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The Tech Ladder

Prelude Last week some of us old friends met. We are all in a similar age group, with about 15 years of experience in the Indian IT industry. We were all programmers and were working on FOSS projects, during the time we passed out of college (in India).  About 15 years ago, FOSS was not as easy to contribute as today. From our college hostel or shared home internet connection, when we did a `cvs diff` , it used to go over the network, to generate a patch. Often it was faster to just duplicate the sources and locally do a `diff -up dir1 dir2`. Forget Fibre internet, even Broadband was not available widely. Mobile phones were for the super rich. Laptops even more scarce. But some of us found ways to contribute little changesets, mainly driven by our interest in programming. That is how we bonded as a group, across FOSS projects like openSUSE, GNOME, etc. Most of us worked in our College labs and/or from work laptops in personal time. We have not been in regular contact with each other, b

2021 Learning Retrospective

This is a series of blog posts, that I write every year to document and reflect on the technology learnings, that I have had in the year, outside of the day job. Previous editions: 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016 , 2015 , 2014 , 2013 This year, the startup that I was working on got acquired by a big company. I initially thought I may get more free time after the acquisition, but how wrong I was :-) Due to the timezone differences, there were meetings in both early mornings and late nights, starting at 10:30 PM. All the me-time went for a toss. We had to integrate our startup product into the big company product and do some performance work in addition. Hopefully in the next year, things will be a little smoother. In addition to the job load, I was also searching for a house to buy. So all the weekends went away in that. Overall, did not do much personal work of significant value. Still documenting this, so that I get motivated to do something for 2022. Hopefully there are no more ne

Software obsoleting faster than Hardware

When I started my career, I was lucky to work on a legendary Operating System named Novell Netware . I got my first job because of a hacking adventure that me and my roommate Arvind did in our college on top of an upatched Netware installation. The reliability and robustness of Netware may make you believe in magic. But it was just a well-engineered, old-school product. One of the most popular instances of its robustness, was the epic uptime of 16 years as covered in arstechnica . (Image courtesy: Arstechnica) This was not an one-off situation either. We had multiple customers with years of uptime. In one of the academic institutes, the uptime was well into decades, that multiple sysadmins changed, but the netware box tirelessly worked on. At some point of time, nobody knew where the server was physically located, as nobody looked at it as everything worked fine. In almost all the cases, the hardware failed before the software. The software was engineered so well that it would have run

வீடு வரை

  Google maps URL here   Need a flat/individual-house/plot in the above area covered within the blue boundary. Please let me know if you know / come-across any. Budget : 70L (+/- a few lakhs) All money will be given in white only; via a loan on a nationalised bank (SBI, LIC, etc.). Zero money will be given in black. I would rather stay in a rented house than purchase a house via black money. Conditions for Flat: Should have 80+ flats within the complex Should have maximum 4-5 floors only in each building/block. No skyscrapers. Remember Moulivakkam ? Should be 3 (or more) BHK Flat should feel spacious (good architecture) and not waste space in unusable areas. All rooms, kitchen, hall should get enough sunlight. There should be no need for switching on lights during daytime. Hall can feel smaller. Kitchen+Rooms should feel spacious. One balcony is sufficient. Two bathrooms are sufficient. 1350+ sqft may be ideal. Should have good accessibility for elders, people who have difficult in wal

பூவரசமரம்

மகளின் பள்ளிக்காக பூவரசமரம் பற்றி எழுதிய சிறு கட்டுரை. அங்கலாய்ப்பு: இதெல்லாம் மாணவர்களுக்கு உரிய வேலை போலத் தெரியவில்லை. பெற்றோருக்குக் கொடுக்கப்படும் வேலை போலத் தெரிகிறது. மனிதர்களுக்கும் மரங்களுக்குமான தொடர்பு பல்லாயிரம் ஆண்டுகளாகத் தொட்டுத் தொடர்ந்து வருகிறது. குரங்குகளாக இருந்தபோது  உறைவிடமாக இருந்த மரங்கள், மனிதர்களான பிறகு உணவிடமாக உதவுகின்றன. உண்ணும் உணவாகிய காய்களும் பழங்களும் மட்டுமன்றி, உயிர்வாழத் தேவையான உயிர்வளியையும் மரங்கள் வழங்குகின்றன. மரங்களில் "அரச" என்ற சிறப்பித்துக் கூறப்படுபவை "அரசமரம்" குடும்பத்தைச் சேர்ந்தவை. இவற்றை Ficus என்று தாவரவியலில் அழைக்கின்றனர். இவற்றுள் அரசமரம், ஆலமரம், பூவரசமரம் போன்றவை வகைகளாகும். இம்மரங்கள் தென்னிந்திய, தமிழக மண்ணுக்குரிய மரங்கள். உலகில் முதன்முதலில் இவை நம் தமிழகத்தில்தான் தோன்றின. Thespesia populnea என்ற அறிவியல் பெயரில் பூவரசு மரம் அழைக்கப்படுகிறது. பூவரச மரங்கள் கிணற்றடியிலும், குளக்கரைகளிலும், ஏரிச்சுவர்களிலும் என்று நீர்நிலைகளின் அருகில் பொதுவாக இருக்கும். பூவரச மரங்கள் 500 ஆண்டுகளுக்கும் மேல் கூட வாழக்கூடி

youtube arrests and freedom of expression

Last week a couple (Madhan and Kiruthiga) were arrested by the Tamil Nadu police. As per the news media (not sure if these are in the official chargesheet), the charges are: Madhan used profane language against women in his videos Madhan got money from his audience (via traceable online transfers) who are mostly minors (less than 18 years as per Indian law) Madhan used some very non-parliamentary, abusive words towards a woman participant in his live game show, who in turn turned out to be his wife. The wife voluntarily came to these liveshows in her fake id to cause some marketing blitz. It was a pre-planned  negative marketing strategy. His wife is arrested on this charge. Madhan has bought a bunch of bungalows and expensive cars with this ad money. The cars have fancy numbers. Madhan has a lot of cash in his bank account, in the order of crores (tens of millions), that it feels impossible for most average middle-class Indians (the target audience of these news channels). I have a lo