IdeaMonk

thoughts, ideas, code and other things...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Release early, release often, release immediately?

Okay nothing much for this post, but I was just thinking about the RERO philosophy apparently popularized by ESR in CATB (I guess I won't need to read the 256 pages).

Anyways so I was wondering if releasing immediately is a good thing to do? Picture yourself working whole night over a cool project that you intend to release for the public. Its 6 AM, you're done with your last commit, nothing seems to be broken, yet is it the right time to release? The problem has nothing to do with any sort of technicalities, but is a psychological one and completely based on my experiences with such quick releases.

The question is, are you left with enough energy after working for 2-3 days straight to take the criticism, suggestions and comments seriously in a positive way? At least I as a lone developer of something that I put forward to the public haven't been able to harness the feedback that people gave me. I ponder over the reasons, and I'm not sure of why is that. But mostly it went something like this -
  • "Could you possibly include feature XYZ into it?"
    and I think - oh cummon, I just got over with this work and now I need a break.
  • "This stuff seems broken, I cant move X to Y."
    and I think - who said I made it for you :/
  • "It would be nice if you include ABC and XYZ also"
    and I just write a good reply to the person, add it to my non-existant list of todos in mind or Tasks in gmail and it stays there forever.

This has happened many a times, even valuable suggestions have just ended up in a todo list rather than getting implemented and the projects hardly getting touched again.
How do you go about it? or is it just me who keeps hopping over ideas and leaves the old ones half done. Or is it the procrastination that engulfs on dawn of winter and summer vacations.

An interesting observation over procrastination. During this end sem exams, we were given a 5 day prep leave, and LOL I completely spent the whole time writing some piece of code instead of doing maths. Same story for any intermediate breaks between exams, reading something, watching some anime, writing some code but zero preparation for any exam. And yes a hell lot of ideas cooking in your mind for coming vacations.
Surprisingly it happens, not once but many times, that when exams end - I go completely blank over things I had planned. And with "Oh come on! exams just got over!" mentality I start spending days being useless to myself and everyone else.

And even though some new work arrives, I still end up behaving as if I'm super busy with things. Hoping to get rid of this soon and maybe hack this "Not doing what I am supposed to do at this time." way of life for greater goods.

</procrastination>

Okay the blogger WYSIWYG editor is really not good on chrome. It doesn't render <, > properly and end up putting in loads of DIVs instead of beautiful Ps as in firefox. Why can't they have a standard across two browsers for same webapp.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summer 2010 #1

So this is 16th already. Today, being a Sunday - we still had some college classes to attend, namely the placement classes. Glad that I bunked and got proxy in majority of them. I mean seriously, it sucks to have your college delay you from your planned schedule.

So this is the action plan for today -
  1. Setup local repositories, branches for gsoc on launchpad and a latest copy of web2py.
  2. Go through the all mails you missed out during exams.
  3. Do something with web2py quickly to go through everything it offers (maybe port bugbase to web2py)
  4. Make notes on my understandings, raise doubts, go though UI testing chapters sent by Michael.
I will end it there to KISS as the evening might be a little pre-occupied with a friend coming over.

This leaves me with a week before community bonding ends, to finish off with getting as familiar as possible.

Keeping myself on the right track would be the job of Korganizer and RTM.

I had been using KDE's RTM plasmoid to keep track of things till April end when I got my netbook.

On gnome I'm sticking with GTG (Getting things Gnome) but nothing beats a todo reminder like RTM plasmoid on KDE which omnipresently reminds you of what needs to be done.

RTM plasmoid - adding another step to KDE's social desktop

GTG - syncs and sits in try making you lazier

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yay! Freebies arrive :D



Just got back home from WebApps 2010 to find these two awesome books from Linux Format magazine kept on my chair. Thanks to Graham Morrison for the initiative. Love the color print in the one from Yahoo Press.
Met a good designer from Shrishti college Chennai, had great time discussing the borderline between a developer's and a designer's perspective. Interesting day by chance, otherwise apart from a few talks from rediff.com VP, and Mr. Satyadeep Vusuthy of Yahoo India R&D and @hsivaram of Adobe, the others were a little boring. Had to be like that, for the geekiness quotient was low in the masses.

Linux++

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Orkut spotted in Doga

Orkut is pretty much a part and parcel of our daily lives - even in Indian comics now - Doga- the best Indian comic action hero with some serious balls. (courtesy @ixpu)

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

ASUS eee PC 1005P review





























1. Small form
Keeps the desk clean
Easy to carry


2. Glossy screen
:( reflects bright light
:) gives good picture quality

3. 11 hours battery backup. Works for 6hrs max on linux, starts from 10hrs on Windows 7

4. as wide as a book

5. as thin as a book

6. as thick as 2 books :D

7. Great touchpad, never becomes slippery/sticky

8. Chicklet keyboard, effortless to type, takes time getting used to

9. Runs Ubuntu 10.04 decently

10. 30 lines of code at a time

11. Completing a college project in QtCreator was an okay experience, project build was slow.

12. Wrote a PHP webapp on it, wasn't a pain!

13. Plays HD as well, good to catchup with anime while travelling

14. Decent fullscreen performance

15. No No No don't do this with it


Been using it for a month now, bought it from Staples, Koramangala for Rs. 18900. Somehow the prices of netbooks are little hiked up here compared to ones mentioned on Amazon. In some more depth -
  1. In its small form it encloses decent power -
    • Atom N450 (1.66 Ghz) processor
    • a 250 GB harddisk
    • a 0.3 mp webcam
    • 1 GB RAM (which is enough if you run fvwm2 or awesome wm)
      Basically Ubuntu+Chrome+Flashplayer+20 tabs is destined to screw this machine, don't even run two browsers!

  2. It has a 10.1 inch glossy display and supports upto 1024x600 resolution. Its pretty decent for web browsing with Chrome or a customized Firefox with menus, statusbar, etc removed using addons.
  3. Claims 11 hours of battery life, well that's if you keep running what it came with - Windows 7. Unfortunately I removed it 2 days after the purchase and have been looking for a large capacity USB to restore in future. On linux, battery life is a pain, though on Arch linux sans a functioning window manager/desktop, I could run it for 3 hours watching movies in mplayer and the battery drained till 48%.
    Copying things from an external harddisk sucks battery very quickly. Don't keep ntfs partitions mounted otherwise flush and jdb2 calls every 3 seconds will suck more.
    On average, use wifi, watch youtube, keep surfing for 4 hours without any worries.
  4. Again pretty light on my college bag, just like a book.
  5. Decently thin too, and it is something that you can really hold in your lap.
    Beware of dust though, looking at heat outlet openings, and being able to see some circuitary from there, it gives you scary thoughts of "what if... ?"
  6. Little thicker towards battery side though. It does generate less heat than my previous laptop, though I haven't tried compiling KDE on this.
  7. I like the touchpad, look at those protrusions over it, it never gets sticky at all, now matter how bad your fingers are. Though touchpad sometimes interferes with your typing.
  8. Small keyboard sucks initially, specially the Fn key and Home and End button placement. While coding I do a lot of Home, Ctrl+Home, now I have to press 2 and 3 keys respectively. Once you get used to this keyboard, you can type faster.
  9. I tried both Ubuntu and Arch on it. It started from Ubuntu 10.04 alpha on which 3d accerelation magically worked. Upon dist-upgrade to beta and subsequently to LTS, it gave up on 3d acceleration and runs in VESA mode, which I'm okay with, just that I can't enjoy Quake 3 for some time.
    The Poulsbo graphics chipset is pretty new and would take time to get support here. Some guys in Mandriva have found solution, while the ones in Arch community are still in discussions. The problem is that Xorg-server 1.7.x as on arch, doesn't even run with VESA on this hardware, which is something that should work.
    I wish to put Arch as my main OS here soon, will try by downgrading the Xorg-server to 1.5.x-gentoo from AUR.
  10. Coding on a netbook - yes its possible. All IDEs and editors gave me decent 30 line view after some tweak :)
  11. Coming to IDEs I wouldn't recommend running Eclipse on it to anyone, though Qt Creater did a good performance. Build takes some 3-5 seconds more than what it took on old laptop. The embedded Qt designer in QtCreater is impossible to use though, better stick to launching Qt Designer externally.
  12. Web development is what goes good with netbooks, you really don't need to compile anything here, and having an instance of apache2 and mysql in background doesn't hurt at all. Though you won't be able to do a lot of Firebug here as it would eat most of the browser real estate. Same goes with multi-resolution testing. Good part is that it attaches to an external very well and you can still get resolution like 1920x1080 to work on.
    I've used GIMP - again a pain to use on a netbook and Photoshop 7 over wine - which is relatively less painful.
  13. Coming to moves, yes, this is something the device is very good at. Is able to play full HD quality movies at full screen :)
  14. You can watch around 2-3 movies in a row given it works for 6hrs on your distro. Besides what people commonly say about display eating most of the battery, is true. You can see instant gains in battery life when you dim the display. Perfect for catching up with movies before you sleep with lights off in your room.
  15. Ah! don't think of doing this. Virtualization, bah! obviously not. Though I did it for the same Qt project to write some more lines to make it crossplatform compatible, horrible build time in a QtCreater inside vm - almost 2-4 minutes to build the project./
    Also a netbook isn't the right hardware to compile anything substantially big.
The only problem I face right now is the Poulsbo compatibility issues with Arch and some more distros, am little annoyed to see that X is freezing even in vesa mode.

Update: As of now the lastest release of Arch linux works like a charm, I'm running dwm on it and its the best thing that could happen to a netbook.

Otherwise a netbook is the best way to roam around with a full-fledged linux box in your back pack. I sync my mails offline, catch them up whenever you got time. Play school-time Super Nintendo roms when bored. Catchup an Anime while coming back home from college. Experimenting with some code when it comes to mind. Giving presentations wherever you may be, writing down your thoughts as they come to your mind anytime anywhere, and what not...

New upcoming models from asus are even more awesome - 1201N - metal body - 2GB ram - 1366x768 killer resolution! - 256 MB Nvidia ION all for around $499

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Inspiration and the inspired

Dad just brought over this clipping from way back in 2001 to me today. OMAN this is so cool, they covered our GW-BASIC programs in news paper :)

I had written a wheel of fortune program with colors, wheel animation (the wheel never rotated, the colors did), funny sounds from the PC speakers, all in 320x200 screen 13 :). I remember Mohit's brother fortunately did win the complete game.

While my brother @ixpu , who is more into chasing electrons and writes more C# these days, had made a clone of Kaun Banega Crorepati, again in GW BASIC, I guess he was using screen 12 (640x400 I guess)

The only difference between today and those days - it was hell lot more exciting back then with all the time to create things like these.
While today it happens to be a mixture of passion and time-management between pointless acads and programming.

I wish I could see some of the source codes from those days, which eventually got destroyed in format wars between us.

Wooh 9 years, well that was the un-procedural language with line numbers and many GOTOs here and there.

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GSOC 2010 - Would be working on Sahana Eden this summer :)


I applied for two orgs for GSoC 2010 this time - Sahana Software Foundation, PSF and have been selected for my "HTML/JS based reusable frontend for S3XRC" proposal for Sahana Eden (previously known as SahanaPy). I wish I had applied about an year ago too.

Most of all I'm so because I'm gonna be working on things I love -


Sahana Eden is an Emergency Development Environment - a framework to rapidly build powerful applications for Emergency Management. It is something which you can take and quickly customize to suit the nature of disaster, location, language, etc. It can be morphed into many faces, as per the demands from the use-case. A really life saving app which has a proven record of assistance in disaster struck areas. Sahana Eden has been used in Haiti, World Food Project, etc while previous versions of Sahana have helped a lot in Sri Lanka, Bihar.
A brief history of project Sahana here.

Working with the Sahana Eden team at FOSS.in '09 was a delight, from there on I could contribute little more till my winter break ended, but haven't been able to hack more since then due to the _busy_ _busy_ college life in India :/ (which ofcourse I hate a lot). I'm gonna quench all my thirst this summer.



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