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Deutsch

This semester started my serious attempt at learning German. I did Level 1 in my Freshman and now in my final Semester, I am busy studying Level 2. I have learnt quite a bit but I am still at loss when it comes to prepositions.

Well, here is my attempt at my first assignment – writing a German blog describing a 2 day budget trip in South East Asia. Most prepositions are slightly off as pointed out by my tutor, but overall I am quite happy with my progress.
Devika (pg1) Devika (pg2)

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Life has Come a Full Circle.

March 2010. NTU Open House.

I am a Freshman in NTU. And it’s my first Open House. I tour the entire campus and see all the places that NTU has thrown open to impress parents and visitors and maybe, Freshmen like me. I come across the Venture Solar Car in the Innovation Lab and decide that one day, I too will go on this amazing journey to build a solar car and then across Australia.

March 2013. NTU Open House.

I am a Final Year Student in NTU. I am now talking to parents and other students from NTU  and various Polytechnics and Junior Colleges about my life in NTU. I am standing in the Quad  proudly showcasing the Venture 5 car built and raced across Australia in the World Solar Challenge 2011.

Life has come a full circle.

Nanyang Venture 5

Nanyang Venture 5

March 2010. Nanyang Auditorium.

I am an invited guest at the Nanyang Awards Ceremony – the highest award the University bestows in recognition and celebration of the outstanding achievements and contributions of faculty and students. I applaud every recipient and wonder how much effort and time they’ll have put in to win the prestigious award.

March 2013. Nanyang Auditorium.

I am at the Nanyang Award Ceremony once again. Only this time, I am not a guest. I am one of the members of the team that is winning the Nanyang Award for Teamwork. TEDxNTU is receiving the award for creating for NTU its own TEDx and doing it so well that it is recognized all over Singapore and has brought much recognition to the University. I now know how much effort and hard work goes into receiving the award.

Life has come a full circle.

Nanyang Award

Nanyang Award

There are so many times when one looks at certain things and a tiny tug inside says “I want to do that.”

There are so many times when one looks at certain people and a tiny tug inside says “I want to be that person.”

There is a different kind of happiness- a deep sense of satisfaction and amazement – when those times no longer remain as whisps of hopes and dreams but become reality.  There is unmatched joy in counting and remembering those times.

Here’s to the times that those tugs in my life became reality.

 

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Yo ho! Yo ho! A Pirate’s Life for me!

It is recess week in NTU – that time of the year when you realise half the semester is over, when you have started missing most morning class (especially if they are Monday morning), when professors are reminding you of assessments and submissions and when all you want to do is hide all your books and do something fun.

Usually that works out well. The tradition is to go off Singapore to Malaysia and Indonesia and further up. This recess week I signed up for sailing with the NTU Sailing Club. A one day trial sailing session at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club.

Republic of Singapore Yacht Club

Republic of Singapore Yacht Club

We reached at 3 30 pm for our first ever sailing experience with the sun burning us like tandoori. We saw our instructors who had spent the whole day sailing and they look burnt to a crisp! That’s when we decided that all the SPF 30 Sunscreen we had applied was going to be pointless and just a formality.

The session began with an introduction to the yacht (the bow, the stern, the port, the starboard, the rudder), a few basic knots (the figure of eight knot, the bowline and the () ) and the various ropes that control the main sheet and the jib sheet. We were warned over and over again to look out for the boom as it swings around so that we don’t hit it and have our heads go boom!  And then finally, we hopped in the yacht and our journey began.

We left the waters near the Club with our instructor telling us the basics of handling the various ropes. Soon we were relegated to one post and were off sailing under his instructions. Once now and then, we rotated places so we got to work on all posts. By then, the sun had decided to have mercy on us and the wind was blowing nice and gentle.

It is so thrilling and exciting to see the yacht under your control! To make it tack or jib, to understand the wind and set your sails accordingly. As in most things related to physics, a 45 degree angle of attack of the wind on the sails powers the sails up the most and the aim is to adjust the main sail so that the 45 degrees angle is achieved. Also, obviously, one can’t sail against the wind – which is where maneuvers like tack and jib come in handy. The sails have to be kept taut against the wind and there are threads on the sails that help you with this. You can see their shadow from the point where you sit to control the rudder and they have to blow horizontal on the sail. Every time they drop, you adjust with the rudder.

Mainsheet rope with Traveller

Mainsheet rope with Traveller

Jib Sheet rope

Jib Sheet rope

But the best part is once you have set your sails in the wind and you can let go off the ropes. Then you sit by the edge, throw your legs out and feel the fresh cool water splashing on your feet. You can see the horizon extending far away and it feels like the world is open to you. Now and then the yacht rolls hard as the wind changes course and you feel you are going to be flung into the water. The water sprays even more against your feet before you set the yacht straight again.

Yachting

Yachting

Sailing is one of the best things I have done in Singapore – relaxing yet exciting, refreshing yet exerting. I have thoughts to continue it through the vacation in NTU. Training once a week for 4 hours – could be killing, could be rejuvenating.

We already have plans to own a kick-ass yacht when we get rich and then we shall set sail for the horizon! I think I know how Captain Jack Sparrow felt!

One Day

One Day

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The Search for the Perfect Laptop.

So my laptop died. A 3 year old HP dv2.

The HP laptop was my first buy when I came to Singapore – even before liquid detergent and toothpaste. Small (12.1 inches), light (1.7kg) and quite sleek, it immediately caught my attention. At that time in my life, processor speeds and RAM-ROM s were Greek to me. Hell, I barely knew the words and reading laptops specs was as unknown to me as Latin.

Well, the laptop was working out pretty well. I loved the fact that I could carry it around and not end up with a backache at the end of the day. It was just the last few weeks that it started acting more like a furnace than a data-processing machine. And finally, it gave up.

Living laptop-less in NTU is difficult. And for me, everything depends on it – lecture notes, mail, favourite shows, games, music. Everything.

So began the urgent quest for a new laptop. The perfect laptop – performance, looks, price, reliability and good consumer service (being less than happy with HP’s ‘service’.). Now honestly, that seems like the Holy Grail of the Laptop World. Oh and before anyone says “Mac!”, I was hoping for a Windows laptop. (And well Macs tend to fail in the price criteria for me. Student life.)

A quick search told me I had previously ended up with the most unreliable laptop brand with so-so consumer service. Wow! That’s  terrible HP! Will not repeat that mistake again!

I hunted down laptops that met my criteria by painstakingly reading through reviews on CNET and Engadget. The final elimination was driving me a bit crazy switching from page to page and scrolling up and down to match specifications. So I made this. A Laptop Decision Chart.

 

XPS 14z

XPS 15z

HP Envy 14

HP Envy 15

Y550P

Y560

Y570

MBP 13

OS W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 Mac
Processor  i5-2450M  i5-2450M i5-2467M  i7-2670QM i7 – 720QM i7 – 720QM i7-2630QM Dual core i5
Speed 2.5 / 3.1 GHz to 3.5 GHz 2.5 / 3.1 GHz 1.6 GHz

 

2.2 GHz (no turbo)  1.6GHz, 1333MHz

 

1.6 GHz

 

2 / 2.9 GHz 2.4 GHz
Memory 4GB 1333MHz 4GB 1333MHz 4 GB DDR3 8 GB 1333 MHz Upto 8GB RAM 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 4 GB 1333 MHz
Hard Drive  750GB SATA hard drive (7200RPM)  750GB SATA hard drive (7200RPM) 128 GB Solid State Drive Flash Module 1 TB SATA Upto 500GB 640GB HDD+32GB SSD 750GB SATA HDD 750GB 5400-rpm
Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 520M 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB Intel HD Graphics 3000 Radeon HD 7690M (1 GB GDDR5) nVidia® GeForce® GT 240M DDR3 1GG ATI Radeon™ 5730 DDR3 1024M nVidia® GeForce® 555M DDR5 1GB Intel HD Graphics 3000
Audio JBL JBL Beats Audio Beats Audio Dolby Home Theatre Dolby Home Theatre JBL Stereo
Battery 5 hours 7 hours, 46 minutes 5 hours 4 hours NA NA NA 7 hours
Weight 2 kg 2.5 kg

 

1.8 kg 2.7 kg

 

2.7 kg 2.7 kg 2.7 kg

 

2.04 kg
Heating Good Slight Slight Good
Price $1500 $1800

 

$2000

 

$2000

 

NA NA NA $2000
Looks Not so sleek Not so sleek Amazing Amazing Mac.
Issues Limited viewing angles Trackpad, Limited viewing angles Trackpad, slow to resume, expensive, battery, memory and SSD not user-replaceable,
It’s HP again
Trackpad Not Windows

 

Keypad Backlit Backlit Backlit Backlit
Display 1366 x 768 1920 x 1080 1600 x 900 1366 x 768 1280 X 800
Last Remarks “the XPS 14z is nonetheless a sensible choice, even if it’s not the fastest or prettiest” “When Dell tells you that the XPS 15z has no compromises, that’s not quite the case — it’s a solid choice at this price point, but corners were cut to get here” “Unless you’re a diehard display aficionado, the Envy 14 is a bit overpriced for what it is, even if it is a pleasure to use.” “If you do go for the Envy 15, we hope you have a pretty stationary setup in mind: you’ll want an outlet close by and also, a mouse.” Mac.

Yeah, it took time but once the chart was made, the good and the bad of every laptop were right there in your face. Pure facts. The strike-through words are the deal-breakers for that laptop and the bold words are the deal-makers.

I am now buying a Dell XPS 14z. It has really good specs for a laptop of its price, is not too heavy, has amazing sound and yes, very good consumer support. And it looks pretty good!

Dell XPS 14z

Dell XPS 14z

I feel good. For a girl who 3 years ago didn’t know the GHz and GB language of laptops, I think I did a pretty good job!  Though, I think I did drive a few of my friends mad by constantly confirming Rules of the Laptop World with them!

All excited about my new buy!

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Mission Wrap

I have NEVER cooked in my life. My biggest achievement is ready to make noodles. And sandwiches with Nutella. I have never gone beyond that and have never had the inclination to do so. Today, I decided to have a wrap for dinner. To MAKE it myself and have it. Honestly, don’t ask why. I don’t know. I might be bored of Subway or I am realising that with the Industrial Attachment, I do have time on my hands to experiment with things. Whatever.

Step One:Draw up a shopping list. Use Google to tell you what all you need. Get confused by the number of recipes. Call friend and ask for basic items that should be in a wrap. Also ask where you can buy them.Write everything on a paper.

Step Two: Locate store. Pick up basket. Walk around the store looking at the paper and the shelves and try not to bang people with the basket. Walk around a dozen times feeling lost and definitely looking like an idiot. Ask the store helper for ‘Salsa sauce’ and get redirected to the ‘Tomato Ketchup’ section. Give up and call friend again. Locate salsa sauce with his directions. Feel good. Go on a treasure hunt for other items in the list. Feel very happy when you find grated cheese. An hour later, walk out with two heavy bags.

Step Three: Realise you don’t have a knife. Ask your friend to get one on his way back. Wait with nothing to do.

Step Four: Friend starts chopping the carrots into long pieces and the onions into rings. Meanwhile, you try opening bottle of salsa, tear the lettuce, find plates and a spoon.

Step Five: Take a wrap, spread salsa sauce over it, dump a few cut carrots, onions and lettuce. Tear roasted black pepper chicken, dip it in mayonnaise and add it to the wrap. Dump a whole lot of cheese over everything.

Step Six: Realise the plate doesn’t fit in the microwave. Balance the open wrap with all the filling and put it in the microwave. Heat till you see the cheese melting.

Step seven: Pull the frikking hot wrap out and run to the plate without spilling anything.

Step eight:Roll the wrap from three sides leaving one end open.

Step nine: Admire your work and feel really happy at your accomplishment.

Step ten: Repeat the nine steps above till you think you have enough wraps.

Honestly, the wraps were pretty good! The chicken in the mayonnaise added a really nice flavour. The melted cheese was oh so good! I was rather generous with the salsa sauce in the beginning though and that does tend to over power any other taste possible.

On the shopping front, I need to learn how to buy good onions and also have a better idea of how much of each to buy. I have a whole lot of carrots left and am going to be Bugs Bunny for a few days by the looks of it.

Overall, damn happy with my first cooking session!

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J’etude le français!

The funny thing about IA is that it leaves me with a lot of time but no time at all.

I leave at 6:30am and get back by 5:30pm. So technically, I have the whole evening . But damn it! That evening just flies by. By the time I freshen up and have dinner, its bed time (ok, I sleep really early!). I sort of dislike this because now, my life has been reduced to that one cycle I hate: get up, go to work, come back, have dinner while watching some random videos, sleep, get up… I miss everything that i used to do in high school – music, Kathak, sports, art.

So the plan now is to do something to stimulate those grey cells. Plan One: Re-learning french! I did french for 2 years in high school but I never was very serious and never able to read books or watch “Paris, Je t’aime” (obviously). And oh, let’s not get started on my spoken french! C’est terrible!

So I ran through a whole collection of french books and have picked up “The Ultimate French review and practice” by David Stillman. It seems to be a handy book for someone who has done french before and forgotten most of it, so it suits me rather well. Unfortunately, my library doesn’t hand in the book with the CD. I guess I’ll brush up a bit of french and then go hunting for a CD for the pronunciations.

Till now, I have only got past Chapter One- present tense of the regular verbs. Nice and concise. Lays down the rules and exceptions without creating confusion.

Let’s see how it goes!

à bientôt!

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