Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Management funda number .. hmm lost count

Below is the IP msnger log of a brief conversation with my immediate senior. I filled up my timesheets and this was his response, after he rejected them and asked me to do the boring task all over again. (me in blue letters)

+I don't think you have spent so much time on the coding.
+Please discuss to justify this time
+What should I fill in then ?
whatever you have done

What should I make out of it?

Anyway, I filled in something that I did not spend time on at all, and it went through. I did think whether maybe he wanted me to fill in something else, to use it against me later. But then, I was tired of constant nagging, and filled the timesheets up.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is programming in CAPS LOCK rude?

I was "talking" to an old friend on yahoo messenger. We met online after a looonnnngg time. The Caps Lock was accidentally switched on. My friend tells me "Stop yelling".

Just recalled the days when I first started with computers when I was in school. I dont remember whether it was BASIC or COBOL, or both, but you have to code in all caps. Does this mean that I am being rude to the computer ?? Or the computer wants me to be rude, or it wont obey me.

By the way, I have forgotten programming in BASIC. Its been over 9 years since I have written a single line in BASIC, except one day when I got my hands on an old Windows98 CD, which has QBasic compiler in extras, and I just tried it out for a while. VB is far too different from the original versions of the language. GWBasic and QBasic were the most common BASIC interpreters available.

But I still do remember some COBOL, where in my previous job, I had to write a utility to transfer data on the mainframes. A small one though, but my experience with COBOL did come in handy. I dont even remember what compiler I used, since when it was halfway through, somebody else took over the ownership. For a language so old, COBOL is still going strong, though it is now being replaced by Java and Csharp. Java might do what C/C++ were unable to do - replace COBOL.

Belated Independence Day post

Freedom. We just celebrated our 60th independence day on 15th August, 2006. And are we really free? The government has imposed a "dry day"(yeah, strangely enough, the days when you as a citizen are not supposed to drink are called dry days. Wine shops, bars and pubs are either shut or dont serve drinks on those days) on Independence Day. Ohh come on, we cannot even celebrate our Independence Day with a bottle of beer. And I cannot just type in what I feel about this, else this will get my site blocked, or have the police looking for me. Crazy, I say.

First of all, I dont get the logic of all this. Neither are you allowed to sell drinks, nor are you supposed to drink. But will it stop people who keep drinks at home? Will anyone who just wants to drink be stoppped.

More than that, whats the motivation for prohibition. Does the government want to tell us that drinks are bad. Funnily, they are bad one day, but okay the next?

Strangely enough, when even the Gods have drinks. Shiva has bhang and dances the Dance of Death when He feels like. The Gods in the Dev Lok have Soma ras. There is nothing mentioned in Hinduism whether drinks are bad or not. Just absolutely nothing. Neither does it say that drinks are bad. And yeah, people consumed drinks freely in the ancient times (well, of course, the drinks that were available during that time). So just what is wrong with it. Of course, in excess, it is too bad, but within limits, it feels good.

I think why it is still considered as bad is that it is considered bad in Islam. Though drinks are not banned in India (we might have come close to it, given the social stigma attached to it), they are still considered kind of anti-social. What gave rise to that impression, is most probably the fact that Muslim kings enslaved India for around 400 years, and imposed their brand of morality on everyone else, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists(or what remained of them after their massacre by the invading uncivilized hordes) and Sikhs.

All in all, prohibition has only driven the consumption of liquor underground in states where it has been implemented, it has not stopped the consumption of liquor.

sample this - nothing

Sample this from Norther -- Nothing. A wonderful track, a very fine specimen of heavy rock/metal blended with melody and smooth guitar riffs.

Those who dont like heavy rock cheels and kauwas (kites and crows screeching), avoid this.

Lyrics here -
A section pasted below-
- - - - - -

Every day the pain comes back again
The grief that tightens it's grip, day by day
Loneliness it haunts me, makes me cry
Feels like the world has abandoned me
I'm weak, I'm nothing, just a shadow of my life
My heart is dead and still I dream of you
Don't you understand you're the reason for my pain

I hear you calling me to come
There's no-on I can see
Just the nights cold breeze
Oh god I'm so alone, so alone

I fear the darkness that makes me blind
There's nothing I can feel
These tears are nothing without you
I'm nothing without you
Can you see my heart, broken like my life
Nothing to hold on, nothing to live for
This pain is too much for me to take
Holding on to you was like holding on to nothing

My trust for you tore me apart
I gave all for you from my heart

- - - - - -

minority protection


The forced haircut of a Sikh boy in Jaipur triggered a clash between the Bharatiya Janata Party-Akali Dal and the Congress over the issue of protection of minorities with the rival sides targeting each other over their 'poor' record.

Tell me one thing, what has protection of minorities by the governments got to do with this. Some crazy boys cut the hair of a Sikh boy over an issue as trivial as a love affair, and so the government is blamed for not protecting minorities. Whats the link, I just dont understand, given that I probably have a primitive brain not capable enough of understanding such things. If the government lets the culprits go, then the government can be accused of that. But how , just tell me how, can the government predict that a bunch of lovelorn fools will beat up a girls boyfriend to win her favour. And such things make it to the parliament !!! Wonder who are the bigger fools.

And as usual, those boys must be "Hindu terrorists". Now have I ever seen the media reporting such attacks and atrocities on Hindus? Of temples being destroyed, idols pissed upon or stoned.
Ohh they are afraid even to call the terrorist a terrorist, if they belong to "the minority community" to prove their secularism. Of course, it does not generate much eyeballs, and so they are not bothered.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Old Editorial in the Pioneer

Quoting this article that I found on a newsgroup.. Bold emphasis mine. Comments in square brackets [ ] mine. Very much logical and to the point.


JULY 25, 2006
OP - ED Will Islam reform?

All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists areMuslims; it is for the community leaders to identifyjihadi elements amidst them, says François Gautier

The Mumbai bombings have once again thrown up the samequestions: Is it possible to have a dialogue withtoday's Islam? Does it listen to reason? Does plainlogic work? Will it ever stop killing innocent peoplein the name of god?

There is a Central Government that is blatantlypro-Muslim, making sure that more and more Muslims areappointed to top Government posts. It is endeavouringto carve a sizeable chunk of reservation for Muslims,as seen in Andhra Pradesh, and constantly pandering toIndia's Muslim minority. The bombings also take placein Maharashtra, a State governed by the Congress,where many Muslims live and work, the financialcapital whose prosperity benefits all, includingMuslims.

The same illogical strain seems to have got hold ofthe Government, whether it is the BJP or the Congressin power. We keep hearing that blasts in Delhi,Varanasi or Mumbai, are the work of ISI or Bangladeshiextremists. But what they don't ask is whether itwould be possible for these people to function unlessthey receive help and sympathy from local Muslims? Andthe question has to be asked again: Why should IndianMuslims go against their own Government, which hasdone so much for them since Independence? Why shouldIndian Muslims target India, a country where they havemore freedom, than in Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia?

Every time, the Government comes out with the samelitany, "these acts are meant to create communalviolence, be peaceful, don't react." Which basicallymeans, "You, Hindus (who are targeted), keep quiet andget killed. Who cares anyway?" And a few months later,another blast claims the lives of a more innocentHindus. But how long will the Hindus keep quiet? Thisis the question that the Government must ask itself. Gujarat revealed - regardless of how reprehensible theacts of mass vengeance were - that Hindus keep quietfor a long time, but when they get riled, are made funof, are despised, their women raped, men killed, andchildren burnt in trains, then they blow up and blowup badly. Riots don't erupt in a few days; they arethe fruits of decades, of generations even, ofsuppressed anger, of frustration, of a silent majoritywhich sees it more and more marginalised and taken forgranted.

[ I can personally vouch for that. Having lived in Gujarat for many years, including Vadodara, I have seen it firsthand. Islamic goondagardi is very much common there, contrary to those stupid media reports, and pseudosecular likes of nafisa ali, who painted a totally wrong picture. ]

Yes, we do occasionally come across wonderful Muslims,open, friendly, who have somehow preserved theknowledge that all religions are same, that Islam inIndia owes a lot to tolerance of Indians, thatHinduism, yoga, meditation and pranayam are India'sgifts to the world and can be practiced by Muslims,Christians and Hindus alike. I have personally metquite a few of them, within the Art of Living family.But they are exceptions and even those educatedMuslims, whom you can talk to, will never say theQuran is in need of revision.

So will Islam change? Because the problem is not withMuslims, it is with their text, the Quran. Will Islam,instead of feeling totally paranoiac, thinking that itis under attack everywhere, whether in Palestine,Chechnya, Kashmir, or France, realise that it is Islamthat is the aggressor all over the world? That Muslimswho have settled in France or India, or the UK, havebeen sincerely accepted by these countries, givingthem citizenship and the same rights as any French,Indian or German citizen, and yet there are peopleamongst them disaffected and alienated enough to blowup innocent people? Are Muslims actually biting thehand that feeds them? Will the mullahs of Islam acceptto sit down and update the Quran, a perfectlyacceptable scripture for the Middle Age, whenmentalities were very different, but hardlyappropriate in today's context?

This is what we all are hoping for and most Westernleaders secretly crave for, when they go out of theirway to praise and favour moderate Muslims of theircountry. This is what spiritual leaders like Sri SriRavi Shankar are attempting, with a certain amount ofsuccess, by speaking to Muslim leaders, fostering tiesin Muslim countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, orreforming Kashmiri terrorists through meditation.

Unfortunately, time is running out. Muslims in Indiaand elsewhere in the world do not understand that weare slowly losing our innocence. At the moment,ordinary Muslims still benefit from public and mediasympathy, which constantly negate Islamistfundamentalism. The Western media, for instance, hadmade a hero out of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, whowas killed recently. He had organised the gruesomemassacre of hundreds of children in Beslan, a villainfor Vladimir Putin. The same media has made a monsterout of George Bush. But these people are slowly losingthat sympathy. Sooner or later, nearly the entireworld outside the pale of Islam might end up wagingwar against jihadist Islam.

[ The media again. I am not surprised somehow, seeing the current state of our pseudo-secular media, who are gladly willing to use harsh words such as superstition and illogical for Hinduism when recently, the news of idols drinking milk got famous, and at the same time, using kind words for Muslims who found sea water sweet, near a dargah in Mahim,Mumbai. ]

[ As far as I have seen, all religions have some illogical traits. Without exception (dont post comments comparing them, all of them have some fallacies, including mine). Nobody's perfect. Pointing out flaws in one while praising another is a sure shot recipe to create feelings of animosity and discrimination. The entire exercise of comparing religions and showing one to be superior (particularly common amongst Muslims) is pointless. ]

There may also come a time when people will becomewary of anything Islamic. Anyone looking Muslim inappearance, in an aeroplane, on a train, in a shoppingmall, will be looked at with suspicion. Anybody with aMuslim name will have problems entering any country.Those who have Muslim friends will quietly stop seeingthem or find some excuses not to meet them. It isalready happening. Then, governments will clamp downhard on their Muslim populations; there might berestrictions put on them.

Entire families may have to move out of Muslimenclaves all over the world, to resettle elsewhere.Muslims will slowly lose faith in the righteousnessand the power of their own religion. It may take a fewdecades, a hundred years even, but Islam will surelydisappear into the alleys of history if it doesn'tchange, if it is too fearful of reform.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Show me this place around

This is what I am listening to right now..

I am just a new boy,
Stranger in this town.
Where are all the good times?
Who's gonna show this stranger around?
Oooh, I need a dirty woman.
Oooh, I need a dirty girl.

Will some cold woman in this desert land
Make me feel like a real man?
Take this rock and roll refugee
Oooh, baby set me free.
Oooh, I need a dirty woman.
Oooh, I need a dirty girl.

--- Pink Floyd in "Young Lust" from the Wall album.

Cool I say :) Pink Floyd with vodka (as suggested in Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat) is always a good combo.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The weekend

Every weekend, since last few months, I am realizing that I hardly have any social life left. The hazards of the profession. You think you have it all worked out, your life is on track, but it is not. Yeah, you think you have good social and communication skills, but think about it, they are limited to the professional field, mostly. You can talk business, you can talk technical, you can talk in programming languages(speak the languages of the matrix, so to speak). You can handle vile, wormtongued colleagues, you can understand politics, choose to stay out of it, instantly recognizing the games being played. You can stab people with those brown, deep and gazing eyes. And be stabbed back. You are hated by some of your colleagues, and you and some other colleagues hate them back. You wait for a chance to make fun at their expense, and they return the favour, not in kind.

But can you talk freely with your own folks. Can you be with your friends. Can you love getting soaked, and ride the rains. Can you talk to the girl you love, without a hint of selfishness. Can you forgive her. Can you forget her, if you want to. Can you tell your feelings truly to the girl you like.

You can handle the excel-expert Project Managers breathing down your neck and constantly pushing the deadline (and pushing you), and the bosses who worked on COBOL and Assembly in their prime. Though, after a few job shifts, I have bosses here whom I can relate to and whom I can respect, but the atmosphere in a family owned business, is well... just that.

Some ways to beat the blues, they work for me (for a short while :-) though)

- Try not to work in a family business company. The atmosphere might be free, but you do feel the disorder and insecurity sometimes. The strength of the disorder may vary, its still there.

- Instead of limiting yourself to a few close friends, be friendly with as many people as possible, while having a few close friends.

- If you dont drink, start doing so. CAUTION - Keep it within limits. You will find lot of drunkard bewdas to give you company. The risk is that you may speak something hmmmm,,,, wrong, the inhibitions are broken. You have to watch your words when you hit the bars/pubs with your colleagues. But then, you cannot speak freely when you are supposed to be enjoying.
Also realize that while the drinks induce you into a state of temporary aloofness from the troubles of the world around you, it multiplies them when the walls start breaking down.

- Pursuing hobbies or interests is out of question. Strictly out of question. Instead pursue hobbies related to your own field of work, but then they dont remain hobbies anymore, do they?

- You earn enough, but dont spend. Heck, get a new VCD player, or a larger new monitor. Rent VCDs. Watch some amazing Hollywood scifi and fantasy movies. Or Hell, Tom and Jerry are always hilarious....CAUTION:- Dont, Dont, Dont get those Bollywood flicks. The high tension and those sick "make-believe real" world actually makes you feel bored, morose and missing.

If you have any more ideas, please leave them in the comment section, I will update this post.

In the elevator

Friday evening and at my office. I take the elevators to go out for a breather and a cup of tea. As I step into the elevator, a guy (a dumb colleague) was already holding the elevator open switch pressed. I got in and pressed the close button. He said " Wait" and asked the girl on the attendance register to come in quick.

I had not noticed that he was waiting for someone. I said "ohh sorry, I thought you were pressing the wrong button, tera dhyan kahin aur hai". He smiled (not a happy one) back, "What do you mean, kahan hai mera dhyan", and glanced at the girl (another dumb colleague and his friend or girlfriend or 1-nite-stand, who cares), who was now facing the elevator door, and then back at me with a stare. Now now.. I dont have such a bad image after all. Though I could have ignored him, or said worse, I didnt do that (No he could not have got into a fistfight with me, he has some brains left, he is almost a foot shorter, and much thinner). To defuse the tension, I said, "No, mere saath bhi hota hai. Many a times, I press the button for the floor that I am already on, when my mind is occupied elsewhere. So I thought you too... "

Conclusion - If words can have multiple meanings, your mind will pick up the one which it believes in. Or very much wants to believe in.

I also realize, that applies to me too. Common human nature. But I do have to turn back and take a look again. The first few times its coincidence, then its a conspiracy theory. Finally, your mind has to believe what it does not want to believe in.

Lord of the Rings

I watched the Lord of the Rings - The Two towers on HBO a few weeks ago. I liked it so much that I got DVDs of the other two in the trilogy. In fact, The Two Towers is the second part. After watching the first, The Fellowship of the Ring, the picture cleared. And the grand finale was The Return of the King. Great locations (Australia and New Zealand). Great special effects, that are typical of fantasy movies. And great storyline.

The feel of the movie is dark and gloomy, strange creatures, marshes filled with dead, dead kings riding dragons, and yet it does not feel kiddish. It is not a horror movie kind of stuff either.

The first time I watched the movie, the Two Towers, I could not understand it. And the looks and hisses of that Gollum, talking to "his Precious", wasnt so appealing for me to continue watching the movie. Probably, we were watching it on a computer at our hostel room, and there were a dozen guys, boozing and smoking. And of course talking and laughing. These are kind of movies that need to be watched silently to understand the story. Another friend told me to watch the Fellowship first, else I wont follow the Two Towers. And so, on the weekend spread from Friday to Sunday, I watched all the three in sequence. It got me hooked. :)

Also watch out for the character Arwen Evenstar. Played by Liv Tyler. She looks heavenly. Lovely. Soft voice.

The meeting of Aragorn and Arwen on the bridge in Rivendell.

O môr henion i dhû:
Ely siriar, êl síla.
Ai! Aníron Undómiel.
Tiro! Êl eria e môr.
I 'lîr en êl luitha 'úren.
Ai! Aníron...

(From darkness I understand the night:
dreams flow, a star shines.
Ah! I desire Evenstar.
Look! A star rises out of the darkness.
The song of the star enchants my heart.
Ah! I desire…)

Arwen: Renech i lu i erui govannem? (Do you remember when we first met?)

Aragorn: Nauthannem i ned ol reniannen. (I thought I had strayed into a dream.)

Arwen: Gwenwin in enninath...U-arnech in naeth i si celich. (Long years have passed…You do not have the cares you carry now.)

Arwen: Renech i beth i pennen? (Do you remember what I told you?)

Aragorn: You said you'd bind yourself to me. Forsaking the immortal life of your people.

Arwen: And to that I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.

[Arwen gives Aragorn the Evenstar]

Arwen: I choose a mortal life.

Aragorn: You cannot give me this!

Arwen: It is mine to give to whom I my heart.

--- Updated

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Paradise Lost - Take me down

Don't let them take me down there

You aren't what I love
You aren't what I see
You hate from above
You become what I need What I need
Don't let them take me down.

Lyrics of : Paradise Lost - Take me down

Not the complete lyrics, I dont post complete lyrics, I dont know if I would be breaking any copyright laws or not. But as always, I can just post a sample.

I pledge myself to you

Anathema - J'ait Fait Une Promesse

The way that the willow bows over the stream
Like a mourner crying for their loved one
Reminds me of last fall
When on one knee, I pledged myself to you

Intel conroe processors - what I expect

You can find the new comparitive pricing of AMD and Intel processors here. Including Conroe.

This is from an Anandtech article.

The Conroe E6400 seems a good deal when released. The E6600 at around 14500 Rs is costly now. But it has 4MB cache as compared to 2 MB from E6400. Taking Rs 50 to the dollar, roughest estimate considering that prices would be higher in India.

E6600 2.40GHz 4MB $316 - Rs 15800
E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $224 - Rs 11200
E6300 1.86GHz 2MB $183 - Rs 9150

Lets wait and watch for some time. Also note this. Sysmark tests. The E6300 is pretty good too. Better than Athlon 64 X2 4200+ in most tests. It comes close to FX-62 quite a few times, and even beats it once(office productivity). In overall score, it beats the X2 4200+ by some margin.

Marginally beats X2 4200+ in Worldbench tests. Seeing the overall benchmarking results, the E6300 is approximately equal to the Athlon64 X2 4200+. And good scores for Sysmark and pcmark(on mean that its good for programmers running IDEs and Servers locally. And its good performance in gaming too. Overall, E6300 seems a good deal at around Rs 9000. Very competitively priced.

But :) , the need for speed is never satisfied. And so I still have E6400 or E6600 on my wishlist.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Whats Wrong

Something is wrong.
I know something is wrong.
They know something is wrong.
I know that they know something is wrong.
They know that I know that they know something is wrong.
Basically, we know something is wrong.