31 December 2010

Wish You a Very Happy New Year - 2011

Unstuck wishes you, your family and friends a very happy new year


30 December 2010

A Question on Java Exception?

In Java, there are two types of exceptions - checked and unchecked.
Java compiler ensures that "checked" exceptions are handled and flags compilation error when checked exceptions are not handled. But it does not flag errors when "unchecked" exceptions are not handled. The subclasses of "RuntimeException" and the subclasses "Error" are "unchecked".

Why does Java have this as a thumb rule?

28 December 2010

Software Design Puzzle #6 - Design A Dictionary

Think about a dictionary now and kind of things that you will do with a dictionary. Normally a dictionary will have simple operations of add, delete, edit and search words. Being a software dictionary, won't it be good that it suggests you list of words based on the words you type.

For example, when you type "sim", it should display first "N" closest match with the prefix supplied. I don't need to emphasize that the first word should be the exact match (if any) and then followed by list of words that matches closely.

Assume that you have many data store in which the words are stored (database, XML file, txt file, CSV file etc). It is enough to perform the search/auto-suggestion on the data in local database. If the user is willing, the user can also hear the word through audio and for doing that you have to contact a remote web service that gives a audio file for a specific word. You can also assume that there exists a audio file for every word in the database.

Can you design the application, come up with set of classes, assign responsibilities to the classes and a brief architectural diagram too.

Put your design patterns knowledge in action :-)

27 December 2010

Lesson Learnt from "Clean the Mess"

I had a wonderful experience today (Sunday, 26-Dec-2010). I took my nephew to a nearby super market. Being a Sunday evening, there were lot of people and even lot more in the billing counters. We were standing at 5th position waiting for our turn at one of the counters. There were many chocolates racks near the billing counters and those chocolates were kept there purposefully to make people standing in the counter to buy when they are waiting for their turn. While standing, i noticed two perk chocolates fallen off the shelf.

My nephew, while taking his chocolate disturbed couple of chocolates from the overloaded chocolates stacks. I had told him to place the fallen chocolates in its shelf. He did it many times as he was busy in choosing chocolates. All the times, he made sure that he kept the fallen ones on to the shelves. But his attention was not on the perk chocolates that had fallen off before we stood there. As an usual adult guy, i didn't try to bring his attention towards the two chocolates that fallen before. The simple philosophy was "i didn't create the mess (we didn't dislodge those two perk chocolates), why i should clear it".

After five minutes, i had a lesson from my young nephew. Finally, his eyes fell on the two chocolates. He picked up those two chocolates along with the new fallen ones. He cleared the whole mess. Though it was mess, i saw the mess differently than how he saw. For him, the mess is the mess and he has to clear it. For me, the part of the mess was due to me and the other part was someone else's. So, i dont need to clear others' mess.

Many times, we go to a training  to learn etiquette. But being sensitive and watching little ones will teach us what the trainings can't teach.

It was powerful learning and great life's experience. I aspire to take this learning forward till I die.

25 December 2010

What is Experience

Yesterday, Sandeep and I had a long discussion on "what is experience". Here is what we came up with.

We start our career with equal potential. Experience is how we mobilize our potential. It is how we convert our potential (the energy we posses by virtue of being human, engineer etc) to action (how we mobilize the potential to get results) decides the depth of our experience. The conversion factor differs and so is over experience/learning. Experience obeys law of conservation of energy. The energy neither be created nor destroyed but transformed from one form to another form.

In general, potential diminishes as experience grows and kinetic increases with experience (for most of us). We become more action oriented with experience.

We came up with the following diagram during our chat.

15 December 2010

Software Design Puzzle #5 - Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream

Uncle John is very tired working for a software company. It is his childhood dream to be a entrepreneur and so he resigned his job and started a ice cream business. His business idea is very simple. Like coffees, teas, milkshakes, he wants to do ice cream vending machines and sell ice creams along with ice vending machine. Being a Java developer, he wants to develop a highly flexible ice cream vending machines (and eventually patent it). He wants to give few varieties of ice creams - cone, cup and stick and so many flavors.

The question here is, how will you design the ice cream vending machine (time being forget the fact how various ice creams base/flavors are mixed and ice cream is made which by itself is a separate design problem to solve).

How will you design the vending machine?

10 December 2010

Puzzle - Which is at the Middle

There is a linked list (you can assume that it is unidirectional or bi-directional). The list is not ordered in any specific format (unsorted).
  • What are the methods (or ways) by which you find the middle element of the list? (For example, if the element has 11 elements, 6th element is the middle. If you have 10 elements, 5th or 6th (whichever you like) is the middle element of the list).
  • What is algorithmic complexity of each method?

08 December 2010

Software Design Puzzle #4 - Apple Farm

This time, it is producers and consumers. Here is the story

There is a apple farm and the season is at its peak. The farm has many trees and each tree has numerous apples. The owner decides to harvest the apple and invites bids from various folks who are interested to buy apples. Some of them want the apples to be sent to their places and some of them are ready to reach the farm to procure the apples. So, the farmer plans for the harvest. He employs few hundreds of people - some to pick apples from the tree and some to package/transport apples. And by the way, the farmer sends apple as package of 500 apples.

Can you bring out classes and their relationships to fulfill the above requirements?

05 December 2010

Engage at Higher Level

For quite sometime, i have been reading books quiet consistently (probably at least 30 minutes before i sleep) but yet i m not consistent with my thoughts. So far, it still exists as an unaccomplished dream - the dream that i would cherish when i see through things beyond what is so obvious and penetrating through the subtle and be satisfied with the way i abstract things. Solving an unsolved problem through the one that i already solved is going to make me so happy, so satisfied, so brainy. Above all, i think that is the starting point of wisdom. Wisdom, not only helps me to solve unsolved problems but also helps me to stay calm during the period of time when the problem is getting resolved. An analogy is the process of farming. You sow the seed but yet wait until it reaps. This needs a bit of higher level of thinking.

Do we need people to just tell the direct things? Yes, we do need people to tell us direct things. But we don't want them to teach. Assume that i teach people how to do stuff by writing a book. Then the book becomes science even if the book is written on arts. The beauty of a subject lies in "art form". For example, let us assume that a world class painter writes a book on how to use colors in painting. The painter talks about science of mixing colors to produce new colors that expresses the mood in the painting. It is a science. But even the art has science and art forms. So is science, it has science and art forms. The wisdom helps us to take up something to art form.

The science form tells us how to do stuff, probably how to do stuff better. But it never tells us how to imagine with the help of stuff that we know. The science form of a subject cannot tell all sort of things that can possibly come out of science because the science has definite boundaries. On the other hand, the imagination yields new science. But only the art form begins the hope of the future and hence it has no limits. The art form is most compelling and forward looking. I m not trying to say that science isn't required. But i argue that science is not suffice. In order to understand the obvious and move beyond obvious is only possible when you take up something beyond "science form". Engaging at higher level helps in accomplishing this.

Engaging at higher level is a starting point of appreciating something in art form. The art form gives the guts feeling, tells you that you are on the right path and it helps you to unfold your future that you imagined few years back.

Engaging at higher level can take multiple forms like seeing things in different perspective, trying to digest the information and question the appearance of things. If we start accepting things as they are presented to us without employing (or at worst trying to think at higher level) any higher level of thinking, soon we will find stuck in rituals.

Finally, if you ask me what do i mean by higher level, it don't have a correct answer other than saying that it depends on individuals (and how they events are unfolded) and the way they abstract ideas.

About Image:
I was searching to get an image for this post and feel the above image with elephant trying to hide behind a small tree as apt one. Every day, we process a lot of information and tend to form fractured views about the things we read. We read a book, attend conferences and draw conclusions rather than drawing inferences. The beauty of inference is that it keeps changing as we think. :-) The image shows how we fail in thinking. Most of the times, we think that we are brainy but the other side clearly catches our ignorance because our ignorance is quiet visible.

28 November 2010

Excellence is never a Destination - Professor Walter Lewin

I consider myself as one of the guys who is so passionate about sharing knowledge. I want to invent new ways to communicate effectively in sharing knowledge. I want to take classes in such a way that everyone who attends it feels as if the classes is happening one-to-one. I want to take the participants out of this world and travel to new world where we share knowledge.

And now, i have found a way and a benchmark that i can copy shamelessly. But i feel even copying is going to be very tough.

After watching this video by Professor Walter Lewin, i don't have words to say. The only thing that i can do after watching this video is to get inspired. Thank you, Sir.

19 November 2010

Thoughts on "I" and My "Conditioning"

This post is self reflection (and not an advice or suggestion or an opinion on something)

A child before he was born is totally free and he continues to be free until he starts to understand this world. For very shorter period of his life, the child is allowed to be free. Later, he is being conditioned by fellow beings and himself. As he grows up, for a brief period of time, he retaliates against the conditioning by questioning and if he sustains, most of the times he gets lost in questioning by getting carried away by his intellectual or probing ability. If you look, the questions mostly are half baked (btw, asking questions of that type is not a sin) and he assumes that he is deeply probing (which may or may not be true). His interactions with his world is physical, intellectual (if intellectual is different from physical) and sometimes through mind. His intellect demands proofs and he argues for proofs.

If you ask this question to a child that is just born, "what do you want to become?" he won't answer anything but just wonder what you are asking. He wonders not because he can't understand your language but because he is too pure to understand the question. Later if you ask a ten year old, fifteen year old, thirty year old and forty year old, you will get an answer that pleases both you and him and that is directly proportional to the level of conditioning. He is not answering because he understands your language but because he is conditioned to understand your question. He is acting as if his purpose of life is to become engineer, singer and Bill Gates.

After becoming something (due to conditioning), we feel that something is not a thing that we are destined for - either we move forward or move backwards in life meaning that we become more materialistic or less materialistic. Even if you try to live without materials, it is materialistic living because still there exist the conditioning. Before you renounce life, it was material. Now it is your ego. Both money and ego can be termed as materials.

The exact opposite of conditioning is not trying to uncondition. There can't be any opposite to conditioning. Because conditioning is fake or shadow. Can you call human being as opposite to his shadow? The only thing that we can do is stop being in the state of conditioned and be in the state of reality. By reality, i dont mean the real world. By reality, i mean the conscious state which you, i and every being is trying to find.

I tend to believe that there is a possibility of being conditioned when you try not to be conditioned if we think that what we are doing is opposite of conditioned. I believe that this is going to be the premise based on which the journey of self realization should start. Or in short, trying to live based on what is given to oneself.

15 November 2010

Yes, Testing is Fun and Brain Intensive


Few days back, i wrote on the topic - "Testing is Fun and Brain Intensive - Why" giving a scenario. I was stumbled by the comments of Rajaguru and thought it had deeper/unusual meaning. Hence requested him to share his insights by expanding his comments. This post is just expanded version of his comments and hence the post will be little short (if you take this as a comment, then it is bit lengthy). Before reading this post, i would suggest you to read this and then come back here. From here on, the post contains insights shared by Rajaguru via his comments. BTW, this is the first guest post in Unstuck (a new thing). Looking forward for more guest posts with deeper insights.

@rajaguru - thank you for the new start :-)

Real Stuff & Insights by Rajaguru

When I saw @lnarasim tweeted the title ”Testing is Fun and Brain Intensive”, the immediate thought that came to my mind was "wasn't the testing boring one"? Because that's what we will discuss with other people. As a developer we think that testing is mundane and routine task. The more I thought about it, the clearer I was because I was testing (questioning) my thoughts! Leave the philosophy and let us get back to real stuff. Being a developer, designer or tester, testing is must, the more we test the more effective is our design, coding, system. Come on let’s test and find it!

In the post the problem states, test the following, assume you are testing compiler, and don’t go beyond the integer.

int a = 10, b = 255, c;
c = a + b;
Simple. Isn’t? The first test case comes to my mind is print the value of the variable "c" and check the answer is 265. Shall we consider the testing of “+” is over? Why not it produces the desired result. Let me stop and rethink, whether the testing over. Noo. (A big No... not big O J ).
I am testing the operator “+” for integer, when you say Operator, you need to test what are the possible operands it can take. Whether it takes +ve integer or –ve integer? If it’s +ve or –ve the range it takes?
The operand is over, what about the result? What it takes, when both the operand reaches the maximum value if result also same type, how it can be assigned the result? So, whether result should be stored in a data type that accepts higher range than the operands?
Whether now we covered all the test cases? Rethink, we are testing compiler, and operator “+”?  Now we will move one step further, how the addition can be implemented, using number of shift operations? Or move operations? Binary additions? Incase, what are the instructions it should use for implementing that? Whether, all machines support the same instruction set?
Where this value will be stored? Memory requirements to run this program? … Let me stop here. May be we can’t stop on some point saying all possible test cases are identified? Always we can add more, test more, and break the system, change the implementation and start the testing from the scratch.
We can conclude that Testing is really Fun and of course Brain Intensive too, when you want to get more understanding of the system, test the system until system is broken or you are broken :-)

About Rajaguru:
Software Engineer by profession, chatterbox to friends. He says he always searches something in Google, books, movies and life. Connect with him in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. For those who want to see the "user interface" of Rajaguru to identify when you see him next time (to buy you food or movie ticket), here is his picture with a temple backdrop.

12 November 2010

Entrepreneurship - Good Trend in India

There is an interesting trend in India that is catching up and it is here for good reasons. More people want to work in garage. These days, more importance is given to "entrepreneurship" and after having discussion with few people, it appears to me that many has entrepreneurship or what they call "doing on their own" on the cards. What is even more interesting is that they want to do it sooner than later.

For example, one of the young professional whom i met sometime back told me that he wanted to startup in another three to four years. Another one told that he wants to take break to build a business that will generate. Also, if we look around, there are many success stories in India and even we have mentors who are serial entrepreneurs to guide through the process. There are people who give you infrastructure for your startup, mentor you throughout and even there are folks to give you the idea.

It appears to me that we are at the very last days of being "low end service providers" and entrance of "innovative power" - a paradigm shift. I see innovation is something that adds value to both who innovate and those who consume the innovation and in my view entrepreneurship is right step towards innovation. We see  right signs from bodies like Nasscom organizing events which gains a lot of attention these days and we are also witnessing a lot of meetups among like minded people in different cities. If you passionate about starting up "startup" at some point of time, you got to watch out now. Sow the seed now and let it germinate.

11 November 2010

Environmental Effects - Applicable to Cloud Computing Too

Of course, this is US data but soon will be applicable to us.

Of the electricity consumed, nearly 1.5% of electricity consumption accounts to data centers. By 2020, the electricity consumption by data centers alone will be more than aviation industry. So, in future we will have two industries giving away lot of carbon emissions. We talk about cloud which is effectively repositioning data centers as far as location of boxes are concerned. We move many boxes to the cloud and once we move them, they need lots of power. Here the important point is that we don't really know whether the cloud provider takes care of environment and carbon footprint. What if the provider generates power and dump carbon emission in the air.

Already Greenpeace is saying someone is using coal. That someone is none other than Facebook. A bit of story can be found here.

What about cloud providers? Will they give out information on how the electricity that powers their data centers is generated?

A technology (cloud computing) that makes us replace a old technology offers benefits (efficiency). If the new technology (cloud computing) goes into the wrong hands (to a provider who doesn't care about its carbon emission) still produce big side effects.

10 November 2010

"Gliese 581 g" - Earth-like Planet

For the past few days, i m quite fascinated by physicists and particularly the ones who study this universe. I was going through youtube videos of Stephen Hawking and many others who are researching quite deeply on few things - existence of other planets in our galaxy and other galaxies, the possibility of finding a planet that is Earth-like that is suitable for living, possibility of life in other planets (what we call alien) and researching the light from distant stars that exploded some thousand years back (it appears to us that it is happening currently as the star is at a distance of few thousands light years).

I was simply inspired by the grand vision of astrophysicists who are finding a place in this universe where our future generations can lead a life. It is this vision that made those scientists to find an Earth-like Planet nearest to us at 20 light years from Earth. Yes, it is the nearest planet having conditions similar to that of Earth which is orbiting a star "Gliese 581". The planet is named as "Gliese 581g". More stories can be found hereherehere, here and here.

Also, a strong beam of radio signal consisting of messages has been sent and it is likely to be received in 2029. If there is an interesting/intelligent species there and if they send the response back (or take a flight and come here), we should receive it by 2049. What will happen if those species much more intelligent than us and already engineered a spacecraft that travels a lot faster than speed of light?

Being a software engineer, i just finding my own way to learn from astro-physics specifically about traveling against uncertainty.

Quite fascinating and it makes me to think whether i should buy a telescope :-)

07 November 2010

Testing is Fun and Brain Intensive - Why

Why testing is fun and Why testing has to be brain intensive

Before answering it, let us do this exercise.

Let us take one of the primitive types - "int" in Java and an arithmetic operation addition (imagine that you are testing Java compiler that will be used by developers/testers worldwide). What are things that you would do to verify the correctness of addition for "int". For now, let us focus only on integer addition alone. List down the things that you will learn (meaning that you should know) for completing the task. This exercise will help us to know "why testing is fun, why it has to be brain intensive and why it is equally rewarding".

To help you with some code, this is how addition looks like and you got to test + (which is in red font)

int a = 10, b = 255, c;
c = a + b;

How will you proceed?

06 November 2010

Where Am I? Where I want to Be?

After some eight years of experience, i tend to ask the following questions to myself (and may be i can help you too). By comfort zone, i dont really mean working in the same company and i really mean comfort zone - doing something you never did :-) or keep doing something different that you love to do - programming, testing, writing articles, writing books etc.

What does the experience teach? Does it teach about the concept of incremental pay hike? Or does my experience is all about eight one year of experience? Am i able to understand the classical things about computing now? At a bare minimum, does my experience help me to choose a programming language to do a specific job? Am i directed towards something and if so am i going in right direction? Am i become bankrupt of steam of learning? Am i forgetting the fact that learning is lifelong process?

Well, i reflected a lot about my state and i m quite pissed off with my actions for past one year. There weren't intellectual learning at the level i expected and i certainly feel like i m doing mundane thing. I used to write articles, i used to speak in conferences, i used to speak technically, i used to write code, i used to design and i used to share at reasonable level with others. When say "i used to", you got to understand that "i m not doing it right now".

After a long reflection, my heart says, i got to invest on two things - time and money. Of the two things, i feel like time is more important entity and it is quite difficult to buy. I want to learn new programming language such as Scala, Scheme, or Haskell. The second thing is that i would like to set up a small lab. When i say, a small lab, it is really small. Probably, x86/Linux based desktop. I want to relearn some of things that i have forgotten but this time around i want to give a strong focus on fundamentals. It is not going to be time-bound but it doesn't mean that i won't be time conscious. This time the focus is more on going deeper than wider. I want to especially do something in cloud computing space as well.

I think, this is going to be an exciting journey and for sure i ll share some of my learnings here as i go when i get something concrete.

I know what you are murmuring. Yeah, i really sounds like a freshman but it is the true state. I got to accept it and move on.

05 November 2010

What is Time & Its Properties - A Question

This post doesn't have an answer. It is just a question :-)

Recently and quite by accident, i happen to watch one of the documentaries on theory of relativity. While i never completely understood the theory of relativity either at school or now, the concept of "speed" and its effects on "time" was slightly making sense. I would like to share a couple of interesting information i gathered in internet and finally my question.

There are many arguments that the time is a recent concept which exists only for past fifteen billion years - the time from which this universe is existing. The existence of universe and the existence of time is key. The time doesn't make sense when there is no universe because universe is made of particles and if there is no universe there won't be particles and hence there won't be "the time".

Here goes another concept. We are in milky galaxy. A galaxy consists of many stars and each star can possibly have many solar systems. In our galaxy itself there could be more solar systems. There are lot of galaxies. All the galaxies form this universe which we are in. There is a theory that says there could be more such universe closer to us that are separated by a different dimension. (not necessarily by unit of space, to put it simply and for the sake of understanding, a dimension can be distance. the universes can be separated by an inch. but it may be possibility that we don't yet invented that dimension).

We have to be clear that time is not years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds. Time is not related to number of times earth or planet revolves around the sun. They are unit of time that we use to express time.

So, even if we assume that we reasonably understood the concept of time in this universe, how can we define or comprehend time in other universes if there exist any.

Probably, that is why Albert Einstein said - "Imagination is more important than knowledge".

Now, i feel that physics, astro-physics and cosmology together with mathematics is parent of other inventions. Quite intriguing. Finally i would like to end this article with a piece of quote by Albert Einstein.

04 November 2010

Receiving Feedback - Listening More and Taking Up Fierce One

If we carefully assess ourselves, we will find a reality. Most of us (including the ones who we call bravo) have a common feature in receiving feedback. We fail pathetically in receiving which is much directed and fierce even if they are constructive feedback. We always want sugar or sugar coated tablets. Not the real, hard to chew and bitter tablets. We would like to have a big session on giving and receiving feedback - a juicy presentation, quite cinematic role plays. It is so nice to call it as an art. But we aren't artist. 

We react and keep reacting until the point where the guy who is giving feedback retracts and becomes no longer interested in you. If we are attentive a bit and involved a little, there will be excellent opportunity for a great learning. Rather than listening, many of us naturally tend to react and some of us over react. Because we never wanted to appear insane even though the reality is exact opposite.

Recently, I had some excellent learning when i was meeting fresher who were so down-to-earth to listen to the feedback. They are smart enough to make on the course correction and it shows me that the world is changing a lot. But the point is - are we part of the change? The species that get along with the change and help the change will survive and the egoistic ducks will sit there and quack. Are we ready to be a one-among-stiff ducks?

How do we reach there? Why are we so insensitive to honest feedback? Why do we market ourselves differently, appear differently while we are totally different in reality - it is complete package of insanity. Why aren't we attuned to people who are honestly sitting in front of us with only one thing in mind - "you got to be a hero as you have huge potential?" We always want role plays. Some X talking to Y and we are quite quick with our observations. We want to sit in fence to watch and forget the fact that we ought to be players. No more role plays, let us not be jury of reality shows. Let us participate and go humane :-)

In the quite rapidly changing world, the way we compose ourselves, the way we "add value" through honesty and integrity is going to make a BIGGER sense than technological edge. Receiving feedback is a pinch in it that reveals a lot.

So, our true patronage manifests with the way we take fierce feedback by listening more & with honestly. It doesn't matter it is from up or down the hierarchy.

What do you think?

At the end, my Diwali wishes on behalf of Unstuck. Let us lit up the light and let the sunshine be on you

"Wish You a Very Happy Diwali"

03 November 2010

Decision Making - Show Stoppers

Here is the list of show stoppers that hinders decision making.
  1. Fear - Fear of Uncertainty, Fear of Left Behind, Fear of Depletion
  2. Greed - Greediness of wanting more than what we deserve for
  3. Lack of Information - Not doing proper research
  4. Blind of subtleness - Making decisions based on obvious things but later paying price due to magnification of subtle things which were never considered.
  5. Lack of Empathy - Lack of empathy and sympathy towards the information and people.
  6. Closed Mindedness and Opinionated - Deeply ingrained in one's own perspective. Perspectives help us to make better decisions, the better we see the better we have clear "vision" followed by a good reasoning.
  7. Poor Listening - It is by observation we learn a lot. Listening is a great aid to make good observation. 
  8. Trying to Exhibit Force - Forcing things to happen rather than making the environment conducive for decision making
  9. Treating others' ideas based on their title (but not by the merit of information). Sometimes (or most of the times), ideas/perspectives come from unexpected ones.
  10. Lack of Curiosity - How does a child listen to a story teller? Absolutely curious. We were there as a child, we know how we felt.
  11. Not Showing Genuine Interest - Not showing genuine interest blocks effective communication. When a collective decision has to be made, showing interest in others makes a big impact.

02 November 2010

Workplace without Managers to Manage People

Have you thought about this - the machines do not have managers. Let us take a mechanical machine with moving parts. When there is a friction between moving parts, they just make a noise. The mechanic applies some grease between the moving parts and the noise goes away. The parts of the machine manage themselves and they make sound due to "wear and tear". (in this analogy, let us not treat this friction as conflict. think that the noise due wear and tear as natural phenomenon). Are we moving towards such a style of management - the management of working without supervision.

The world is moving towards self managed people. We have seen people especially seniors making hell a lot of noise about young generation (or Gen Y) in a hi-fi and not-so-easy-to-understand English. Well, the YOUNGistan is moving towards the realm of "self managed" and "self correcting" management. It is not only because they are highly intelligent than the previous generation and abundance of information being available to them but also due to the fact that they are brought up in a time frame of rapid changes. They adopt to the changes reasonably well (than the previous generation) and embrace it quite well.

Let me share couple of my experiences. I have been offering some guidance to an aspiring candidate and i would have spent not more than 30 minutes totally. The candidate now is a young IT professional. The most striking thing about her is that she is managing herself in every move and learning every bit through her exposure, a typical Gen Y. 

I have seen quite a few people right out of college, i would say, they are sparks and sharks. I heard a senior person having "30 years" of experience saying that this generation is a spark. That makes me to think that these people have ability to manage themselves quite well without having someone to manage them. In previous generations when there was no technological aid, the managers were teaching. Now, there is technology to do the teaching and these managers have to move up (the value chain). Gen Ys have enough skill to manage themselves and make their manager to be jobless (this will make managers to focus on some core business than mere people management).

Soon the guys are going to say - "rather than meeting over a conflict, let us meet over technology or business that makes sense to everyone". This generation and generations to come is going to put us in the orbit of "self managed" and "self correcting" style of management.

Isn't this what we want? Shouldn't we incubate such thing at workplace? 

My heart says "yes"

What do you think? yes or no or can't say :-)

29 October 2010

Nice Videos on Entrepreneurship

Prepare to spend (invest???) good 20 minutes of your time if you are really interested in entrepreneurship :-)

Got to see this accidentally in Youtube. Real nice one on entrepreneurship.

Also, let us listen Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal's view on entrepreneurship (listen choose fast to perfection; perfection to follow)

25 October 2010

A Thought on Design Pattern

Few years back, i was introduced to "Design Patterns" at work. It was series of presentations from each one of us. I really feel thankful for the person who inculcated the importance of giving presentation in me (a separate post should go for that). After covering reasonable number of presentations on design patterns, there was a recap session. We were just revising all the presentations. Two of us felt that all patterns appeared the same and we shared a comment - "everything is same". There was a intense debate over that.

Even today, i feel that all design patterns are same. Yes, all design patterns abstract the problems and give us a viewfinder to view things in a simplistic way. Rather than (or in addition) the usual definition of - "proven and time tested solutions to common problems", the definition would be have been apt or more beautiful we append these words to the definition - "a binocular that helps us to see things in the ways that should have been seen". Each pattern enable us to think in a simple way. Each pattern takes one simple thing and does it well (Unix philosophy).

So, the design pattern is - "proven and time tested solution for common recurring problems that helps us to see things in simple way".

24 October 2010

Overvalued & Undervalued and Exploitation

How many times are we tempted towards undervalued things in life? We can call it greed or feeling attracted towards undervalued thing. In today's world, the marketeers who come in many flavors like marketeers who is trying sell a product, boss coming to you to extract work from you and a butcher feeding his cattle which is going to be slaughtered. All of them have a vested interest with you buying their idea. 

They bring hot actress for selling their products and the boss gives you an illusion that he will give you better rating next time. People exploit you when you don't know how to make decisions or stumble in making decisions. They want people to stumble because only when you stumble you make worst decisions. They sell their products (which is highly priced) when you stumble. How the stumble help them? You end up feeling that "that is my mistake" and they can fly (easily?) away from the mess. Have you ever felt that you bought a TV or a thing and later realized that you shouldn't have purchased it? They have whole department targeting an individual. Mostly, the individual traps in. Either you stumble because of your ego or you being misinformed, it doesn't matter. They want you to yawn and finally give their products to you when you yawn.

That's why i say, the marketeers are here to condition you and to arrest the mobility of your thoughts. They sell their heavily priced and overvalued things to you by offering you low priced and undervalued things for free of cost. At the end, you end up paying more (you realize it in half way but your ego stops you from making corrective actions, yet again they win and you continue to lose :-)) which is an EXPLOITATION.

you are being exploited

20 October 2010

First Online Utility - jQuery, CSS and HTML

Not much of JavaScript has been written, but it works like a wonder. I tried to put together a simple utility - a popup that will greet the users who visit my blog.

The tiny widget has following features.

  • it asks for the user to subscribe through email and get connected by RSS/Twitter.
  • it displays the popup bit graphically - slides down and up
  • it uses cookie and remembers the users' choice.
  • it pops up after X minutes of page refresh (X is configurable)

and it looks like

I used pure HTML, CSS and jQuery to develop the simple widget. The app is half done and i have hosted it in another blog where i test apps before going to production.  Hopefully the widget should go live in a week or so. Meanwhile, let me know if you need this app for your blog/website. BTW, this comes free with source code (kind of open source)

All credits should go to jQuery.

And it feels like

Please follow the link to see the apps written using jQuery. Junkyard Apps.

17 October 2010

The Way of Taking Success & Failure

A leader, a doer, a passionate and simply guy who is obsessive about thing he really likes differs from common man in taking successes and failures.

  • A doer takes successes to her "heart" and failures to her "head".
  • A pathetic guy takes failures to his "heart" and successes to his "head".

What is the outcome? 

  • When you take success to the heart, you become more human and level-headed but when you take it to your head, you become less human, irritating and beheaded (people say success breads complacency).
  • When you take failure to the heart, you become less confident but when you take it to the head, you analyze & puncture the failure next time (this is how failures are stepping stones of SOMETHING).

And another real thing is, you know where you are. You can and only you can make those corrections.

08 October 2010

Beat The Best

This is just a wild imagination. If this resembles anyone or anything in the real world, i can't be held responsible. See, all the thoughts originate from you and you are responsible. :-)

How to beat the best? Best in what? how do you decide what you do is a thing that you feel great when you are best at it? Is it only thing to be best at or Are there many things that are so interesting? If there are so many things why did you choose the thing you are doing and trying to be best in it? Is it choice you made or did you take it because there is no one else willing to do that or you have options? If no one else is willing, then being the best is so easy because you are the only one who is doing that. In some way, it is always easier to beat the best. Being the best in the industry for quality, being the best in the industry in X, being the best in the industry in Y and the best list goes on. These days, you ll get enough media support for creating a sensation (out of nothing).

Rather than that, be best of yourself and beat your best everyday. Evolution is nature.

07 October 2010

Black Holes in Professional Life

Never put efforts in professional life without measuring. It is like a black hole and the size of the hole depends on the size of the organization. It drains a lot of energy from you and you never get anything back if you don't measure. If you say that it will add to your experience, my experience says 
  • if you don't measure, you/others think it is easy job (but which may right or wrong)
  • "no, it doesn't add to your experience" because you will be swimming deep to find that experience
  • it will be very difficult to come out of highly viscous habit.
  • you will lose focus and end up doing everything which has none to do.
  • you will end up in staying up late to do your daytime job while you help for others in the daytime
  • you will be literally struggling to put forward your assignments/results, then people take you for granted, then you lead austere life and finally write this kinda post ;-)
If someone asks you "can you do this?", ask questions and never accept until you are 100% convinced that you like the task, you will do the justice to the job, you can measure the efforts/results and in fact they will pay you back.

06 October 2010

"True Leader" is a State

Good Morning Folks,

"True Leader" is a state and "true leader" is not something that is gotten by virtue of one's position. For example, Mahatma Gandhi never called himself a leader but yet he is one of very few people in the world who is known to be possessing the qualities of "true leader". So are Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. All these people are known to be exhibiting or being in the state of "true leader" on a daily basis. All these people were working for a vision which is liberating the part of the humankind that was in slavery. Not only that they had a vision, they were also able to stay connected with the vision always.

Does it mean that the others who were not known to external world were not  "true leaders". No. There could be or should be "true leaders" who never wished to show off. If such a people do not exist, then his world could have been destroyed with the volume of garbage we thrash at her. Certainly there are people who pick the mess that is thrown and bring in the order. They know that deed matters the most than the publicity. Good people really understand what they achieve by publicity stunt and they don't need it or do it.

I was wrong in looking people who are true leaders because such a people never exist. When i looked for people, i always missed the qualities that made them. I should have looked for people who are being in the state of "true leader".

Yes, "true leader" is state but not a person.

How to find true leaders?
True leaders are the ones who have best interest of the people and vision but not personal vested interest. Can't we find "true leaders" who live with us in home/next door, travel with in city bus and work with us.

Have a Great Day

05 October 2010

Try Not to Become Something, Be What You Are

Evolution is the key. As i posted sometime back, the egg can become chick only when it allows evolution. Either evolution or extinction cannot be forced or predicted or tracked. The evolution happens over a period of time under certain conditions. We alter the conditions that incubates/affects positively or affects negatively the process of evolution. The term evolution signifies the never ending journey and the evolution is not starting from point a and reaching point b. The evolution is a journey that passes through point a, point b and so on.

The obsession on wanting to become something is going to take us to the place much slower than what we think and the evolution (the naturally process) will take us much faster than we think.

So, try not to become something, but stay what you are. Let the evolution transform you.

04 October 2010

Leaders to "Follow" and Followers to "Lead"

A couple of years back, i was reading "My Experiments with Truth" by Mahatma Gandhi and i was awed by the qualities of Gandhiji particularly the "Truth". On 2-Oct-2010, i was searching for a picture of Mahatma Gandhi for the background of my blog (i m trying to bring in event/news based image like Google). Googled and got the following picture (which also set as background picture).

This picture sounds really interesting and conveys a lot to us. Mahatma Gandhi, though he was keeping good health and a brisk walker, he seems to be guided by a small kid. For me, it appears that Gandhiji has given full control to this kid and he seems to follow the steps of the kid with great confidence, great joy and following the kid with great respect. No fear whatsoever and absolute faith and calm in following the kid.

By seeing this, my heart longs for something like the above in all our workplaces. Won't it be great if all the leaders follow and all the followers lead?

03 October 2010

Presentation on "Basics Things on Objects"

Last week i shared with you one of my old presentations on Security. From this week and for few weeks, i ll be writing/sharing few presentations on "Objects", "Design", "Design Principles" and "Design Patterns". I m not sure whether i ll be regularly posting every week. At this point of time, i m trying to find my consistency to post the presentations every week. Please bear with me until i find my consistency.

Each deck will have
  • slides focusing on only one thing
  • short recap of things that are discussed
  • drill for the week (you can try to reflect on the problem until i post the next presentation)
  • the topic of next week
Here goes the first presentation. This is just a curtain raiser to help us to set in same frequency. [ I would love to hear from you - what do think and how can we make this much better.]

Basic Things on "Objects" - Part 1

02 October 2010

Rain, Rain, Rain

Can you expect a better day particularly on Gandhi Jayanthi when you

  • be with your parents both listening to classical music and feel so peaceful
  • have your mom to recollect that my grandpa (mom's father) used to listen such a great music and still remembers that she used to play classical music in her audio cassette player.
  • see, feel and smell the rain that pours to its heart content and makes our heart so peaceful.

With all the setup, it is so blissful to listen violin concert by duo Ganesh and Kumaresh. After they started to play Kapali, the rain too started and it was at its peak when they completed. I didn't feel that rain and their music is co-incidental. It is because of their music, rain mother started to touch the soil. It is cause-effect relationship.

It is so Peaceful.

Three rains happening now - peace, music and rain.

Thanks to Podigai TV for brining wonderful music.

We should go to concert by Ganesh & Kumaresh.

29 September 2010

Fair Share & Equilibrium With God

Everything (that you can measure) in this world has some quota. They food you eat, the number of hours you spend in sleep, the number of days you work, the number of days you think, the number of kilometers you walk, the number of good companies you have, the amount of garbage you can thrash on to the soil, the amount of air you can breathe in your lifetime and everything has a fixed quota. It is your choice on how to use it. A balanced life or an equilibrium is the outcome of mindful thinking, the awareness on things we do and how it affects us. When you take something from somewhere, we got to remember that there is going to be imbalance in another side from where we take. If you slog at late nights in office, you have to sacrifice in your personal life. On a contrary, if you don't work enough, you got to take home much less salary. It all depends on mindful choice we make.

We cannot get away from the system, the system is so fair. Fairness is the language. Even if the part of the system is unfair, the overall system tries to bring in the balance. Everything from recession to green house effect to necessity of a climate change pact is manifestation of systems (The time by which the system threatens the humankind, the mankind reacts with climate change pact. The system knows how to survive and if needed it will wipe off mankind. The question is whether we will survive?) When someone abuses the system, the system reacts but it takes a while for effects to erupt and this doesn't mean that the system is tolerant to abuses. It means that we are not used to sense little change in the behavior of the system. We are so insensitive to early symptoms. We realize only when we choke. The guys who believe in God say that as cosmic energy or Karma and the atheists say that as system or a gravitational force. Very few agree with both (because everything has a limit :-)).

But at the end - everything has some quota.

The system is equal opportunity environment.

28 September 2010

Be On The Right Side And Be Responsible For That

Be on the right side and most importantly be responsible for it. Let us get back to the story.

One of the friends who loaned 1000 rupees (just after his graduation) just reflects on his life. It is just a year since he graduated. He sees that the money he borrowed has become1080 with interest. He puts himself in a time machine and he is at the 11th year. His loan has become 2158 bucks, he throttles 10 more years in time machine and his loaned amount has become 4660 bucks and a final push to 40 years in time machine, his loan has become 21.7K. He feels not so bad because it is a time machine. After stepping from the time machine, he just zooms to his bank and pays 1080 bucks for the loan he borrowed and he invests another 1000 bucks. So, that is what we call "responsibility". Responsibility is not power but action, responsible for attaining ones own vision. Everyday we put 24*60*60 seconds somewhere. Are we putting in right side and do we feel that it is "we" who is responsible for putting 24*60*60 in right side?

In everyday's life, it is not really possible to be always in the right side. At times (or most of the times) will be in wrong side. Being in the wrong side is not a big issue as long as you have a mechanism to detect that you are in a wrong side and be able to come to right side. If you miss couple of years or couple of lacs, it is not a problem. Nothing is free in this world and you got to pay for everything, the air you breathe included. Being in wrong side always teaches you how to be in right side. Wrong side becomes your experience/wisdom when you are responsible (reflect upon your action and act on making the course corrections).

Being in right side or wrong side, it needs responsibility to maintain the track if you are right and detect/change the track when you are in wrong side.

27 September 2010

Be On The Right Side

There are two friends. Quickly after they graduated, the first one got a loan of 1000 rupees for 8% interest and the second deposited 1000 rupees in a bank for the same 8%. After this incident, they just moved on with their life. The years passed by and they were about retire at the age of 60. Forty years just passed like anything. The first one had a debt of 21.7K and on the other hand the second one got 21.7K accrued in his account. Do the math and understand the power of compounding. What happens if first one gets 1000 rupees loan everyday and the second one deposits 1000 rupees everyday? Do the math :-) (Compound interest calculator)

After completing the college, all of us take up some profession. But only very few feel satisfied. We just put our efforts everyday like money being deposited in bank without knowing the compounding effect of time. If we follow our heart, we deposit in bank and if we don't follow our heart, we just buy loans. At the end of show either you got pay for it or take your money happily. And that is why, being on the right side makes sense.

By right side, i mean the side of your heart. Always, your heart is right and so if you follow your heart, you will always be on the right side.

25 September 2010

Presentation on "Security - An Introduction"

Here is one of my presentations on security titled - "Security for Thinkers". You may want to view the presentation in full screen (and if you see full presentation, treat me with a comment/feedback :-))

Don't miss to visit revived "Unstuck". I have made some changes to linkbars, removed some stuffs and added few stuffs. I m planning to make one presentation per week and host it here. I welcome your comments on this initiative - "Unstuck Blackboard" and Unstuck in general.

You may want to subscribe to "Unstuck" via Email subscription so that the email notifications is delivered to you whenever new posts/presentation is posted. Here is the link for Email Subscription.

Thanks to Scribd, for making us to converse through presentation.

23 September 2010

Ask for Help, Honor Help Request

After the invention of money, the human race started to lose its shine and i would say, "more is dangerous". I still remember my childhood days where we share food with our neighbors. If i was ill, they used to come along with my father and me to hospital, they rub my butt once the needle of the syringe is taken off from my butt. If someone is hospitalized either because of giving birth to new child (i m so proud that my mom, she took care of dozen women during their pregnancy) or some disease, there would be small folks (everyone was studying 10th standard or less) shuttling back and forth to hospital. Few of the elder people would accompany the person in hand rickshaw. The entire community would make sure that the person who was not well felt so good about the people being with him/her. What a fantastic feeling? Caring for others and getting cared is not boring thing. It is so interesting thing.

They ask help without any hesitation. They share their grief without any inhibition. The others back him emotionally and sometimes financially too. The beauty is that each of family's monthly income won't be sufficient to run the family for a month. But yet, i don't remember any instances where the help was turned down. It was one big family. Festivals were much bigger and we never missed to celebrate one. We lived big in small world.

Those are the days in which we felt both giving and asking as gift.

Today, it is quite opposite. We live small in a big world.

Asking for Help and Honoring Help are satisfying things. It gives a lot of peace and meaning to life.

Added Later:
I would suggest you to read the comments too as there are many thoughts/insights shared by people.

22 September 2010

Good 17+ Minutes

If you have 17+ minutes, listen this talk by Mr. Shashi Tharoor on "India - Soft Power".

21 September 2010

Tell Stories - Powerful Method for Fresh Thinking

It is quite unconventional to ask an adult to tell stories to another adult. But it is very powerful method to learn something. For example, if you are learning new programming language, try to squeeze sometime to share your knowledge in the form of stories to your close friends. Initially, they may be little hesitant to hear you. But as days pass by, they ll surely listen to you. The stories kindles imagination. When you are telling stories, the person(s) hearing it tend to ask questions. Those questions will make you to understand the concepts well and for sure you will do the home work. As you practice it, it gets build as an habit and there is a greater possibility of you becoming fresh/free thinker.

Imagination is key to fresh thinking. When it comes to thinking, freshness matters. So, telling stories makes sense.

20 September 2010

Can you Really Teach Abstraction?

I was talking to one of my friends about OOPS. While talking to him, a question suddenly flashed in my mind about OOPS and more specifically about abstraction - how can you teach abstraction and the methods to be used to abstract ideas. In order to answer this question, we need to understand the real meaning of abstraction - "a concept or idea that is not associated with any specific instance". In other words, it is our ability to take our learning to higher level so that it becomes independent of specific instances. 

Let us try to understand whether it is possible to teach abstraction with a help of simple mathematical addition. 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 3 = 4,  6 + 5 = 11. Each of these additions are specific instances of addition. When we are learning "addition", we focus more on "+" (and put it in long term memory, yep that is abstraction) and we just remember the numbers until we solve the problem. Once the problem is solved, we just forget the numbers (short term memory). When we are early stages of learning, we tend to believe that specific instance is ultimate truth. When we practice, we face many types of similar problems and start to change our perspectives. The change of perspectives is critical that leads abstraction. With practice, we are programmed to abstract concepts (eg: addition).

So, i tend to believe that abstraction is directly proportional to practice and more specifically the number of "wow" moments that you create on specific subject and i agree if someone says "abstraction cannot be taught but can only be felt or facilitated".

19 September 2010

OOP - Bending, Stretching, Thinking My Mind

The past two days, the Saturday and Sunday, were really exciting. I lived in this world with a lot of imagination and i would say it was good exercise for my brain. When it comes to Object Oriented Programming, nothing comes near to practice (of course, practice with head/brain/mind or whatever we call it). Object thinking was good testimony that one has brain and trying to use it.

I started off with a nice relaxation at Marina Beach with Sandy (an amazing guy and rock star) who often gives you a lot of challenges in the form of questions. It is not so easy to answer him as it is quite difficult to convince him (i bet, if i have a presentation now, i ll be more comfortable in answering questions than i used to be few months back). We spent around two hours in Marina beach (and we both thanked each other for making a good start) and later an hour in Saravana Bhavan. Dropped of Sandy at Guindy and from Guindy, i started my week on OOP.

I was trying to come up with a design for a problem and so far came up with at least five designs. Whenever i tried redesigning, i got to go back and reread the requirements/problem statements. I m a poor guy and i got to read the requirements many times. But yet to settle down with a design. I believe, i ll change the design five more times :-)

I expect to complete the design and coding of the problem this week and hope the next Saturday morning will be intense with some OO discussion.

I hope, you will join me next Saturday too :-). But the next time, we will be more technical and let us make sure that there is good amount of learning. What do u think?

17 September 2010

Experience And Conditioning

In a given duration of time, there are two possibilities - conditioning or experience. You get experience when you question (and make mistakes) and learn to stop making mistakes. You get conditioned when you don't ask questions, make mistakes and keep making it. The sad part of conditioning is that you feel like you are deserted most of the times. Experience validates by questioning.

It is questioning that is key differentiator between experience and conditioning.

16 September 2010

What I Think About Thinking

There is a friend of mine, initially i didn't like him much because i watched him from a distance and i believed what others had to say about him. I was deeply conditioned having my own lens (and few borrowed ones). Later, i had a couple of close interactions with him, now, i started to like him and most importantly the way he thinks. That is a usual story and probably heard number of times in your life. (me too). Here are my inferences with few meet-ups.

A good thinker always spends a lot of time in "thinking" than "speaking". He listens a lot and he doesn't jump into conclusions but keep learning (or draws inference). A good thinker always has a model to think - his own way of inferring/learning and he even learns the ways of new thinking (contemporary). Thinking has to be like a moving target. It is all about being dynamic and more dynamic.

Human beings are programmed to think, think deeply and that is part of the evolution. Thinking deeply needs time (to think and to reflect) and practice (with mistakes). You got to reinvent the wheel for your sake because if your friend knows "A B C D" that does make you educated. Your life is quite different from your friend's life and so is your thinking. So, reinvent the wheel, if  it gives you joy. Whatever that gives you inner happiness is always going to be correct.

Nothing can be so dangerous than being unknown and partially knowing something. Let us strive hard to do the research on something. Research makes us to think. If there are two choices - the first is to use the existing material and the second is to do research, choose the second. Research makes us to think though it takes little time. When you think, your learning gets registered in subconscious mind (otherwise, you abstract concepts). Life will be pleasant once we start abstracting.

The interaction with my friend made me to think and as a result i infer paragraph #2, #3 and #4

What do you think :-)?

15 September 2010

Weaker Ones - Go Get It

There were many stories and the good one is the story of the fox that says, "mmm, no, those grapes will sour".

Weaker are the ones who surrender totally. I won't even use the word surrender as the word signifies freedom and realization in spiritual context. Inaction and letting others to act on me is a terrible pattern. Initially it made me feel so good and i seemed to get things with someone's effort. But i m sure that as the time progresses, the pressure will mount on me - you can't really say the cause of the pressure and if you drill down, it is self. I feel that i m deeply chained and we know that if we are chained to anything except the roots is not freedom. Freedom is something for strong hearted but not for me, because i m faint hearted. Freedom should lead to action but not the passport for inaction.

Freedom is highly risky and for sure leads to evolution. If i don't choose freedom, i not only stop the evolution of my self but also attempt to extinguish my self.

The above is my thought and highly influenced by Osho through his book "Freedom".

14 September 2010

(Hu)Man's Problem

The human race is now going away from evolution. It is going through extinction. It extinguishes other micro organisms and organisms and that changes the ecosystem. We are marching towards to a point of no return. A point from where the mistake is going to be costly and most importantly it is going to be a irreversible situation. Is the nature keeping quiet to all our deeds? No

Nature gives him the signals through events. The man is not patient enough and intelligent enough to sense the events. He might have invented latest gadgets, most posh/luxury sedan and made a cover story in latest inventions. In order to understand the nature, he doesn't need those invention. He needs to be patient. He is too impatient to listen the nature.

He has the unique thing "awareness". But he is impatient and hence lacks to employ "awareness". The magazine Scientific American talks (for more than months, years?) all about the mess we create for future generations.