First Day,First Show.Last Word.Full Stop.

Movie Reviews.Mostly Tamil.Occasional Telugu.Rare Hindi.English episodic. Foreign Seldom.Cricket Trivia In The Gaps.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hangman Game Updated

The hangman game that I had developed earlier is now updated .It includes the T20 players list as well now .

So there are three versions you can choose from Test,ODI,T20 .Have Fun !

I have maintained this game for over 2 years now and have studiously updated with list of new players now and then .Make no mistake this was a manual effort from my side,the only automation being the player value that was generated using some heuristics.A wise manager whom I had worked with earlier often referred to making repeatable tasks as an automation.So that is what I did .
The manual process is ,
a)Get the list of new players from Cricinfo
b)Add it to the list of players.
c)Upload to the Hangman site.

So I wrote a simple utility combining batch scripts and java to
a)Downloads the earlier list from hangman game site
b)A simple Cricinfo parser that first fetches the list of new players alone,then looks up the player page to extract the name.
c)Merges the new information with the old one
d)Upload the old one.
e)EMail the status of the above steps
f)Automate steps a)-e)

For steps a) and d) I had to use a FTP Java Library
For steps b) and c) used java HTML Parser Kit.
For step e) I used an an awesome utility available for windows called sendEmail
For step f) Tried and tested Windows Schedule task (that runs daily) which invokes a batch file that does the above steps.

So simple.? It has now saved all my manual effort and the site takes care of auto updating itself. Yay!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The ACK Collection Story

I started revisiting collection of my ACKs in my break during August from work.What started off as a small time hobby to keep myself busy quickly turned into an almost full time obsession.So it slowly started by hunting down all possible ACKs uploaded,getting access to rare private blogs by contacts,downloading few more,revisiting my earlier collection of ACKs back home and then coming up with a list of ACKs to get. In August the count to get was roughly around 200+ out of a possible 440+ .Then things started to roll,I got a big bonanza of ACKs on my birthday which reduced the count to 100 odd.Scouring old book shops ,getting more ACKs with some landmark vouchers that was presented to me and quickly the count came to 40 .More trips to unknown second hand book shops in commercial street and other places and then the count is now 29 .

What makes ACKs tougher to get is that there are roughly around 50 ACKs that are no longer in print.It was getting tough to keep track of all these so I went about and created a site on for all .If you see the lists you will just see why it is incredibly complicated to own an entire collection.Some in old series are not in new,some in new series are not in old,some are present only as bounded sets and so on.

Around this point of time I also felt bad seeing the Wikipedia site which maintained the list .It had a lot of bogus and erroneous entries.So there I was contributing my first full length wiki article

That is when I realized the amount of work that goes behind creating a wiki article.Creating the contents is one thing,then making sure wikifying each link is quite another.Anyways over a weekend I did nothing but that and am done .

The efforts have now paid fruit.A kind hearted soul whom I met via comic blogs saw the effort I was making and decided to hunt down the few remaining ACKs for me.That person has now scoured Delhi Second hand book shops and has got 11 rare ones.This means my count is now below 20 .He has of course promised me to hunt for more and if that happens I may well have the complete collection :) .

Collection is a worthwhile pursuit.It takes away a lot of your time,energy and resources but at the end of it all,It is pretty satisfying to reach your ultimate goal just like any other job.

I have most of the Tinkle Comics numbered under 200 barring a few missing ones here and there .Might just think about collecting that next ,but If I do that,I will probably get thrown out of the house as well :)

Edit: As of May 2015  I managed to get almost everything barring one ack and about 7 are missing under Tinkle No 200 . Great journey indeed and many thanks to all the people I met over this effort.