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Showing posts from March, 2015

Five wrong things to do with version control systems

Here are five wrong things that you can do with a version control system.
1.  Not use a version control system Not using one, obviously.  The whole idea of a version control system is to allow you to do your work without worrying out backing up working code or figuring out when something stopped working.  2. Not check-in each change individually When you use a version control system, it is a good idea to check-in each change and not bunch together changes. This allows you to revert specific changes if they do not work, as well as leaves a history of changes which are easy to understand. 3. Check in generated (compiled) code Not a good idea to check-in compiled code like java classes or jar/war files.  Or for that matter IDE-sepcific files like .classpath, .settings, .project, etc.  The latter usually contain machine-specific entries like "E:\lib\mail.jar".   Does that mean each develop have his/her own copy of IDE settings?  Yes, unless the settings have no machine-specific…

Mahabharata Secret - Book Review

As I had mentioned while writing about Chanakya's Chant, we are now seeing a number of books based on Indian mythological/historical character.
Mahabharata Secret is by Christopher C Doyle, an India author.  It is based on the premise that during Mahabharata War, there happened to be weapons of mass destruction (ah, that woke you up didn't it?).  The blueprint for building these, as well as prototypes (maybe working ones?) were well-concealed and never known to exist. 
Until a courtier of Emperor Asoka happened to stumble upon it,  Asoka realized it was too dangerous for the world to know and decided to remove all evidence of it.  This included erasing Vimana Parva, the chapter in the epic that referred to it, from all known existing copies of the epic.  Asoka then founded "The Brotherhood of the Nine Unknown Men" - the only nine people on earth who knew about the secret (nah, not your G-9).  Each of the nine knew part of the secret and only by combining information…

Chanakya's Chant - Book Review

There is a recent trend of books which are inspired by mythological or historical characters.  The last time I browsed a book shop - I could see books based on Draupadi, Mahabharatha, Parasurama, Shiva - to name a few.  What is common in all these books is a modern-day story based on either the character or the premise of the mythology.
Now, Chanakya is not a mythological character, but a historical one.  He is renowned as one of the wisest persons of ancient India, who was responsible for uniting India under Changraputa Maurya.
Ashwin Sanghi has written Chanakya's Chant, a fictitious novel that traces Chanakya's life. Running in parallel with Chanakya's story is the story of "modern day" Chanakya - Gangadhar Sharma.   The book describes how Chanakya brings about unification of India under Chandragupta.   In the modern India, Gangadhar Sharma has a single-point agenda - make his protege, Chandni, the Prime Minister of India.
Neither Chankya nor Gangadhar play by…

End of Google Code

I received an email this morning (at 6.38 am IST specifically) with the subject Google Code shutting down.  It had a link to the google announcement in their open source blog with the title Bidding farewell to google code.

I have a pet project which I started in google code (in Sep 2010) and hence I received the email.

The pet project was a way for me to explore spring framework and java persistence api.  I then also learnt how to use freemarker and add tiles support.  I also explored using different build mechanisms - from maven to gradle and buildr.

I chose mercurial as the SCM when I started the project - since it offered me a chance to learn distributed version control system (having been only familiar with centralized version control systems like cvs, svn, perforce, prior to it).

The reason for the shutdown is understandable - github and bitbucket have pretty much become the de facto repository for projects - both open source as well as commercial.   Google has not tried to kee…

Mightier than the Sword - Clifton Chronicles - Book 5 - Review

Having read the previous books of Clifton Chronicles, I was eagerly awaiting the "last one".  As it turns out, Jeffrey Archer has decided to make this a 7-book series instead of 5.  Could it be just coincidence that the hero of this book is also "Harry",  like another popular 7-book series?

So, Mightier than the Sword chronicles the life and time of Harry and his family from 1964 to 1970.  This book starts where the previous one, Be Careful What You Wish For ends - the explosion during the maiden voyage of Buckingham, the first passenger ship of Barrington Shipping, caused by IRA.

Of course, nothing can happen to our protagonists since the book cannot continue otherwise.

Harry is now a popular writer of Detective Warwick series.  He takes up the cause of a Russian author, imprisoned for writing a book on Stalin.

Emma is facing a libel suit by Virginia Fenwick for their exchange of words during a shareholder meeting of Barrington Shipping.

Emma's brother Giles…

India's Daughter

The first time I got to know about this was from one of the innumerable TV news channels.   BBC had interviewed one of the guy who had gang-raped a woman in Delhi in 2012 as part of its documentary film called India's Daughter.

I am not sure if it is usual for jailed convicts to give interviews (especially when they are not actors, politicians or religious activists).   Anyway, I can't recall any such interviews.

Also, can I walk in to a jail and request interview with a convict there?  Perhaps I need to prove that I am a journalist?  Should I be affiliated with a popular newspaper, magazine or TV channel?   It is evident that the interview was authorized by Government officials (the same Government that has banned the airing of the program).

Who would have watched the program when it aired, that too, in BBC?  I doubt if the channel comes in most homes and even if so, who would watch such programs.  I doubt if BBC would have done promotions to increase viewership.

So, why did…

Switching to Tatasky make my pack

The last two years, I had chosen the Mega South HD annual pack of Tatasky paying Rs.6,900/- per annum (that works out to Rs.575/- per month).   This pretty much gave me every single channel that Tatasky broadcast (including Active channels).  It also provided me 12 free Showcase movies (one per month).

I had chosen this for several reasons:

save the trouble of paying each monthprotect myself from price hikes, if anyreceive any new channels as they become availablenot pay separate "HD access fee" (Rs.125/- per month or equivalent annual) Now, why did I need to choose this "pack" over other available ones?   The answer to that lies in the way Tatasky "packages" its "packs".  Let us check each pack and see what I miss.  These are the current "Truchoice" packs and their rates/contents as I write this. South special  (Rs.190/- per month) - no Sports, no English movies, no English entertainmentSouth Sports special (Rs.220/- per month) - South…

Quality of software engineers - the other side of the story

We lament the quality of the software engineers that  pass out each year from the Colleges.  The quantity is ever-increasing with the quality being inversely proportional.
The other day, in my conversation with the senior staff (Principal, Director, Heads of Department,  others) of a popular College/University in Tamil Nadu, where I had been invited for a discussion, I gathered "the other side of the story".
It seems last year about one lakh engineering seats are vacant - just in Tamil Nadu.  There are now Engineering Colleges in every town. Students no longer need to travel to a different town or stay in hostels to do engineering. They can do in their own town.
From last year, Tamil Nadu Government also did away with Entrance Test for engineering/medical admissions.  This means, the only criteria for admission is the marks in 12th Std.  I was told, there were more students with 200/200 looking for specific Medical College seats than the number of seats - so much so that ot…

Five tips for IT students

A few days back, I was invited for a discussion in a College/University as part of their program to orient their engineering students towards industry.  The students were specifically from Computer Science, IT and MCA programs - what is called IT stream.

I was given a fifteen-minute slot for a presentation and decided on five slides - three minutes for each.  And this was what I presented.
Do what you love; love what you do Preferably choose what you want to study (or generally do), because you like/love it. Do not choose it for reasons like -

IT jobs are glamorousit is easy to get an IT jobmy friends are all doing ITI want to go to US and I can only do from an IT companymy parents want me to do IT,(for boys), I get higher dowry if I do IT
... and so on.

Now that you are already in IT stream (whether out of love or otherwise), better start loving it now.  There is only so much justice you can do to anything if you don't love what you are doing.

For any one that I meet who complai…

Humshakals - look-a-likes

Yes, I watched this Hindi movie - Humshakals - one of the worst movies I have watched in my life.  Since I spent about three hours doing it, the least I thought I could do is spend a few minutes writing about it for posterity!
I had recorded it a while back, so I was saved the misery of viewing the plentiful advertisements that pop-up every fifteen minutes or less (as well as the songs). But then, chances are, the ads may have been better entertainment.  (My kid, for sure, digs ads - especially if it is car ads - take the recent BMW i8 one, for instance).
The director is Sajid Khan, who is notorious for mindless movies like Housefull, Housefull 2, etc. So you may ask, what better can you expect from him?  But imagine, you have Saif Ali Khan, the Nawab of Patauli, no less, "acting" (if you may call that) in the movie.  As are Ritesh Deshmukh, the popular TV actor, Ram Kapoor as well as Bipasha Basu, Tamanna and Isha Gupta.
So we have the successful business man Saif, whose p…

End of TestFlight

I know, TestFlight is now part of Apple and you can do beta testing on 1000 devices with TestFlight.  But these are what I miss about testflight.

Testflight API - the API is what helped continuous integration of iOS project - from check-in to build to deploy for test.  Not only did the TestFlight api helped in uploading the app to TestFlight, it also notified relevant testers, based on the configuration.

Testflight sign-up/sign in - it was very simple.  Just open the recruitment url from Safari on the apple device, follow the instructions and you were set.

Post Apple acquisition, things are different now.  There are now "internal testers" and "beta testers".  Internal testers need to have iTunes Connect account.   I believe you now need to have TestFlight iOS app on your phone.

I saw this feedback for the TestFlight iOS app...

You cannot add testers who already have iConnect accounts, builds only last for 30 days (so if you need to compare against and old build-t…

Cordova iOS app and OS reboot on first-time install

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It had all the elements of a Mr.Monk episode, barring the killing, of course!

There was this cordova android app, which we had "ported" to iOS, for a customer.  cordova build went off fine, we could sign the app with adhoc provisioning profile and the app launched fine on iPhone.

Now, cordova apps are universal (they typically run on all devices).  On our iPad mini, we saw a strange thing - the app installed fine (from Testflight).  We clicked on the app icon and then we saw a blank screen followed by the apple logo - indicating an OS restart.

What could be wrong?  For good measure, we tried on another iPad - and saw the same result - the first time clicking of app icon resulted in a reboot of iPad.

What about subsequent times?  The app worked with no errors.

No other problems with the app either.

What was special about iPads vs iPhones?  We couldn't figure out anything.

We tried the same from the simulator (for iPad). The app worked fine.  Strange, indeed!

So, we conne…