26 November 2008

Workout that worked out

I have been toying around with this idea of gathering disk access patterns and using device mapper to fool the filesystem to improve I/O performance. And did try this idea out in a limited fashion. I did a workout session to improve upon this work in foss.in. Despite a cricket match being scheduled on that day, people did turn up. We discussed, hacked together and made friends, which was fun. It was cool to see some well-known kernel hackers turn up for the session and were actively involved. And I also should thank some of colleagues who also participated and helped me through out the session.

We improved the performance, found bugs... it was cool. Now really looking forward for the upcoming much more interesting sessions especially the Linux Kernel Hackers Gathering and the Linux Kernel Workout. You can see the plan and results in the links. Thanks for whoever attended the session and the organizers.

20 November 2008

Invention versus discovery

When I was a kid ( I am not a kid ), I used to think there is little value for discoveries as it is just unraveling what was already present and had a fascination for inventions. But of late, I feel that understanding the behavior or properties of everything is the root knowledge and inventions are just few applications of that knowledge.

p.s: Side-effect of reading "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. Do not worry, if my thoughts are wrong or rude, it keeps changing.

12 November 2008

Advt - acting or interview?

There is an advertisement for Tata Indicom featuring Soundarya Rajnikanth where she says that she though being an actor's daughter, she pursued her dreams and works behind the scenes rather than becoming an actor following her father. But if this appearance on advertisement is considered as acting it becomes a lie (lies are not bad here as it is just acting). Or should it be considered as an interview. To me her "acting" was not up to the mark ;(

05 November 2008

Different Era

Feels bad to see my childhood photographs in B/W. Am I from a different era?

Dont stop the evolution

I was chatting with my friend and the conversation was about evolution of mankind and survival of the fittest. The point was that, now-a-days even the not so fit or unfit people are also able to survive because of advancement of science(which has other effects like over population as well). To continue to evolve we should let the life to be challenging, so we should try to make the holes in the ozone layer bigger and not try to prevent it. ;-) That would make us evolve in to a creature which wont be affected by UV rays...

07 October 2008

Letter from a software engineer to his boss who is a computer literate

I am no car mechanic
The Volkswagen beetle is popularly known as bug. But there is a very big difference between fixing the car and S/W. All the bug cars have a fixed/same design. So it is like, we have the fixed/bug-free code in hand, and there is a copy of modified/buggy car. The mechanic needs to find the diff and patch which is quiet mechanical compared to fixing S/W. S/W is like making each and every car with a different design, engine etc.. (It is because they do different things as opposed to cars which do the same thing). It is like different vehicles but way more in no(infinite to be precise) than flights, ships, cars, sub-marines, hower- crafts etc... put together. Then fixing it is find the flaw of the original itself. This needs skill.

I am not changing tyres
Buying a new tyre is may not be cheaper but easier than fixing the old one. Fixing bugs is not like changing flat tyres. Fixing bugs especially in source that you didn't code can be a very hard problem. It is impossible to generalize difficulty in solving bugs or adding features. So do not measure the work done by counting the number of features added or number of bugs fixed.

Train is not a type of car
Size matters but not the way it is used. Some bug fix might require just adding one char say making "<" as "<=". But the complexity might be more depending on the size of the project, reproducibility etc... That changing a smaller wheel of a train engine might be harder than changing a bigger F1 car's wheel. I think LOC of the whole project being fixed is more relevant than LOC changed.

I am also a manager
You should know how hard(!) it is to manage multiple people. But managing multiple headless people is even more difficult. Parallelism with shared data in s/w is a beast. If there are 3 people with 3 jobs, say Aswath has to dig, Billa has to drop the seed and Chiru fills the hole with sand. Managing people is easy because they learn and adapt. But software, if there is a race, Chiru might fill the hole before Billa plants the seed or even worse try to fill the hole that is not yet dug. IOW, the programmer has to think for all these people, but you manage people who can not only think for himself but for many others as well. But yes I manage people who are obedient ;) - but I do not ask them to do what they can't.

Not all tennis players are champions
Teaching Sania Mirza to get an ace against Sharapova is difficult than making her serve right without hitting the net or out. Usually performance issues are hard which you don't count at all as they are neither bugs nor features :(

Let us make Abhinav Bindhra captain of the Indian Cricket Team
Yes, you read it correctly. That is what most of the Indian-American software companies do. People from different game tries to be a captain of a very different team game. For a team to do reasonably well, the captain needs to be an expert in the same game. There are some games where the captain can be a non playing captain, but still the team would need an expert with great knowledge of the game. The games board can be run by some sports people need not from the same sport. But still sports people. As the level goes up, the need low-level knowledge fade. Remember, baseball is still different from Cricket. And some times people who are not even sportsmen are made the captain. Please play at least few games with us. Better Learn the game.

08 August 2008

Huge Linux

I hope, this means the Linux people getting older/fatter are not leaving Linux.

31 July 2008

Evolution of Language

A friend of mine always interrupts when anyone uses the word "postponed", saying that there is no such word. It affects the actual discussion. Yeah I do agree, there was no such word. But when it is accepted and understood between all the people in India and even some dictionaries include that word as belonging to Indian English, I do not see a problem.

If someone is creative and cooks up a word in their mother tongue, they are viewed as smart people where as when you do that in a foreign language, your own people consider it as lack of fluency. The same applies for accent and pronunciation.

On the same note, there is another word: post-paid(use & pay), cooked up to be the opposite of pre-paid(pay & use) where, post-payable would have been more appropriate but, post-paid is easy to understand.

Let us keep the evolution going

22 July 2008

Powerless India

Every day power cut announced in Madras, due to power shortage. May be the consumption is going up and production is unable to keep up. If this is the problem, it could be overcome easily. Madras is the ideal place to harvest energy from the "Sun". It is always hot, four seasons a year, 10 years a decade! Hopefully this is not a gimmick to make people believe that the India-USA Nuclear deal is the only way to live normally.

A country can be called as developing only if it improves? I remember my colleague from Germany, who was surprised even by the short power failures due to technical faults which is quiet normal in India. Now add this to that, probably he wont accept India as a developing nation :(

09 July 2008

Luxury @ my disposal

Left from office by the afternoon shuttle @ 2pm from BTP to Silkboard. I was the lone passenger in the swaraj mazda 20+ seater, with driver and an attender. With the price of fuel sky-rocketing (rockets usually come down unless they escape the gravity), using the services of 2 men just for me was real luxury. I felt a bit uneasy doing so!

Also I used to wonder why Americans call Petrol as gas when it is actually liquid in state. Petrol is also known as gasoline and gasoline should have shortened to become gas. So petrol is gas which is actually liquid

16 June 2008

10 incarnations

Watched Kamalhasan's Dasavataram and enjoyed it. Only the protagonist looks like Kamal, they could have used 9 other actors for the other 9 avatars. I mean to say that I enjoyed the screenplay except the 12th century scenes are not related to the story,(James bond/high-tech + Ramanarayanan do not gel well) and it is also unreal (bad acting, very neat and clean crowd etc). I never got the feeling of awkward camera to show more than one Kamal in a single frame! But make-up sometimes doesn't fit well at some scenes. Some drops i liked

* Bush: can we drop an atomic bomb over the bio-hazard to prevent it from spreading?
* Fletcher(US) to Japanese: remember Hiroshima? Japanese: Remember pearl harbour?
* Showing that the monkey knows to press the keys first and later showing it use the passwords
* Balram Naidu's (Telugu) preference for Telugu over Tamil & Tamil over English.
* Tamil kamal on speaking in English instead of Tamil to the Telugu guy: "Some people from Andhra who learned Tamil will save Tamil"
* "It would be nice if God was true" ==> ?
* Somewhat forced God versus[why is this always versus ;)] science discussion
* Media declaring Asin as Girlfriend of the US Scientist [anyway it becomes true later]
* Is luck == god? People forced into mosque for investigation are saved from tsunami, tsunami saves more people by killing a fraction of them...
* I have the same sane ideas as of the protagonist, so I like it more :-)

What about you? Liked it?

27 May 2008


Management people "often" say that God has given 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them proportionately. They mean to say listen twice as much as you speak. But me a technical/logical person feel that they are asking to do the opposite. With 2 ears when you listen for a minute, it is equivalent to 2 minutes of listening, so we need to speak for 2 minutes to balance it!

Sachin walks the talk

There was an advertisement on TV, which shows kids who loose on different sports and give reasons.. "because... because..." then Sachin says "Losers will always have reasons... " The News continues " Sachin accuses 3rd umpire after loosing against Mohali! Yes Sachin proved that losers always have reasons to blame

22 April 2008

Living in the past

August 14, 2003
Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz : Rs 38,000

Jan 2004:
PlayStation 2 : Rs. 15,990

Feb 2005:
iPod shuffle (1GB): Rs 12,400

Intel Pentium 4 3 GHz : Rs.2699.00
PlayStation 2 : Rs. 6,990
iPod shuffle (1GB): Rs. 2,700

Yeah but today we have core2duo, iPhone, Playstation 3, right???? If we are prepared to live in the past(which is not so far behind considering the pace of gadgets evolution) the price comes down manifold, IOW if we want to be on the bleeding-edge, we need to pay more:(

So If you are a consumer, better live in the past and if you are a business, then try to lead the race, to charge a premium from your customers. BTW why all this rant? Bought a PS2 :-)

BUT PS2 doesnt feel like a gadget of the past. It might be good enough if you do not have a HDTV, for SDTV it is good enough(gr8). The first game I bought is "God of War 2". Though I hate both the God and War, I like God of War 2. I usually play driving sims and split-screen racers. But I got GOW2 just coz Gran Turismo & Burnout were not available at that Sony world.

11 March 2008

Weak end

I went out for a official-{non-official}-trip (IOW official picnic) to Bheemeshwari, a fishing camp which is around 3 hours from Bangalore. This duration, and no of people were much smaller than, what I was used to. But it was nice. Got introduced with the people with whom I would be sharing the office space here after.

Played and discussed a lot. The weekend ended with some chat about Language of thought

05 March 2008

Corrupt People == corrupt politicians == corrupt Country

If a party bribes voters with their own money, it is illegal. But if they promise to pay/bribe after they will win, that too not from their pocket but country's money, it it legal.

Political parties in India use this huge hole and bribe the voters with TV, loan waivers, unfair reservations for the majority etc... and they do win elections using these cheap means at the cost of the country.

But it is not correct to blame only the politicians, it is the cheap people who are happy, as long as they are benefiting at the cost of ones own country. As long as such cheap, stupid people are majority in a country, the nation is destined to have corrupt politicians.
But the minority who are not really amused by these bribery are at loss. That is the problem with democracy :(

Also I hope one day people would directly vote for policies rather than vote for people who will device policies. But with these kind of people around it would !@$#$%@#%$# I seriously doubt the benefits of democracy. Law should evolve for the society to evolve, but law is becoming extinct.

14 February 2008

Money controls People

Ongoing Layoffs in the Indian IT sector shows how money(read dollar value) controls man, as people were found incompetent to control money!

Layoff may be the only option in USA, but is it required in India. In US, average annual pay rise is about 2~3%. So the chances of a person sticking to a company, even when he doesn't get a pay rise is more. But in India average pay rise is around ~30%. So if you do not give a pay hike, dudes leave the company. In such a situation, not giving hike to let those employees resign themselves might save $ for the company as well as give the dude time to get a job! Also attrition is more in India. So stopping the hiring will also work!

My personal opinion(though I was never laid-off, hitherto :)), is that lay-off in India is always a loss for the company. Stop hiring/giving hike should work! I know a company which did lay-off and a year later spent huge huge $$$ to recruit sub-standard people. Total loss :(

I even doubt that using attrition and stopping pay-hike means no job for the HR dept and managers. So they will look useless to the company. But layoffs mean more work for them! No surprise, it is natural for people to decide which favors them.

01 February 2008

Liar Liar

Often we know that someone cheats/lies, but we do not bother about it when nothing is at stake. And those fools think that you did not know that they are cheating. But in the end, this makes them cheat more often and also you start loosing confidence in them.

And at times, we even advice our friends, saying why fight with the liar, when nothing is at stake. But I think, if it is worth lying, it is worth fighting against. It is worth fighting just to say that you are not stupid. So next time you find someone lying, do let them know that you are not dumb.

BTW does professional life demands lying. I would say unless you are on such a profession as a lawyer, it does not. And the benefit from lying is nothing when compared to the ill-effects of being caught lying. Don't lie, and don't let anyone lie.

23 January 2008

Speed Governor

Government is trying to mandate Speed Governors which will restrict the top-speed!

Bangalore is already jammed. Speed governors will keep vehicles on road for more time, so more traffic!

Also I wonder how some of the one-ways in Bangalore help. Unless it lets you avoid a wait at a signal/crossing, it keeps vehicles on road for a longer duration/distance which should add to the traffic jam. But some oneways are seem to be made oneways without any reason.

Anyway, I do not know, where are the roads in Bangalore to drive above the limit. I waited for the bus for 55 mins today, and I called my friend after waiting for 30 mins and came to know that it is just 900 meters away. I guess he drove it above the speed limit at 2km/h as the speed governor was not installed.

May be behind all these drama there is a company that manufactures these speed governors.
This is not an allegation, just the thought I get.