Sunday, December 18, 2005

In the cockpit

Yesterday i attended Aero Sports Jamboree held at the Jakkur airfield in the outskirts of Bengalooru. As part of the event, joyrides were offered in Microlight aircrafts like zenair, x-air and power glidders. For the sake of getting a feel of the cockpit i decided to go for a joy ride. I wanted to go on a power glidders but because of huge demand for these glidders, i was put on zenair - a two-seater microlight aircraft . The pilot was Capt Arvind Sharma, director of Agni Aero Sports, a really cool guy. I started the aircraft just like starting a car using an ignition key, but with my left hand. It was a great feeling to start a plane. After a series of acknowledgements from the command post, the Capt steered the aircraft to the run-way. Then we did a quick take-off. For the first time in my life i felt like literally flying on my own. Once in the air, the pilot let me handle the plane closely. We shared a common handle ( like a driving school car having two steerings ) to control the aircraft, but the throtle was fully under his control. After a small circuit in the air over the Jakkur village, getting a birds eye view of Bangalore city, we lined the aircraft to the runway and made a smooth landing. After landing i expected the aircraft to cruise along the runway and slowly come to halt. But to my surprise, soon after landing, the pilot did a U-turn, like going around in a Maruti car on an empty road. When i was taking leave, the Capt said - "Never let computer fly a plane". This remark of his has left me pondering over the issues of "Our dependence on computers" and "Where should we stop with computerisation of things?". Even if it is easy to replace a human with a computer for doing a certain task, we should deliberate on the issue, because in many cases there is more to "human touch" than to "mechanical accuracy".

My new Shuffle

Last week i got my IPod Shuffle. Its has 512MB storage space - thats about 100 songs capacity. After installing the s/w ( itunes player ) which ships with it, i started looking for some stuff to play on my new Shuffle. Browsing through the itunes music stores, looking for some free stuff, i ended up in the podcast section. There is a good collection of podcasts listed here. I subscribed for a few ITC( IT Conversation ) feeds. Some of the podcasts listed in the ITC Open source channel interested me. Of the few i listened to i particularly liked the talks of Paul Graham, the co-founder of Viaweb, the first Application service provider. I listened to his talk, titled "Great Hackers", delivered during O'Reilly Open Source Convention (2004). Paul Graham is a very opinionated person. In this speech he makes fun of IBM by saying, " .. no startup can think of being the next Microsoft unless there is another IBM which will be ready to bend over at the right moment... ". Seeing the way things have come along over the past few decades, this makes sense. Paul Graham looks down upon people programming in Java when compared to those working with languages like python or C. Being a java programmer myself, i don't completely agree with this. It is one thing to get the desired output and another to think of the programming language to use. I feel the choice of programming language not just depends upon personal expertise or liking but more on situational requirements.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

How not to brake?

Yesterday i went on a bike ride to Nandi hills. It was a nice experience. I pushed my bike to its full limit, sometimes wishing it was more powerfull. On a good highway strech I managed to almost touch 100kph. The trip was marred by a freaky accident. While coming back to bangalore, I lost balance and my fierro sliped off the road. It was again due to my crazy braking, applying only front disk brakes. First time when i slipped, when in college, it was Katte who was sitting behind me, and now it was Kojesh's turn. This was his first accident on road. Probably when Katte fell it was his first accident too. So I seem to be building a great reputation here. Its only matter of days before my mom finds out about this incident, when she sees my torn pants. But for now, I have managed to keep it under covers, and hope to get their nod for my future bike trips around the city.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 2005 2005 concluded yesterday. This event was previously called Linux Bangalore. It was great to see the open source gurus in person. Events like these are surely a source of inspiration. The event ended with a Rock show by the band Phenom. The 2005 had a record number of talks & BOFs, second only to OReilly's open source conference. The event was studded by people like Adrew Cowie, Alan Cox, Rasmus Lerdof, Harald Welte, Jonathan Corbet etc. In this event, which was spread over 4 days, one speaker who caught by imagination was Adrew Cowie. His casual and open style of putting things was really cool. Only other person whom i have seen with such a distinctive style is Miguel De Icaza. Having attended all four days of the event, i fully enjoyed the conference and am looking forward for its next edition. After attending the convention i have decided not to - steal s/w & music. So, i deleted the pirated proprietary s/w and songs from my PC, and now have only free and open source software running on my box. It really feels good.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.