Friday, February 25, 2005

Oscillating between literature and music

This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but the blogthing questionnaire says:

Your Dominant Intelligence is Musical Intelligence

Every part of your life has a beat, and you're often tapping your fingers or toes.
You enjoy sounds of all types, but you also find sound can distract you at the wrong time.
You are probably a gifted musician of some sort - even if you haven't realized it.
Also a music lover, you tend to appreciate artists of all kinds.

You would make a great musician, disc jockey, singer, or composer.

I was totally taken aback; shocked, in fact. But, guess what, I went back to the questionnnaire and changed just one answer to indicate that i enjoyed writing more than i did singing a solo, and this is what turned up -

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Thank you, thank you. Now,that's a relief.Whewww!!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sun #1 Unix seller in 2004

This article quoted the yearly gertner report that just came out, stating:
"Sun retained the top Unix sales position, with $5.14 billion in sales, compared to HP's $4.89 billion and IBM's $4.32 billion. If IBM's current 7 percent Unix growth rate for 2004 holds and HP's and Sun's Unix sales continue to shrink by their respective 7.8 percent and 5.3 percent, Sun will still be the number one Unix vendor in 2005, but HP will drop to number three behind IBM."

And the report corresponds to a time when Sun hadn't even unleashed the power of Solaris10. Hopefully, things can only get better hereon. What will HP & IBM do? Run for cover and take refuge under Linux and Windows to escape the wrath of Solaris.The battle has only just begun (with Sun changing the rules of the game, again) :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A parody on HP

This site is the most hilarious spoof i've read/watched. Especially these pages -

1) Corporate news
2)New CEO candidates
3) Brand strategy
4) Offices of the future

Simply brilliant. What else can I say?!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Some real good quotes from fortune

1)Q: How many Micro$oft programmers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 472. One to write WinGetLightBulbHandle. One to write
WinQueryStatusLightBulb. One to write WinGetLightSwitch-Handle...

2)On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.
-- Cartoon caption

3)It may be bad manners to talk with your mouth full, but it isn't too
good either if you speak when your head is empty.

"I made the decision to name the Justice Department building after Robert
Kennedy because he's deservant."

George W. Bush
November 20, 2001
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office about his decision to name the
Justice Dept. building after former U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy.
Aired on CNN.
(NOTE: I'll be updating this particular entry with new quotes as & when i find them.)

Friday, February 18, 2005

James Gosling on SWT

Some good points by Gosling on why SWT is a fast, light weight way to (porting) hell...

"The SWT thing was just…it pissed me off beyond words. So, if you wind back the clock a few years, the original toolkit in Java was this thing called AWT, the Abstract Window Toolkit. It’s still there, and it’s a fairly simple, straightforward toolkit, and it’s based on using the widgets from the underlying (inaudible). It had a wide variety of really, really ugly problems, things like how to get semantics consistent from platform to platform, and some of the little fringe things like cut and paste. Trying to get cut and paste to operate correctly between text widgets, like between the Mac text widgets, the Motif text widgets and the Windows text widgets. When you’re actually trying to use those text widgets in their native homes, it’s just a nightmare. How do you deal with things like subcopying, how do you make a button extensible? How do you deal with the more advanced features that people want, like being able to do tables where you can control the rendering of components and cells and that kind of stuff?

A lot of those things were completely precluded by the AWT architecture. IBM in particular was really upset about the way that the AWT architecture had gone, and they were one of the leading agitators that caused Flame to be created. In fact, about half of the engineers on the Flame team were actually from IBM -- they actually got IBM pay cheques. IBM built Apple Flame, and actually then Swing was quite successful, it’s been successful for quite a while. The biggest problem with Swing was that it can do so much that it’s kind of become like the 747 cockpit if you like APIs. There’s a lot of complexity there, and the hard part is figuring out how to use it. It’s in this weird situation where pretty much anything you can want to do in Swing, you can do easily. But what’s hard is to figure out the easy path through all of the different options, the different ways you can do things. Once you figure out the one true path to get what you want done, then it’s pretty easy. People often say “Why don’t you just make it easier by simplifying it?”, and say, “so you simplify it in this way, it would make my life better”. But then for the next guy it would be worse, because he wants to not go there, he wants to go on this particular path. So it’s been difficult to manage the complexity right.

So, wind the clock forward a few years, and there’s (inaudible) from IBM (inaudible) “Swing is too complicated, let’s do AWT all over again”, and if you look at the SWT architecture, it’s almost exactly the same as AWT. It has all the AWT problems: it’s way simple, it doesn’t port very well. And its API is somewhat different, because essentially what they did was they made the Windows version really easy by making their API pretty much a clone of the Windows API. And then on Linux, they tried to make Motif look like the Windows toolkit. They’ve got those mapping layers that are just like, really horrible, and it only kind of works. And same thing in OS X, their porting problems from platform to platform is a nightmare, their consistency (inaudible) is a nightmare. And it’s sort of like, “You were there seven or eight years ago. It was a bad place to be, don’t go back!”. The problem is that IBM is like three hundred and some-odd thousand people, so there’s like a cluster of people. Most of the people we were working with back then were in North Carolina and New York State, like Westchester, and they actually understood things pretty well."

Original Q& A transcript - James Gosling Q & A

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Autoboxing - Some home truths

Quoting some examples ...

Integer i1 = 123;
Integer i2 = 123;
System.out.println(i1 == i2); //true

Integer i1 = -129;
Integer i2 = -129;
System.out.println(i1 == i2); //false!!

The fact of the matter is that autoboxing is just an automatic wrapping & unwrapping of the primitives. == was never supposed to be used for comparing values. And autoboxing does not change those semantics (rightly).

P.S: While I'm talking about equality, here's how an IdentityHashMap differs from thae normal HashMap semantically (quoting from the docs)...

"in an IdentityHashMap, two keys k1 and k2 are considered equal if and only if (k1==k2). (In normal Map implementations (like HashMap) two keys k1 and k2 are considered equal if and only if (k1==null ? k2==null : k1.equals(k2)) .)"

(Remember, the contract b/w an hashCode() and equals() of an object requires that if you override the hashCode calculation, it is for you to handle the equality comparison as well, failing which, most HashMap implementations will bomb)

Idiosyncrasies of the == String comparison

Some fun with String equality ... (and btw, that's why it is advisable to use string.equals() instead of == )

String s1 = "True";
String s2 = "True";
s1 == s2 == true //compiler uses one instance for string literals

String s3 = new String("False");
String s4 = new String("False");
s3 == s4 == false //two forced instances

String s5 = "True";
String s6 = "Tr" + "ue";
s5 == s6 == true //compiler evaluates and uses same instance

String s7 = "False";
String sx = "F";
String s8 = sx + "alse";
s7 == s8 == false //compiler won't evaluate where a second reference is involved

Pretty much summarizes various possiblities that arise in the == string comparison. Found this in a discussion on
Autoboxing in J2SE 5 on TSS.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Building a new Bangalore (on a green graveyard)

Background first: BDA has announced a grade separator at South End Circle. And, curiously enough, the grade separator's arms will span South End road and the road leading to Madhavan Park. Doesn't make sense? Well, as residents & shopkeepers in the vicinity of south end circle say, the traffic at this "gateway to the south" is quite manageable and hasn't gone out of hand compared to, say, Diary circle or Bannerghatta road. Let’s assume, for a moment, that the locals don't have an iota of an idea about the traffic situation and the BDA is genuinely concerned about the citizens' welfare. Now, why would you have two arms of the grade separator on 2 of the calmest roads that lead to the junction? Why have the grade separator at all then? The answer to that lies in the answer to why the National College flyover was "conceived": It turns out that the private contractors involved in civil works are fast running out of projects. And there won't be any new projects coming up unless an artificial need for such projects is created. But, who is to decide whether a certain project is indeed required? Well, the civic bodies are wise enough to decide what's "good" for the people (and their own pockets), aren't they? That's why we're seeing a deluge of flyovers and grade separators being "synthesized", "planned" and executed. Of course, the contractors compensate the approving bodies appropriately (goes without saying). Obviously, since the amount of money involved is so huge, the flyover juggernaut rolls on inexorably - like it did in case of the national college flyover. The college itself, once surrounded by a verdant fortress, now lies partly buried under several inches of dirt and dust. Feeling powerless, and finding myself incapable of doing anything to save those trees from certain destruction, I rang up Suresh Heblikar last evening, looking for some guidance. He was kind enough to spend 15 mins explaining various possibilities and listing out options. Some take-home points at the end of the discussion-

  1. There is NO formal means of tackling this menace. You cannot waste your time bringing in stay orders from the court.
  2. Be specific – address the civic org that has approved this project. (The BDA in this case.) Shouting yourself hoarse on M.G road will have little impact.
  3. Make yourself heard –
    1. The least you can do is write to local papers about this. The Kannada papers are more vociferous when it comes to protesting for the environment and are more likely to publish your letter.
    2. Gather your friends/ other likeminded people and stage a protest. (You’ll first have to shed all your inhibitions to do that, though.) Try to get the press involved. Maybe invite a few reporters over to the place where you plan to stage the protest. In the past, Mr.Heblikar has helped resident groups get easier access to the press.
    3. If option b is not to your liking, gather residents of your area and organize a signature campaign. Submit the memorandum to the “Babu” involved.

  1. You do NOT have to belong to the affected area or be a native of Bangalore to lodge a protest. Remember, destruction of the environment affects every one of us, no matter which place we belong to. Mr.Heblikar gave a very good example of how a few Bengalis living around Bannerghatta road decided to protest the condition of the road and how it resulted in increased dust levels, reduced visibility around their apartments, and even induced respiratory disorders in their children. They approached him for guidance and he helped draw attention to their cause. When I expressed surprise over this incident, he said, “We wait for a messiah to appear out of nowhere and rescue us. We seldom take the initiative. We need to change the attitude and take ownership. It’s for our own good.” That’s something that we ALL need to bear in mind.

And you wouldn’t be hampering “development” by protesting against these project (the BDA loves to use this to respond to activists). We can do without such development in most cases. Would you prefer to wait the extra 10 minutes at the traffic signal (you might have to wear a mask then) or wake up gasping for breath every morning (what with all the trees gone) and wear a mask all day long? And I haven’t even started talking about the beauty that these trees lend to our city. In fact, they define (or defined?) our identity.

So, please, whatever your means, spend a few minutes of your spare time for a worthy cause. Make your voice heard and protect our green cover. Every individual does matter. Every person makes a difference. And remember, it’s for our own good.

First stop – The south end circle grade separator.

Some information that might help –

1) ToI editor –

2) Deccan Herald –

3) Mr.Suresh Heblikar - 26553422

Friday, February 11, 2005

Here comes the sun(db)

At Sun Microsystems' annual meeting for analysts, Scott McNealy showed this slide and raised the possibility of Sun offering customers its own database software...

Well, that was the one thing everyone said sun was missing.Now what will Mr Milunovic have to say? I don't know about that, all I can say is "Here comes the Sun..." :-)

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Linux jihad against SUN (Read:bite the hand that wants to feed you)

Excellent blog by one Sid art on why the penguins are scared stiff by Solaris and keep comforting themselves by flaming Sun and labelling Sun "evil"
Random Thoughts: The Linux jihad against SUN: "The Linux jihad against SUN".
A followup on it by Simon Phipps is also really lucid.And, of course, i happened to read all this through Alan Hargreaves' entry. My comments posted there...

" Wise guy stallman has added more fuel to the fire, further misleading the already confused,terrified,insecure slashdot crowd. As simon phipps righty pointed out, they find themselves ill equipped to understand CDDL, and find solace in blindly attacking Sun. You need not be a lawyer to understand that OSI approval implies patent protected for the relevant IP.You need to remember that they've already done the legal homework on behalf of the community.So, why panic (or blindly flame Sun, Mr.Stallman)?"

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Be an angel, throw the linux word on slashdot

Alan Hargreaves pointed out a couple of appalingly biased articles on ZDNet. Quite infuriating, really.This is what i posted under the comments...
"The first (anonymous) comment couldn't have said it better. The community blindly,desperately wants to "see sun revealed as the evil one". That's just not going to happen. Why?Because there ISN'T any evil,ulterior motive behind sun's moves. The community (read slashdotters) loves dancing to the tunes of IBM & HP. Just throw the Linux word and they'll fall head-over-heels. It's so distressingly easy to manipulate them. Which is exaclty what IBM did with their 500 patents, as jonathan pointed out. And what do they do when they're gifted a better operating system? Call the benefactor "evil" and "a bed-fellow of MS". The bias became even more obvious when a story-submission regarding the relevance of IBM's patents was simply rejected outright at slashdot.No surprises there.