I have started my Final Year Project for my Masters. Please check the Final Year Project page under the Electronics section. Thanks

This is my second blog, which is dedicated to technology. My first blog was a bit more personal and not formal in any way. In this blog I will be posting some of my experiences, good and bad, with technology. The Format of this  blog will be bottom to top, so the newer posts appear at the top of the page.

By Atharva Inamdar

OpenCV + Eclipse

posted 31 Jan 2011, 06:56 by Atharva Inamdar

Configuring Eclipse for use with OpenCV was simple.
In Project properties navigate to C/C++ Build --> Settings
Add the following to the C/C++ compiler Directories: "/usr/local/include/opencv"

Then in C++ Linker section for the Library Search Path (-L) add: "/usr/local/lib" and in Libraries (-l) add: "cv","cvaux","cxcore","highgui".

And thats it.

Just don't forget to include the necessary headers in the code...
#include "cv.h"
#include "highgui.h"
#include "cxcore.h"
#include "cvaux.h"



OpenCV2.1 + Ubuntu 10.10

posted 31 Jan 2011, 04:52 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 31 Jan 2011, 06:56 ]

I had to move from Windows platform to Linux recently for my project development. I had OpenCV2.1 installed and configured on Windows which was very simple. However, installing OpenCV in Ubuntu wasn't. I had a look at several method before finding one that worked.
OpenCV's previous versions were different and needed a different install method. Version 2.1 makes this slightly easier but still tricky to follow. WillowGarage's install pages didn't work for me and I couldn't use OpenCV. but I found a blog post which explain it clearly and step-by-step. Follow this blog to install OpenCV2.1 on Ubuntu.

Thank you


posted 4 Jan 2011, 17:13 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 6 Jan 2011, 04:38 ]

Hi all,

I need to revise Entrepreneurship and its concepts in preparation for an exam in a couple of weeks! I made a few notes so far and I've uploaded them. Just as a note, these are notes of my lectures so its just a list of concepts. The original work is of respected authors of theories and my lecturers at Imperial College London Business School.

Update #1: Document has been updated. Added sections include, Market Assessment, Value Chain and Entrepreneurial team.


Blackberry and consumers

posted 16 Oct 2010, 09:59 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 04:19 ]

Hello all,

I own a RIM Blackberry Bold 9700. A great device. Hardware QWERTY keyboard, fairly good screen (size and resolution), 3MP camera AND a great OS. The hardware can be found in a lot of other phones but the OS and some of its unique components are really what makes any Blackberry great.

Blackberry OS is one of the most secure mobile operating system available for the consumer. Firewall, 256-bit encryption for data but also for any content. Blackberry was originally designed with the enterprise user in mind. This was also aimed solely at the enterprise user initially until recently when social networking took off. I am sure most of you are aware of a component called BBM or Blackberry Messenger. The purpose of this is to provide instant messaging service over a secure channel to other Blackberry users since most of the communications would be confidential enterprise material.

Since the social Networking boom, teenagers have got hold of Blackberrys and are now using this excellent service for gossip. Its mostly gossip. I feel that this is just plain wrong! A great device is now reduced to a phone with a primary use of instant messaging. Blackberry devices are very much under-appreciated. I'm not sure about your views regarding this but don't you think that BBM is now heading towards a different purpose than its original intentions?

If someone does need a device for social networking, there are other smartphones such as iPhone, Android devices and Windows Mobile/Phone devices which offer applications with similar features. An application called Whats App, performs similar function to BBM and is cross platform. Most people have Windows Live subscription or Google accounts, there are messengers available for these platforms and even for Facebook! I feel Blackberry should try to keep itself in its home, in the enterprise world for now. Maybe a new device with less security and less enterprise functionality can be created for those who only care about BBM.

I take part in Market research for Blackberry devices. Most of the questions presented are related to the use of social networks and what I use BBM for. My answers to them are simple, I ONLY use LinkedIn application and BBM if I don't have someone's number but only their PIN. For me BBM is a messaging tool like any other but with the added security and privacy. I don't pay a extra fee to RIM for Blackberry services so I can gossip or spread news or send pointless messages which are better conveyed verbally or face-to-face. I have unlimited sms message plan for that, if I can't attend to a call I can sms back or if I'm in a meeting I can send sms to friends. But at a workplace, BBM is useful as this is a secure platform in alignment with most corporate policies. Confidentiality and security is present.

All in all, I feel RIM is pushing Blackberry in a wrong direction and should introduce a new device with functionality similar to other smartphones plus a non secure/encrypted BBM service for the more socially oriented people (the youth).

Small frustrations with Google

posted 21 Sep 2010, 14:49 by Atharva Inamdar

Google is a great service provider. With great email service, photo and video hosting and even online collaboration tools such as Docs.

I have two small wishes to the giant genie, Google.

First being with their storage policy. Gmail started off in 2004 with 1GB of storage. Since the invitation back in 2004 I've been using it and seen its storage increase dramatically and currently just over 7.5GB! This is extremely huge amount of storage compared to any of its competitors.
Picasa is also another amazing product brought forward by Google. Its sister product Picasa Web Albums, an online photo gallery, offers 1024MB of storage for free. This product hasn't gained any storage since its birth and Google is showing no increasing its free storage for Web Albums.

Logically, one would think that a photo hosting service would require and thus provide a large amount of storage in contract with a mail service which on average doesn't require such a huge amount of storage. Email attachments are limited to 10MB (except Gmail allows 20MB to other Gmail accounts) and most of the emails are text only with a very small number of background graphics. These simple emails require only several KBs of storage space each. I know there are an immense amount of emails sent and received everyday but is 7.5GB+ storage space justified?
Photos on the other hand, require several MB each especially now that cameras are gaining more and more pixels. Picasa Web Albums offers to upload photos at reduced resolutions from 1600px to 640px and of course the full resolution of the original photo. But you the reader ask yourself, Would you want to show off your pictures at a worse quality than your camera? The reason you bought your expensive 12MP camera was to take amazing photos and share them with amazing quality! I have been using Picasa Web Albums for about 3 years now and I have nearly filled my quota and by only uploading at their recommended 1600px size.

Here is my actual frustration, if you want to buy more storage from them, its easy and fairly good pricing. An additional 20GB is USD$5.00, yes just five dollars. But this storage is shared between Gmail, Picasa Web Albums and Docs. Also a small note that any photos uploaded to Blogger or Buzz also count in the Picasa Web Albums storage quota. This space is allocated on a first come first serve basis to these three products. Now if Google is willing to give 7.5GB+ of storage for free to Gmail why not allow that storage to be shared with Picasa Web Albums and Docs? Why have paid storage shared with a service with which they promise to provide ever increasing storage space and which frankly is unnecessary. This might just be another money making trick! I really wish that it would be possible to reduce the free storage space allocated to Gmail and be able to allocate it to other services such as Picasa Web Albums and Docs.

My second wish is that Google work hard and push Google Wave as a much more mainstream product. This product is revolutionary for collaboration efforts. it the ability to see live edits and file uploads there is a tremendous scope for use in education, research and project coordination (but not limited to these).

I used Google Wave (or GWave as I like to call it) for my group project at university. This is an amazing tool to pull togather all resources found by all the team members and even to file all our team meetings with our supervisor. Sharing presentations and draft report sections was easy with this. File uploads and even to a small extent versioning. One use I put its interactive feature to was the voting gadget. With several ideas for logos floating around, we uploaded them all to a wave and asked members and other Waving friends to vote.  Google Wave has since gained many extensions/gadgets and features.

Google officially announced that this tool will not see any major developments and will be available "atleast trough the end of the year". This is not good news and an online petition has been set up at www.savegooglewave.com to ask Google to keep this tool alive. I ask you all to go and enter some basic details and "sign" this petition. This is an actually revolutionary communications tool.

I hope my readers understand my frustration and wishes regarding these issues. More so, I feel Google need to review their policy on storage space allocation and also keep Google Wave alive.

Thank you


posted 12 Sep 2010, 13:44 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 12 Sep 2010, 14:33 ]

Very recently, a company called BPG Werks unleashed a monster. Namely, the DTV Shredder. This is a cross between a skateboard and a tank (minus the big bad ass gun). So this is skateboard with twin tracks and a whole lot of horsepower. Infact, this beast boasts a 200cc 15hp 4-stroke engine driving those tracks and enabling you to travel at over 30mph.

It should be mentioned that this is primarily aimed at military applications although, the general consumer off the street might be able to purchase one. So lets look at it from a consumers point of view. The main competitor to the Shredder is the Segway. Segway is primarily aimed at the general consumer but also have a more rugged version aimed at the forces.
I wanted to compare these two models but unfortunately, I couldn't find much detail on Segway's website regarding their products, which was a surprise. But here are some basic comparisons:

  DTV Shredder
 Make BPG Werks
 Weight 56.7Kg54.4Kg
 Top Speed
 30mph 12.5mph
 Engine Honda 4-Stroke 200cc 15hp, Fuel: Unleaded
 Electric drive, Fuel:Sapphion lithium-ion batteries
 Coolness Factor
 Uber Cool

I'm not going to compare the price because the Shredder will be very expensive and likely in several thousands of USD. The website states a target price of $4,999 + $250 deposit. Now if you can afford that and are adventurous, go ahead and order the DTV Shredder, as I'm very sure that you'll have a lot more fun on that, than on a Segway X2!

If you are in the UK check out Gadget Show's review of the DTV Shredder!

Please leave you comments below.

Touch scrolling

posted 21 Aug 2010, 13:03 by Atharva Inamdar

Talking to a friend, I realised that there are two schools of thought on scrolling.  You might be wondering what this might be about. Ok let me put this in context. Think of a touch screen device and a touchpad/mouse.

Case Touchpad:
when you have a long list of items on the screen which overflow, the instinct is to flick the contents of the screen up, thereby revealing the contents below. This is instinctive. to see the word at the bottom of the page, you move the page up.

Case touchpad/mouse:
with a touchpad on laptops and scroll wheels on mice, the scroll is implemented differently. In contrast with the touchscreen, the wheel have to be rotated downwards and with the touchpad, the finger needs to be swiped downwards to reveal contents of the page below.

I know this isn't a fair comparison however, the second case was implemented on a touchscreen device. My Samsung i8910 HD has S60 OS loaded on it. Recently I dug it up from my pile of gadgets as my current handset was dying. When navigating the menus I realised that I had to swipe my finger downwards to move the page up and thus see the items below. The way this worked was by having a implementation of a touchpad on a touch screen device. I feel this isn't good design.

Different devices have different relationship with the content displayed. This needs to be taken into consideration as one of the most important things when designing software for the specific hardware. User experience is at its optimal when all actions are intuitive. Thus if you, the designer, have to think hard about how a user would interact with a system, then its not the simplest design or the most intuitive. However, if you are able to design an interface which doesn't require complex thought and the experience is straight-forward then Occam's Razor applies and you have an optimal solution.

Apple iPad

posted 13 Mar 2010, 12:20 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 13 Mar 2010, 12:21 ]

 27th January was the day Apple introduced the world to its eagerly awaited tablet/slate. Despite many predictions of the device being named iTablet, Apple came up with iPad.

This article isn't about really a review of iPad but more about expectations from Apple and some afterthoughts about iPad. 

First of all, I had expected it to be around 10inches screen size which was pretty close. As expected, multi-touch is present was the usual iPod Touch functions. This brings me to an important point. To a certain extent, this is an oversized iPod Touch. Let me explain. The asthetics are the same as the iPod Touch/iPhone, black bezel with a home button in centre bottom. Now on first impression, the UI is exactly the same. 4 icons on the dock, and a grid style home screen with 4 columns. I hope this is configurable as having only 4 dock items seems to be leaving a lot of empty space on the screen. Hopefully, users can add more items and more columns. It seems to be using the same OS as the iPod Touch. 

Connectivity wise, they have two versions to sell, one with 3G and one without. Both versions have Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 which was expected as standard. but why not make 3G standard? there are issues with the network coverage on AT&T in the US and maybe thats the reason. Also its a new type of SIM in use here. something called the microSIM. 

So what exactly is different with this tablet that other tablets can't do. First of all its a full colour screen with a fairly high resolution of 1024x786. This is strange now, without a half HD screen, it claims to play HD movies. Is it just me or is that clain falsified by Apple themselves? However, there is a positive side to this device, its battery life. If any good as claimed, it will last UPTO 10 hours of use. Whether that be surfing the web, reading eBooks, listening to music or using the applications. I assume this is possible dude to a highly power efficient processor. Apple have used their own A4 chip in this. Apple's acquisition of P.A. Semi has paid off. However, rather than A4 being a new design from P.A. Semi, its a modified ARM processor. It is said its a ARM7 processor but there's no confirmation.

One of my biggest disappointments, and I'm sure for others too, is the lack of multitasking. Sure, more apps run in the background such as mail and SMS where, PUSH notifications are used but it is still not possible to run two or more applications simultaneously. Sure it can run iWork but if I need to note something from the web, would I really, shut down Safari, open iWork then jot down from memory? What if I need to do this often when I'm on the move? 

Another snag is that it only has the iPod connector, not even a display port. Now I understand, that being a modified iPhone OS, it doesn't have support for USB mass storage or display Port but I think Apple should have invested some time in adding this. For a tablet platform these are important especially if it is expected that some of the users will be doing some sort of word processing.

So whats the fuss about iBooks? We all know how closed the iPhone OS is. there's no access to the file system. This is the biggest reason why publisher's have opted to sign up to Apple iBooks because there is very little chance that users will be able to copy books. Other platforms such as the Kindle and other eReaders it is possible to copy the books in ePub format. Although the iPad uses epub file format, the file is actually not accessible by the user. 

I feel that iPad is another platform for Apple to sell its various applications and generate revenue. iTunes, iWork, and now iBooks all contribute to their content distribution service and the iPad adds another device which is compatible with these services. This is a launchpad for iBooks more than anything.

Data privacy for online transactions

posted 13 Mar 2010, 12:20 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 17 Apr 2010, 16:22 ]

Recently, I had to write a executive summary. This wasn't any ordinary  executive summary, it was slightly modified to include an argument. Something I had to argue for or against. Ask a question and answer it using the material from a single paper. 

 When googling for a suitable technical paper, I came across Google Research. A place where google hosts all its research publications. Papers written by google engineers and philosophers, this also includes a section called Tech Talks, where outside speakers are invited to Google to talk about a particular subject. I found an interesting paper titled: "Choose the red pill and the blue pill". Wondering how "The Matrix" was connected to research at google, I opened it and found out that it was actually related to online security. mainly transactions of any kind. A position paper laying out the thoughts and proposal of Google engineer Ben Laurie and Abe Singer of California Intitute of Technology.

In this paper they state that having secure protocols is not enough for security and data privacy. Today's general purpose operating system isn't good for security at all. Infact, the OS is the biggest weakness. But to rewrite a secure OS is out of the question as it will reduce the functionality of a system. Ben Laurie and Abe Singer propose a complimentary device running a secure OS to authenticate and authorise any transactions made on a general purpose system (insecure client). 

I have summarised this paper here. You can download the original paper below.

Google Chrome

posted 13 Mar 2010, 12:17 by Atharva Inamdar   [ updated 13 Mar 2010, 12:36 ]


Google Chrome Review coming soon! Watch this space!

A Web Browser from Google. Bound to be simple, clutter free and extremely easy to use. My first thought? Firefox made by Google. Correct and incorrect. 

First thoughts on downloading and installing. Very Quick install. As soon as it finishes install, an option for for importing bookmarks and settings from Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer pops up. The browser window itself is very clean. Most of the space is available for the web pages themselves. There is no standard menu bar, just the tab bar and address bar. The tab bar has a "+" (Open new tab) button at the end of the tab chain. The address bar or the Navigation bar has the usual navigation buttons, Back, Forward, Home, Reload, Add to Favourites, Go To/Stop, Page Control and Chrome Options. A Bookmarks toolbar also exits but needs to be enabled from the options.

Google Chrome, although a Beta product, is a very usable product. It comes with all the basic features one would expect including search engine management. Some advanced features such as downloads management, tabs management, network management and offline storage management need to be improved or added. 

User experience is much better than the more popular browsers. Pages seem to load faster, environment seems more productive (less distractions by status bar and simple use of address bar for suggestions and search. It should be noted that although the status bar exists it auto hides when inactive. thus once the webpage is loaded the status bar is hidden. An excellent feature called the "Incognito Mode" leaves no traces of your web activity anywhere on your computer. 

There are a few minor features that are helpful and some are annoying. One thing you cannot have is a empty tab, so as to say if the tab bar has only one tab and you close it Chrome exits. To load a link in new tab, one has to right click and select the option. Unlike firefox middle click does not work. Smooth scrolling is not a feature that is offered so scrolling down long pages is jerky. In fact, each scroll is half page scroll. Another good feature is related to text boxes. the focused text box appears with a highlighted orange border which catches the the users eye immediately. Some text boxes can also be resized by dragging the bottom right corner marked with dots. This allows the user to view their writing in full without having the annoying scrollbars.

A wonderful but can be annoying and useless feature is Application Shortcuts. This allows users to create shortcuts of websites on their Desktop, Quick Launch toolbar and Start menu. this is usefull especially in a academic environment where the intranet is used most of the time or if a user wants direct access to a webpage from the desktop. (alternative to changing homepage if only one shortcut is used). When opening this Application shortcut, Google Chrome tweaks the UI a little. The tab bar is hidden along with the navigation bar. A compact drop down menu appears next to the page title at the top instead. This includes only basic functions such as Back, Forward, Reload, Encoding, Close, etc. The webpage icon also doubles as a page load indicator. 

A feature that needs adding is Ad-blocking. This would be slightly controversial if Google did not add this feature or allowed Google Ads. Whatever the view, I myself block a lot of Ads on pages especially graphics and flash objects.  I casually browsed to HSBC UK website and navigated to the login page.The password management UI is similar to Firefox and even the "dialog" or saving passwords is similar. For Example, When the user enter their username and password and logs into a secure website, a information bar drops down from beneath the Navigation bar showing options such as "Save Password" and "Never for this site". As you may realise there is no option for "Not Now" like in Firefox. This is a minor issue and negligible from my point of view. When multiple tabs are open and a user presses Alt-F4, Chrome quits without any warning message or dialog asking for confirmation to quit browser. I believe adding this feature is useful as users might accidentally quit browser without saving thier work.

All in all, Google Chrome is a worthy competitor for the browser market albeit the missing features of addons or plugins as firefox. It is also suitable for HTPCs, or PCs with low hardware specs and not much disk space. Quick load times with a relatively low memory footprint. Google Chrome is also easy to learn for people just getting onto the Internet or learning about Web Browsers.

A Gallery of screen shots is available here.

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