Posts Tagged Technology
I am impressed! This shows that there is no end for Innovation. Innovation doesn’t always mean creating another Twitter. It also means redefining the way something works/happens in a novel way that nobody thought of before. Of course its a given that this ‘redefining’ should add some kind of value to the world.
Steve had been passing by SecuriTek’s in-your-face full-sized billboard job ad every day for nearly a month. They utilized the "geek appeal" of twisted logic puzzles and obtuse syntax to lure in candidates with perks in their "laid back yet professional" environment. However, along with their promises of catered lunch wishes and every-day-is-casual-day dreams, the advertisements made one thing perfectly clear – only the best and brightest C/C++ developers on the planet should apply. Thinking Hey! I’m a Top-Tier kind of guy and What the heck…I don’t have anything to lose Steve decoded an obfuscated HR email address (ROT13? C’mon…) and sent off his resume.
To his delight, their HR called soon after to schedule an interview. After a short "Hi. How are you? Nice weather!" with the HR rep Steve was put straight into the next stage of his interview – a programming test. It was an insidious test involving string processing, trees, and data structures that took over an hour to complete. But within minutes of finishing the test, Steve learned that, out of hundreds who took it, he was one of the few out who managed to pass it. Afterwards, Steve was offered and accepted the job.
Steve arrived to the "standard" fanfare of any new SecuriTek employee – an edible bouquet waiting for him at his desk, a top o’ the line laptop, 24" monitor, executive-style chair…and orders to hang tight until they had some work to send his way. So, like any corporate "newb" with his hands on the keys to the castle while awaiting his first real assignment, Steve hit the books, or rather the corporate Sharepoint portal. After first learning the inner workings of the company’s flagship application (developed in C++) he brushed up on improving his fundamentals, optimizing memory, and all the other "best practices" that earns A+++ developers points in the corporate world.
After a few days of working — or more accurately, waiting for work — Steve felt pretty stoked to be able to handle any oddball enhancement or bug related to a dangling pointer that would come his way. However, when the first assignment arrived, Steve found himself in a difficult place. It wasn’t some esoteric C++ bug, but instead a test script to get him familiar with the company’s flagship virus detection app. It wasn’t a "script" intended for execution by some interpreter, but instead one that was printed out and executed by a human. Worse still, the document resembled a cryptic sphinx riddle than a bug description.
7. Perform all of the necessary pre-initialization steps as described by script 118T-B.
8. Open Microsoft Excel as prescribed in script 0G17.
9. After clicking on "Virus", take a screen capture (see script 0G22).
10. From the printout, enter each item into Microsoft Excel.
18. After clicking on "View Report", click on "Print Report".
19. From the printout, enter each "Virus" item into Microsoft Excel.
20. If the Excel spreadsheets do not contain identical data, the test has failed.
Steve began repeating out loud if only to confirm that the language centers of his brain had not been fried. It turned out that the test script could be simplified as "Verify that items which appear after you click on ‘Virus’ will be listed on the ‘errors report’." That could have taken two minutes, and thanks to the genius developer who had already fixed that particular bug, Steve spent more than two hours fruitlessly testing a working feature.
The answer came in the form of the company’s in-house developed scripting language that Steve came to call "WTFSL"
Security Through …Obscurity?
Like many horribly tragic enterprisey solutions, WTFSL was the nepotistic brain child of the company owner’s cousin. Besides not being the least bit extensible, WTFSL featured a limited set of functions. Floating point math? Nope. Regular expressions? Sorry. Advanced string handling? Sort of… Handling strings larger than 64K? Wishful thinking. Garbage collection? Only if the developer remembered to deallocate local variables – in fact, this was the source of many crashes and out-of-memory bugs in the product. Things were so bad that nearly all data validation was forced to be handled in the user’s web browser because of WTFSL’s impossibilities. It was, however, originally written in C++.
Steve considered making an argument in very best interests of "the greater good" (namely the sanity of the company’s development staff), like implementing future version using a liberal-licensed scripting language like LUA or at least allow a hook into something a little more well known like PHP or even SNOBOL at this point, but it was a hopeless case.
Besides freely admitting that WTFSL as being the most secure language to develop in (only 10 people, tops, on earth knew how to code in it), the owner’s cousin who first dreamt up this sasquatch of a language was on the board of directors. "I’m sorry, I can’t just tell him to throw his work to the garbage" was the usual reply if someone suggested that they use something else.
"Don’t worry," Steve’s coworker said in response to the why are we testing bugs all day question, "it’s always like this before the launch of a new version. Once we’re out of beta, it’s right back to the code."
Coding, as he found out, wasn’t going to be C++, but instead WTFSL. "Some day," his coworker added, "you’ll work on the language core. But you gotta give it some time. I should be starting on that team next month!"
His coworker also happened to be "one of the best C++ developers the company could find", though he had started at SecuriTek nearly three years earlier. As enticing as it was to maybe code in C++ some day, Steve chose not to stick around. But his former coworker should be joining that team any month now!
Like every other geek in this world, I also downloaded the Chrome on Tuesday and have been using it for almost a week now. Honestly, I liked it. I am not sure whether I would quit using firefox though. The chrome has a long way to go before I would think of making it my default browser. And looking at Google’s past products, I am very skeptical about how better it can get. Look at Gmail or Google Talk or Google Notebook or Google Desktop. When was the last time they updated any of these with new features? I agree that a company needn’t release updates just for the sake of it. But, products like Google Talk lack in many features. They have a long way to go before they reach parity with other similar products in the market. I hope Google doesn’t follow that pattern to their Chrome life cycle also. Firefox and IE are cranking out innovative updates like crazy.
Anyway, there are many things I did like about Chrome. Like their downloads, popups, cool window sborders and those special pages - about:memory, about:stats, about:network, about:internets, about:histograms, about:dns, about:cache, about:crash, about:plugins, about:version.
And there are stuff that I hate about Chroma – Lack of a decent settings section (Why is it tapping into the IE settings dialog?), lack of support for plugins, lack of a title bar on top of the window (the tabs look very cluttered on the edge of the window. Also the site names get unreadable in tabs and there is no titlebar which shows the title either!!!) and some more…
In the meanwhile, I came across this post today, which is pretty informative!
Since everyone seems to be determined to cover Google’s newly-launched Chrome browser on every side, I have decided to join in after I’ve been playing with the browser for a few days and reading literally hundreds of posts about it everywhere. This post is intended to demystify Google’s browser a little and show that some of the hype around it is merely about Google actually launching a browser instead of the innovative approaches implemented in the browser itself – no matter how hard Google may try to persuade everyone the browser is full of entirely new ideas not seen anywhere else.
Myth 1: Separate processes for each tab
This seems to be the most hyped feature of Google Chrome – the one everyone seems to be very excited about after having Firefox crashes caused by a process running in one of the tabs. Unfortunately, there is some disappointment here as this approach is far from new and it is even used in Internet Explorer 8 beta – the browser everyone thinks Chrome is intended to compete with. Microsoft named this “tab isolation” and the feature description reads: “If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to your browsing experience.” Does not it sound familiar after all those reviews of Chrome everyone must have read already?
Excessive gaming, emailing and text messaging should be added to psychiatrys official guidebook of mental disorders, according to an article in this months American Journal of Psychiatry.
Dr Jerald J Block, the articles author, outlined four distinct symptoms displayed by sufferers. Withdrawal and an associated sense of anger or depression when users cannot reach a computer, the constant need for better equipment and the feeling of social isolation and fatigue are all signs of technology-related mental disorders.
“Attempts to measure the phenomenon are clouded by shame, denial and minimisation,” said Dr Block. The conditions are difficult to treat because internet addiction is ” resistant to treatment, entails significant risks and has high relapse rates”.
Dr Block said that the problem is most acute in South Korea where internet addiction is one of the countrys “most serious public health issues”.
“Using data from 2006, the South Korean government estimates that approximately 210,000 South Korean children are afflicted and require treatment, ” said Dr Block. South Korea set up a network of 140 tough love rehabilitation centres in November 2006 in a bid to curb the growth of internet addiction among the countrys teenaged population.
Looks like difficult times are ahead. Another bubble burst????
Here’s one part of it:
IT companies will be the worst hit. “India as a product base will be in for a hard time,” says Manish Sabharwal, chairman, TeamLease Services. “In IT companies, we are bound to see a reduction in headcount and blunted wage acceleration over next two years.” Early signs of an impact in IT are visible. Says Vishal Chibber, head of HR at Kelly Services India, a staffing company and HR solutions provider, “The benchstrength in IT companies has reduced and in some cases, completely evaporated.”
And check out this…
Similarly, people graduating from engineering colleges already have deferred offers and your negotiating powers with employers are down if you have just 2-3 years of experience.
Adds Chibber, “India’s cost advantage as an outsourcing destination has eroded as salaries have risen. Countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Ireland are more attractive in terms of cost.” But there’s a bright side too. Says E. Balaji, COO, Ma Foi Management Consultants, “While it is difficult to say in which direction the wind will blow, companies with captive centers in India are likely to raise their India headcounts.”
Boy!!! Leaves you with a positive outlook… Doesn’t it?
[ Source - TOI ]