August 30, 2006

Baudolino

I love Umberto Eco, but I don’t think I’ll be reading any other post-modernish books anytime soon.

Baudolino is truly a great book to read. Alas, I have no energy left to write a fitting few paragraphs here.

“Concern with pleasing humans causes the loss of all spiritual growth.”

“Yes, I know, it’s not the truth, but in a great history little truths can be altered so that the greater truth emerges.”

August 27, 2006

Greatness

I’m am not destined for greatness. Nor do I aim to achieve any form of greatness. I’ve never tried to be really good at anything I do … I always aim to be, quoting Gattaca here, ‘as good as any, better than most’.

Competition drives me to better myself, and only to a certain limit. If it gets too hot, I’ll promptly give up and not feel sorry for it. I’ve never had the drive to become the ‘best’ at anything.

I perform best when I know I can beat the game. I like challenges, but not ones that deserve all my attention. I can always find other interesting things to do, one aspect of my life should not occupy all my time.

Guess I’ll never turn out to be a workaholic. Then again, I won’t ever be the top guy at anything as well. I don’t give a damn.

Still, watching someone at their best leaves me feeling a mixture of awe and disdain.

August 25, 2006

Got a shock today...

I read a lot as it is. Nice bug.

August 19, 2006

The Lonely Shepherd

Amazing music by Gheorghe Zamfir. I recognised this song from the Kill Bill soundtrack.

Blogger beta.

I’m on Blogger beta right now. Was sick of the old template, and new features are always fun to test out. What’s funny is that I’ve pretty much re-created my old template again, and it took me just fifteen minutes to do it.

With this launch, Blogger can now at least hope to compete with Wordpress.com. I’m not blogging much lately, and hopefully I won’t stay here much longer. Expect some news in a month or so. Hopefully.

Java—Second impressions

Now that I’ve had someone who actually knows Java teaching it to me, it’s time to re-think. Java is both not as bad, and much worse, then what I thought it would be.

I think I can happily keep churning out Java code as long as I’m going to get paid for it. The worst thing about Java is that it’s boring. Not challenging at all. Practically too easy, if you’re a patient man. Nothing exciting ever happens in Java-land. No cool shortcuts. And it’s way to verbose for my taste.

I understand why Java is so damn popular: it’s designed for enterprise use. I don’t think there’s any way possible to make generic enterprise applications interesting.

Working for a company—not that I’ve started work mind you—is damn impersonal. Everyone keeps talking about the necessities of good communication skills, team work and the such; but the work itself is not something you’d get attached to. Which strikes me as strange: I work best when I personally care about the results, not just for money.

“It’s business, not personal” is the worst thing anybody can say to me. Java seems to literally scream that out.

Still, not as bad as I thought it’d be.

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August 16, 2006

Annoyances: False smiles

I hate it when people give me false smiles, when the pretend to be polite. Especially the management-type people. Don’t know why, but it always creeps me out.

Forcing oneself to behave pleasantly makes it even more unpleasant on the others. I would rather spend a day with a sullen old curmudgeon then a hour with some one who forces himself to be up-beat.

I don’t have anything against people who are genuinely up-beat. I love ’em. They’re energising to be with. But please, don’t force it.

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August 12, 2006

Apologies

I apologise for the lack of posts here. Not that having a like is something to apologise for, but I’d made a personal commitment to post more which I don’t seem to be able to honour. Plus the fact that I’ve had plans for so many good ‘essay-like’ posts that I have not been able to materialize.

I started my technical training recently. It’s a change from college, to say the least. I’m used to my time being my own, and doing things in the manner and speed I want, that having a strict schedule’s been quite a shock. My body’s not adjusted to the routine yet, and I feel tired when I’m not in-charge of my life.

I’ve had quite a few wonderful chats (both off-line and online) with friends in the last week. Good ideas have occurred to me this week. Plans have been laid down sub-consciously that I’m not even aware of. Life is changing faster than I can comprehend.

And I’ve already forgotten most of it. I’ve a terrible memory for specifics. I remember that I had a great conversation with so-and-so person about some vague topic, but for the life of me I can’t recall anything specific about it. At least with online chats, I can keep a history (not that I ever read my logs). Remembrance comes very hard to me. I may understand something, have made a decision about some matter, but will promptly forget it later until the time I need to recall that. When I really need some details, I can dig them up somehow—otherwise me trying to pick my own brain is hopeless.

I’ve even considered keeping a thought journal, but that seems too weird even for me. Blogging seem natural, but writing my thoughts down privately somehow seems to be dis-tasteful.

Of course, when I’m not getting bored with technical stuff I already know, being intrigued with technical stuff I hadn’t thought of, trying pathetically to socialize a little (I do take advice, though it is quite a rare occurrence), or having a terrible commute to ’n’ fro’ the training centre, I’m reading (what else?). Guess that does not leave much time for anything else.

Still, things are only bound to get better from now on.

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August 06, 2006

Cryptonomicon

This book rocks. I’m going to have ta buy the Baroque Cycle soon.

Cryptonomicon defies classification—just how I like my books. You can find elements of cyberpunk, historical fiction, SciFi, spy stories, war stories, love stories and the gods know what else here. I’m not gonna try and list ’em all.

The story runs simultaneously in two timelines, with multiple POVs in each period—endless fun. Foreshadowing, aftshadowing, whatever you wanna call it—each chapter blends very nicely with those around it.

I love the way Neal Stephenson’s explained technical stuff here. Any non-technocrat should be able to ‘get’ the grizzly details.

At times the serious-ness and paranoia shown by some of the characters lightens the mood, other times it’s quite disturbing. Particularly effective are the descriptions of the ‘lawsuit culture’ and the lengths the characters go in order to ‘enhance shareholder value’.

No use trying to describe the myriad plot lines, and any attempt to simplify and explain the basic plot will not do justice to the book.

Will leave you with some choice quotations:

Randy was forever telling people, without rancor, that they were full of shit. That was the only way to get anything done in hacking. No one took it personally.

Charlene’s crowd most definitely did take it personally. It wasn’t being told that they were wrong that offended them, though—it was the underlying assumption that a person could be right or wrong about anything.

One evening when Avi and his family had been over for dinner, Randy had said, “I’m the beard, Avi’s the suit,” as a way of explaining their business relationship, and from that point Charlene had been off and running. Charlene has recently finished a scholarly article, deconstructing beards.

Chester’s eyebrows go up. Amy glances out the window; her hair, skin, and clothes take on a pronounced reddish tinge from Doppler effect as she drops out of the conversation at relativistic velocity.

“You know what this is? It’s one of those men-are-from-mars, women-are-from-venus things.”
“I have not heard of this phrase but I understand immediately what you are saying.”
“It’s one of those American books where once you’re heard the title you don’t even need to read it,” Randy says.
“Then I won’t.”

August 04, 2006

Another try.

I’m not getting much better at writing a haiku, but what the hell.

Plans change. Or come un—
done. The winds of change do provide
delicious serendipity.

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