology. We worked on encryption and cryptography for DSSS signal  transmission and reception. Our focus was first to create a simulation model. In order to do so, we built our own simlation program from scratch using MATLAB, but without using any kind of pre-defined simulink blocksets or any pre-programmed code. We then tested variour PN Sequence generators and their performance (BERvsSNR) in different scenarios and put together a performance analysis. Later we engineered a new algorithm that is modified from an old version, and showed its improvements and trade-offs. For the most popular PN Sequence generator we also built a GUI to easily use the simulation application.

Have a look at the whole Thesis Paper (source code included) from here.

Crossover Office – You shouldn’t miss windows anymore!

Posted in Linux / Mac with tags , on November 1, 2007 by Saquib

I might be bragging too much about it, but Linux truly is one of the most significant innovations of the technology arena. What’s the most negative side about it is why some of the major corporations don’t release support for such a powerful and future-proof platform. I love being in the Linux environment, the only reason I have to think of switching back to windows once a month or two is mostly becasue some of the vital apps are just not there. Don’t blame it on the distributions or open-source world. The open-source community has done far more than any other platform community to back up Linux users. Programs, and system analysts around the world has been contributing to make more things available in Linux. There are many amazing applications also in Linux today that are just not there in other platforms. But, there are stuffs that we or our surrounding people are so used to with that we can barely do without it – neither does any proper alternate exists. My request is to those developers to come up with support for Linux, which is no rocket science. There are two of them that i must mention MS-Office and Photoshop. Open office is actually behind in many ways than office. they lack many features that are required by advanced users of office. Similarly GiMP has more to do to be like photoshop: make menus and shortcut keys more like Photoshop, provide CMYK support. Yes, these do make me feel, Linux lacks the power of true desktop publishing. It’s a great place for coding, and all basic PC works, but now it really needs to push.

Just when developers are least worried about giving support to Linux, another Open Source solution has moved in. I’ve just tried out “Codeweavers Crossover Office Pro” Version 6.2.0, and I was delighted, relieved in many ways.This software is a fine tuned version of Wine, but really works great with much needed support for some great applications from Windows. I needed just 2 software primarily in Linux, MS-Office (only Word, Excel, Power Point) and Photoshop (any old version since 6). Wala!! the Crossover software gave just that. It had options to install Photoshop 7 and Office 2003.XP. It didn’t support Photoshop over version 8 and I was not worried with that. I was not going to push the Photoshop to limits like I do in Windows environment, simply because it’s more like an Emulation and might get unstable with those huge banner or 1200 dpi works. But I could do my everyday graphic works, make some small fun stuffs or even do some work for small publishing. Next I went for Office 2003, this has enough of Office extras that I missed from Open Office. Notes should be made, the program continuously crashed while installing – I got worried, but figured out it could be due to my Compiz/Fusion. I temporarily switched it off, and then the installation of Office 2003 worked fine. I started back compiz and it and when I ran office, sometimes I did experience sluggisg performance. My impression was that crossover had “some” issues running on 3D desktop. But I was delighted with the fact that the files with popular office extensions (e.g. .doc, .xls) opened by default via Office 2003. Wow! I always hated the sluggish speed of OpenOffice because it runs on Java, via Emulation in Crossover, the Office 2003 programs wasn’t any slower in starting than Open Office, so the speed was not an issue in Crossover.

This software is a must have for Linux, and all Linux freaks or newbies should almost certainly check it out. A brilliant and much needed work, hope in future the development would better work with 3D desktops and be faster – that at this point seems to be more important than supporting more Windows apps!