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Thu, 07 Dec 2017:

Tech interviews are very strange. The whole process makes no sense in general, when it actually comes to being hired to do actual work. This gets worse when you're dealing with a specialization that is all about identifying trade-offs and fitting solutions to them.

But let me explain this with a car analogy.

Ok - I want you to design the architecture for something that can get from A to B very fast, in a city. Make sure that it can go around corners and also stop when required.

(starts to draw a motorcycle, with a handlebar and brakes ...)

Sure that would work, but we're mostly have to have four wheels in this one, because that's necessary for stability when going around corners.

(Starts to describe how in the hands of a good driver, motorcycles do go around corners without toppling over, like all over every city)

Alright, but let's take it as a given that the vehicle needs four wheels when this company makes one. Perhaps a fifth one which has to be carried around all the time, because we have four wheels.

(Ok, so the best design to go around corners really fast involves a really low car with a wing at the back, for downforce at high speed)

Yes, but that's not very practical - it rains sometimes and you need to put a roof over it, so that you can drive around in the rain without getting wet.

(That's reasonable, so there's this nice Miata that I once drove, it had a cloth roof that would come up whenever the car is parked & you could drive it pretty fast around corners)

Yes, but capacity is a big problem with a car like that so something a bit bigger would be more scalable as the company grows in size.

(Sure, the Tesla Model X is a great example of a bigger and more ecofriendly car, which is still pretty fast and has all the weight down below ... it does go around corners and stops where you want it, with a lot of on board capacity for growth)

That's good, but that's an exotic solution - in general, we prefer simpler solutions over things that need new and unproven technologies. The goal is to use as much off-the-shelf tech as possible, mostly because we're still limited cost concerns.

(Sighs, starts drawing a volvo minivan ... but stops to check)

That's a good approach, can you go into a little more detail about how you'd make this go faster, particularly when it comes to acceleration.

(You can put a V8 in it, maybe go as high as 400 Horsepower and it will be okay - I've done that before, but it's an ugly kludge).

See, this is the point where I quickly realize that the conversation was explicitly tailored to come to the same conclusion as the other side of the table - that the company has a minivan they designed for growth, but they want it to go faster and they're hiring me because I know how to put a V8 in a giant car, because I've done this before.

Being different is not exactly a good thing, but it is the necessary step towards innovation, in various degrees (improvement is change, duh). And yet, in an interview you run up against hidden limitations which completely up-end your ideas for change, because everything is about trade-offs, not absolute right answers.

And that almost never happens when you work on something for a month.

New ideas pass through three periods:
1) It can't be done.
2) It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing.
3) I knew it was a good idea all along!
                 -- Arthur C Clarke

posted at: 17:11 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Sat, 06 Feb 2016:

We'll see what happens. Yes, but ... OK, I will try.

There are so many ways to say No. Some of you might've realized that's what gets said. But I've seen very few who understand why it gets said in circuitous soft words, other than attributing it to race or upbringing.

Because of what happens when you say No. There's always someone else who's waiting to say Yes. Time after time, each No you say shrinks the number of times you get asked and life's opportunities show up as questions. The fewer times you're approached with a question, the fewer times will you get to say Yes!. Each No shrinks the funnel through which other people interact with you.

Being reasonable produces the opposite result you want. Those that say "Yes, let's do this!" and flake out are often asked more often than those who can offer a negative in time. In fact that those who say "No, I'm meeting a friend tomorrow" only to have their friend flake out is worse off than someone with double bookings.

Whether the opportunities are social, personal or professional, those that a "Yes, we can try" are preferred to the respectful No. Of course, we prefer the "Can Do" people here.

The definite negative implies intention, while the loosely held hope is always treated better. The negative is interpreted as sub-textual while the other is taken as a circumstantial "stuff happens" even when the eventual end result is the same - probably worse for the "maybe" because it steals away the ability to plan an alternative.

In such an environment where all Yes-es are Maybe, being "Definitely Maybe" is understood well - and saying "No" becomes a "No-No".

In short, when it comes to saying No - I'll try.

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
            -- Mark Twain

posted at: 23:35 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Wed, 14 Sep 2011:

Anna Hazare has proved me wrong. Maybe I'm bitter about that.

To begin with, I never thought the entire country could be distracted away from Sonia Gandhi's cancer & hospitalization. But it turns out that a Gandhian (*sic*) fasting can actually do that. I wasn't spared either - I was debating about the protests and its impact on future democracy to notice this. But in retrospect, Soniaji failing to survive that surgery was an actual national crisis than anything the Team Anna could cause or prevent. It would've been an all-out civil war to fill that particular power vacuum.

And I feel like a sucker. But that is merely the conspiracy theorist in me talking.

Now, let me tackle the bonafide followers in said "Team Anna". I would like to welcome you to the land of unintended consequences.

Just because I approve of your goals does not mean I approve how you go about it - hunger strike or protests. Netaji & Gandhi had the same vision of a unified India. And I'll say with no doubt that they never saw eye-to-eye on the means. If you are trying to devise a legislative way to solve corruption in India, you are barking up the wrong tree. A social majority movement would work, but then you have a luxury Gandhi never had - elections. That is, if indeed you believe enough in democracy to go through with it. But more on that later, let's first assume that the legislations go through.

Making something already illegal, more illegal does not work. The problem was never the legislation, but more in terms of enforcement. Honestly, Kanimozhi never even suspected she would be in jail (I'm glad she is) - deterrence is a non-factor for career politicians. The issue is one completely of enforcement and the problem right now is that the bosses of enforcers are the criminals involved. Producing a different authority body would solve this, but it's a solution with a limited shelf life - until that authority is corrupted or worse, neutered.

Upping the severity of crimes has an even more negative effect. When vigilance raids on police stations in Kerala picked up, my dad was in the home department as one of the good guys. He used to lament that the extra enforcement merely upped the risk involved in taking bribes, pushing up the "rate" as a sort of risk-offset. Ironically, during the raids, people suffered more - paid more or had their needs ignored.

I don't mean to drag down the new-age revolutionaries here, but this is a democracy. Every uninformed voter in this country dilutes my personal vote. If you can bring that majority over to your fold and fight this battle against corruption, I'd stand with you and vote - the only other way would leave bloodstains across history. But the media based guilt fest that you staged was shameful. If this was the best attempt at fixing corruption in this country, I don't want to really support this movement.

Let's assume you want to start a social revolution and bring aboard the majority. The problems start from the top - I don't think very many would want to live in an Anna Hazare world. To begin with I don't eat meat, don't drink, and have never smoked. I don't gamble and I've *never* paid a bribe. But those are my values and they work for me. I might not stand to lose much in an Anna Hazare world, but I wouldn't let him take away my freedom to eat meat, if I wish to. He might be an incorruptible man, but he's still a fascist who values his written laws over the real legislature's. And even worse, he's not open for negotiations - I get to do what I'm told (yeah, we all clap when the politicians are in his cross-hairs).

A "cure": Maybe there will be a more moderate leader who's policies on my private life are more sane? No, the story gets even worse. If Anna Hazare fails to make any impact on indian politics and its kleptocracy, would you support a new leader next year? Could it be that this is a ploy to disillusion the vocal intelligentisa into not supporting revolutionary leaders? Something to convince the indian middle class that the only people the protests affect are the plebs, while the politicos sit in some farmhouse upstate. A political vaccine if you will, to build up some antibodies to clip off the next cycle of protests in the bud. Even if they didn't mean it, would it work that way?

All in all, the whole episode illustrates the failure of democracy. Its weaknesses exploited by both the politicians and protestors - but two wrongs make a right, so it's okay.

“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means”
        -- Georges Bernanos

posted at: 19:18 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Mon, 05 Apr 2010:

I own an iPod.

Actually, I paid for it. I have never felt like I own it. It has a life of its own. It's something of a snob when it comes to playing nice with everything else I own. It looks down up on me and my software.

And the attitude is somewhat an embodiment of its maker. Apple is absolutely capable of making a device that is simple to its inner core. The layers of obfuscation and intrigue that they bury the workings of it is intentional and not in my interest. To use SQLite and then hash72/hash58 to prevent you from reading it, it is as blatant as it gets to a smoking gun.

The reasons are rather obvious. Apple wants people to use iTunes and eventually click on one of those "Buy Now" links in it. Now, to ensure that I (as an iPod "user") uses iTunes, they don't have any scruples about twisting my arm.

And the pain will go away the moment I use Apple iSomething. Everything would work and it would be nirvana. It is not my fault that it is painful for me to use an iPod without using the rest of the apple cult-products. Stop bullshitting me about that. I know what's causing this pain.

Apple wanted me inconvenienced. It was intentional on their part.

I'm not even asking for them to build a simpler device. I'm just angry at them for intentionally breaking their already undocumented interfaces with every generation of the iPod. I'm not angry at them for not making a linux iTunes. I'm angry at them for springing a surprise every release and hanging onto the file layout specs as if it was their Hello Kitty diary. I'm angry at them because they don't care about me or my money. There are enough dollars to be made with people with iTunes & its Click-to-Buy convenience.

Last of all, I'm angry with myself. I'm angry about paying Apple good money to sell me something that they are going to use as a lever on my choices at other things. I'm angry about giving them more money to screw someone else over, come the next gen of the iWhatEver.

Indeed, one bite of that poisoned apple ...

Happy is he who has the pure truth in him.
He will regret no sacrifice that keeps it.
        -- Faust

posted at: 17:55 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Fri, 05 Mar 2010:

It all started with the petty battles, with a collective comedown on a cultural philistine like me - one without taste in music, art, literature or topic du jour.

What they looked in each other was not for glimmers of intelligence, but for a bit of something shared. Something to set them apart from the rest, the secret handshakes, the shibboleth to exclude those of a lower culture. Respect doled out for abstract obscurity, while clarity was despised. The vaguer it got, the easier could everyone trot out their pet ideas without stepping on each others' toes.

I could've been a mute spectator to all that. But then the challenges appeared on my table.

I never did define my identity with things external. Rarely was it propped up with books, music or art. Something reprehensible to embellish yourself with someone else's creativity. To listen, read, collect it. And dole it out instead of your own. There I was, with life's experiences and I thought that was all that remained to be said about me. What I do, that is where my fount of self is rooted on and with some sort of gratitude, I pour myself back into it.

Never felt the urge to defend my choices, in anything that fed my mind. But I almost fanatically defend the choices I make, when it comes to actions. What went in seemed far insignificant to what eventually came out. My principles, ethics and the path I tread in life, those are up for criticism - always have been.

There was no point in responding to those challenges - to be beaten down just for someone's pleasure. For them in their world to feel superior. Maybe that's what gets them through their day, but I've got no time or energy to fight these petty battles. I've got things to do.

Culture intrigues me. I'd rather learn than fight about my personal opinions. Bizarrely, the same people fighting for their opinions object to others sharing theirs. What they always craved I guess was smug superiority, not to convince. Popularity of their niche seems to be their enemy rather than a sign of success.

The world of high culture is full of people who'd love something, yet dissuade the world from sharing it. In a sort of self destructive selfishness, they cordon off their niches. Watching them over the years, I've seen these hypocrites slink away from the bright sunlight of popular attention. Not revel in the new found wisdom of the world or applaud at its good taste.

I've tried to learn what it is about these ideas that make it special. Read Hegel & Kant, Foucault & Derida. Listened to Mozart (ooh, the 5th!), gone to Chopin recitals (thankee hyacie), observed the layered randomness of Coltrane. I've liked some, I haven't others. Perhaps arbitrarily, I don't know.

But equally arbitrarily, I've followed popular culture. I've liked some, I couldn't care less for others. I dig down into Simpsons or Futurama, I play Lady Gaga in a loop for days. Not mindlessly, I notice the nuances of timing & melody of the Gaga, the college level literature references littered in Simpsons, the secret messages written in alienese in Futurama. I notice, I enjoy and I'm not ashamed of it.

I'm overcome by an urge to share & enjoy. I think the fact that more people enjoy it, the better it was. Perhaps it takes more talent to make something the whole world can enjoy. A deeper understanding of all humanity perhaps. And I'll do my part. I can't understand how someone can enjoy something so much, but dissuade someone else from exploring. Even more puzzlingly, only seem to enjoy things that nobody else around seem to be capable of appreciating. Are you that special or is that all a facade put up?

After much thought, I've come to a shocking, but inescapable conclusion.

Show me an elitist, and I'll show you a loser.
          -- Tom Clancy

posted at: 07:52 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Mon, 23 Mar 2009:

I hate Slumdog Millionaire.

I don't hate it for artistic or aesthetic reasons. I hate it out of principle - because it is an act of third world emotional blackmail for anyone who's seen it for real - meant to repel and disgust. And it turns me off, pushes me into denial and just turns me into someone numb about reality. Freeze over my emotions when I saw the child being blinded with red hot irons. Maybe there are those who seek numbness over pain.

I've had one too many conversations with people from elsewhere about this movie. In response to their curiousity about whether this is how India is, I can only answer "Some parts of it, yes". It's almost like they want to believe what they see and won't settle for an India where people go to work at 8 and drive autorickshaws everyday.

To draw an analogy, when you think of Paris, the image that pops into your head immediately is the lit skyline with the Eiffel Tower. But imagine a quintessential paree movie of your preference and throw in all the moroccan ghettos which have sprung up around. That stark, depressing but real face of the city wouldn't be something I'd enjoy.

Art is about selecting what to represent and what is irrelevant. And the movie makers made a choice, that was completely theirs to make. Now that I think about it, what I'm hating is not the movie. It's the condescension that the movie invites on my bit of the world. Not because it's dishonest or that I'm patriotic, but the intentions behind it are suspect. It's pandering to the needs of someone filled with Schadenfreude.

What I'm hating is the tourist who says "I want to go see a slum".

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.
          -- John Keats

posted at: 11:45 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Sat, 01 Nov 2008:

Next time you walk past a mirror, stop & reflect.

Look deep into those eyes for a glimmer of something real. Break through that facade that has taken several precious years to build. Through all the limits that the world has put on you. Take a good look at yourself.

The most interesting thing about you isn't the people you have surrounded yourself with. It's not the assortment of gadgets that adorn your fingertips, pockets or desk. Neither is it the long list of books you've read and several others you own, merely for others to comment upon. Nor is the rather eclectic taste in music that the pinball machine of life have bounced into you. The sips and dips you've taken, places you've gotten lost in or even whom you hooked up with & when.

It should've been you - just you. But you've lost yourself in incidentals. Thrown away yourself only to replace it with the byproducts of your existence. You became a showcase, instead of a person - with whatever you've got, perpetually on display. What you are suddenly was skin-deep and then it got ugly.

Maybe you were ashamed. Ashamed of who you were. It was fun to pretend you weren't anymore, but what truly changed? You or just a new mask? Wearing it, hoping that nobody ever comes into your life to whom you'd have to bare all? Keep it on forever?

Maybe you'll try. Maybe it was better than being nothing in the eyes of others. I said, maybe.

But just remember not lose all you've collected - at any cost. Because once you've lost yourself, that's all you got. That's all you got.

What ever you can give up, that's all you have. The rest is what you are.

posted at: 02:13 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Sun, 11 Nov 2007:

Deepavali was yesterday.

And I'm sure I haven't lost my hearing (or what I'm hearing are just echoes).

Anyway, Happy Shabdavali !!

'I like the sound of that,' said Mrs Palm.
'I like the echoes,' said Dr Downey.
          -- Terry Pratchett, "Feet of Clay"

posted at: 12:43 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Sun, 16 Sep 2007:

I'm officially starting to refer to Microsoft Office Open XML by its new acronym - MooXML. Its progress through the ISO process looks like a salmon rush - but it looks like a fish, moves like a slippery slippery fish and steers like a cow (with apologies to the late Douglas Adams).

Superb Standard: And then Miguel goes and calls it a "Superb Standard". Basing most of his justification on the fact that a large quantity of existing OO.org code can be re-used to implement MooXML - take a guess why that is so. And just because the current code can handle "autospace like Word95" specifications (IIRC,the 'sz' node) is no reason to call MooXML a good standard. And multiple implementations only add to the mess, with everyone including the creator interpreting the standard as they please. Implementing it would be yet another game of 'chase the lamespec' (well, grep -i lamespec mono-svn/).

Most people who have complained about the specification has been struck down with the "let the implementors speak". But somehow it seems odd that such a specification which has been sped through ISO got a 'YES' vote from *Cuba* - a country where Microsoft (and any other US company) is prohibited from exporting any software to. A good, proper standard doesn't really need a ballot stuffing to get approved.

I mean, I've previously commented about Miguel losing relevance in the world of Free software. But this time, this is not about his opinion or Novell's patent protections - in fact, not even about the format, but about the standard for an editable document, which renders the same everywhere.

So, don't say MooXML, say NoOoxml.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization.
                -- Frederick Crane

posted at: 01:42 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Thu, 09 Aug 2007:

No, this is totally different from sticking a crayon up your nose, but the results seem frighteningly similar. If I seem a little less than well disposed to people who flaunt an iPhone, want an iPhone or even worse "need" an iPhone, it all begins from the first few minutes I had an iPhone in my hand.

Sometime during OSCON, I dropped onto a sofa in the lounge. And suddenly, the cushion started to vibrate. I put my hand into between the cushions and pulled out a bright shiny iPhone. Despite multiple cries of "that's mine" from various unlikely sources, I was just holding it up for whoever to pick it up.

And then this guy in a suit walks up and says "I'll take that and thanks for not stealing it". I mean, with a self-satisfied tone, assuming I would want it ? And I wasn't the only one indignant about that, in fact, one of the women (rrichards's S.O ?) around actually took offense and pretty much demanded an apology.

And then the guy turns on his heels & walks away.

I mean, I've found phones in all kinds of strange places before. I've returned phones (yes, in plural) which have cost over a thousand dollars (in return for a coffee). I don't ask for any reward, but at least, I don't need to be insulted while I do someone a good deed.

I think one of the php dudes started referring to that particular person from that point onwards as "the guy who had an iPhone up his butt". And the name stuck.

As much as I adore the iPhone's multi-touch zoom UI, the early adopters who have slammed down six hundred big ones for the phone seem to have a large proportion of shallow hipsters, which automatically triggers a smug alert for me.

So, if you have an iPhone & consider this unfair portrayal, blame the guy who "introduced" me to this particular stereotype.

Only the shallow know themselves;
The rest of us have depths to plumb.
            -- Oscar Wilde

posted at: 12:42 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Wed, 11 Apr 2007:

After much thought and inaction, I've compiled a quick list of basic things you can do at work to reduce your tangible value to the company (coming to a bank account near you, soon !).

  • Answer questions on devel forums
  • Write a technical blog
  • Live the company values
  • Write cool hacks
  • Have a serious hobby
  • Contribute to an open source project

All of these things shout out that you have too much free time. If you send detailed, well thought out answers to a question on a devel forum - you aren't working hard enough. If you've got time to write a decent blog about technology - you aren't working hard enough. If you actually live the company values (for instance, like I do) - your irreverance and sense of humour do not suit a professional in this business. So is going around your product managers to actually build something that you personally like, without any input from the product strategy team - that's not what you get paid for. And hobbies - they waste your time and cost you money. Without a hobby to spend your disposable income on, you won't need as much money as you're asking for now.

But the last one takes the cake. Assume your full time job involves working on an open source project. Now answer me this, "what *competitive* advantage does your work bring to this company ?". After all the code that you write automatically becomes available to everybody - irrespective of who paid for the development costs. Code thus released drops to near zero value and ergo, the process of creating it ...

These should just about work, but YMMV.

PS: I'm being seriously *sarcastic* (or tersely ironic) here - these things are a potential investment in your betterment, do them, be a better person and as the Bhagavat Gita said - Karmanye vadhikarasthe, ma phaleshu kadachara (do your duty and expect no reward).

The term investment (the basis of all capital) is pretty much forgotten.
Instead, investing money is considered spending it.
                -- slashdot #18632805

posted at: 23:45 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Wed, 28 Mar 2007:

Really, I need a word for this concept. ESR might have gotten his just desserts with such efforts as Everybody loves Eric Raymond, but I still need a word to describe ex-programmers who have looped into their own brain-stem for feedback.

The urge to find a suitable word (in the spirit of The Meaning of Liff) came from reading Miguel De Icaza talking about Mono. I've been watching that project from its very beginnings and I've not been impressed by the way Miguel deals with anyone who doesn't toe the party line. Slashdot comments put it a bit more bluntly than I'll care to be.

A Sharp# Divide: I was quite saddened when I read jdub's blog post today about the gtk# ribbon SoC submission. Building new composite controls in C# basically makes the widget useless for other languages as it cannot be wrapped easily into C, python, java or $insert_language. But it does make sense for Miguel to suggest it as because it makes people want to use Gtk# over something like java-gnome or php-gtk (*cough*).

Wrapper Hell: Now, if you look back at the history of mono, you'll see that avoiding the multitude of hand-coded wrappers was the so called rationale behind mono in the first place. Read his 2001 interview and the part about "Making Programming Interfaces Language-Independent". Now pull yourself back to today and look at Jdub's blog post. I can see why Miguel is losing traction with the rest of the community, albeit after 5 years or so of work on Mono.

A GPL'd Java: With the emergence of Java as a proper f/oss VM subsystem, I don't think there is any need to introduce an unacceptable risk in the form of mono. When you combine a decent fork-mode java VM implementation (i.e start VM, JIT compile classpath, listen on domain socket, fork for each application to reduce memory footprint with multiple VMs), with a bunch of decent wrappers for C-based GTK widgets - you can create a non-sucky Java user experience. I don't see the point in pulling along mono in a world with Java, python and whatnot to develop gnome applications (read last three words again till the point is taken).

Honestly, I do have a huge axe to grind about Mono in general (because of my brushes with lupus and miguel while working on dotgnu) - but the project is doing some decent work in re-implementing .NET system libraries, which is in fact a good thing. My only beef is with pushing mono into gnome and peddling it as a target platform for F/OSS applications ( tomboy, f-spot, muine etc...).

So, like I said ... I need a new word.

You'd better smile when they watch you, smile like you're in control.
                -- Smile, "Was (Not Was)"

posted at: 12:12 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Sun, 11 Feb 2007:

Divisiveness is never something to be encouraged in any community - online or offline. Regionalism is one of those toys for those first crude attempts of Salami Tactics. The introduction of imaginary lines, dividing where no division existed, pulling in foreign boundaries into an otherwise level ground is one of the first seeds of discord that you can seed a community with - especially where physical meetups occur out of band. People who've met each other physically generally interact better and this can be easily misinterpreted as a regional or language bias.

God knows there have been wars fought over much less. And there was one on #linux-india because I got involved - with me getting most of the abuse. But here's some history behind the story - some idiot was spamming #linux-india in 2005 (*some names changed to protect the guilty (and/or innocents)).

**** Dec 13th 2005

*   vIkSiT has changed the topic to: crazy day at #linux-india the ban 
    list doubled in a matter of minutes || /bin/flame > /dev/chill

<lunatech>    vIkSiT: some people thought that the ops (i.e me) 
               were too leniant
<lunatech>    in not kicking people out at slightest provocation
<t3rmin4t0r>  slightest ?
<lunatech>    that was a major reason why I did not give ops to $culprit
<lunatech>    t3rmin4t0r: after the things spiralled out - he was 
              kicked out
<vIkSiT>      why?
<lunatech>    vIkSiT: why to which statement ?
<vIkSiT>      he was kicking people because they were flooding? :)
<lunatech>    no, he was asking for ops, but I did nit give it --
              he started ranting about how the channel was own3d 
              by north indians
<vIkSiT>      he actually SAID that?
<lunatech>    hehe - yes
<vIkSiT>      good god

Now, fast forward to present day - when things have not changed much, as the events would prove. But right now, it is quiet out in the west frontier.

** Chapter #1 - where tazz is a power hungry maniac ... NOT !

<tazz>         Lap_64, i would suggest you do a '/msg chanserv access 
               #linux-india list'
<techno_freak> tazz, for ?
<tazz>         for the good of the channel
<$culprit>     50 members - vow
<tazz>         so that you can see that my name is not in there and
               when the ops here ask woh wantes to be an op here 
               you can vote for me.
<tazz>         comeon Lap_64 i am just a power hungry maniac
<$culprit>     tazz are you from north of the vindhyas?
<tazz>         no i am from the west of the mumbais
<$culprit>     tazz: then you have no chance of becoming an op
<tazz>         hey i have dreams and hopes you know

Now, I've got a good memory - a very good memory. It is not like I've never been sour grapes about being denied anything - but sooner of later you've got to stop throwing tantrums and grow up. I'm nobody's personal shrink, but the above conversation drew a picture of someone pouring in tiny blue drops of bitterness (everyone knows jealousy comes in green) into the common well of wisdom (*narf*) that is #linux-india.

** Chapter #2 - t3rmin4t0r acquires magical op powers

*   ChanServ gives channel operator status to t3rmin4t0r
<tazz>        i wanna be op!, i wanna be op! :-S
*   t3rmin4t0r has kicked $culprit from #linux-india (I need to be born 
    exactly where ... ?)
*   t3rmin4t0r removes channel operator status from t3rmin4t0r
<brainless>   what did $culprit do ? !
<t3rmin4t0r>  heh, he said that you need to be born north of 
              the vindhyas to be an op here

There are a bunch of people in this world, whom you could respect, if only they'd shut up for a while - ESR comes to mind, immediately. These are people who are not only senior to you in age, but in terms of age in the community - people whom you expect to be calm, mature and mellowed. But there are often exceptions which prove the rule (or compensate for it) - even people twice my age.

** Chapter #3 - $culprit unleases his insults 

<techno_freak> omg, $culprit is saying he wont return back
<segphault>    techno_freak: I am damn sure he will

*   $culprit (n=$culprit@xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) has joined #linux-india
<techno_freak> ahh
*   techno_freak grins at segphault

<$culprit>     t3rmin4t0r: in my opinion you are an immature rascal 
               unfit to be in this channel
<$culprit>     or any channel
<$culprit>     op is a priveldge given to people deemed to be mature 
               enough to protect a channel

*   segphault feels like nostradamus

<$culprit>     unfortunately at times ops are given to petty minded
               people with a chip on their shoulders who like to 
               flaunt their authority
<tazz>         t3rmin4t0r, was harsh in kicking $culprit out.
<$culprit>     not  harsh - a juvenile display of his unfitness to 
               be an op

<$culprit>     why the hell did they make a madrassi an op?
<segphault>    $culprit: t3rmin4t0r is a veg mallu - madrassis come in 
               different flavours -- like sambar
<brainless>    $culprit, well maybe they are not well represented in 
               the op clan ?
<segphault>    I propose a quota system to fix this issue of ops 
<$culprit>     but no more madrassis - and t3rmin4t0r should be de-opped

Funny, isn't it that the same man who was b*tching about people from south india not getting ops is complaining about some madrassi being an op. Yes, the thing I like about these conversations is their consistency of content. But either way, I'm at the pool table (@office) for the period of that conversation - which leaves enough room for other conversations.

** Chapter #4 - "I am codier than thou" quoth the raven

<$culprit>    that woman is a girl who has not contributed a line of code 
              to foss - like her friend empty_mind
<empty_mind>  $culprit, she has contributed far more to Creativecommons 
              than anyone else
*   floyd_n_milan doesn't understand why only `code' is considered as 

<empty_mind>  $culprit, <blank> is not a computer geek she is a writer
<$culprit>    empty_mind: tell her to stick to writing
<empty_mind>  $culprit, it is stupid people like you who piss away serious 
<empty_mind>  $culprit, she is sticking to writig and contributing more 
              than you have contributed
<$culprit>    what happened to that mallu  clown t3rmin4t0r ?

After the random quarter of the continent insults, it starts to get personal - so I'm putting that part off the RSS feed. Let those who want to dig into the steamy underside of IRC life in #linux-india click the link.

** Chapter #5 - insults get personal

<t3rmin4t0r>    what else can I talk about @ a college ?
<empty_mind>    t3rmin4t0r, loads of things
<t3rmin4t0r>    "Do as I say, not as I do" is so hypocritical
<$culprit>      $culprit kicks t3rmin4t0r
<$culprit>      t3rmin4t0r: is the ultimate hypocripte
<t3rmin4t0r>    $culprit: yeah, I took the Hypocrite's Oath
<t3rmin4t0r>    no run of the mill hypocrite, I am
<$culprit>      t3rmin4t0r: you are a cheap asshole
<t3rmin4t0r>    $culprit: exactly how am i an asshole ?
*   empty_mind watches $culprit's cheap rant again

<t3rmin4t0r>    for good, return good
<$culprit>      in every way
<t3rmin4t0r>    for evil, return justice
<t3rmin4t0r>    so if you think I'm a cheap asshole ... let me not be
                the one to judge
<empty_mind>    t3rmin4t0r, "return NULL " to $culprit
<t3rmin4t0r>    $culprit: I still don't understand what you've got against me 
                or anyone else in this channel
<t3rmin4t0r>    but what goes around, comes around 
<t3rmin4t0r>    if you can't deal with it, don't dish out and so on

*   HereBeDragon didn't get the feeling that $culprit has got anything 
    against anyone
<$culprit>      except that mallu asshhole
 *   empty_mind thinks $culprit forgets he is not in a court room
<$culprit>      t3rmin4t0r: why did you kick me from the channel?
<t3rmin4t0r>    because you said something idiotic about people's birth 
                places and channel ops
<t3rmin4t0r>    now, if you can't press /rejoin and take a joke ... I 
                don't know 
<t3rmin4t0r>    is your problem, I guess
<t3rmin4t0r>    drag politics into this channel and start saying 
                regionalistic things about "above the vindhyas"
<$culprit>      t3rmin4t0r: has licked bihari ass and got power and 
                showing it off
<t3rmin4t0r>    just to stir things up, I don't know what a decent ops 
                guy might do
<$culprit>      t3rmin4t0r: you are a sick son of a bitch
<HereBeDragon>  whoa $culprit, let's not be regionalistic
<t3rmin4t0r>    or personal ad hominem attacks
<Lap_64>        $culprit, may be he licked OldMonks arse

<HereBeDragon>  gawd

<HereBeDragon>  folks, no personal attacks or regionalism. Period. 
                That should be the rule.
<$culprit>      anyway i am leaving this channel - until that asshole 
                t3rmin4t0r  is kicked out
<empty_mind>    t3rmin4t0r, kick $culprit again for personal abuse
<t3rmin4t0r>    empty_mind: nah, I don't really take irc that seriously
<Lap_64>        $culprit, chill out 
*   $culprit (n=$culprit@ has left #linux-india

The insults were so bad that we actually suspected whether it was $culprit himself or just someone else pretending to be him. The IP turned out the be a Bangalore IP, while last known location of $culprit was Chennai. Anyway, I don't really care whether it was the real one or an impostor, that kick was warranted as some conversation later proved - people pickup these biases quite easily.

** Chapter #6 - the influence remains 

<$kid>           Oldmonk is true bihari
<HereBeDragon>   $kid: what about Biharis?
<$kid>           HereBeDragon, lots of things
<HereBeDragon>   $kid: "no regionalism" you get it. Or else I'll 
                recommend you be banned.
<$kid>           HereBeDragon, can list them all here for a real example
                see any bihari talk to him for 5 mins and you will know

So that was friday on #linux-india. I hope I haven't made an enemy out of $culprit, he doesn't quite deserve my enimity - but just as a hint, mellow out, old timer. There are so many better things in life to do than mud sling my teflon coated soul - maybe get yourself a copy of the 70's Show DvD and watch The Cat Fight Club episode.

Why don't those stupid idiots let me in their crappy club for jerks?
            -- Homer Simpson (#2F09, "Homer The Great")

posted at: 06:42 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

So as it turns out Linux Asia '07 was sponsored by Microsoft and Novell. Even before this was announced, the local LUG - ILUG-D decided that they would boycott the event, and they went through with that decision. But what was to follow is probably competing for the longest single flamefest ILUG-D has ever seen - no holds barred. But the IRC conversations are getting more and more interesting.

<OldMonk> spo0nman: i have very high regard for his intellect
<OldMonk> didn't you see the subtle and suave way in which he insulted me in this channel?
<spo0nman> OldMonk: you stink of sarcasm.

<sm|CPU> Feel the power, know the wisdom
<t3rmin4t0r> "sudo intellectual" (n):
<t3rmin4t0r>       intellecutal whose facts are true because of who he is (or his uid)

<OldMonk> t3rmin4t0r: it strenghthens your argument if you blast your own side first
<OldMonk> after that you can be as rude as you like and no once can take offense

IMHO, except for the lone exception of bluesmoon, there were no other Indian speakers of note amongs the speaker panel. I think bluesmoon could've made a stand in the situation - but LinuxAsia paid for his flights (heh, more miles) and there are enough people in Delhi to meet. Amidst all the flame wars, Sudev seems to keeping his head - being clear about his worries.

The thread has spread to other mailing lists - where opinions differ from Freedom (capital F) of participation to Freedom to boycott.

I'd given LinuxAsia a wide berth because it has a definite CxO trend to it and is really a media circus, run by real media companies, with a definite slant towards appeasing sponsors (alright, explain away the Google Maps Api talk on day 2).

I really wish Freedel was happening this year in Feb, like it was suggested amidst the heat of September, last year.

All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.
                -- Chou En Lai

posted at: 03:42 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Sat, 18 Nov 2006:

There are no innocents in this war. To not have an opinion is treachery to a greater cause - for it needs nothing more for evil to thrive than good men to stay out of the battle. But when the battlelines are a line in sand, unclear & transient, only a vocal minority survives a twinge dissent in a dystopia which rewards disloyalty with a jingling bag.

The squeaking wheel always gets the grease, but does a wheel squeak for all others bereft of lubricant ? But there are wheels within wheels, connected cogs running this juggernaut that fulfils our needs, wishes and aspirations. This isn't a zero sum game, where everyone else has to lose.

But silence is golden. In fact, it will be bought with gold, spices and precious stones. The turncoats reap the profits of their new found discretion and the immorally inept, failing to curb their conscience, experience a re-run of Mr Carrot meets Mr Stick.

Like in the game in its simplest form, the winners always defect.

It occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.
                -- Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"

posted at: 02:17 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Sun, 12 Nov 2006:

When Douglas Adams wrote about immortality, he talked about the impossibility of boring yourself to death on sunday afternoons. He wasn't kidding. Right now, I've hit the lowest spot I've hit ever since I left college. Even during the blindingly bright (and hot) summer days in Hyderabad, toiling away at a job I didn't like, did I feel so hopeless and lost.

Personally, financially, career-wise, health-wise or any other way that is obvious to me now, I've never had such a dark time before. I've come to terms to personal failure the moment I stepped out of childhood, the last year has taught me to deal with fall of those giants on whose proverbial shoulders I've stood. But these last few days have taught me that I have nothing left to rely upon - no anchor to hold me steady through the tumultous times ahead. Got nothing to hold on to, nothing left to aspire to, nothing to work with - I got nothing.

All I seem to have retained is my perspicacity.

The fates owes me big, she owes me a big one. Or maybe I should just give up like my old man and go down with captain & all. Quitting is easy ... just stop trying.

There are worse things in life than death.

posted at: 13:13 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,