Monday, August 29, 2005

Sudoko

Sudoko fever has swept me in. But the problem now takes something like 5-8 minutes at max to solve from 3 hrs of thinking on the first puzzle. This is the timeline of Sudoko introduction to me.

18th Aug Didi Asks me if I solved Sudoko. I told I never tried. Suggests me about writing program for it.
20th Aug I try solving sudoko in the Hitvada paper for a long long duration.
24th Aug Read about sudoko from Paresh's weblog and found one website for solving it online.
28th Aug Completed my program (C++) for Sudoko.
I looked newspapers for input cases and solved them manually too. Its interesting.

One thing I must inform you about Sudoko puzzles in news papers is that they don't require recursion/backtracing. Just pure logic, which could programmatically be put using simple iterations over the blocks of 9 cells.

I will have to extend the program the handle the cases which require recursion. The interesting issue is to discover at what particular situation in the board you will have to try backtracing to get the answer.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Even BSNL can respond so well?

Ppl don't understand the importance of feedbacks/suggestions/complaints and simply feel that they are wasting their time by giving these valuable inputs to the vendor/service provider. Well I have different stand on it and I, though my own experience believe that any competitive person or company in the world will positively receive the feedbacks and improve upon to the best possible limits.

Therefore when I face problems with some service I would better send a feedback report to the service provider(SP) than simply curse them. How can you ever expect the SP to even know about the issues unless they are reported to them? Of course the next part is SP's duty to respond appropriate to the feedback.

Therefore I just thought calling BSNL customer care and telling them the problems of weak signal strength inside the campus. I did that on Monday 22nd and was told that some action will be taken by Friday. So I called up today (27th) again and explained them the problem again, on asking how they will get back to me they told "the problem will be forwarded to the technical team and they will respond to you on this number itself". To my surprise by the evening 8:30 they tried calling my number for verifying the problem and upon talking to them I was told some good news.
Firstly acknowledged the problems and told that they were expanding their network's capacity to 2 times the current one and this will be completed within 1 month, Moreover the Gachibowli signal problems is going to be resolved sooner by establishment of new equipments.

Hoping to have better BSNL service soon.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Absense at convocation

Many friends took out time for asking if all is well, when they found me missing at convocation. Good to know if you are really missed by some ppl at times :).

Well nothing is bad at my camp, It was just an urgent call for a Hyd-Chennai-Jbp-Hyd trip for me. It was because its first Rakhi after my sister's wedding in May this year, its a custom for brother to bring sister back to house for some time.

Since I Couldn't think of a big break, I made the trip as short as possibly I left Hyd on 17 eve (train at 8:10 PM), reached Chennai on 18th Morn(10 AM) left from there at 1:30 PM with Didi, reached home on 19the even(6:30PM) left from home at 20th morn(7:30AM) and was here on 21st (4:30 AM). Didi was left at home to come back later.

That was surely one of the most hectic trips ever. But reaching home was sufficiently refreshing to help me neglect the troubles incurred. The backward journey was cool too, met this very young kid, took some snaps and videos through the window and read the book "The tipping point", along with some lengthy discussions with a person which need to be blogged seperately.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Topcoder Ups and Downs

Firsly I recommend you to join topcoder if you are not already a membe, if you are interested in just spending some small amount of time( 1 hr a week mostly) and keep urself challenged with programming questions.
The problems are not very algorithmic but the timing of coding plays the most significant role. Will try to write more about it later.


The interesting part is the topcoder fluctuations I faced in past one/two weeks.
The latest one was a boost in rank was around 180 points.(743->920). I scored 10 position in Division2 and just missed the best solution to 1000 points problem( my score was second). I cudn't avoid taken a screengrab. phoenixcoder is for Aiwa he made a yellow debut(1526 IIRC). Bravo dude!
topcoderCloud9.jpg

Well there was a competition in which I did bad in solving 250 points prob got 147 and didn't solve anything else. So I was screwed and lost my position by around 100 points.( 980--> 884), then I got further screwd up in next contest which was simple but the net connection spoiled the game. I just opened the 250 points problem and net went down I coundn't submit it not for next 45 minutes. It sucked. I knew I was going to lose lots of points. finally I was informed that I lost position by around 150(884-> 743).
( since I was idle I took this screenshot).
beingScrewdInTopcoderdue2ISP.png

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Is HP Dying? Whos' next

Sometime during my B.Tech I came to know about HP being one of the oldest computer companies thanks to the film Pirates of the Silicon Valley. If you see that movie you realize HP too did some mistakes like IBM in its history for e.g not even considering the concept of a personal computer when their employee steve Wozniak presented the prototype to them.

For so many years this company has been doing quite well, but perhaps with no focus, they seemed to have done a good thing by remaining the leader in Printing market as that now looks to be their main source of Income, They became a PC vendor of late, and as usual they wanted to earn some quick money so they rode on M$ windows for long time, becoming quite responsible for giving the Giant is current lead in the market. They did spend some money on making their own Unix (HPUX) but were not intelligent enough to promote it. Their research labs never looked very active as we never heard of any great project being successfully accomplished. Even then it should be interesting to note what has changed so drastically in past 1 month or so that HP is now giving its ads in paper everyday.

To me this everyday ads looks a very signing of finishing their current stock when it can sell. If you see the PC of HP Desktop machine it has come down suddenly from something like 40000 Rs to something like 23000 Rs. Whats' the reason? Anyone who keeps a watch on such ads can easily make out that they have changed their default OS from Windows to FreeDos. The statement HP recommendes Windows XP for bussiness/home is now gone. I have been told by my friend that the reason behind this is M$ showing finger to HP and making alliance with Dell.

As I often use to say whoever partners with M$ finally ends up being at loss. Had HP thought of their future sometime ago and acted they could have probably been in better position now, but thats not it, What happened to HP will probably happen to some other companies too, think of the scenerio when M$ starts selling a fully packaged Desktop system(they might make some ammendments in their name for that may be), like Apple does now. We have already seen them getting in to hardware like Mouse and Keyboard, next day they could simply accquire some Monitor company like Viewsonic or get in patnership and they are in position to ship complete Box(with Intel/AMD chip inside probably). Why will someone then buy a PC from any hardware vendor including Dell ? M$ can easily claim that Windows runs best on their hardware and they provide very good support etc.

You ask me why they haven't done something like this so far, well I can only Imagine that this delay was caused by the entry of Linux, They must have been looking for first eradicating the complete Linux market and then making such a move. They seem to have been trying a lot in this direction and till now they are not successful but you never know the future. Until the hardware vendors open their eyes to the great threat the possibility of such a move by M$ in hardware always remains.

But things are not all that bad, Apple have recently taken a great decision to enhance their entry to desktop market. With MACintel being available from Jan 2006, Desktop market is going to see some good competition for Windows again.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Another of these test..


My computer geek score is greater than 91% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!


Good, I kinda know what I am.

Finally: my first KDE commit

After lots of postponements my first commit to kde svn comes up. Here is the picture showing the proof of the same. My nick is jaiva (3 chars for surname and 2 for name :) )

firstKdeCommit.jpg

Now some learnings about checkin
1) In case of KDE it was a command in the format
svn co svn+ssh://jaiva@svn.kde.org/
Not svn co https://... which I initially tried and came to know about this https_proxy variable today only.
You are asked the passphrase for you ssh key and you login.

2) After getting the code, you copy(I mean simple cp) your file/dir to the appropriate place in the checkout directory and give a command svn add

3) Next command is svn checkin . You might need to set up $SVN_EDITOR variable, I did export SVN_EDITOR=vim and on giving the checkin command, vim was lauched with a file where I could write my comments.

4) svn revert and svn del command were also needed when I messed up the thing first time.

What is not clear still is about .deps files creation and whether they should be checked in and also Makefile and Makefile.in should be checked in or not. I will get it clarified and update this post.


myfirstkdecommit.jpg

For memories... :) of my first successful(?) endeavour towards obtaining a bigger userbase for my code, and becoming a contributor.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Talk by B.V Jadgeesh

Had this wonderfully motivating talk by B.V Jadgeesh today. Some main points from his talk.
1) Don't be afraid of failures and don't give up on them they are the ones that gives you most experience. (similar to the book, Discover your destiny by Robin Sharma). The extra thing he said in answer to a question later was that even VCs in the Silicon Valley realize the fact that if you have failed once in your idea you are most probably gonna hit it high/better next time. The same VC who has lost money on investement on you previous firm will be ready to fund you again in most cases with more assurity than the first time. Amazing isn't it?
2) Differentiality, He emphasized the point that differentiality from the current technology or implementation or perfomance is a must to make ppl buy your product/service. Only cost effectiveness or selling your product for cheaper prices compared to others won't make it sell good. Examples of Apples' innovation in Ipod usability, Googles' in Searching faster and better.
3) Listen to customers. He cited the example Novel on how a arrongant crew of company leaders can lead to company's demise. Citing that he emphasized that regular improvement is a must and you can't sit and relax on your current potential and market share.
4) Emphasis on Self confidence. The fact that his initial company was started by just two Indians with a total money 50000$ and no US education and how that company soared to great hights in 1996-2000 period coming to a market cap of 27 Billion $.
5) How new companies can easily dominate the market share and take it away from the old players citing example of Chinese Router company and Cisco's compentence in Chinese market.
6) Look out for what is needed in the market and not just what you want to deliver, Strike a good Idea and funding will be easy process. Execution of the plan is the next important thing and that is followed by Marketing, all things are very important and their importance cannot be possibily ranked, important is to understand that you need all the three to succeed.

He shared how he felt when he was leaving his well setled job of 6 digit salary in Novel in 1993 end and took the pain of being underpaid for next 12 months, just because he new that was worth it. Also that Part-time ventures will mostly never succeed, you need to be ready to take risk if you want to be an entrepreneur and the motivation could be the higher rewards that might come through.
If I missed some point please point out.