Sunday Sep 21, 2008

I ain't a Software Instructor

Sun isn't a software company, neither a mere hardware vendor; it's a Systems Company, where equal importance and attention is given to the Research & Development of components in both hardware (Servers and Storages) and Software portfolio. For rather a long period of time, my sessions have been more oriented on the Sun Software stack, obviously running myself into the danger of losing touch with the developments in the field of Sun Systems. Just when it seemed to me that I would be out of touch with Sun Hardware offerings, the folks in the published picture below came to my rescue by dropping in to Sun classroom for a discussion about Sun Fire HES. It was fun! Thank you all for some great time.



This evening I'm off to Hyderabad for an Access Manager training, a product which isn't certainly a piece of hardware . But clearly, I ain't a Software Instructor either!

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

Celebrate the Independence Day

On a telephonic conversation with my parents, a week back or so, when I conveyed to them about my journey to Delhi for a training on the week of India Independence Day, I could feel a pause and then a sigh of anxiety on the other end. They had every reason to be anxious, especially after a series of unfortunate events like serial bomb blasts, unfolding itself in some of the well-known places in India. Some one else advised, before I set out my journey to Delhi this week, to try and keep myself away from all crowded locations on the day, when India would celebrate its 62nd Independence Day. As an Indian, it isn't encouraging, having to celebrate the country's freedom with a mind that's not completely free from fear. And it's unfortunate that the situation is such as above and that many wouldn't know whom to point the finger at for such a sorry state of affairs.

Having said all these, it's no doubt a matter of pride, remembering India to be the motherland of some great visionaries, whose inspiring words are reasons for solace and hope for all of us. And with our country finding its way to the list of Gold Medal Winners in the worlds biggest stage for sports, one would only be hopeful to see such fabulous stories of human achievements repeating itself for our Nation and that all of us would continue to strive for such perfect accomplishments in our respective fields that includes but not limited to Arts, Agriculture, Science, Sports, Spirituality and Technology, placing India among the top contributors to the world in all aspects mentioned above. Wouldn't that be a reason to feel proud of our Nation and hold its flag flying high? Well and truly yes and so be it.



On a day as this, it isn't sufficient to look forward to a promising future, but would also be appropriate to sit in retrospection, remembering the heroic deeds of thousands of Freedom fighters, paying them tribute at least in thoughts. Honestly, I have never been able to feel with my heart any amount of pain while reading about the freedom struggle in India! Their pain, their struggles, only they knew. People like me who is living in an era much forward to the pre-independence period cannot even touch one dimension of the pain that the freedom fighters went through to gain Independence. The magnitude of sufferings of many Indians during the course of fight for freedom is indeed hard to imagine. All I can say is, I'd be gasping for breath if I walk a few kilometers at stretch, I'd be wanting for food if I starve for a day, leave alone marching 240 miles on foot, fasting for weeks and that too not for any selfish reasons, but for the sake of generations to follow, which is you and me. It's very clear, they weren't ordinary men, who fought for our freedom, but brave souls, who lived and died for a noble cause. It's their victory that we celebrate today, saluting them mentally for all the heart-throbbing chapters that they wrote in the Indian History

Lastly, before I leave this space, I would wish to mutter under my breath, the words of Gurudev, which I feel is no less significant in an era that we live in. In fact, it is more appropriate to utter this prayer in this present age:

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake"

Let's all Celebrate the India Independence Day with a heart full of gratitude and respect towards all those who devoted their entire life for the freedom struggle and with a pledge as neatly expressed by one of my mentors in his reply to my Independence Day wishes, "Every citizen of this nation, I believe, should think and work on those lines to take this great nation to its cherished destination devoid of poverty, unemployment and other evils afflicting society." Jai Hind.

Thursday Feb 28, 2008

SELECT keynotes FROM suntechdays08 WHERE day=02



Doesn't the title sound really weird? The gentleman in picture would disagree. Neither would he tolerate someone pronouncing MySQL as "My-See-Kwel" . Didn't Rich Green in his keynote make it clear that MySQL is actually "My-Ess-Kyew-Ell" and NOT "My-See-Kwel"? Most of us are used to say it the 'wrong way' and now It's hard to change, I know. But for this man and his mate, who opened up immense opportunities in the field of database, can't we extend at least this small favour of twisting our tongue slightly differently? Let's try it.

David Axmark walked quite unhurriedly on to the dais. He spoke very calmly and with minimal body movements. It was indeed a charm to watch the co-founder of MySQL speak about its history, Innovation by different means, the decision to make it freely available and finally joining Sun on Tuesday, February 26 2008. The story that David told this morning was a pleasure trip for all of us on the evolution of a popular database, used by some big names in the market. Here is a humble attempt to produce the summary of his keynote today at Sun Tech Days 2008 :

I captured the first slide that David used, titled MySQL History and I think I can safely INSERT (God I'm already influenced this db) that in here, undistorted:

\* 1982: First database code is written
\* 1995: First pure MySQL code
\* 1996: Public release & over 1000 downloads
\* 2001: 'Real' company started. First investment CEO joins
\* 2008: Sun acquires MySQL for 1 Billion USD

David then continued his story telling us how adamant they were to stick on to the '15 minutes rule.' Now in case if you wonder what this 15 minutes rule is all about, this is what David would say about it: "So we worked hard to make the installation and the first use as easy as possible. We came up with the 15 minutes rule: we wanted a user to be able to have MySQL up and running 15 minutes after he finished downloading it." [Read about it in an interview with David Axmark here].

Another one slide that David displayed during his keynote talked about the fact that Innovation in OpenSource tends to be a lots of small but very useful ideas. As an example he mentioned about how the SELECT statement made its way into MySQL, an idea came from the founder of PHP, which now has spread to other databases.

David admitted that he didn't know much of Java and when there was need to develop a JDBC driver for mysql, they looked at various drivers developed by the University students, picked up the best one and hired the guy who created it! He went on to say how open sourcing a product helps to easily identify the right talent (may be for hiring) as against the traditional method of going through the CV, a process that would take longer time for obvious reasons.

He recalled how difficult it was to convince the market on the advantages of giving away the product for free and that too in an era when open source wasn't a very popular affair. I felt excitement in his voice when he mentioned, because it was open source and free, they could find a lot of people using their database in a very in a very short span of time. And when such a free and open stuff works, then why think of another.

One another advantage of open sourcing a product, he says, is to have the code scrutinized by a number of Security organizations rather than one company certifying a product as secured, get instant feedbacks about the security flaws and fix it immediately. He mentioned that a large amount of code in MySQL was written by the community.

When David listed a number of programming languages that could connect to MySQL, I wished I could think of one language that I knew or heard of, which wasn't in the list. But I doubt, coz just about any programming language on this planet can connect to this database.

David concluded his keynote telling us all how excited he was to join Sun, but at the same time didn't conceal his anxiety of moving from a smaller firm to organization with well over 30,000 people. David's presentation was such an informative one.

Vijay Anand, Vice President in the Server Technologies Division at Oracle Corporation, India was the next keynote speaker this morning. Tell you what, I was quite impressed with his flawless presentation and his in depth knowledge on the topic that he was handling. He had two Senior Product Managers from Oracle showcasing a demonstration of their Middleware Fusion components.

I have seen Vijay Anand speaking at last year Sun Tech Days as well. Last year, it was as if he was stuck to the podium and maintained very minimal eye contact with the audience. But this year, he walked around the stage, made proper eye contacts with the audience, paused at the right spot to induce curiosity among the audience. He had broken his presentation into several logical sections, which made really good sense and more than that he injected the right amount of information, with appropriate examples everywhere and illustrations. Thanks to Vijay Anand, I got a much better clarity on SOA.



The first few slides in Vijay Anand's keynote talked about the Web 2.0 experience. He then discussed Mashup and the need to employ something similar even in Enterprise, which he called Enterprise 2.0. I enjoyed the way he displayed a slide building one component after the another in such an architecture and that included an ESB, BPEL, and CEP.

A demonstration of the shopping cart experience summarized the whole discussion. One of the Managers who was assisting Vijay Anand in his keynote, demonstrated the Oracle WebCenter and how an Administrator could login to it, check his E-mails, detect credit card frauds, review policies and perform so many activities which are otherwise performed in isolation. A damn neat and convenient way of brining in data from various sources to a single browser space; just the way Web 2.0 magic works. I thoroughly enjoyed what Vijay Anand spoke for about 40 minutes or so.

'Java Jacket Give Away' is a fun event at Sun Tech Days. A handful of delegates are given an opportunity to perform their weird talents on the stage and the audience would choose the weirdest of talent among them and winner gets to take a leather Java Jacket. I don't think this years 'Java Jacket Give Away' event was as good as the one last year. The Java Jacket was given to a girl who sang a classical song. Let me reveal the pattern here: last year also it happened the same way. So make sure that you fine tune your throat before the next Sun Tech Days so that you could give yourself a good chance to carry a leather Java Jacket. This event was followed by cutting a cake, marking tenth anniversary of Sun Tech Days in India.

To all the Sun Tech Days 2008 absentees, if only you wouldn't feel depressed, let me share with you this: the Sun Tech Days celebration this evening had some gorgeous models taking the ramp and walking in tune to the music of a DJ. It was exotic, to say the least. I know your next question, "Where are the photos?" Not answering .

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