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September 18, 2007

Andrew Keen: The Cult of the Amateur

Andrew Keen is the author of a new book called "The Cult of the Amateur".
This book looks very interesting to me, and I mostly agree with what Andrew Keen has to say. I read the first chapter on Andrew's website linked above.

Heres an interesting debate that Andrew Keen had with David Weinberger, which is very illustraitve. Go Andrew!
Full Text: Keen vs. Weinberger -


December 8, 2006

Google Pagerank Algorithm Explained

The following link is a feature article, which explains the basic math behind Google's pagerank algorithm nicely -- I followed most of it, except the "how does the power method work" section:

How Google Finds Your Needle in the Web's Haystack

April 27, 2006

open source software and commercial software

A mail reply to a friend about Microsoft Internet Explorer Beta


Generally the hacker mentality is different from business mentality. Software at big (or medium/small) companies are written by programmers who are paid to do this work, and want to mainly impress their managers by doing what they asked them to do. They might not necessarily be very interested in making the software work in ideally perfect ways, they care only for its business purpose. "Are we able to sell this software?" is the driving direction.

The hackers write these software because they like to. Some of them have very less social life, and spend hours and hours in front of computers doing what they want to do. The general people who work on open source software like firefox work on them only because they like to work on firefox- nobody is forcing them to do it. (For firefox, some of the developers are in the group so they may be paid, but they joined because they actually wanted to work on that, and were working in Mozilla Foundation previously)

These hackers are often perfectionists and like to solve problems. So some of the well-made open source software are secure, and well made.

Windows comes from a business point of view, wherein they wanted to get the features in and sell the software.

We (most of us anyway) use Windows with user accounts having administrator priveleges, and hence viruses are more common because when user executes an infected binary they can overwrite system files and system areas. In Linux, since most users dont have root access, they cannot infect/modify programs/data outside their home directory.

I dont know much about this, but I think IE enables features like ActiveX controls which are more powerful, but because of their power are more prone to being used maliciously.

Mozilla had a pop-up blocker much before IE because it is developed by users, and users dont want pop-ups. IE came in later only when they realized that users will stop using their software and move to mozilla because of this, otherwise they didnt care, and anyway pop-ups are pro-business generally speaking.

What other forms of security attacks are done on a browser? I think buffer overflows and those kind of issues are generic to all software, and both firefox and IE may have many. Firefox may have less because hackers may be better programmers than general family-oriented software enginerrs like us, but also true is that hackers have less tools available to them compared to companies.

Not much purpose what I wrote above -- but was just penning rambles in the mind.


> did you start using it yet ? Is it good ?
> Its still a Beta release right. Hope all
> the security issues are fixed. I don't think that
> the other browsers are really more secure. But
> its just that, since IE is the most widely
> used browser today ...hackers tend to target it
> for attacks so that they can do maximum damage
> to maximum number of computers.
> If they decided to launch an attack on Firefox,
> I am sure they could break its security ...but
> they would not get as much pleasure , since
> the damage would be limited to the few Firefox
> users today !


March 29, 2006

Interesting quote

A quote I found from here -- worth having a look.

Microsoft's John Carroll says Firefox users, the open source community, all of us owe Redmond an enormous debt of gratitude:

"For all those who lament the pre-inclusion of Internet Explorer, it's worth noting that if IE WASN'T pre-installed, most people wouldn't be able to download all that IM, media playing, or even alternative browsers such as Firefox. In other words, if IE wasn't pre-included with Windows, the market for software -- including open source software targeted at desktop computers -- might actually shrink."

March 27, 2006

An idea stock marketplace - Rite-Solutions

The following is a nice article -- about some executives in a company employing an "idea stock marketplace" within the company to identify promising ideas, and actually making business out of them.

Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas - New York Times

March 15, 2006

Want to get your own website hosted?


UPDATE: Via a tip from Pooja P, I was able to find links to 4 very good web hosting providers:

I suggest just selecting the one from the above which offers the most space for the least price, with no contract.
The original post follows.


A recent mail I sent about this:


You were asking me for tips on finding a web host to host your website.

I use I pay $4 per month to hostdime for the hosting. I did this after shopping around abt a couple of years ago. Nowadays the costs have gone down even for some of the bigger companies, and space has become cheaper etc, so the market has changed. You should do your own study. A good price is upto $5 per month, or if you go for a brand name then upto $10 per month.

I will tell you what I have found out:

Hostdime has these good features:

  • very good customer support, they answer a phone call 24X7, within a couple of seconds. Literally. They answer faster than I answer my own phone..! (which can also mean they have less customers ;-) )
  • they have many features at a low price. They didnt arrange their plans well, they offer almost the same features in their cheapest and their most expensive plans. Hence, we who look for cheap bargains, get good features at a lower price.
  • they are cheap
  • they have "cpanel" configuration interface, which is quite powerful
  • some of the good features which I like in their plan are: perl, php, cgi-bin, ssi, real time streaming, unlimited email, unlimited subdomains, unlimited mysql databases, 6 web statistics programs, fantastico program installer, preinstalled cgi scripts, , etc.
  • they take regular backups

Their downside:

  • their uptime is not very high, I have sometimes observed my website being down. Hence I am a little apprehensive about giving out a email address, since I am afraid it may not be delivered if the site is down.
  • they have a one-time $20 fees to allow you to SSH in (not a big minus)
  • the server is slow when I run commands on it during an ssh session. For web browsing though, the site is okay in speed.

To start evaluating web hosting providers, check out the plans of the following companies:

To evaluate anyone make sure they support: perl, php, mysql, provide SSH access (atleast on request), web stats, and take backups. Ask them how much uptime can you expect from them. Ask them what configuration panel do they use, and what features does it have - a software called "cpanel" would be preferable, though not required. A unixy os (preferably Linux) should be mandatory.

You can get the domain name genearlly for a very cheap price from your hosting provider. So no need to buy it separately.

Taking a cursory look at yahoo and godaddy, I see goddady has a plan for $4 per month. That one looks good. Just make sure they support perl, and ssh access. Also ask them whether they have a powerful configuration panel. If not, then you can try out hostdime.

Abt having a blog on your website: since you will have your own host, you can select http:/// or . You can download the software and install it. If you dont want that hassle, then would be good enough, though it is much less powerful than movabletype and wordpress. Nowadays, is also a good choice for blogging if you dont mind the yahoo name. Update: Also check out and

Hope this helps!

November 17, 2005

Riya - Google

Learnt about this new company, called Riya... it has cool new technology, which does face recognition using Artificial Intelligence on user-submitted photos.

This is a cool technology, and I think it will be useful for tracking, which photos in our collection are still pending to be forwarded to whom..;)

It is rumored that Google has already acquired Riya.

November 6, 2005

Fuel's paradise

A company Blacklight Power claims to generate "lots" of energy from hydrogen/water, this article says.

Fuel's paradise? Power source that turns physics on its head

Singularity - Microsoft's new Research OS

Found some links to Microsoft's new research OS Singularity.

They recently released a technical report (PDF), which has some details on the internals.

They are trying to focus on "dependability" as their main focus of the design of the OS. They designed their own language "Sing#" based on C#.

In the first some pages, that write that they beleive they have conceived a more modern version of an "OS process" which they call as "Software Isolated Process(SIP)".

They decribe it as follows - I quote -

SIPs are the OS processes on Singularity. All code outside the kernel executes in a SIP. SIPs
differ from conventional operating system processes in a number of ways:

  1. SIPs are closed object spaces, not address spaces. Two Singularity processes cannot
    simultaneously access an object. Communications between processes transfers exclusive
    ownership of data.
  2. SIPs are closed code spaces. A process cannot dynamically load or generate code.
  3. SIPs do not rely on memory management hardware for isolation. Multiple SIPs can reside
    in a physical or virtual address space.
  4. Communications between SIPs is through bidirectional, strongly typed, higher-order
    channels. A channel specifies its communications protocol as well as the values
    transferred, and both aspects are verified.
  5. SIPs are inexpensive to create and communication between SIPs incurs low overhead.
    Low cost makes it practical to use SIPs as a fine-grain isolation and extension
  6. SIPs are created and terminated by the operating system, so that on termination, a SIP’s
    resources can be efficiently reclaimed.
  7. SIPs executed independently, even to the extent of having different data layouts, run-time
    systems, and garbage collectors.

I am not an OS expert, but it appears to me after reading some of their paper, that there may be some ingenious insights in their effort.

Looks like Microsoft Research, with their luminous research members, might be striking a resonance of the likes of Bell Labs or Xerox PARC of the old days. Had not heard of so many good researchers coming together at a place, and working on a "complete OS" research.

October 12, 2002

Redhat 8.0

Well, I am using Redhat Linux 8.0 right now.

I like GNOME 2.0 that comes in RH 8.0 very much. When GNOME was at 1.2, we could have said that KDE 3.0 was much better than GNOME, but now with 2.0, there is not really much difference, and now it doesnt really matter which environment you choose.

However, the KDE they have provided with RH8 needs some improvement and bug removing - and also the menu hierarchy. I think RH8.1 release will be perfect! I am waiting for that!

Other software that I think are wonderful in the Unix/Linux world, includes (these are not the only ones....)

Gnome Pan - A cool Usenet NewsReader.
Galeon(,Mozilla) - a very cool browser, better than Mozilla in most respects, but there are a few which Mozilla is better.
Gaim - Instant messagner for all protocols
OpenOffice - do all your office work here!
X-Chat - IRC Client
Emacs - Wonderful and Extremely Powerful Text Editor
XMMS - WinAmp clone
GIMP - Wonderful Graphics Editing program, attempt to try to come close to Adobe Photoshop.
Evolution: An Outlook Express clone
gFTP: A CuteFTP Clone
GNU Chess: A powerful Chess Player
pilot-xfer: write "pilot-xfer -b d" on the screen and see your PDA getting synchornized. Can it get eaiser than this?
mplayer: A player of a similar capability as Windows Media Player. Its too good.
cscope, cbrowser: These 2 programs combine to form a very effective source browser. Useful.

...... and there are many more software.... which i cant remember right now. These are mainly all GUI applications. There are, however, thousands of brilliant commandline utilities that make Linux/Unix as great as it is today.

I will post some Redhat screenshots soon. BTW I also have to change my website soon.


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