Friday, March 19, 2010

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tom Siebel - Inspiring and Intelligent

The very best of Tom Siebel is shown in his commencement address at the University of Illinois Champagne Urbana where he was awarded an honorary doctorate. Tom's speech is below.

University of Illinois-Urbana Commencement Address
Thomas M. Siebel
14 May 2006

President White, Chancellor Herman, members of the faculty, graduates, ladies and gentlemen,

I'm profoundly grateful and touched by the distinction and honor and great compliment accorded me by the University of Illinois. I am overwhelmed, as a matter of fact.
In this important place, on this important day, and in this very wonderful assembly, it is a tremendously impressive thing to an individual in my position.

I want to join with your families in congratulations for your accomplishments. And I want to talk about what happens next.

I want to talk to you about some decisions that you will have to make. I want to talk to you about what you can expect and opportunities that you are likely to encounter. I want to talk about making a difference. About leaving the world a better place than you found it.

There is a story attributed to the notorious oil magnate, John Paul Getty, Sr. When asked about the keys to success by a young intern, he explained that there were three such essential elements.

First, get a great education. Attend the best schools. Study hard. Be prepared. Become an honor roll student.

Secondly, work hard. Be the first to show up for work. Be the last to leave. Work weekends. Nights. Always do your best. Be a top performer.

The third key to success --- and most importantly -- find oil.

There is some truth in this story.

Think for a moment about the immense opportunities that are before each and every one of you. Your productive careers will span the next six decades.

Six decades.

Think about it. Six decades.

In the next six decades the body of scientific knowledge as we know it will increase by a factor of three or more. You will have the privilege of participating in that phenomenon. Many of you will participate significantly in some of the most exciting developments in the history of mankind.

Some of you will discover cures for cancer. Some will perfect the hydrogen fuel cell. Some of you will control influenza pandemic. Some will lead the colonization of outer space. Some will create new companies. Make new products. Create Jobs. Develop new food sources. Foster Prosperity. Husband Peace.

The world will be a better, healthier, happier place for what you will do.
Those of you who take this route will make sacrifices. Lots of sacrifices.
You have all studied history. Think back upon those individuals who have made a difference. Really made a difference.

Think about it. Think about Winston Churchill, Michelangelo, Louis Pasteur. Think about Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, Johannes Gutenberg, Steve Jobs. Think about Sally Ride and Margaret Thatcher. Think about Martin Luther and Martin Luther King

You have all studied these people. These great leaders are representative of that group who collectively articulated those concepts and principles, the sum of which constitute our perception of the universe, as we know it.
Those great people brought us gravity, electricity, germ theory. They invented the printing press, movable type, the Internet, the Basilica, the public library, the modern university. They created nations, our religions, and democracy. They discovered outer space. And they brought us the very concepts of individual liberty and human dignity.

These people changed the world, each of them. Collectively, they, and their like, conceived of the world, as we understand it today. Let’s look upon this group and see what they had in the way of common traits.

How about education? Some were exceptionally well educated. Some were mediocre students. Many were uneducated.

Work ethic. In general, these people were driven. They were focused. They got up earlier. They worked longer. They were tireless. Some were out there. Eccentric. Almost maniacal. Some were troubled.

They all achieved – and they all achieved at great personal cost.
In addition to amazing work ethics, it seems that these people were unusually sensitive to what was going on around them. They heard things that other people could not hear. They saw things that others could not see.

You might call it vision. A moment of clarity. Insight. Inspiration.

Whatever you call it, at one or more moments in their lives, they saw something. Something different. And they were able to recognize that it was different. That is was potentially important. And they did not let the moment go unnoticed. They did something with it.

Be sensitive to that moment.

It will happen to you.

Do not let it go unnoticed.

So we have a group of mixed education.

Tireless work ethic.

Great vision.

Perhaps most importantly however, they also were very, very lucky – each and every one.

Now don’t discount luck. It will be a critical component of your success. Some people say you make your own luck. There is clearly some truth to that. These concepts of work ethic, vision, and luck seem to be interrelated.

Take Tiger Woods, for example.

Work ethic. He is arguably one of the hardest working, best-prepared athletes in sport. His physical conditioning and practice regimens are second to none.
How about vision? Well, Tiger Woods can see every shot before he takes it. He can see the launch angle. The trajectory. The landing, the bounce, and the roll. He can literally see it every time before he takes a swing. Think about that.

And luck? Well, let’s just say it might not be entirely a coincidence that he seems to get more lucky bounces than any person in golf.

There is most certainly truth to the idea that you make your own luck. I encourage you to be very alert to what is going on around you. Let’s explore this luck thing a little bit further.

There will be some moments in your life when the stars simply seem to align. You will flip a coin 10 times in a row – and it will come up heads every time. You will look up and you will notice that the wind has been at your back every day for a week.
Be ready for that moment. It will happen to you. Some of you will recognize it and know it for what it is…great, good fortune.

Some of you will be preoccupied with matters of the moment to notice. Perhaps stress or simply the distractions of daily life will get in the way. Others will see it for what it is.

There will be such moments in your life. Seize that moment. That is the start of the next company. The cure for cancer. The hydrogen fuel cell. The next great thing.

There is clearly a non-rational process at the heart of such ideas. It’s an idea. It’s a vision. It’s a feeling. It is something that you know to be true. Take it and run with it.

Take it. When it happens, take it and run with it. Run with it. Don’t listen to all the naysayers. The experts. The authority figures. They will stand in line to tell you your idea is impractical, impossible, unrealistic. Don’t listen to them. You know it to be true.

This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. This is what you are here to do. Don’t take no for an answer. Make it happen

Let’s switch gears for a moment from the sublime to the mundane and talk about getting started. How do you get started? What do you do now?
Many of you have not yet figured out what you want to do for a living. Don’t feel bad. Most people don’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left college. My first job out of undergraduate school was working as a cowboy on a ranch in Idaho. From there, I became a laborer on a construction site in Sun Valley. I managed a shovel.

How do you get started? First thing, you need to get a job. How do you do that? I guess there are a couple of ways. A common route is to get as many interviews as you can, until someone offers you a job. And then you take it and make the best of it. I do not recommend that route.

My suggestion to you is that you find an industry that you find interesting. Say biotech. Or travel. Perhaps entertainment. Communications. Aerospace. Automotives. Within that industry identify a high quality company that you would like to work for. Located in a place that you would like to live.

And then get hired there. Learn everything you can about the company. Study it on the Internet. Read its annual reports. Become an expert. And then figure out how to get a job there. Any job. It doesn’t matter.
Write the CEO. Write the VP of Engineering.

Get yourself an interview and explain that you want to work for that company – no other company -- and you are willing to take any job to get started.
Get a job in the mailroom. The help desk. The front desk. Customer service. Don’t worry about the salary or the title. Just get a job. After you get in the door, then the rest is up to you. Make it happen.

One closing thought. I want to talk about ethics.

Today is Mother’s Day -- a most appropriate day to talk about ethics.
Ethics. You will have the opportunity to cross the line every day of your lives, every day of your professional careers. In little ways. In big ways.
Some opportunities will be more tempting than others. Some will seem inconsequential. Some will appear common practice.

Here’s a litmus test that you can use.

What would your mother think?

What would she say if you told her about it?

If you use that test to gauge your behavior, you will do the right thing.

That’s it. Thank you, merciful God; we’ve reached the end of the speech!

But for you, it is just the beginning.

Work Hard.

Be attentive.

Always be watching for that lucky moment.

Good luck to you all.

And, most importantly, have fun.

Make it look easy.

Smile a lot.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Adieu BillG

How much am on the anti-microsoft software side, cant help admiring the person BillG though he might be the one responsible for all the wrong doings of the company. To build a world class company in 30 years is phenomenal and this article by Joel shows how a technical guy running a software corp makes a lot of difference to the most important products.

Hats off Bill!!!. You have inspired a generation to think big.. (though I dont concur with most of your ideas!!) Perhaps this is a crucial turning point in the life of Microsoft, the rudder has to sail in the right direction as there are very rough winds in the form of competition that the company never had to face.. It is going to be very interesting to see how they are going to pull it off.. the mass is against them..

Friday, June 02, 2006

Good Article on Reservation

- A glimpse of the hazy contours of a brave, new India
swapan dasgupta

There is an English disease, peculiar to a particular class, of using language to mask feelings rather than express them. Indians are different. Our political class is naturally prone to hyperbolic disorders. The past few weeks have, however, been an aberration. We have witnessed the novel spectacle of Indian politicos falling back on diplomatic understatement and even reticence to avoid the ignominy of incomprehension.

When the human resource development minister, Arjun Singh, played out the factional war in the Congress by peremptorily adding 27 per cent to the existing quotas in Central universities and specialist institutes, the initial reaction of the affected classes was one of disgust and despondency. Yet, the opposition was uncharacteristically mealy-mouthed and cautious, so unlike the outrage that greeted another Thakur’s equally cynical attempt to redraw the political mosaic in 1990.

The official discourse has been distressingly predictable. Social justice, everyone agreed, is a good idea but shouldn’t some thought also be given to merit, particularly now that India’s economy is far more globalized than in 1990? Shouldn’t the announcement of new reservations have been preceded by consultations with all political parties? And isn’t the time ripe for a “creamy layer” exclusion clause?

For lack of application and originality, take the Bharatiya Janata Party as a case in point. As the premier opposition party it had a natural obligation to respond to the United Progressive Alliance government’s initiative. Yet throughout the ill-fated Bharat Suraksha Yatra when leaders proffered their opinions on a variety of subjects that are not even remotely linked to national security and terrorism, neither L.K. Advani nor Rajnath Singh said a word on the mounting controversy over reservations. Indeed, it was not until last week —nearly six weeks after the HRD minister made his move — that the topleadership of the BJP met to formulate a coherent response. The partywas paralysed by the fear that any response which revealed its innerdisquiet would alienate the substantial OBC support it had built up over the years. Its leaders fell back on inanities about social justice and social consensus. Language became the instrument of obfuscation.

It was the spontaneous revolt of medical students, first in Delhi and subsequently across the country, that changed the rules of engagement. Unlike the anti-Mandal protestors in 1990, who enjoyed the surreptitious backing of both the Congress and the BJP, today’s agitators were not blessed with political tutoring. Apart from the cricketer-turned-parliamentarian, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is not exactly a political heavyweight, no politician of consequence came forward to embrace the Youth for Equality. At best, the agitation that finally compelled the Supreme Court to intervene was complemented by the angry resignation of two members of the Knowledge Commission, a largely decorative body dominated by friends of the present regime.

The political innocence of today’s protesters was very revealing. Whereas the conventional wisdom in the national parties that depend on cross-caste appeal was that nothing must be done to trigger a backlash of the beneficiaries of the new reservations, the protestors were not bound by electoral calculations. Indeed, most of those who participated in the street protests, hunger strikes and public meetings probably nurtured a healthy disdain for the prevailing political culture of India. In a country where most legislators don’t even know how to handle a personal computer, the anti-reservationists took the aid of SMS, email and blog sites to link disparate groups across the country. With finite resources, modern communication methods became the instruments of forging solidarities and creating new pressure groups and political communities across India.

In time to come, historians will look back on the protests of April and May 2006 as the first modernist upsurge against a decrepit political consensus. The nature of the demands put forward by the Youth for Equality point to a heartening freshness, particularly when contrasted with the tired rhetoric of India’s elected representatives. The demand for equality of opportunities was once the signature tune of progressives throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the discovery of affirmative action by the Sixties’ sociologists had relegated this republican aspiration to the dustbins of political activism. The youth revolt has resurrected this forgotten ideal. It is a plank that now awaits political adoption.

Second, whereas Hindu social reformers of the 19th century and nationalist stalwarts of the 20th century had made eradication of caste identity a symbol of an emerging modern India, the practitioners of electoral democracy have banked on caste-based mobilization. By once again positing an aggregative Indian identity, the protestors have implicitly questioned one of the central assumptions governing political mobilization.

Viewed in totality, the anti-reservations stir has been one of the most cosmopolitan movements witnessed in recent times. It has been defined by a vision of India as a modern, dynamic capitalism. There is none of the angst-ridden, anti-imperialist and counter-culture piffle which characterized the student movements of the Sixties. This was a movement which symbolized the determination of a section of India to face the world on terms of equality, minus controls and crutches. This was a movement of a vanguard, not a class. No wonder there was a striking mismatch between their aspirations and the mindset of a government hell-bent on creating a nation on doles and crutches.

Finally, this was a movement which successfully broke through the hierarchies and inhibitions of gender. The sight of highly motivated young boys and girls joining hands for a common objective went contrary to a stereotype surrounding women’s participation in public life. This movement demonstrated that a separatist agenda prefaced on shrill feminism is not imperative in bridging the gender divide. In the emerging India, women have as much of a vested interest as men in ensuring a level playing field for all.

A movement which breaks the mould of existing politics is bound to draw flak. However, the political class has been uncharacteristically restrained in its criticism. This is partly because there is a tacit recognition that a 49 per cent reservation could have a long-term debilitating effect on the competitiveness of India’s knowledge economy. At the same time, there is a belief that the anti-reservations stir is ephemeral, elitist and selfish. The charge of the Communist Party of India’s national secretary, D.Raja, that it was an “upper caste stageshow” reflecting “the greed of the new generation in an unequal society” will find an echo in populist circles.

That a movement based on the principles of ruthless meritocracy is going to be confined to a few economically vibrant enclaves is obvious. Even assuming most of the participants were nominally upper-caste Hindus, it was no more an upper-caste movement than the early nationalist movement was a Brahmin conspiracy. The self-image of the movement was markedly anti-caste rather than upper caste. This may explain why its reach was limited to the centres of academic excellence and the citadels of the new economy.

As an electoral force, the anti-reservations stir is unlikely to make an immediate impact, except perhaps contributing to the decimation of the Congress. Yet, the movement has a larger significance. This is the first movement conceived and conducted by a generation that has come into its own after the process of economic liberalization began in 1991. This explains its sharp rupture with past student movements.

Given India’s demographic profile, political parties will be signing their own warrants of obsolescence if they don’t internalize the emerging trends. In the anti-reservations stir, we have glimpsed the hazy contours of a brave, new India.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Correctness addresses a slightly different reliability concern. Whereas exceptions facilitate robustness through an ability to recover gracefully from a range of exceptional conditions, correctness deals with ensuring a program does the right thing during normal program flow. Since correctness pertains to normal conditions, Java's exception-handling facilities do not readily assist correct program creation.

JDK Assertions Primer

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ajax Multiplayer Chess

This is a java-script multiplayer chess. it's very good for playing quick games (no log-in) and a replay-mode is included to view your last game and others in pgn-format.

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Write your own operating system :)

Kernel development is not an easy task. This is a testament to your programming expertise: To develop a kernel is to say that you understand how to create software that interfaces with and manages the hardware. A kernel is designed to be a central core to the operating system - the logic that manages the resources that the hardware has to offer.

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