Scripts to the rescue

4:00 PM
My thesis work involves working on several applications.. The data processing is usually done in excel before it is sent as an input to the MATLAB. The usual data processing in excel is something thats very recurring and monotonous.. I should process atleast 25 files in excel before i input it to matlab for one test case. And doing these were becoming too cumbersome for me. Though i knew Mac had some softwares like Automator, Applescript etc., i never knew how to use them. But today, after a day long testing, and collecting data for over 72 testcases, I face a cold reality of how many files i need to process, let alone execute using Matlab.
To find an alternative solution to the daunting task ahead of me, I ventured into studying about how Automator and Applescript works.. Applescript sounded a lot easier and simpler. So i googled about it, read some basics and wrote a couple of scripts that does the necessary processing on my excel sheets. Basically, I remove the unnecessary columns and rows from the excel data so that Matlab can process the data easily. As many of you know Matlab can't accept inputs if they have texts in them. So part of this processing is to remove the texts, if any, from the input data. Since I know exactly which column and row would need to be removed, I wrote these scripts that would make my life much better. How I wish, I had known this earlier. Would have saved me lots of time in the past. Here is one of the scripts, just in case anyone wants to modify it for their own use.

--- Apple script ---

set theWorkbookFile to choose file with prompt "Please select an Excel workbook file:"

set theWorkbookName to name of (info for theWorkbookFile)

tell application "Microsoft Excel"

open theWorkbookFile

set theWorkbook to active workbook

tell worksheet "Sheet1" of active workbook

delete row 1

delete column 1

repeat with x from 39 to 10 by -1

delete column x

end repeat

end tell

save active workbook

close active workbook

end tell

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25 years of research on tendons and ligaments

3:25 PM
This is the video of the presentation that I prepared for one of my classes. Its basically a review paper that talks about the 25 years of research on tendons and ligaments. The copyrights of this journal paper rests with the authors I have mentioned in the introduction. All I did was this presentation and hold no ownership for the content you are about to see. Feel free to pause it, if you feel that its a little too fast.

Here's some introduction for people who don't know what tendons and ligaments are. Tendons are the tissues that connects bone to muscle. For eg, the patella tendon connects your knee cap to the tibia (the bone below your knee). And ligaments are something that connects two different bones. (eg) ACL - anterior cruciate ligament. You must have heard about it - Athletes often get their ACL injured, especially cricket and tennis players. Its a ligament in the knee.

This video basically summarizes whatever major and recurrent research that has been done in the past 25 years in tendons and ligaments. Sit back and enjoy.

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Anti-theft system - Mac & Bluetooth

3:05 PM
Ever wondered, when you enter your room and your computer welcomes you - "Welcome Master. Hope you had a wonderful Day" and starts playing music from the playlist you like, makes you a cup of coffee, switches on the fan/air-conditioner. Well we are half way there. Over a last few weeks, I had been playing around a bit with two applications that I downloaded from the internet - JackSMS and Proximity. Well there aren't very well documented stuffs about these 2 applications, but nevertheless they come in handy.

JackSMS, for instance is an application that I stumbled upon when I was searching for anti-theft systems. Its a free software and guess what it can do - when activated, it locks the screen and it'll sound an alarm when someone tries to pull off the power cable or close the lid of the monitor. Obviously if someone is trying to steal your laptop they have to do either of the two actions. And once the alarm has been set off, muting the laptop doesn't work. The alarm sounds at full volume. The only way to turn it off is to unlock the screen and turn off the alarm using this application. Wait, there is more to it. While the thief is trying to fiddle with the laptop, it secretly takes a snap of him and mails you his photo / sends you a text message. No one can beat that !

Proximity, the name implies that it detects the proximity of the owner to the laptop using bluetooth. All you have to do is pair your mobile device with your laptop. And write two scripts - one, when the mobile device is in the range. Two, when the device is not in the range. What my script does is that, when the mobile device is not in the range, it activates the JackSMS application so that the anti-theft system is ON, pauses itunes if it is running, sets my status message to 'Away' in Adium and locks the screen. Well, these scripts are fairly simple. There is no complex coding necessary. When my mobile device comes within the range, it deactivates JackSMS, resumes itunes, unlocks the screen, and sets my Adium Status message to Available and also welcomes me with a text-to-voice converter application.

As far as the coffee making and the switching on the fan is concerned, it isn't a difficult task either. All it requires is a circuit relay switch be triggered by a macbook and a simple script that does that. Or there might be something in the market already that 'switches' power to electric appliances from a computer. I haven't tried that yet. Will let you guys know about it when i get a chance to try it out !! After-all as i always say Mac is a better deal !
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10 best firefox addons

7:05 PM
I hope you are reading this from a Firefox browser. If you are still using IE, its really a good time to download Firefox 3.0. Though Google Chrome is out there now, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best out there. As far as speed is concerned, Safari tops it all, but also it consumes a little more memory than Firefox. Hence Firefox still rules the browsing world. What makes it rule the world comprehensively for the past few years ?? Speed, less memory consumption, reliability, history, open-source and of-course the addons. From just decoration to everyday tools, there are addons for everything. I'm just giving the 10 killer addons out there, right here.

1) Twitterfox

Twitterfox is an addon that allows you receive tweets from your friends and you can also post new tweets or reply to the tweets of your friends. Very useful if you are having a twitter account. As shown in the figure, it appears as a small icon in the status bar. Get this addon here.

2. 1-Click Weather

This addon gives you the current temperature and forecast for the locality you choose to monitor. Hovering the mouse over it shows the radar of your locality and clicking it takes you to the weather page where you can see the forecast. Very necessary if you are living in a place where weather changes frequently. Get this addon here.

3. Cooliris

Cooliris instantly transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D experience for viewing images across the web. Makes browsing through pictures a wonderful experience. The interactive 3D Wall and built-in search function, lets you effortlessly drag, click, zoom, and zip your way around a wall of pictures for an amazing viewing experience. Get it here.

4. All-in-one Gestures

This extension allows you to execute common commands using mouse gestures, rocker navigation, scroll wheel navigation and page. Moreover it allows you to customize the gestures so that you can create gestures for your frequently performed actions. Its very simple. You need not depend on keyboard shortcuts/toolbars if you know how to work your way through this addon. Get this here.

5. Foxytunes

Are you the one who listens to music while browsing ? In that case, controlling the music player, shuffling songs can be very tiresome. Minimizing your browser is no longer necessary. FoxyTunes lets you control almost any media player and find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and much more with a click right from your browser. It works on all music players out there. Just the one you were searching for. Get it here.

6. CTRL-Tab

This addon gives you a preview of the webpage if you press CTRL+Tab. With CTRL key pressed, press tab again to toggle thru the different tabs to see the content of different tabs.. This is particularly useful if you are working with multiple tabs and you don't need you to go thru each of the tab to see its content. Very useful addon. Get it here.

7. Inquisitor

This addon speeds up your search like no other. Just as you are typing the word, it starts giving you options, including some related web pages that you might have recently visited. It also gives a count of the number of visits you have made to that particular webpage in the recent times. Advantage being, you need not wait for the search query to appear on google, but click it right away if the page you are looking for appears even before u click search. Get this addon here.

8. Speed Dial

This addon gives a direct access to the pages that you visit the most. Setting this as the home page and also configuring the pages according to the numbers you want, gives you fingertip access to your favorite sites. Setting this as the homepage works great. Get this addon here.

9. infoRSS

InfoRSS displays RSS, Atom, parsed HTML and NNTP feed in a scrolling area in the status bar. Compatible with podcasting RSS which can be downloaded directly. It's also a good Gmail notifier. Very useful if you are someone who reads a lots of blogs/feeds. Get this addon here.

10. ACE Safari Foxdie Theme

If you are someone who likes the style of Safari but use Firefox, then no worries. This theme matches the style of Safari and gives you a feel like you are browsing a Safari browser. Clearly, firefox doesn't have the professional look like Safari. So this one matches it up in style and 'professionality'. Get this addon here.

Thats about it folks. Doesn't necessarily mean that you need to have all these addons. You can probably install some of these addons and see how it works. It has definitely improvised my browsing experience. Hope it does so for you as well.. Adios.

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Degenerative disc disease - DDD

8:21 PM
DDD predominantly occurs with aging. But there are other risk factors that accelerate the degenerating process of the disc - Cigarette smoking, repetitive mechanical lifting of heavy loads, trauma and failure to do exercise. Here's a short video of a presentation that i made stating the symptoms, treatments and methods used for detecting a degenerated disc. Questions, if any, can be asked and will be answered.

References - Internet, Youtube, Books by Dr Panjabi, Dr Adams, Dr Bogduk et. al.

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Why a Mac ?

6:36 PM
Expensive, Less features when compared to an equally priced Dell or HP, Not an easy Operating System, Not all softwares run on a Mac - these are the reasons why you shouldn't buy a Mac..
That being said, now lets analyze all the above reasons..

Firstly, Expensive. Definitely a Mac is very expensive. That's majorly because it was Steve's dream project and he doesn't wanna give that for free.. 2) Its from Apple - the brand that stands solidly on quality, perfection and innovation.. 3) The people who don't buy a Mac actually don't get to know whats really in a Mac. Let me explain this in detail - People generally consider Mac to be just another Laptop less the Windows OS. But its more. It has a lot of applications that ordinarily a windows PC doesn't have. Examples being GarageBand, FrontRow, iPhoto, iMovie, Automator, iDVD and more.. These softwares individually cost more when you buy them separately for Windows - say Photoshop, Nero Burning software, a decent video editor.. FrontRow is an exceptional piece of an application - that gives you a theatrical iPod experience.. All these and more softwares comes with every new Mac.

I initially tried to assemble a custom made Dell Inspiron 14" laptop in the dell website (following some deal in deals2buy) and added a few very basic softwares and guess what the total came to - $789 [Remember this].. Statistics and the surveys from the marketing world say here , here and here that Apple tops the list of all manufacturers.. Also I read reviews that told that Dell's quality has been degrading over the years and the life of a Dell laptop is a meagre 1.5 years before it becomes garbage. On the other hand, a Mac is seen to be more reliable.. [How many times has your iPod crashed unexpectedly ?? Believe me - it has never happened for me.. Given that I had been using mine for the past 3 years] Thats the reliability of Apple !

Coming to the OS - a very tough operating system.. Who told ya ?? If you are someone who likes Mozilla over IE, then you are someone who'd love the Mac OS X over windows.. Its a very cool operating system - professional and sleaky.. I love the graphics - the way it minimizes, magnifies and the likes.. Mac is like a hidden treasure.. There are ways to do it and its fun to go about learning it in the intuitive way.. Its like working on VI.. [If you have ever worked on it, you'll know what i'm talking about] After 12 years with the windows, I'm liking OS X better..

Not all softwares run on Apple.. This, to a certain extent is true.. Especially Google has been reluctant to release the Mac versions of Google Talk and Chrome.. But Apple has nothing to lose - it has iChat and Safari (needless to say Mozilla) to replace it. More the time Google takes, more will be the fan following for Mozilla.. the power of open-source. But most companies release softwares for Mac.. but some doesn't - especially if someone is in the engineering field they may need loads of softwares. Here's the catch.. there is something called boot-camp and VMware Fusion - that allows you to run Windows on a Mac - so that you can install applications that work only on Windows.. And the prize is this - Windows runs faster and better on a Mac. There are loads of other links that reiterate the same fact..

Now all these being said, let me tell you one more reason why a Mac is way better than windows.
Who makes the software (windows) ??
Who makes the hardware ??
Uhmm.. Dell, HP, Sony, Gateway, Toshiba etc..

Coming to a Mac,
Who makes the software (OS X)??
Apple !
Who makes the hardware ?
Apple !

Don't you think if the same guys do both the hardware and software, they would know the notebook very well and how it would behave ? This is the reason why a Mac doesn't crash or crashes less often.
Here's a little suggestion if you are still concerned about the price.. Go for a refurbished Mac. When it comes to Apple, a refurbished laptop is just as good as new. It comes with the same 1 year warranty as the new one, the finish looks exactly the same as a new one. Believe me you can't spot a difference between a new mac and a refurbished mac. Except that the price would be 200$ lesser than the new one.

Last but not the least, there is one major reason for the vast popularity and the general tendency of people to prefer Apple - VISTA - read this post by Ab to know more..

If you want to learn more about the Mac - visit the Apple website.. Their site market themselves way better than any other site. These are just my views on why I sought to a Mac rather than a Dell.
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Music lover, gamer, love Apple products, Neuroscientist by profession and by choice.

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