Protos' Musings

"In the long run men hit only what they aim at" — Thoreau

Archive for September 2006

The Turbo Days are back!

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I have been a passionate Delphi developer for the last 5 years and I can assure you that there is some truth in what I read somewhere: Once you start using Delphi, every other IDE and language appears inadequate!

Now, before you start baying for my blood, let me put on record that I am some one who learned and programmed in Fortran, C, C++ (including programming using templates/generics way back in 2000-01), and then did some basic J2EE programming during 2000-01, and then programmed Dot net using C# when it was still in early Beta (late 2001-early 2002), and even after it was officially launched, and so I know what I am talking about.

Simply put, there is nothing that even comes close to the thrill of using Delphi for development. That will be similar to saying: Simlply put, nothing even comes close to browsing using Mozilla Firefox! Hope you get the gist of it :).

The best news in the last few years for the Delphi community is this: Borland DevCo is in the process of recreating the magic of Delphi by launching the Turbo product range [Delphi for Win 32, Delphi for DotNet, C# and C++] that is available for free. You can download it from here.

There is a lot of renewed interest from the community, and there are lots of free introductory and advanced tutorials out there too. More info available here at the blog of Allen Bauer, Chief Scientist, Borland DevCo.

Now, hear this: Evans Data conducted a Spring 2006 IDE developer survey, and know what? The long dead and buried Delphi was rated first (yes, you read it right!) in the most important “Compiler/Interpreter” and “Debugger” category! More info from the horse’s [David I, who is the Vice President, Developer Relations and Chief Evangelist of Borland DevCo] mouth here.

Of course, this is not meant to take anything away from the obvious bitter truth that, like Macs, Delphi is a third or fourth rate citizen in the world of programming, languishing behind the products from the behemoths like Mircrosoft, IBM/Sun. The good old days of Delphi being the “big new thing” probably will never be back, but one can wish for a momentary glance or two at glory! It has almost the feeling of a classic Asterix story — Gauls v/s Ceaser(s)!

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Written by Proto

September 6, 2006 at 08:46 hrs

Shared My OPML

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Share Your OPML is a site dedicated to share the OPML files of various people. It has been widely welcomed by people who appreciate the value of this exercise. I have added the list of feeds that I try to track using my favorite RSS aggregator: Google Reader, and you can view it here. I would request you guys too to upload your OPML into this site and share it with the world.

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 22:28 hrs

Introducing Preethi

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The end of this week would see me getting pushed out of the Bachelor’s hut, loosing the degree, and being dubbed as a “family man”. I am not quite sure what that means and what is in store, but like the billions of others who walked down the same road, have decided to give it a try ;).

I will be marrying Preethi on Sunday (a week from now), and since today also doubles up as her birthday (English Calendar) thought this was as good a time as any to write a short intro about her. She loves writing, reading, listening to music and singing. One thought that she is a good singer, though not in the same league as yours truly ;). She is also a talented blogger, and here is the link to her blog. There you can read her posts and her poems. At this point of time, her blog has more clicks (visitors) than mine, and that is something I need to work upon, and quite fast at that. Hey, someone having a copy of “Become a better blogger in 21 days” handy? :)

The only thing missing from that rather modest resume is the “art of cooking” and I would advice her to learn that ASAP, so that I don’t starve in the future. The alternative would be to learn it myself, something most of the married guys are advising me strongly about. Just kidding, guys!

She has secured her transfer to Chennai from Mumbai, and so both of us would rejoin office in Chennai on Tue, 03-Oct-06. Her office is at Nandanam, and so is quite near to my place.

So, I am expecting to see most of you at Mumbai over the weekend to join the celebration.

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 22:07 hrs

Parents galore!

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The last few months also brought news about three of my good friends being pushed to the state of expectant parents – Apple, Arunachalam and Beeba. Out of the three, Arunachalam has become a father already, and Apple (and Gops) is on the verge (the good news can come anytime, but prob Gops is saving it for the ThiruOnam Day to make it memorable!). Beeba would give us the good news in a couple of months time. A few months back, Sunil’s wife Simi gave birth to their daughter Gawri, and so it has been a pretty kiddie time all around!

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 21:46 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings

The Months That Were – July/Aug ’06

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July 2006 was a month of very less activity, lots of reading, some great moments, and some heartbreaks. The heartbreaks started with the German team loosing out to the eventual champions Italy, and the final twist came when Italy managed to steal the World Cup. If ever there was a Champion unworthy of the title (when teams like Argentina, Germany and France were around), it was Italy! Of course, they won and they are the champions, and I better keep my mouth shut! :)

As I was saying in the first para, during this month and the next, I managed to read quite a bit (compared to my recent book reading trends). The best of the lot must be the works of Robert M Pirsigthe Zen book (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and the not-so-famous, but equally good (if not better) second part — Lila. Both have had tremendous influence in my life, and I would advice anyone to give the books a go when they get the chance! The depth and breadth of coverage is quite remarkable.

I should also stress upon the fact that they are not the usual fiction or the fad books, but are categorized under “Philosophy” by the publisher. They are a bit heavy (in terms of pages and theme wise), but are well worth the time invested. I would try to post more about them later on, but for now these two links would do. But suffice to say that the concept of the Metaphysics of Quality (which is explored in the Zen book and given a firm shape in Lila) are simply the best thing I have ever read! But I am sure I wouldn’t mind reading both the books a few more times, time permitting!

In fact, if you are still having a doubt, this is what Joel Spolsky has to say about the book in his famous Book Reviews post:

“Some people’s attitude towards programming is that it’s a nifty way to
pay the bills. For others, that’s not enough… our work is a
significant a part of our lives, and we need a philosophical
understanding to make sense of it. This book goes a long way towards
relating engineering and philosophy”
.

I am deeply indebted to Joel for making me aware of this book (in 2002), Jiju for referring these gems way back in 2003-04 when I was out to purchase a gift for a friend, and to Raghu, who gave me the thing I appreciate the most as gift: Vouchers to buy books (at my engagement) :). In fact, when I left my previous work, I was asked what I wanted as a parting gift. I told them, I am planning to buy a book. Give me your contribution in cash, I will contribute the rest to pay the bill for some book I had on my mind. Probably, I am just crazy! ;)

Apart from these two seminal works, I also managed to read two more great books: Tuesdays with Morrie and The Alchemist. I also enjoyed the Dan Brown novel Angels and Demons. I recommend A&D to anyone who thought The Da Vinci Code was good! This is the novel in which Brown introduces the character of Robert Langdon, and is quite absorbing in itself. I heard that the movie will be out in 2007.

Apart from this, I had been to Trivandrum and Mahabalipuram during this period, and there were lots of team-treats at work as well. So, in all, I was having a nice time.

The lows during this period include a few days I was not well, Mom suffering from fever and being down for more than 30 days (in three slots of 10 days each over a period of 40 days starting in May and ending in Aug), the countless visits to the Doc and the Apollo for treatment. Mom is doing fine, except for muscle pain in her right leg, that makes her limp while she is walking these days. Docs say that it will take at least couple of months for the muscle pain (induced by Chikungunya that spread like wild fire down south of India during summer) to go away!

Thanks for reading thus far. Have a great week ahead.

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 21:39 hrs

The Month That Was – June ’06

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June is a month that I would like to forget for I was sick for most of this period. The running around for the engagement preparation and the countless hours at work and outside had taken its toll on my body, immediately after the engagement. In fact, looking back at the engagement snaps taken during the late evening, I can see that I was visibly tired!

But I would like to remember this month for the first week of June, when Preethi was around in Chennai, and we managed to go watch Fanaa (a waste of a movie except for a couple of good songs) at my weekly outing place (Satyam Theatres), and got to visit the Besant Nagar beach twice.

Apart from that all I remember is the countless tablets I gulped down and the countless glasses of the thing I hate most — Kurumulagu Rasam — that I drank to ward off the seemingly invincible cold and throat pain that just refused to go away! By the end of the month I had conquered the worst cold I had ever experienced, but my system had taken quite a knock, forcing me to loose some weight (at last)!

Of course, I also remember this month for the great German run at the Fifa World Cup! To me, they along with Argentina were the teams of the World Cup, though France sprang back to life late in the competition.

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 20:48 hrs

The Month That Was – May ’06

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May started off with me flying back to Chennai on the May Day. It was the first May Day in the last 4 years when I hadn’t been to work. Pradeep turned up at the airport to pick me up (thinking that my parents are coming along with me..not sure how he reached that conclusion; anyway, good for me ;). The rest of the month was spend planning and executing the plan for my engagement slated for Sun, 28-May-06. Here I was all alone, running around Chennai (a place I am not quite used to) talking to all kinds of people to make arrangements for the E-Day. It was one hell of an experience, and I don’t think I had ever experienced anything like that before. I am quite thankful to all the people who extended help in one way or the other during this period.

But it was good in the sense that it gave me the courage to feel that I can pull of the marriage related planning without much hiccups. The plan is ready, and let us wait and see how it turns out. However, I can assure you that it is advisable and wise to have a few relatives around when you plan your engagement; it will save you a lot of time, effort and trouble!

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 20:36 hrs