Saturday, August 14, 2010


I stumbled across a good vim book today and started reading. vim has mind boggling number of features. I just discovered an interesting one today. In vim you can jump to a particular character on a line very quickly. In the command mode just press f followed by the character. E.g. if you want to search for the letter 's' just type 'fs' and the cursor will move to the first location of s on the line.

I also practiced the recording feature today. q is the key used for recording. Like many other functions the recording feature also uses alphabets to store various states. Recording is done as follows. Press q followed by any alphabet that you want to identify the recording with. Let's say we use b as the alphabet. So press 'qb'. When you do that vim will show you the message 'record ing' in the status bar at the bottom. Now just perform any operations. When you are done press q. This will stop the recording, which will be identied by the alphabet 'b'. To run the recording press ampersand followed by the alphabet. For example in this case press '@b'.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The first pleasant surprise that Venice greeted us with was that there was no road in front of the railway station. Instead there was water with boats on it. Another first in my life, that was courtesy of this Europe trip. We were warned about the smell of water that supposedly hits one when putting foot on Venice the first time but somehow it didn’t hit us.
It was really hot in Venice. Our hotel was located at a very good location: near the Giardini or Garden created by the great Napolean, sometime in the past. It was located at just the edge of the famous Venice island, near yet away enough to save us from the hustle and bustle. Our hotel was a full four floors above the ground and there was no lift. We hated those stairs for all of our three days in venice.
Venice is a collection of many small islands which are close enough to be joined by small bridges which have become so famous. They used to be made of wood in the medieval times but have been converted to the current stone structure as recently as the 18th century. The canals running between these pieces vary in width a lot. The biggest and widest canal is the Grand Canal that divides Venice into two. It looks spectacular at night. Water is said to be very romantic. If this is true then Venice is the most romantic place on earth, for there is a lot of water and in a very gentle form. The best way to pass time in Venice, in my opinion, is to sit on the banks in the evening and just see the water play, always promising to touch your dangling feet.
Venice is also a very happening place. There are numerous beautiful shops. The island is almost a never ending bazaar. All the biggest names in fashion are here, along with innumerable street side cafes that serve a variety of European food items. Surprisingly, the variety in non-European food was almost absent. It seems that there is only one Indian restaurant there and that too did not have good reviews so we skipped it. We lived mostly on Pizza and pasta. We must have walked a lot in Venice but it was a breeze compared to the earlier part of our trip for there wasn’t much time to walk. It was exceptionally hot in the day.
Did I say hot? It wasn’t hot, it was scorching. Here was how we spent a typical day. We would get up really late, 9:00. Leisurely do the routine of toilet plus brushing the teeth with just enough time for the breakfast. After breakfast, leisurely do the bathing and preening routine. Then lie down on bed to read something or watch tv. Sleep, get up, watch tv, may be sleep again etc. At about 4:00 go downstairs and outside. Find that it is still hot. Go upstairs, curse the stairs, lie down. Until about 6:00, the time when it became good to go out. Leisurely get ready again and step out at 7 to curse the wasted hour from 6 to 7 that could have been used. Enjoy Venice from 7 to 10, just walking in the beautiful streets, running between beautiful houses and shops decorated with flowers, to meet the beautiful water, alongside beautiful people. At 10 the interiors of the island turn suddenly quite. The activity then concentrates on the banks of the Grand Canal and major squares. The streets becoming so deserted as to appear unsafe. Of course they must be safe but we were new and helpless because of being ignorant in Italian. Before 10 we would reach San Marco square, from where we knew we can just keep walking on the side of the Grand Canal to reach our hotel. At San Marco, or thereabouts, we would find a spot near the water and just spend time watching it. There is always some music playing in the night at San Marco. Music, lights and water combine to create a serene dream that marvelously seems to have persistence about it. It is not ethereal but real and has been there forever. Almost everything about the place is beautiful. I suspect that it appears even more beautiful while remembering then it must have been because until now I felt that InterLaken and Cinque Terre were the most beautiful places in the trip. I guess it takes time to take in the beauty of a place as exquisite as Venice.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Well, let me say it. Paris is the best city I have ever been to. I
love Paris. The city is an eternal mash of Maple lined, often cobbled,
streets with innumerable road side cafes. Parisians are really
friendly people who are very cultured. I wish I lived here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


So, we are finally in Paris. Our plane journey consisted of two parts.
First let was from Delhi to Doha and the second one from Doha to Paris.
It turned out to be an interesting experience.

The first part of the journey turned out to be uneventful except that,
for the first time in my life, we got upgraded to business class. The
business class experience was awesome. The seat turned into a bed and I
slept through the flight. Rashmi tried a few things, including thee big
TV and amazing bathroom.

We had a 7 hour stop over in Doha. We got free breakfast which was good
because otherwise it would have cost a packet. Doha airport is really
expensive, our lunch cost us Rs 750. We also did not have appropriate
electricity adapter so couldn't fully utilize the free internet in the

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here it begins

In about fifteen minutes from now a taxi will take me and my wife to the Airport and so will begin my sabbatical and the ensuing trip to Europe. Travelling to Europe has been my dream for a long time and it has finally come true. We are travelling to France, Italy and Switzerland, in that order. It is a 20 day trip and self arranged. Setting up the whole trip ourselves, i.e. without a travel agent, was a lot of hassle but at the end we feel a sense of satisfaction as the trip seems like our own creation. I am looking forward to the days off from work. I know that I thoroughly deserve this break and I wish to make the most it i.e. lie idle at many different places. After all, lying idle at the same place is itself a lot of work.


Rashmi is getting restless so I gotta go. Hope to write again soon.


Au Revoir

Friday, June 11, 2010

The mixed feeling

I have been really busy with the developer summit event that happened at Adobe over yesterday and today. My team, which consists of mostly new members, took a very active part in it. Overall, we were amongst the top performers. We ended up winning good number of prizes, one in each of the team events. There was only one team who won more trophies than us. Now frankly I should be happy and I am but there is still some sense of loss. With the amount of effort that we had put into preparation, we should have won better prizes. I am not saying that we deserved better prizes, we didn’t the other team was better than us, but that we didn’t get output in line with our efforts. The area where we lacked was creativity. Now, creativity is hard to learn. After all, creativity  is about breaking the conventions to come up with interesting things. I love innovation and, at least I believe, that I am able to come up with innovative solutions to technical problems. But I don’t have the same creativity in arts, including of course performing arts. Some people are really good at it. When you require this kind of creativity then your best bet is to get hold of people who have this gift. You can try to be creative yourself, and occasionally you will see good results, but frankly a genuinely creative person has an unfair advantage over you. Your effort will simply not help that much. That is what I think at this point. Well, this is my first reaction so it might not be accurate but first reactions do carry some value and so I am expressing mine here.


Thankfully in my line of work creativity in arts isn’t that required or useful. What a stroke of luck! Somehow, I have ended up choosing a profession where my strong weakness is not a big handicap. I put this on luck because my choice of profession has not really been a very though out decision. I have sort of gone on with what I liked doing. When I passed out of college, software was a good option, it paid well and I liked computers a lot. It was one of the best available choices but it was also the only choice that I tried.


Anyway here I am, with mixed feelings. On one side, I feel overjoyed over the success that my team members have achieved. Not only in terms of trophies, which will give them immediate gratification, but also in terms of the experience that they have gained in working together and making things happen, which they won’t realize for a long time but benefit from implicitly. I also feel that I have let them down a bit. It would have been great if I were this creative guy who wins them the first prizes, but I am not.


At the end of day you have to take life with a pinch of salt and say to yourself, “All is well”.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cent OS Linux

These days I am trying my hands on Cent OS Linux. Cent OS is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) but is free.


So what’s this enterprise fuss all about. On your personal system you would want to try out the latest and greatest stuff. If the stuff doesn’t work you can remove it or if things go horribly wrong you can just reformat your system. When you are running a server used by thousands of people you don’t have such flexibility. Machine restart, which is a normal operation on personal desktops is a big deal on enterprise servers. Such operations have to be notified in advance with estimated downtime. Before you restart the system you need to take it out of the load balancer pool and when restarted, add it back. In a nutshell, you are much more likely to want things to work perfectly on your enterprise servers than you would on your personal computer.


So, what can you do to make sure that things don’t break suddenly or frequently on your enterprise server. One thing you can do is to stop adding new functionality and only take fixes. This is the philosophy behind Cent OS and RHEL. Once in a while(typically seven years) a major version of this enterprise OS is released. In between releases, only bug fixes are picked up for the installed software, no new features are taken. This is a very difficult thing to achieve as most software would keep adding functionality. The guys behind Cent OS do this difficult task for you and provide you easy to update patches. When I say easy to update I do mean it. Updating is as easy as running a simple command like “yum update”.


So if you do not want the latest and greatest changes to server software and just want to run your code in a predictable way then Cent OS is for you. It is surprisingly easy to learn but make sure you do learn it. Unlike windows where you can just find things by groping around, you do need to learn your chops on Linux. But, once you do so you will be way more productive. Working on windows is like playing Teen Do Paanch; it is easy to learn but that’s it… you don’t learn further. Working on Linux is like playing a sophisticated game such as bridge or poker which takes a while to learn but where there is a new thing to learn every day.

Finding Files on Linux

Short and sweet command:

find –name pattern


e.g. if I wanted to search for all files that start with document, I will say:

find –name document*


That’s it.