Happy New Year


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I was searching for something on GWT recently. Didn't find it. I thought there must be some FAQ on GWT. Unfortunately, there is nothing. I thought I'll create one. As of now the basic site is up (Thanks to Google Creator, its all done in less than an hour, without touching any HTML or spending a single paise), I've to collect questions and update the site with proper answers. If you have any questions to be added, do send it to me. (prefeably with answers)

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The troubles with Wordpress

I switched to Wordpress from Blogger. There are many things I'm happy about. Two little things really annoy me.

(1) The editor is really resource hungry at times. Especially if you type a sentence and then use the backspace key to delete it, the CPU usage will touch 100% for few seconds and your system will hang for a moment. Ctrl+Arrow to navigate words also similar case. Some improvement in the editor is definitely needed as writing a blog is the primary thing that everyone would do!

(2) I constantly try the new themes released. Most of the themes don't care about displaying the tag line under the title. Without that the title looks a little odd to me. So even though I like many other themes than the current theme that I'm using, I'm not switching to them because of the tag line problem.

These are really little things, but it does adds to the user experience.

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ICICI bank is flooded !!!

Today morning I got a mail from ICICI Direct. The content is:

Dear Customer,

We regret to inform you that the documents and proofs of identity and address given by you at the time of account opening have been fully damaged by flooding in the storage areas caused by heavy rains. The natural disaster was most unfortunate.Time bound resubmission/re-execution of the documents is necessary for compliance to various regulatory and legal requirements and to keep the account operational.

In order to complete this formality, you need to submit an account opening form and other documents. The Bank branches listed below will remain open on 23rd and 24th December to help you complete the documentation in time.

While we regret this imposition on you, we urge you to complete the formalities as soon as possible.

We state that no charges would be collected from you for re-submission of the forms.

We earnestly seek your co-operation in helping us serve you better.


Customer Service

I initially thought that it might be a phishing attack, but then it seemed to be genuine. I wonder how the nation's largest private sector bank is handling documents of high importance. They are not ready to come and collect but expect me go to their branch and submit the documents. Worst, they expect me to do it on a long weekend and send a mail on that friday. I'm not going to do it. Let me see how far it goes.

BTW, am I the only one whose documents were lost in the flood? Did anyone else get this mail?

[Update 26-Dec-06]

From what Jaganath said in the comment and many more people ending at this blog entry for search terms like "icici last documents flood", it looks like I'm not the only one whose document is lost. After the mail, I've another mail and few sms reminding me to visit the bank and submit the details. I replied the mail saying that its the bank's mistake that they didn't keep the documents safe and they should come back to me and collect the documents. No reply so far.

When we want to open an account these guys are behind us. They will send persons to your office or home or whereever you want to get all those documents. The treatment is royal. Once you are a customer then things are different. They charge you for everything (Citibank charged me Rs 50/- for withdrawing money from the bank counter when I lost my ATM card). I've decided not to visit the office and produce the documents rather ask them to come and collect it, since loosing the documents is their mistake. Let me see how far it goes.

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Bangalore traffic

If a you driving in Bangalore and struck in the traffic:

If you are driving a 2 wheeler, you can find some space between the 4 & 6 wheelers. Use every inch and keep going. If you are driving a 4 wheeler, you are helpless. Stop the engine; switch on the FM/Audio player and call your girl friend and talk. Occasionaly honk and irritate others.

If you are driving a 2 wheeler and there is no space between the cars & buses, switch to the platform or even the wrong side of the road. No one will question you. Keep going. If you are driving a 4 wheeler, you are helpless. If you girl friend got bored and kept the phone by now, call your x-girl friend and talk. Now and then honk and irritate others.

If you are driving a 2 wheeler and "traffic" in the platform and opposite side of the road is also stopped, you can do nothing about it. Switch on the FM in your mobile or call your girl friend. If you are driving a 4 wheeler, you are helpless. Try calling your girl friend's x-boy friend's current girl friend and talk. Keep honking and irritate everyone.

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Putty in Ubuntu

Yesterday I wanted to connect to the Source Forge servers. With windows, I've always used Putty. So I started googling for a port of Putty for Ubuntu. Then I realized the fact!

hee hee hee. Every great person makes silly mistakes. So now that I've made one, I too can be listed in the "great persons" list :-)

Related links:
Ubuntu Titbits
Eclipse in Ubuntu
Auto Login in Ubuntu
Screen resolution got struck in Ubuntu
Configure DSL in Ubuntu

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Whats in a name? Part III

In the third part of this series, I thought of discussing about the names of software companies and products.

The first time I encountered a name problem was during our first 2 months project @ PSG Tech. Initially we decided that we will create a compiler which can translate Java source which is written in Tamil. Later we modified it and created a new language itself. Just like Java, it had defined specs for the language, the intermediate file format and a virtual machine. One major difference is that the programs can be written in any natural language - English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, etc. So its a true multi-lingual programming language. Ok. How do we name it?

Since its language independent, the initial idea was to name it as "Ma". This word is language neutral and has the same meaning across most of the languages - Mom. Somehow none of us liked it.

Then we thought of what else is language neutral? Music. So we decided to name is as "Swaram". Then we tried to justify it with a reason:"With just 7 Swarams, you can produce countless Raagas. Similarly with just few constructs like 'if', 'else', 'while', 'do', 'for', you can produce countless programs".

The next time I had to name a product was during the second 2 months project. It was design and implementation of a Distributed File System. We named it as "Om File System". Reason? "Om is something that exists everywhere in the universe, but you can't point something and say that is Om (Hinduism) Similarly in our file system, a file is distributed across a network, but you cannot point a fragment and say this is that file". Well, OM had another "real" meaning as well. I don't want to heart Mr. M, (he is a very good man and I still like him) so I leave it to you to guess. :-)

Only after graduating from the college I read more about branding. You should always name a product so that when people hear about the name, they always associate it with the product. There are many example which will violate this rule ('Surf') and many examples which will follow this rule('Fevicol'). The interesting part is, if you give a unique name and if it becomes a grand success, the product itself will be named after the brand. Sony's Walkman is a classic example. Most of the personal stereo's are called Walkman. From 'Choli' to 'Dalda' there are many examples in this category as well.

Coming back to software, think of Microsoft. It wouldn't mean anything else other than the software gaint. When you hear the word, no matter what context it is, you associate always associate it with the company. That doesn't happen for Apple. Interestingly enough, the product names from these companies are other way around. Microsoft: Windows, Word, Excel, ... Apple: Mac, iPod, ...

The next time I'd to name a product was for the Eclipse plugin for the GWT. I thought it should uniquely identify my product, but should reflect both Eclipse and Google tradition. So the name Googlipse (Google Eclipse) was chosen. The logo also follows a similar theme, the coloring of Google and the font & stripes of Eclipse. I was very proud of coming out with a good name. I thought if you type in Googlipse in a search engine, it should always point to my product.

One of the very first mails I received about Googlipse was from the GWT team lead himself. He wrote: "Googlipse seems to be cool, despite the name". If I search for Googlipse, Google first says that its a spelling mistake & suggests to search for "Google" and then points to my product :-(

The next time I was in search of a name was for a company that I was about to start. (I always wanted to start a company and create some nice products. Since I've a product in hand, I'm very serious in starting a company). So what should be the name? It should be unique like Microsoft or Infosys. After coming up with a list of few names, I decided upon "Cypal Solutions". I'm currently undergoing the legal process for it, but what is Cypal?

I come from a village called Sellappam Palayam, which is very often called as Cyper Palayam by friends. When how about starting a company in that name itself? So the company is named as Cypal which stands for CYber PALayam. The first thing I did was for the availability of the domain name cypal.com. It was already taken and was available for sale. The website says that they are ready to sell it for $ 1000. I would have bought a good laptop for that price. So I had to choose a different domain name.

So you guessed it right. As this post is already big, I'm going to say the domain name in my next installment of "Whats in a name?" and its all about domain names.

Related links:
Whats in a name? Part II
Whats in a name? Part I

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Whats in a name? Part II

Last post was about naming conference rooms. Now lets look email ids. (Yes, I think email ids are also your name)

Unless your name is "Diguki Mabendra" or "Sukranthi Rakur", you can't get an email id in your name. So people become creative in creating email ids.

The first option people would try is to have prefixes. Eg:mail_pranni / mail_to_pranni / contact_pranni. If you had a little luck on your side, you might get it. All of these options were gone and one of my friend selected like this call_<his name>. He is still called as the "call boy" in our friend's circle. If you are running out of all mail_, contact_, call_ stuff, you can still try something like "please_please_please_mail_pranni". It should be available. If not look into the next one.

The next option is numerical suffixes. It will look something like pranni_2006 or pranni_1988, where the suffix would be either the current year or your year of birth. But the ugly thing about this scheme is 2006 doesn't have any meaning and 1988 means it will reveal that you are already 18 years old.

I've seen only two kind of people called with numbers. Not sure whether in real world it happens, but atleast in movies it does. One people who are jailed and people who send them to jail (our great police).

SI : "Yov 394, intha 567 thappichutanya"
PC : "ayyayo, 567 kitta thaan sir intha maasathu maamool ellam iruku"
SI : "Ada nee onnu. naa namma kaithi no 567 la sonnen ya, constaple 567 illa"

hmmm definitely they have some namespace problem :-)

For those who don't want to have any suffixes or prefixes still have a better option. Your short and sweet nick name (like "Bala") would have been taken by someone else. But not your full name. If that is also taken, try "firstname.lastname". If that is also taken then you can try out "firstname.middlename.lastname", there is least probability that someone might have already taken it. Unless you are really unlucky, you can settle down with this. So if you can't "Bala" you can go for "BalaNadarajaGurusamy.coimbatore.RamaKrishnaSunderesan". Only trouble with this scheme is that length of the textbox might not be enough to type your email id.

If you still prefer a short name, you can suffix/prefix your name with something you are passionate about. This idea looks good for "RajaCricket" or "PhotoPranni", but not "VikasCoinCollection" or "KumarCPlusPlus".

If you are tired of all these, the best way is to reverse your name and create an email id. So "Pranni" would become "Innarp". The name would look little odd, but this would definitely work. Only trouble is the reversed name should not be another name. Infact when God wanted to register his name, it was already taken and he even tried doG. But it was also taken. Don't wonder about who else has registered as God. My tech savy pet dog tried to register just as "Dog", since it was taken (there exists another tech savy dog), it reversed its name and registered. Poor God was not as techie as those dogs and knew about internet and email ids only a little later.

If all else fails, register a domain name and create an email id there. Eg: register "grprakash.com" and create an email id like "me" or "prakash". Well, the problem is availability of the domain. If you don't get the domain in your name, you have options. The first one is to have some prefixes like "visit_pranni.com". The next option is ...

Related links:
Whats in a name? Part III
Whats in a name? Part I

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Whats in a name? Part I

Pranni, in whatever name he is called, will behave like Pranni. So whats in a name? I don't know and I don't have any answer. But I'll pen down my thoughts on "names" this series titled "Whats in a name?".

In my previous company, we moved to a new building. All of the cubicles and cabins were numbered with some sequence like WKS 123. But what about the conference rooms? Somebody in the committe (we had a committe to look after all the arangements in the new office) came with a nice scheme - names of rivers. One of the HR said the cafeteria, which is also the biggest conference room, should be named as Kaveri. The reason he gave was it was the lifeline for the whole state of Karnataka. None of us believed that could be the real reason. He is not from Karnataka and he is not even from TamilNadu. So why Kaveri? Its neither his wife's name nor his kid's name. So why he suggested Kaveri? This started lot of rumours. It was finally concluded that he might had/have a girl friend named Kaveri.

Well, since most of us were not from Karnataka, the name was rejected. As Ganga is the biggest river, it was decided that the biggest conference room should be named after it.

The 5 rooms in the west side were named after the 5 rivers in Punjab. Then all around the office were Yamuna, Krishna, Godhavari etc.

On one side, there was Amazon. What? India is full of rivers and even if there were a dozen more conference rooms, we can name them after Indian rivers. So why Amazon? Digging into non-official sources revealed that our new VP was earlier working for Amazon.com and to make him happy the HR folks suggested this. Only after the new building was inaugrated, they came to know that our VP had quit Amazon after a very bad experience.

Moral of the Story 1:

If you are asked to name a conference room/anything, don't suggest a human name. If its a girl's name and you have no obvious connections like your sister's or wife's or mom's name, you are in trouble. If you suggest a guy's name and you have no obvious connections, you are in very very deep trouble. ;-)

Moral of the Story 2:
When you are naming to please someone, make sure the name makes the someone really happy. If not at least make sure that name doesn't remind and bring back some bad memories. :-)

Related links:
Whats in a name? Part III
Whats in a name? Part II

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Google opens up GWT source code!

An awesome move by Google - whole of GWT is now opensourced. GWT's user library was already opensourced with Apache license, but now the Java to Javascript compiler is also open sourced. The good thing is that they are accepting patches so you can submit your code to Google and become a committer as well.

Good work Google :-)

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The meaning of responsible …

A flash-back:

Pranni : Dad. I'm getting older, so I've to be responsible.
Dad : ???
Pranni : Here after give me the money, I'll take tickets in the bus whenever we are travelling.
Dad : But what made you think that you are grown up? You are still a kid.
Pranni : No. I got the letter from the school. I've been promoted to 6th standard. I'm no more elementary school boy. I'm grown up.

Few years later:
Pranni : Dad, I'm getting older, so I've to be responsible.
Dad : ???
Pranni : Here after when we go out in the moped, I'll be driving. You sit behind.

Looking back, I could laugh at the meanings of responsibility at different ages. Now that I'm 18 years old, the meaning of responsibility is really different. Especially after becoming a father of a cute little princess. May be years later I'll be laughing at this meaning too. But till I get another meaning, let me be "responsible" :-)

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One year !

Its my wedding anniversary today. I can't believe that one year has gone. I remember same day last year with all the tension, happiness, troubles and whole lot of drama. I know this year will be completely different. Without her, there is nothing to celebrate. It started just like anyother day, except for one unexpected visitor at 7 AM in the morning. Uncle called me and went downstairs. Somebody was waiting there with a boequet and a greeting card. Till I reached the gate, I was keep on guessing who would have sent it. To my surprise it was from my office! That was really pleasant surprise. I've seen how birthday celebrations are happening here. the HR gal will take the card and go from desk to desk to get it signed from everyone and that evening the birthday baby should sponsor snacks for the whole company. (Think of how practical it will be in TCS/Infosys) But sending a bouquet right to my house, that too at early morning, was really nice idea. I wish she were here to receive it. I'm surely missing her at occasions like ths. Its ok. Wait for a week to hear the good news ;-)

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Think of this. You will be really busy with something. Either a meeting with your PM or debugging a nasty bug or spending a nice moment with your friends in the cafeteria or discussing all the sweet nothings with your girl friend. You get a call in your cellphone/office landline. You pickup only to hear "Would you like to have a personal loan at attractive interest rate" or "How about an exciting job oppurtunity that fits your career" or "Are you interested in credit card". I hate tele marketing. When I'm in a relaxed mood and not so busy, things are different.

Here are few such examples:

:Hello sir. Are you looking for a job change?
:hmmm. Yes. Why are you asking?
:We are a Delhi based consultancy company and we do have really nice openings for the talented.
:What about the salary?
:You will get the best in the industry sir
:Great. What are the companies do you deal with?
:We deal with various companies. What is your qualification and skill set sir?
:I've completed my +2 and have 5 arrears in my B.Com.
:(after a moment) So how did you get into the industry? you went thru any computer courses like Aptech or NIIT?
:Computer course? Why do I need to learn computers?
:(quite confused) hmmm. You are a developer right? Or a tester?
:Oh! you got the wrong extension. I'm the security sitting in the reception. So you have jobs only for the computer persons?
:Sorry sir

I don't know how the tele marketing gal felt, but I really enjoyed it. hee hee hee. Check this one (We had to share the extension in one of my previous companies):

:Hello, can I talk to Vanitha?
:Yes, Vanitha speaking
:Sir, I asked for Vanitha
:Yes, Vanitha here. What do you want?
:No Sir, errr, sorry Madam, Are you interested in personal loans?
:Yes, I want to buy a pen and I need Rs 10. Do you give a loan without any interest for that.
(now she understands that somebody is playing and keeps the receiver)

This I guess is the best one:

:Hello, Can I talk to Srini?
:Srini has gone to the canteen. What do you want?
:No problem, I'll call after 10 minutes
:I don't think there is any need for that. As far as I know, he has credit cards from every major bank; he has a personal loan for 15 Lakhs and he already paying EMI for a house loan of 50 Lakhs.
:How much did you said the personal loan was?
:15 Lakhs. I don't think he will go for it again. So you better not call again.
:Sure. Thanks

Wait. That is not the end of the story. Ater 15 mins Srini did get a call and he was talking over the phone for 10 mins. When it was over, he stood up and asked: "who said my wife that I took a personal loan?"

Well, I leave the rest to your imagination ;-(

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