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  • Kartik 11:23 PM on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Freedom,   

    Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal – A Review 

    SwarajSwaraj by Arvind Kejriwal

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Ended up reading a Hindi book after many years, ‘कथेतर’ (non-fiction, new word learnt!) on that.

    Little Background

    I haven’t followed Kejriwal’s or Anna’s movement from the beginning. I first gave serious attention when AAP managed to win a substantial number of seats in Delhi last December. Since then, I have come to admire Kejriwal’s clarity of thought, his ideas and his mission, all of which can be ascertained in any of his recent interviews or QA’s with audience where neither the interviewer nor the public leave any stone unturned to grill him.

    In a couple of months since then, I realized, he and his team have managed to gather a good amount of support at least among the young educated middle class. But I could not imagine how his ideas appeal to the larger population of the country. I decided to find out by diving further.

    Review

    This book lets one understand what Kejriwal means when he uses words like Swaraj or when he says if we let the current status quo maintain, “ये देश नहीं बचेगा” (the country won’t survive).

    Most of us reading this review can’t claim to fathom the problems faced by people at the lowest level of social hierarchy. The author describes those problems, how they came to be in the present system and how things can radically change. Both the problems and their suggested solutions are backed by facts, examples (from other democracies) and experiments demonstrating years of research.

    We have all heard that definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln – “government of the people, by the people, for the people” – but probably never gave a thought about how that could work out in reality. By real life examples, author manages to convince how participatory democracy at the grass root level could be a solution to many of the country’s basic problems, how empowered people are responsible people.

    You read the book with a critical eye and tend to raise doubts or find flaws in the presented ideas but don’t get too surprised when you get all your answers before you reach the last chapter. Just to cite one (spoilers ahead), I was skeptic when most of the book talked about gram sabhas and not how the idea of Swaraj would play in big cities. Come the last but one chapter, and I learn why – our constitution recognizes gram sabhas but doesn’t talk about any such general meetings at city level, but experiments done at Delhi in the form of muhalla sabhas illustrate how effective these meetings could be.

    Go, read the book to understand the positive ideas behind all the ‘negativity’ spread by Kejriwal. If not for that, then just for a small, thoroughly enjoyable and hard to come by non-fiction.

    View all my reviews

    Kartik

     
    • Deepak 12:15 AM on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      but what about the criticism that the book is overly repetitive?

      • Kartik 7:41 AM on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t think so. Why don’t you read and find out? The book does back reference itself once or twice, I don’t see how that’s wrong, rather that’s a way to not repeat the points mentioned earlier.

  • Kartik 8:23 PM on July 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Coursera, Freedom, , Goodreads, Oracle, , ,   

    Week 1 at Bangalore and Work 

    I landed at Bangalore airport last week flying on an indiGo for the first time; found the experience better than JetKonnect from my first flight.

    Next day (Sunday) started early with a walk to Oracle Tech Park and back to get myself familiarized with the area before first day at work. A much-needed haircut followed.

    Having caught cold with the change in weather, I had to miss the Goodreads meetup planned at Brigade Road during the day, which I was eagerly awaiting to attend with a friend. The day was instead spent hunting around for a pair of Oxfords in Jayanagar/JP Nagar markets. Apparently, it’s not easy to find those classic-shaped shoes anymore, with most shoes available in a strangely long front-part which I absolutely dislike. After spending over 40 minutes at the second store I tried, I settled for a passable pair. My friends had already warned me that there is no dress code at work place and I will discard them within few days. Shopping for myself without my mom has never been an easy experience.

    The first two days were spent on induction. First day could be summarized as the practice-your-signature-a-hundred-times day; I detest manually signing anything and prefer digital security for most applications. Dunno how long it will take to transition to a world when (hard copy) paperwork will be a thing of past. Second day was much less tiring with some interesting presentations about culture and how things work at Oracle. I was impressed, better than my expectations indeed. :)

    Next three days were devoted on a Campus to Corporate program for college grads (it, interestingly, also had an experienced person among us for some unknown reason). I liked the program overall for it made many things crystal clear for us to move to corporate world and more so because it involved close interaction among the new hires and I got to meet many interesting people.

    I also managed to watch Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on Wednesday at an INOX for a relatively cheap ticket price (I am totally surprised over the difference in prices over here compared to other cities like Chennai), thanks to new friends Naman and Ratan who knew about a weekly offer and pre-booked the tickets before they got over. Movie had its own class and I never felt bored or found it dragging given it’s being criticized for being too lengthy (naysayers always manage to find something or other to criticize even things of perfection).

    This weekend was spent on catching up on more sleep and looking for a home to stay at a few places. Had to give up on a great deal today for just one reason – tiny size of bathroom, which could definitely induce claustrophobia in, for an otherwise perfectly sane, me. (For those living in Bangalore, I am still looking for a 1BHK OR 2/3 BHK (and flatmates) within max 4 Kms radius of my work location – IBC Knowledge Park near Dairy Circle, Bannerghatta Road, any help is definitely appreciated. Please contact me at kartiksinghal [AT] gmail and I will try to get back asap.)

    One thing that bothers me after a week of work is how less time I could spend on things I wanted to do in the beginning of the week. Although the first week involved no real work, sitting at office itself and traveling to and fro could be tiring. It led me to miss homework deadlines of multiple courses on Coursera and hence deciding to drop most of them (except two). I believe it’s more of the initial hassles of settling down in a new environment than my inability to keep up. Also, I had to really think what courses were really important for me to keep doing with a shift in priorities and amount of free time available. Think, I will learn to manage time more effectively as I get used to the new life.

    Tomorrow might be a great day as we, new hires, apparently get to interact with a top executive of the company. Excitement level is high, indeed.

    NOTE: I am aware now being an employee of a company, I might not be fully open in sharing my experiences. I will keep sharing things which do not affect my employer in any way. Of course, it’s to be noted, any opinions shared from now onwards represent my personal views and do not pertain to my employer at any level (Time to update the About section of my blog as well).

     

     
  • Kartik 2:03 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Freedom, , , , ,   

    Of FOSSMeets at NIT Calicut 

    It’s been over a month and a half since the last edition of FOSSMeet at NIT Calicut. As an active member of organizing team for FOSSMeets ’10 and ’11 and a keen but silent observer for the 2013 edition, I want to share some history, some ideas & few observations with this post. The intent is to generate discussion among people who have been part of earlier FOSSMeets and to leave some things to ponder about (and act on) for juniors.

    Year One

    FOSSMeet 2010 and the preparations that led to it were a great experience for me as a fresher in the college. We have a Google Group for FOSSMeet discussions connecting alumni and others connected to FOSSMeet in some or other way together. The thing I liked most was the open discussions we had on the mailing list about the problems faced in our campus when it comes to organizing a technology focused event like FOSSMeet, the event structure of FOSSMeet itself, lots of suggestions and ideas being shared from alumni, seniors, and even freshers like me and Pranav. It was exactly like the way I imagined an open community works – involving everyone without bias on age, seniority, gender, etc. Much thought was given even to suggestions we gave as freshers (fresh perspectives), and questions/doubts/uncertainties that we raised were patiently addressed. We also had few IRC meetings, and even got trolled in one of them :D. I got to learn the history of FOSS culture at NITC and got connected to many interesting seniors and alumni. What more could a budding FOSS enthusiast ask for?

    I contributed to FOSSMeet that year by designing the website along with Pranav Ashok. It was my first complete website based on Drupal, and I can’t describe in words the amount of learning and fun I had working on it (working till midnight at SSL (that too in first year!); getting ourselves locked in the IT Lab Complex in the midnight of Dec. 31, it was Pranav’s birthday; etc). We made sure all kinds of information that participants/speakers would look for was easily available on the site, and even went on to properly archive the websites of previous editions of FOSSMeet so that visitors get a complete picture about our history. There was a small forum to answer queries raised by visitors (especially freshers of our campus), and registration of both delegates and speakers was handled through the website itself – thanks to the awesome contrib modules available for Drupal (guess the registration team was pretty much relieved that they could just export an Excel sheet of all registrations). The amount of support and freedom given to us by seniors (especially Amarnath) was heartening. Overall, this one website got me started with Drupal and can be credited as the reason for many other sites I did later (including my best website work yet – the CSED site). To happy memories of an upcoming web enthusiast…

    Another way I was able to contribute that year was as a volunteer in the Speaker Hospitality team. I recall asking Amarnath what would he choose, and I had my answer. It was a great experience getting to meet almost all the speakers in person (even Atul Chitnis!), sharing ideas and views with them, getting inspired in the process, and yeah running to and fro to the cool (literally) NITC Guest House to arrange accommodation for speakers and making sure they were comfortable. Seniors including Anil and Febin were very helpful in the process.

    Praveen’s birthday was celebrated on the stage in one of the halls, another example I saw of how people were close to each other while working on things of common interest. Some of my most happy memories include working with GeoHackers on their website in their FOSSHut and going out for dinner at Broast  (my first visit there) with the gang of geeks – 12 of us, each carrying heavy laptop bags, and only one, I, an NITC student. I don’t remember if I participated in any of the workshops, but talks by Dr V Sasi Kumar and Atul Chitnis were quite interesting. Overall, this FOSSMeet was a huge success with good participation, effective talks and workshops (most popular was one on Blender IIRC), and a lot of happy memories. :)

    Related Links

    Year Two

    Something was different this time, less enthusiasm among the team, lack of proper leadership and hence lack of a clear vision about the aim & purpose of the event, perhaps it was the fatigue of conducting another related conference just a few months earlier – FOSS in Education (which saw RMS visiting Calicut and we students getting to interact with him in person). There was comparatively lesser amount of discussion on the mailing list (intrusion of Facebook into our lives can be attributed to this), or if we look at it the quality of discussion was different this time.

    I took the responsibility of Speakers Manager along with helping out with the website (logical promotion from my previous year’s responsibilities) this time. I had visited two professional FOSS related conferences that year – PyCon 2010 and FOSS.IN 2010 – and met a lot of geeks and hackers. Anjhan’s keynote at FOSS.IN had a great impact on me, and also made me realize how grand FOSSMeet used to be when he mentioned it there on that stage. I realized expectations were high and I had a relatively important role to perform.

    A lot of hard work followed in hundreds of email exchanges with potential speakers (some of them I had befriended the previous year or in other conferences), arranging for their travel plans, accommodation arrangements in the Guest House and hostels, making sure all their needs were met, etc. Anil Vishnu, my senior, again was a great help. One thing different this time was the visit of Chamba team to our campus a week before FOSSMeet started, this was a great initiative to try and get talented students from NITC involved in their team.  But I found myself burdened with work and responsibility and aghast with conflict of interests among FOSSMeet activities and some event by a group which was part of organizing bodies of FOSSMeet; perhaps it was just lack of communication among our whole team – a serious problem which scales with the size of teams.

    On the website front, we tried to make the session proposal process more open this time, and received a few proposals. I believe a smooth web experience matters a lot in making things open using technology and we faced few problems in that respect, but web team couldn’t be blamed completely for this because that year we faced problems with our hosting provider with one server upgrade and a last minute server crash. I learnt how difficult it becomes sometimes to convey ideas to others in the team. There were some heated exchanges and ego clashes which had long term impact much later. Alas, important lessons learnt the hard way.

    Another disheartening aspect of this year was low attendance in some of the best workshop sessions arranged that year – Git workshop by Noufal, Intro to GCC Compiler Collection by Praseed Pai, and many of the talks. I had even personally identified the best technical sessions and tried to promote them in our class but the response wasn’t as expected. Python workshop was overcrowded, the most popular session that year. It, indeed, showed the need of a better mechanism to allow entry to a workshop based on prerequisites and interest of participants. Otherwise, it becomes a problem for both the organizers and the speakers in effectively conducting the sessions. Some speakers mentioned missing prerequisite among the audience, and some were of course disappointed with low participation in their sessions.

    Some of the best moments from that year were my interactions with Niyam Bhushan and Praveen. Praveen inspired an urge in me to ask questions, and Niyam left a message to never give up on my passion. At the end of the event, the team faced a complete burn out, and not much effort was done to properly document the event – something I think is very important. One other thing I personally felt was a need to question ourselves – Was it all worth the effort? Were we able to realize a dream of having NITC community involved in open source development? Heck, were we gaining anything out of this, technically and otherwise (an inner satisfaction)? We were so tired that no other FOSS related activity was done that semester except for one preplanned LaTeX session.

    Year Three

    I remember meeting Jerrin, Shamil and a few others and questioning ourselves about last FOSSMeet and think about the next one. I had personally moved away from most of the FOSS activities in the campus (were they any left by then?) and wanted to play a minimal role in FOSSMeet that were to happen. We tried including all technical groups of campus this time, ISTE was a fresher. But there were internal troubles within our team, somehow we had failed to inspire our juniors to lead the effort. And again, there was minimal discussion over the mailing list or the Facebook group that had been formed. I also felt there was lack of interest in our team to discuss on questions like the aim of FOSSMeet, why should we even do it or how it could help change the face of technical activities in the campus, when I once raised them in a physical meeting. Sadly, after some efforts, some preparations and  some rescheduling of dates, the event was called off.

    Year Four

    Before starting on this one. I want to acknowledge the efforts of the team behind bringing FOSSMeet back! The efforts by Shamil, Jerrin, Arunanand (Taa), Nimish, Vipin and Jaseem are commendable. Especially, with the help of Taa’s professionalism & experience and a burning desire in Shamil to bring it back, the seniors were able to inspire the juniors to make FOSSMeet happen this year. The team composed of many dedicated second years – Govind, Karun, Shiv, Vinith, Adithya, Hemant, Pallab, Vimal and many more – who put their best efforts. Third years including Yazar, Prajith, Sudev, Ashwin, Bandna and many more helped with their experience and wherever they could. The speaker line up was good, both for talks and workshops. I heartily congratulate everyone in the team to make this happen, bringing something of legacy back to life isn’t an easy task, something I can tell from experience.

    But all wasn’t so well during the actual conduct this year. I observed few things myself and there were comments from speakers and participants as well (see links below). I couldn’t be an active part this year because of other commitments, but it was great and humbling experience being a silent observer for once.

    One general observation was the same as earlier – audience not fitting in the right sessions, which leads to some of them being overcrowded and some being almost empty. Also, the expectations of a speaker aren’t met in terms of prerequisites and interest of the audience in their session. This is IMO a not-so-difficult problem to solve – IIT Madras has been doing this in their HackFest (during Shastra) at least for last 4 years since I know about it. A screening process for delegates, that could be easily implemented on the website, which helps them choose which sessions to attend based on their interests and earlier experience in those fields could be very effective. This is more important for the type of audience that FOSSMeet caters to – students, some of them completely uninitiated about how free communities and open source works. This could also help in scheduling the sessions depending on the numbers and difficulty levels of sessions.

    There were some complaints about arbitrary reschedulings, delays in initiation of sessions, etc. Also, something I observed myself, there were no volunteers in some sessions to introduce the speaker, to track the time taken in a talk or to present the memento at the end of the session.  I understand the problems organizers face (being one myself earlier) but I felt this could have been dealt with more professionally and carefully. An intro session on where to find information, how to identify volunteers, etc. during the inauguration of the event could certainly help.

    This time the team opted to use HasGeek’s Funnel for proposal acceptance. Funnel is a pretty awesome tool for the task, but switching to it should have been done well in advance. I observed there were some proposals on the website in the beginning which never appeared later on Funnel. Also, there was some gap in communication among the proposers and organizers (especially pointed out by students from Amritha – I was really happy to see so many proposals coming from students there), again this is something organizers should be very careful about in conducting a professional event.

    Another complaint was about the student audience being complete novice for some sessions. Personally, I was shocked to see the number of students who appeared for Django Hacknight who were completely clueless about even the syntax of Python (sadly, the hacknight that was supposed to be done among 4-5 people turned into just another beginner session on how to start with Django with about 25 participants). This is not an easy problem to solve, only thing that can help is regular meetups/sessions during the year by seniors interested in technology and open culture. Student organizations like CSEA, FOSSCell, IEEE have been trying to help but regularly tend to get lost in clearly defining their purpose of existence and things they need to focus on.

    My happy memories about the event were really good technical talks by Harisankar on Ruby and Rails and another by Ram on Advanced Git.

    Blogposts about FOSSMeet 2013

    Conclusion

    It’s been an interesting journey over last 4 years, with many ups and downs. I have tried to cover things which can be improved on, mixed with history and memories at this time of nostalgia while I am about to leave college. I might be biased in my views on things or might have failed to see the complete picture, for which I invite viewpoints from others. On a happier note, this long (and) overdue blog post is finally complete. :-)

     
    • Nitish Rawat 6:43 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      FOSSMeet has been packed with many seminars. I know other chapter has more parallel events but my suggestion is to lessen parallel seminars as it may be attended by more.

      • Kartik 7:11 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment Nitish. This is debatable and depends on what an event is focusing on in a particular year.

        Parallel sessions are conducted to provide choice to participants, because all kinds of talks/workshops might not be suitable for everybody. Also, if there are very few parallel sessions, the speaker might face problem as stated in the post itself – a mix of beginners and experienced audience and not being able to cater to any in particular. Most speakers I have met prefer an audience who are, at least, genuinely interested in the topic being presented. And we observed, participants not being able to make those choices by themselves, being newbies, something that can be improved upon in future editions.

    • Pranav Ashok 9:00 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post Kartik! I had actually forgotten how much we’d worked for FOSSMeet 2010. This post made me open the mailing list and read through some of the archives. I couldn’t believe we were so mature in first year. After watching people come and go for the past four years, it makes me ask this question – was it because of the freedom we got, thanks to people like Amarnath, or was it because we were really mature?

      I feel that the quality of the people have been heavily decreasing over the years. Not just in the area of FOSS, in other fields too. It is hard to come across a junior who designs well or codes websites well. It scares me, for it may be our fault. That we didn’t train the juniors well. Whatever be it, there is an evident shift of interests among people to non-technical things. Personally, I feel that my technical aptitude too, has worsened in the past four years.

      I feel this matter is significant enough to be discussed on a public forum, about what we can do to increase the technical interests of the students in this college. Unless something is done about it, the technical quality of the people coming out of this college is going to rapidly fall in the coming years.

      • Kartik 10:24 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I agree with you, our first FOSSMeet was just so different kind of experience. Perhaps it was both freedom and our slight maturity about both technical things and about open communities. (Even I went through multiple emails in the list while writing this :-) ).

        Regarding the technical interest among college mates, this used to haunt me all the time from first year onwards. In fact I was about to write a post titled, NIT = Not Interested in Technology, in the beginning of last year to vent out my frustration. Somehow this campus loves, respects and enjoys cultural and other non-technical activities more than those it should, going by its name.

        And mine has worsened a lot more than even I can imagine.

      • Kartik 6:16 PM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Pranav, just found a blog post by Amarnath I was looking for while replying to your comment last night: http://blog.vaamarnath.co.in/2011/01/open-life/

        Particularly the quotes from Deepak Sir:

        “Philosophy had stopped inspiring this campus about 20 years ago. Now it seems like that even technology don’t inspire this campus.”

        and

        “When students get enrolled here they are like horses. But after 4 years they pass out as donkeys.”

    • Ashutosh Raina 10:49 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am total outsider ( but Karthik does know me :) ). Firstly, I have zilch idea about Python, Django and all the related technologies. I do write but using tools that will make the FOSS guys frown.
      Having said that I will make a few quick points.
      1) I had zero interest or aptitude for coding/programming/development/computers. I first laid my hands on a computer when I was closer to 20. So, it is never too late to kindle the fire not only in yourself but also in the people around you.
      2) Gone are the days when Science was the tool for the brightest. It is now PR , marketing , law ( throw in socialising as well , if that is a thing at all). We need to make a serious effort not only to retain talent but also to create.
      3) I second your frustration. I was in the same situation in college. My seniors were awesome. They were geeks, they had their own companies and they taught us well. Sharing knowledge was the cornerstone of all our meetings and interactions. We were inspired by them and they continued to encourage talent and all the time.
      4) When they left and we were in in-charge the battle was just to get volunteers and other people to help run a technical festival ( one of the most important ones in Mumbai after IIT and VJTI ).
      5) My batch especially were all too busy doing everything for ourself, we forgot to teach and interact. So, the question is did you guys fail at that too ?

      The battle for attention of students is a tough one and requires for us to create a culture and heritage. We cannot be in this for the short-term and think about just for the year we are in-charge. Create mechanisms of sustainable learning throughout the year. Hopefully, then in a decade we will have some real technology enthusiasts.

      P.S. Hopefully I did not bore everyone on a nice Sunday evening.

      • Kartik 12:03 AM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You bring out an interesting point in number 5. I felt a bit lonely trying to share my knowledge among juniors (I believe I did enough on my part), perhaps if there were more of my batch mates interested in this interaction and sharing of knowledge, things could be different. @Pranav, remember I asked you once, we should perhaps pass things we learnt to juniors?

        Number 4 is what I observe happening these days in most of the technical groups that exist here in our campus – getting juniors to work on mostly pointless events. I led one, CSEA, this year and tried to do things differently, can’t say we succeeded at a level of my satisfaction but still it was a good experience.

        “Sharing knowledge was the cornerstone of all our meetings and interactions.” This was the most important thing missing in our meetings and hence a disappointing factor. I also observed a serious gap in interaction between us and our immediate juniors.

        PS: It’s Kartik, not Karthik :P I don’t expect this coming out from a Northie in general. ;-)

  • Kartik 1:29 AM on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Computer engineering, Computer science, , Freedom, , , , ,   

    Ponderings of the Year Past: Part 1 

    It’s been long since I wrote something. To be frank, it was last July in which I actually spoke out my mind. Of course, I wished to write a lot more (who doesn’t). This one is going to be long, so I decided to partition it.

    The following are few important lessons I learnt over the gone year – 2011:

    Computer Science != Computer Engineering

    Vineeth Sir always calls it Computing Science, we even had a discussion over it, perhaps over a year back( and once again recently); the doubt got cleared up only after I looked up ACM’s Computing Curricula Recommendations which defines five sub-disciplines of computing: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, and Software Engineering (they have pretty decent comparisons among these disciplines using pictures and charts). The story didn’t end there though, I was yet to realize what repercussions this seemingly subtle difference had in store for me.  Some people like Nandu (had an hour-long discussion with him months back) would call it the Department’s shortcoming that it is too focused on the Science part of the field, which leads to lesser interest in technology among students and hence, lack of quality of academic (or otherwise) projects. Anyhow, for me this was the year of actually realizing this difference – with low scores and finding lesser interest in some of the core theory subjects including Data Structures and Algorithms (not all though – I loved Discrete Computational Structures and managed to secure an ‘S’). Perhaps I always wanted to be a Computer Engineer! I was always the tech-geek with basic know-how of (almost) everything, mostly counting on my experience, trying to help others and having the fondness for cryptic syntax, etc; but over time it dawned on me that that’s not all – theory subjects tend to be more intellectually inclined (or research-focused if you may), and as Murali Sir frequently points out – it should be a matter of choice and not inability to prefer systems over theory in CS. Perhaps the most important thing that I missed to do was reading owing to over-confidence and a fuzzy image of self.

     

    Lot more to say. Part 2 coming out soon.

     
  • Kartik 12:07 AM on July 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Freedom, , Google, , Social media, Social network, Twitter   

    Disconnect – An Experiment 

    This will be short.

    A small announcement:

    I will be out of touch for about a week on the Internet. Disconnected on all social networks (including twitter) and off-line on chats (including GMail chat) and unavailable on SMS. I have already disabled all email and SMS notifications from the social networks. This is just for the sake of experimenting to see if I can still live without social media, so don’t get weird ideas about this.

    I have decided to introspect, give myself a break, finish that huge list of tasks in my to-do list and see how it goes without all those distractions. I have been disconnected earlier (those power cuts, and infrastructure failures) but those times I was desperate to connect, this time it’s different – it’s intentional. May be I will write about my experience later.

    For the case of crisis, I will still be available on phone and email (which I pledge to check no more than once in a day) for those who can already connect with me through these media.

    Signing off

    • Kartik
     
  • Kartik 6:41 PM on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Freedom, ,   

    7 Commandments of the Personal Computer Revolution:

    1. Access to Computers – and anything that might teach you something about the way the world works – should be unlimited and total.

    2. Always yield to the Hands-on Imperative.

    3. All information should be free.

    4. Mistrust authority – promote decentralization.

    5. Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race,or position.

    6. You can create art and beauty on a computer.

    7. Computers can change your life for the better.

    Steven Levy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Levy#7_Commandments_of_the_Personal_Computer_Revolution
     
  • Kartik 2:33 PM on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Freedom, ,   

    The Hacker Attitude:

    1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

    2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.

    3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.

    4. Freedom is good.

    5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.

    Eric Steven Raymond at How To Become A Hacker
     
  • Kartik 2:47 PM on March 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Freedom, ,   

    I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

    Robert A. Heinlein, “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”, 1966. Source:http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress
     
  • Kartik 9:55 PM on September 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Freedom,   

    Software Freedom Day 2010 at NIT Calicut 

    I am a member of the Free and Open Source Software Users group – FOSSCell – at my college – NIT Calicut. We celebrated Software Freedom Day yesterday for the first time.

    We started planning for the celebration on our mailing list 5 days ago. Amid a lot of heated discussions we kept on updating the FOSSCell wiki ( http://fosscell.nitc.ac.in/wiki ) with our ideas, plans, suggestions, names of attendees and volunteers. The amount of interest seen on the list was overwhelming. And so was the no. of visits to the wiki.

    Most of the work was done on Friday just a day before the event. Pankaj got permissions for using CSE 301 along with the projector, after some struggles, of course. Vipin created a nice looking poster, which Sudheendra and I got printed from MC. Niranjana volunteered to paste the poster in LH. I gave 2 posters to Anirban for pasting in A and PG1 hostels. Me and Sairam went to order the cake at Bake House which cost us some funny looks by others who saw what we wanted to be drawn on top surface of the cake – a Gnu. Later Pankaj and Sairam volunteered again to paste the remaining posters at other hostels.

    Next day, the Software Freedom Day, me and Pankaj reached the venue a little early to set it up. We tried arranging internet connection there but couldn’t. It was getting late, we were a little disappointed to see no one coming on time. A few phone calls later, one by one people started coming. I was happy to see Ashwin, a day scholar, and Jasmin, a senior along with her friend coming too. Syam and Ajay brought the speakers. We distributed some SFD handouts to promote FOSS among the participants. We had Robin, a fresher also with us.

    We started the program with the introduction of participants and screening of Happy Birthday to GNU video featuring Stephen Fry. After some time, the SFD cake was brought by Sairam and yeah it had the Gnu on it along Software Freedom Day 2010 written on the surface. We had a session on how to use mailing lists. Then, Jasmin and Robin cut the cake with some variant of Free Software Song playing in the background. Participants seemed to enjoy the different variants of the song a lot while having their share of the SFD cake. Another fresher, Anirban, joined us at this point.

    After this we had a small video on what is a wiki, we couldn’t demonstrate wiki editing live due to the lack of internet facility at the venue. We had a general discussion on FOSS events at Tathva and future events to be conducted by FOSSCell along with some discussion on external events like PyCon and foss.in

    The two freshers volunteered to paste the SFD handouts in their hostels. Though I was a little disappointed as almost none of the senior members (except for Jasmin and her friend) had attended the session, I was happy to see those who had some real interest in FOSS and learning. Vipin and Jaseem also, who were interested couldn’t make it to the celebrations because of certain reasons but they had already worked hard for this.

    Overall, a nice time spent with friends celebrating Software Freedom Day 2010.

    For more details, posters, presentations and photos, check out the wiki page: http://fosscell.nitc.ac.in/wiki/index.php/Software_Freedom_Day_2010

     
  • Kartik 7:20 AM on September 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ayn Rand, , , E-book, Freedom, Harry Potter, , Isaac Asimov, J.K. Rowling, ,   

    List of Books Read So Far 

    This is a list of books I used to maintain at The TechGlider Forums, imported here for keeping it updated.

    Here I list the books I have read (only those whose names I remember) so far (in finishing order):

    1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J K Rowling
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J K Rowling
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J K Rowling
    4. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
    5. Five Fall into Adventure (Famous Five), by Enid Blyton
    6. The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov
    7. Secret Seven Adventure (Secret Seven), by Enid Blyton
    8. Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT, by Chetan Bhagat
    9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J K Rowling
    10. One Night @ the Call Center, by Chetan Bhagat
    11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J K Rowling
    12. George’s Secret Key to the Universe, by Stephen W Hawking & Lucy Hawking
    13. Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg
    14. Ignited Minds, by A P J Abdul Kalam
    15. The 3 Mistakes of My Life, by Chetan Bhagat
    16. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J K Rowling
    17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J K Rowling
    18. A Briefer History of Time, by Eric Schulman
    19. Your Happiness is Within You, by S. Devaraj
    20. Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson M.D.
    21. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
    22. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, by A P J Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari
    23. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
    24. 2 States, by Chetan Bhagat
    25. Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown
    26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
    27. Anthem, by Ayn Rand
    28. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    29. The Naked Face, by Sydney Sheldon
    30. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams
    31. The Inscrutable Americans, by Anurag Mathur
    32. Brida, by Paulo Coelho
    33. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach
    34. The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H Blanchard

    I will no longer maintain this page, as I have found a much better way to keep track of the books I read – Goodreads.com. My list here – http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6520743-kartik-singhal?order=d&shelf=read&sort=date_read

    Last edited: October 26, 2011, edited 11 times in total.

    Reason: Updated about my new books page on Goodreads.com.


    Kartik – The TechGlider Guy
    http://www.techglider.in

     
    • Rahul P 4:05 PM on June 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Did u really understand “A brief History of Time” fully…?

      • Kartik 5:06 PM on June 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I read it long long ago, in class 11. At that time, I assumed I understood many things. But now I have been looking for a much simpler version – A Briefer History of Time – instead of reading the Brief History again ‘understand it’ properly. :-)

    • Rahul P 2:13 PM on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      haha…same wid me, in 11th as a Stephen Hawkings fan, i “tried” to read it, but in vain. Coudnt relate to certain things especially a graph between space and time, i remember it !! :P

      • Kartik 3:14 PM on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know why, but that graph is the only picture that I can completely recall and seem to have a decent understanding of in the whole book. ;)

        If everything goes right I might get my hands on the Briefer version of the book tomorrow. :)

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