Dhathathreya – The Story

December 25th, 2007

Anyone who is familiar with Indian temples would know about a practice called “archanai“. Three simple details such as your name, birth star and gothram (family lineage) are necessary to do it. Ofcourse, this practice differs slightly in different places. Legend says it that, each of the gothras that we know of now, started with Rishis (holy saints) thousands of years ago to help spread human inhabitants around the world.

What we are interested in today is about a specific family lineage known as “Athreya” (popularly known as Athreya Gothram). In the very limited Sanskrit that I know, ‘A’ (pronounced as ‘uh’) means “not” & ‘Threya’ means three. Therefore, Athreya means “not three”. The saint named Athreya got such a name because he eschewed three qualities which is predominant in some form or other in most males.

The 3 qualities which he eschewed were kama (material desires including but not limited to sex), krodha (anger) and loba (misery – in the context of not being a miser). Such a man is very difficult to see these days. During one of his meditations, his future wife named Anusuya noticed him and got impressed with his qualities. “Suya” means jealousy on other’s well being. Hence, as you correctly concluded, Anusuya means, someone who has absolutely no jealousy on other’s well being. Such people are satisfied with what they have and they don’t have the greed to look for more. Anusuya marries Athreya.

After a few years into marriage, they didn’t have any children. God, noticing such a thing, thought that, to propel the family lineage, they needed to have a son. So the Lord decided to get himself adopted to such a glorious couple. Adoption in Sanskrit is denoted by the word ‘Dhattha’ (pronounced as Dhat-tha). Since the Lord was adopted by the Rishi named Athreya, the Lord came to be known as DhatthaAthreya (meaning – the son adopted by Athreya Rishi :) ) and preserved the family lineage till date.

Sanskrit is an awesome language. Every alphabet has superb meanings, for many of which there is no equivalent word in English/any other language.

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Event – Pipes Camp

December 21st, 2007

Good friend and fellow ‘BarCamp’er Bosky is organizing an one day event called PipesCamp. This unconference happens on day after tomorrow (23-Dec-2007) and celebrates about the Yahoo! Pipes. Head on to the PipesCamp site to learn more about this event.

When: 23-Dec-2007
Where: Hotel Shan Royal, Koyambedu, Chennai

:)

About 1 and a half years ago, before I had begun my day job, there was plenty of time to explore various things. With my joining date at approx. 2 months away, myself and a set of friends thought of spending the available time usefully. That was when we thought we would do software for some of the T.Nagar bigwigs such as Saravana Stores, Jayachandran textiles etc. Ofcourse, we did not get to do software as we were pure amateurs; but then, talking to them was an awesome experience in itself. One such experience was the talk we had with the owner of Jayachandran textiles.

For those who don’t know Jayachandran textiles, it’s a huge textiles showroom located on the famous, ever-crowded Ranganathan Street of T.Nagar.

Four of us – 3 passouts (me, 2 friends) & one of my friend’s dad – went to the textile shop at about 8.30 PM. Through some people that my friend’s dad knew, we got to meet the owner in about 15 minutes. The owner was around 81 years old. Very tall, majestically built & he was in perfect shape at 81 years. The moment the 3 of us stepped in to his cabin, he stood and bowed before us, his palms stuck together as if in a prayer. I was humbled by this act of his. He offered chairs for us and then asked what we wanted.

We explained to him that we were graduates in computer science and engineering and that we wanted to spend the time usefully by doing software. He thought over for sometime. Then, when he spoke, it was crystal clear advice. He told that his son was taking care of software-enabling the huge store. Hence, we had to discuss with him. Secondly, he added that, since we were just graduates, we would not be having much experience and that we also didn’t know the business, which is crucial for developing good software. Thirdly, he also told us that, one of their software contractors were in the next street having about 10 people under them to manage the whole software problems and updates for the store; adding that he would refer us if we were interested in working for them.

All the three points mentioned above were told in crystal clear manner, in a non-hurting way & in a sense that would get us to start learning the business first. With an age difference of 60 years between us and approximately 50 years into the textile business, he could have thrown us out and could have done anything possible to embarass us. But that did not happen. He showed us the culture, the respect that he had for fellow humans. It also means that he had not forgotten his past and did support the persons who were his stepping stones for success.

We have a lot to learn and improve from such people :D. That was one such visit that I can never forget in my lifetime.

Yay! registrations for proto.in 2008 first edition have opened 😀

If you wish to attend the event, do register as soon as possible. There are very limited seats available. And for those who register before 31st December 2007, there is a early bird discount of 50% of the event fees.

 Important links:

Hurry up!!

Dialup woes & webpage load times

December 10th, 2007

As said in the previous post, my broadband connection is still down :(. If you happen to know anyone in BSNL who can get things done, please let me know.

Now for the interesting part. Over the past 3 years or so, i.e. every since broadband internet became common place, I was taking internet for granted :). We are connected forever 😀 and there are now tons of ways to communicate. So, with the broadband down, I tried the long forgotten dialup route.

Gmail has been one of my favourite email services. They made some new UI changes and the new UI email can be accessed at http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2. This UI doesn’t load at all. It takes more than 7 minutes on a 40 kbps dialup. This is atrocious. Heck, even the old UI takes more than a minute and a half to load. You can ofcourse tell me about the plain HTML interface. But its barely usable and it sucks.

Yahoo mail is even worse. The new beta UI takes about 5 minutes. To create a new email, I clicked on the “new” button on the left side. Immediately, a small dialog box appeared saying, “Looks like the interface is taking time to load. You may want to try the mail classic until then.” Even, the damn classic interface is very slow. With ajax also disabled on that, you never even get any new mail notifications. Email experience has been the worse since the last 3 days.

Then rediffmail came along :D. Loading of interfaces took a bright turn. The new ajax based interface loads in less than 30 seconds. Rediffmail classic loads in about 10 seconds, which is pretty cool. Imagine people sitting in remote villages. They don’t have access to broadband. Mail experience for them also will be awesome :D. Out of a many small things, I do miss the keyboard shortcuts in rediffmail.

 I was experimenting with the PayPal Instant Payment Notification service (new post on the tech blog coming soon) since yesterday. All the pages are secure and each pages takes an average of 3 to 5 minutes to load. You wouldn’t believe me if I said that, I had brushed my teeth in that gap of page loads and even had bath when waiting for a manual to load :).

Hmmm… is there a way to detect the connection speed of the client during a web page request? If so, we can build better UIs for the even the worse affected.

Update: After a lot of shouting & fighting, my broadband problem got resolved.

Java ME – OTA Problems

December 7th, 2007

OTA means “Over The Air provisioning” – which also means downloading a Java ME app directly on your mobile phone. Therefore, OTA means, just plain downloading. That’s all!

But there are some problems. I developed a simple application using netbeans 6 and wanted to do a OTA deployment of the application. Hence, both the JAD & JAR files were uploaded to the web server. Now, I opened the web browser on my mobile and typed out the url of the JAD file. Usually, there is a property called on the JAD file called MIDlet-Jar-URL. It contains the link to the jar file. E.g. If suppose the JAD is located at http://aswinanand.com/app.jad, the MIDlet-Jar-URL in the JAD file will contain related properties of the JAR file including its download link. 

Hence, when a mobile identifies a JAD file, it will search for MIDlet-Jar-URL property, fetch the download link & download and install the application on your phone. What happened here was that, even though the JAD file was in perfect condition, it just got rendered as plain text on the mobile’s browser. The JAR was not downloaded and installed. Soon, I found out that the MIME type of JAD was different and that, for JAD files, “Content-Type” HTTP header has to be set to “text/vnd.sun.j2me.app-descriptor“. For JAR files, the “Content-Type” HTTP header has to be set to “application/java-archive“.

My web server runs apache. Hence, I just created a .htaccess file with the following entries:

  1. AddType text/vnd.sun.j2me.app-descriptor .jad
  2. AddType application/java-archive .jar

Now the JAD file was recognized perfectly by the phone :-). The JAR was downloaded and installed properly :D. More info on OTA can be obtained from here.

Well.. broadband connection has been down for almost 5 days. This blog post is coming up on a boring dialup connection. Now I know why mobile internet cannot come anywhere close to a desktop computer with broadband. But despite the connectionless days, the 5 days have been happier because I have had a few realizations.

On day-2 of the internetless day, I got up as usual & turned on gmail.com to check for any new mails. I had completely forgotten the fact that net has been down. After hitting on the fact that net was really down… I was wondering on how to spend the next 2 to 3 hours usefully. Incidentally, one of my friends had sent me an computer algorithms book a few days back. So, I’m back to a nice revision of the basics along with brushing up of the awesome ruby on rails framework.

Second thing is that, I have started developing a purely non-computer related skill. This has been on the cards for a sufficiently long time and the interest in it had not died down a single bit. I’m quite pleased to have started it whole-heartedly (along with a guide ofcourse :) ). Now, a few minutes (read 30 to 45) in the morning will be spent for this. More details on the new skill later.

Third thing is that, I visited HigginBothams book store on Sunday & found a superb book titled “Secrets of the world’s inspirational women” by Zerbanoo Gifford. While browsing the book, I came across a line that said, “Professional success is excellent. But when it starts taking a toll on your life, then success becomes a failure”. That is awesome 😀 isn’t it? That single line conveys a lot of things.

That’s about it for now… will be back soon.