Thursday, June 29, 2006

Light Blue Touchpaper

I came to Light Blue Touchpaper through Ross Anderson's (eternity service , etc) webpage.
Really instructive !

While you are at it , also check out OpenNet Initiative.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool stuff!

-Avindya Sengupta

6/30/2006 10:45:00 PM  

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Some thoughts ...

Some expierences of mine from recent weeks expressed as proverbs and soundbites :-)

From coding :

  • In any well designed and implemented piece of software , higher the priority/severity of a bug found late in the release cycle - the smaller the change required to fix it.
This does not mean it will be easier to identify the cause ... just that the fix would be small when you identify it :-)
  • Prime cause of bugs unearthed late in the release cycle is due to "new features" integrated ...
And I continue to fall for this in almost every product/release I have worked on ...
Post-beta , in every product , I have checked in pretty significant product functionality changes :-(

  • In modern processors , do not try to 'guess' the 'cost' of a piece of code based solely on simple heurestics - measure it.
I have seen pieces of code time and again which 'look' more heavy , and yet execute faster due to effects of branch prediction , L1/L2/mainmem interactions , TLB thrashing , pipelining , etc ....

From outside work :
  • Familiarity breeds contempt.
  • Procrastination is a sin.

I would be pretty much maintaining e-silence for a month or more ... though I will continue to post on my work blog for the project that I do there.
Have fun !!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Accidents ...

Since it is almost a week since it happened , and no one has come to thrash/arrest me yet I guess it might be ok to spit it out now :-)

Last week saturday , I got into two accidents - back to back !
And no , both are not my fault - wait , I know that is what all say , but these really are not my fault ! Read on ...

I was supposed to have a 2 hour class , and the driving school instructor had this 'brilliant' idea that he will take me to NH (national highway) so that I can drive faster and get a better 'feel' of the vehicle.
We were cruising at a slow 50 kmph for about 15 mins or so on the way to Hosur .... when the whole drama started.

We were on the extreme left and the car some way in front decided to park. The instructor decided to slow down our car , and we passed that chap at a reasonably slow speed ... when I felt our car being nudged from the right.
Since there was nothing in front , I turned slightly to see what the hell was that.
I see this scorpio (I think) veer away from us very very sharply to the right !
He goes and rams into the barricade on the extreme right , bounces off it (or maybe a sharp turn to left after ramming I guess) and finds that there are lots of vehicles in front of him again.
He spins out of controls and heads for the barricade on the right again ... unfortunately , there is an auto there now (actually there were a lot of auto's going on the extreme right - idiots) ... and to make matters worse , I could see 2 or 3 ladies in it :-(
That is the last I saw , my instructor asked me to speed and we 'fled' from the crime scene.

(This happened later) ----
Later my instructor told me that the scorpio was overtaking a car which was in the process of overtaking something else.
After his high speed stunt , this scorpio guy sees these auto's in front , he veered sharply to the left to avoid them : that is when he found our car going at the extreme left at a comparatively slow speed ... and so more sharp turns and ultimately losing control ... I guess when he nudged us , he thought he was going to hit hard and turned too much !

The instructor's analysis was that there is nothing wrong with what we were doing - except for the fact that a driving school vehicle should not be on the highway in the first place : which is why he asked me to speed.
He told me that the auto was "flattened" :-(
I was totally shaken by the whole deal .. but knew there was nothing much I could have done anyway.
----

Now , if you imagine the ordeal for the day was over , hold on !

So the logical conclusion was that , we have to get out of NH so that we do not repeat stuff like this again - and when we saw the next junction, we decide to exit the highway.
This was a busy junction with lots of busses and trucks coming from the side roads - with a few traffic cops managing stuff.
The access road to the side road which we wanted to take was totally ruined (almost no tar!). The traffic cop manning it asked us to stop , and we came to a halt awaiting his further instructions - he was standing right next to our car in the front left side.
As soon as the trucks pass , he asked us to go on ... as we started moving the cop suddenly turns around (until then he was standing with his back to us) and in the process , he found his feet under our tyre !!
That was the end of it. He asked us to take the car in front (instructor braked seeing the guy turn - but not fast enough) , the same cop came in front of the car (so no injuries) , asked us to park on the side ... and then 30 mins of abuses , negotiations , etc started.
Instructor handled everything - I did not even leave the car .... but boy was I feeling bad !

Rs. 350 and 30 mins later , we started off again for the rest of the class ... and was the instructor hyper paranoid ! :-P Surprisingly , I was pretty cool about everything until I was nearing home when the whole series of incidents really struck me.
Thankfully the rest of the journey was uneventful - though it felt like everyone on the road was jumping in front of my car !

I was horribly shaken by the time I reached home ... took quite a bit of time and cajoling for me to shake the incident off.
And there ended a very eventful and pretty nasty saturday :-(

2 Comments:

Blogger  said...

Boy, that must have been a terrible experience. During my test drive, I did a kinetic honda from behind and knocked off the tail light box. Though the instructor tried blaming me, I said I am just learning! So he did the fight :-) but man that brought my confidence level back to datum.

And highway accidents are common. I am not saying to be insensitive to them, but it shouldn't wreck your nerves. In the 1000-1500 kms drives we had in the past, we saw remains of vehicles in conditions where it is difficult to imagine the condition of the occupants. You can't drive any longer if they affect you.

6/26/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mridul said...

I got to friends place , and drank like a litre of water while moaning about the whole thing ...
I guess it might have been boring for them ;-) but I was beyond caring.

But surprisingly , about 20 mins or so later I was way too normal - surprised me !

6/26/2006 08:21:00 PM  

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Focal time :-(

How do people (read management) expect you to fill in what you did for a whole year into a bulletted list of points ? Inspite of going through this crap for 5 years now , I still have no clue on how to fill this up "properly".
I have like almost nothing to write - I worked and had fun , prototyped , discussed and tried a whole bunch of stuff , learned lots ... that is about it !
I am not sure how or why you should write this down !

... ok ok ,this just stems from my lack of aptitude to write documentation : of any kind :-)

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Bits and bytes

Sometimes I still marvel at the way things 'work' .... sometimes bordering on scary !
When I was a kid , I remember a show on TV were they showed how the human skeleton 'moves' as a person walks : man , did it look fragile ! I was wondering how the body is kept in shape by something so 'makeshift' :-)
When I used to see and read about human anatomy , heck ... anything and everything about human body , it used to freak me out.
The reason ? How could something which looks so delicate in parts work so well !
I mean , take a look at achiles tendon for example - you sever it , and you just topple and fall with almost no control over your feet : and the bloody thing is so exposed !

The reason I am mentioning my childhood 'fears' is that this is not something has been mitigated even now - though in a different way. When I abstract away components , I am more comfortable : it is not just the complexity that I am worried about - I tend to use only interfaces anyway ... it is this 'exposing internals so much that it is scary' that really freaks me out !
Dig in when you need to , but if the abstractions are reasonably good and performant , I tend to think of that 'module' as a blackbox.
For example , I consider the operating system or the virtual machine as a blackbox almost all the time ... and yet yesterday , for finding out how some stuff was implemented , I had to dig quite deep into java VM code ... and did it not freak me out :-)
Everything looked so fragile ! Peephole view to a complex design/system cannot be always good :-P

I did find what I wanted pretty early on (if you are interested - something about arrays and native code) ... but spent the next 3 hours trying to make sense of the whole thing (not that I completed it) - I will tell you one this , it is written by some awesomely brilliant and smart folks ...

Other than maybe in solaris , JRE + JDK (the parts I have been interested in) would be the the most 'neat' and wellwritten code I have seen at that level of complexity.
Netbeans , when I was working on it , tended to be more messy from a design point of view : though I did learn a lot from it too !

By the way , in case you are interested , take a look at these :
http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/dagastine?entry=java_is_faster_than_c
http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/dagastine?entry=sun_java_is_faster_than

I do not use benchmarks too much - depends on a hell lot of factors : esp when comparing different platforms , but it is interesting that java has managed to come so close assuming reasonably level comparison grounds.

As a parting thought , consider this :
Assume a multi-user chat (chat rooms) of 100 participants - so , for each message that goes into the server (from a user to the chatroom) , 99 will go out at a minimum (from chatroom to participants). Consider the processing and bandwidth implications of this.
Now , extend this to a common server feature hosting say 20k users concurrently , and getting used by a lot of the users ... some of who are in multiple chat's.
Interesting ?
Now , extend this to a server pool of say 8 nodes (a pool of servers all acting as a single server to the external world but on different machines to increase scalability , blah , blah) - each server hosting 20k approx ...
Consider the memory/processing requirements , the inter server node traffic , the communication with the clients , the routing considerations.
Interesting huh ? :-)

Personal goal : make it scale to atleast 128 nodes server pool on run-of-the-mill boxes each serving about 20k users concurrently.... let me see if we get there :-)

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Monday, June 12, 2006

"Is there Sex in Heaven ?"

A friend of mine sent this to me ... "Is there Sex in Heaven ?". Not a frivolous or titillating article - interesting read !
A bit long , so take a look at it when you get sufficient time.

I dont have any opinion to share about it - other than saying a non-committal "interesting , take a look" :-)

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Delhi trip ...

This is my first trip to North India ... let me rephrase that : this is my first trip north from what I can remember. I was born in Indore , and parents were the travelling type ... so I am supposed to have "visited" lot of Rajastan and MadhyaPradesh ... though I was <= 1 year old then !

So , back to the post - this is the first time I am going so far up north ... the most 'north' I have been to before must be Bombay :-) Considering how little I can remember hindi (almost zero for practical purposes) , I was expecting a tough time :-P.
The arrangements by my company went flawlessly ... surprise surprise ! I was expecting some hiccups - was too smooth to be believed (hmm , maybe the roadblocks will come in when I try to reimburse the trip :-P).

Man was it hot there ! When I did walk under the afternoon sun , I could almost feel something peeling off my face ! Really really exhausting heat - and the worst part is, the taxi guy was telling me that it had rained last week and so it is much "colder" now !!! I would hate to stay there when it is "hot" then :-P.

Wanted to get a gift for mom ... and lo , whereever I go , I see clothes , more clothes and still more clothes ! I went to a couple of bazaars and all of them were choke full of clothes !
Now , there are things I am ok at , but shopping for clothes is definitely not one of them :-) (bargaining is another things I suck at btw ;-) ) Colour is not something I can 'understand' well , and I usually end up hating clothes I buy for myself ! So this was definitely a bad turn as far as getting a gift was going ...
Changed my intention to - get some showpiece for mom ... and however much I search , nothing ! Finally , thanks to Shireen and Kanwar's suggestion , I ended up at Delhi Haat ... this place is really enjoyable !
The 'crafts' displayed here is truely incredible ... if I had the money (and the space to carry them) , I guess I would have bought many many more things ! And mind you , I am not the kind of person who likes shopping :-)
I am not sure how economical it is to buy from there though. Irrespective of that , it was an amazing riot of color , culture and tradition. Some of the handcrafted artifacts on display make you feel really proud of being a part of such an awesome country ... the expanse of Indian culture , crafts and heritage is showcased to a small degree at Delhi Haat and it is a truely amazing spectacle. (hmm , did not see anything from Kerala there btw :-( ).

Next time you are at Delhi , make it a point to visit it !
Hmm , to more frequent visitors (or maybe people used to similar exhibitions) I might be sounding a tad bit overzealous and nutty :-P I dont care , I had a ball of a time ... except for the sweltering heat :-D

Oh ya , got the visa too ... was kind of anticlimax considering the amount of documents the travel agent made me carry. The only part I regret about the Visa interview was that I had to "shutup" and agree with that chap about something he said - a gross design flaw.
Arguing would have resulted in :
a) Spending 30 mins explaining something I doubt if he would have understood anyway. AND
b) Manager will not be too happy to see me come back without a visa :-)
In case you are interested , he was trying to argue that the xmpp server needs to poll the connected clients really frequently (and he meant in the order of seconds or 10's of seconds) to 'verify the user status and connectivity'. I wish people would not make assertions about subjects they know jack shit about *sigh* ...

Btw , flight to delhi felt like a bus ride (jam packed nature and the chairs seriously reminded me of KSRTC FP buses !!) and the ride back was like a train ride :-P I think I am excessively pampered by my frequent trips in Kingfisher airlines :-D

And no , I did not 'see the sights' , and no I did not have trouble with hindi (I think I did fabulously well in the 'speaking in hindi' department ;-) ) and lastly , no I did not bargain much for the stuff I bought :-P

2 Comments:

Blogger Srini said...

Congrats on the visa dude. Itz time to sing "Mamma I'm comign home" or should it be Maman?

6/12/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mridul said...

10 year multiple entry without a company name specified :-)
So I guess I will not need to go for a B1 anytime soon :-))

6/14/2006 01:49:00 AM  

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Shame shame

Since the time I joined college , mom has been asking me to learn driving ... being the fathead that I am , I resisted : until last week when I found myself enrolled to learn 'car driving' at a 'driving institute'. Got the learners license on thursday : it basically involved the cop giving us a lecture on road signs and pronouncing us 'passed' :-P (suspect that money changed hands)
From tomorrow onwards Bangalore roads will no longer be safe - for anyone ! If you see a 'Mani driving school' vehicle anywhere on the road , flee for your dear life : I am not responsible for your health ... let alone mine !

Ok , I should probably be feeling ashamed of myself :-P ... but honestly , I never felt the urge or the need to learn driving : not 'cos of lack of 'opportunity' ! Even now , it is more like heavy dose of threat + cajoling + shame that is prompting me to learn ... not a percieved need :-D
I could rationalise the need for it ... but when I stay 5 mins by walk from work , dont travel much - definitely not for far distances (everything is just an 'auto away') and dont plan to own a vehicle - the whole excercise seems a bit ... futile :-)

4 Comments:

Blogger emanish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/07/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger emanish said...

heck, i have terrorized blore ppl already under the same 'Mani Motor Driving school' tag. I enrolled 6 months back hoping to get a license so i could drive in US. (i drove in US w/o a license more abt it later)
But now as my LL is about to expire i started again, i have my test tomorrow. Hope all goes well :-)

6/07/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Srini said...

Dude,

Learn well and u will start enjoying driving. Once you finish your formal learing, you will need to get hold of an auto driver to have ur advanced course and learn the most important tip of wiggling out of traffic. They are the real roadmasters!

6/08/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mridul said...

@manish
Well, going for my third class tommorrow - that is 2 weeks and only into 3rd class :-) 6 months just might not be enough for me :-P

@srini
True man - forget weaving in and out of traffic : I cant even make sense of where is the other end of the car !
As far as I am concerned , I need a co-driver who will shout instructions to me "You nearly banged on that wall" , etc from the left :-(

6/14/2006 01:54:00 AM  

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Reaching me ...

Looks like though I have my contact coordinates scattered all around the place , I never consolidated them anywhere.
So here goes the list :

yahoo : mridulm80
email : mridul _at_ gmail.com
share.java.net : mridul , mridulm80
orkut : mridul
blogger : mridulm
aim : mridulm80 (not very frequently used)
icq : 157884238 (very very rarely used)

Feel free to contact me on these ... ofcourse , addition to roster at my discretion.

3 Comments:

Blogger V said...

Gee, whats with the contact info? Is it published for all those (unmarried) girls?

6/06/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger  said...

I remember in college days when we used to subscribe to ALL free email providers, and include 4 lines of .signature to list all of them, comma seperated!

6/06/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mridul said...

@V
Hehe , jealous ? >:-)
I was just consolidating it actually ... from now on , I will just use this link for 'how to reach me' situations.

@Kousik
That was for mails , yes.
I used to have mridul _at_ in almost all free servers while at college ... mailcity , angelfire , etc , etc - dont even remember most now !
The ones I use now are more need based now ... US collegues tend to use aim , friends here use yahoo , etc.
icq is pretty much useless ... created in some mad fit :-)

6/06/2006 11:22:00 PM  

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Monday, June 05, 2006

PEPt

Does anyone know more about PEPt ?
I have always wanted to read up about it - the link has been lying in my TO-READ bookmark list for well over 2 years now I think and each time I start off , something or the other will come up and I skip it ... I need to "Focus focus zoom zoom" as Anurag puts it :-)

(Have I posted about PEPt before ?!)

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XMPP interop

Would be attending the XMPP interoperability event at Oregon on July 24th and 25th. Maybe I might also attend OSCON (not sure) ... Should be interesting to finally meet the people I interact with on the XMPP/jabber standards-jig alias (well , what limited interaction I have ;-) ).
On a personal note - and maybe more importantly , I will get a chance to meet Girish , Ajay and Daniella (anyone else around ?) ... not to mention the people I have worked with for 5 years at Sun US and never met :-P

Yep , always 'resisted' attempts to send me to US ... had this aversion to going there : as Manoj put it - you finally capitulated !
This has been mostly as a result of acute laziness ;-) But I guess the main reason would be the way typical manager in India use offers for 'US trips' as some sort of 'keep employees happy' freebie. Ok , will shut about more 'analysis' on that topic - bottomline , never been out of India if I could help it :-D

If anyone else I know around Santa Clara side during July/August time (I should reach around mid july and leave at mid August - assuming I get my Visa this coming week ;-) ) , let me know and we can try to meet up !

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Movie spoofs

I was never active in college when it came to cocurricular activities (hmm , among a lot of other things I might add :-P ) , and so missed out on a lot of "fun" - including taking part and even spectating !
One thing that I did know was about movie spoofs ... most of my friends were "best in the business" :-) I used to have awesome fun listening to them recounting their expierences about the college fests and comptetitions they took part in.

This saturday , we decided to go for XMen 3 and as luck would have it - no tickets :-(
I had decided that since we were all the way there , we will watch whatever alternative that is available.
Horror of horrors , it was only "Ghoom" that was available !!
I hate the usual bollywood "extra mush + super human hero + extra dose of sensitivity + item numbers + emotional sacrifices + 15 songs + 3 hours of monotone" formula ... so was resigned to a loooong night ...

Surprise of surprises , it was a movie spoof !!
To call it a "good" movie would be stretching it a bit too far , but with the right company it is quite enjoyable (!!!)
There are nasty bits of toilet humour - I guess ridiculing the current degradation in bollywood movies (I hope !). But there were surprisingly humourous bits making fun of current bollywood actors/actresses/movies , the thousand endorsements they do , the string of flops that they suffer , etc.

Like I said , go to the movie with the right company , and you might not regret spending 1 hour or so of your time - thats right , ONE hour and change : not 3 hours of boooooring drivel :-)
God knows when we will have really awesome movies like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro in bollywood again :-(

2 Comments:

Blogger V said...

So how was it? Did you like Ghoom?

6/05/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mridul said...

If the following conditions are satisfied , you might not feel too bad about watching the movie :
1) You have a "need" to watch a movie - could be a promise , bored silly , etc.
2) In great company - especially among people who like and appreciate this sort of stuff.
3) In really great mood/humour.

All of these were satisfied ... so , inspite of my reservations in watching a bollywood movie , it was a surprisingly ok expierence for me :-)

6/05/2006 08:36:00 PM  

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Now my turn !

Got mail from my CEO congratulating me on completing 5 years (technically - need a couple of months more) , with link to a partner site from where I can select a gift to commemorate this achievement.
As promised , went ahead and selected the telescope :-)
According to folks at office , it will take me more than a couple of months to get it 'cos of customs delay ...

Parents and friends had some really nice things to say when I fwd'ed them the mail (to the few who were online to whom I did send it) ... and to top it all , I had an awesome dinner treat tonight :-D (Thanks guys ! Appreciate it)
All in all , can go and sleep peacefully and contented ... tommorrow , I should hopefully fix MUC issues in hosted domain setup in our server :-P

I can think of only three things that have changed on me at the end of these 5 years :
1) I have made some really awesome friends since joining Sun : both on and off work.
2) Learned shit loads ... Work has been absolutely great , worked with brilliant people and had a blast of a time !
3) I can debug quite well and understand/modify existing codebase pretty fast.

If things continue in this vein , I would not mind continuing for another 15 years here :-)

7 Comments:

Blogger aaditya said...

Congrats d00d :)

6/03/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Moonjungle said...

kangaroorelations

6/03/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mridul said...

Thank you , thank you :-D

6/05/2006 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger V said...

congrats!

6/05/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger cRaY3 said...

another 15 yrs!!!...Hmmm!!...to take over Jonathan Schwartz? ..

6/05/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger VKM said...

Hey Susk!!
Congrats dude...
Nice to hear that you have spent 5 years in the same place and still njoying it!!!!
-VKM

6/05/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mridul said...

@cray3
There are people who have already completed 20 years in Sun :-)
My CEO has been in the company for "just" 10 years or so ! There are boatloads of people who have been here longer.

No , most probably I will not join their ranks ...
The 20 years mention was in reference to a dream I had once :-)

@V , VKM
Thanks people :-)

6/05/2006 08:39:00 PM  

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