Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Usability: Change in Template

In our e-ottings group we had a "Big-Fight" about google's new perosnalized portal. Ppl argued about the various aspects of it. Some said it was brand new and some complained about it as the old concept. Inspite of all these difference in opinions, everyone agreed on the fact that the customizations provided by google is awesome from the usability perspective. Thus I learnt the significance of usability.

This blog was originally using "Minima Black" template and there were complaints about the dark background causing hinderance. To alleviate this concern and to improve usability, I have switched on to "Harbor" template. The contents part of this template contains white background with black text color. I even remember reading some where that this is the standard and recommended format for presentations.

Longing for a long weekend

The past weekend is a long weekend for people in US as this monday is memorial day for them. So there are less and less emails and blog posts. I have started longing for such a long weekend. The next long weekend in India is when we celebrate our Independence day on Aug 15th which falls on Monday.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Modem Picts

Huawei MT880 ADSL Modem

BSNL Phone and the Modem Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Zero Visibility

For the past couple of days Bangalore is experiencing very heavy thunder showers mostly in the evenings. Right now it is raining very heavily with almost zero visibility.

Check the weather update here

Wi-fi @ our house - Proposal

We have come up with a nice proposal. With the advent of DataOne broadband at our house, we are seeking option to convert our house as Wi-fi enabled. We are planning to acquire a Wi-fi router and get it hooked to the DataOne router. Gops has some concerns on hooking mutiple-routers this way. Let me know your suggestions in case if you are an expert in this area or your experiences in this kind of seup.

Now I am concerned about getting a laptop to enable me work at home!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

ADSL Broadband @ our house

Should thank Arun for taking initiative and all pains in bringing internet to our beloved house @ 63, 4th main. The speed is awesome and suffices most of our requirement.

Here is the arun's experience on getting this done!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Phishing + Extorsion = "ransom-ware"

Hackers have started using phishing techniques to lock your critical information in your system with some large encryption code and then demand ransom to unlock those for you. This has just started spreading and a new term has been coined to refer these kind of soft-extorsions as "Ransom-ware" .

More details at CTV.ca News

Update: This post is done from my home using BSNL DataOne broadband connection. How nice to get hooked to net from home!

OTIS Elevators: Suffers init problem

The power went off, when I was coming down in a OTIS elevator. When the alternative power was switched on, the elevator went straight back to the lowest floor and started again afresh. It seems really awkward when OTIS could not have a flash memory to remember the state and had to start over it again from the init. I name it the "stateless syndrome".

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Philosophy: Man and Money

I am not sure how I picked up this philosophical idea (could be that I read about it somewhere).

Man and Money run in a circular path, trying to catch each other. So if you are desperate to get money, you keep running behind it and money tries to find you and keeps running behind you. It is an infinte loop. Neither you find money nor money finds you! Still a better visualization is a dog trying to catch its tail. Did you had a chance to see it!

But if you are not bothered about money and you run behind other objectives, it is a kind of linear! Soon or later money catches you! This my philosophy on man and money!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Phishing Paper

Came across this Phishing Paper from a blog post.

Know your Enemy: Phishing

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Today we just started with the project work of "ThirdEye".

So finally something concrete seems to be happening. This project is going to fulfill a couple of aspirations that I had.
  • Build and deliver free software
  • To delve in data mining area - decision trees
To begin with we created a blog for the project so that we can capture all the details of the progress.
Learning process is underway and let me see how we progress through it. Krish is also on board.

Indians rock in CA challenge

Came across this news in the Business section in Rediff.
Astonishing to see compatriot Indians toping the challenge...


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Thinking in terms of solution

This is what blogging has done to me.

I have started thinking innovatively in terms of solutions. Nowadays I have started giving quick solutions (on top of my head - kind of) for any problem that I face.

Awesome, good improvement, so keep blogging.

Solution: Decissive Predicting from historical data

The topic of this post really sounds weird.

As noted from my previous posts, Sampath has just managed to score 210.79 as cut-off. Currently we are not able to determine where will he be enrolled? To which college, to which stream. Based on this prediction we would like to evaluate the alternatives.

We are really stuck at this point as we could not make an educated guess. Reason, historical data is unavailable for the prediction. It will be nice if we could know the last year admission results. A simple table of data would do..

Attributes of table: {Year, Rank, Cut-off, College, Course}

Given this table we should be able to predict reasonably what are his chances. I know there are lot other parameters that varies each year and alter the admission results. But to begin with these details should be sufficient.

How great it will be if we could take these data and put a (decision tree based) data mining model above this and derieve the current year admission trends given the cut-off marks. I would love to work on this solution if I am given the data.

Why not let me start with some dummy data? Simultaneously try getting the real data and plug-in to the system. I am also thinking with year after year historical data, the system should have sufficient genetic algos to update itself with the trends and give more and more accurate results.

Another mediocre performance by sampath

The results for the TamilNadu XII Board Exams came in today at 10:30 am.
Almost all the sites which provided the results had a huge hit as the server response was pretty slow. Like previous years, this time also results were made available through SMS. You can send in an SMS with registration number to get the results back.

The overall performance by Sampath was average. I really do not know how he managed to get 185/200 in language paper (tamil). The math score was poor again. Even Physics and Chemistry is not sufficient. He should have done the exam better than this. I blame his shoddy homework for all.

Eng - 173/200
Tamil - 185/200
Phy -181/200
Che -172/200
Maths -158/200
Bio -165/200

Total: 1034 / 1200

So his cut-off for the professional courses is 210.79/300
This won't be sufficient to grab a seat in CS/ECE stream in a reputed college. Right now I do not know what are we going to do with this!

Monday, May 16, 2005


My reading habit has gone down drastically! It is high time that I take some corrective measure. Once when your reading habit goes down, you tend to loose concentration that you enjoy while keeping up the reading habit. So better to start sooner than later.
This weekend I grabbed and started reading "The SIGMA Protocol" novel by Robert Ludlum. It is pretty much interesting and it confirmed that I didn't loose much touch.

I always wonder, why I get lapses in concentration when I read something technical. I used to get all the distractions which never happens while reading a thriller novel. I need to improve upon.

Going forward I am planning to subscribe "The Week" to augument the general reading that I do. That should give me a fair insight about all the happenings in the country.

The next in the list is to go through a serious of basic technical books that are recommended by Alex Stepenov (Principal Scientist, Adobe Systems).

Some excerpts from his speech at Adobe India 30 Nov 2004

1. Study , Study and Study
- Never ever think that you have acquired all or most of the knowledge which exists in the world. Almost everybody in US at age of 14 and everybody in India at age of 24 starts thinking that he has acquired all the
wisdom and knowledge that he needs. This should be strictly avoided.

- You should be habituated to studies...exactly in the same way as you are habituated to brushing teeth and taking bath every morning. The habit of study must become a ‘part of your blood’. And the study should be from both the areas: CS, since it is your profession, and something from non-CS...Something which doesnot relate to your work. This would expand your knowledge in other field too. A regular study, everyday, is extremely essential. It doesnot matter whether you study of 20 minutes of 2 hours, but consistency is a must.

- You should always study basics and fundamentals. There is no point in going for advanced topics. When I was at the age of 24, I wanted to do PhD in program verification, though I was not able to understand anything from that. The basic reason was that my fundamental concepts were not clear. Studying ‘Algebraic Geometry’ is useless if you donot understand basics in Algebra and Geometry. Also, you should always go back and reread and re-iterate over the fundamental concepts.

What is the exact definition of ‘fundamental’? The stuff which is around
for a while and which forms basic part of the concepts can be regarded as more fundamental. Of course, everybody understands what a fundamental means.

- Here are few books which I would strongly recommend that every CS
professional should read and understand.

i. “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs” by Albenson
and Sussman
I personally donot like the material present in this book and I do have some objections about it but this is the best book I have ever seen which explains all the concepts in programming in a clear and
excellent way. This book is available online at http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

ii. Introduction to Computer Architecture: by Hennessy and Patterson.
How many of you have shipped the programs by writing them in assembly? A very good understanding of basics of how a computer operates is what every CS professional must have. H&P Wrote two books on CA. I am talking about their first book, the introductory text for understanding basic aspects of how a
computer works.
Even if you feel that you know whatever is written in that book, donot stop reading. It’s good to revise basics again and again.

iii. “Fundamentals of Programming” by Donald Knuth.
The core of CS is algorithms and Data structures. Every CS professional must have the 3 volumes of Knuth’s Book on programming. It really doesnot matter if you take 30 years of your life to understand what Knuth has written, what is more important is that you read atleast some part of that book everyday without fail.

iv. Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest
This book should be read daily to keep your concepts fresh. This is the best book for fundamental concepts in algorithms.

Let me see how successful am I in this attempt.

P.S: The summary of Alex's speech in pdf format is available with me. I guess it should be there on the internet also. If you are not in a hurry and need it from me, then drop me a note (rajakumar@gmail.com).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Better Judgement

My Dad has proven once again in the past couple of days that he has a better judgement than me.

When we were checking up my mom's weight he just predicted it accurately. She is 48kgs. And my dad predicted 47 kgs.

Similarly my dad predicted 45/100 as Sampath's score in TNPCEE. He scored 43.54/100.

Disappointing performance by Sampath

It is a shoddy performance by Sampath in TNPCEE 2005. TNPCEE is the acronymn of Tamil Nadu Professional Course Entrance Exam conducted to Anna University. It is similar to SAT by which you enter B.E. or B.Tech engineering courses. The engineering course could be off any discipline. He has failed all hopes of entering professional course as he has just managed 43.54/100. This is way below the average. I am rather disappointed too much.

Split up of marks

Math: 18.54/50
Physical Science: 25/50

Reality Vs Mortality

Couple of days back I posted an obtituary message about my Uncle.
But still my mobile phonebook has his mobile number listed against his name.
See how things become unreal in this mortal world!! What should I do with his number now?

Hungarian Notation

Today I came across the topic of Hungarian Notation and its usages.

So here are some good links on what is Hungarian Notations

Hungarian Notation - A quick reference (from nscu)

Hungarian Notation (from univ of missouri)

There is also an article (Making Wrong code Look Wrong) today on Joel on Software on usages of this notation effectively to spot errors/bugs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Came across this neat blog post on phishing which clarified me a lot of things.

"Phishing is an electronic attack that combines social engineering with some technical aspects of software programs in order to trick you into giving up some personal information"

Read about phishing at


Monday, May 09, 2005


My beloved Uncle 'Ramaswamy' passed away on 8-May-2005. He was a teacher turned business man. It is a huge loss for us as we lose a noble person interested in our well-being. I often turn to him for his advice on education. He is the one who made me to join GCT in the single window admission system. He is one who pioneered me to take up postgraduation. His relentless support to education is commendable. We will be remembering him for all his good deeds. We express our deep gratitude and condolences to his immediate family.

Health care system - First cut

When I was scuffling through the endless lab test results, I thought about digitizing the healthcare system. And this post is about the solution from my perspective.

The solution is not a deep-thinked rugged solution. It is just that on top of my mind. I hope that there are lot of benefits by building this health care system. With the advent of improved techniques in medical and cheap resources (system, storage), this soultion is practical.

First step is to provide unique number to each and evey individual in a state/country. There are many ways to do this. Let me not diverge to this topic now.Use the unique number as a patient number. Store every single medication or treatment or consultation in database. Thus we are going to maintain a complete medical history. This is going to take huge space and but it should be manageable. Every doctor should have access to this database to retrieve data and update. We need to somehow mandate this practise. Create and use a consistent software (standards can be set, so that different vendors follow it to the letter).

This will avoid hussles of maintaing medical records in hard-copies and to carry them around while visiting doctors. Will alleviate the patients from bizare medical questions (in finding whether the medicine is allergic) and hard test for their remembrance (when did you last get this?) sort of questions.

Moreover if the patient goes to overseas for treatment, they could take their medical history in a easy-to-go media.

This system should not have all those performance constraints. Given the fact of unique patient id, we can surely index/partition on patient's id. The data should be replicated and should be highly available.

Anything more I am missing?

Is KG Master health checkup worth?

If you want to know the answer right away then it is "NO".

Last week, I took my parents for a MHC in KG Hospitals in Coimbatore. I did choose KG because of two reasons
  1. We did a MHC five years back there and was statisfied then
  2. It would be easy to compare the results with the past checkup results.
(The Week magazine, which did a review of hospitals gave a good rating to KG)

To the contrary of our expectations, KG's MHC is very shoddy this time. Quality has degraded way down. On the arrival at the hospital at 8:30 am, we registered at the reception. Their patient system faulted and could not retrieve the data. Some how they managed to recover the details and later to be found that the address is garbled.

Then we went for the series of lab tests (blood, urine, x-ray, abdominal Ultra-sound scan, ECG and spirometry tests). At the end of these tests, the results were scanned by a general doctor and a counselling session on diet and life-style. If you had any specific ailments, then you are taken to a specialist for consultation. Mind you are permitted to meet the specialist only when you have any ailments. This means that you should have been diagnosed prior to this check-up.

This way of MHC really spoils the spirit of health-checkup. MHC is taken as regular precautionary routine to identify ailments at the begining and take corrective step-us and thereby reduce risks, pain and suffering. Hospitals like KG promise all these tests done under one-roof so we need not run to various labs across the city to perform all these tests.

The same MHC, five years back, performed the same tests and let us meet the specialist in each field. We meet eye, ENT, dental, dermatology, ortho, neuro, general physician and gynecologist. Each of these specialist provided their views and advice based on the various test results. All this were missing time. Patients of MHC are given least priority and are treated as ordinary out-patients. (I even noticed an eye specialist shouting at his staff at bringing in MHC patients, though I do not know reason behind it). We even meet a dietician who adviced us about the food controls that we need to follow for betterment.

To keep up with the same advice, the canteen provided us awesome food (which is part of the MHC package). There were cereals and fresh green vegetables. In the five years the canteen has suffered the worst damage. Firstly the canteen wasn't neat. I felt as if I have entered a mess (makeshift hotel) and the food served was in poorest quality. They really lacked any green vegetable or cereals. It reminded me of the hostel food that I had while in GCT.

If food served to patients are this great (surcastically), then there is only a bleak chance to recover any soon. All the more it was shoddy show put up by KG. My verdict is just 2/5. It is very below average. I have decided to change my attitude towards KG. Next time it is going to be some other hospital for MHC.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

SW engineers robbed

Published in The Hindu: Dated 04-May-2005

2 software engineers robbed

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Two software engineers were robbed of Rs. 2,000 and two mobile phones in Adugodi police station limits on Monday night.

Police said Binu Daniel and Xavier Nag were returning home after work when they were accosted by miscreants on two motorcycles near the drainage line in Potalappa Garden.

The miscreants reportedly threatened them with knives and took away their mobile phones and cash.

Of late, there have been several instances of software engineers in the city being robbed late in the night.

One was even murdered allegedly for his mobile phone at Koramangala four days ago.

Bangalore is becoming a safe heaven for robbers. Such incidents are cropping up more than usual in recent times. The city police should take a stern action against these ppl. Will they?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

No post?

Am I getting void of topics? No, not at all. I am deprieved of free time in office which I could use to blog and do related things. Need to catch up a lot on the work front which keeps me busy all through the day.

Remedy...I need to get net access at my home to get this going back in full throttle.

Anyway these days I am following large number of blogs daily. Scobble, Jeremy, Mark Jen, Jonathan Schwartz, Joel, Google's blogs, etc.

My bloglines subscription has touched 18 feeds now. There are some more pending subscriptions.

I really envy the web infrastructure present in US where by ppl are able to get thmeselves hooked even from hospitals through wifi. Dishnet is comming up with such kind of public wifi network. I am not sure how fast and reliable it will be and how much they charge. Wifi is yet to unfold here.