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Sunday, November 13, 2005

My blog's moved over to wordpress

... Sukshma [sukshma.net]

Generics in the Java Language

Sun introduced Generics with Java 1.5 recently.

Whenever a developer created a Collection in older versions of Java, he had to rely on run-time checking to enforce type safety in the Collection. Run-time checked does provide flexibility. However, 90% of the time, Developer's never really designed to use that flexibility. Imagine creating a Collection of different types of Objects with nothing in common, how often would one have to solve a problem that required just that? Even in that 90%, 10% of the time, that flexibility was abused. Now Imagine writing an interface that takes a Collection as an argument. Let's say there exist two different implementations of that interface (or template) that expected a Collection each with types that differ from the other. The horrors, the interface designer never intended the interface to be used in that way. Thus, interchangeability is not enforceable.

I just did rely on anecdotal evidence to justify the use of Generics. A very obvious example.

Yes, Generics is just as much a fix as it is a feature.

This is my repository of articles and people on Generics.

Generics in the Java programming Language. [Sun.com]
Generics in the Java programming Language. [Sun.com] -- A tutorial by Gilad Bracha.
Bruce Eckel's Java weblog. [Artima] -- if your not happy with just the tutorial but want to look at the advanced material, hop over to Eckel's journal and follow his Generics blogs. Or, :-) just get your own Blog up and running and send me a link.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ray Ozzie at Microsoft

His memo on Internet Services adoption in Microsoft.

Bill Gates' views on Ozzie and his role at Microsoft.

-- Ozzie's Online Charge [Business Week]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What the Bleep do we know?

Before you go out and watch the movie, you should consider that the movie only presents one point of view [Wikipedia.org]. Not all Quantum physicists believe that the Quantum physics is connected to conciousness in the way the movie describes it. In fact those who do are in the minority.

Now I don't even remember who recommended it to me. I wish I could speak to him and let him know about this.

In the end I guess I am interested more in efficacy, a narrow view that might hurt.

What about Ramtha's school of enlightenment [Wikipedia.org]. Not a very credible school.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hack my PC

My Dell Windows XP PC had a sticker on it that say "Please hack me".

Well, I didn't see the sticker. Not for a while. I read a very basic article on hacking by Roger Grimes at Infoworld. He talked about passwords sniffed from wireless networks. Their encryption broken in a matter of seconds. I thought it was too easy, it couldn't be. I had to try it myself. I hopped over to insecure.org downloaded Cain & Abel installed it and was ready to go. Cain is a sniffer + cracker. I had to see for myself.

It took me less than five minutes to sniff the traffic on my private network, send it to the cracker and launch a dictionary attack on the SMB traffic collected. I found two vulnerable accounts, "Administrator" and "Guest". Both accounts had *no* passwords. The Administrator account was especially worrisome - it never showed up under the account list in my XP control-panel. I never even knew it existed. I had never logged into it (XP offers to create a user account with administrator privileges at install-time). The Administrator account is also my system 'root', pardon my reliance on Unix jargon.

Dissapointed in myself, I quickly peeled the sticker off by disabling the two accounts. Maybe I can fix the vulnerability comprehensively by eliminating my dependence on Windows entirely.

BBC: Kerala Tree House

BBC - Holiday: Kerala Tree House

Hold on, no shaking your booty in Bangalore

(Credit to Mithun for this story)

I am afraid to have to say this, but it is true, the Karnataka state govt. has banned dancing in public places [1,2,3]. Any way you look at it, it does look like the government is trying to curb your personal freedom. Thankfully, we have not gone as far as to actually mimic a pure islamic state yet. But if we were to let them get away with this restriction, who is going to stop the moral police when they curb free speech?

There is of course a rationale, the ban is part of a wider effort to curb the western influence. Truthfully, influences can be bad as well as good. When the west said, "Can you take up these support jobs?" Karnataka was more than glad to do so. Suddenly, BPO's in Bangalore were training several thousand youngsters on western accents, culture and other mannerisms. But of course, we cannot allow them to dance, that one bit might just tip the scale over? Is that really what the government is thinking?

We must be careful though, lest the western media portray India in the same light as as other policed nations, nations where your rights are worth only as much as the scrap of paper they are written on.

Bangalore was the first place in India to host anything close to a real Pink Floyd concert. Roger Water's was there in the flesh (2002). I was glad I could make it, happy that Bangalore was the place to step up and host the concert.

Bangalore is also the daddy of the Indian westernized "public watering hole". Bangalore pubs have offered for a while now the english pub culture, good music and ambience that flipped your mind. Before Bangalore, the local watering-hole only meant the restaurant down the road that got you a chuck for a buck and played old hindi songs from a mono-tape recorder. Of course the upcoming, young, middle-class wanted better. They were working longer hours, had a more global outlook and a paycheck that reflected this wide change. Where else could I hop from the pub dedicated to Marley to another one dedicated to Syd Barrett?

Bangalore is also one of the few cities in India with relaxed restrictions on the sale and distribution of Alcohol. That may have changed in recent times, but in my last visit there in 2004, I had the option to buy some at a california-style grocery store. Besides, they are never going to ban the sale of alcohol at pubs. Well not until and unless they found another source of revenue to replace the taxes they collect.

Am I proud of these influences that have changed India? Not really. Many Indians may have taken up Salsa and ignored Kathak. It's definitely easier to find a place for aerobics than for Yoga. Tomorrow we might drop Sambar for Kentucky Fried Chicken (I doubt that though)! I respect the fact that people want their kids to grow up to be refined young Indians instead of the lead singer of a rock band or a salsa god.

Why did the government forget, an amalgamation of cultures is inevitable! Why are they fighting it? Please let's not ban dancing and focus on the real issues that plague Bangalore.

[1] Wall Street Journal
[2] Japan Times
[3] Indian Express

Sunday, November 06, 2005

BW: Polish your presentations

Read the article

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Investing in Asia

"The Best Asian Performers" - Business Week online.

Most people agree that energy and infrastructure companies appear to be up there with the best. Their popularity is attributed to the tremendous momentum transferred to these sectors by sky-rocketing growth in Asia.

It's not surprising to see Infosys at 39.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

News round up: Young Entrepreneurs

Another one of those blogs where the poster simply posts what he read today. Sure, lets not forget what this blog really is - a web journal :-).

I think it's a privilege to be 20 something and able to risk it all on a venture that is close to your heart. I realise that not everyone makes it, but that doesn't mean you should have to stop trying. Business week has a special report on the young entrepreneurs in North America.

Entrepreneurs: Cream of the Young Crop [Business week]
I especially enjoyed this slide show which walks you through each entrepreneur, his or her business idea, and the lessons they learnt from their experiences.

Tech's Young Turks are back [Business week]

Teaching the startup mentality [Business week]

The Startup bug strikes early [Business week]

Don't let ego kill the startup [Business week]

From hacker to protector [Business week]

Featured startups -
Voltage Security

Meanwhile, Paul Graham has been encouraging startups in his own way. Have a look through his essay "What I did this Summer" [paulgraham.com]. His Summer founders program has been spawning several ideas and motivating youngsters to chase those ideas.

Before you can start a business, you do need to start with an idea. You also need to know where that idea is going to be in the short-term, and at least a vague idea of the long-term. You need a business plan [entrepreneur.com].

Tata Tea Gold

I highly recommend Tata Tea Gold for those who enjoy drinking Black Tea from India. Trouble is, I can't seem to get hold of a bag. My housemates and I just ran through one within a month. Vishal's brother bought some for us from India.

Any ideas? Where can I get some here in the U.S?

Diwali across the Americas

Diwali was celebrated with much gusto in NYC, Vancouver, and other large cities in the U.S and Canada.

"This week, in a coincidence of calendars, Hindus and Muslims from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are celebrating the most joyous holidays of the year. Hindus observe the festival of lights, Diwali, or Deepavali, which ushers in the new year; Muslims finish the holy month of Ramadan with Id al-Fitr, which signals the end of the monthlong daytime fast and a return to the sweetness of daily life." --
Festival of lights: Parade of Sweets [NYTimes]

"Grewal said when she grew up in England in the '60s, her family and friends didn't "feel free to celebrate any of our festivals." She is pleased to be living in today's multicultural society where the city supports such celebrations." --
South asians invite everyone to city-wide Diwali celebrations [Vancouver Courier]

"In keeping with the Diwali custom of also lighting the outside of the home, Kamlesh Thakrar has strung up colourful outdoor lights. That initially confused his neighbours. "They all said, `What are you doing? Christmas is three months away,'" chuckles Thakrar, who immigrated to Canada in 1975 from a tight-knit community of Indian expatriates in Kampala, Uganda.The Thakrars are among hundreds of millions of Hindus around the world, including nearly 200,000 in Greater Toronto, who will celebrate Diwali, the beginning of a new year on the Hindu calendar." --
Let there be lights [Toronto Star]

Devon Street in Chicago is probably having a blast. San Francisco will have the Bollywood Diwali Dhoom at the HP Center in San Jose.

Happy Diwali!!