Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Journey of my Tux - Introduction

Regular readers, don't get the wrong idea. This post is not about a Tuxedo. This is the journey of a different kind of Tux - Tux the penguin on my desktop. In a rare departure from non-technical topics, the software guy in me has woken up on a weekend and prompted me to type a slightly techie topic.

Ever since I started using computers, MS Windows based desktops have been around. The nerdy command line was fast losing favor among the fast increasing computer user base. Thus as I was familiarizing myself with computers I found myself at the beginning of a war of words between the command line nerds and the newbie mouse button mashers. A little over a decade later, GUI based OSes have taken over the world.

Over the years I have started to see MS Windows as an OS that is designed to suck out any ounce of available performance from your computer and make the snail proud of its speed. No matter how good the hardware is, every new version seems to require better hardware to deliver about the same apparent performance as its previous version. Of course my claim is debatable and MS loyalists will be quick to point out several arguments and baseline test results against my argument. This argument and then the additional costs of security with Windows have led me to look at other options for my home PC.

Thus over the years I always have had a dual boot on my home desktop with some or other flavor of Linux as the other OS. Unix and Linux are favorites among the aforementioned command line nerds. They will point out quotes like "Unix is simple. It just takes a genius to understand its simplicity". Its this kind of trash talk during college days that prompted the wannabe nerd in me to install my first Linux OS, even as I was still figuring out the difference between DEL and SHIFT+DEL on Windows.

The first install of Red Hat Linux (RHL) was full of problems. My video card wasn't really supported and my 17 inch monitor considered too large. After several reboots, and hours of browsing through hardware manuals and manually entering settings such has supported video modes, horizontal sync frequency etc... I finally got it working. To my disappointment after installing Linux and login I couldn't do much more than say playing Tetris or learning shell programming. Doing anything useful such as checking mail, browsing internet, editing documents took a lot of work. Most configuration was not obvious. Open source applications were there but they left a lot desired as compared to the Windows counterparts. Besides most popular PC games (with exception of Quake II) only worked on Windows. So with computer games as my prime hobby most of computer time was spent gaming on the Windows machine.

An interesting thing about Linux is that a lot of software is built to not just work via command line, but be even efficient about it. The most famous is perhaps the cryptic but quite efficient vi. Of course after all these years I still haven't figured out vi and still end up spending more time if I edit using vi then any other GUI based editor. The one command line tool, I liked though was a media player  (sorry guys can't remember the name) that could be started via command line and run completely in the background with a nice playlist of file locations and shuffle mode (long before iPod shuffle popularized that way of playing music). In a time when the popular Windows media player or Winamp tended to hog the minuscule 32 Mb ram, a command line player that didn't slow down the computer was a pleasant surprise.

Over the next few years I tried a few other flavors of Linux as well. The noteworthy one was SUSE because of a much user friendly install than RHL. Of course RHL also improved a lot and became a lot  more user friendly with every version and I had gotten comfortable with the apps packaged with RHL. So RHL continued to be the favored Linux. Win 98 the dominant OS then was full of crashes, the famous  blue screen and very vulnerable to viruses and trojans. Linux on the other hand almost never crashed. There number of known viruses was almost ZERO. So basically I felt quite secure as I worked with the Tux.

College ended and I joined my first big job. I moved out of my home town and bid good bye to my dearest PC. For the next few years I didn't really have my own PC to screw with and thus came a long break in my journey with the Tux. A journey where I did learn to find my way around a Linux command shell. I had learned the value of patience when trouble shooting seemingly silliest of issues. I hadn't turned into a command line nerd, but had certainly gained some comfort with the keyboard. These linux /unix skills worked as a pretty neat side effect later in my job as a software engineer. Guess the journey with Tux had its benefits after all.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Twitterati: 3 Paces of Dwarf-man

This is my third story in the Twitterati series. As usual format of this fiction is thus. I create a post with a bunch of imaginary tweets (or conversation) from characters in a story. The story itself would be loosely based (i.e. I have taken a lot of creative liberty to twist the tale) on some myth or legend. There are some obvious anachronisms here such as twitter and mobile connectivity.

Today's tale is a spoof of one myth that I first read in an Amar Chitra Katha comic written by the one and only Anant Pai. For the uninitiated he is better known as Uncle Pai to couple of generations who grew up visualizing myths and history through his comics long before Television started creating series about popular myth and historic characters. Thus I would like to dedicate this post to Uncle Pai. May his soul rest in peace.

Once upon a time there was a Demon king - @GreatBaLee. He rose from the underworld, conquered the Earth and most of Heaven. @ThunderLord managed to save his throne and escape with some Apsaras on his elephant. As the tale begins, @GreatBaLee has decided to perform the Horse Sacrifice - the ultimate sacrifice performed by a King to announce his reign. 

Come on Guru. I could just attack @ThunderLord and dethrone him... Nearly did that last time until he pulled out some special trick.

Trust me ... Horse Sacrifice will be great. It will establish your rule in a blood less way.

Whatever you say.

Muhahahaa... @GreatBaLee seems to have bought the horse sacrifice idea. This will be fun to watch as @ThunderLord hides behing his Apsaras. Can't wait to see @ThunderLord's pride bite the dust. A direct war would have been just too honorable for that egotist.

In the mean time somewhere near @WishNo's abode.
That smart ass @ThankGodItsFriday knows I have no army left, so he wants to humiliate me by having me loose whatever is left of my kingdom to the horse sacrifice... @WishNo that demon king is your devotee. Do something.

Do you mind ... I was just about to have an intimate moment with my wife ...
Alright what do you mean by "do something". When he attacked the first time you were to busy with clubbing with ladies ... err ahem (with a naughty smile) .. I mean Apsaras.

Hey .. I was Not clubbing !! .Just watching the dance program of the Apsaras. You know a King's got to promote Art. Besides he attacked on a Friday night. Even a King is allowed to relax a little on Friday. He must have got this idea from his guru that weasel @ThankGodItsFriday.

Yeah right ... Art.. huh !! Think everyone knows that you are interested in the artists more than their art.... Nevermind.. remind me why should I get rid of @GreatBaLee.

I don't have much of a problem with @GreatBaLee. He is a good guy. But come on!!! .. he represents the underworld ... You can imagine how powerful his kinsmen would be if they didn't fear us.

Admit it. You are jealous of @GreatBaLee and are afraid that the Apsaras will flip for him if you loose.

... Mmmm.... Mmmm .... Alright Alright. I am jealous. Just get rid of him.

I am not really keen doing this ... but I think I'll try out a new super hero persona I have been working on... The pint sized, non violent super-hero Dwarf-Man.

Whatever .. just get rid of @GreatBaLee.

On the day of the horse sacrifice, @WishNo appears in @GreatBaLee court in his super hero get up.
@Dwarf-Man is a literally a dwarf. A frail, bald Monk, dressed in saffron, holding a little umbrella.

Oh @GreatBaLee I hear you are very generous. Won't you give some alms to this poor monk.

Sure. The @GreatBaLee philanthropic foundation will be happy to help. Guru @ThankGodItsFriday would you mind getting the cheque book and I'll sign over a 10000 swarna mudras to this little monk.

I don't want your money. I just want 3 paces of land.

Its a trap. @GreatBaLee just kick him out. He is an evil gnome sent by @ThunderLord.

No can do @ThankGodItsFriday. I have given my word... When it comes to philanthropy I don't go back on my word. @DwarfMan Don't think of me as mocking you ... but you are so small, 3 paces of land with the size of your foot .... that's like nothing.. Are you sure ? I could just sign over a handsome amount in cheque.

I don't believe in the banking industry. Just let me measure my 3 paces of land and I'll be off.

@GreatBaLee I am telling you, this is some devious scheme from that @ThunderLord. Kick him out.

That old man @ThankGodItsFriday is nuts. @DwarfMan please go ahead with your measurements.

 By the power of @WishNo

@DwarfMan Raises his umbrella like He-Man's sword and calls upon his super power and grows to a massive size. In his first stride he steps on all heaven, in his next stride he covers all Earth. He is ready to put his third stride, but nowhere to place it.

@GreatBaLee - I told you 3 paces are enough. Now where do I put my third step.

Told you that its a trap. You moron @GreatBaLee now your generosity has cost us everything we conquered.

Ohh s**t .... s**t ... S**T !!! .. should have listened @ThankGodItsFriday.
Still I am a man of my word. All I have left is me, so you can place your third step on my head.
PS - I know @DwarfMan is really @WishNo ....Don't forget I am a devotee

Yeah @GreatBaLee I know you are my devotee... But @ThunderLord is among my kinsmen. You know the deal - family comes first. I'll just push you back in your underworld, you can stay there for an eternity.

Hey Apsaras ... Lets party, Open the bar. I am back in business. @WishNo you rock !.
Lets do an Apsara calendar... Get ready in your best swimwear.

Spoken too soon @ThunderLord. @GreatBaaLee - Figure this, since you have been a good guy I'll grant you a boon. Once every year you can come back to Earth and there will be a party all over the streets that night. There will be fireworks, people will rejoice and light lamps....Nobody will remember @ThunderLord then.

From that year on, the return of @GreatBaLee is celebrated on the third day of the "Festival of Lights". It sure is a party worth watching. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Twitterati: Mark and Die

My first attempt at fiction was well received. Due to the roaring success (yippie .. 5 people commented back), I have decided to continue with the series. Today's tale is again loosely based on a myth and is anachronistic with tweets.

Once upon a time a sage named @MrikCan'tDo was unable to have children. He prayed the great @LordOfDance and his prayer was powerful enough to penetrate @LordOfDance's trance.

Oh Lord... looks like my little soldiers aren't marching far enough ... please help.

Ha Ha ...Even your name says Mrik Can't do :P .... But you have come to the right place.. I shall help you with your "Do". Would you like a child prodigy set to die at 16 or a long lived psycotic retard.

Oh tough choice .... well i have grown old trying, so no point looking after a retard for rest of my life...
Guess child prodigy is good ... .but seriously 16 .... Certainly you can give him more life..

What more life ... do you think you are bargaining at a merchandise store ? ....but I like you so here take this

@LordOfDance hands over a large stone structure to @MrikCan'tDo. 

Take my Mojo and place in your home. Your soldiers will not just march ...they will waltz their way to the destination....
And regards the death at 16 ... there is not much I can do ... you know I got contracts with @Death and his DeathSquad .....
But make sure that the kid prays my Mojo everyday and may be that is something i'll think about...
Also you can't tell the kid about his fate until his 16 birthday. If you do ... @Death might even hunt him down earlier.

That night @MrikCan'tDo sure had a good time. And yes his little boys did do the Waltz.
9 months later his wife delivered a healthy looking baby boy.
At last Mrik "Can" Do .... Oh but what about the 16 year clause ... how can i tell the boy without breaking the contract.... Oh brilliant ... I'll name him @Mark16AndDie .. genius .... He is a child prodigy surely he'll figure out his own name.

16 years pass in no time. @Mark16AndDie is recognized everywhere as a child prodigy. He has just returned home after submitting his dissertation for PhD in Theology and Religious studies

Mom, Dad I am back. My dissertation has been approved and now i am Doctor Mark16AndDie.

Yeah.. Yeah welcome. So happy to hear that Son. Also Happy Birthday.
Wait before I call for a party .. Have you been Praying @LordOfDance and and bowing before his Mojo everyday ?

Of course Dad.. What kind of theological student would I be, if I didn't pray to the lord himself.
I turn 16 today and one question has always haunted me.. All my friends had names with just alphabetic characters. Why does mine have numbers in it? why 16 ?

I thought a genius like you would have figured out by now. Your name is a puzzle you moron.

Aah !! No wonder then that all these years my name has puzzled me ... why didn't you tell me it was really a puzzle.
Mark 16 ... Today is my 16 th birthday ...WTF ... am I going to die today...
Why didn't you tell me when I was 5.... I could have taken up molecular biology ... You know by know I could have perfected human cloning ........Damn .. what am I going to do ...? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ?????
Oh wait where is that Mojo ... may be Theology and a little surround sound is all I need...

@Mark16AndDie sets up an surround sound system around his room and connects it to a mic attached near his mouth. He places the Mojo in center of the room, hugs it and starts chanting the lords name with all his strength.... The neighborhood is blown by the volume output.
Minutes later @Death's Squad members arrive in their gothic costumes.

S**t !! That is some loud output...I can't take this ....ouch my ear drums hurt....gotta go

You morons, you couldn't just pick up one kid. Nevermind I will take my new Limited Edition Royal Enfield Classic Bull for a spin.

@Death manages to break through the sound barrier on his bull and into @Mark16AndDie's room. @Death throws his lasso of Death around @Mark16AndDie and tries dragging him away. The hug around the Mojo is so tight that @Death also starts detaching the Mojo from its place.

Who dares put the lasso of Death around my Mojo.

Hey how did you get here. And oh ... remember our contract. Its 16 years and its time to collect my debt ... ahem ...I mean the kids body and soul.

Hmm.... Good thing then that I read Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice...
You can only take your pound of flesh ... no blood can be spilled...
Oh sorry wrong story. The contract states only the kids body. There is no mention of my Mojo... You are trying to take my mojo too ... That makes the contract null and void .... Eat this you blood thirsty Shylock .... ahem ...i mean @Death

Aaha ... the daily prayer works...

Damn Shakespeare ..... @DrawingSecret where is Shakespear's life contract. Get the lawyers... I am going after him

Wow .... I beat @Death at his own contracts ... Muha ha ha.... @Mark16AndDie .... from today you shall be called @Undead
 ....Wait sorry that one has an unearthly feel. how about @DeathVictor you like it ?..
And yes now with the contract annulled ... you can live much longer ...
Talk to @WishNo. Think he has a job for you

@Mark16AndDie indeed lived on to achieve greater things under his new identity of @DeathVictor. However he is still best known around the world for his devotion to the @LordOfDance and defeating @Death

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Twitterati : One Word

I have been writing posts on this blog for a while and most of my posts are dependent on my own experiences. I have never really tried doing fiction. This post is my first attempt at writing any form of fiction. I recognize that today we are in an age of online social media so I thought why not use some of these ideas to come up with fiction.

The format of this fiction is thus. I create a post with a bunch of imaginary tweets from characters in a story. The story itself would be loosely based (i.e. I have taken a lot of creative liberty to twist the tale) on some myth or legend. The obvious anachronism here is that twitter and mobile connectivity that backs the tweets were not present in the era of the original  story or myth.

Once up a time there was a young kid called @OneWord with a dream to become the greatest archer. He followed his dream to the famous city of Elephantville with an aim of enrolling himself as disciple of the great coach @CoachDrone

Yo Elephantville !!
Looking forward to meeting with @CoachDrone

Several hours later @OneWord finally met up with and was rejected as a pupil by @CoachDrone.

Love Elephantville sports academy policies. Rejected a poor sob from "The Jungle" ... bad lineage. Muhahaaha

Reservation sucks. Bloody elitists and nepotists of Elephantville.

On second thoughts @CoachDrone is certainly an inspiring figure. Just bought a life size statute of him from the merchandise shop. Can't wait to install it in my backyard.

A few years passed. @CoachDrone is now teaching the princes of Elephantville.

Wow.. a class full of princes... can't wait to look at my pay check.

These princes lack the concentration and skill to be great archers, except for @AreJune.
Will have to make do with what I have.

A few more years have passed. @AreJune is famed beyond Elephantville for his prowess as an archer. @CoachDrone is being considered the greatest coach ever. One dark moonless night they are camping in "The Jungle" after a long practice session. Every one hears the loud bark of a wild dog.

Eeesh! The dog ... Can't even enjoy a nice scotch in the quiet.

The Jungle sucks. Would have loved to boogie on the dance floor. Miss you Elephantville.
Damn .. hate that dog. Some body please shoot him.

All the twitterati hate the dog but no one is really interested in doing anything.

That dog's bark will destroy @CoachDrone's statue. Got to muzzle it.

A few minutes later everything goes quite. Everyone sleeps well. Next morning the princes find a dead dog with an arrow in its mouth. 

No pool of blood. Shot in pitch dark. Wow! what a marksman. . Damn @CoachDrone ... when will you teach me this.

Ohh crap!! I am no longer number one. @CoachDrone do something.

Wow! Shooting by the sound .. the Bat technique. Did not know proponents of this existed.
Oh crap! now @AreJune will start bothering me for this.

Last nights dog kill seems to have gathered quite a crowd. Should have cleaned up the mess last night.
Oh .. @CoachDrone is there in the crowd. Gotta thank him for inspiring me.

Looks like that poor sob from "The Jungle" has learned archery after all... I have competition as a coach. That too in this jungle .... :(

@CoachDrone learns of @OneWord's practice schedule with his own statue as inspiration. @OneWord regards @CoachDrone as his coach. @CoachDrone is flattered at first but then realizes that someone has bettered his own pupils and that too without a real coach...

Ouch ! This is embarrassing. My own statue seems to be a better coach than the real me. Got to stop the word of this getting around.

Seems @CoachDrone isn't as know it all as we thought him to be.

My statute or me in person .. its the same thing. This is a copy right violation.  Screw you @OneWord. Time to pay up for using my name.

@CoachDrone demands @OneWord's right hand thumb as a fee for using his name and threatens a lawsuit in ElephantVille.

@OneWord is just a fraud. @AreJune is my best pupil.

Damn you ElephantVille copyright laws. Can't afford lawyers or lawsuit. Guess thumb was a lucky escape.

Yippie!! @CoachDrone rocks. I am number one again.

Ouch that missing thumb hurts. Thank god that touch mobiles can be used with just one finger.
Angry birds here I come.

Not much is known of @OneWord since. Occasional tweets about his prowess with Angry Birds are seen. Rumor has it that he is practicing archery with his remaining fingers and the left hand with a hope to participate in Elephantville games. Guess he does not know about the rampant nepotism there preventing  participation of outsiders. The Elephantville games itself are a matter of another story. No happy ending here but hopefully more stories to come. 

That's all for today's post. Hopefully I will have more creative epiphanies to do a bunch more posts in this series. Till then watch this space.

Finally acknowledgements and disclaimers.
- I would like to acknowledge that the idea of this series is inspired by a series posted a few years ago by blogger Crystal Blur. The content here though is 100% original.
- Disclaimer - All characters in this work are purely fictional and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. Of course the story is loosely based on a mythological tale that I heard as a bed time story, so please do not read too much into it. It is certainly not accurate and I have taken some creative liberties with intent to poke some humor into the myth. Laugh if you feel like it or criticize if you don't like it but please leave comments.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wild by nature

For a number of years now I have found the advertisements for Men's deodorants to be amusing. This, not because they are intended to be amusing, but its amusing to see the way they market the effect that the smell of the deo has on the libido of women. Now whether or not smell of men's deo affects a woman's libido is questionable - perhaps even a matter of debate and discussion in certain circles. However an interesting incident happened last week that had me nearly go ROFL.

I use a desk at home while working. My mom has placed a small flowerpot (with some plastic flowers of course) on that desk so as to lend some sense of aesthetics on an otherwise messy desk. As usual in the evening I was working on my laptop as. I saw what looked like an insect not normally seen inside the house (i.e. not the kind of bugs that pest control covers - ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies). It flew around those fake flowers for some time and then jumped into one of those as if they were real flowers with nectar. I was a little surprised but figured that the insect would soon figure out that there is no nectar and fly away so I continued working.

A few hours later, just out of curiosity I went near the flower pot and to my surprise the little fella was still there. I quickly got my camera to click the below picture. I was wondering as to why the insect was still sitting inside that flower. I tried to shake it off but it wouldn't budge. Most regular pests would have run / flown for their life in such encounter with humans, but not this one.
Now... those who have bothered reading this far are confused if there was any connection at all with my first para about deo advts and this insect ..... Wait for it ... Please !!!.  
Wild by nature
After I had snapped this picture, I saw my brother's deo spray bottle lying beside the flower pot. Instantly I had a theory to justify this unusual behavior.
Usually my brother sprays the deo and leaves the bottle right beside the flower pot. So I am sure some of the deo also falls on the flowers. Then of course deos must be using some chemicals that  that have odor similar to some flowers. So I figured the insect must have been fooled into thinking that those are real flowers. My bro then suggested that it was too embarrassed to come out, lest the other insects mocked it for falling for this human trickery and so it just stayed there.
We were both having a laugh about this when I noticed that the deodorant brand was "Wild stone" and they had an advt some time back which ended with the tag line "Wild stone .. wild by nature"

Can't say if the deo really fires up a woman's libido, but it certainly seems to attract organisms which are "Wild by Nature".

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Versatile Vicious ?

Years ago in my early days as a computer games enthusiast - I picked a gamer nickname (*) Vishius that was spelled like my own name and pronounced like the English word vicious. It sounded perfect for multiplayer games (although my awful performance online gaming  would have perhaps deserved the nickname chicken).

Later I started to blog about interesting thing about my life and experiences and thus was born this blog (*). Here I tried to live up to the meaning of my gamer nickname by posting stories about people I knew. I suspect though, that I haven't really succeeded at being vicious, cause surprisingly  my fan (yippie! I have fans) base increased (mostly by me forwarding blog links to friends at every possible opportunity). My gamer tag continues as my pen name Vishius (*).

Years later now I am led to believe by fellow blogger A.M (was she freaking nuts!!!) that I have expanded my armory of topics by nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. I did some introspection (i.e. if you choose believe me) and yes indeed it appears to be true. So thank you A.M (1). I am however not sure if I can accept it. Mostly because I don't think I can fulfill the 3 rules listed below.

If you choose to accept this award, these are the 3 simple rules to follow:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award and link back to their blog.
2. Nominate 15 Bloggers for this award, and notify them about the nomination.
3. Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

Having already thanked A.M to fulfill rule number (1)  now on to number (3). ... Wait I already started that (see the * sign planted at various points in this post). So here are the remaining 4 things
(*) I love trekking.
(*) I am discovering the world and photography through my travels.
(*) I am a self proclaimed computer nerd (you already know that if you read Nerdvana)
(*) In a complete antithesis to my hobbies I am a sloth (lazy trekker - go figure that)

Phew ... that took a lot of energy and I am tired.... time to go to sleep.
Wait my readers can count and I haven't tagged 15  bloggers (2) to pass on this chain of blogging aka Versatile Blogger Award.
This reminds me of those spam mailers about forwarding the mail to all friend or face bad luck ... Nevertheless here goes the list (I am going to be choosy with who is tagged so the possibility of spam blogging is nullified)

  1. http://aditimitra.wordpress.com/ - Technically I am just circling around by nominating the very person who nominated me. But the rules don't say anything against that and I would have nominated this particular blog anyways. (psst... A.M. I personally think you deserve the nomination more due to this blog)
  2. http://ode-to-the-heart.blogspot.in/ - Damn .. A.M already tagged him. But a very wide choice of poems, songs, etc lying there. So worth tagging him again.
  3. http://3-rd-dimension.blogspot.in/ Technically tagging same blogger again (again no rule against that). The choice of topics and photos to go with those makes this one worth the nomination.
  4. http://dirtscapes.blogspot.in/ - Has ability to inject humour in almost any topic he writes about. Hope to get him out of his slumber to write again.
  5. http://kavisionz.wordpress.com - Unique combination of poetry and pictures to go with it. I don't necessarily understand the poetry, but the the pictures are beautiful and the topics are interesting.
  6. http://atreyarocks.blogspot.in/ - A natural story teller. His blogs can be lengthy but mostly worth the read.
  7. http://spinningawheel.blogspot.in/ - Short blogs (perhaps he should be tweeting). I do not always get them. However there is always a thought provoking one that comes by and again the range of topics of is great.
  8. http://www.whatay.com/ - Think we have the celebrity in the list.  This blogger has a significant fan following (gauging by the number of comments) and like dirtscapes can effortlessly inject humour into writings.
  9. http://afteradayswork.blogspot.in - World from the point of view of a software professional. 

That is all ... I could only come up with 9 blogs that I want to nominate. There are a bunch of other blogs that I do follow but then they aren't quite versatile yet or don't post often enough. Also I am sure I'll come across more blogs in future .. so leaving this section as a work in progress.

As I sign off I ask myself if my blog posts have been versatile enough and hence the title.

Keep Blogging

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I first heard the term Nerdvana while watching the series Big Bang Theory. I thought the term as an interesting play on words which writers of that particular episode coined. It turns out thought that this word has an actual meaning as per Urban Dictionary. Now with enough links for introduction of the title - on to what really got me to write this article.

I was having a chat with a friend of mine and somehow the chat turned to cooking and I boasted about my acute sense of smell with food. I can often tell the name of the recipe being cooked in my Mom's kitchen just by smelling it from the living room. I know a lot of foodies probably have this acute sense of smell but I don't see many boasting about it like a super power so guess I can still brag. ... Sorry for the drift - back to the chat. Then I mentioned I'd probably guess what's cooking in my friends kitchen if only the cell phones could transmit the smell. Voila! I thought I had just discovered what human sense will the Tele-communication industry engage (read exploit) next.

The Telecommunication industry has now been present for more than 150 years and so far they have only managed to engage two senses (audio and video) out of available 5 and already I hear people talking about spending an increasing amount of time connecting with friends, relatives, colleagues, clients through gizmos (computers, cell phones etc) than face to face in person. To the point that for some computer nerds like me that percentage of time spent on gizmos may actually be higher than time spent time spent otherwise. A few months of working from home can do that to you. To quote a la Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory - "Although my work is going on very well with I do miss the warmth of human companionship"
There is of course my family which is with me everyday in person, but I guess you get the drift. Now come to think of it all forms of social contact somehow seems to involve food. Why else do we have so many names for the simple act of consuming a meal and accompanying beverages - dinner, breakfast, lunch, high tea, brunch, supper , cocktails and what not ... Each of the words means more than just consuming food. There is even a social protocol on what you are supposed to wear (ever heard of dinner jacket, cocktail dress). Of course on the rare occasion that someone bothers inviting me all I really hear is food. My point though is food (beverages included) is an inseparable part of social contact. It is perhaps also the reason why I miss the warmth of human companionship. You know home food is good .. but eating outside adds that variety to the menu of life. Ok readers .. sorry for the drift to food... coming back to human companionship.

As per my point above real life human companionship involves food. A social networking site  (or for that matter even email) presents vicarious pleasure of hanging out with friends. Phone calls and video chat personalize the experience. In both cases though, there is something missing. Lets say you have a friend who is living in a distant land and its that friend's birthday. In today's telecom, you can see the cake, talk about it but you can't smell it, touch it or taste it. Should I say you can have the cake but you can't eat it .. Evidently there is some time before devices can help you attain Nerdvana.

Thus I would argue that Nerdvana is essentially science fiction ... just like Nirvana is religious fiction. However I feel,  and science fiction artists (authors, movie makers et al)  might agree, that perhaps humans would reach Nerdvana before Nirvana. If of course Science and Religion converge first then Nerdvana would perhaps be the same as Nirvana ....
Thanks to science fiction though, we already have a few versions of Nerdvana as possible references. Whether it is Star Trek's Holodeck or The Matrix or even Robocop (remember the Robot body with a human brain).  While the latter two give more importance to the human brain, I think the true Nerdvana would be something that allows virtual presence like holodeck.

This brings me to my voila feeling about the sense of smell .. or put simply odour. I think like audio and video, the possibility of dumbing down odour to a finite set of codes exists and is quite high ...  To think about it most languages are covered in 8 bits .  Most colours are covered in 24 bits. Then of course there is the problem of sensing and recreating (and of course transmitting it). To that problem I say this - recreating odour is really down to certain chemicals.
e.g. most alcoholic beverages have the characteristic smell of Ethyl Alchohol or preserved food often get their smell from esters and so on. The point is it sounds plausible to me that the next sense catered to by Telcom Industry will be odour. May be a bunch of scientists might even get their PhDs along the way. But I count on them for making that possible.

For sake of argument, some might say "Touch" might have a better chance given the advancement of touch devices, but mind you the skin is a much bigger organ and engaging the sense of touch is not merely catering to touch from the finger .... pun intended.
Then how about taste ... oh how I wish .. yeah the coffee making machine has been around for at least a decade but we are still far away from Star Trek's Replicator. Of course taste cannot be complete without smell ain't it ... till then "Live long and Prosper" or may be "Freeze long enough and wake up @ Nerdvana"