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Archive for June, 2007

Twenty Years Late

with 3 comments

Sometimes at work, I pause.

And I wonder, if this is the thing that excites me. If I like being here in the first place. Because if it does not then there is a problem.

Apart from one or two instances when I was really down, I have never doubted my decision to be a programmer. Unlike many others of my time, I was privileged enough to own a personal computer, an 80286, back in 1994, when I was 13. I could not do much on it, apart from dbase III plus, Lotus 123, Wordstar and Prince of Persia. But that machine’s contribution is something which I can never underestimate. It made me a programmer.

Yet, I think, I am 20 years late. Why? Because, I believe, the 1980s were the best times to be, for any computer programmer. There were no idiot project managers, no stupid team leads and most of all, no CMM Levels and Quality standards for code.

My statements are not based on any research (though how I wish they were) but it is pretty evident to me that Software engineering practices and theorizing it to an extent to what we have done already, has done more harm than good to the art of computer programming. And if you feel like showing any resistance to the claim that I have just made, you are either a project manager or aspire to be one. God bless you, if its the former. Good luck, if you happen to be the latter.

The 80s stood up for the programmer. It was the time when computer programmers were allowed to do what they wanted to. It was the time when the judgment of a programmer carried value. It was also a time when programmers spent most of their time, well, programming.

CMM was made to improve the quality of the processes that an organization followed. It’s a process of continuous refinement. Nothing wrong with that except that it comes with a lot of clutter. CMM adds cost because it adds bureaucracy. Nothing wrong with that either, except that it adds it at wrong places of the hierarchy.

CMM, and the likes, are a failed attempt to theorize Computer Science.

Then of course, it takes away much from the programmer. One of the things being the value of his judgment. No, please don’t blame it on the project manager. He is trained on CMM, after all. Ask him and he’ll tell you that CMM or whatever standard they follow, is God.

Software engineering, I’d like to think, is still in infancy. It is a relatively new science which is constantly in conflict with the art that programming is.

That is why, I think I am 20 years late. I am just a poor, ordinary programmer and I’d just like to code. Please?

Written by aditya kumar

June 26th, 2007 at 1:50 am

Posted in Personal,Technology

Guru Gone (Plagiarizing?)

with 6 comments

The Sunday Times of India, page 14 “Spotlight | Instant IQ”, a feature called “Guru Gyaan” has the heading “About a Boy” and talks about one Kurt Cobain. Everything fine except for the fact that it has been copied, verbatim, from Wikipedia’s page about, no prizes for guessing, Kurt Cobain.

Wikipedia’s page on Kurt Cobain here.

It’s copied as is. TOI has not even attempted to get away with it. Over the years, this newspaper has been caught plagiarizing so many times and yet it does not change anything at the editorial desks of the daily. This surprises me. Whats even more appalling is that this is happening at the national level, not in city supplements. At least the Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and the Mumbai editions carry it.

Another thing: The article has a line saying, “Cobain struggled with drug addiction and the media pressures surrounding him and his wife Courtney Love”.

This, under the heading, “What makes him cool?”. Wow, now this is something so “cool”.

Written by aditya kumar

June 11th, 2007 at 12:55 am

Posted in Journalism

The City by the Sea

with 2 comments

Written by aditya kumar

June 7th, 2007 at 1:00 am

Posted in Personal,Travel

Be Aware…

with one comment

ps: All images copyright, Dipankar Bose.

Written by aditya kumar

June 5th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Art

5 ways you can help the environment

with 3 comments

On World Environment Day, I start up a series of articles that focus at the need of the hour — Conserve our home, this planet. Here’s the first.


5 ways we can help our planet

Its not much difficult, trust me. I am not claiming that this is all you will ever need to save the planet but if you want to make a difference this is the easiest way out. It does not take much. I know because I practice most of these.

1. Stop using plastic — at least try to avoid using it as much as possible. Take a cloth/jute bag to shopping. Say NO when the shopkeeper gives you a polythene bag. You could be met with a hard stare when you do that because most people ask for polythene. Stop using disposable spoons, plates etc which are commonly served in most office canteens.

2. Do Carpooling/Bikepooling — Many big global organizations encourage this by forming carpool “clubs”. When I goto work everyday, I see rows of cars stuck in traffic jams and more than 70% of these cars have the driver as the only occupant. If there were three people more in the car, that would reduce 3 similar cars from the crowd. You’ve got to adjust some timetables accordingly to make way for carpooling but most of the time, this is a concept that works.

3. Be careful with electricity — Not just because it gives you an electric shock but because its difficult to generate it. Use CFL bulbs, not the regular bulbs. Instead of the CRT monitors, use TFTs. TFTs take 1/3rd of the power CRTs take up. Turn the monitor off when not in use. Unplugged isn’t the flavor of the season anymore so switch off your appliances “from the plug” when not in use.

4. Use Public transport — Try to use it whenever you can. I say this despite having an idea of the state of public transport in most cities of the country. For distances less than a kilometer or two, walk!

5. Take care with the AC and similar appliances — Don’t keep the AC temperature too low. Keep it just a few degrees lower than the temperature outside. Similarly, don’t put hot food material inside the refrigerator. In both the cases, the appliance works overtime to maintain the inside temperature and that means much more power consumption than the usual.

As I said, you won’t have to go out of your way to accommodate the above mentioned points in your lifestyle. If you have something to add,, comments, as always, are welcome. Keep in mind though — time is running out. And fast.

Written by aditya kumar

June 5th, 2007 at 1:11 am

Posted in Personal,Society

Defeating the purpose

with 3 comments

I am yet to come across a single telephony/broadband internet company in India which does the basics right. For example, here is something that should not have taken more than 12 hours, but the problem is already 4 days old. Reason being, wrong information provided — repeatedly. My letter to the customer care department of the biggest GSM player in India, open for all.


Dear Telephone company,

When I first emailed you for the change of billing plan from my gmail address 3 days ago, I was asked to do so from my email address registered with you. When I emailed you from the email address that is registered with you (this email address), you have sent me another email, asking me to email you from my official email address.

I am surprised how long, lengthy and irritating the whole process is turning out to be — especially since I have repeatedly mentioned that I want to go for this with “immediate effect”. It is obvious to me how much seriously you have taken my request for urgency in this regard.

You could have told me to send the email from my official address the first time itself. It has already been 3 days I have been requesting for the change of plan and all you are telling me since then is to email from one account to another. I am frustrated because you have told me to send the email from my official address NOW — on a Saturday evening, a weekend, when I can’t access my official email account until the next working day, that is Monday.

Its a pity that something that should have been sorted out by a single email has taken such a long time and still going on. Yours is an example of how the purpose of the email of being quick and fast to accomplish tasks, is totally defeated and lost. Its sad, frustrating and I will make sure that this case is heard by the masses — the people.

Thank you and you will have your email from my official email account on Monday. However, this email will go public today itself.

Aditya Kumar

Written by aditya kumar

June 3rd, 2007 at 1:34 am

Posted in Personal