Gang of 6...

This blog belongs to 6 ex COE students of NSIT... Though, now, we are all in separate places, studying or working, we hope to remain in touch with each other lest we forget the great time we had back in college. This blog is an attempt to achieve the same. Here's to us...!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What do you think??

I guess the both the point of views are important. One the one hand the company has to make profits and don't all companies desire a monopoly over the market?? I personally don't see anything wrong in MS's intentions but maybe the execution of the intent was all wrong.. But, somehow I can't see such a case coming up in INDIA, ever!!Even if it was admitted into court I am sure that the petitioner would have lost it quickly..

But yeah, on the other hand, the customer also needs to be protected. This debate somehow remonds me of that research-should-not-be-commercialised thing, you know.. The same arguements apply here as well...

Anyways, waise Deepak, I did ask you to write about something, but, not this yaar.. :-) Kuch aur.. I really can't comment much about such stuff.. So here's something else. I guess that this is gonna suit Mr. Krishna and Johnny-who's-won-another-quiz-but-still-no-sign-of-treat as well..

Hmm.., so what do you guys think about capital punishment?? Do you think that we, human beings, have a right to send another human being to the gallows?? Or do you, like Gandalf, believe that it's not a matter for mortals to decide, coz after all, even the very wise can not see all ends.. think about it...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

what all (is/should be) in a os?

Ag has cajoled me into this.. (is this the correct usage)

i just finished a book about us govt's antitrust lawsuit (antitrust: deals with monolopies) against microsoft.
some background about the case:
1995: netscape is formed and launches its web browser, its an instant success
1995-96: ms is worried about netscape, as the browser gives an alternative environment to developers, ie instead of using api's of windows developers can use api's of the browser. this was a threat to ms as this lowered 'applications barrier to entry' in the os market. ('applications barrier to entry': developers write applications for the more popular os, and more the applications more popular the os)
1997-98: ms bundles IE with windows 98, saying its an integral part of the os. (with win 95 IE was an application, not a part of the os). but its competitors and the govt thought otherwise, and the lawsuit followed. ms also prevented computer manufacturers like compaq, dell to remove IE from windows. (later ms also bundles media player with the os.) this pretty much kills of netscape.

now all this got me thinking, what all is part of the os? (speaking both technically and from the user's point of view) .
technically speaking, all things needed to 'operate the hardware' would be part of the os. this would mean that os is bascially a set of device drivers, along with memory management program, schedulers. hence 'applications' like IE, media player, even notepad should not be part of an os.
from a user's point of view, an os should include all software to do some basic operations with aid of a computer. now according to this viewpoint, an os includes applications like IE, media player, notepad, even word and excel. because when you buys a computer, you expect it come with most of the software you need. now these software could be part of os or could be installed by the computer manufacturer.
now software industry is a fairly fragmented one, besides ms there is hardly any software company which is a market leader in a number of products. this means there would be integration issues. i mean, how often windows crashes and how often its due to some application not written by ms.

ok, now this is a long post for me..

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


That is a pretty nice point that you have raised, deepak. The fact that there are questions that can not be answered, and the fact that we can do nothing about them should imply that we don't worry about them. But, isn't that the irony of life?? That, this is exactly what we refuse to do? If only, I could be as non-chalant as some people are, life would be so much easier for me(and for you guys as well..hehe ;-) )

And maddy, yeah, i agree with you when you say that we should be content with what we have right now and not worry about the future, living without the "evil" feelings of pain, jealousy etc.. I agree. But, isn't it also true that a person only appreciates love, joy, satisfaction et al only when he has been deprived of the same for some time. Isn't that the cycle of life? Pain has to follow happiness and vice versa..

By the way, this is not what i was referring to when talking about "living for the moment". I was actually talking about how some people claim to not be thinking about the future at all. After all, even you are talking about planning. And that is all that I was trying to say, plan for road ahead. Maybe I should have added what you just said. Plan, but don't fret.. Hamaare vichaar kitne milte julte hai.. hehe..

So, nice discussions we seem to be having here. But we just missed something. John won a quiz again. And still the treat is nowhere in sight!! Come on john!!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Life is complicated, so enjoy it...

I am really sorry about Raj.
Some time back, when my mausaji passed away I had similar thoughts as Anish. Life is so fickle, one never knows what will happen the next moment. A very small incident can , in just a moment, completely change the lives of many people. A person drives a bit too fast, and many lives change. A doctor makes a very small error in diagnosis and it has an enormous effect on lives of some people. But one cannot control these things. (This is when I think wouldn't it be great if had the option of undoing things, a second chance, as we have in computers)

Then there is this question, why are we here? Is there any special purpose for our existence as preached by many religions, or we are just a result of chemical and biological processes.
Then there is one more question, what happens,if something happens, after death? Do we have a soul, and that goes to some place, or the cells in our bodies just stop functioning.

These questions plagued me for quite some time. I don't know the answers, and probably no one does and probably no one ever will. Then I thought what's the point of these questions, since we will never know the answers. I have come to accept that there are certain things which I just cant control, so why bother about them. If I cannot do anything, then what's the point in worrying. On the other hand, if I can do something, then again there is no point in worrying. So I just try to enjoy life. Its anyway very complicated and tough, why make it more complicated and tougher by fretting on things beyond control.

PS: you read in the paper 100 died in bomb blast, its just another news. Prince is trapped and may die, the whole nation is worried. Why??

Do your duty, the fruits will come

Raj Kiran..... RIP

I want to talk about faith.... not the religious kind. I'm referring to that sort of faith that drives us, that gives us hope that tomorrow will be a better day, that actually makes it possible for us to go about our lives without thoughts of the morbid and of death. Faith keeps us grounded, faith keeps us sane, faith is the basis of human life - it's a belief in the aphorism "I will overcome", that the world shall live in peace one day.

Yet, faith, does not include ignorance; admittedly, one must ACCEPT reality; I highlight the word "accept" here because I feel that it has a very strong connotation - to be able to examine a given situation, let it sink-in/understand it's bearings (correct usage?), possbily learn from it, but not be overwhelmed by it in any way. So when there is a death in the family, or of someone who is close to you, what gives you the courage to carry on? Faith. Life goes on. Instead of turning into a fatalist, you must accept such situations, take control of your life and start "living in the moment". Abhinav may call the latter bullshitting, but it is true, and possible as well. For me, "living in the moment" means many things actually - it entails being without any worry of the future, being happy at the current moment in time, being without the emotions of jealousy, hatred, anger etc. (these, I feel, are emotions that make one undermine the value of life), being thankful for what you have and being ready to ACCEPT what may lie in the future. So, you may plan out the future, but if it doesn't work out in that fashion, do not waste time on self-pity or melancholy, learn from the mishap, accept it and plan ahead.

I really feel that this is the key:

"karmany evâdhikâras te
mâ phalesu kadâcanamâ
karma-phala-hetur bhûr
mâ te sango 'stv akarmani"

"No matter what conditions you encounter in life, your right is only to the works--not to the fruits thereof. You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction."
-Bhagavad Gita 2.47

Anish, thank you for sharing this experience.... it has driven me to think on various levels... some of which I've tried to share here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The point is...

Firstly, really sorry about Raj, anish. When I told my mom about this and told her that he was a friend of yours, she actually got depressed. She started telling me all the things that you are talking about.
And I agree with most of those things, if not all. It's definitely sad to lose someone you know. Even I have, though we were not much more than classmates back at skl. It sure does hurt and does put everything in perspective.. All your plans, your desires and especially all the places where you think that you were unlucky or were short-changed, now that you still remain even though the other is not. Of course, everybody feels that all the bad things just can't happen to them. "Somebody died in that bomb blast. A kid was orphaned!! Man, I feel bad." And that's it. Full stop. Nothing more. I feel the same. Maybe I would get bleary-eyed for a few seconds, but half an hour later you just might catch me watching the episodes of seinfeld or reading LOTR for the 100th time and laughing at kramer's or at sam's histrionics. Because, life goes on. You put it really well anish, when u said that the universe doesn't revolve around us (or should i say, me??)

As you said, we should stop putting off things for later. We should realise the value of time in our lives, coz we aren't here forever. Agreed.

But anish, having said that, it doesn't mean that we stop planning. That we stop thinking about the future. I have heard, so many times, of people who say that they take life as it comes. I say, that's all bull shit. You have to plan, john. Life can't simply be one knee-jerk reaction after another without following any specific plans. There has to be a reason, a method, an underlying framework to structure our lives.

You say, that whatever we do for ourselves doesn't matter. Of course it does..
Maybe I am digressing here, but the point is that no matter how you perceive your life to be, irrespective of whether you think of yourself as the world's biggest recluse or maybe an anchorite, the truth is that there is someone or something whose life you always have an effect upon. There is always someone who depends on you, who derives emotions of either connotation from you. Be it happiness, or displeasure. Be it elation or disappointment. Be it love or hatred. Somebody, somewhere is more dependant on you than you can ever be aware of. And that is why you have to plan. You have to lead your life in a certain fashion which would help your "someone" also lead a happy and successful life. Of course, you shouldn't lead a selfish life, nor do you have to behave like an altruist all the time, but as long as you take care of the ones you love, and the ones who love you, who is to complain?? All we need to do is care. And people won't remember us after 2-3 years?? The ones whose life you affected would. always. As long as I am able to make even one perosn genuinely happy in my life, as long as I can educate even one person, as long as I can bring into the life of an unprivileged person, lasting moments of unbridled joy and leave even a small impression on his heart, I will be satisfied. And I've done that. Atleast some of it. And that's why the fire burns inside me to do something more for humanity. For nature.

Yes, you will marry, have kids, and a job. And he won't. Yes, you might live up to ripe old age and he won't. But does that really matter. Maybe he had achieved all that he wanted from his life. Maybe what would have remained ahead of him was nothing but hardship and struggle and nothing else. In fact, how do you know that you aren't in for all that?? Not for nothing has this earth been called Mrityulok in Hindu mythology. And agnostic though I am, I am sure of at least this much. That, everybody is here for a reason. And you live only so long as to fulfill that reason. Nothing more, nothing less. He was here for a reason, and he went away when the reaosn ceased to exist. So will you, and so will I. But as you said, we aren't the centre of the universe.

So, we remould our lives and continue. Why feel guilty for that?? Why feel guilty for the fact that you can enjoy many things that (supposedly) he can't now. Who knows, maybe he is the one who is now in the best position among us all, having finally unravelled the mystery of death and residing with the almighty one?? Being as close to him as is possible and free of all burdens. Ain't that something to cherish, even desire? Ultimately, why should we fear death?? Because we would leave all the worldly attractions?? All the things that tempt us, force us to commit sins?? It is the ultimate irony of life that we humans cherish most what is the most harmful to us. Money and power.. Imagine a life (yes a life, because that is what it is..) free from all cares and worries, where you could rejoice being close, at last, with him. Imagine being in that state and gettin all the wisdom form him. And imagine that you have to work hard before you could reach him and be worthy of his attention and love. So, don't treat your life ahead as a sinned gift. Take it as an opportunity to wash away your own sins and redeem your self. And to do that, don't just live for the moment, at the moment. Plan. Think. Accomplish. That is what I believe. And that is what the point is..

Sunday, October 01, 2006

what's the point?

Ummm. This is something personal - a bit 'too' personal for some people? I knew Raj Kiran, the AIIMS student who died yesterday due to complications from Dengue fever.

I had known him for around 2 years; first met him at Kamet. Kinda like a friend one might have had at VMC or Fiitjee - not particularly close, but I ran into him quite a few times. Have played badminton with him sometimes, have been to his hostel room, have talked about stuff in general on the bus... It is not clear what I feel worse about - that I will never see or hear from him again, or that I don't feel enough.

It never really hits you, the inherent unfairness of life, unless things like this happen to someone you know. And I can't help thinking about it - how his parents and close friends must feel, all his potential and dreams gone up in smoke. The really tough part is knowing that I'll live after he's gone, that I would go on to have a job, kids, whatever, and he'll not - it will be lucky if I even remember him, what he looks like. That is, of course, if a car doesn't slam into me at an intersection one these days...the first thing I thought when I heard he's in a coma is 'It's not about me.' I interpret that now as meaning it could happen to anyone, including me. The world doesn't revolve around me, life would go on as before for most people around me. I could cease to be and I would cease to matter.

I mean, it never really occurs to me generally, that there can be life-changing(life-ending?) events waiting for me just around the corner, things that I would never have planned for. I might plan to apply for an MS, join a CS program at USC, then work in some Silicon Valley startup, and so on...and then something like this could happen to me. You could go out with barely a whimper, and there'd be little memory of you in 2-3 years. Or there might be, for entirely other reasons - like in the case of Raj, who died the ironical death of a doctor falling to a treatable disease, discovered too late. What about Raj the sportsman(he was on the AIIMS volleyball and football team), Raj the musician(he played the guitar and piano quite well) and Raj the student leader(He was elected general secretary of the AIIMS student body, and was busy helping organize the AIIMS fest PULSE a few days back)? I am happy I have those memories of him as well.

I think that young as we are, we simply don't think about this aspect of life - that it has to end sometime, and that that can happen at any time. And I think one needs to be prepared for this possibility - though how one does that is beyond me. Knowing that one can not be absolutely sure of living beyond the current moment of time is important. It helps shape your attitude towards life, towards others. The following are some really relevant lessons, at least for me:
I should stop putting off things for later; once I complete my exams; for after my BE; once I am 25; once I make enough to retire rich.
It's not about me - it doesn't matter in what I do, as long as I do it only for myself, it simply is of no consequence in the long run. What can I do for others? How can others benefit from what I have/can do? I don't mean philanthropy, setting up trusts etc - do I help at least my friends with what little I can offer? Can I help my parents out sometimes without complaining? Can I stop complaining about stuff, about people, when I know I am not helping?

I don't mean to lecture, I just think it might be a useful way of looking at things. Someone I know, from my generation has died. Should not that affect me?
Among more positive things I have thought of - I am beginning to think I might learn to understand things I thought weird earlier. I can begin to relate to things like "It's better to have loved and lost, than not loved at all" I can kind of understand why introspection is important, not just to clarify one's thoughts on something, but also to know oneself better.

I don't know what you guys think of all this. Like I said, may be it's something I should really keep to myself. I just think it's useful to think of deeper things sometimes. You can brush it all off as sentimental sermonizing. (I think you guys expect that from Johnny:) Or you could think about it and write in what you think about it.
Separation of India's military and civilian nuclear programmes:
This is not only India's perogative but India is the only authority on it. US can only wish that all civilian facilities are placed under safeguards, it cannot make that happen. Recently it was in the papers that the Fast breeder reactor progamme (has not been/will not be) placed under safeguards and hence will not recieve technological inputs from other nations.

The fact that in India nuclear research has never been classified as civilian research or military research is a problem. Segregation of facilities will definately prove to be expensive (moneywise), as India won't be able to use spent fuel or byproducts of civilian programme in the strategic programme.

India must always be wary of US for the simple reason that US is not a peaceful nation; Americans just love wars. For the last 100 years it has always been at war. There hasnt been a 20 yr period of peace for the US armed forces. Its also interesting to note that Israel, created by Americans; Pakistan, supported by Americans; Taliban, nurtured by Americans;(there must be a few more) have also been a source of conflicts.