Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Books for all: Google offers full book downloads

Google is making available for download all non-copyrighted material, such as Shakespeare's works.

Article: Books for all: Google offers full book downloads | TG Daily

Google site:

Apple Human Interface Guidelines

A set of guidelines from Apple on how to design great user interface for your software.
Very nice. Recommended reading.

Link: Apple Human Interface Guidelines

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


When shooting digital snaps, the eternal question arises: RAW format or JPEG format?
Unlike classical philosophical questions, this one does have an answer based on your situation.

Read on ... RAW vs. JPEG

Monday, August 28, 2006

Naya Shivala by Muhammed Iqbal

A very nice philosophical poem by Muhammed Iqbal

Original Link: Naya Shivala (with English Translation) by Muhammed Iqbal at Old Poetry

Reproduced verbatim below:

Sach kah don aye brahman! Gar tu buraa na maaney
terey sanam-kadon ke but ho gaye puraaney
apnon se bair rakhnaa tu ne bhton se seekhajang-o-jadal sikhaayaa waaiz ko bhi khudaa ne
tang aa ke main ne aakhir dair-o-haram ko chhodawaaiz ka waaz chhodaa, chhodey tirey fasaaney 

Patthar ki mooraton mein samjhaa hai tu khdaa hai
Khaak-e-watan ka mujh ko har zarraa devtaa hai

Aa ghairiyat ke pardey ik baar phir uthaa dein
bichdon ko phir milaa dein, naqsh-e-dui mitaa dein
sooni padi hui hai muddat se dil ki basti
aa, ik nayaa shiwaalaa is des mein banaa dein
dunyaa ke teerathon se oonchaa ho apnaa teerath
daamaan-e-aasmaan se us ka kalas milaa dein
har subh uthh ke gaayein mantar wo meethey meethey
saarey pujaariyon ko mai peet ki pilaa dein

Shakti bhi shaanti bhi bhakton ke geet mein hai
dharti ke baasiyon ki mukti preet mein hai

English Translation

 A New Altar

O Brahman! Should I speak the truth if you don't mind?
The idols of your temples have gone antiquated.
You've learnt, from the idols, to harbor animosity towards our own people;
the God too has taught his preacher the ways of violence and war.

Having got fed-up I left temple as well as mosque;
[I] left attending the lecture of the preacher as well as your story-sessions.
You think that God resides in the stone idols
Each speck of the motherland is God to me.

Come, let's, once again, remove the curtains of unacquaintedness;
let's help the separated beings meet again [and] remove the motif of duality.
The territory of heart is vacuous for a long time.

Come, let's make a new shrine in this land.
Our shrine should be taller than all the shrines of the world!
We should make its spire touch the edge of the sky.
We should sing, each morning, the amiable hymns
[and] make all the worshippers drink the wine of love!
[Both] power and peace are implied in the songs of the disciples.
The salvation of the people of the world lies in love!

A Java based CMS (Content Management System)

An open-source (Java) project for building a CMS.

Check it out. You might save some serious $$ using this one ...

Link: currentcms: Current CMS

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Eyewitless News: Save Pluto has come up with a contest. The theme? Pluto, of course. The poor planet that was kicked out of the Solar System by a bunch of astronomer bullies. Photos that advertise the ninth planet ...

Link: | Pluto photos

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Greatest Swiss Knife ever

A humongously huge swiss knife that has all the things that you could possibly wish for. The only problem is now to find humongously huge pockets to put it in ...

Link: What a knife !!

Great snaps of libraries around the world

The article is titled "Hot Library Smut". But don't worry, this isn't X-rated stuff. It is just a collection of photographs of libraries around the world.
Check out the "STIFTSBIBLIOTHEK ST. GALLEN" one. Awesome ...

Link: Library Snaps

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Update: 'Hitler' restaurant changes its name

Finally, common sense has prevailed. The owners of a restaurant named after Hitler in Mumbai has decided to change its name.

Link: BBC NEWS | South Asia | Climb down by 'Hitler' restaurant

Java: Swingweb

Swingweb is a web-application framework that enables AWT/Swing application to operate inside
a web container and presented as a web application to the web browser, purely in HTML/CSS/javascript.
The swing application will render and behave in the web-container the same as it would as a desktop application.
There is little knowledge required for the developer to start developing swingweb application as long as
they are familiar with swing UI development.

Link: Swingweb - Swingweb - Introduction

Wasim Raja - A breathtaking strokeplayer

Wasim Raja passed away. A fine tribute to a fine cricketer.

Link: Cricinfo - Wasim Raja - A breathtaking strokeplayer

Why I Love Apple

A nice article on why Apple products are a pleasure: the painstaking attention to details.

Link: Wired News: Why I Love Apple

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

50 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers

A list of standard questions that are usually asked in interviews (and the recommended answers). Worth a read.

Link: Bhuvana Sundaramoorthy’s Blog » 50 COMMON INTERVIEW Q&A

The Fries that bind us --> Amazing Starbucks and McDonalds map

Self-explanatory map. Take a look:
Starbucks and McDonalds map

Jet Powered Beetle !!

A guy called Ron Patrick has modified his Beetle to have 2 engines: the normal one in front and a jet engine in the back. You have to see this to believe it !!

Link: Jet Beetle

Row over Hitler-themed restaurant

The Jewish community in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) is outraged by a new restaurant named after Adolf Hitler.

The restaurant, Hitler's Cross, opened last week in the city's outskirts, initially displaying a giant poster of Hitler at the entrance.

The 5,000-strong Jewish community say they were insulted and want the owner to change the name of the restaurant.

The restaurant owner says the poster has been taken down but he told the BBC that he would keep the name.

I know that freedom of speech is important, but it should be used responsibly. Hitler is someone who evokes pretty strong responses from many people ...

Complete article at: BBC article about the restaurant

Russian solves historic math problem, shuns prize

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- A reclusive Russian won an academic prize Tuesday for work toward solving one of history's toughest math problems, but he refused to accept the award -- a stunning renunciation of accolades from his field's top minds.

Grigory Perelman, a 40-year-old native of St. Petersburg, was praised for work in the field known as topology, which studies shapes, and for a breakthrough that might help scientists figure out nothing less than the shape of the universe.

Full article at: CNN Article

Monday, August 21, 2006

Your Brain Boots Up Like a Computer

It seems that our brain has a boot-up sequence just like a computer.
Well, considering it was designed by the best engineer ever (God), it doesn't amaze me ... - Your Brain Boots Up Like a Computer

5 HTML elements you probably never use (but perhaps should)

A set of 5 uncommon HTML tags that are very promising.
E.g. the <optgroup> one. It allows you to group the <option> inside a <select> box into categories. The categories themselves are not select-able, but the elements themselves can be selected. Nice.

Link: 5 HTML elements you probably never use (but perhaps should)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ten (Okay, 13) Questions with Libby Sartain, Chief People Yahoo!

An interview with Yahoo's global head of HR. See what it takes to get hired at Yahoo!

Link: Ten (Okay ...

Coffee as a Health Drink?

A study suggests that coffee might have some positive benefits as well. Hmmm .. how come periodicially there always are studies published that contradict each other?

Link: Coffee as a Health Drink? Studies Find Some Benefits - New York Times

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

10 Ways to Make Your Digital Photos Last Forever

10 tips on saving those precious memories ....

Link: 10 ways to ...

50 coolest websites

A list of Time Magazine's 50 coolest websites.

Link: 50 coolest web sites

5 Steps To Being More Photogenic

A nice article that shows you how to look your best in photos.

Link: 5 Steps To Being More Photogenic

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dhirubhai gave management a whole new 'ism'

A very nice article about Dhirubhai Ambani on Reproduced verbatim below.

Original Link:  Dhirubhai gave management a whole new 'ism'

Dhirubhai gave management a whole new 'ism'

A G Krishnamurthy in New Delhi |
February 03, 2006 06:06 IST

Dhirubhai Ambani was no ordinary leader. He was a man who gave management a whole new "ism".

is a new "ism" that I've been meaning to add to the vast world of words
for quite a while now. Because, without exaggeration, it's a word for
which no synonym can do full justice: "Dhirubhaism".

Inspired by
the truly phenomenal Dhirubhai H Ambani, it denotes a characteristic,
tendency or syndrome as demonstrated by its inspirer. Dhirubhai, on his
part, had he been around, would have laughed heartily and declared,
"Small men like me don't inspire big words!"

There you have
it - now that is a classic Dhirubhaism, the tendency to disregard one's
own invaluable contribution to society as significant.

sure everyone who knew Dhirubhai well will have his or her own little
anecdote that illustrates his unique personality. He was a person whose
heart and head both worked at peak efficiency levels, all the time. And
that resulted in a truly unique and remarkable work philosophy, which
is what I would like to define as Dhirubhaism.

Let me explain this new "ism" with a few examples from my own experiences of working with him.

Dhirubhaism No 1:
Roll up your sleeves and help. You and your team share the same DNA.
Reliance, during Vimal's heady days had organized a fashion show at the
Convention Hall, at Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi.

As usual, every
seat in the hall was taken, and there were an equal number of impatient
guests outside, waiting to be seated. I was of course completely
besieged, trying to handle the ensuing confusion, chaos and protests,
when to my amazement and relief, I saw Dhirubhai at the door trying to
pacify the guests.

Dhirubhai at that time was already a name
to reckon with and a VIP himself, but that did not stop him from
rolling up his sleeves and diving in to rescue a situation that had
gone out of control. Most bosses in his place would have driven up in
their swank cars at the last moment and given the manager a piece of
their minds. Not Dhirubhai.

When things went wrong, he was the
first person to sense that the circumstances would have been beyond his
team's control, rather than it being a slip on their part, as he
trusted their capabilities implicitly. His first instinct was always to
join his men in putting out the fire and not crucifying them for it.
Sounds too good a boss to be true, doesn't he? But then, that was

Dhirubhaism No 2: Be a safety net
for your team. There used to be a time when our agency Mudra was the
target of some extremely vicious propaganda by our peers, when on an
almost daily basis my business ethics were put on trial. I, on my part,
putting on a brave front, never raised this subject during any of my
meetings with Dhirubhai.

But one day, during a particularly
nasty spell, he gently asked me if I needed any help in combating it.
That did it. That was all the help that I needed. Overwhelmed by his
concern and compassion, I told him I could cope, but the knowledge that
he knew and cared for what I was going through, and that he was there
for me if I ever needed him, worked wonders for my confidence.

went back a much taller man fully armed to face whatever came my way.
By letting us know that he was always aware of the trials we underwent
and that he was by our side through it all, he gave us the courage we
never knew we had.

Dhirubhaism No 3: The silent
benefactor. This was another of his remarkable traits. When he helped
someone, he never ever breathed a word about it to anyone else. There
have been none among us who haven't known his kindness, yet he never
went around broadcasting it.

He never used charity as a
platform to gain publicity. Sometimes, he would even go to the extent
of not letting the recipient know who the donor was. Such was the
extent of his generosity. "Expect the unexpected" just might have been
coined for him.

Dhirubhaism No 4: Dream big
but dream with your eyes open. His phenomenal achievement showed India
that limitations were only in the mind. And that nothing was truly
unattainable for those who dreamed big. 

Whenever I tried to
point out to him that a task seemed too big to be accomplished, he
would reply: " No is no answer!" Not only did he dream big, he taught
all of us to do so too. His one-line brief to me when we began Mudra
was: "Make Vimal's advertising the benchmark for fashion advertising in
the country."

At that time, we were just a tiny, fledgling
agency, tucked away in Ahmedabad, struggling to put a team in place.
When we presented the seemingly insurmountable to him, his favourite
response was always: "It's difficult but not impossible!" And he was
right. We did go on to achieve the impossible.

Both in its
size and scope Vimal's fashion shows were unprecedented in the country.
Grand showroom openings, stunning experiments in print and poster work
all combined to give the brand a truly benchmark image. But way back in
1980, no one would have believed it could have ever been possible.
Except Dhirubhai.

But though he dreamed big, he was able to
clearly distinguish between perception and reality and his favourite
phrase "dream with your eyes open" underlined this.

He never
let preset norms govern his vision, yet he worked night and day
familiarizing himself with every little nitty-gritty that constituted
his dreams constantly sifting the wheat from the chaff. This is how, as
he put it, even though he dreamed, none of his dreams turned into
nightmares. And this is what gave him the courage to move from one
orbit to the next despite tremendous odds.

Dhirubhai was indeed
a man of many parts, as is evident. I am sure there are many people who
display some of the traits mentioned above, in their working styles as
well, but Dhirubhai was one of those rare people who demonstrated all
of them, all the time.

And that's what made him such a
phenomenal team builder and achiever. Yes, we all need  "Dhirubhaisms"
in our lives to remind us that if it was possible for one person to be
all this and more, we too can. And like him, go on to achieve the
impossible too.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hitachi disk testing utility

A nifty utility from Hitachi that tests your hard disk for errors. Creates a bootable CD / diskette that one can use to check your hard disk for errors.

Link: Hitachi Support | Downloads

How to make shadows on the wall

An illustrated guide to making shadows (meaningful ones, of course) on the wall.

Make a rabbit, a deer, etc.

Link: How to make shadows on the wall

Star Trek Inspirational Posters

A list of funny inspirational posters depicting scenes in Star Trek.

Link: Star Trek Inspirational Posters

Delete files forever

How to get rid of files from your PC / Mac for ever !! (no, emptying the recycle bin doesn't do it )

Link: Wired 14.08: How To: Secure Your Data

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

7 reasons the 21st century is making us miserable

Some valid points raised as to why we are more miserable than our parents and grand-parents...

Lake Peigneur (disappearing lake) History Channel footage

Amazing footage !! Watch it to believe it ....

Link: YouTube - Lake Peigneur (disappearing lake) History Channel footage

Job-hopping? Watch out!

A nice article that warns against the perils of shifting jobs mindlessly, without regarding all the consequences ...

Link: Job-hopping? Watch out!

Monday, August 07, 2006

If I had my life to live over -- by Erma Bombeck

Reprinting this here as the words are simply too beautiful ...

If I had my life to live over

  • I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

  • I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

  • I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

  • I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

  • I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

  • I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

  • I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

  • I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

  • I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

  • I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

  • Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

  • When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

  • There would have been more "I love yous".. more "I'm sorrys"... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it... live it...and never give it back.

--In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.

Link: If I Had My Life to Live Over

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The World’s Forgotten Territorial Disputes

A list of the disputes between countries that don't get as much exposure as, say, Palestine or Kashmir. But these exist nonetheless ...

Foreign Policy: The List: The World’s Forgotten Territorial Disputes

Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America

This is a site that tracks the ancient landscapes of North America

Snippet from the site:

The images presented here show the paleogeography of North America over the last 550 million years of geologic history. The 40 images shown here are selected from a suite of approximately 100 maps that are in time slices mostly 5-10 million years apart.

Link: Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why would a developer become a manager

A rant by a lady called Katie Lucas in a discussion thread ...

------------------------------------ START POST -------------------------------------------------

"Why would you want a great developer to become a manager in the first

Well, this particular developer is becoming a manager for the
following reason:

Job requirements for engineers have an alphabet soup
attached to them. I've been rejected for jobs because the version of Sybase I
last used is too old, and this is for a role where SQL isn't even the core
requirement. The SQL standard hasn't changed, but agents can't figure that out -
they just want people who've used the latest version of Sybase.

I get
turned down for UNIX dev roles because the version of VB I've used isn't the
latest -- because they add a VB background to all the dev position requirements,
and it's got the be the latest version of VB.

I've just got bored of
having my technical skills outdated every six months. If I take my eye off the
ball and Microsoft announces a technology and I don't immediately ram it into my
CV or pick the wrong job, a year later I'm near unemployable.

I'm fed up
of my career being this bizarre stamp collecting exercise where I get judged on
how many of the acronyms I've been near lately and not whether I've gained any
deep experience in anything.

Frankly, I'm getting too old to play this
stupid game anymore. No-one wants to hire a software engineer with a decade of
experience to start work in C#. They'll train 2 year experienced people to use
C#, but if you've got more experience than that, you better show up with
experience in C# because any other experience you have is irrelevant.

tired of my entire experience being torn up and thrown away every couple of
years because agents and HR departments can't figure out that a developer who
can write C++ can also write C# and Java with very little training -- but what
can you expect? These are guys who think Visual C++ isn't the same language as

I looked at being a tech writer. I quite like writing -- I've
got a background in creative writing, it's something I quite like, and I've done
tech writing around IT projects before. Unfortunately, although I've written
stuff and studied writing and so on, I'm not qualified to be a tech writer
because the version of PageMaker I last used is too old... I suddenly have these
visions of people saying to a re-incarnated Dickens "Look, you've only used
quills. What the hell kind of writer are you? We're only considering people with
experience with Biros version 4 or above."

I've noticed that things like
"Project manager" experience doesn't get thrown away in the same way. No-one
says "Oh, but that was a year ago. We manage projects COMPLETELY differently
now. That experience doesn't count", whereas they do with, say, SQL. It's like
SQL is a whole new langauge with each version of Oracle.

being a successful software engineer currently means that you pick a tech, ram
some experience on your CV and then bail after a couple of years before that
becomes "old tech". Every couple of years you need to pick a technology (which
probably hasn't actually shipped at that stage) and bet on it. And you must bet
right every time.

You never gain deep experience because that would mean
missing an acronym off your CV and who knows when you'd need the

I've been offered two jobs; one will get me a PM background. One
will get me a bundle of technologies. The latter is a good role, but how can I
tell if those technologies will leave me employable in two years time? They
might be completely outdated by then and useless and irrelevant like my
experience with SQL on Oracle 8.

It'll get me a couple of years of Java,
for example. But how can I tell if Java will still be an employable skill in
2007? I mean, I've got Java at the moment, but no hope of a job using it,
because I don't also have J2EE and anyway the Java I did was 1.1 and everyone's
after people with experience in newer versions...

Apparently I have no
worthwhile experience to show for 10 years in the business because everything's
the wrong version or doesn't have the right condiments or is just a tool no-one
uses anymore. Any actual background I've got in things like "being an engineer
who gets software written" is irrelevant. It's like assessing a builder on
whether they've used Black and Decker tools and not on whether their houses are
still standing. Or like assessing Dickens' writing skills by the fact he used
quills and not biros.

Soft skills like PM don't get outdated by FUD
from Microsoft. They don't come with version numbers which can drift out of

Really, they're the only alternative if you're the sort of person
who can't assume you'll bet on the "right" technology every two years for the
rest of your life.

So this developer is becoming a manager just so that I
can start building an experience history to remain employable with, because I'm
fed up of fighting hard to keep even a couple of years of "relevant" background
on my CV.

[As a complete side note, reading the job pages in
the paper I came across an advert for a "housing policy officer". Now, bear in
mind 'm used to adverts which say "Reqd Skills; C++, UNIX, Windows, VB, MFC,
ASP, STL, ATL, Multithreaded, C#, .net, CVS, ClearCase <etc>"

one said "You should have a higher-second or first degree and  a track record of
generating effective housing policies."

Wow. Pay was pretty much a match
for being a software engineer.]

------------------------------------ END POST -------------------------------------------------

Original post: Katie's rant

The Universal Packing List

A site that generates a packing list for you depending on what type of journey you are taking, how many days you will stay, is it an international trip, etc.

The Universal Packing List

Find source code online

Programming is a waste, do only copy-paste.

This site allows you to find source code in many languages to "use" in your project.


Movie Review: Lady in the Water

I saw a movie recently --> M. Night Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water". Here's my review:

Summary: Utterly disappointing.

M. Night Shyamalan's graph continues it's downward spiral. With this movie, Shyamalan reaches a new low. The story tries to combine thrill with fantasy, and fails completely on both accounts. All throughout the movie you keep on waiting for something to trigger it into becoming a gripping tale. The trigger never comes.

The start of the movie has a hint of a message. We are told that there exists a great Blue World (the sea). People there live in harmony, whereas our world (land) lives in conflict. We have forgotten the lessons of love, beauty, peace, etc. And the Blue World will remind us.

The reminder / message never comes throughout the movie.

The central character of the movie is the messenger from the Blue World. All that this lady does is look incredibly pale (I guess because she was underwater from birth). She stares vacantly at everyone (where am I?).
On land she is clad only in a shirt that she gets from the guy who discovers her. She constantly rushes under the shower to stay under water (homesick?). She refuses to wear anything below the waist ( I guess that is the message that we have forgotten on land :-) ).

The sad part is that the story had potential. It could have been made into a good film. But it ends up as a wasted opportunity.

All in all, see it only if someone gives you free tickets (even then it may not be worthwhile).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Most Important Software Innovations

A list of some well-known and some not-so-well-known computer science/technology innovations.
Nice reading...

Link: The Most Important Software Innovations