An Unknown Indian

Thoughts of a FOSS enthusiast

Archive for February, 2007

Who moved my cheese?

Posted by Balachandran on February 27, 2007

        Hello folks.Something about books this time. For a long time i had been waiting to lay hands on a copy of the book who moved my cheese? A best seller short story which tells you a few basic things in life that most of us tend to forget. It is a really great book which deals with changes in life. I remember a  oft-quoted saying, “The only thing that exiss always is change” or some thing that means the same. And in the present day, highly competitive business world, change happens even before you could realise the previous change.

The book starts with a high school reunion of a group of friends. Then one starts the meet with a story which he tells had brought him a good turn. The story is about a pair of mice named sniff and scurry and a pair of dwarfish men named Hem and Haw. It speaks of how change takes place in thier lives and how they handle it. The main thing that atracted me in the book is the many quotes in that book. It starts with saying learn to laugh at yourself to saying “When you are afraid, do what you would have done if you had not been afraid”.

This small 45 odd page book is worth a read for every person. Hope everybody gets a copy of it. It will be definetley helpful at all times.

Advertisements

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

Looking Glass, JXTA and what not…

Posted by Balachandran on February 24, 2007

        Hello folks. Back again with more info on great products from Sun Microsystems. This morning I logged into my windows OS after a long time, actually by mistake. And since it had started booting, i was too lazy to stop and reboot. So i decided to work using XP itself. Knowing that nothing worth can be done using XP, i was just exploring the contents of a CD that I recently got and was really happy to find a copy of Looking Glass, a project from Sun,  in that CD. I had learnt about that project just a couple of weeks back from my friend.

Looking glass is a software written in Java and comes as a Jar. Actaully, Looking Glass creates a 3D environment and has a few good utilities, including a media player. Had I got a better RAM space, it would have been a greater experience for me. The desktop wallpaper could be changed using an option that shows up as a 3D circle by default. That apart, all appliations open up, work and close with some 3D effects. In short, it has got all that Windows Vista boasts of and that comes free of cost and again it is just an software that can be installed and uninstalled as you please. It is not a whole new OS that is meant only for visual effects( In my opinion, Vista is one such OS – developed for visual effects alone).

Another tool from Sun that I tried out today is the JXTA. Actually, it came bundled with the Looking Glass thing and the Looking Glass has a link to this JXTA from within. JXTA is a new communication tool that connects all sorts of devices like the PDAs, computers, laptops etc. It uses various protocols for doing that. This software, i hope has been coded using Java Swing. It shows a list of peers  with whom we can chat. It also has facilities to join in to groups and to share data or media. But I have not explored this tool fully and so need more time to do that.

Hope i will try other Sun tools as well as because I feel that every tool from sun is really great and that every tool will have its unique application. Moreover, unlike Microsoft, Sun microsystems supports FOSS and hence its code can be accessed by all. This will help in learning languages like Java with which these softwares have been developed.

Posted in Computers, FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Quality of education

Posted by Balachandran on February 16, 2007

        Hello folks… thought of pouring out my opinion on the present day educational system in engineering colleges, atleast in Tamil Nadu. To be frank, it is really a cause for concern… The syllabus that we have, the method of teaching adopted(well, the lecturers and proffessors are fantastic…. it is the system that is faulty), and the way exams are being conducted– everything should be changed…. To put it straight, the semester exams test our memorising power rather than our knowledge 😦 . Luckily I got into an autonomous college and so am enjoying a much better system.

I would suggest that Anna Univ ahould revamp the whole syllabus and system. The syallabus must be more realted to what is being used in the industry in real time presently than being related what was in use a few years back…. I also recommend that all subjects should be practical in nature rather than concentrating only on the theoritical part….For instance, I studied OS and networks without knowing how semaphores are implemented practically in OSes and without knowing how TCP and IP are implemented…. 😦

So, it would be really better if there is a change in everything for the good of the students…..I belong to the Computer Science stream and so making a mention about OSes and networks. But i feel that the situation is much similar for the students of other branches as well. The best that can be done is to give the task of setting the syllabus to a group of industrial people from various great companies like Sun, Cisco, Google,  GE, GM, TVS etc for he various branches. This would be really helpful.
The other option available for the students to learn the latest trends is through forums.The habit of creating and using forums should be developed so that the students join together and discuss with each other the latest trends in the markets and the coolest features that a product has. Our college is leading by example in this aspect by having lots of forums or communities, mailing list etc. Just for example, our college has a highly active goups for GNU/Linux called the GLUGOT. We have user gourps opensolaris, .Net , operating systems and Networks as well. It is with the help of these forums that most of us learn many practical stuff related to computers. We are helped to a great extent by our alumnis who are now in high positions in various popular companies including Sun, Cisco, RedHat, Spikesource and so on.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

Sun club inauguration

Posted by Balachandran on February 16, 2007

        Hello folks. It is a memorable day today. The Sun Club(Sun forum) of our college has been inaugurated.The function took place at the K.M auditorium of our college. We were glad that we had booked the K.M audi as the number of students who came for the function exceeded 300. This itself is a grand success. The registration for the Sun Club was also done immediately at the end of function and almost all those who attended the function registered for the club activities.

Now, more about the club and todays’ function. This Club will serve as the point of contact for all activities related to Sun microsystems. The Club was inaugurated by our HOD, Dr.R.Rajaram. He gave an excellent talk on the importance of FOSS based tools and softwares. Then there was a talk on computers in the past and present by the HOD of IT Dr. U.Nirai Chandran.

Then there was a twenty minute presentation by our college’s student ambassador for Sun, Krithika. The presentation highlighted the various products of Sun, the way in which the Club will function and so on. The various activities of the Club include arranging for project interns, arranging seminars, workshops and hands on sessions for the various products from SUN including Open Solaris, Java, NetBeans etc.

We had very good support from  our staff-co-ordinators, Ms Subhatra and Mr.Emil Selvan. They spent a lot of time with us and helped us in organising this event.

The Club’s mailing list can be joined http://mail.tce.edu/mailman/listinfo/sunclub .

These are a few activities that have been planned.

  • Certification Programmes
  • Project Internships
  • Workshops/Seminars/Hands-on sessions
  • Lectures from Sun people
  • Regular classes on great sun tech stuff including OpenSolaris, Java, Netbeans

Posted in Computers, FOSS, OpenSolaris | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft Vista — A noose around M$ neck

Posted by Balachandran on February 15, 2007

        Hello folks, some news about M$. The release of the new Microsoft operanting system, called the Windows Vista made headlines almost throughout the world. People around the globe hailed it as the operating system of the next generation. When even a few friends told me that it was indeed great and that it was unbeatable, I finaly thought that M$ had learnt its leason and has indeed designed a great OS. So, when one of my friends invited me to a vista demo, i went with him.

But…. I was totally disappointed, or rather saw the same old stuff again. The only difference was that it had a what they call “a stunning interface” . To me it was nothing but good for nothing eye candy stuff. And the M$ people are tightening the self-designed noose around their neck. The vista edition requires a minimum of 512 MB RAM. This is too much for many people. Again Vista, released in six diferent editions, is very costly as more features are added. But the important info to be noted is that, all applications that a decent computer needs does not come with the basic edition. So it wants it users to buy more sophisticated editions and is thereby trying to improve its revenue. Since Vista cannot be pirated(thats what I heard) nobody is going ot buy that stupidly designed operating system.

Another foolishness worth mentioing in the starter pack of vista is that, no more than three applications can be launched simultaneously. So I think that the fools at M$ have forgotten that multiprocessing is more important than the eye candy stuff. Another important claim by the MS people is the release of IE7. They boast so mush about tabbed browsing and thumbnail preview. All these have been considered as basic necessity and not as added features  in browsers like firefox and opera since their first release.

With all these foolishness and less-than- useful products, Microsof will soon meet its end, with a self-designed noose called Vista.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

5th SYNAPSE — A run away success

Posted by Balachandran on February 3, 2007

Hello folks, I am glad to share with you that we have conducted the 5th Synapse in a grand successful manner. Synapse is a National level,annual non-technical symposium conducted by the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Students’ chapter, TCE. This year, the event was well planned and the organisational work started well over a month back. Various events like Quiz, Paper presentation, Virtual Teasers, Treasure Hunt were held as a part of the symposium.

This year, even was held on Friday,the 2nd Febraury. The theme for this year was Innovation Redefined. The main idea was to bring out new methods in teaching and learning process. In connection to that, the Dept. of CSE in association with the students of various depts. is trying to develop an e-learning tool. This wouild be like virtual classroom. The syanpse organisers called for papers in realted topics and there was a good response and fianlly, 8 papers were selected to be presented on the Synapse day. They were all really excellent.

The visual Teasers round, Quiz and the mega event Mr/Ms. Synapse were really interesting. The audience were quite large in number and hence the participants received huge support. Finally, there was the much expected cultural program.

Posted in My days | Leave a Comment »

Sun microsystems…

Posted by Balachandran on February 1, 2007

Hello folks, back with some solaris stuff again, this time with a bit of difference. We had a session on Sun microsystems, its histroy and activities . The session was handled by the Sun’s students’ ambassador for our college, Krithika. The session started with what is Sun microsystems and who started it and when was it started and all that. We learnt that Sun was started by three stanford university guys, Vinodh koshla, Bill Joy, Andreas Bechtolsheim(I got this from the comment made below by one of my seniors) and Scott McNealy. A brief history of activities of Sun were mentioned.

Then the talk moved on to various important Open Source products from Sun microsystems. First, the Netbeans IDE was mentioned and is salient feature discussed. But, personally, I am against the use of IDEs and such stuff. But Netbeans seems to be interesting from the list of features that were displayed. Then we moved on to solaris or rather opensolaris. The whole audience were captured by the words “Solaris is the most powerful Operating System on earth”. A brief history of UNIX development and the contribution of Sun microsystems to that were given. Then the contibution of this mighty company to FOSS was also mentioned.

Various features like predictive self healing, ZFS, SMF, Dtrace were given a brief insight. It was decided that, after the formation of the Sun club, classes will conducted at regular intervals on all these topics and more. Finally, a small demo of dtrace was made to all students batch by batch. The demo was run by very very simple scripts like open system call and read system call. The audience were really interested and were keen to learn more on this. The one of the scripts that was run is
#dtrace -n ‘syscall::read*:entry{printf(“%s”,execname);}’

Using this, mouse movements were detected and the read system call changed from one process to another. It was really cool. Likewise, open system call was also dtraced and the output observed for various activities done.

The one unfortunate thing was that, the projector was not detected by the solaris and hence we had to make the presentations using a Linuxmachine. Hope we sort it out soon and make use of the projector from solaris soon.

Posted in Computers, FOSS, OpenSolaris | 3 Comments »