Friday, December 30, 2005

Linux- a pain in the neck???

Recently I tried to male a concious move to Linux instead of running on Windows due to Ethical reasons. I have a new computer, with AM64 processor with a SATA hard disk and a VT8251 chipset. The surprising part is even though I'm not a computer guy I had to learn all this, because I just could not instll Linux on this configuration. I tried all of the so called distros(Fedora Core 4, Mandrake 2006, Ubuntu Breezy...). All I found was "No valid devices were found on which to create new filesystems". Eventually I got to know that the chipset which I bought was not compatible are releasing some kind of a patch in 2006. Moreover I also found a patch for linux itself, which is a pure C code. I wonder how a non computer releated guy like me install that. Hmmm I need a genie to do this kind of stuff. Strange, I've alwys heard that some of the richest minds on earth are those in the open source community of which a large percentage are involved in writing something or the other for Linux and we have this dammed platform, where a common user cannot use.

Well back to XP which is more reliable than ever at this moment and Long Live Microsoft , even if you charge, something works(that is how I'm writing this). Anyway I've lost all hope in the Linux community, even after posting countless messages in various forums,nobody dared to answer this question, or direct me to a previous message. Atleast for microsoft I can acll up whenever I need them. It is better to pay for something, rather than get a free lunch.

In conclusion "Is Linux a pain in the neck??", NOPE NOT AT ALL, it is a pain in the a**.,,,

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - Space 'spiders' could build solar satellites

A mission to determine whether spider-like robots could construct complex structures in space is set to launch in January 2006. The spider bots could build large structures by crawling over a "web" released from a larger spacecraft.

The engineers behind the project hope the robots will eventually be used to construct colossal solar panels for satellites that will transmit solar energy back to Earth. The satellites could reflect and concentrate the Sun's rays to a receiving station on Earth or perhaps beam energy down in the form of microwaves.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch a satellite called Furoshiki on 18 January 2006, which will conduct three experiments to test the idea. The satellite will be deployed from a rocket on a sub-orbital trajectory. This means scientists will have only 10 minutes of microgravity in which to perform their tests before the craft starts its descent back to Earth and eventually burns up in the atmosphere.

The first experiment will see three small satellites detach from the mother ship and stretch out to form two corners of a triangular net with their mother craft forming the other. Onboard cameras will be used to verify that the net, which measures 40 metres on each side, remains as steady as possible and that the daughter satellites do not get tangled in the web.
Web crawlers

Next, two smaller robots, called RobySpace Junior 1 and 2, will crawl out of the mother satellite and manoeuvre themselves along strands of the web. Such spider robots could one day be used to fit pieces of a large solar array or reflector on top of the netting.

The prototype robots, built by engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Vienna University of Technology, will test how well they can crawl along the net in the absence of gravity. Each robot has a set of wheels that can grip both sides of a netting line to prevent it from floating off into space.

"I hope that we can demonstrate for the first time that it is possible to move along a very thin, free-floating net in a controlled fashion," says Leopold Summerer from ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team.

While the robots are being deployed, a ground station will command the mother and daughter satellites to synchronise their microwave antennae and beam a signal back to a receiving station on Earth.
First step

The mission will last only a short period of time but will cost much less than an in-orbit experiment. "We wanted to try a satellite experiment which provides us with a very long experiment time," says Nobuyuki Kaya, an engineer at Kobe University, Japan, who is working on the satellite’s microwave experiment. "But we have no budget. We thought, well, this is just a first step."

A satellite capable of beaming one billion watts of solar-generated electricity back to Earth would probably need a solar panel with an area of one square kilometre. But spider robots could also be used to build massive communication antennas or a shield to protect satellites from orbiting space junk.

Erika Jonietz:A new service from Kirkland, WA-based Inrix predicts traffic slowdowns by crunching road sensor data, weather, history, and local events

In the interminable battle against traffic, a growing number of government and private initiatives offer U.S. drivers high-quality real-time traffic data and even short-term predictions of travel time from, say, one freeway intersection to the next.

But most of the forecasts don't extend beyond 15 or 20 minutes. Though a veritable traffic jam of companies has sprung up to offer data, they generally inform commuters of snarls as they occur, which is often too late for drivers to change their plans.

Now, actual traffic prediction -- forecasts of congestion levels hours and even days in advance -- is on the horizon. It's coming from Kirkland, WA-based Inrix, founded in 2004 by former Microsoft executives Bryan Mistele and Craig Chapman and former Expedia executive Seth Eisner.

The company uses algorithms that originated in the labs of Microsoft Research; its technology is the first fruit of Microsoft's initiative to license intellectual property to venture capitalists and startups.

The Inrix software starts with a mass of data obtained from government agencies -- real-time traffic flow and incident information from gadgets installed on highways, including toll-tag readers, cameras, radar units, and magnetic sensors embedded in the pavement. Inrix then adds speed and location data from computers and Global Positioning System (GPS) units in vehicles owned by trucking and delivery companies. These vehicles effectively act as mobile sensors, and Inrix buys the data they collect. Finally, Inrix adds up to two years of historical traffic flow data, weather forecasts and conditions, and even local road construction schedules, school calendars, and dates of events like concerts and athletic contests.

The company's proprietary statistical models combine all this data to provide not only a snapshot of current traffic flow but also predictions about expected congestion and road conditions over the next several hours and even days. Each city requires its own unique model; the model for San Francisco alone contains about half a terabyte (500 gigabytes) of data, says Oliver Downs, Inrix's chief scientist.

Inrix plans to have models for the 30 largest U.S. cities available by the end of 2005 and to provide traffic predictions to drivers through partnerships of various kinds. It announced its first partnership, with digital-mapping company Tele Atlas, in September.

Tele Atlas will offer Inrix services to all of its customers, which include companies such as MapQuest and T-Mobile Traffic. Inrix plans additional partnerships, with companies such as cell-phone operators, traditional and satellite broadcasters, and in-car navigation services.

Approximately 3,000 drivers in the Seattle area have been using a prototype service based on Inrix's technology. Traffic information is delivered via smart phones, and sections of the city's highways show up as green, yellow, red, or black, depending on the level of congestion. The phones also display estimated times until roads will either clear or become jammed. The company says that the service correctly color-codes routes about 88 percent of the time when forecasting conditions up to 48 hours in advance.

The goal, says Mistele, is to provide drivers with truly useful information about traffic, such as the best route for a delivery van, the ideal time to leave work, how to reroute a trip to avoid an accident, or even an estimate of travel time from a New York City hotel to Newark Airport next Thursday evening. And while the cost to individual consumers will be set by resellers, current traffic services range in price from $20 to $120 a year.

Without doubt, there is a market for the kind of service Inrix has created, says Mark Dixon Bunger, who covers telematics as a principal analyst for Forrester Research. But predicting how well the company will do may be even trickier than predicting the traffic. "What is easy to say is that they've got great backing and they've got great finances. They're in a much better starting position -- but it is a starting position -- than most other companies."

In fact, Inrix already received $6.1 million in first-round venture funding in April from August Capital and Venrock Associates. If Bunger's forecasts hold up, traffic prediction and dynamic routing will begin to make an impact in the marketplace within about five years. And if drivers have any luck, those predictions will mean they spend less time in gridlock.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

From Tom Peters: Chip to Tom

Chip Bell to Tom Peters (12.20.2005): "If you were asked to be the keynote speaking coach to a new company CEO eager to do a great job, what is the one thing you would advise the CEO
to do (or not do)?"

TP: (A) Read 2 books. (1) Bossidy (& Charan) on execution ... Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Main takeaway: Bedrock #1 for corporate success is a "culture of execution." (FYI, Bob Nardelli did this brilliantly at Home Depot, despite pressure to do sexier stuff first.) (2) Read Lou Gerstner's book ... Who Says Elephants Can't Dance: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround. Main takeaways: Listen first, then do vision no matter how high the pressure for a "scintillating vision." Also, you must tackle head-on the extant culture head; Gerstner reluctantly did this and did it well, but Carly Fiorina didn't at HP (she led with "vision").

(B) And: LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! (The answers are already out there, typically among the most exercised and disenchanted.)

(C) And: COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! (Esp: Keep the board informed of everything, especially hiccups!)

(D) And: Work proactively in every "little" which way, each and every day to "live" and "ooze" INTEGRITY! (Integrity begets trust which begets a good place to work which begets performance.)

(E) And: Remove or marginalize ASAP the career "career corporate politicians."

(F) And: "Do a GE": Elevate HR to the head table on the Right Hand of God, with great HR talent and an HR seat with equal power to that of the CFO. (Again, Nardelli did this spectacularly at Home Depot!)

Chip: "One thing" is cute ... but the above SIX are musts! Use all six of 'em, but do NOT feel free to choose "the best one"—SIX or naught!,

That Blur? It's China, Moving Up in the Pack - New York Times

That Blur? It's China, Moving Up in the Pack - New York Times: "SHANGHAI, Dec. 20 - Many economists have long suspected that official government statistics here provided only a shadow of reality.

With China's announcement on Tuesday that its economy was considerably bigger than previously estimated, economists and financial prognosticators are scrambling to rethink their assessment of China's rise and its role on the world stage. China's new figures suggest that it probably has passed France, Italy and Britain to become the world's fourth-largest economy.",

Governments Tremble at Google's Bird's-Eye View - New York Times

Governments Tremble at Google's Bird's-Eye View - New York Times: "When Google introduced Google Earth, free software that marries satellite and aerial images with mapping capabilities, the company emphasized its usefulness as a teaching and navigation tool, while advertising the pure entertainment value of high-resolution flyover images of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the pyramids."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Java - Is it going to Stay?

I know that this debate can go on for long and hot. However I still want to poke into it as some of the paradigms which we are looking can change dramatically over the next few years.Bruce A Tate an evangelist for Java and the co-creator of the spring framework has serious doubts as to where Java is going. Personally I feel the same too. Java as a language and the framework that surrounds it is too complex currently. We have every now and then a framework/technology comes up related to Java to confuse developers. Agreed that developers are a lot who love to learn new programming languages/paradigms, but the way Java or .Net for that matter is going to to complicate frameworks more. First there was simple Servlets and JSP, then came along templating frameworks, such as Tapestry etc....

Even .NET is getting complicated day by day than actually getting simpler. Strange that nobody is thinking about making frameworks easier for developers. What we think is as simple is actually comlpex for beginners to the language/framework.

HOWEVER I found Bruce A Tate talking about new trends in programming/frameworks, which shows the new age stuff which could change the world.You could read it here.

This gives us a new angle on framworks like rails etc.. I've been trying out this and will keep this area posted with my findings.,

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Next-gen RSS reading platform (Attensa) demos power of Attention.xml

Next-gen RSS reading platform (Attensa) demos power of Attention.xml by ZDNet's David Berlind -- Now that I've had a chance to see Attensa's solution in action (here at the Syndicate Conference in San Francisco), I can understand why John Palfrey's RSS Investors venture capital outfit selected the company as one of its initial investments (valued at $9 million). Like Newsgator, Attensa offers RSS subscription software that works inside of [...]

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Two drops of Blood Changed my life.

Early friday morning, Kormangla-Bangalore, it is serene next to the lake, but a traffic jam is building up. On the east side of the lake, an artic coloured Maruti Swift(the latest car in the small-mid segment), has crashed into the back part of a truck carrying sand. Is it negligence on the part of the driver or apathy of our truck drivers/police to let trucks in that part of the road, I know not. But what I defnitely saw was two spots of blood spattered on the broken wind shield, the whole front part crushed and the steering wheel touching the front seat. Now I'm no expert on car crashes and their stability, but I can defnitely say, the driver and the co-passenger, if not dead, they were defnitely critically injured. Is it the fault of the car manufacturers, to build such a car, without sufficient test.Is it the fault of the truck driver, If it the fault of the police, or is it my fault to turn in the direction of the accident?

However one statement is fixed in my mind. At the moment I have a small car, but when I'm buying a new car, I defnitely would not go for a small car in this city. Maybe I will not get any parking space, maybe driving will be difficult as I cannot squeeze through traffic, but my wife and my future kid would be safe.,,

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

How to Disrupt and Replace the (Distorted) 'Market' Economy

Dave Pollards The paradox of the economy is that we buyers have all the power, but there are so many of us and we are so uncoordinated that it is the sellers who effectively wield power -- they tell us what they have to sell to us, what the limits and restrictions are, and, thanks to oligopolies' ability to fix prices, what we will have to pay for them. more...

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