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Friday, September 30, 2005

What did I tell you about String.getBytes()?


Nathan: We should make it a compiler error
Sarinder: I wish we could rewrite String.class and get rid off String(byte[]) and String.getBytes()

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The BBC on Real estate

The BBC suggests watching neighborhoods carefully to predict which way prices will tend to go.

A particularly strong signal that house prices are booming is if an area is starting to 'gentrify'.

Gentrification is the conversion, over a period of years, of less developed and desirable districts into thriving neighbourhoods occupied by professionals and young families.

The process is always a fairly visible one.

How to read the local house market [BBC]

The BBC's guide to the property market.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lousy Employer ahead!

Liz Ryan writes an interesting feature for BW. [Business week]

BlackBerry Connect for Treo

Additionally, RIM may have some announcement regarding Palm's Treo.

RIM hopes to create it's own Buzz [Market Watch]

Palm said that it sold 470,000 Treos in the most-recently reported quarter, up 160% from a year ago. By comparison, Research In Motion last reported adding 592,000 Blackberry subscribers in its first quarter.

RIM will update Wall Street when it reports second-quarter results on Wednesday.

In response to the hoopla, Research In Motion is gearing up for announcements of its own this week.

Balsillie said the launch of a Treo-Blackberry product is imminent. "We've been working in a Palm/Treo partnership for a while."

A Treo and a Blackberry combination sounds intriguing given that both are top brands for anyone that wants an e-mail mobile device.

But analysts I've spoken with are unclear about just what kind of new Blackberry Treo product Balsillie is referring to.

Additionally, a Blackberry connect is already available for the Treo, according to analysts. The question is: Why isn't Palm marketing it?

Balsillie wouldn't get into details about the company's partnership with Palm, or other announcements, only to say, essentially, stay tuned.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Looking beyond the English Language

Sometimes, English isn't the best place to look for a particular word -

Tingo [BBC]

Friday, September 23, 2005

Recycle an old XBox

Consoles to plug digital divides? [BBC]

Time of crisis

Along the gulf coast U.S.A a crisis is brewing. There are easily thousands of people stranded on the highways leaving Houston, Texas. They are directly in the path of incoming Hurricane Rita. In other words, they just walked into a situation that could prove fatal. I wonder, what are they going to do now? People stranded on a highway, versus people secure in a basement or some other solid structure - what is worse? I wish the evacuation which is very necessary, was considerably more efficient. As if the humanitarian disaster that followed Hurrican Katrina wasn't bad enough.

Makes me wonder, how well prepared is the greater Seattle-area? Of the many natural disasters that can hit the area, Volcanic eruption, earthquakes, and a massive Tsunami are the notable ones. Even In the case of an impending disaster with plenty of advance warning, I am pretty sure Interstate-90 and Interstate-5 would be clogged within a day of an announcement to evacuate. Everyone would probably have the same idea - lets hit the highway and get out of town. Question remains, how would you evacuate a metropolitan area or a large city? Is that even a feasible proposition? What would you advise someone to do in case they find themselves in that position?

Seattle hailed for disaster readiness [SF Gate].

I want to point out the monumental stupidity of the authorities in Houston. Do listen to what people have to say about the highways out of Houston ("Miles of Traffic as Texans Heed Order to Leave" -- NYTimes):

Acknowledging that "being on the highway is a deathtrap," Mayor Bill White asked for military help in rushing scarce fuel to stranded drivers.

Mr. White and the top official in Harris County, Judge Robert Eckels, admitted that their plans had not anticipated the volume of traffic. They maintained that they had not urged such a widespread evacuation, although only a day earlier they invoked the specter of Hurricane Katrina, and told residents that the "time for waiting was over."

"Don't wait, the time for waiting is over," Mr. White urged Wednesday. "Don't follow the example of New Orleans and think someone's going to get you."

In Baton Rouge, La., Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco called for the evacuation of a nearly half a million people in the southwest portion of her state.

"Head north, head north," she said. "You cannot go east, you cannot go west, head north. If you know the local roads that go north, take those."

"The question is how many people will be gravely ill and die sitting on the side of the freeway," said State Representative Garnet Coleman, Democrat of Houston. "Dying not from the storm, but from the evacuation."

Mr. Coleman's family had tried to leave the city Thursday at his urging - he is traveling on the West Coast - but they gave up after 12 hours of stalled traffic, without even passing the city's outer ring highway.

"If you can't move outside the city of Houston in 12 hours, then nobody else is getting out," Mr. Coleman said. "This is it. Because even if you tried to leave now, you would not move fast enough to get out of harm's way in advance of the storm."

"I never saw anything so disorganized."

"We did everything we were supposed to do," Mr. Adcock said, "secure our house, left early, checked routes, checked on our neighbors." But he said, "when we got out there we were totally on our own."

A high-occupancy vehicle lane went unused, he said, and they saw no police officers. At one point, Mr. Adcock said, he called the Texas Department of Transportation for an alternate route, but the woman who answered could not find a map.

"If you're not in the evacuation zone, follow the news," the mayor said. "The storm is oscillating. We may be in a better position." And he maintained: "We have never called for the evacuation of Houston. We asked people to use their common sense."

But Judge Eckels acknowledged under questioning that the massive congestion "was not in the plan."

Frank E. Gutierrez, the emergency management coordinator for Harris County, said that models for an emergency evacuation envisioned 800,000 to 1.2 million people but that "well over 2.5 million" hit the road to flee Hurricane Rita.

Earlier, as the crush worsened, state transportation officials announced that contraflow lanes would be established first on I-45, then 290 and lastly on I-10. But by midafternoon, with traffic immobile on 290, the plan for extra lanes there was dropped, stranding many and prompting other to reverse course. "We need that route so resources can still get into the city," said a transportation spokeswoman, Janelle Gbur.

"I just talked with the governor this morning and that was his No. 1 request is to make sure we can get some fuel down there, to make sure those cars have fuels, make sure the first responders have fuels, and we are working to process that right now," said R. David Paulison, acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For people stuck in traffic trying to evacuate, Mr. Paulison advised them not to turn around and go home.

"I know they're frustrated, there's a lot of traffic out there," he said. "Again, that's why we try to evacuate early. If they stay on the road now, they're going to have enough time to get out of harm's way."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bollywood Irony

Isn't it strange that Madhur Bhandarkar, who has directed "Chandni Bar" and "Page 3" should be accused of exploiting a Bollywood actress? Both movies discuss exploitation for profit. Makes you believe that Bollywood is this huge sleaze pot! One of them is sure as hell guilty of distorting the truth.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Housing dilemma

It appears most people are calling on a quick end to the sharp incline in house prices over the past year (or more). Anecdotal evidence points to the same conclusion. House values in the Bay area for example, or on the decline. Then again, that area has been known for it's irrational exuberance in the past.

Nevertheless, I have a host of links to stories and articles that lean towards pessimism. One of my favorite bloggers is Calculated Risk, here is his analysis. There is also one more article here [NYTimes].

UPDATE: If your watching Calculated Risk, his latest post is about arguments against inflated prices.

Monday, September 19, 2005

BlackBerry Internet E-mail Upgrade

The official word from T-Mobile is out.

Net worth

Ok, I am not kidding, but there are people who are actually publishing their net worth: NYTimes.

6% - The price of information on the real estate market

Anyone who wants to know how to outfox them first has to understand where they derive their power: information. They know the market - or presume to know it - and help set the price of your house. They serve as the go-between and, again presumably, know how far you can push the other side.
-- NYTimes "The 6 percent solution: skip real estate agents"

Related Links:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Gripes about careers at Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and elsewhere

The pay disparity is exacerbated by Microsoft's rating system. The company uses a bell curve to rate employees in each group, so the number of top performers is balanced by the same number of underachievers. But Microsoft has a long history of hiring top-notch computer science grads and high-quality talent from the industry. Under the rating system, if a group works hard together to release a product, someone in the group has to get a low score for every high score a manager dishes out. "It creates competition in the ranks, when people really want community," says a former Microsoft vice-president. A company spokesman says managers don't have to apply the curve with smaller groups, where it's not statistically relevant.

--Business Week "Troubling Exits At Microsoft"

Real Estate thoughts

Housing Bust Ahead [Calculated Risk] is a pessimistic view on where the housing market is headed. In any case, with rents on the higher side here in Issaquah, you might just break even and save a little if you bought a house instead.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Research In Motion Updates

Nokia pierces Blackberry Brambles[Wired]

Nokia Business Center [Nokia]

In this corner, Nokia [Business Week]

With friends like Nokia [Business Week]

Finally, Blackberry Web Client [BlackBerryForums.com] is to be replaced :-)

iPod implies a perception of clean design

"So … as I was sitting on the toilet this morning and I noticed the shiny white porcelain of the bathtub and the reflective chrome of the faucet on the wash basin … and then it hit me! Everybody perceives the iPod as 'clean' because it references bathroom materials!" -- Quoted on GMSV

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Flickr - light's on

I have prepared a collection of selected photographs on Flickr. I have decided to share them under a non-commercial, share-alike license (heard of the creative commons?). Most of the pictures were taken by me using my Kodak DX 7440. Do have a look - I assure you, you will not be dissapointed.

My photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Summer of 2005

When did the Northwest go from the ordinary to the spectacular? With the onset of good weather, the sun and clear blue skies, my immediate environment has taken on new meaning, incredible. The picture above was taken from Tolmie peak lookout. In the backdrop is Mt. Rainier, an active, snow-capped volcano. In the foreground is Lake Eunice. The expanse of wilderness is a part of Mt. Rainier National Park.

A crucial element to any successful hike are your allies. They meticulously researched, planned, and executed every hike. I was glad to help out, to observe and to learn. For a while, the rest of the world was forgotten, my room at 19321 lay empty for the weekend with no regrets. Definitely, having made new friends and cemented old acquaintances the Northwest is a lot closer to home now than any other place. My first year here has not been in vain.

Every hike has been a difficult one. As a reward, I have been treated to a glimpse of heaven and I am in awe. Lest I forget, I must put it down in writing. My words, although far from the experience itself, will hopefully keep me going through the wet, gloomy days ahead.

Lake Twenty-Two - 7th August
Tolmie peak - 13th August
Mt. Cougar - 20th August
Lake Dorothy - 21st August
Glacier National Park, Montana - 3rd, 4th and 5th September
Tiger Mt. Chirico trail - 10th September
Snow Lake - 11th September

Hello world!

Let's see if I can get around to publishing regularly.

I wonder if there is any value to remaining anonymous?