emerge

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” ― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

after gone missing for more than 2 years i have emerged back from outer space back to this lively blue green planet. lot of things have changed, both from my end and in the world around me. the geek in me have been shadowed by the responsibilities of a husband and a father. and my work life gives me no more opportunity to be the geek i was. the hacker spirit is long gone and am merely surviving.

this could be another futile attempt to re-emerge, though am no more practicing the craft to be able to write anything of use to anyone. but there are things that i wrote way back that still draws attention of the searching souls and many times prove useful to them. am happy to be of some help, hope i can do much better.

This Blog Is Not Dead

This blog is not dead, it’s just me who doesn’t post.

I still get an occasional thanks for a very old post and am happy that I could help someone looking desperately for an answer, like I once did.

Life has changed a bit but priorities have changed a lot, what I found curious then have become the way-it-is now and hence my attention have turned towards other things, especially those which have come new into my life. Those who know get the clue, and those who don’t I just hope that I’ll be able to come back in sometime, may be not as much as I was but better than what am.

Till then, singing off…

inpycon09 the success story

When the first discussions happened, everybody doubted it might become just another conference discussion that will never happen. It has taken the support and sheer determination of quite a number of people to make it happen. We just wanted to try it once, to at least see how the Python community responds to such initiatives and it has ended up being more than encouraging to make this a yearly event. This is the simple story of inpycon09.

When I landed at the IISc campus on a not so chilly morning, the posters were up and I could find a few people waiting here and there in the corridors. When I entered nothing was up yet, other than a few volunteers running around putting posters and direction notices. Slowly people started turning up and I could see more known faces. By 9 AM, there were enough crowd to start the registration counter and soon a long queue got formed.

The conference kit consisted of a notepad, ID tag, a pen and a pycon tee. It was a simple white tee, with a caption in the back. Unfortunately we ended up having a spello in it, which indeed made the tee more special ;-) Halls were fast filling up and when Prabhu Ramachandran was delivering the keynote the benches got filled and people started filling up the foot steps as well. It was a very interesting talk, encouraging everyone to go and give a shot with Python. He had also included his associations with ILUGC and how it helped him. He advised people to become a part of an active LUG. His talk was mostly around SciPy and Mayavi.

As the keynote ended, talks in other two halls started, kicking the normal proceedings of the first day of inpycon. Every hall was running full house and we would’ve had around 300 people attending the conference, especially a big bunch of students of REC, Chennai. Kenneth and Noufal took the Introduction to Python talk, leaving me for the second day. There was actually a balance of talks, not just focusing on web development. And the lunch was really good.

A lot of #linux-india guys had turned up and it was surprising to meet them before the normal foss.in season. The first day ended up quite satisfactorily and gave us hopes for the second day to run smoothly. Though we did not have a huge crowd on the second day, and it being only a half day of scheduled talks, it too went calmly. I took the beginners’ introduction to Python, following by Kenneth taking some advanced topics. There was a white sheet posted with post-it notes to be used to express the feedbacks from delegates and we ended up getting some quite interesting, even contradicting opinions posted about the conference. We welcome the criticisms as it helps us to know our holes and stop it from appearing next time.

On the whole, the beta release of inpycon was a satisfying success, leaving my weekend to have not been wasted and giving us the encouragement to come back better next year, may be in Chennai ;-)

ILUGC Monthly Meeting June 2009

The monthly meeting of ilugc, which usually happens every second Saturday, for the month of June 2009 happened yesterday. There were two talks, Emacs’ org-mode by Ashok Gautham and CUPS configuration in the Configuration Series by Raman P.

As we did not have projector this time, both of them had to resort using the white board, which made them actually finish the talk sooner than expected. Although Raman managed to make the talk interesting by including real life situations he had faced, thanks to his experience, Ashok struggled a bit as his was more a practical demonstration. We should try our best to get the projector for the meet from next time, as well as the speakers should be prepared to do without one.

There was a lot of first timers to LUG meet this time, and one of them is involved in a project developing custom made embedded boards, which they plan to make available for a cost of 3ooo INR so that students can buy and play with them. He will hopefully be demonstrating the board during the next meet, so embedded fanboys mark your calendar in advance.

Here are some snaps from the meeting,

Ashok Gautham during his org-mode talk

Ashok Gautham during his org-mode talk

Raman speaking about CUPS configuration

Raman speaking about CUPS configuration

organized search

Today’s Indian Express carried an article about Kosmix, another search engine but with a revolutionary new idea. We all know that Google has become synonymous to web search that we often call it as googling. May be that verb should get added to the dictionaries.

But, as the article rightly points out, the outcome of a Google search is nothing but a list of blue links, sorted by its PageRank mechanism. Thus, what we see as the result is just the top scoring web pages and not a mixture of relevant and different types of information. The reason is still most top web search engines consider the web to be made of pages, which is not entirely true.

Though we still access a web page to see a content or in original terms the information, the information is not just a bunch of text. And even information as a bunch of text is not of the same type. In this web2.0 era, information is not just in web pages, it is in blogs, it is in Orkut and Facebook profiles and groups, it is in microblogging especially tweets, it is in images posted in Flickr and lot other places, it is in discussion forums, it is in Youtube and other video sharing sites, it is in iTunes and other music sharing sites, and a hell lot of other places and in a hell lot of formats.

For example, when we are searching about a person we just do not want to know his home page and wherever his name is mentioned. We might want to know his personal information, we might want to know his Facebook profile, we might want to know his digital albums, we might want to know the music he hears to or uploads, we might want to know the video he has just uploaded or a video about him or presented by him, we might want to know his last tweet, we might want to know lot of other things. Just giving them as a list of blue links in a page doesn’t help people anymore.

The search results need to be organized and categorized so that the audience can get a big screen picture and not the boring links to click one after another in an endeavor to find the information that one wants. This is what Kosmix tries to do. It organizes the information into news, video, books, blogs, tweets, photos…

For example, search for Manmohan Singh gives me the wiki article about him, videos of him and about him, links for information pertaining to him, images of him, discussion about him, questions asked about him,  news and blogs, and all you want to know about him neatly organized.

As the article mentions in the end, it is now upto Google, Yahoo and other search engine beasts to wake up and take the web search to the next era. We are sick of blue links..

some time no post catching up

Three weeks since I moved back to Chennai, the first week went off in settling down in the new rented house with packers and movers shifting stuffs from Bangalore, some electrical, carpentry and plumbing works getting done, Airtel broadband getting installed and a lot more. The next week saw me traveling 60 km a day, to work and back home  put together, leaving me all tired to try doing anything else other than having my dinner and catching some early sleep so I can get up early the next morning and go to work. As Internet is under restricted mode at work, no possibility of catching me up on line during day time from now.

Works been sounding interesting so far. Bought a book on Probability and Statistics and catching up some idea so I would be able to perform better at work. Hopefully would start committing code from Monday. I fortunately landed up a day before the CEO came down from US of A, especially for working with our team’s new efforts for some time. It’s been great going though all I have been doing these 2 weeks was to get into the grove with the rest of the team and the code base.

One of the happy things is that I am not asked to work on a Windows machine but a Centos machine with KDE3.x on it. Also that I get some nice breakfast and lunch, and more importantly coffee/tea/chocolate milk any time I want ;-)

Traveled over the newly constructed Guindy Grade Separator aka Fly-over few times from all directions and it is indeed wonderful. Hope lot of such projects keep happening to address the worsening traffic conditions of Chennai. As a downside, they reverted back the one-way rule around Ashok Pillar to the earlier problematic turn-any-side so that all those traffic jams is coming back to embrace us back.

Nothing else interesting enough to be blogged. With around a week left for Jaunty release, need to catch with the junta and all the excitement of yet another Ubuntu release.

digging up

My mom wanted my good ol’ cupboard to be cleaned up and junk stuffs thrown out so she gets some space to use. This little piece of wood built into the corner of my ex-room has served the past 8 years as a store house of all artifacts right from my child hood, though a few things got their place in the “paran” above.

I have my entire collection of Digit and LFY in it, but don’t know what to do with all these mags which I don’t read anymore. I do not want them to be put to the paper wala.

I dug up the first copied of the magazines which I edited and/or co-authored during my school and college days.  I find them to be totally amateurish and unprofessional now, especially the type facing. But those are precious, and the very experience got me my first job.

I had an entire collection of science and maths books from my schooling. I even picked up one to brush through probability and statistics which I very much need now. And in the deep bottom of all these were all the marriage invitations of my cousins.

I discovered my notes which I had made during my non-academic learning process, especially on microprocessor programming, Matlab, PHP, Python, HTML and CSS, ABAP and lot more. I also found all my puzzle books that I had bought during those days when I attended at least one test/interview every week for getting my first job.

One of the magazines actually had pictures of my college department staffs, super seniors and seniors, and I was trying to figure out how many of theirs names I still do remember. Well, I could remember most of the girls’ names ;-)

Finally, I moved up two bags full of (may be around a dozen+) books from the cup board to my existing book shelf, realizing that I will be finding it hard to accommodate the books I buy in the future :-P I have 3 books on Red Hat Linux and 4 books for C++ (I have 4 books on Python as well, all from O’Rielly) now.