Languages ...

One fine morning a baby mouse was walking around the house. It was spotted by a cat and after a small chase, the mouse was cornered. The cat slowly waked towards the mouse. It heard a barking sound. Sensing the presence of a dog it ran away. Out came the mama mouse and told the baby mouse, 'And my kid, thats the power of knowing another language'.


I was in Gangarams last weekend. After finding the books I needed, I went to the billing counter. A guy who was next to me in the queue asked me, 'which college?'. I thought,may be because of my funny T-Shirt, he might have asked that way. I said, 'I'm working'. 'How long?'. 'More than 3 years'. He was surprised. 'One of your book is in Java and the other is in C++. Its hard to find people working in those two technologies together for 3 years'. I smiled and didn't explain. I see this thing with so many people. During college people would learn a lot of things and try out various things. You ask a question in C++/Java/Networks/OS you would get an answer. But once they get into the industry, they become much focussed. They fail to look at whats happening in other languages/technologies. People work in j2ee, don't even turn at .net; people in .net never look at mainframes; people in mainframes hardly think about C++... Its rare to find people like me, who peep into the neighbourhood and have a look at whats going on there. Or perhaps its one of my strenghts I think. I started my career with Corba in C++. Then dived into J2ee - worked in the EJB layer. The next project was purely JSP based. Again I shifted to .NET and webservices. When I decided to quit, I had offers with work varying from core C++ & data structures to reporting architecture. Finally I shifted to business integration domain - mainly on j2ee and partly on all other enterprise stuff like bpel, rosettanet, mainframes, etc. Knowing the other technologies and learning them never hurts. Rather they come in handy at many times. Although specialization in something is really good, it looks good on your resume to have knowledge in various languages and techonologies.


One of my roommates during UG is from Kerala. In PG the roommate is from Andra. After college, I moved to Bangalore, which is in Karnataka. I had very good oppurtunities to learn Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, I never took any care to learn any languages. As a result I can understand only English and Tamil. Not knowing any other languages is a pain sometimes. Now that I'm living in an area where around 70% of the people are Keralities and most of my teammates are from Andra, I've decided to learn a little bit of those languages.


Pack up!

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Singara Chennai

Nermaiyana arasiyalvathi, sariyana thappu, konja dooram, intha varisaila Singara Chennai appadingarathum oru interesting oxymoron ayiduchu. athula unmai neraya irunthalum, oru sila samayam athu oxymoron illainnu thonum. antha mathiri orusila moments thru my third eye. Trust me, the last one is a shot of the great pallavan bus!

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Killing M$

Recently Forbes listed the billionaires in the world and as usual Bill Gates tops the list. He is in that position by giving us, such insecure, unstable and resource hungry softwares! I'm not so happy about it - and so are the other tech companies. Say in another 5-10 years what might bring down Bill Gates in that list? A combination of several things:

(*) Use Firefox. After long long years, M$ decided to revamp IE just because of Firefox reduced the above 95% in the browser share of IE. Firefox is clearly a browser which will beat IE. Now with Google's official support to Firefox, Firefox 2 will have above 50% of the market share.

(*) M$ biggest cash cow is Windows. With all your fav applications, games and drivers for your digital devices revolve around Windows, Linux/Mac is not going kill Windows. The only killer will be its own huge base of installation of existing versions. From Win 3.1 to Windows 95, it was a great leap in the OS in terms of funtionality and user interface. After that nothing much has occured. M$ claimed Vista is the next big thing happening to Windows. Many promises made during the initial days of Vista are now abandoned including the revolutionary file system and the faster desktop search. May be its not worth for the change in UI. So people stop ugrading from their current version.

(*) M$ next biggest cash cow is Office suite of products. When Sun purchased Open office, many thought its going to kill M$ Office. But it had pathetic performance and made it unusable. 3 days back Google acquired Writely. That a web based Office suite. That is good news for all except the folks working for M$ Office.

(*) More companies provide support for Linux based servers. This will reduce Windows's in the server market.

(*) All web based apps. Starting from Gmail, Google had come a long way to writely. Once it has made all the regularly day-to-day software in the web, we don't need a PC with 2 GB Ram & 4 GHz processor. People can get a Linux based low end hardware for Rs 5k and use all the applications from the web. No M$!

Interesting tail pieces:

(*) Next to US, India has highest number of billionaires !
(*) Before Google acquired Writely, I believed that's Open office is the M$ Office killer. Try it, its cool anyway !
(*) Ben Doogler has written a brief history about Firefox. Read it here
(*) Its not that M$ sells only softwares. It also sells hardwares like keyboards, mice and x-box!
(*) When Windows 95 was released people waited in long queue from midnight, to get the software. Its the first and last in the history!

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Think different

I didn't update about what was the "fun-innovative-things" that Apple introduced in the special event I mentioned earlier. Although with the introduction of the iPod speakers, Apple is taking a dominant place in the living room, analysts say its a much hyped event. I too think so. Speakers specially made for iPod are not new - Bose and Altec Lansing had it for a long time. Apple is just following the trend. The mac mini's with Intel Dual Core were much expected. So people who has got much expectations were disappointed. What lies ahead of Apple?

Something which we have to note is, that from Intel, AMD, to Microsoft is trying enter into the living room and connect all the available entertaintment devices like your music system, home theatre, DVD player and TV. Till recent past, Apple has not ventured that arena. With the introduction of Front Row software, it also jumped into it. The newly introduced intel based Mac minis now packed with Front Row and a remote control. Now think of the possibilites. During the next Mac World Expo, Steve Jobs clad in is usual dress says "Just one more thing" and introduces a wi-fi enabled iPod with Bonjour running in it. Then he says "Just one more thing" and shows the new Mac Mini loaded with a TV tuner card and the Front Row software can now pause live TV and can record your favourite TV shows at your absence. He says it has a huge 1 TB disk space, so you can record a lot of programs. The crowd roars. To make all the apple fans to dance in joy, he show a live demo. The Mac Mini exquipped with Airport extreme, connects to the wi-fi router and you browse the iTunes store and buy a video song - all with a wireless remote. Your Mac mini is already connected to your TV thru the S-Video port, so you immediately play it in your TV. Meanwhile, thru wi-fi, the song is automatically synced with the iPod across the room. You can pause and record TV shows. Your friends have come home and the photos you shot during your vacation is still in your laptop. No probs. Using Bonjour thru Wi-fi, your Mac mini automatically discovers your Laptop with zero configuration (even if its running on windows!) and you import photos in the shared folder with iPhoto and display it in the TV.

Its not in the far end. It all takes an wi-fi iPod and Mac mini with a Tuner card. If that happens, I'll be getting a Mac mini (and if its less than $400) for my home :-) The next Mac World expo is due in another 10 months. May be Steve has got more for me during that wonderful day!

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How to become a 007?

I was chatting with Viv yesterday. He said that he has bought an mp3 player. Which one, I asked, hoping that he too might have joined the proud iPod owners club. But he said that he bought some Samsung player. The model number was YP-T8. I was browsing to find the features of it. Check Samsung's website. Samsung says that as King of Flash players. It has a big LCD screen (1.8 inch); it has a photo browser; it can play videos; it has an FM radio; it has a voice recorder; it has a text viewer; it has a game functionality; it can act as a USB host - means you can connect your camera or any other USB device and do a data transfer; ...

What the heck? At Rs. 15k, it gives you a complete set of entertainment devices as a single device with a whooping 20 hours of battery life. I know he likes 007 very much and often whistles the tunes when he was at technohut. But I never knew he has decided to become a bond with those next generation gadgets! Any luck with beautiful babes Viv? You are not a complete bond without few gals around you!

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He-She: Which shirt ?

Following the story of a saree, here comes the story of a shirt. Again, x% of real mixed with y% of reel ...

A nice, bright, sunny morning. He is getting ready for the office.

He : Sheee. enna pannikittu iruka?

She : kalan kaathala kathatha da. Sudoku fill pannitu iruken

He : mudichitiya?

She : illa. innaiku konjam kastam pa. innoru 10 minutes aagum

He : oh. innaiku 'hard'aa?

She : chee chee. hard ellam easy pa. innaku medium

He : (totally confused. but didn't want to ask any explanation) seri enaku office iku ippave time aachu. pogum pothu petrol veda podadum. enaku dress iron panni vaikariya? naan kulichitu vanthuduren?

She : unaku enkitta ethachum vela vaangalina saapadu erangathe. seri. entha dress iron pannatum?

He : ethachum onnu pannu

She : vendam. apuram kulichitu vanthathum, ethuku itha poi iron panninenu kepa. neeye sollu

He : hmmmmm antha black T-shirt + Lee blue jean

She : ennathu wednesday ellam T-shirt, jean pottutu? olunga decenta kalyanamaana paiyan mathiri oru shirt pant pottu po

He : (its already late and don't want to argue on anything) okie ... appa antha red shirt and black pant?

She : un kitta irukara formal dresslaye athu onnu than urupadiya iruku. atha adutha week Sree reception ikku podanum. vera sollu

He : hmmmm atha black checked shirt?

She : venam, atha intha maasam mattum 3 thadava pottutu poita. unaku vera shirtae illayannu officela kindal panna poranga

He : seri, seri. antha light blue shirt? atha romba naala poda naan

She : athu venam da. athu konjam palasu aana mathiri theriyuthu. atha inime nee office ku podatha pa.

He : aaah. appo antha plain brown shirtu?

She : athuku matcha white pant than nalla irukum, but antha pant alluka iruku. thuvaikanum

He : seri, time aachu ma. nee ethayavathu onnu iron panni vai. naan kulika poren.

[He takes bath and comes out only to see that the red shirt and black pant is ironed]

He : Hey She. ithu Sree reception ikku podanumnu sonniye?

She : illa pa. Sree reception ikku unaku puthusa shirt onnu intha weekend poi vaangikalam. neeyum shirt vaangi romba naal aachu illa?

He : seri

She : appadiye enaku oru Saree eduthidalam pa. nee mattum puthu dress potutu naan palaya dress potta nalla irukathu. enna ok thana? Seri unaku office ikku neram aaguthunnu sonna illa? masa masa innu nikkatha kilambu pa. poo. poo. poooyaaaaa.

He : ......

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Yaanaikum adi sarukkum ...

As I said in last post, Google is a very innovative company. It has many of the very finest talents in the IT industry. Gmail is a wonderful application that is changing the way web is being used. XMLHttpRequest and async javascript is not new to the web. Its been used in very little places. But Gmail extensively made use of that and created gmail. The rest is a history. Now the combination of XML, Javascript and XMLHttpRequest is put together in a buzz world called Ajax and its driving the world crazy. Every major web technology company is already providing support for Ajax or promised support for Ajax. In the early days of gmail, I myself has tried out recreating an small existing web page with Ajax. With barely no support from any of the IDEs of that time, it was too hard. The worst part making it stable and maintaining it. Conventional techniques of web page state maintenance is all null and void with Ajax - no matter what is the technology used to create dynamic page(JSP, ASP, PHP, etc) Now the user is not going to click on a button and wait for the response. The UI is still available to him and he is allowed to click on any other button. The result is similar to a single threaded application converted to multithreaded application! Ajax is not the only thing gmail introduced to the world. There are several other hard-to-do and highly impossible things that has been accomplished. Have you ever looked at the "Attach file" option? Without showing the browse button or the text box, gmail allows to us to attach a file. Its a really tough thing to make it work. Another impossible thing to do is it allows us to dynamically increment the number of file to attach. (For the curious, here is the reason) I've tried my best to crack down how they do it. But cudn't :-( Can show several examples like that - chat in gmail, spell checker etc, but enough of the positive side.

Now here comes the ugly face of the of Google - application integration. Applications are good as individual units. But integrating them is not that easy. Think of these two applications from Google - Picasa and Google screen saver. With Picasa you can change several settings of an image (contrast, color correction,..) and can do basic fixes (crop, red eye removal, ...) Google screensaver can show pictures when activated. It doesn't respect the changes that Picasa has done on the images. As a result, Google screensaver shows raw unedited pictures. Those pictures look odd and the screensaver is less useful when it can't even rotate the images properly.

Another simple instance. Google has a wonderful spell checker in its search engine. It would automatically suggest you the right spelling (try this), but its another product, has one of the worst spell checking engine. It can't even recognize the word blog! Its kind of funny. A company which has one of the best spell checker and which has a separate blog search says blog as a spelling error in its own blogging portal. itha than yaanaikum adi sarukumnu sollurangalo?

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