Prashant's Weblog
Random Brain "Droppings" of yet another software engineer

Monday, April 28, 2008

Code Quality

Quantifying code quality cant get any simpler :)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Randy Pausch's last lecture and obsession with death

Today was seriously reading something at office when the outlook new email alert flashed with a subject line announcing "A Beautiful Lecture"...I was like..hmm ok, lets see whats this all opened the email. It had nothing but said "Good Morning" and had a with nothing else to do I clicked on the link. When the page loaded I was ..NO, PLEASE, NOT AGAIN...yeah you guessed it right, it was link to Randy Pausch's last lecture.

I really loved the lecture when I first saw it at a friend's blog, but was not prepared for "forward" hysteria I have seen associated with this video. I really started to wonder, Randy's speech, thought very inspiration , is not the first of its kind or the only of its kind. I am sure You Tube is filled with such videos, so why such a reaction to this video? Why are we so obsessed with death?

Its not with just Randy, but you will find umpteen examples, from Buddha to now Randy, where in you will find that when you focus on topic of death, it propels you into self awareness, morality, life etc. Why is this so?

In the movie "Bucket list", Cole and Carter have the best time of their lives only after being diagnosed with terminal Cancer. So why does knowing the fact that you will die soon triggers "developments" that probably wouldn't have been seen other wise?

Through death, you dissolve in to the global "Carbon pool" and there are good chances of you being picked up and casted in to say a ring in bark of a spruce tree, which allows you to live much much longer than being part of fragile human body, so going by this logic, why don't we feel good about death and why are we so afraid of it or feel so weak about it?

Labels: ,

Monday, April 07, 2008

Live life, Zara Hat Ke

When you read the stories about Jonathan Dunham, Georgia Getz or Andy, you really need to think hard to answer the question, How do you categorize these people? Are they insane, foolish or are they just living life to the fullest?

Jonathan quits his job and decides to find the meaning of life by walking the earth!! and if thats not good enough reason to classify him as a "HIGHLY INSANE" consider this..he has a found a partner in Judas to accompany him in his journey, all sounds fine until you find out that Judas is a Donkey, yeah a Equus asinus.
Georgia's story sounds a bit more sane...she bid good bye to her family for five weeks in a sponsored hybrid car to "date", 250 bloggers across 182 cities in 42 states, if thats not crazy enough, she says more are being added every day.
Andy quit his job with probably one of the best company in the IT industry and decided to travel the world for a year.

So whats with these people? What drives them to renounce the safety and comfort of their job, family, house and depart from known surroundings to explore the unknown, encounter new people and places? Is there a purpose or a motive behind such travels? What do they or what have they achieved out of it so far?

Well I don't have any such first hand experience, so its difficult to pin point the factors of motivation for them, but personally be it trekking the barren desert land of Leh or Ruins of Hampi or the thick forests of Munnar etc.. one thing that keeps driving you is the possibility of uncertain outcomes. You never know what you will encounter next. Will it be breath taking view of Leh's frozen mountains or exquisite carving of temples or herd of wild elephants in Shola forests, you never know and probably this expectation of the unexpected keeps you going.

Be it the physically taxing ascent of brahmagiri peak or spending the night in the nerve chilling cold of Bharathpur, the reason you do it is probably because these circumstances challenge you be it physical, emotional or intellectual and probably its the adrenaline rush which you experience when you overcome these keeps you going.

After coming back from the Leh trek, I was wondering what were we thinking to cycle all the way to the Kardung La pass(Worlds highest motorable pass)(we could go only half the distance)...It was probably just to experience that "at the peak" experience, that was the reward for which we were ready to tax our plump body, ready to push ourselves beyond the edge, so to say. Probably its the same with those guys..just to experience that "at the peak" moment they keep going.

Leisure stroll of the Hampi ruins was not "adventurous", but enjoyed every moment of it. But why? Probably because I was experiencing something new, new place, new food, new people, new culture and thats what simulates the excitement and a will to carry on. It should be the same with them. Exploring new place and new culture.

Another reason I loved the trip to Hampi was probably the boring, dull,slow routine that life had become(not that its any different now) . Job-home-job and the eternal cycle continues and this trip helped to break and escape that shackles. I guess it might be the same for them. Shed the dull,boring life and grow a new life.

What ever it is thats motivated them, one thing is sure, I seriously envy them. From the bottom of my heart. Life gets entangled in the web of EMI's, SIP's, Job's, family commitments etc so much that you start to believe that this is all there is to life. But then when you read stories like these only then you realize how much of a "Matrix" world you are in subdued by the Blue pills which we ourselves swallow or are forced by the society to swallow. But then these guys have swallowed the Red pill to see probably the real life. Both living same life, same existence, but they are living life, zara hat ke.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is Dr. Dolittle phenomenon possible in real life??

Received the link to this video as a email forward. Trust me, I was completely floored by what I saw in the video. I am not sure if this a doctored video, but if we assume the other way then we do have lot to think about;

- Are animals intelligent to have a sense of shape and proportionality?
- Can animals develop the cognitive ability to visualize objects?
- If they do develop cognitive abilities to visualize objects, can it develop to such high order that they can see objects in 3D(how elephant actually looks) and then reduce it to 2D(on a drawing sheet)?
- It had the dexterity in its trunk to start from the point where it had stopped. Is such dexterity common among animals?
- If you see the final image, three legs are in the ground while the fourth is in air. This is how they walk in reality. How is it possible for a animal to self evaluate (how it walks) and then reproduce the same as a painting?
- At the end of the film you will see that the elephant re-traces all the lines in the picture which are not bold because of lack of ink in the brush while drawing those lines. This is two step process, first, realize that the line is not bold and second trace the same line once again. If you ask me this is simply amazing
- When it drew the flower, the leaves are placed in a symmetrical fashion. Now you need a sense of symmetry to accomplish that task. Do animals have that?
- Also the elephant did not overshoot the drawing page and it made sure it drew all the objects of the painting within the boundary of the paper canvas. This is another skill of very high order.

So after watching this video I wonder;

- Can non-humans be trained to develop skills and cognitive abilities which equate to so called "uniquely human" faculties like Language etc. in short, is "Dr. Dolittle " phenomenon possible in real life?
- Looking at it the other way, are there any aspects in the way humans communicate that makes conveying certain messages unfeasible but is possible to do so by the way other animals communicate?

I don't have the answers. But am sure seeking answers to these would be one really fascinating journey touching upon diverse fields like linguistics, biology, physical anthropology , sociology etc..

Labels: , , ,