This is one of my all-time comic favorite strips. This is such fun to read Calvin and Hobbes strips. What strikes me most is the expressions of the characters especially Calvin and his dad as well. I’ve heard that the dad character is based on Bill Watterson (the cartoonist) himself. I was going through an archive of the strip and I found two good ones – one is about the snowball and another on money.

There is a new kid (language) on the block called Nemerle . It is an interesting hybrid language and at first impression, it looks like a mix of Perl and C#. It has some interesting things such as the when loop instead of the if loop as well as dynamic typing which makes it an interpreter-kind of language. I liked the def syntax but not the mutable syntax. Just first impressions…

The tutorial gets right down to business and there is a separate page which neatly lists the differences between Nemerle and C# in a table. There has already been a 0.10 release as well and works on Mono 0.30 as well as Microsoft .NET.

An interesting aspect is that Nemerle is yet another open source technology, and language in this case that is taking advantage of the .Net and Mono frameworks (as compared to the Java framework). The fact that these frameworks are fuelling such innovation is very compelling. Also, the multi-language capability of .Net/Mono is highlighted here.

I want to make thing one clear – I don’t like the Microsoft executives (who do their FUD tactics) but I do like the Microsoft engineers such as Anders Hejlsberg who created the C# language.

That being said, how would you like to write in a language which talks XML just like any other objects you create? How about talking to databases just like creating functions without using any database APIS such as JDBC or ADO.NET?

Fascinating, isn’t it? Microsoft researchers have proposed extending the C# (or Java)language and called it the Xen language which allows you to do this. There is a good article on ExtremeTech.com regarding this. You can read the original paper as well.

I will be preparing for a presentation on Xen for my 8th semester… :-)

Here is the presentation : g2xen.ppt

I finally got a decent 2nd line internet connection from BSNL – it’s great! It is an ordinary telephone line connection but I have never seen 4-5 kbps average download speed on a telephone line before. I then found out that my friends too surf mostly on Linux because it is a lot faster than Windows even with the same phone line!

Eric S Raymond, affectionately called ESR, has called on Sun Microsystems to let Java go and make it open source just like they did for NFS which went on to become very popular. This article has created a lot of controversy in the open source community.

The truth is that Sun Microsystems has done a lot for the open source community and their contributions are invaluable – from OpenOffice.org to XEmacs. Of course, Java is currently not open source but there is nothing preventing an open source implementation of it. I think Sun Microsystems has business concerns in mind which is keeping them from making Java open source, but this does not undermine the fact that they have contributed a lot to open source and is indeed a respected member of the open source community.

Yesterday morning, I attended the GATE exam. I did very well considering my (lack of) preparation :-) . Paper was quite easy actually considering that it consisted of what we have already studied … but I still feel that the probability of me solving a probability problem is …. I don’t know, I already told you I couldn’t solve probability problems!

In the evening, I attended the Bryan Adams concert at Palace Grounds. I had gone alongwith my buddies Balaji, Nitin and Srinivas. We were waiting for the show to begin from 5pm. We were let in to the ground by around 5.30 . With more than 30,000 people in the grounds, there was so much pushin’ and shovin’ and suffocation, and to think I paid 600 rupees for this! That’s when I (wittily?) commented to my buddy "I haven’t suffered so much even in Tirupati. Why should I here?" the pretty girl standing in front of me, heard me and giggled.

After a lot of chanting of "DNA sucks" (DNA Networks were the organizers of the concert), things finally started happening at 8, but the wrong things. Aasma, the pop band, came out to sing but they were booed off the stage after 2 songs. Then Dragonfly came and sang about 4 songs – one was pretty good but we were just too tired of waiting to listen.

Finally, Bryan came out at around 9:15 and started singing immediately. Then all of us got into the mood and Bryan sang all our favourite songs – 18 Til I Die, Run to You, I’m Ready, Back To You, Cloud #9, Everything I Do, …. he sang for nearly 2 hours and believe me, when I say, it was worth all the trouble. We just had the most awesome time and to think that if I could take about 10 steps, I could have shook hands with Bryan – that’s how close I was to the stage.

After a "We want more" chant, Bryan sang some more songs and finally it was time to go home. Then I told the pretty girl that "I don’t know about Tirupati, but this sure was a spiritual experience for me ;-)" . After we reached the parkin’ lot, we waited and waited for the traffic jam to get cleared – we waited more than an hour in the parking lot. Then finally we got something to eat on the way and I reached home about 2 in the night, but it was all worth it…

I watched the "The Last Samurai" yesterday – excellent movie. Those Japanese are so disciplined and honourable and spiritual (well, atleast according to the movie). I couldn’t believe it was actually Tom Cruise – this is the first movie of his that I really appreciated.

Read "The Bourne Identity" by Robert Ludlum – this guy was such a genius – he has the ability to keep the reader on the edge of the seats throughout the book. Inspiring stuff.

Java 1.5 beta codenamed "Tiger" was released today. I see that a lot of good things from C# have been taken up. For example, boxing and unboxing in C# is now in Java and is called autoboxing and auto-unboxing (No, it is not manual in C#, it is also auto).

Java also has a new twisted way of the foreach loop in C# but still sticking to the keyword "for". In the C# world you do things like

foreach (int i in somearray)
{
   // blah blah ...
}

In the Java 1.5 world, you do the same thing as

for (Integer i : somearray)
{
   // blah blah ...
}

Now, even enum is finally in Java 1.5 . If only they could add value-type structs in Java, that would give a huge boost to Java performance. Moral of the story? That Java and C# are taking so much of each other’s features that it is hard to draw a line between them.

So choosing between them is based on factors like performance (.NET easily wins over Java here), philosophy (Sun vs Microsoft), multi-language interoperability (lots of languages in .NET vs Java). Needless to say, I don’t think any of them are going to become the one standard platform. Both are going to compete and will be the two standard choices for a platform. Competition is good!

So finally exams are over! I saw Varsham yesterday in Pallavi theatre. It was
a streeeeeetched movie. These guys are so talented that they copied two scenes from Matrix and were able to convert it into a 3 hour movie! But some of the songs and jokes were good. Overall? Just time pass, yaar. But the songs are really really good.

On a completely different note, me and my friends decided to go to Lalbagh today for a jog. When we reached the Glass House, a couple of Doordarshan guys came over, stuck a camera in my face (while my friends fled) and asked me about the latest developments regarding Lalbagh. It went something like this:

Interviewer: The flower show will not be held inside the glass house
anymore. What’s your opinion?

Me:
Well, it’s a good idea considering that maintenance of the glass house has been so much of a problem. Lalbagh is so big – they can have the flower show anywhere.

Interviewer:
Lalbagh is being handed over to BDA. What’s your opinion?

Me:
Jayakar Jerome has been doing such a terrific job. I’m sure Lalbagh will improve now that BDA is taking care of it. I have full confidence in Mr. Jerome.

Now, what’s the channel number of Doordarshan on my TV… hmmm…