Monthly Archives: January 2009

Exun Farewell

The time has come to bid a farewell to our seniors, the twelfth graders.

The Exun Farewell will be held at Pizza Hut, Vasant Lok, on February 6, 2009 which is a Friday. We shall be leaving directly from school. Please arrange for transport to return home from the farewell. All those who will be attending, please leave a comment.

Exun 2008

It’s been a while since EXUN 2008 concluded, and here we are with the much awaited Thank You notes. A tradition without which every EXUN symposium is incomplete. Read on…

-Akriti Gaur
-Arshiya Sibia
-Aditya Anand

2008 was a year of activity for the Exunclan, Exun 2008 being one of the main events. We had superb coordination among all members, something that sets Exun apart from computer clubs across India. After all, we are “Experts Unlimited”.

The preparation involved numerous stay backs (particularly the one the day before the event), arranging Certificates and the impressive array of Trophies, calling up nearly 150 schools (a daunting task that was executed to perfection by Rishabh Marya, Shubham Goel, Tanay Padhi and Pranav Obhrai), The Exun Video, setting up labs and so many other things that I can’t keep track of. All of this requires a close coordination between the 70 odd members who make Exun so special year after year.

The spellbinding video made by Aviral Goyal marked the grand opening ceremony. Worth mentioning the fact that Aviral stayed back till late in the night the day before the event . This dedication and passion is what keeps Exun going. The video was a testimony to his expertise and creativity.

The event started with the Group Discussion organised by our very own Billu (Samarth Mathur). It was his first and last Exun Symposium. His immense enthusiasm in organising every event left us with just one question; ” Where have you been all these years!” .The endless rounds of Coke/Pepsi, stealing judge’s food, Adideva’s antics and the insane conversations on the walky talky (or talky walky) came as a breather amidst the packed schedule of events.

How can I not mention the Gaming event when I talk of Exun 2008! Sponsored by Xtreme Gaming, the event was organised in the Blossom’s Basement. Our ace gamers Arpit Mathur, G Sid, Digvijay Singh and Arjun Kumar played a vital role in the pre event preparation. It was appreciated by all participants who often ‘wandered’ into the basement on the preset of catching a glimpse of the much hyped Gaming Arena. And the members? We were all over it! Whenever any of us would be free from the ‘job’, we’d rush to play a game or two. In fact Crysis became an integral part of our existence.

I would like to mention here that Rahul Bhatnagar was one of the few who was slogging it out in managing the events while the rest of the members relaxed in the gaming arena. His tremendous contribution to the programming and gaming event was appreciated by all.

Sakshi Gupta, an extremely conscientious worker, performed each task fantastically. Seen bustling about in the basement for majority of the symposium, she attended to the event coordinators and participants alike. She played a major role in organising the programming event and made sure that the judges were taken care of. So much so that she didn’t allow us to steal food that was meant to be for the judges 😛

The AVH was a different story altogether. Tasks included were; attending to every participant’s queries, attending to the judges and running up and down to get results after an event. Aditya Anand was of a great help to everyone.Being his first Exun Symposium, he was eager to do every other task allotted to him. He performed all his duties with ‘style’ and was a great source of inspiration to the clan.

How can we forget Arshiya Sibia, fondly given so many nicknames by everyone in the clan. She was an active interface between the event and the rest of the world by reporting the entire programme. She efficiently managed the Help Desk and was ready to stay in the AVH attending to all the queries while the rest of the members went for Lunch (after a busy morning full of Crysis, Coke and of course some serious work).

The endless rounds of Goal spot (or Gold Spot as many of us prefer to call it), and various other ‘Childish Passtimes’ were pursued by everyone from 6th to 12th. This brought out the immature genius in all of us. Our chief Advisor Sahil Bajaj seemed to be having a party or”par-tay” on the walky, all the others occasionally contributed to the random conversation. Thanks to Sampoorna for her wonderful collection of rock music that was “Walkycasted” around the school.

The Closing Ceremony speeches given by Sobhagya Jose, Sahil Bajaj, Arshiya Sibia and Samarth Mathur were executed with such perfection that no one could make out that the speech had been prepared barely an hour before the event ended. This could not have been possible without the tremendous efforts of Sarika Kaushal Ma’am and Sangeeta Rana Ma’am. Sangeeta Ma’am was also responsible for the the flawless Prize Distribution Ceremony that goes on year after year.

Now that the main event was over, the twelfthies realised that it was their last Exun. This saw some sad and emotional moments, something that’s not typically Exun. Eventually everyone rushed back to the gaming area to enjoy the last moments of Crysis.

So long and thanks for all the coke.

–Akriti Gaur

Another year, another Exun symposium.

Exun 2008 saw my third year in the clan and it goes without saying that it was yet another absolutely memorable experience.

Invitation follow-ups, certificates, video, judge coordination, banners and badges, assembling computers, finalizing speeches… these were just the starters!

I remember the day, before the symposium rolled into action, all the team members stayed back in school to ensure everything was in place and perfectly organized.

And sure enough the next two days were marked with fun, thrill, excitement, panache and a considerable amount of running around. And of course, a considerable amount of coke.

The mornings saw bustling about near the registration desk (trust me, respite is beyond the scope of this unit), which was smartly handled by our remarkably efficient team comprising of Shubham Goel, Rishabh Marya,Tanay Padhi and Pranav Obhrai.

AVH, the hub of all activities (opening ceremony, group discussion, senior quiz, junior quiz, prize distribution ceremony) demanded a lot of coordination, a job well done by Aishwarya Kane (who was also kind enough to supply chocolates), Sobhagya Jose and Akriti Gaur. A special mention for Sahil Bajaj, the guy (invariably seen) with a walky talky, lubricated coordination and management among members and staff and made sure everything went swimmingly.

” …. Exun did face many obstacles and black holes, but, it was the unlimited passion, unlimited devotion, unlimited dedication, unlimited inspiration and yes, the unlimited expertise, which kept it going on!”

Yes, this is an excerpt from this years speech given at the opening ceremony; evidently a break from the usual pattern, all thanks to Hema Jain ma’am and Sarika Kaushal ma’am. Not to mention the flawless way in which it was delivered by Kartikeya Asthana and Akriti Gaur. Kartikeya Asthana (a.k.a KaTK) is one of the finest presidents EXUN has ever seen. Kartikeya very generously helped anybody who needed assistance and was patient enough to address all the queries and problems of the members. His contribution and overall supervision of all the events ensured 2 smooth days.

Akriti (the amnesiac Sahil) besides being a good orator proved to be of tremendous help whether at the help desk or for doing various other tasks. Also her conversations on the ‘talky-walky’ umm…. walky-talky were thoroughly entertaining (low battery;courtesy-akriti)

From supervising the crossword event to handling other small yet important tasks, Sameer Mittal (affectionately called the gentle giant) proved to be of indispensable help. Also our very own junior coordinator, Aditya Jain handled all tasks with professionalism and and took care that everything went off flawlessly.

The Underscore magazine that could be seen in the hands of all the participants was an outcome of hard work, creativity, determination, sweat, blood (ermm… by convention) of our editorial team comprising of Anuj Bhardwaj (hook or by crook he finally got articles on spore and cloud computing), Ankush Gupta, G. Siddharth, Aditya Anand and of course all those who gave in their articles.

The awesome twosome, Sampoorna Biswas and Prachi Pandey organised everything very enthusiastically. Invigilation, judge care, coordinating the programming event, and for other innumerable tasks they were ready to lend a helping hand.

Now, moving on to THE escort team headed responsibly by Adideva Sekhri (aka Adi), and our honorable members:

Rishabh Goel, Laksh Goel, Aditya Anand, Bharat Kashyap, Tushar Bhasin,Anamay Chaturvedi, Ishan Sharma, Ishita Batra, Aman Aggarwal, Aditya Aggarwal, Rohan Nagpal, Dhananjay Goel, Manvi Arora. Most of them are new members but they did a truly commendable job. Escort duty isn’t as merry as it may sound and hats off to these people for doing the tedious job of directing hundreds of participants to their respective events.

Oh! And of course I would like to extend my thank you to Larry Page and Sergey Brin for building the ever so helpful Google site.

Good going guys! Looking forward to rock another year….

–Arshiya Sibia

A couple of months have gone by since Exun 08 ended and yet the memories remain vivid in my mind. For Exun members the event was more than just an interschool competition. It was a place where the best in Delhi (and indeed, India) could showcase their skills in one of many aspects of technology, whether it be programming, quizzing, or digital imaging. For us, it was an emotional investment.

This was apparent from the hard work members put in days before the event. Stayback after stayback, frantic scrambles to meet deadlines, coordinated preparations, and secret gaming sessions (oh my!), members worked tirelessly to put together what is undoubtedly the biggest interschool tech symposium in the country.

As all participants were ready to admit, Exun was conducted smoothly, without any hitches. Credits to Varun Dubey and Tanay Padhi; event results were posted on the clan websites after the event concluded (arguably the swiftest web updates of any symposium).

The alumni event supervisors also deserve a special mention. I strongly feel that it was their work that made sure the events were extraordinary. The quizzing and crossword questions were brilliant, and the programming questions stretched even the best programmers’ abilities to the limit.

The newcomers also played a major role in ensuring the success of the event. This note would be incomplete without mentioning Manas Jha who probably ran more on any one of the days than any other member ran on both days combined.

The event was not short of hilarious moments, and it is these moments that really defined the symposium.

First and foremost, there was the Karanveer incident. Assigned to Judge Care, we knew Karanveer would get his fill of food and drinks. However, he took judge care to the next level. Litres of Pepsi and dozens of burgers were mysteriously spirited away and later turned up at the computer labs where the programming event was taking place. The source of this phenomenon was traced only days later when a photograph of Karanveer was released where he was holding his ‘trophy’ (read: Pepsi) up proudly (thanks Swati!).

The walkie-talkies, too, provided an endless source of amusement. The ‘billu’ conversation featuring ‘billu’ and no less than two separate Sahil Bajaj’s resonated over the radio waves, much to the amazement of participants within earshot. As Ankur Banerjee mentioned, all that was left was for someone to shriek maniacally over the walkie-talkie.

The walkie-talkie also led to some very awkward moments. I was holding a conversation with Mukesh Sir, clarifying some questions I had. The conversation went on for about 2 minutes and when I turned around I saw, standing, barely a few feet away from me, Mukesh Sir speaking into his walkie-talkie. Very awkward. Very embarrassing.

Hard work was interspersed with bouts of Goal-Spot, where Sahil Bajaj reigned supreme (who could’ve guessed he could jump that far??).
Gaming, too, provided a welcome respite. In Rahul Bhatnagar’s own words, when describing us playing the games: “You guys looked like zombies!”
Crysis was an awesome game of epic proportions and had a steep learning curve (just ask Aviral… he learnt the hard way on Day 2).

Exun was the product of hard-working, dedicated members and reached new heights this year. I’m certain that Exun 09 will be greater than ever. Great job guys.
–Aditya Anand



The man behind the scene, Mukesh Sir’s superb efforts steered another hugely successful and eventful Exun symposium. Epitomizing the Exun motto of ‘We not I’, Sir worked along with students and staff alike .It is largely due to Sir’s leadership and guidance that Exun has been able to scale great heights yet again . He has motivated us to strive for excellence and to face obstacles with strong determination. His “never say die” attitude has been an inspiration for all of us. Sir, we are truly fortunate to have you. In fact, we can’t do without you.

Vijay Sir and Tiwari Sir:

They were important people in the success of our event. They stayed back in school to ensure we could get everything done.

Joseph Sir, Diny Sir, Anup Sir and Thomas Sir:

They were our crucial back end support. We are extremely grateful for their much needed assistance with everything.

Shankar Sir:

One of the most essential persons for Exun. He was always willing to help in any way he could and attended to the beck and call of all those who were in want of his assistance.

We express our sincere gratitude towards all other teachers- Anita Ma’am, Romi Ma’am, Sarika Ma’am, Manisha Ma’am, Sangeeta Ma’am, Nandini Ma’am, Ajithkumar sir, Manpreet Ma’am, Shekhar Sir for splendidly managing everything and providing assistance whenever needed. Thank you for all your all effort, encouragement and support.

To the Programmers…

Here is another problem that explores the concept used in the last of my problems.
This problem has been taken from INOI 2008.
Domino Solitaire
In Domino Solitaire, you have a grid with two rows and many columns. Each square in the grid contains an integer. You are given a supply of rectangular 2 × 1 tiles, each of which exactly covers two adjacent squares of the grid. You have to place tiles to cover all the squares in the grid such that each tile covers two squares and no pair of tiles overlap. The score for a tile is the difference between the bigger and the smaller number that are covered by the tile. The aim of the game is to maximize the sum of the scores of all the tiles. Here is an example of a grid, along with two different tilings and their scores. 

The score for Tiling 1 is 12 = (9 − 8) + (6 − 2) + (7 − 1) + (3 − 2) while the score for Tiling 2 is 6 = (8 − 6) + (9 − 7) + (3 − 2) + (2 − 1). There are other tilings possible for this grid, but you can check that Tiling 1 has the maximum score among all tilings. Your task is to read the grid of numbers and compute the maximum score that can be achieved by any tiling of the grid.

Input format
The first line contains one integer N, the number of columns in the grid. This is followed by 2 lines describing the grid. Each of these lines consists of N integers, separated by blanks. 
Output format
A single integer indicating the maximum score that can be achieved by any tiling of the given grid.
Test data
For all inputs, 1 < = N <=10^5. Each integer in the grid is in the range {0, 1, . . . , 10^4}. 

Palm gets back into the game with touchscreen Pre, WebOS – Ben Patterson

Palm was under serious pressure to hit a home run at CES today—and boy, did it deliver. Running Palm’s gorgeous (if belated) new platform, dubbed WebOS, the touchscreen Pre could well be Palm’s savior, and perhaps its biggest hit.

So, as for the Pre itself (due on Sprint in the first half of this year, no pricing yet): It’s got a big, 3.1-inch 480 by 320 touch display (yes, with multitouch and an accelerometer), weighs in at 4.8 ounces, and comes with a curved, slide-out keypad. Yes, it does Wi-Fi and 3G (EV-DO Rev. A, to be exact), as well as GPS (with turn-by-turn directions courtesy of TeleNav), stereo Bluetooth, 8GB of internal storage, a 3MP camera, a 3.5mm headset jack, and a removable battery.

But the key to the Pre is its OS, and WebOS—previously code-named “Nova”—is one of the hottest mobile platforms I’ve seen yet, rivaling both Android and Apple’s iPhone OS.

At a glance, WebOS doesn’t look all that different from the icon-driven, touch-based Android and iPhone platforms; you’ve got your main, wallpapered home screen, complete with a row of icons along the bottom for your standard e-mail, calendar, and calling features.

But Palm’s done a few key things differently here, starting with the “gesture” area at the bottom or side of the screen (if you’re, say, surfing the Web in landscape mode). For example, if you’re browsing an individual contact in the Pre’s address book, you can flick horizontally in the gesture area to go back to the contact list, or you can flick up for a translucent window shade of applications. Nice.

More importantly, though, is WebOS’s way of letting you handle and sort all your open applications like a deck of cards. If you’re composing an e-mail, for example, you can flick up, call open a new application, and then return to your e-mail at any point. All open applications appear as windows (similar to the windows in the iPhone’s Web browser), and you can flick back and forth, reorder them, and discard them at will. 

That’s really cool, and it solves one of the biggest problems that’s dogged the iPhone—namely, that its various applications are all walled off, making it difficult to easily switch from, say, the Web browser to the calendar and back again. 

WebOS also introduces a concept dubbed “Synergy,” which all applications can continuously get info from the Web. The best example: WebOS’s unified contact list, which seamlessly displays all your contacts and grab their e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and IM handles from Facebook, Gmail, Exchange, you name it. 

I’m also happy with Palm’s integrated messaging interface, which combines IM and text chats into a single, threaded conversation.

And then there’s the WebOS “Dashboard”: a flexible space at the bottom of the screen for calling, messaging, and appointment alerts. As you’re working in other applications, you might see the first line of a text message or IM, or the Dashboard might open a bit bigger for a calendar alert, complete with “dismiss” and “snooze” options. When alerts appear, you’re free to keep working in your open application, or you can go ahead and open the alert—and if you want to answer an IM, you can swipe to that “card” in WebOS, and then return to your previous application card. Great stuff.

A few other interesting notes: When you’re sitting at the Pre’s main screen, you can just start typing on the QWERTY keypad to call up a universal search menu; you’ll instantly see any matching contacts, or you can quickly jump to Web results from Google, Google Maps, and Wikipedia.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention “Touchstone,” a little hockey puck of an accessory with a killer feature—wireless charging. Just place the Pre on top of the Touchstone device to power it up. Awesome.

It’s a lot to chew on—indeed, Palm’s press conference is barely an hour old, and already I’m having the same feeling I did after the iPhone’s debut two years ago. The Pre—and WebOS—look red-hot, and the two combined may well guarantee that Palm will live to fight another (and perhaps, many) days.

So, initial thoughts? Like what you see? Will developers take to writing WebOS applications? Fire away.

‘Apple without Steve Jobs’ as written by Daniel Lyons

The coverage of Steve Jobs of Apple and his health woes is starting to remind me way too much of the old Generalissimo Francisco Franco jokes on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1970s. Back then, Chevy Chase would report that “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead”–a dark-humored play on the drawn-out coverage of Franco’s declining health, in which newscasters had solemnly reported that Franco was still alive.

So, we are told, is Steve Jobs. We know this because a terse and somewhat grumpyletter was issued from the Apple mothership in Cupertino, Calif., today, over the signature of Dear Leader himself. In this letter, Jobs acknowledges that he’s lost a great deal of weight in the past year and says doctors have finally figured out what’s causing it–it’s a hormone imbalance. And now he’s being treated for it, and he should start gaining weight again soon, and he hopes to recover by spring. And, as Jobs finishes up in his letter, “So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.”

Left unaddressed were fears that Jobs has suffered a recurrence of the pancreatic cancer for which he underwent surgery four years ago. Today’s note doesn’t mention cancer at all. From this we are presumably meant to infer that Jobs does not have cancer again. That at least is the message Wall Street took from the news, as Apple shares popped four bucks today, to $94.

The fear began last June when Jobs appeared at a conference looking gaunt and frail. Soon after, word leaked that Jobs had undergone new surgery in spring of this year. In July, Jobs gave an off-the-record interview with a New York Times columnist in which he began by insulting the guy–calling him a “slime bucket”–and kinda sorta maybe said he wasn’t really seriously ill. The frenzy heated up again a few weeks ago when Apple announced Jobs would not give his annual keynote speech at this week’s Macworld conference.

The larger issue here and the one that Apple is failing to address in any meaningful way is the question of succession at Apple. Jobs says only that he will remain in charge for the time being. Who is his heir apparent? No one knows.

Compare this to the way Microsoft managed the handover of the company from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer. Gates, you’ll recall, was every bit as synonymous with Microsoft as Jobs is with Apple. Yet Gates managed to slide out of Microsoft with no disruption. Microsoft accomplished this by setting up the transition years in advance, giving Ballmer the CEO post and letting him get more exposure even while Gates stayed on as the figurehead and official outside representative of the company. By the time Gates did step down officially–in June of 2008–his departure was almost a nonevent.

Jobs, by contrast, seems determined to hang on at Apple no matter what. See, in the world of Steve, it’s all about Steve. Not about Apple. Not about its shareholders. Confronted with sincere concerns about his health based on obvious symptoms of decline, he responded first with silence, then with insults, and finally with a grudging letter explaining his illness and grumping that “I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years.”

When he finally does go, he will be remembered as a tremendous genius and a petulant, selfish narcissist with an overly grandiose sense of himself and a sadly limited view of the world. And oddly enough Bill Gates, his arch nemesis, will go down in history as the classy one. Yes, Gates might have made crappy software, but at least had the good sense to know that there was more to life than personal computers, and that the world did not revolve around him. And at least he will have devoted the last years of his life, and all of his billions, to helping the poorest people in the world–not playing petty cat-and-mouse games with reporters and Apple fanboys at Macworld trade shows.

Say it aint so

With Macworld 2009 around the corner, we might be seeing of what is to come.Horrible if you ask me. Though it might have been photoshopped. Macworld 2009 is also going to be the last Macworld in which Apple as a company is going to take part in. Steve Jobs will not be giving his quite famous keynote presentation, fueling more rumors about his ill health. Philip Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, will take the CEO’s place.

Also The iPhone Dev Team has (finally) released the much awaited iPhone 3G unlock which will allow you to pair your iPhone with a carrier of your choice.

Humanity prevails. Its a fake.