Monday, October 31, 2005

Some talk in past few days

Past few days there were lots of talks by very eminent and/or very knowledgeable/experienced people. I will post about them over some posts. Here are the two of them.

P. Anandan of MSR @IIIT: If you have done some work in Vision and specially in registration etc you probably know this person. He is the head of MSR India, and is undoubtedly one of the most successful researchers India ever produced(Ok enuf I understand).
The talk was about the kind of work MSR has been doing worldwide and specially about plans of MSR India. MSR India is looking for some young researchers to join them and work on some of the most uptodate technologies and evolving areas. The talk was simply superb, Anandan is probably the best speaker I ever witnessed. He was excited to see many students interested in Research jobs. One of his quote "You probably have to wait for 5 more years before you can buy your Benz but then you will be buying a better model"
Again if you have seen Siggraph videos or papers, you probably know the quality of work by MSR people, MSR probably produces the largest number of paper compared to any institutes. I hope MSR creates some interest in students in India for going for higher education.

Talk by Mark Herbert(?) Of Seirra Atlantik @ ISB: Just after the talk by a Researcher, I had the opportunity to attend a entirely different kind of talk, a talk by a successful Management guy. He was again a great speaker, his slides had lot of striking figures and facts which I was totally unaware of. I was just wondering if blogging was ok for such a talk, but some points could be shared harmlessly,
1) Every $1 of money spent by US on Outsourcing gets them a value of $1.46, of which Indian side gets 55cents and company makes a pure profit of something like 14/15 cents, after removing all the cost incurred in transfer of work etc.
2) The rates of work India have remained quite stable for past some time, this is mainly due to large number of freshers who are joining jobs regularly and who keeps the cost low due to their lack of experience. (Looks like a point to think upon)
3) A large number of Developing countries are gearing up for a competition to India/China in offshoring bussiness, this includes Indonesia, Vietnam, and some African countries.
4) India offers the second cheapest place to get the work done, just after vietnam, China is third.
5) Their no great loss of jobs in US do to outsourcing, atleast the people don't remain unemployed for long.
6) The loss of job happens not mainly because of offshoring but because of increase in Productivity
7) Based on point 6 India would be loosing a large number of call center jobs soon, when the software matures to handle lot of such work automatically.
... Many point I forgot. :(

Monday, October 24, 2005

e2Fsck and Lost+Found in Linux

A friend of mine panicked to see his /home partition being corrupted badly as described by fsck program( he got lot of warnings/ questions while the fsck program was running asking "whether you want to fix this inode" etc.) Having faced similar situation earlier(5 semester of my B.Tech, when I was experimenting with LVM(large volume management)) I thought I might be impossible to get the data back easily.
When this friend finally gave up the thought of getting his data the new problem he faced was how to get his system to boot as their seemed some problem in /home which stuck the booting process.
Just before trying to format the partition containing /home, we gave a look at Lost+Found directory( after booting system in rescue mode) of the home partition. I was surprized to see that the directory had lot of content. While trying some simple grep include * etc we realized some of the things in the Lost+Found directory were actually directories.
The interesting things begin to happen then, We somehow discovered one directory with name like #109093 on cd-ing which we found lots of mp3 songs. That was it, As Anurag just told us, the data was probably all there. With more trying we got directories containing Movies, C/Java programs, Gnome, KDE setting files etc.
That just lead me to search for working of e2fsck program. Got the source from sourceforge, but wasn't able to get much in first look. So started Googling, for some basics of the program, unfortanely there were no good results. Luckily I got this link of origanal paper describing the EXT2 file system, ext2fs. This link is a great read. At the bottom of the page there is some data on Lost+Found, it say "during third pass of the fsck, the .. entry in each directory is checked, if some particular directory cannot be traced back to / then it is put in to Lost+Found".

In pass 4, e2fsck checks the reference counts for all inodes, by iterating over all the inodes and comparing the link counts (which were cached in pass 1) against internal counters computed during passes 2 and 3. Any undeleted files with a zero link count is also linked to the /lost+found directory during this pass.

It would be interesting to making some kind of recovery tool based on the values of inode tables etc which makes it simple for user to search for his lost files/directories from Lost+Found. Yes more study on fsck is needed and sought for....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

project KDE looking for Indian Mirrors

KDE project doesn't have any Indian mirror and their site says they are looking for one. It would be great if any one of you can offer some heavy bandwidth download mirror :)
Please let me know or directory contact KDE people.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Eclipse IDE 3.1.1 first impressions

I loved the Eclipse IDE when I used it in my internship at CA (last summer). This IDE is probably one of the best IDEs for java, given you include the appropriate plugins for your task. Though most plugins are free, some may not be.

By as much as I knew Eclipse before my internship I was impressed, I have simply compiled some simple java code by then. During the internship I learnt using advanced options of external libraries, plugins etc. With a simple plugin setup(just copying some .zip file in a directory, IIRC) you can make it a J2EE studio, much better than other I have tried till that time. I used tomcat plugin too, which did some external invocation of tomcat server etc.

Now I happen to try this new version of IDE 3.1.1, In some 25-30 minutes I am impressed again. Here is a small description of setting eclipse to use ant build file and creat a project from it.
1) File -> New project
Choose Ant project. It will ask you the file locations and do the rest part almost automatically.
2) Setting Up Java etc.
Somehow eclipse detected existence of java sdk 1.5 from my system automatically. ( I wonder what intelligence must be used if not trying some hardcoded directory names etc). But I needed to compile my project in jdk 1.4.2 which was also installed on my system.

As shown in the figure, eclipse gives a simple option in Menubar->Window->Preferences->Java->Installed JRE, where you can add JRE if not automatically detected. And select the default JRE. The project is automatically build from this default JRE.
3) Setting up Ant.
Just go to Menubar->Window->Preferences->Java->Ant, to check if the classpath is ok, you can modify it to add some new files etc. ( I needed to add tools.jar from jdk1.4.2 instead of 1.5.2 so I removed the 1.5.2 tools.jar and added 1.4.2 tools.jar), all is pretty straightforward.

You might also use the option of external property file for ant.
4) Building
Eclipse has this wonderful feature of building incrementally autoMAGically, So at all times you can see if some error exists in you code without just needing to build again and again. (Yes you can turn the option off too).

For Building automatically Eclipse was using 'Java Builder' by default. It was annoying me with some Class path error, which indicated that ant was not properly used. I just checked Project->Properties->Builders, there I Clicked new builder which automatically opened option of Ant Builder, rest was all straighforward like setting this new builder as default etc.
5) On a Project->Build clean and rebuild I had my project build properly:)

Conclusion Eclipse IDE rocks. BTW I haven't tried JDev from Oracle which my friend Vishal tells me is another great IDE.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Google Does it Again...

Seeing Google's moves in past few days anyone would expect Google to be one of the company which has become Microsoft's nightmare. The good part is since M$ is a company everyone(I mean sensible one) love to hate, Google becomes the company which they love.
[Update: New reasons to hate M$ as demanded by M$ lovers : ]

Sometime ago we were just speculating about what kind of partnership with a Microsoft competitor should Google be looking forward too. Google and Apple combo came to my mind, Google and IBM is much expected combination, then Google and HP etc the list can go on. To our surprize Google has finally joined efforts with Sun to combat the evil. There collaboration's outcome can only be speculated still, since they haven't given any clearcut statements.

The most speculated is their effort to work on a Web based version of Open Office. For those who don't know there are already lots of applications to show the power of web AJAX word processor, AJAX spreadsheet, AJAX calendar, AJAX presentation-building software, AJAX e-mail client, AJAX note-taking software.
More in related events is Sun's President post on his blog , the world is about to change.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Indian Non-competitive-ness

A recent report rates India 50th in ranking of Competitive Nations. Some might argue that it ranks many other country like China(49) and France(47) bad too. But should that give us enough excuse for that poor rank?

Thinking of our competitiveness, let see where India(n) is(are) performing good. We are reportedly one of the best in getting outsourced work. Besides being a cheap and abundant source of people the credit goes mainly to our 'English' knowledge and capabilities rather than our actual software expertise.

What is not realized in the whole matter is that though the economy as a whole is growing with Foreign companies coming in and setting their offices in India, there is hardly any growth in the direction of India becoming a developed nation forget about being a super-power. Hardly any Indian company makes it to the fortune 500. Hardly any hardware company we hear of or whose product we use is Indian. Our Automobile companies aren't any globally competitive, once the foreign companies start competing aggressively within India the remaining Indian businesses will surely not be able handle the aggression.

Take China on other side, China is slowly becoming the manufacturing capital of the world. Name any hardware bussiness and Chinese companies are natively producing that, be it chips or printer or even Routers. Similar is the position of Japan, which is already the centre of Electronic Innovations.

Is there any chance of India achieving the developed nation status by even 2020 ( or we have to postpone the target year once again as usual)