Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One line reviews of different distros

I was reading this "Debian vs Arch" thread that was posted on both Arch Linux forums as well as Debian forums. The following comment by "julian67" in the Debian forums was the most hilarious:

I run Debian stable and know it's the best. Slackware is for Luddites, Arch is for bug eyed Ubuntu kids with misplaced aspirations to kewlness, Gentoo is for maniacs, Ubuntu is for people who drool but are happy with that, Fedora is strictly for Americans with an entire LUG to help fix it, OpenSuse is for Germans with proprietary fetishes, special accessories and a paying controller, Puppy is for people with 2.4 GB hard drives, Zenwalk is for people who are not quite sure what multimedia might be....

Monday, April 06, 2009

The gender debate

Well, the gender debate is going on for a looong time now. Let me not talk about things like "who's better than who?" or "are women equal to men?". Instead, let me focus on some facts that I have been observing for a few years now.

I'm sure you have all read headlines like "Girls outshine boys in SSLC exam" and "Girls fare better than boys", etc. These headlines appear in all the newspapers every single year, without fail. I haven't seen one single year where the pass percentage of boys was greater than girls in 7th or SSLC or PUC exams (in Karnataka, atleast). Does this mean boys are all dim-witted? Do these figures indicate that girls are overall more intelligent than guys?

Well, before you answer those questions, just take a look at a few other facts. Have you ever analyzed the CET results? Have you seen the gender ratio for the top 10 ranks in engineering or medical? You'll see that there are hardly one or two girls in the top 10 or even top 20 ranks in both engineering or medical streams. And this is not just one year, you can verify this every year. What do you think is the number of girls in top 100 ranks in engineering or medical. It's mostly single digit (very rarely touching double digits). What about top 1000 ranks? How many girls do you think are there in top 1000? Again they are a whopping minority!

[Offtopic: Why don't you hear about these (CET) numbers and facts in the media? Well, that deserves a blog post on it's own, but to summarize, did you ever notice that if a hindu criticises a muslim (or his religion), the media people will have a field day with it, blow it out of proportion, call it communal and somehow link it with BJP. But if a muslim or a christian criticises a hindu (or his religion), it becomes protection of minority. The press will write all good things about that or at the least ignore it. It is the same case with the gender debate. If there is any news that portrays ladies or girls as good, the media are all there to put it in headlines and publicise it. But when they fail, it goes ignored. :-)]

So, what do you think happened? All those girls who outshine boys in SSLC and PUC, why do they fare so badly in CET? It's not just the CET, take any entrance examination, or for that matter any examination where you have to apply your knowledge, overall, boys will outshine girls. But in any exam (like the SSLC or the PUC), where you need to mug up text books and spit it out in the exam hall, girls will fare much better overall as compared to guys. It's not just the pass percentage, I'm sure the girls will do better in the average marks obtained (in a mugging exam).
This theory has been proven time and again. Just compare PUC results with CET results or the Engineering average marks (percentage) with the average pay. Have a look at the CAT results or the IIT-JEE results. You'll find this pattern everywhere. Girls are much better at mugging up, where as guys are much better at applying knowledge. The guys have better analytical aptitude and reasoning.

So, just because you see this pattern, does that make all guys smart? Or does that mean all girls are muggers? Definitely not. I know girls who are smart, have good analytical skills and who have really good knowledge and know how to apply them. I also know guys who are lazy, have bad analytical and reasoning skills, have really bad knowledge in their domain and are even bad at mugging up. But they are only exceptions to the rule.

Disclaimer: This is just a collection of facts and my reasoning for these facts. If you are offended by this post, well, I apologise.

Unpacking my neo

It's been about 2 weeks since I got my Neo Freerunner. I've been busy playing with it. Here are some pics of unpaking my neo.

This is the package I received. The cloth pouch and the 2.5mm headphones were a bonus. I wasn't informed that the package included them.

Nice quote from LaoTse.

These are the package contents. The freerunner phone, wall charger (with 3 different kind of plug attachments; the round 2 pin one works in India), USB to miniUSB cable (to connect to computer), a stylus, 512MB microSD card (with SD adapter) and couple of batteries (I ordered an extra battery, just in case).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Neo Freerunner

I have been tracking the Neo Freerunner ever since it's launch in July last year. It is a great device with lots of features. I was waiting for the power management to be fixed so that the device is usable.

Recent results show that atleast one person has extracted a battery life of 70 hours, completely on standby. That should translate to roughly a day's use for minimal usage. Now, with the (slight) improvement in power management, I was unable to resist it. So, I have ordered the device. It costed Rs.24,500 all in all, with an additional (spare) battery.

If you are wondering what this Neo Freerunner is, then take a tour of www.openmoko.com and wiki.openmoko.org.
Basically, it is a computing device with a complete opensource stack. All of it's hardware have free, open source drivers available. The CAD files used in the design of the device are also made available online (open source). As for the software, OpenMoko has a Linux distro running on this. It is called OM (OM 2008.12 is the latest). Then, you have a wide choice of linux distributions to run on this phone - Debian, Gentoo, SHAR, FSO, FDOM, Qt Extended (Qtopia), Fyp, Andriod and a long list of others.
Debian has ported it's entire repository to support the ARM architecture. What this means is that you get the entire Debian repository on this mobile device!

This device has a 400MHz Samsung ARM processor with 128 MB SD RAM and 256 MB flash memory. It supports micro SD card. It has GPS, WiFi, bluetooth, all built in. It has a touch screen interface and can also function as a mobile phone.

I'm eagerly waiting for my Neo. Hopefully, it should arrive in another 2-3 days. That means, I'll be busy the whole weekend playing with it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Looking back...

As mentioned in my previous post, it's been over 2 years since I posted anything on this blog. I was just thinking back about the things that happened over this time. Here's a concise list that I can remember now:

- My knee ligament tore up again and I had to undergo a surgery (April 2008). As a result of this, I was confined to my bed for more than a couple of months. As it is, I was over-weight. Now, I've put on even more weight. The good news is that my knee seems to be pretty much back to normal. I can run, walk and even play.

- I completed my M.S degree (in Software Systems) from BITS, Pilani.

- I failed in a subject (in my 3rd semester, MS) for the first time in my life. Not just that, but because of this failure, I had to re-take a whole semester again. It cost me atleast 6 months.

- I got a chance to visit Bangkok for a couple of weeks to help out a customer (April 2007). This was my first international visit (and the only one till date) and also the first time I flew on a aeroplane.

- I had many trips and visited many places:
  • Hogenikal falls with Karthik, Kiran and Pavan (Feb 2007)
  • Bangkok (April 2007)
  • Nonabur (May 2007) with parents and many other relatives.
  • Manchanabelle Dam with Srini and PK (Dec 2007)
  • Belur and Halebidu with Srini, Naren and Chandru (Dec 2007)
  • Delhi, Pilani and Jaipur trip with parents and brother (Nov 2008)
  • Yerkad with CoolBlueGang friends (Dec 2008)
  • South Indian coastal trip to Alleppey, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari and Pondicherry with Srini, Naren, Girish and Murali (Feb-March 2009)

- Lot's of things happened in my friends' lives too
  • Giri went to US to pursue his higher studies (MS) in Aug 2007
  • PK and Smitha got married to each other.
  • Nidhi, Sachin, and Chandru also got married.
  • PK cleared the ISB interview and is all set to pursue his MBA.

Well, that's all I can remember now. It has been an exciting time, looking back at the memories. Lots of ups and downs. Hopefully, the future will be exciting too. Only time will tell.

Monday, March 09, 2009

2+ years!

It's been more than 2 years since I posted anything here... I didn't really think it was that long! Anyway, hopefully, I will write something more frequently from now on.