Saturday, December 31, 2005

Books that I read this year

Shreyas tagged me with the tag : 'Time well spent: Books in 2005'

So here is the list:

'One Hundred Years of Solitude' - Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic of events in the different generations of a family in an imaginary town, with his unique style of magic realism and confusing sequences of names of the characters, leaves you numb at the end by the sheer imagery and imagination that words can infuse. Hair raising stuff.

'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee
A poignant story about racial discrimination and the way people were treated; from the perspective of a little girl as the narrator.

'Foucault's Pendulum' by Umberto Eco
A heady exploration of occult practices, and pagan rituals expressed by Umberto Eco through the crazy ideas of three literary editors to uncover a hidden source of enormous energy and power, leading to chaos and a series of gruesome events.

George Orwell's future prophesy - a saga of dictatorial rule and manipulative and cruel totalitarianism, from the mouth of the protagonist, written in 1949. A dark spectre of what the world may be moving towards.

'The Alchemist' and 'Veronica Decides to Die' by Paulo Coelho - full of allegories and inspiring life experiences.

There are some which I read half way or 3/4th, like 'Winning' by Jack Welch, Akio Morita's 'Made In Japan', and a few others which I am unable to recollect now. Need to buy some books in the new year (Resolution 1 for 2006 ;-)).

If you are reading this post and would like to do a similar compilation on books you read in 2005, please do so. However, I would like to see what Ashok, Sandeep, and Shoham were reading this year - so go ahead guys, compile your lists ...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Movies, musings and music

Watched three movies at Kolkata:
'The Grudge'. 'Darkness' and 'Hulk'

The first one is a haunted house story, a remake of a Japanese movie; second one also a similar story, better than the first though - the evil spirit in the form of darkness, taking its toll; the third one is about a genetic engineering experiment by a professor, on his son, going wrong with the professor's son turning into a green giant when under duress ... All three easily forgettable.

Renamed the blog as the previous one seemed too pretentious ... ;-).So turning on the thought stream now:
After all life goes on and assuming everything is fake/maya; we cannot deny our existence even though I may never be the ideal being; because there is no 'ideal' being - I am what I am - that in essense is the true identity; there is no need to be ashamed or proud of any particular thing, as either is a false feeling an imaginary 'hobgoblin' created in the mind that brings bondage and a little further follows pain, when that feeling is shattered to pieces - it was just a myth. From this also emerges the principle of non-attachment. Use and sample everything but never get attached to anything is the principle. There is no absolute right or wrong but everything is relative in physics as is so in metaphysics. So doing what you feel is right is important else you may remain distressed and in a vacuum denying and passive. So never cling to anything; earn money if you please; earn fame if you want, be upright and responsible; but be ready to give it up at the drop of a hat. That is the true way to lead life, from my current understanding ...

Currently Listening to:
Kishore's bengali songs:
'Nayano sarashi kano' (best song I've heard of Kishore Kumar's in bengali)
'Se to elonaa' (a mind blowing song ...)
'Aek din pakhi ude' ('Tum bin jaaon kahan' bengali version)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back to Bengaluru

Trains have a knack, almost a flair for running late - however things are getting better with Indian Railways.

When discussing the general state of affairs one afternoon, we came to the conclusion that technology is intruding into the more culture oriented Bengal and the intrusion isn't especially for the good. Ultra-conservative people even suggest that technology is the greatest bane for society and the eastern way of life which gives prime focus to spirituality, will soon come back with a vengeance - I argued giving some examples of things that make mundane life much more easier like communication or travel which was pointed out as not the ultimate goal. Makes me think - what everyone is following - the general direction that technology is leading us towards - is that the right way for the human species, making limbs and the brains gradually inactive - like slow poisoning.

Kolkata is fast becoming like any other place - super malls and western dressing styles, mega filmstar shows etc. Erosion of cultural values; intellectual richness and material poverty are being replaced with consumerism - oft repeated it may sound but the stark visuals were more visible this time. People are getting to see only money and competition; of course there are some exceptions too. On the other hand it could also be viewed in this way - the populace there were deprived of real progress in terms of development, infrastucture and monetary benefits because of the communist rule which is getting a little bit more liberal now; and they are adopting things faster and at a blinding pace. Good or bad - time will tell.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Identity Crisis

Where will I go back to ?
When I am back from the old, renamed, city of joy;
Into another awaiting that ceremony.
Cold it is more here, getting colder even ...
The extra-warmth of people making up,
for that deficit in percieved heat.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A different kind of a startup ?

You have a passion for say reading and writing or dramatics (which are mine) and then you are in an industry say software (mine again) and a background in computer science engineering. So how would you actually combine the two and get double the fun – be doing what you want and earn your livelihood by combining the experience of your current profession and of achieving, what you always wanted to do. Start a firm?
Maybe …
Cogitations, ideas, thoughts on opening a startup.
What do you say ? Do I even make sense?

(UPDATE: Key ingredients - Arts, Paintings, Literature, Books, eBooks, reading, writing, authors, libraries, Software, Open Source Software, Linux, OpenSolaris, antialiasing, machine learning, neural networks, startup). Calling for volunteers and their thoughts.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Some questions, some thoughts ...

Promiscuity (physical and mental) is disgusting. It is impossible to enjoy each moment, since that would be like saying, laugh every moment even when the pain increases. How do you make out if life has been a failure? Is it disguising itself as a successful life. Or is this yet another hurdle in life, part of the unending race that has a hurdle every few steps. So if you don't have the gusto or the wind in your lungs to run further ? What do you do ? Take rest ? And then start the run again ...
Competitive life. Disconnected to any real peace in life.
Are people insane if I call this false - all of this glory, fame, riches, amenities, gadgets and what not? Or am I insane to question things. Unending change; more than change, the process of having an open mind which is very important seems to be missing. People see only the narrow confines, restricting the vision. You are a software developer, means you only read technical tuff, code, code and code more. Think of nothing else; that is what everyone seems to like - conforming to a stereotype; even if that means losing the variety or neglecting the benefits of a complete and fully developed mind. Narrow minded, goal oriented and slogging away – that’s what the externally colourful, comfortable and glorified corporate life is like. Is work-life balance irrelevant or even inconsequential?

Work because you get paid - but isn't there a limit to this. The motto is 'to explore and not get exploited'.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

More Linux ...

Final day at (2nd Dec 05) had a talk by Jonathan Corbet (Editor Linux Weekly News - and co-author of the book 'Linux Device Drivers') on mutual exclusion in the linux kernel which was followed by Alan Cox (former kernel maintainer) on Writing a Modern Linux Device Driver which was loaded with far too much info for a one hour session, anyways got some pointers. I attended these two and went to work.
Read more here:
Got a Belenix LiveCD based on Open Solaris - it is memory intensive and the GUI does not render after boot. Apart from that Yahoo seemed somewhat subdued at the conference, they had sponsored the event every year, but not this time. Google was an official sponsor and the buzz in their stall was evident all the time. Sun also generated lots of frenzy with their software and contests.
[Update: The OpenSolaris team here in Bangalore, came back and wanted to know what the exact problem was and I registered based on their requests to the BOSUG-Bangalore OpenSolaris Users Group - they have already started looking into it, as many users complained on the bootup and X startup hangups for Belenix. These guys are actively following the community strategy - remember the Bazaar model of development ?]
[UPDATE 2 - I am browsing at work from Belenix - XFCE is smooth and ethernet was detected immediately without hassles - its amazing.

I installed Ubuntu Linux 5.04 today to try it out ... Works ok; comes only with Gnome and video support and mp3 playback is absent. Made .wav files play using OSS sound drivers + esd (enlightened sound daemon) on the Totem player. The package manager 'synaptic' is useful. Dialup works fine with wvdial. Also USB support on linux is much better now - OpenSUSE, which I overwrote, detected a pen-drive instantly.

Got the book 'Made In Japan - Akio Morita and Sony' by the former chairman of Sony, from a colleague. Need to start reading it.