Monday Jul 24, 2006

Gregor Samsa is a ... software bug?


Just came across this "Daily WTF" entry and loved it. If Kafka was alive now, would he ever metamorphosize Gregor Samsa into a software bug? :)

Have you seen any similar interesting literary reference(s) in source code elsewhere?

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Wednesday Jun 28, 2006

On Fermat, his last theorem and a musical??

Pierre de Fermat

I had liked an earlier book of Simon Singh and love numbers (well, who doesn't) and so grabbed the Fermat's Enigma from a local library a couple of weeks ago and happened to read it last week.

After all who can resist a teaser that goes "I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this margin is too narrow to contain." Well, apparently a whole world of mathematicians have been on or helped this quest for 350 odd years, when an English mathematician of Princeton ("after working in isolation for eight years") finally cracked it, or did he?

A truly rivetting account of a painstaking mathematical journey. Highly recommended for a wonderful Saturday/Sunday afternoon read. Apart from Simon Singh's clear lucid summary of some of the tricky mathematics surrounding the book (such that even a layperson, like me too ahem, can understand), what is commendable about the book, atleast IMO, was that it brings forward the interesting aspects of the lives of the mathematicians involved in the quest.

What the interweb also got me later was the other side of the FLT quest: Pop culture references, limericks, poems and even a off-broadway musical!!

Now, what do I need to do to understand the proof ... sigh :)

Monday Feb 27, 2006

Puzzling over cricket on a lazy sunday afternoon .....

Who doesn't love puzzles ... and especially on a lazy sunday afternoon?

Yesterday afternoon, I was thumbing "The Worst of MindSport", a collection of puzzles run by Mukul Sharma in his "MindSport" column. FWIW, "MindSport" was a famous weekly column in "Illustrate Weekly of India" and now-a-days it features in "Times of India". It was said that there were a section of folks who bought the newspaper just for his column, just like there is a group who get the ToI for RK Laxman's daily cartoon column.

Anyway found two interesting puzzles from the book, worth sharing here ...

1. Did you know what is common among all the US presidents after George Washington ?

Answer [ROT13'ed]: (copy this line into the text area at and press "Cypher").

Nyy gurve ynfg anzrf unir ngyrnfg bar yrggre va gur frg 'Jnfuvatgba'

Is this why Kerry couldn't make it last time?

2.This is more a cricketing problem than a puzzle. Cricket is religion in India (I haven't been actively following our cricket team since idols wept ... but that's a story for another day).

The problem goes like this: It is the last ball, last wicket in a match and the batting side needs a run to win the game. So the batsmen hits a beautiful shot and one could easily run 3 runs with that stroke. However the batsman is injured (broke his leg -- hypothetical, remember!) making the shot and can't run (no runner for him..).

So he calls his non-striker team-mate to start the run. The batsman gets out of his crease for a few inches and the non-striker completes his run. He asks the non-striker to go for another run and the batsman gets back into his crease. He argues that the first run was a "short" run and the second one was a valid run since he returned "back" to his crease. Do they win the match or not?

Apparently Mukul Sharma met Dom Moraes [apparently was an avid cricket fan] once and posed him this and he apparently held that this was not a run for various reasons. The author doesn't go on to explain the rules of the game that explain either way.

However readers of this space, this is where you come :). Could you help me out? Use the comments section to point to me some arcane MCC rule, show me some old Ashes/subcontinental precedent .. help me solve this problem.

Monday Feb 13, 2006

Hello World !

... and so I have been bitten by the blogger bug as well.

Wasn't it Andy Warhol who said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." ? Of late, I think, bloggers are atleast famous for 15 seconds worldwide in everyone's feed reader ... and so here is my rather weak attempt ;)

At Sun, I work as a development engineer in the Sun Java System Application Server/Project GlassFish team and lead the implementation of the Connectors and Sun Java System Message Queue integration modules. In short, I am another fish in the aquarium :)

I also co-own the Generic Resource Adapter for JMS project at

In the coming days, I intend to write more about GlassFish, particularly about the areas I work on and my other personal interests. Please feel free to provide your comments/feedback/suggestions.


Sivakumar Thyagarajan-Oracle


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