88Pro Thinking

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Busy Week and New Books

Past ten days I have been busy with work. Hence no blog updates. I have got 8 new books to my book shelve and no time to read them yet. My room is in disarray and no time to put it together. As far as being in busy schedule, I don’t expect things to get better in the near future. Back to the new books…

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Blink is one of those books I read cover to cover in few days and from that time on I wanted to read The Tipping Point, the first book of Malcolm Gladwell and national best seller. From the tag line “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”, I had a very different perception about the book. I was under the impression that it covered stuff like how little things in ones life make big difference. However now I am in the second chapter and essentially the coverage is mush wider and not individualistic. For example how few kids in a down town wearing Hush Puppies shoes, shy rocketed the sales from few thousands to millions in couple of years, and what was the point which tipped (triggered) this epidemic. I am enjoying it already.

Pragmatic Project Automation: How to Build, Deploy, and Monitor Java Apps

From the day I got my hands on to Pragmatic Programmer by Andy and Dave (another book I finished reading), I wanted to buy all their future releases. I got hold of Pragmatics Version Control with CVS, and now given it to someone and I don’t remember who I have given it to. At this point in my career I really need that book. If you are reading this blog, and if you have the book, please give it back. Pragmatic Automation on the other hand has some cool tricks as to how to visually indicate whether a nightly build has broken using Lava Lamps, red and green.

Data Crunching

I have been doing lot of data crunching my self in my previous job. One time I clearly remember one of our implementers had to extract Name, Address and Phone number from a telecom white pages, which was in PDF format. Once he converted the PDF to text format it looked almost impossible to extract this information. He approached me. You got to appreciate the power of regular expression especially when it is embedded into a scripting language (Python) to do these kinds of tasks. The expression I used was ((\S {0,1})*)[ ]{4,100}((\S {0,1})*)[ ]{4,100}(([0-9]{3,3})-([0-9]{4,4})) and the first time the Mastering Regular Expressions book came in handy for me. Data Crunching, talks about this very topic, how to extract data from various different sources, and since I have some experience crunching data; I hope this book provides me with more tricks which I can add to my skill set bag.

Java 5.0 Tiger: A Developer's Notebook

Code Generation in Action

An area I always wanted to get into is Code Generation. This is the first book came in that domain (to my knowledge) and uses Ruby as the language to illustrate fundamentals of Code Generation.

Beginning J2ME: From Novice to Professional, Third Edition (Novice to Professional)

J2ME is the new domain I want to step into in my free time. J2ME API is getting richer and the domain is maturing. I am particularly interested in the Location Based API which only a handful of Siemens Phones seems to be supporting at now and Nokia 9500 Communicator. I have few ideas in my mind on J2ME applications, if you have any idea as to what kind of J2ME applications you would like to see, leave a comment.

Java Reflection in Action (In Action series)

Long time back I went for a job interview and the first question was in a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being lowest and 5 bring highest competence where I would rate myself in Java. I thought for sometime and said may be 4. The next question was do you know Java Reflection API, and since I have never used it I answered NO. Next question was how can you rate yourself at 4 with out knowing Java Reflection API? I still don’t believe that I have to know Reflection API to call myself a competent developer, but I guess its time I have a look at it and go beyond “I know what it can do” to “I know if times comes, how to do it” level.

Thinkpad: A Different Shade of Blue

I love ThinkPads. Need more explanation? I don’t think so.

posted by 88Pro / Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Code Review - Ya we need more of it

I always knew code review is good, but last night I was reading Refactoring by Martin Flower and realized there is more good to it than I knew. Here is the summery list.

1. Code reviews help spread knowledge through the development team.

2. Review helps more experienced developers pass knowledge to less experienced people.

3. They help more people understand more aspects of a large software system.

4. They play very important role in writing clear code.

5. Review gives the opportunity for more people to suggest useful ideas.

posted by 88Pro / Sunday, June 12, 2005

Rohypnol: Myth or Reality - Bit of Both

I recently got chain mail (my view on chain mail) warning about the pill Rohypnol which is the latest drug men use to commit rape (it seems!!!). Search on Google reveals that there exist such a drug and there are few isolated incidents of usage of this drug to facilitate rape. However it has been over hyped and actually the threat seems to be far less than what’s been told to the public. (Check the links below)

What is interesting is, in a study published in 1999, it is said after examining 1179 samples from across USA of reported cases of drink spiking, it was found that in around 40 per cent of cases nothing was found at all, not even alcohol. What could be possible explanation for this? Here is my view.

Woman: how come I got raped last night?
Her mind: Ya, you didn’t even resist?
Woman: I don’t know. I knew it was wrong but, I really don’t know what happened.
Her mind: Could it be that your drink was spiked?
Woman: That explains, if I was in my senses it couldn’t have happened right?
Woman: Ya, let call the Police, thank you my mind for a possible explanation, I thought I was in lot of trouble.

I know its bad to make fun of rape and I am sure there is lots of trauma people have to go through. However this particular 40% of the cases looks like these are people who just slept around and in the morning went through an oooops(wtf did I do last night?) moment and just called the police to get the guy into trouble. Otherwise without even a trace of Alcohol they had sex (raped according to them) and think they were raped because they didn’t know what was happening around them??? Ya right!!!

Drink spiking - a reality or urban myth?

Drug-rape: an urban myth?

Rohypnol--How the Hype Tricks Women: A Rape Crisis Centre View

posted by 88Pro / Sunday, June 12, 2005

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The ACID2 Browser Test

I was following some links and ended up at an Apple engineer’s weblog who works on Safari browser project. Since the blog claimed that Safari passed the ACID2 test, I wanted to check out how Firefox faired in the test. I guess I would give about 80%. Now IE being the most popular browser how do you think it handles the ASID2 test? I have given the link below, why don’t you try it for yourself!!!

ACID 2 Test: http://webstandards.org/act/acid2/test.html

Isn’t this funny? IE and Standards

posted by 88Pro / Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Settling Down

I have completed 3 whole days at my new job now and I am pretty satisfied with my progress, environment, people and the company. As you know any new job takes some time to settle in, get used to some of the technologies, understand the project, familiarize yourself with the code base, and comprehend the business logic involved. The level of co-operation you get from your team members will decide how easy or difficult the settling in process going to be and I am getting all the co-operation I can get.

It was also brought to my attention that treats are taken seriously and registered into mental log books at various locations (looks like a distributed setup). Only was one can clear the records is by actually giving the treat. To prove this point when we were having tea, guys were able to pull out “treat records” for most people around, only the ones that are pending with amazing accuracy. And yes, my first salary treat has been registered and now probably replicated in many logs; I don’t think there is anyway out of it, except following the “happy path”.

posted by 88Pro / Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dealing with Difficult People - by Alan Sieler

"It seems like no matter what area of life we are in there are always some people who are difficult to get on with. They are either exceptionally prickly, or don't seem to care less, couldn't be bothered, or are remarkably self-centred and inconsiderate. We wonder "What's with these people?", "What planet are they living on?", "Do they go out of their way to be especially unpleasant and uncooperative?", "How can someone be so insensitive - are they blind? What needs to happen for them to get the message? What's wrong with them?" They have the potential to take up an enormous amount of our time and energy and we can find ourselves continually in conversations with others about their shortcomings. In doing so we use a lot of the planet's oxygen, and it doesn't change a thing!"[Source]

Dealing with Difficult People - By Jorga Riggenbach, President, Tucson Computer Society

posted by 88Pro / Sunday, June 05, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

1. New Job, 2. Co-operate Bloging

I recently changed my workplace and to my great satisfaction find it very similar to my first job. Friendly people and flexible working environment is the first impression that I happened to get. Moreover I’m allowed to use my “Black Gold (ThinkPad)” at work which gives me some positives vibes.

Every contemporary management book and philosophy (and just about every manager) says that the key to successful management is: "Hire good people and then get out of their way." But how many companies or individual managers actually do that?[Source]

On a different note, some interesting comments on how blogs come in handy for little David to defeat mighty Goliath. Sun COO is using his blog well and effectively.

“It's also amazing to hear what our competition's been telling some of our European customers. IBM told several that they couldn't port their apps to Solaris 10 because Sun is withholding information - but only on Opteron. Which even the customers knew was ridiculous. It's tough to withhold information when the product's free, and code's open. (They offered another customer a "private version of WebSphere on Solaris 10, supported by IBM Global Services" - um, no thank you.) I'd like to thank the customers that continue to demand choice, and the ton of partners we're signing up to deliver it. I think we've cleared 1.5M license downloads.”[source]

Now whenever IBM goes around spreading false rumours, Sun cannot simply be calling a press meeting and defend their position because there will not be any solid proof. However by means of blogs as informal media the opportunity is placed before you on a platter to fight it out.

By these blogs the truth is afforded to the audience who are sure to think twice when your competitor makes any falls claims in the future. One more reason to start co-operate bloging, a truth well told in the best and simplest possible way !!!!

posted by 88Pro / Wednesday, June 01, 2005

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