December 15, 2009

Brain v/s Technology

What I want to blog about today has its cause and roots at my Windows work environment(:D)

My idea of a software engineer is that of a person who uses software and technology to provide solutions to problems in businesses/industries.

The general conception of
Software Engineering Equals Coding,Coding and more coding
is absolute bullshit as far as I am concerned. An engineer must be involved in the design of a solution and implementation of the same using the right tools and technology.And, to aid the engineer in building his solutions quickly/easily/efficiently an industry itself thrives to provide tools,frameworks and platforms. A lot of big and small players are involved in this industry,with varying degrees of success and market penetration. Each player remains in market owing to some specialty they are able to provide to their customers which the others are not able to match.

Now,from the point of view of an engineer who is interested in developing products/solutions for solving a set of problems,lets observe the requirements of a tool he/she would want to acquire.
1)Ease of use
Intuitive UIs,complete and concise manuals
2)Features that aid reduction in production time
Methods to accelerate commonly used operations
3)Facilities to let developer focus on business logic
Abstraction of internal technological details(left to developer to choose)

We see these things implemented with varying degrees of effectiveness in the various tools,IDEs,frameworks and platforms that are popular in the market.

The whole idea is that the developer's brain,effort and time has to be devoted only to solving the given problem logically and not in fiddling with the tool/technology itself. Its for this reason that companies are ready to invest on costly development environment like the ones ###@#@$*** Microsoft sells. But .NET and its accompanying tools are so royally messed up that a developer ends up wasting almost half of his/her time circumventing some technical issues or hacking it(as it is called). And it has to be done so frequently and in inexplicable ways that if the software moves to a maintenance team,the developer will have to make sure not to come in contact with that team(if he values his life i.e).
If I start listing the stupid and frustrating bugs that come up with Visual Studio, I can fill pages(that too in this short period of exp).

Another fact that I would like to point out here is that,though bug circumventing and hacking of tools are needed in other platforms as well,a few well placed Google searches can place you at a good position in those cases. In case of M$, for most of the crazy problems, you can only see questions been posted by poor developers like yourself. No official solution or usually ANY solution at all are usually present. If something is present, it might be either someone saying "I too have this problem..Please Help!",or someone pointing to something that does not work at all or some troublesome suggestions like reinstall framework/IDE or even OS :D :P.

So now I am getting to know in First Person why M$ development environment is royally ****ed up. They should realize that developers are people with brains and should let them utilize that more to solve more and more problems with more efficiency. The current state of affairs only aid in frustrating the developer and stealing his valuable time and clarity of thought. They should seriously stop imposing the junk technology on smart people.
Maybe they are just afraid that once people use their brains more,they will migrate to other platforms :P :P

December 03, 2009


That is what a person who has lost all his data must right be called.
My dear 250GB hard disk at home got fully erased a couple of weeks back. Initially I couldn't handle the shock well,but in half an hour I managed to estimate the extent of damage and started inquiring with my friends about recovery mechanisms as well as availability of some of the data that I had.

Most of them comforted me by ensuring that its just a matter of recovery. So,this time when I was at home, I tried a pack of recovery tools on my disk,to no avail.All I managed to recover were a few random songs and some college photos.

By now I have resigned to the fact that I won't get all those data back very easily. And I have started planning on how to reclaim majority of those data. Softwares,games,movies and majority of the songs are available with the common market(i.e the average commoner also has). For the specific and rare ones, I might have to go visiting some old friends. Still there would remain a bulk of data that only I held. Those, I would either have to recreate or redownload if necessary/possible. Some(especially programs and ebooks),I have brought alongwith me to Mysore,making them the sole survivors of the loss.

Anyway,there would still be many such items which are never replaceable,the loss of which I have to accept. So anyone who wishes to contact me for any data,please know I am legally 'Datarupt'.
Living the life of a vagabond..its great fun.. adios amigos

November 14, 2009

Joined the wave

I too joined the wave, that is Google wave today.(Thanks to Cyriac and Ribu for sending me one invite each in an interval of two minutes :) ).
Initially I found it highly confusing and nonsensical. I had already got a few opinions of the wave being just a hype and it being a bore. But I was more interested in spending my afternoon trying out the new tool. I didn't find it to be something of interest after spending 10 minutes in it and went back to my other tasks.
Then my friend Anil popped up in Wave and gave me tips on how to use the features and we even played a couple of games collaboratively. That caught my interest and I started getting comfortable with the wave concept and interface. To my opinion both are flawed(yes I do mean it). Anyways, as with all Google products, its in development mode..(this is in Preview which is buggier than beta).
I found it to be very useful for collaborative activities,and having group chats like we have for our class group. Its great when there are a lot of people involved at the same time. Other than that, currently I don't see much of a use for this.
The extensions are cool and it alone made me stay for a while in the site.
I found the interface highly cluttered and difficult to handle.I was using my room-mate's laptop,making it even harder to move around all those windows. Also,I found out that in Chrome, the interface gets stuck when you select two waves one after the other. The number of unread wavelets in a wave also tend to change and it returns to normal only when the "Sync completed" message appears on top left.In a system with 256mb ram running Chrome, I got an error asking to stop an unresponsive script about 5 times in 10 minutes. Even while I type this, my wave interface is not responding. :D
I haven't tried Wave in FF,so I don't know if its some problem with Chrome (what an irony ).

Anyway for its initial stage,it does provide something different from the various other 'socializing' tools available out there. I wonder if it would just be another site you open as soon as you fire up your browser...Lets wait and see whether this tool becomes a communication wave or would require us to wave it goodbye...depending upon how much more value Google is able to add to its much hyped new product...happy waving..

November 12, 2009

Working with windows

Hi the linux and free software guy is working with Windows Development

So,take out whatever u have to say about it.. circumstances and couple of wrong choices bring to the point. And of course a bit of bad luck mixed with my otherwise very good luck.

So,in my regular spirit of taking everything as a learning experience, I dived directly into the world of .net,c# and the work environment of visual studio. It all began with a proper .net training(which frankly took the life out of me by the 4th day of the 7 day training..)C# was fun and the power interested me.
But as the days wore on, I realised the truth that I have heard and even promoted about the evils of M$.They have built a looot( i meant it) of in-built this and that. Basically a lot of bullshit, if you stop to think how easy and sensible it would be for a developer to handle it themselves.

Though a lot of such facilities are touted as aiding in faster development,I personally feel(maybe due to my largely Linux and open source background) that it severely prohibits creativity and most importantly debugging facilities. I had spend about 3-4 hours trying to find ways to do some very simple operations on a UI component and finally gave it up and simply hid the control with another . I also find it tough to convince experienced developers in the .NET platform to adopt my crude but effective methods. I guess I do have a task of bringing about a mindset shift :D

In technical work there should be something with an art in it..something creative, else its boring and mundane ..very.Its upto each person involved with this art to keep the passion alive :D Different people have different passion in the same field,so thats not something generic to comment about with a sensible conclusion.

Do you know whats wrong with the .NET development framework?
They try to make things accessible and flexible,by providing a lot of things..finally making it too damn complicated for anyone to make any sense out of what they should and in which way to solve a given business logic problem.
And you have no way to bypass what they give, at times..coz of the closed source
tats all...makes a deadly combination :D

Thats all for now.. will be back with more info on something new.. taata

August 15, 2009

Its not "Hard"ware..

This is not something I would have written some months ago..but as of career is in close ties with hardware.

Being an embedded Product Engineer in scope covers a large area consisting of software engineering,user interface design,hardware interfacing,quality engineering,testing and some research also.

Life in hardware with all the capacitors,resistors and amplifiers is fine. But with the FPGA/CPLD, protocols,controllers,processors,busses,RF,EMI/EMC, PCB design tools and God-knows-what-all coming into the picture, it becomes very interesting and challenging..though my exact area of work would just have to touch upon a little of all..

Having a majority of E&C trainees in the batch and highly experienced and passionate seniors as trainers is a great advantage for people like me.

Anyway it is not just hardware here..lot of semi hardware with a mix of low level interfacing and programming comes into the picture. This includes kernel level development and involvement with real time operating systems.

I am not writing more about these, as I have no idea of things to come...its just class room training now..once put into a team doing a product...all hell breaks loose..something you don't expect in any other field..because with a product ,the kind of accountability each individual carries is immense..and so is the pride and passion of being included in such a team.


April 16, 2009

Google's dead link

Just found a dead link from
The link to Music Trends gives 404 not found.

Be it

Any explanation? Is it legitimate mistake?( I am not pointing fingers,donno if it has some explanation..after all its google )

Just innocently logged it..

March 19, 2009

Amusing Text Classifier

I just happened to visit Kuklutzklan and found a link to Gender Analyzer

It is a site that allows you to feed a blog's url and they try to tell you whether the author is a male or female.Now, ain't that amusing??(though I admit that it is pretty useless as it is)

What is more interesting is the technology that runs the site,uClassify.This site allows anyone to create text classifiers using their APIs. Now this should be interesting to CS people involved with information retrieval(me for eg.),artificial intelligence(me again),neural networks(me,me..),natural language processing(should i repeat?) and ..blogging(of course me). The gender analyzer doesn't seem to work for both my blogs, but then its not that easy to make classifiers for all kinds of people out there, who write in various fashions.They claim that it works perfectly in their labs ;)

A visit to uClassify showed that there are many other products based on this service,one for guessing mood of author,another for analyzing personality type,love type and sports type(??) of the author. The first one never worked for me with urls,but does work for plain text that I copied from my posts(which means text classifying is working,but not parsing maybe).Mood Analyzer

I liked Typealyzer as it does work properly for my blogs,each turning up different results(naturally based on contents or rather nouns).Its derivative ie. Sport and Love are pretty much the same as the original with some differences in wording(meh..didn't impress).

There is one more service which I found very interesting and pretty different,which I want every blogger/non-blogger to test(bloggers would want to check their own blogs first in all these tools).ofaust, as they claim, is a literature expert that parses your url/text and tells you which famous author you resemble and in case of text,it highlights similar patterns(wow)..I was more like Jonathan Swift for some of my entries.Check out who you resemble the most...

So bloggers,try out these interesting services and amuse yourself(or maybe learn something about yourself/blog) and definitely its a great idea to work upon for people interested in those early mentioned fields(in which I was present..remember?). It would be interesting to see more accurate and innovative services being built out of these APIs in these coming days....adios

January 21, 2009

Obama brings in change

So thats it, Barack Hussein Obama has been sworn in as the 44th President of the US of A. I watched the speech yesterday evening,and it was very interesting. It's not Obama's policies or what he is going to do or not do that I am gonna write about..its about his association with new technologies.

That is the change that Obama seems to have brought, and with good effects as well. From the time he began his campaign, the utilization of the web facilities made him pretty popular among the people who support and embrace such facilities of the internet. The facilities he used included Social Networking sites,blogs,dedicated sites for reaching out to supporters,forums,and even channels in Youtube. His attachment to the blackberry too was in the news for sometime.

Though America is far ahead of us in terms of technology penetration and quality of service, unlike us, there are many there who do not trust/understand such technologies, in spite of being well educated. Many people who use these technologies do not understand the reasoning behind them(not technical), and hence can't think beyond what is provided to them.

With his intelligent campaign, I feel Obama has reached out to the vast population online and even proved a point or two to the people who believed that web and its facilities cannot be used for uniting people for a common cause. The use of such technologies also meant, many of his supporters got a chance to understand and appreciate the underlying technology and its capability to be used in innovative ways.

I was surprised and even amused by the amount of effort that has been put by his campaign teams in utilizing the resources of the web and high end technologies for the campaigning purpose.Even after being elected, his public activities were religiously followed by groups and forums consisting of his ardent supporters and blogs were constantly buzzing with his whereabouts. Even tech bloggers found enough material to write about this man.

The inaugural function was streamed using Microsoft Silverlight technology, which made quite a news. Read M$ press article But later, to assist Linux and MAC users, it was made available via Moonlight technology. There are also many sites that cover the function completely as streaming video as well as pictures. The Official Presidential Inaugural Committee too has online resource to guide supporters who wished to come to DC for the event. It contains maps,contact informations and guidebooks.

It seems Microsoft and Google are stealing the limelight in Obama's victory as 'technology partners'. Here is an article on CNN-Microsoft collaborative Photosynth that covered the Inaugural ceremony. Here is something about Google's youtube.

That's all for now folks..lets hope the change is positive ...