29 February 2008

Welcome to the localized version of WWE, IPL

Well IPL is finally there. It has all the common ingredients required for a bollywood blockbuster. It has the best of bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and the lovely Priety Zinta. There are a lot of financial muscle behind it too. You have best of the class cricketers who were auctioned off just like some antique. Some getting a price beyond expectations and some just getting selected. The current controversy in Australia has anything to go by then we can expect fireworks in IPL. Just like WWF you have two men engaged in a personal fight initially and then getting onto the ring. I dont expect anything else out of IPL. I think these guys should do some more preparation to make a Rocky kind of atmosphere. The underdog will go down in the first round and then spring back to end the game in a win. There would be mics everywhere to record what any of the player says on or off the ground. 24hr Reality TV format would be even better. All this would surely add to the entertainment value. Viewer would personally get involved in all the so called sledging. Wow so much excitement I would really die.

26 February 2008

Bug in Google Reader

google reader bug3

I have been a big fan of Google Reader even since it was launched. Its a cool application for news reading if you really love the gmail interface. Anyways some time back Google guys updated it. And from then I can see this awesome bug(Click on the image to see full sized one). Well actually what happened was that I had left google reader open for some time. Later when I came and finished what all was there and marking the uninteresting ones as read, I saw this popup. I had some 39 items only open(Look at the text bound by green lines at the bottom right of the image) but when I said Mark All as Read, I wanted to mark all 557 item(Not in the pane but updated ones) as read.Boy I got frustrated at this point. But I said Cancel, Refreshed the whole page and went through all those news which I did not find interesting enough to read. Finally I did Mark All as Read. Later I realised that even if I had done OK instead of Cancel, it would have worked and only those 39 items would have had been marked as read and not 557 as indicated. I hope those guys fix this bug atleast early. A very stupid one actually. Being a developer I just tried to imagine what might have happened. There must be two variables for total number of items, One which is being shown at the bottom of the screen and the other total(elsewhere). Why have they not used the one at the bottom of the screen, well that always does not have to hold total items, sometimes it holds values like 'XX items loaded.." or "loading next XX items". So the developer like me(sometimes :-P) tried to make use of a single variable which would hold the value of total number of items. This values goes wrong in the case which I just described above. Now that I have come up with the reason for the problem I hope these guys will fix it fast. And hey if u guys at google want to know the solution also then I am ready to help you as a consultant for a really fat fee {Big Grin}.

25 February 2008

Events at iCamp Bangalore

The First Innovation Camp or iCamp Bangalore for short happened in Bangalore on 23rd Feb 2008 at Mindtree Consultings office at Banashankari. Here is how it unfurled to me.

09:30hrs := Registered and I am in

10:00hrs := I am in the room for intro of Barcamp Concept, given by Murali. Some rules etc. A lot less ppl compared to my expectations and NO WI-FI to connect to :-(

10:13hrs := Henry Jacob start with design driven development. Surely its true for IT Industry, Innovate or Die. (SCO, Sybase etc are examples of that) Some interesting concept for Design Foundation,  Games and Cube. Key points Innovate to hasten, eliminate jobs,  A god system should eliminate existing tasks, speed up tasks, save money, time and make ppl fall in love. Hot discussion on whats innovation and what design is on. I believe he was going on a good track and like many other presentations at Barcamp this too got lost somewhere.

10:40hrs := now we come to some conclusion. Basically it is clear that innovation is that idea and the design is the realization if it. Four elements of a good product, Innovation, Intelligence, Interaction and Information.

10:45hrs := Tea break. Met a lot of ppl here with a lot of ideas.

11:30hrs := Innovation in MBA in Education was the topic taken by Pavan Soni. MBA is killing Innovation? How to innovate. Step are here

  • understand symptoms
  • get an idea
  • nurture it
  • do it together
  • package it
  • aim for the right audience
  • make money
  • move up value chain.

Interesting indeed. Discussion follows it and William Miller talk about Applied Education which I feel is a good idea.

12:10hrs := Murli talks about starting a community for Creativity and Innovation. He has a yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crianet to build a community around creativity and Innovation. Seems like an interesting idea.

12:20hrs := Unusual sources for innovation by Kalyan. It was interesting to know where all u can get inspirations to innovate. Its a presentation which say that most problems in this world can be solved by looking at other fields which apply a simple solution for a similar problem. I wonder how many times I have taken real life instances for understanding various networking concepts.

13:00hrs := Lunch with Venkatesh, Amit Pande and Mahesh. Had some interesting chat with these guys. Thought -- EMIs and Loans kill Innovation and startups.

14:15hrs := Shahanawaz Khan starts discussion on Managing Relationships!!! Now whats that. Well u have a lot of relations to maintain. Now how to do that. Sorry guys I just felt like moving somewhere else. So did not attend it for all the time. Anyways the other was about how to protect your idea. Well its simple. You have a great idea, but an Idea without execution is as good as a mud used to make pots. Obviously I too believe that its best to do away with unimplemented ideas and patents. Then there was this interesting presentation from Raj taken from a book(Name anyone please). It was pretty interesting.

15:00hrs := Spirituality in innovation. Mr William Miller posed a question, are you humanitarian or are u a techie. There is no spirituallity in innovation. You do it for yourself. Opinion, Spiritual Techie? well the general consensus was that you need to be a humanitarian professional.

16:00hrs := It was  time for Knowledge Cafe. Mr Raj Dutta from Mindtree explained that this is a place where we all sit in small groups and discuss at topic. The topic for the day was "Does Process hamper creativity". Keyword was creativity. We all chatted while we had coffee, samosa and jalebis. It was an amazing time. End result, I was reinforced of the fact that For creativity, process will hamper you. But to repeat a success u need a good process. As processes are subjective, they are best applied with a good doze of common sense. Cool ideas from everyone.

17:00hrs := I leave for home and take some rest for all that thinking made me tired.

Overall an awesome event organized by support from Mindtree and hard work from Prakash. Congrats and thank to them for this wonderful event.

If any of you have the ppts from iCamp online, please give a link via comments.

22 February 2008

Expect all days of the week blocked

Well it all started with a small revolution called Mobile Monday, Bangalore. It was an initiative of some minds behind the mobile technology in Bangalore(Keshav, S R Raja, Rajan & Rajiv). It was actually a success.

The reason behind the success of the Mobile Monday has been its unique concept. The community meets every 3rd Monday of the month. They have a set agenda and people with passion. So much so that many communities in Bangalore are planning to adopt a similar approach. Like all good things he success of this has lead into a next step, which make use of Saturday. Now what rhymes best with Saturday, well one of thing is Startup. So here we have Startup Saturday. An interesting concept building momentum. What I expect next is the following, Testers Tuesday, Web Wednesday, UX Thursdays, FOSS Friday, Startup Saturday and finally Sleepy Sunday. Guys at least Sunday deserves a break :-)

Anyways I dont see this thing not materializing. For a very simple reason, the community is Bangalore is strong and growing. Each one of community has a lot of share and work with. Probably building this sort of a community is the first step towards making a Google, Yahoo and hopefully not MS :-P When people meet, they think twice as much. This is what will seed innovation and surely take the Indian IT to the next level.

21 February 2008

Barcamp Bangalore - A new experiment

There is surely something about Barcamp Bangalore. It keeps on changing. The people driving it are always changing. Newer ideas keep pouring in. Discussion on those keep on happening. There are people who are always whining about things that are not right in Barcamp. Well the only thing I can say after meeting the guys working behind Barcamp Bangalore is that they are very open to ideas. But then some people are always there to complain. Probably thats a property(I am getting geeky nowadays) we inherit as Indians? That question mark is there because I am not sure.

But the fact remains we have people coming in who are there because they like this kind of an event. They have an idea on how it should be done. So whats new in this barcamp? well as I read from the mail Akash to BCB Mailing list, the Barcamp Bangalore wiki is open for all. There are no registrations. Only way you can register is by either being a speaker, volunteer or letting other know in specific, what u want to know about. Seems like an interesting way of avoiding show poopers(I dont know what that means but I hope u understood what I meant).

The venue too is open if anyone is ready to suggest a place which can fulfill the following criteria

Minimum Requirements for the venue
Should be able to accommodate at least 400 people.
Facility for breakfast, lunch, coffee
4-5 rooms with capacity to seat at least 50
Wifi access for Internet
Person introducing the venue will have to coordinate and ensure the requirements are met.

If you know of any such place you are open to suggest that place. I wonder where else other than IIM-B.

There are no Collectives. Now this is something which gives relief to a lot of ppl who hated it. I am still not sure how things will work out considering that I expect Collective to be a good thing which allows me to know which of the rooms are there where I can expect to get some thoughts on what I like. Also there is no overlap in the topic which interests me most. I am not sure who this thing will be taken care of now. I expect a lot of ppl to be unhappy with this arrangement too. Come to think of it. Is there anything in this world to which each and every human being would say, yes this is right.

Now whats there for me in this barcamp. Well I am truly frustrated by the fact that there are no good Blogging tools available. The thing that comes nearest to it is the Windows Live Writer. I hope I can meet some ppl and brainstorm with them to build a cool tool to blog.


Link to Barcamp Bangalore := http://barcampbangalore.org

20 February 2008

How to do a Semi-Transparent Splash screen

Well this was one thing that I had thought a lot about. In college when I was totally unaware of the alpha blending technology. So I wondered how the ppl would have had got hold of it. I had this weird idea of having a pixel taken from background and using that to make us believe that its semi-transparent. When I learned about Alpha Blending I thought my idea was really childish. I should have thought beyond. Then came the question of how to make the splash screen transparent. Well as many of u might be knowing, splash screens are bmp images by default. You cannot have any special effect using them. But then I had an idea, how about taking a snapshot of the current screen and then generating a splash bmp giving a nice semi-transparency. This was one among the many ideas that bumped by head at some point of time. 

Coming back to today. We all must have used the Windows Live Writer or other applications. If u havnt then give them a try. This application has a nice splash screen which is semi-transparent. I wondered if there is some API being used for this purpose. But did not find anything. But one day I saw something which cleared up all my doubts.

Windows Live Writer Splash screen

Now I realized what happened. I guess someone else too had a similar idea for having semi-transparent splash screen. If u look at the splash image, its clear that the background is made up of a screen which I had used sometime back. The new screen is not in the semi-transparent or transparent region. Even the borders do not make up for the current background. So I feel my ideas has been implemented. I dont know folks who wrote this program, probably they can give a much better idea. But I am confident that this has been done using my idea. If you think its done via something else, please let me know.

12 February 2008

iCamp, Devcamp, Barcamp - Bangalore Campified

Well as I have been observing Camps happening all the time. Its like they are happening dime a dozen. We had Barcamp Bangalore. DCamp Bangalore was introduced later. Kamp was one more even to add to the list. Then suddenly some techies join forces for Devcamp. Now I see iCamp(Innovation Camp) in sight. Cool stuff happening. But then isn't it a little too much. Actually to come to think of it. Most of those are in their first inning. I wish they go into their centennial editions.

Infact India need more of these camps. The camp phenomenon has hit the Kashmir Valley too. So the fever is finally catching on. I really loved the discussion at Devcamp which talked about a lot things. Most make no sense to me but some did. I am sure there were other who took home more than what I did. I heard there is this OSSCamp which also happens regularly in Delhi atleast. So its clear that Barcamp fever has gripped India big time. So what next.

Well next step is converting this movement into action. India lags big time in FOSS. But with the people power it has, I am sure it can make a bigger impact. These camps serve as seeds for people to meet and exchange ideas. Surly sooner or later some of these meetings between people with spur out something that will drastically impact existing technology. Infact what I feel is still missing. Most of these camps are once, twice or say trice a year. But what we need is some platform where people meet on a fortnightly or monthly basis. Discuss out their ideas. May even work towards some common goal. That sort of platform is there for enterpreurs in OCC but not for developers. I wish if someone could start. I think all thats needed is some people who are really into development for passion and some resources like space, board and may be a projector. What I am still not sure of is, will the developer community actively take part in it?

11 February 2008

Be smart die young

In the list of those seriously stupid researchers we have one more. These guys are saying that smart people are more likely to have alcohol related problem. So how is that. Well they offer a rather simple explanation. Well the smarter the guy, more money he will have. All humans get stressed equally. So the rich guys have more money to spend on alcohol and hence more the problem. What a stupid research once more.

Let me make one of my own . Ok here it is. All smart people die of unnatural causes of death. Well they are all rich. They all love fast cars. So when they drive is real fast, they sometimes end up in a fatal crash. So they dies a lot earlier than any person who is stupid and does not own a car.

Serious Crap....

Post no 100

Well its been almost one and half year and I have been able to blog for this long. Its nothing short of a miracle. But I am not sure how many people read this blog. But one thing is sure, I dont care. Why the hell should I care. I write not for money, not for fame. But for myself. I write because this is the only way to let my thoughts out. I remember, I used to keep one book when I was in school. My friends still remember that and keep comparing my blog to that. It does sound good that I am able to continue the hobby that I had in my childhood, may be in a different way. As a mark towards my 100th post I switched to a new theme Semipro-II. Some of my favorites, in no particular order, from the last 99 ones are here.
















Devcamp Bangalore - A Hit

Devamp Bangalore happened yesterday and I was there to witness the event. It was a real cool place to be in first place. A real gathering of geeks. You could hear people talking passionately about the semantic web, AIR, mobile technologies, JSON and many others. You could see ppl blogging or working with their laptop. It turned out to be a wonderful event. I had shortlisted 5 sessions to watch out for, and I am happy that out of those 2 were really cool, Microformats and Semantic Web and Clutter.

Microformats and Semantic Web talked about poshzone, which is an acronym for Plain Old Simple HTML zone. More details here.

Clutter is a new Library which is a wrapper around OpenGL and OpenGL ES. It allows you to do the same cool stuff with a lot smaller code that you could achieve by coding endlessly in OpenGL. Its a new thing which is coming up and we should collaborate and work on developing it further. The best part is that it can run on the mobile platforms as well. Another cool thing is that you super cool graphics card can be used to generate an equally cool UI for you desktop application. I am looking at it being a hit in the coming years. I wish I could contribute to it as well. But I am not sure of it.

Other than these two all other session that I attended were actually Hello world types and some were pitching in for their product. One guy from tring me even said that he cannot explain how his system works in 30mins. Awful.

Unfortunately Martin Fowler's session I could not attend and am not sure if he took any. If you know of it let me know some info on what he talked about. Anyways congrats to Sidu and Keshav who got together to organize this event.

09 February 2008

What lacks Devcamp Bangalore

Devcamp Bangalore is another attempt to have a good unconference style developers conference. But I feel its been plagued by several issues. I am writing it today because I did not want to generate negative publicity around an event which could have been one of the bridges for moving of Indians from coding coolies to tech giants. Still there were certain things which made me doubtful of the motive of the event. I am post now about it because there are only a few hours left for the event to start and I am going to attend it. But these are something which the organizers on their part must make sure does not happen.

First thing is, probably this event was there because Martin Fowler was coming to Bangalore. He is being treated as the chief guest. His topic too is yet to be decided. In true Barcamp spirit, this does not happen. I dont know if Martin Fowler is driving this camp or the campers themselves.

The event homepage at one point of time had link to a post by a gentleman who had genuine disappointment against Barcamp Bangalore. He believed that Barcamp is no more techie stuff. It is encompassing a whole lot of other stuff. Well I don't mind that post, but to promote something by bashing another event is ethically incorrect. I was particularly offended as I had some role in organizing Barcamp Bangalore. It was the first time I was into it and the people there were really supportive of the fact that I was there. I liked their principle that Barcamp Bangalore should be umbrella organisation for all topics which cannot afford to have a separate unconference. I liked that attitude. I appreciated this event  because Barcamp Bangalore was reaching some of its goals. Obviously the post on the main page was not required. Also Barcamp is as good as the people participating in it. I why people hate Barcamp because it still allows to have your own talk.

Anyways these guys have managed to get some real good topics on the board. I hope I get to learn something new tomorrow. I know that for sure that even for next two years I wont be doing something that would be worth talking at a barcamp like this.

Topics that I am really interested in are

  • Writing a reddit clone as an orkut application - Jude
  • Programming with Android - Selvan,
       1. Touchscreen, SMS handling, Handling web-pages
       2. Phone state handling
       3. Programmatically accessing mobile hardware (Vibarator et al)
       4. FixedPoint Math, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics with OpenGL-ES
  • Let's Develop an Open J2ME Mobile Game - Zarina 
  • Deploying python web apps on the desktop - Siddhi
  • Microformats and Semantic Web - Jeswin P
  • Clutter: Creating cutting edge hardware accelerated UI on linux - Shreyas Srinivasan

By the way, since Martin Fowler's topic is 'yet to be decided' I will take a call on it tomorrow.

07 February 2008

Selling online hits a new high

One my friend Saiyed pointed out to me something amazing at click.in. It was a used toothbrush which has been put up in classified. Rest you can see and laugh. toothbrush ad

Here is the link http://bangalore.click.in/classified/for-sale/household-appliances/238985/used-toothbrush-execellent-working-condition.html . Enjoy and have fun. If possible do reply to this guy {Big Grin}

06 February 2008

Another gem of a useless research

I just read this amazing research which says

Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money

Here is the story on Wired. Le me quote the article

"It was a small surprise," said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, who led the study. "But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more."

Some more interesting lines

"Lung cancer is a cheap disease to treat because people don't survive very long," van Baal said. "But if they are old enough to get Alzheimer's one day, they may survive longer and cost more."

The ultimate suggestion

"We are not recommending that governments stop trying to prevent obesity," van Baal said. "But they should do it for the right reasons."

Stupid fellow. He was surprised. What the hell. Well if you are a smoker or an obese you definitely do the world a great service. You live a rather short life, hence consume a lot less of costly resources. Low on pension and medical bills. Going by the logic I would say everyone should be killed as soon as he reaches the age of 50. He sure would become a liability. Its just stupid to live after that. You just consume resources at the cost of others. If you do not drink or smoke, you must pay extra taxes and premium for the crime of living a life of disability and wasting the natural resources.

What the hell. Kill those researchers. These no-brainers are the biggest liability to the society. Well as some brainy fellow said "Everyone has the right to be stupid, but these guys are abusing it". What do you think friends.

04 February 2008

Oh My God!!! What next

It seems like the Indian judges have got a new sense of humor. As long it had only been speculated by humorists that Court will send notices to the Gods. But a court in Dhanbad has done it. Seems like really no one is above the law. Lets see if 'Kaanoon ke haath, kitne lambe hai'(how long is hand of law). Can it bring the Gods to court? Great going India. Now look who is making a mockery of law.