Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whisper of the heart

"Alright Shizuku, Go ahead and do what your heart tells you! But it's never easy when you do things differently from everyone else, if things don't go well you have only yourself to blame."-- "Whisper of the heart"

This is a dialogue from the Japanese anime called 'Whisper of the heart'. How wise are these words! When one want to do what he/she thinks that near to his/her heart, it may not be easy nor acceptable to everyone that matters to you. It takes dedication, commitment and hard work to make a dream come true. But I believe for those who persist and are patient in their endeavor shall eventually enjoy the fruits of their labor. And more than that it is the path taken in realizing the 'whisper of the heart' that makes the experience worthwhile and a treasure. I recommend this movie to all those who feel they want to do something with their life but doesn't know where to start.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The real-life 'Bat Man'

We often see in movies and books of characters that can do everything. They are often mysterious, their past life until that point will be shrouded in obscurity. They would have had a lot of adventures and there's practically nothing they can't do. They can wield any weapon when they have to, they'll be an expert in computer hacking when there's a need for it, they'll be most sought after person by the international organizations, such the FBI/MI5 chasing them and some others, like a distressed police department, seeking their expertise to come off a tight spot. They'll be good with gadgets and technology and more often then not, will be the ladies' man. They'll have the power to topple the world's strongest and greatest powers. When I say all this, what does it remind you of? Perhaps, "My name's Bond - James Bond"?, or probably Iron Man or Bat Man? Sherlock Holmes? But I'm speaking of a real life character. No, not Chuck Norris!

I'm talking of a man who has been in the news for sometime now. He has made the coveted and most secretive organizations like FBI, NSA and all world intelligence organizations stand on their toes. He has been alleged with crimes and been sought extradition from UK to Sweden, not for the one's which has shaken the world. He has established a media which seems to bring out the world's leader's dirtiest and contemptuous deeds of crime, for the benefit of the humanity and to some extend the disbelief of the leaders' stalwarts. His act of exposing the 'respectable' criminals may be for the good because most crimes of war goes unpunished, they are always given the benefit of doubt. Their acts of crime usually are shielded in the name of 'National Security' and 'Top Secret' confidentiality, until their time has passed and taking them to task for their heinous deeds is beyond the reach of the physical world and its judicial system. If you haven't realized about whom I'm rambling about so long by now, then probably you are living in another universe! or perhaps you got it. I'm talking about Julian Assange, the "Editor-in-Chief" and "Spokesperson" of WikiLeaks.

Let's look at some of adventures Julian had. He had been a globe-trotter, he moved to 30 places by the age of 14. At the age of 16, he is already an hacker under the code name 'Mendax'. He has started an underground hacking group called 'International Subversives'. And he laid down these rules for his group: 
1. Don't damage computer system you break into, 
2. Don't change the info in those systems, and 
3. Share information. 
At the age of 20, he was investigated by Australian police for hacking into a company called Nortel. Apparently he had successfully hacked into many big networks including that of Pentagon! He was charged with 31 counts of hacking. Finally, he was pleaded guilty for 25 of the hacking and was released for a fine of  A$2100, after taking into consideration his turbulent childhood.

He then went on to start the first public ISP of Australia in 1993, at the age of 22! He wrote the first open source port scanner: 'Strobe'. He was also an open source programmer and contributer to projects such as PostgresSQL. He helped write a book called Underdog: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier in 1997. He then co-invented 'Rubberhose deniable encryption system' which is incorporated into Linux, and helps to prevent rubber-hose cryptanalysis. A USENET caching software NNTPCache and Surfraw-search-engine were also his creations. At the age of 28, in 1999, he registered the domain "". But according to him, he hadn't started his 'WikiLeaks' then.

From 2003 to 2006, he studied BS from University of Melbourne, along with philosophy and neuroscience. Finally, the WikiLeaks was founded in 2006. He has already created 'Tsunamis' with his WikiLeaks, and US officials has already branded him a "high-tech terrorist". The WikiLeaks has cost him a large fortune, and it is said that he is writing an autobiography to raise funds! In his own words, "I don't want to write this book,but I have to. I have already spent  £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat". Well after such publicity he has gained, I'm sure it will be sold more than 'Mein Kampf'.

To set the records right, I just found his life quite intriguing and interesting. Though, it may be good to bring the culprits to their knees, it's not at all ethical to disclose top secret information about countries that has diplomatic and military significance. In the wrongs hands, such information could be lethal for the citizens of the concerned country.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

A novel way to learn a new language!

As of lately I have been doing a lot of work in web based programming. Not strictly web development or design. But, web application development such as, a web application that provides the features of a conventional computer programming laboratory. Such applications are called SaaS or Software as a Service. Since it's over the internet, it's a service and of course you are providing a software service, hence the name. But for above purpose I'm using a RIA platform called Vaadin, which is a platform built over GWT or Google Web Toolkit. RIA stands for Rich Internet Application, which simply means a web software/application as opposed to the classic web, which is just nice visuals to present some information in the form of pictures, words, graphics, sounds and videos.

While at it, I got an interest in the concepts of design & development of beautiful and elegant websites. Its an art in itself. Well, currently I'm in the learning phase. It boils down to proficiency in JavaScript and Ajax as they provide beautiful designs and effects.

From what I understood, JavaScript is really a messy language when it comes to debugging. In order to make JavaScript development easy there are multiple JavaScript based libraries to make it easy. Apparently JQuery is one of them and really reduces the amount of coding. Wikipedia claims that up to 41% of websites among the 10,000 most visited websites uses JQuery.

Another interesting web development framework is Ruby on Rails. As the name suggests, it uses Ruby, a language developed in Japan, and incorporates the Agile development concepts. The Agile development concept focuses on getting the actual work done in adaptive or iterative manner, instead of going through a lot of formal levels of software specification, documentation, prototyping and so on before the actual software's development is initiated. Ruby on Rails is very popular nowadays due to its very less development time. Some even claim that it is even reduces up to 10 times compared to the traditional way.

Now, to justify the title; as I was trying to learn Ruby, I came across a novel way of tutoring one a new programming language. It goes as following: you are provided with a terminal and the instructions are given at the bottom, you follow the instruction and practice the commands on the terminal, and you get to learn the language and practice on the fly, all online. Take a look here to know more: .

A beautiful day!

Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh is not known for the good of its climate. On the contrary it's known for scorching heat and dry summers. Once, one of my senior professor who has been a resident of Warangal since a long time commented, "There is summer and hot summer in Warangal!". That was quite true until last year.

As much as people are revolting against corrupted regimes this year, the climate has seen a drastic change since the mid of last year. There has been deluges and cyclones of magnitude not known till now in Australia, and massive downpour that caused massive landslides in one of Brazil's most populated area, Rio De Janeiro. And someone told the news that 'The Global Warming' is all a misunderstanding, and it's part of a natural cycle. I hope that is true, if so, what are we facing now a glacial era? It reminds me the scenes from the movie 'Day After Tomorrow'. And just like the movie, there has been drastic climatic changes. Beside the above mentioned, most of the cold states in US faced extreme winters, with thick layers of snow covering the roads and even cars, it's that thick! Moreover, arid deserts like Saudi Arabia received heavy rainfall consistently for two seasons, very odd! For the last 12 or so odd years I have lived in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), very rarely it rained, that too just enough to wet the roads and roof tops, but certainly not enough to flood an entire valley and cause the death of more than hundred people within two days.

This new change in climate world wide has brought some most desired changes to the climate of Warangal. Between, most of us here in NITW, pronounce Warngal as War-angle or War-n-gal :D. The climate has been mild and at times even cold, dropping to single digit on Celsius scale. At times raining heavily and other wise giving a pleasant climate. Today has been one such day. Since morning, the wind blew moderately and since noon, it's cloudy and windy. As with the people, the nature is too picking up new trends!

Back to blogging!

It's long time since I have written my last entry. To be precise, 2 years, 2 months, 10 days :) . I wrote my first entry one year after joining NITW. Now it's time to leave NITW. It has been a long busy four years. The college life taught me a lot of new things, some that are good and some others that I wish I didn't know. A lot has happened since the last post, such as, did internships at Kalkitech-Aluva, CDAC-Pune and finally placement at Microsoft-Hyderabad. These happened between my semesters, i.e., during summer vacations. A lot had happened while at the institute too, such mass-bunking mid-lab-exam, the traumatizing days of *R's reigns, ousting of our long-reigning director and followed by subsequent internal politics, and finally but not the least the start of 'Telangana' movement, or rather the restart. I'll fill on these issues one by one, based on the availability of time & my mood.

Have you observed that recently a wave of revolts are going against dictators and long-term corrupted rulers in democratic countries like Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Bahrain. The news articles say that they are all inspired by the revolts in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. But I think the Egyptians, the Algerians and the Tunisian were inspired by the movement led by NITWians against their corrupted director. They realized how successfully we were able to throw him out, I don't think even a political party could have done it so successfully. Well, we shall be sung in the folklore of the Egyptian and Tunisians in the years to come :D.