The Dream

 

So, I’m going to regret that I didn’t do this before, I mean when I woke up this morning at seven in the A.M. and now it’s 10 pm. I should have written this when it was fresh. But perhaps I didn’t know I would want to write this down at the time. Or maybe I was too disappointed that it was just a dream. Actually I did write a little teaser when I mentioned it to a special friend, but it was nothing much. Also I tried writing about it in the early evening today but didn’t save the document so its little draft is gone. Anyway, I’m going to start again. Here we go.

I woke up (in the dream, obviously. Which is weird, kind of like inception, waking up in a dream from a sleep within sleep). And I went to the kitchen, made my tea as usual, checked in on my flat mate he was gone. It was afternoon which is the usual time for me to wake up. Late afternoon actually, 3-4 pm in the evening. So I turn on the laptop, check my phone. A few texts, notifications, instagrams etc. But there in the news tile is the notification about an anomaly in earth’s orbit.

So I open Facebook on laptop and there’s news about it on all science pages I liked. I open a live video feed about what’s really going on. There’s discussions going on among people and this one website has a live simulation made from real-time satellite imagery all around the earth, captured from all satellite cameras orbiting the earth, moon, asteroids, comets and even Mars, giving a detailed description about the size, position, location and movements of the anomaly.

And as I open that live simulation feed, there it is. The anomaly is a blue-white spherical ball, giving out light flashes in a glowing disc around it like a pulsar but much more uniform like Saturn’s rings. And it keeps growing bigger in size each second. In about a minute or two, the glowing rings have become bigger and there’s a darker spot in the center where the sphere was. It looks very much like a space-time portal shown in science-fiction movies and games.

The portal-like thing, it’s in the path of earth-moon orbit, about 1-month time from the current location of earth. It’s not visible from here but the people in other hemisphere could see it as a bright light in night sky. That’s what sparked everything. The anomaly might have been there for a long time and our satellites couldn’t have picked it up. But soon as it started glowing today, everyone saw it from earth. So they pointed everything they had towards it.

I slap myself to make sure it isn’t a dream. And I didn’t wake up so I thought damn this is real. This is really happening. There really is a bright star in earth’s path. And just then, a strange thing happened. (I’m using the word ‘strange’ because ‘strangest’ is yet to happen and that really is the strangest thing anyone can ever experience, even in their dreams)

That anomaly, shining brighter bluer than ever, suddenly glowed bright white, and the simulation showed the entire earth-moon system getting pulled towards it. And our earth got sucked right into it! A one-month time of orbit completed in few seconds. And the simulation paused for few seconds showing noise all around before it resumed back, and when it got the render back again, it looked like the earth, with moon and all of us, had just appeared on the other side of the portal, with glow of portal fainting all over. As simulation processed more data, it showed earth is now near a huge planet. It’s a big terra fifty times the size of the earth. (For non-science people, terra is a solid planetary body, unlike gas giants, has solid crust on the surface and enough gravity to hold a gaseous atmosphere and possibly even life.)

And then there’s noise outside.

I ran outside, looked up and indeed to my surprise, there’s a huge, massive planet in the sky… So big I could look straight up and it filled my entire peripheral vision. A small part of sky around the horizon is spared. The sun over west horizon is still shining brightly, illuminating the sun-side of the giant ball in yellow-white half-crescent. The other side of planet faded gradually into the blue sky under cloud cover, but its far side was more purple and darker. Looks like it is right above the Indian subcontinent. And it’s not very far, the landmarks looked crystal clear. And that’s when I noticed it: the landmarks – the continents and oceans – they’re just like our earth. Not exactly a carbon-copy of earth’s but I could make out South America and Antarctica. The coastlines looked jagged, and there was very thin cloud cover on that planet. And the continents were mostly desert-like in the center, few green areas around the coasts. Even Antarctica had a sandy rim around the icy pole, followed again by more ice and then the ocean all around.

I’m wondering what the hell this thing is. And it’s so big and so close to us… why hasn’t it overpowered earth’s gravity and pulled us up towards it? And moreover, when earth was moving so fast towards the portal, why didn’t people fall off the earth into space on the far side, or get swept off on the side, or got doubled down into ground facing the portal? It was all strange. Me, standing in the street outside my house, looking up in the sky at a gargantuan planet that looked just like a scaled up version of our earth after we just traveled through a light-portal.

By now I had slapped and pinched myself at least two more times. Who made this rule anyway? Slap yourself to see if you’re in a dream or not? It didn’t work for me and I was still in the dream, which I clearly didn’t realize at the time. And if I wasn’t I’d have looked incredibly stupid slapping myself in front of a computer screen and out in the streets anyway.

And these questions… How was this even possible? I came back inside. And by now, the people on live feed are indeed talking about what the hell just happened. Obviously they noticed the planet looked like earth’s massive counterpart. They had overlaid the political boundaries of our earth on the new planet’s textured map, and fair enough, it matched our continents. But the coastlines were litter farther towards the oceans. Like, 40-50 miles away at most places, some were as far as 100 miles, and few places coincided with earth’s coastlines perfectly. But that planet being fifty times the size, at that planet those distances must be in thousands of miles… Imagine a small mountain or just a hill the size of entire Punjab.

The scientists in that live debate, they started examining the data received from satellites around. The ones around the earth and moon were still functional, as well as the ones orbiting few asteroids around earth. But they lost all contact from the ones from Mars, Venus and other deep space satellites.

After examining the data, they found out that the earth is emitting some form of energy, resembling the waves found in the observation made during the collision of two black holes. Which meant gravitational waves. Huge enough to be detectable by satellites around us. So the conclusion: The earth is enclosed in a kind of gravity bubble that’s letting it keep its gravitational field intact, regardless of the mass or nearby massive objects. And given that data, the earth might as well be orbiting a black hole and we won’t feel a thing. That explained why we didn’t fall off during that high-speed travel, or even feel anything move on the surface at all.

I called and texted whoever I could call and text, at home, at college, talked to my friends,including the special friend I mentioned earlier. Spent about an hour or two doing that. Everyone was baffled to the core in the least, if not terrified. I came out in the streets again. It was evening and the sun was setting. The crescent-glow was now turned reddish-yellow, as did the clouds on our earth in the light of evening sun. I was wondering again – how was this even possible? There were obviously people who brought us here in this… dangerous proximity of a huge doppelganger of our earth. The astrophysicists were now calling the giant planet as Earth-2. I was pondering over all this when people started shouting.

I didn’t see it first, not from the courtyard of the house, not even when I came out in streets because I was looking at the planet and then the sun got blocked a tiny bit by our passing moon. The moon – it was speeding towards the planet, which had rotated by now to reveal the African and Asian continents’ southern side. It was mostly Indian Ocean and Antarctica facing us. And the moon sped towards it to the far crescent side.

People around me were all watching the moon going so visibly fast against the yellow-red clouds past the shining sun. I rushed upstairs to the roof and there I got a better view – the moon was going to impact somewhere in the pacific near Australia/New Zealand. This was supposed to be a horrific moment, and yet I was thinking, “The people who brought us here maybe forgot to include our moon in the gravity hub.” Or maybe we didn’t need the moon anymore now that we ourselves were a little asteroid to this huge thing of an earth-shaped planet. What was the function of our moon before, anyway? Keeping up the tidal cycle and eclipses, that’s it? To help life evolve around oceans and sailors find their way, keep track of time? Well we don’t need ocean tides anymore or the use of a moon looming in sky to count days of the month, and for eclipses we have now the giant ball which is going to give us at least a 7-hour solar eclipse every day. The moon was a gone case now.

The moon, which is like 1/4th the size of our earth, looked no bigger than the island of Tasmania. It was like a small dot for the Australian continent let alone the size of entire planet. People shouted more and more as the moon neared the big ball, glowing red on the planet-side and leaving trail of dust like it was a small comet.

And it struck on the coral-reef side beach. There was no sound. Just a small flame like flash and then there was a wave-like, ripple emerging from the point of impact. It was beautiful in its own way, the whole thing happening in yellow-orange glow of setting sun on both planets. The moon kind of melted down, spreading across on the surface. First crumbling down into hemisphere and then that too broke down and got engulfed in the mushroom-cloud like smoke rising up from all sides. That heat-ripple thing faded rapidly as it expanded and was completely gone in half a minute. And so was moon. Just a cloud of dust looking like a solar flare risen at the spot where it had made contact.

Everyone around was silent now. I came down, called everyone again. The special one had seen it too, the death of the moon to the east of rising sun from her side. It was nothing big compared to the planet-covered sky, but it changed a lot of things, including things inside my mind. I came down as the sun set behind the hills.

The internet was full of moon crash and the planet and the portal and whatnot. Everyone had become an astronomer of their own. But most importantly, everyone had now realized how little we are. And how wrong we are to think even momentarily that we’re the center of anything at all. We are just tiny beings on a tiny rock floating in the space. And how tiny this rock is, we are now going to be constantly reminded of that every time we are going to look up in the sky and watch a mammoth planet staring down at us.

And after everyone watched a moon drop down on the planet’s surface… It wasn’t even a big impact. It was so small of an event compared to the size of that thing. It was all like… like a tiny pebble of brittle glass shattering as it hits the floor in slow motion.

Everything else is so big, and we are so small. It was evident everywhere. Around us, on the internet, over the news – Distances of thousand miles and currencies of millions of dollars, didn’t matter anymore. Everyone, including me, had a sudden gut feeling that we aren’t individuals anymore. Not even inhabitants on this soil or our countries or even the planet. But we, the earth, are but a singular organism. And we just found a much bigger organism above, which probably isn’t the only one.

We were a very small world now, still waiting for the bigger brother to make actual contact. There was no word of what was up there. But as the night set, we didn’t need to ask. The sun had gone down but there was still enough light of an overcast daytime sky. The planet’s sun side, which was right on top of us now that planet had moved to east side in sky, it glowed bluish white with its atmosphere. And the surface facing away – the edge of the far side of planet, wasn’t dark. It was Europe and north polar areas, glittering with tiny glowing spots of night lights. It was like these lights replaced the stars, only they were much, much brighter and sky was lit up with the crescentic glow of a planet covering half the sky overhead. Only in the west horizon areas that were spared, we could see a star or two struggling to shine against the not-so-dark blue sky.

It was, for once, beautiful. Very beautiful. And peaceful. In the knowledge that from now on, our lives are going to be changed dramatically and forever. And there were still lot of questions that needed answers. Who, Why, and How being the very first of them.

Or maybe, they had already contacted us, but our governments were being dicks again, keeping secrets in the name of ‘saving public from mass hysteria’. Like it meant anything after everyone saw our huge moon simply pulverize down on itself like a little dirt pellet  hitting a wall. One thing was sure, whoever they were up there, they didn’t want to harm us. Maybe they needed us, maybe they saved us, who knows. But I knew we should be grateful to them. Not for travelling us through the portal or changing our skies or destroying our moon. But for giving us the new perspective.

With that thought, I went back to the internet and chats and calls and texting. And didn’t realize when sleep took over me.

 

And then I woke up, like in reality, and realized that this reality is the same shitty reality we’ve been living in for years… I cursed out loud. It was more of a yell or a far cry of what could have been. Well… There are very few times when I’m disappointed beyond measure. This wasn’t that bad, but it was close enough.

I got up, went out. The sky was clear. Sun was shining. And I was looking up at blue emptiness.

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DNG on Microsoft Lumia 640XL

Lumia 640XL has a decent F/2.0 camera that can take awesome night shots. However, after recent updates in Lumia Camera and WP10’s Windows Camera, the amount of post-processing has become so high that the de-noise algorithms wash out all the details.

Fortunately, 640XL has RAW/DNG capture but it’s hidden by default in the registry. It simply needs to be unlocked.

This involves making your phone enter into Developer Mode, then doing something called Interop Unlock or Capability Unlock, and finally making some changes in phone registry to enable DNG support for camera.

The good thing is that once DNG is enabled, you can turn off Developer Mode and uninstall all apps that you used to make the phone return to its normal state, but the DNG support will still be retained. So there’s nothing to lose and there’s no reason you shouldn’t try this if you’re using a Lumia 640.

The process of doing so is fairly easy, though sometimes could take a little more tinkering than usual for some users. Anyway, here’s what you need to download first:

  1. Install Windows Phone 8.1 SDK Lite Edition on your Windows PC from here: WINDOWS SDK PAGE (the download link is a green button at the end of the post)
    For some people, installing this simple tool could be a pain in the ass, but once it’s installed you’re all good to go.
  2. Download RootTool.xap file from here. You can read the entire JailBreak guide from XDA developers if you want which is further about how to jailbreak. Since I’ll be doing the same in this guide here, you may skip reading that page for now.

Now this is the step-by-step guide for you:

  1. Enable Developer Mode on your phone.
    Go to Settings > Update & Security > For developers, and click on “developer mode”.
    wp_ss_20160322_0006
    Now, I also enabled ‘Device Discovery’ just in case the SDK tools didn’t recognize my phone. Anyway, it’s not really necessary. Also, this is for Windows Mobile 10 only. For Windows Phone 8.1 or earlier, you might have to find some other way to enter into Developer Mode. Once you’re into Developer mode, it doesn’t matter which OS you’re using on the phone. Next steps would be identical.
  2. Assuming the Windows SDK Lite is installed on PC, connect your phone via USB and enable file access (if it asks) and open the Application Deployment Tool from Start Menu:
    WP_20160322_02_54_40_Raw_cr
    For some users, you may need to right click it and “Run as Administrator” if opening simply runs into any issues.
  3. Choose the downloaded RootTool.xap from “browse” menu and click on “Deploy”
    WP_20160322_02_55_18_Raw_cr
    If everything is done the right way, it should show “App Deployment Complete” in the status.
    WP_20160322_02_56_08_Raw_cr
    Now you can close this app window and disconnect the phone. The RootTool should show up in your phone’s application list.
  4. Open Root Tool in phone.
    wp_ss_20160322_0002The Root Tool has fairly simple interface.
  5. First click on “JailBreak Lumia”
    wp_ss_20160322_0003
    and click on “Capability Unlock”
    capability
    Confirm with clicking “ok” and that’s it. Your phone is now Capability Unlocked. Means now you’re free to install any third party app and make registry changes.
  6. Now edit the Registry. There are two Regedit tools. One is “For All Windows Device” and other for “Lumia Registry Editor”. We should make changes to both of them one by one just to be sure. Open “For All Windows Device” first.
    for all windowsnow, navigate to “HKLM\SOFTWARE\OEM\Nokia\Camera\Barc” and Value “DNGDisabled” as shown in this image:
    registry change
    “DWORD” value box should be checked. First, click on “Read” and it should show the value as “1”. Change it to ‘0’ and click on “Write”
    You should do the same in other Lumia Registry Editor as well
  7. Now go back and open “Lumia Registry Editor” and repeat same steps, as shown here in the image:
    lumia_reg
    Note that when you click on “Read”, it may already show that the value is all zeroes. If it shows as “00000001”, then change the last ‘1’ to ‘0’ and click “Write”
    Now you can close the app and open Windows Camera (or Lumia Camera if you made it work on Windows 8.1)
  8. The camera settings should show JPG+DNG settings. You can enable it from there so it saves both the post-processed JPG as well as the original DNG raw format in Pictures/Camera Roll folder.
    6tag_220316-022420Depending on aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9), it will show them as JPEG+DNG 13MP or JPEG+DNG 10MP size.

You should know that DNG images take up a lot of space. Each 13MP DNG  image is roughly 15-20 MB size. Also if you use Windows Phone app in PC to automatically import new camera photos, saved pictures, and screeshots, these DNG pics will not be automatically imported. You’ll need to copy the manually from the file explorer.

You’ll also need softwares like IrfanView or FastStone Image Viewer on PC to view or batch convert these DNG files to JPG. On your phone, Rawer is the best free app to view and convert DNG images on the fly. However you’ll need to purchase the app if you want to do additional stuff with raw pics like changing exposure etc.

That’s going through a lot just to watch a simple RAW file in viewable format. So why RAW? Why not just use the default JPEG format (which is still awesome in daylight by the way) and dump this whole DNG thing?

Well, one: because DNGs are awesome. You can see and recover those teeny tiny bits of details you’ll never see in a finished JPG photo even without the Windows Camera’s new post-processing. And two: HDR. Yeah, you don’t have to take 3-something photos at varying exposures and join them later to make HDR. A single DNG file alone has enough information that you can increase or decrease exposure by 1EV and it won’t lose any detail. That gives excellent HDR result when edited in Photoshop or other similar software.

Finally, three: The Details. For example: In photos, especially the night-shots if you’re taking pics of the starry sky, you can capture a good amount of stars in a single shot with some amount of noise. But that noise can be filtered out if you take more shots (and a few dark shots to filter dark noise). and stack them later. But… The regular JPG processing by Windows Camera tried to reduce this noise on-the-go. And in doing so it mistakes those precious stars as simple noise dots and filters them out, giving you a very blank looking night sky. But using RAW photos can give you a great view of night sky without having to use expensive DSLRs.

I think Microsoft should enable DNG support by default in Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, and maybe increasing exposure little beyong 4 seconds would be great too!

Windows 10 asks for Product Key – Solved

Windows 10 comes in 5 different versions:

  • Home
  • Home Single Language
  • Home N
  • Pro
  • Pro N

Most of time, people face problems such as errors in the automated Windows 10 upgrade. So they decide to download the ISO from Microsoft, which then asks them the Product key.

You need a Windows Media Creation tool to download these versions, which can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

  • First of all, right click on your “My Computer” or “This PC” and go to Properties. There, see which version of Windows 7, or 8 or 8.1 you’re using. Look for specifics like “Home“, “Home Single Language“, “Pro”, “Pro VN” etc.
  • Alternatively, Press Windows+R, type Winver and press Enter.
  • Let’s say you use Windows 8 Home Single Language. Most of the branded PCs and Laptops always give preinstalled versions of Home Single Language Windows.
  • Also, look for the 32-bit or 64-bit version.
  • And at last, look specifically for which language you’re using. Mostly it’s English (US) but you should cross-check.

Then, download the Media Creation Tool (32-bit or 64-bit depending on which Windows version you’re using), open it, wait for it to load the interface.

There, choose the Language, and the version carefully.

For example, if you’re using Windows 8.1 in English (UK) and you choose English (US) for Windows 10, it might not work.

Finally, choose the Windows 10 version pertaining to the same version of Windows you’re using before. For example, For Windows 8 Home Single Language, you must choose Windows 10 Home Single Language.

The tool will automatically download and create the Windows.ISO file in your Documents folder. Copy it to a USB drive or DVD. Open that drive, open the ISO file.

Windows 8 and 8.1 have built-in ISO mounting so you only need to double click the ISO file. In Windows 7, you may need a third-party mounting software to run the ISO file.

Then, if you did everything as I described, and you’re using a genuine version of Windows, the Windows 10 Setup WILL NOT ASK FOR A PRODUCT KEY. This will update your Windows to Windows 10, if you choose, it will keep all your installed applications, accounts, personal files, even drivers.

If you make a bootable DVD or USB from that ISO, and try to boot from that media and install Windows, it will definitely ask for a Product key, and it will NOT be an upgrade. It will only be a fresh install. You may lose all your files and installed applications and drivers.

Thank me later.