Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Well this is the name of my blog, inspired by a great book - Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki.
I bought this book on Nov 27,2006. ( I write the day I bought a book with an interesting event that day if I had one ) - and read it half way. But never finished it - gave me lot of crazy ideas and inspiration.
Now I picked the book again and re-reading from the beginning. And suddenly it makes sense - every word of it. Earlier when I read this book it was as if I was reading the syntax of a language in a book. Now when I read the book it is as if I am coding and compiling and running it.
If you are a wannabe entrepreneur, just starting like me, or a seasoned entrepreneur who eats VCs for breakfast - this is the one book you should have read back to back.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I got my coffee ready and picked up Indian Express and saw "Terrorists take over Mumbai" - I could not believe it. Thought it was a prank. Economic Times concurred.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I completed Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. After 1000 pages and sitting through the philosophical discourses by John Galt ( what a fabulous speech in the end), Atkinson - the philospher, Fransisco the Copper Barron, a pirate, a car manufacturer, a music composer - I am still in one piece and I still love humanity - more later.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
So I was wondering how does Apartment Adda look like on different browsers, different platforms - is it loading fine or is it throwing errors? Head over to browsershots.org and give your url. It will take some time but your site is hit with 61 browsers from all the OS platforms of the world. I got my results back with errors on an old version of opera and chrome.
The entire development of Apartment Adda has been done on chome with occasional switch to firefox to use firebug. Need more investigation - you can download the results to your desktop and view each one of them carefully.
Very useful service.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am happy to announce the launch of ApartmentAdda.com - it is an online portal for communication and management for apartment communities.
Today most of the apartment communities network online using yahoo groups or google groups. Apartment Adda is a replacement to these groups and in addition provides more tools custom built for apartment communities - like notice board, file sharing, polls and also management tools like maintenance fee tracker, issue tracker etc.
It is close to 2 months since I started working on this. Has been quite a roller coaster ride. Had to take care of legal aspects, UI design, logo, the mantra, features page - it is endless !! Is my work over? -no in fact it is just beginning and things are getting really interesting !!
Head over to apartmentadda.com and see if it can benefit you. It sure will !!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Am I the only one noticing this? I have a pop up page which shows a confirmation dialog - it used to work with the earlier Chrome version. But the current chrome version ( 0.3.154.9 ) does not show the confirmation message.
The confirmation messages shows up fine in Firefox, IE ( holy guacomole ),Opera and Safari.
Michael Chrichton passed away on Nov 4, 2008.
I always wondered what it takes to start a business in India.
Turns out that it is quite simple - no big bureaucratic red tape which I always thought India was. There are 3 major types.
This is what I opted for. Nothing to register with the government, lawyer or auditor. You are fully responsible for your business. Liability is solely yours. What it means is you incur a huge loss - you have to pay from your personal property. You wake up in the middle of night and decide - man let me start a business. There you go - your business is born. As simple as that.
Want to open a bank account. No problem - tell them your company name and give address proof and PAN card number. Done.
Till 2 Lakhs of income, you pay 20% tax. Beyond that it is 30%.
You need help from an auditor for this purpose. You and your partner(s) decide what is the percentage you own the company ( and hence the liabilities ) etc. Costs some 5000Rs I guess. I did not dig deep into this as this was not the option I was taking.
Even if your firm made only 100Rs as profit you have to pay 30% tax.
This is the most expensive and longer router ( but safer route ). You first give a proposal to the government entity with a bunch of company names. Then they will tell you which one is available. Then you might have to spend to the tune of 1Lakh Rupees to get all done and it is a long drawn out process.
So you have a great idea - just go ahead and start doing it. Have a friend helping you out - cough up the 5K and continue your march.
I know what you are thinking - even I went through the same phase. What if someone stakes claim to my brand name by doing the legal 1Lakh Rupees way while you were slogging to popularise brand.
Well first accept that you are screwed. Like it helps !!
You have your user base - just change the name to something better - call it formerly known as blahblah.com. I am no expert in this - but when you are beginning do not worry about such things - if it did not cost a whopping 1Lakh I would have registered my company. But the 1Lakh can be spent in far better ways - getting a good UI designer, designing a fundoo logo, get a kickass server - so your pages load fast.
How about patenting? I still have not explored this area - might be doing it soon. Watch out for a post on that.
So have you started your business by now?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Good luck Senator. I hope you win the election and by next week you are Mr.President. Here are the reasons why I support this young man.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
More funny bot probes..
File does not exist: /home/****/html/intl
client sent HTTP/1.1 request without hostname (see RFC2616 section 14.23): /w00tw00t.at.ISC.SANS.DFind:)
script '/home/*****/html/thisdoesnotexistahaha.php' not found or unable to stat
[Wed Oct 22 03:24:11 2008] [error] [client **.**.**.***] script '/home/*****/html/cmd.php' not found or unable to stat
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
When the rovers scooped dirt on Mars I was proud to be a human being - from swinging from branch to branch - and now to hopping planets - what a giant leap mankind has taken. Also was teeny weeny jealous of NASA for having achieved such a big feat
Monday, October 20, 2008
The server is kind of up - not yet open to the public but the bots know about it already. I always keep checking the error logs for such abnormalities.It helps a great deal if you clean all the warning messages your Application is throwing - this way the errors that come up in error logs are genuine and you can monitor your server better.
Wondering if I should invest some time in a script to have a look at these logs - see if a "file does not exist" error happens in error_log and then take the ip address and see what got accessed in access_log - to see if the system is compromised.
On the below code scroll to the right to see the bot's probes.
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:29 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/README
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:29 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:29 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde2
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:29 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde3
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:29 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde-3.0.5
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:30 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde-3.0.6
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:31 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde-3.0.7
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:31 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde-3.0.8
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:31 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/horde-3.0.9
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:31 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/mail
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:31 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/email
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:32 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/webmail
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:32 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/newmail
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:32 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/mails
[Mon Oct 20 01:39:32 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/mailz
[Mon Oct 20 01:46:35 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/cacti
[Mon Oct 20 01:46:35 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/stats
[Mon Oct 20 01:46:35 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] script '/home/*****/html/graph_image.php' not found or unable to stat
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:56 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] script '/home/*****/html/xmlrpc.php' not found or unable to stat
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:56 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/xmlrpc
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:56 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/xmlsrv
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:57 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/blog
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:57 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/drupal
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:57 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/community
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:58 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/blogs
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:58 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/blogs
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:58 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/blog
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:59 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/blogtest
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:59 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/b2
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:59 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/b2evo
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:59 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/wordpress
[Mon Oct 20 02:05:59 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/phpgroupware
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:17 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] script not found or unable to stat: /home/*****/cgi-bin/awstats.pl
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:17 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scgi-bin
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:18 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /var/www/html/awstats/awstats.pl
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:18 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scgi-bin
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:19 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/cgi
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:19 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scgi
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:19 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scripts
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:20 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scgi-bin
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:20 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] script not found or unable to stat: /home/*****/cgi-bin/stats
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:20 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/scgi-bin
[Mon Oct 20 02:27:20 2008] [error] [client **.***.**.***] File does not exist: /home/*****/html/stats
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I have decided to build the online portal in PHP, supported by Apache, MySQL hosted on Linux. The most cliched LAMP model.
Did I consider other players?
* Ruby on Rails : It was very much on my plate. I have done small utilities ( a server status monitor and a code snippet repository ) in rails and was blown away by the speed and simplicity of doing things. However 2 things went against RoR.
ORM : My last project was a .NET project on Hibernate. It was a 2 year old project and already it felt like a legacy application with things tuned for performance to the maximum. They had crossed the return on investment period of Hibernate ( when relations stay simple at the beginning of any project ) and now were paying heavily for having Hibernate - performance, complexity, things moving to stored procedures..the usual pain points. So active Record did not interest me - being a one man army I did not want battles couple of months from now when I have to hack to implement a feature.
Server support: Nothing can beat mod_php running on Apache. I had to configure nothing. zilch. With ROR things are still emerging - and I do not have the confidence in this space. A good part of my time does go in administering Apache but its something I am quite familiar. I neednot muck with monit or spend lot of time playing with mongrel (a cluster inside one node!!) to have my app working. Apache just sits there smiling at me doing its work super efficiently.
*Java : I am more familiar with Java and its framework than PHP. But the pace of development, team that is required, hosting requirements is just not feasible nor affordable. When this portal takes off big time I will rewrite it in Java - with a team. That will scale well, be stable - rock solid, and well maintenable. But the goal here is to bring something out as fast as possible, give it to as many people as possible and create a mind space.
*ASP.NET : Forget it. I will not recommend it to anyone - even if I get a 1 billion dollar project to redo microsoft.com. ( well on second thoughts I might reconsider :D - I am not Howard Roark !!)
Hosting : LAMP Hosting is cheap. I decided to go with a Virtual Private Server - gives me lot of freedom and flexibility. It takes some effort and linux know how - but its worth the trouble. More on this later.
In conclusion Php suited me well for the portal I am building - fast and quick ( but dirty like hell imagine code spread all over the place : $this->some_function($this-variable); It hurts the eyes !! )
Next post : How I set up my office space for under 500Rs !!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I am a "techie" who lives in Bangalore. But now I have taken a break to embark on a journey - auspiciously on the day Lehmann Brothers went bankrupt, Goldmann Sachs got degraded and blood bath happened in Wall Street. A journey to explore what it is like to go on your own - to be your own boss and create a business.
Currently I am building an apartment management plus residents communication portal targetted at mid to large sized apartment complexes. Its an alternative to yahoo groups, google groups and orkut that most of the residents use for apartment related communication.
Who this blog is for?
I have been toying with the idea of starting something on my own for quite a long time. Have read lot of blog posts, books and finally now I have taken the plunge. I intend to help out the souls who want to take the plunge - share my experience and learnings in this new life of mine. Also inviting ideas, tips, tricks that you think might help me in my quest.
Also, to keep myself committed to this blog, I am going to say what I am going to post next - on every post.
Next post is going to be about the choice of technology for my portal. Being a techie thats what I can think of first. Stay tuned!!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Google Developer Team"
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wish me luck :)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
If you have been following the last few posts you know how much I am troubled by these books - in a great positive way. "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand is no different like the great books I have read earlier. It puts a twist on individualism by linking it to creativity and how collectivism is crass base and all the bad things it represents. You can read the entire book to appreciate Howard Roark's speech or if you are still curious to know what the ruckus is all about without spending a month or two you can see the speech here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc7oZ9yWqO4 . Don't worry if you are intending to read this book its not going to take anything away.
The book is still sinking in. It kind of justifies some of my actions so far - and kind of makes me feel a little uncomfortable on what I could have / should have done. Instead of mulling over spilt milk this book focuses me like never before - to achieve an objective - can be anything - signing the 1000th autograph of your book and taking a break for your paining knucles, turning on the ignition of an audi and catching yourself in the rear view mirror with that wicked smirk,turning back and looking on the fast disappearing steps in snow on top of K2's peak. ...can be anything. And to achieve that objective you need not compromise on what you believe - the end is not the means by itself. Its the man who is the means. Integrity and uncompromising ideals is what one needs.
I remember another great stretch in this book where Howard Roark explains about "owning" other man's work. You listen to Beethoven or Richard Wagner ( both I have been listening a lot lately ) and kind of get it in your own way - need not be the way Beethoven intended to be appreciated - but in a sense you have owned Beethoven's master piece. You say "yes" in the sense of getting it - and you have owned the master piece. Howard Roark too says that if a person has said "yes" to his work, then that person now will own the building. I know it feels like lot of bs but it made sense to me.."yes' Ms.Ayn Rand :)
Do read it - the love story between Howard Roark and Dominque Francon is kind of weird - not the run off the mill(s and boons) for you - made me uncomfortable reading it in the bus - wondering what my co-passenger think of me if he reads what I am reading - but otherwise it is one "swell" of a book.
I guess I will steal Murakami's short stories from my wife for sometime. Gotto give the guy at the top a little break.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
This book lasted 2 days. Started on a Friday after a colleague of mine managed to steal the book from his wife to keep his promise or to escape from my embarrassing remarks I made about not keeping your promise ( hey Georgie just joking :) ). And I finished it on saturday. I am not bragging - its a simple read and its only 160 pages. The book is full of metaphors and inspiring thoughts. Perhaps I would put it along with Art of the Start by Guy kawasaki. Forget entrepreneuring - its all about thinking through the pathetic mediocre life one is having - and ask oneself - where are you headed.
I remember lying on top of the water tank of my second year hostel along with a friend called Musk. We were watching the flights on the landing path right above our head - with their wheels extended before they touch down minutes later at Meenambakkam. We did not know what business we were going to do but we were multi b and were doing quite some serious globe trotting.
Fast forward 10 years ahead and here I am - living an ordinary life. Day in and day out - the same routine repeats. Work, weekend, work, weekend. Fire up the editor, open word to read the stories ( agile you see !! ), work on a hobby open source project, read some tech blogs and nod or disagree about the latest rant on java or ruby or xml or whatever. Where am I heading? Is this the destiny I am set for? What if I pursued one of the what ifs. Reading this book made me feel - perhaps I should get fired and no one take me back as a salaried employee any more. Perhaps they steal everything from me, like our hero in the book, and he relearns new techniques. This bad book will make you think. There are lot of chains - home loan, kid, responsibilities, but now I feel these are all excuses I keep telling my heart. All this noise has made my heart go quiet. Perhaps it was telling lot of things to me but I kept shutting it up. The hero in the book learns to listen to the heart - perhaps I should try listening to it.
Anyway tomorrow its monday and I join the millions sleep walking through their lives. But tomorrow like Neo in the first part - will wear my black vogue -5 powered sunglass,and step out of my apartment aware that I am not sleeping any more. The Wachowski brothers will shoot the scene from above our apartment's cracked roof - and ....yawn. Tomorrow is IPM and I have to catch some sleep tonight else I will not be able to understand what the stories are all about. Hello reality. Atleast you feed me. And heart..err..some other time. You prepare what you have to tell me - perhaps as a mind map - you know I do not like power point presentations. Not that I hate microsoft but power points are too mind numbing...will rant more in one of my posts.. you read it ok. Ciao.
* Archduke trio - Beethoven's last composition I guess. One of the characters goes on and on about how good it is. I am trying to lay my hands on it - and on the way I am discovering Beethoven. Still I do not know what a minor C or D or symphony or sonata whatever means - but the discovery process has started. Also at the same time my son Mr.Prithvi awakened me about the power of classical music. The other day he was wailing uncontrollably and I was making stupid noises to no awail. Then I started singing the basic Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ne and he became quiet. It was a repeatable experiment. Now when I do variations of it as A B C D E F G H in the same tone he listens. Why -I cant fathom but one thing is certain. Music, especially classical music has some magic. So Beethoven is no more a deaf guy in my Dictionary - getting to know him more.
* This is kind of sick - so kids you can log off now. Our hero kid in the book reads a book - its about the trial of a german nazi general who oversaw the cleansing of Jews. He did his job with no feelings whatsoever. In his trial he outlined the challenges he faced - poor quality of the gas, how to manage the "operation", how he had to over come red tapism. Finally when he was asked dont you feel bad for what you did his response was - I was just carrying out my orders in the best way possible. Is the general to be blamed?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Now again I gave it a go and what a read it turned out to be. Here is some gist of what I felt reading it.
Things in no particular order :
* Robert Pirsig, the author, says about "gumption". What an idea - gumption is kind of an energy cum enthusiasm. You have to earn it by doing things - when you acquire gumption it gives a good feeling - kind of smug and happy feeling. I have felt it lot of times when I fix a problem or do some thing useful. The author says it in the context of fixing a motor bike - but you can feel it at lot of places - installing ubuntu on an old worn out computer. Now the trick is to watch out for the things which will drain gumption.
Ego is the biggest one. If I start doing the work to satisfy my ego it will drain all the gumption. For instance I say to myself alright here I am a linux geek. Now let me get this machine up and running with linux with some nifty hacks - thats a bad start. Now the simplest hurdle - lets say your CD got burnt with a bad sector and installation fails midway - or you cannot get the network up - will quickly drain the built up gumption. Because you started doing this work to satisfy your ego - not to reuse an old discarded machine to do things it was not destined to do when it was built. Now if the approach had all humility - alright let me have some fun in making this old guy see how 2008 looks like - and any small hurdles that come my way I can just hum and fix them - because my goal is not to satisfy my ego. I have felt it more than once - and I get frustrated and throw things away. Gotto watch out for this in future.
* Zen state: Zen, or chen or our own hindi word - dyan- means meditation. There are 3 ways of zenning - forgot the first 2 - something like you sit and meditate with no material thoughts. The 3rd one is the highest state - you do your work live your life and yet be aware of yourself and the outer world and you earn gumption living your life.
Also in another place he says how having a composed and calm mind helps create a great product. All you have to do is take a look at microsoft and ubuntu or OS X. Now microsoft has better developers, more PhDs than apple + linux GNU developers combined. But how can microsoft regularly dish out a sucky operating system - when compared with apple or linux volunteers. Its the state of mind. Microsoft employees have to put up with middle level managers who have to put up with high level managers who have to put up with a chair. Sad. The end result shows the turmoil of mind of the developers. The crazy volunteers blast music rippoed of bit torrent and create a rocking OS that is changing the world.
*Quality: What is quality. He starts by saying how quality splits classic view and romantic view. Oh I forgot to tell what is classic and romantic right. The parts of the motorcycle, the property, the science behind it - its the classic view. The beauty of the parts jelling together, the hum produced by the bike - just the joy of seeing a well built machine - its all the romantic view. Art vs hard facts. While reading it I got a feeling that perhaps I have not made much of an effort to appreciate the romantic side of things - trying to appreciate art, classical music - the right side brain of things. Perhaps with my educational background had always a classic bent on things.
Anyway, he first argues that quality is the entity that splits the world into classic and romantic - but then he dwells more into this hypothesis and comes with a brilliant analysis of how quality does not split the world but actually binds them and its the third entity. Kind of a trinity.
*Reference to Illiad : Now last december I read Illiad and there was a passage which Robert Pirsig had quoted in this book. Its about the villian ( but you will not get the feeling reading the book ) - Hector - going to his final battle where he will be killed by Achilles. His wife pleads him not to go and Hector speaks how heros speak with valour and pride. I was pleasantly surprised to see this passage getting quoted. Now the author brings this up to bash poor Aristotle. It seems till Aristotle came around the Greeks cherished such virtues - like how Hector speaks about destiny and living his full life and dying at war. Aristotle came and tried to define everything and there are things that cannot be defined - why will a man go to die or display his valour? - and that was the beginning of the end of romanticism in life. Everything has to be defined - else it does not exist according to Aristotle.
Now the author does not stop here - he goes on to make a connection between quality, virtue and dharma. - my brain just froze. You have to read this stretch to appreciate the philosophy.
*Mu : This was very interesting. Mu is a japanese word. Now a zen scholar was asked is there God in a dog. His answer was Mu. Its neither a yes or a no. It is one of the tri states - and in fact it means the question has too broad a context. Narrow your context or change your question. Pirsig in his onslaught of Aristotle explains this word - we cannot split everyting into two - and so on - we have to appreciate this fuzziness.