Monday, June 13, 2005

Su Doku

Su Doku is a logic puzzle of numbers. This Japanese game, originally from USA, is causing waves in the media, especially Britian. Each publisher is vying to introduce the puzzle in his paper. An ex-judge, Wayne Gould introduced the Su Doku in the The Times.

Wayne's website on Su Doku runs a monthly contest and is the source for newspaper puzzles and solutions. There is lot of brouhaha after the puzzle was introduced in major newspapers in the last two months. In India, 9x9 puzzles were introduced this month in the TOI and The Hindu.

Su Doku literally translates to Single Number. The rules of the game are simple - numbers are to arranged in a 9x9 square such that no number appears more than once in a row, column or the smaller 3x3 squares. There are variants from the 9x9 like the 6x6 or the 5x5. There is even a 3D version of the logic puzzle from the Daily Telegraph. Mathematically speaking, Su Doku puzzles are Latin Squares. You get a Latin Square for example in a nxn matrix by using addition of numbers with modulo n.

If solving puzzles is your forte, you will find right at home. For others it is still worth a try as knowledge of either maths or complex logic is not required. I got addicted to this game last week. Below you will find links to play the game online. I felt it is best to solve using the paper-pencil way (puzzle print-out) or the stare-till-you-get-it way (software like MS-Paint will do). It is never fun to solve logic using "solver" programs.

Solve and go hoo-hah @

Saturday, June 11, 2005

National Readership Survey

The National Readership Studies Council, an autonomous body of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, recently released the National Readership Survey (NRS) for 2005. The survey covered about twenty-thousand respondents. It is believed to be the largest such survey in the world.

According to the survey, Indian literacy has gone up by 8 points to about 70%. What is interesting is the fact that of the 200mn readers, about half of them are from rural India. What is also interesting is that only 11mn people (less than 2% of the Indians) have access to the Internet. The survey indicates the growth of TV and Cable/Satellite particularly in KN, AP and TN. One can estimate that on an average an urban adult, sleeping 8hrs/day, spends a little less than 25% of his time per week reading paper (4.9hrs/week), watching TV (11.8hrs/week) and listenining to radio (10hrs/week). It dosen't come as a surprise that in a country with more than 40% of the population speaking Hindi, the Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar are the country's leading newspapers.

India's population is more than 1 billion and it continues to grow at 1.4%. But as the literacy growth rate is 21%, India will soon be a 100% literate country. Access to the Internet for all is not far from reality either. In Asia alone, the growth rate of Internet has been 150% in the last five years.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Two weeks ago, Java turned ten. Over the years, it has evolved from an Object Oriented programming language to a full fledged (commercial) programming system. And for good reasons, it continues to evolve. Read the article "Celebrating 10 years of java..."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
translated by Lucia Graves

Overall La Sombra del Viento or The Shadow of the Wind is a good book considering the literary style and flow. But at times there is over treatment of describing things to the finest detail. The story is interwined with many little stories. A speculative reader gets the complete picture as the same events are narrated from different people.

The story is about a boy, Daniel Sempere, who gets a copy of "The Shadow of the Wind" (yes - it bears the same name as the author's book) from his father's Cemetery bookshop and how his interest in find the book's author, Julian Carax (not Carlos!!) leads him through emotional trails along his journey to revelation. The story also outlines the growth of Daniel from a child to an adolescent.

In his journey, Daniel finds a disturbed police officer Fumero, who is blood thirsty on his early childhood friends. Fumero is desperate to eliminate all of them especially Julian, as it was Julian who stole Penelope from him. Most women in the novel - Daniel's childhood crush Clara, Daniel's wife Bea, Julian Carax's wife Penelope, Julian's mother Sophie Carax, Miquel Moliner's wife and Julian's girlfriend Nuria all engage in affairs whose activities are put in celebrated detail. At times humour reveals in the form of the know-all Daniel's guru Fermin who works at Daniel's father's bookshop.

In short, it is a good story if not a great one and considering all the elements it will probably make a good movie.

Links :
Book Review from