Thursday, November 23, 2006

Closures and adding complexity to Java

Just for the record, here's the comment I posted on regarding the new closures proposal by Neal Gafter et al:

"Speaking of Closures, its hard not to agree with Josh Bloch on the new Closures proposal. He expressed serious concerns in his interview about further changing an already complex type system just to accommodate Closures. The current proposal seems more like engineering for the sake of it without thinking about the learning curve for a newbie. Open sourcing java will be mostly futile if we go the C++ way by introducing unnecessarily complex changes to the language based on the whims of theorists (even if they happen to be the pioneers in language theory). We need a more pragmatic solution that keeps in mind (the barriers to entry for) the average "Joe Java" as Josh says. The same way in which generics weren't over engineered to ape C++, we need a more practical approach to implementing Closures instead of merely looking to satiate the engineering appetite of a few individuals. "

The power of Java lies in its simplicity. We'd be killing the language by dragging it along the C++ path.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Renaming Bangalore to a toilet

I'm a Kannadiga, a native of Bangalore, born and brought up here. And the farthest forefather in my family tree I've known also lived here. So, theoretically speaking, I'm as Bangalorean as one can get. Good, bad or ugly, polluted, crowded by an immigrant population, bursting at it seams, plagued by infrastructural issues and all that, it remains dear to me - my home. The love of my life, really. I've also loved it for its colonial history and the resulting tinge of cosmopolitan quality that its always had. At the same time, its a city that's home to some stalwarts in Kannada literature, theatre, and cinema. And irrespective of what the immigrant population has called the city over the decades (yes, hard to believe, but Bangalore's weather has always attracted a sizable number of outsiders right through the 20th century), we have always called it Bengaluru. And even if you go by the Brits' version of it, I can't imagine a name more charming than Bangalore. And now, as if the rape that the city is being subjected to at the hands of the JDS government, greedy land developers (bringing down historical buildings every day to construct apartments to cater to the engineered real estate boom) and other parasites was not enough, that politician U.R. Anantha Murthy desperately seeking attention (having lost out in an attempt to win a seat in the parliament) proposes a change of name Benga-loo-ru ostensibly to make outsiders pronounce the city's name the way the locals do, and "restore pride in Kannada". Think of this for a second: try as you might, can you pronouce "Allapuzha" like a mallu, or the expansion of DMK like a true tam? Do you care? Do they care that you cannot? No. Because you cannot. You need not. You're not a local. On similar lines, I have enough pride as a Kannadiga & a Bangalorean to not be bothered about how outsiders pronounce the name of my city as long as they respect the city and its culture (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the spelling of the city). A language or a culture is too great in itself to require help from ordinary mortals in "deifying" it. It would've been a continued tribute to Bangalore's culture if it had two equally charming pronunciations used by different sets of people. But no - the attention seeking avaricious "guardians" of Karnataka have now come up with a spelling that has Bengal and loo in it. (I would've even settled for Bengaluru despite that name having bengal in it, but having a toilet in the name is a little too hard to digest. Gives me a constipation ).

From being a world renowned technology center (that never lost touch with its culture, mind you), we are now the laughing stock of the world with toilet in the name of our city. Not to mention the crores of rupees spent on the exercise. The possibilities of using the same cash for developmental efforts in a city groaning under its own weight are, to say the least, countless. Instead, the taxpayers money will now be swindled in the name of restoring Bangalore's pride. And this proposal comes from the same %$^* writer who also opposed English as an additional language in lower primary schools. The one person who's being doing Kannada and Karnataka great service, Mr.N.R. Narayana Murty, has exactly the opposite view on English in schools. But his exhortations fell on deaf ears. The greatest asset of the tech population (including locals) of Bangalore is the ability to converse in English effortlessly. And we will now be isolating ourselves from the rest of the world by imposing such draconian rules. We're marching towards being an incompetent, narrow-minded and, oh yes, "proud" culture.
I'm now well and truly embarrassed of my "culture".

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blackbox: "shipping" your datacenter

Gosh!! Is this cool or what...

R.I.P, vold

The troublesome and buggy volume management daemon in Solaris is history and has been replaced in the latest nevada build by (the weirdly named) Tamarack, the removable media enhancement to solaris. More details here .

Friday, October 20, 2006

Google's awesome quarterly results

70% increase in profits!! Take that, Yahoo!! And for wise guys spreading FUD about Google, this one's for you. :-))

Saturday, October 14, 2006

One at Sun

Four days ago, I completed a year at Sun Microsystems. Its quite been an eventful year that has witnessed change in the leadership at the top (a new CEO/COO), change in the site leadership where I work, a new manager for our team, a new release of the product I work on and a reduction in work force, among other things. I was told before joining Sun that there'd never be a dull moment here - and indeed its been an insanely "adventurous" year that has taught me (both on the technical and professional front) much more than I learned the year before (which is what keeps you at Sun). A mixed bag of year, and hopefully, the first of many to come.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Swing painters, filty rich clients and "Ajaxified" Swing

A collection of (slightly old) writeups and presentations from the Aerith/SwingX folks:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Interesting quote on performance improvements

Interesting quote from Bryan Cantrill on performance improvements:

"...More than anything, what we (or at least I) learned
from DTrace is that if you want to get big wins, you don't make it
incrementally faster to do existing work -- you eliminate work entirely by
addressing its source higher in the stack of abstraction."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finding open locks in Postgres

Found a useful query to find open locks in postgres:

select pg_class.relname,pg_locks.* from pg_class,pg_locks where pg_class.relfilenode=pg_locks.relation;

Sunday, September 03, 2006

India an economic super power? Fat chance.

This blog links to an interesting article on the economies of India and China. I especially liked the comment posted at this blog by Danese Cooper (Formerly open source community manager at Sun, now will Intel. She also gave a talk at this year).
She says, "Still, I'd rather live in a future where India keeps China's rapacious growth in check."

Its rather ironical that the world expects so much from India when we're going from bad to worse - caste based reservations in universities, poorly taught undergrads being churned out by the ten thousands every year by the universities, corruption, red tape, lack of access to good quality higher education, fast vanishing flora, fauna and natural resources, attempted withdrawal of the right to information act etc. Such pseudo democracy is only slightly better than communism country. Only slightly.
Just this evening, it took me 2.5 hours to negotiate 12 KMs because a huge rally was organized by the ruling Congress party in Bangalore. Villagers were brought in 9000 buses to "participate" in the show of "strength" by that political party. Apart from the physical stress I went through, my car also suffered a few scratches thanks to the bumper to bumper traffic. TV channels reported a 40 KM long traffic jam on the highway connecting Bangalore and Tumkur(60 KM away) due to this event. Even the cops were mute spectators (as usual) to this event.
Some democracy we have. Who the hell would want to live in such a country?
And we hope to give China a run for its money, huh?

Technorati tags: ,

Friday, September 01, 2006

USB devices in Solaris 10

Good post on managing USB devices in S10 . Not all of it may work with the FCS release though. vold is severely broken in that release. I'd recommend disabling it ("svcadm disable volfs") and manually mounting your USB stick instead. With update 2 however, vold and hot plugging of USB devices work like a charm.

Technorati tags: , ,

Monday, August 21, 2006

The state of Indian cinema

You shouldn't expect to see a movie review (of all things) on my blog. But there are exceptions :-) Anyways, I happened to watch a movie named "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" (Never say Goodbye) made by a production house known for high-emotion, low intellect melodramatic movies. To me, this genre of movies represents the worst of Indian Cinema (and shows the Indian audience in poor light). So, I was expecting nothing better when I was forced (yes, forced) into the movie hall by my friends. But I was pleasantly surprised by what was dished out. So much so that I wrote a review of it on IMDB (that has, by the way, rated it at 4.5/10 - a big deal considering the previous track record of the director in dealing with complex topics). The music, by the way, blows the doors on any recent music churned out by the Hindi film industry. Good - Indian cinema (and hopefully the audience) is growing up by the day.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A perfect evening in T.G. Halli

Hows that? I'll let the picture describe the evening. No words will do. :-)
(This place is 30 KM west of Bangalore, by the way)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Google's hiring process: Boon/Bane?

Interesting digg on Google's messed up hiring process. Can't help but sympathize with some of those guys, especially after hearing the tale of a friend (from school): This guy goes through the the usual process (for a developer's position) - lotsa prepping, anxiety, sweating, mental stress, and tons & tons of tricky questions that made up the grilling technical interviews. He does reasonably well and is told ,"You're through with the tech rounds. Your profile's being reviewed". As is the case with most people, he begins to dream. Then... days & weeks pass... blank. No response. Then one day, he's told (something to the effect of), "Sorry, but your college background isn't good enough. You're not from an "elite" college. Besides, you could've scored better in your theoritical papers". The question to ask is, what were the technical interviews for?
What was the resume submitted for? Couldn't those guys look at the college name/marks right then and figure out that his "pedigree" was "good enough" for them? Why waste his time, effort and mental energy on this futile exercise and shut the door in my face?
Moral: Don't dream of goog unless you're from an elite college and you've maxed all your exams in college. You'd be wasting your time.

digg story

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Thus sang the cuckoo...

...outside my window, that is. :-)

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Argentine match replays: Maxi Rodriguez's goal

The brilliant goal by Maxi Rodriguez against Mexico. Again, as this video proves, Argentina played some of the best soccer on display in this world cup & atleast deserved a place in the finals, if nothing else. But pekerman had to make that tactical blunder...

The goal of the world cup

The 24-pass goal by Argentina with a touch of magic from Hernan Crespo.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Green lost in the gray

A must read - Green lost in the gray. Explains why eco conservation in the cities is as important as that in the countryside.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Microsoft to support ODF!

Believe it! Microsoft "Expands" Document Interoperability says their press release. Obviously, market pressure can work miracles.

World cup soccer rewind: Argentina 1986

The other goal that defined Maradona. This one seemed to use the feet of god himself.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Soccer World Cup '06 is over me atleast. When Germany undeservingly won over Argentina by way of penalty shootouts. A team relying heavily on purchased, imported players (Klose,Podoloski...) "defeated" a truly talented side through what has come to be a lottery (that's what penalty shootouts are). I hope justice will be done and those *$!#^ Germans will be beaten hollow in the years to come, while Argentina claim the cup the next time atleast. In this gloom, one can seek recourse to this legend: “The Pope is German. God is Argentine — Diego X.” Argentina's time shall come.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Messaging is just degenerate RPC?

I hate to use expletives to describe this guy's writeup since he's done a remarkable job with the cajo project. But I couldn't help laugh at this claim of his:
"Messaging is degenerate RPC: If you want messaging, by all means, go for it! It is a very useful technique. However, it must be seen for what it is; degenerate synchronous RPC: i.e. a tiny subset of the functionality that is possible with distributed objects."

It's good to be passionate about the remote invocation approach that your project uses, but its plain daftness to make silly claims like "this is the right way of implementing a distributed system". For the same reason, I won't pass a judgement. I'll let you consider a few points and arrive at a conclusion for yourself:

1)Could google's apps have scaled with synchronous RPCs?
2)What's better for a high perf distributed system - blocking on a synchronous RPC call or continuing processing until the response to a remote message interrupts you on another thread?
3)In a supply-chain kinda web app, once you receive order confirmations, do you make RPC calls to place orders for shipping each component, or simply queue up the request in a message queue (which a "down-stream" app could just read off and dispatch orders)?
4)Ever heard of "decoupling" applications?
5)What's easier - a 1:n messagetopic (in JMS) or a similar rpc invocation on 'n' remote objects?

I could give you a zillion more examples like this where async messaging scales much better. And "what if the underlying implementation uses rpc's" or "email is just rpc" are very lame refrains: you're generalizing an implementation approach adopted by a messaging system used by humans and extending it to apply to those used by fast applications relying on asynchronous messaging. How're you so sure that the 2 must be implemente similarly?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Digg inside firefox

A firefox extension to digg a link you find interesting - Digg This!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Get Duked!!

The Java Duke logos are now available for use in your blog. Show your love for java!!

Go Duke!!!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The sinking "Itanic"

The news just keeps getting better & better all the time...

Itanium’s support ebbing away

Technorati tags:

Monday, April 17, 2006

Getting the java plugin to work on firefox/Solaris

Real useful

Java for the Browser

Yahoo's Ethan Nicholas writes about why Java is still the best browser based technology available, and how its distribution can be improved. A must read.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Classifieds with Google Base

Firstly, my apologies (to no one in particular) for the looong hiatus . Sheer laziness. Anyways, on to the main topic - did you know such a thing existed- Google Base ? It's a place to post/search for classifieds of all kinds. Yes - all kinds. Been discovering quite a few low profile changes with the goog goodies. The bookmarks for example - they now let you bookmark like delicious does, while giving you the choice of keeping bookmarks private or sharing them. Real cool.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cool Quote

Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mining at Kudremukh:Why the SC should stand firm

It was quite disheartening to see the Karnataka Bar Association appeal to the SC to reconsider its decision on the KIOCL in Kudremukh. The landmark judgment of the SC that asked the KIOCL to close operations - based on the evidence of immense environmental damage caused to Kudremukh’s pristine rainforests by KIOCL’s operations - promises to be an example in eco conservation. Yes, I can only imagine the plight of the 20,000 individuals who have been displaced as a result. But remember, it’s the KIOCL’s responsibility to find them a suitable alternative. After all, it was the most profitable government owned mining undertaking in the country. It’s time for the cash-rich government to now find alternative employment for its employees. I hope the CM Mr.Dharam Singh succeeds in his endeavor. But, at no cost should the mines be allowed to reopen and cause any further damage to the environment. Just to refresh one’s memory:
1) The Kudremukh range is home to three rivers – Bhadra being one of them.

2) The reclusive Lion tailed macaque, whose numbers are fast dwindling, is found primarily in the Bhagavathi range of Kudremukh.
3) The KIOCL, since its inception has damaged hectares of virgin rainforests of this range and believes that creating rose gardens or eucalyptus groves amounts to “reforestation”.
4) Tons of iron ore sludge was leaked into the forests due to the company’s oversight.
5) All rivers starting at Kudremukh are now witnessing increased levels of contamination in various forms. – Check this PDF.

Speaking of point 2 above, one might ask, “Why does preserving any animal species assume such importance? We just need enough green cover, right?” – Wrong.

There is such a thing as ecological balance, wherein the flora and fauna are equally important to each other’s (symbiotic) existence. Take out one from this feedback loop and the other vanishes. And if the forests vanish, so do the rains (remember, the ocean currents are not the only ones that bring us rainfall) and the rivers that are fed by them. With that ends our source of water, energy and the climate control that the Western Ghats are - which brings me to the point of our flawed understanding of “Human rights”: as much as the 20,000 in Kudremukh have a right to 2 square meals a day, future generations have a right to clean air, water and food – which only a balanced ecosystem can guarantee us for centuries to come (I’m just quoting from articles (this and this) by Bittu Sahgal – and he should know?). So, it’s imperative that we do our bit (for our own good) to preserve what is a basic necessity for a flourishing civilization (and economy). When you see a greedy businessman plotting to wipe out our future in the name of “development”, stand up in whatever way you can against such a force. Express your opinion through the media that matter, lend your voice to the few frail voices that now dare to oppose the “development” cartel and lend your spare time for a worthy cause. Don’t expect someone to lead you by the finger and answer questions for you like “Where do I start?”

If we have the will to stand up & be counted, intend to lend a meaning to our self-centered lives, and amount to something, we will find the means to achieve a worthy goal. Merely saying, "I love nature" or "I'm an avid trekker" amounts to zilch. What have you given back to the forests that have played host to yourinnumerable treks all these years? So, start now, write about it in your blog, write to people who you think can have a significant influence on decisions in future, persuade people, contribute through your time (or money - one can subacribe to magazines like sanctuary wherein the subscription fee will be used for the field work of these organizations).

(Meanwhile, our cities choke on their own excesses… that’s another story, another blog)