Monday, April 30, 2007

Amazing Short Story

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hoardings - Highway to hell

I am sure everyone of us at some point or the other got distracted to a gigantic poster of a beautiful girl or car or something more interesting (I am not sure what could be more interesting to a man). Yeah... you might ask what is bad in admiring a good advertisement or something creative?

when you are driving in Hyderabad you will be busy searching for any amount of space you get to shove in your vehicle so that you can reach your destination quicker. At the same time you should be careful to avoid autos and public transport buses which stop wherever they like and move from one corner of the road to other as if they are the only ones on the road. Also avoiding open manholes, pits dug out by telephone/water department, broken road dividers, construction going on in between and beside the roads, people walking/crossing the lanes, stray animals on the road.

Just imagine at this point if you come across a beautiful over sized hoarding to which your eyes cannot resist and you just want to glance at it for some more time but you cannot. I am not sure of you but I was in this situation many times. Especially now a days these advertisements are getting so creative that one has to analyze it to understand it, and in the position one will be, it is impossible to do so.

Where driving on such roads in such difficult conditions is a Herculean task, I cannot even imagine what could happen if we lose concentration of a fraction of a second or if our thoughts wander off the road.

But recently new kind of threat came up, one of these gigantic single pole structure came down crashing killing one and causing a lot of damage to property and people. And I have also herd of many such similar structures bent or deformed due to the heavy winds.

Can't Government think for the safety of a common man before giving permissions to such structures? Does it check the quality of the structure before it is put up?. I am not sure.

One thing I know is the contractors who put up these hoardings are filling their pockets big time.
Worse thing happening these days is there are large TV's displayed at junctions which play Advertisements. Imagine if a static picture can be of such diversion how much a motion picture is? These days Government is constructing Walkways on busy roads to cross from one side of the road to another, and even on these huge hoardings keep hanging (On my way to office I cannot resist to see a huge LCD TV advertisement on one of these).

Is Government/Corporation not concerned about the safety of people? Does it only look at the amount of revenue it gets by giving permissions to such hoardings? Is there anyone who can check these? Cant we do anything about it? If you people know any way please let us do something!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

For those who thought they knew everything!!

Read on............

  • The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for
    Blood plasma.

  • No piece of paper can be folded in half
    more than seven (7) times.

  • Donkeys kill more people annually
    than plane crashes.

  • You burn more calories sleeping
    than you do watching television.

  • Oak trees do not produce acorns
    until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

  • The first product to have a bar code
    was Wrigley's gum.

  • The King of Hearts is the only king

  • American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive
    from each salad served in first-class.

  • Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
    (Since Venus is normally associated with women,what does this tell you!)

  • Apples, not caffeine,
    are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

  • Most dust particles in your house are made from

  • The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.
    So did the first " Marlboro Man."

  • Walt Disney was afraid
    OF MICE!

  • Pearls melt
    in Vinegar!

  • The three most valuable brand names on earth:
    Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

  • It is possible to lead a cow upstairs...
    but, not downstairs.

  • A duck's quack doesn't echo,
    and no one knows why.

  • Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
    (I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)

  • Richard Millhouse Nixon
    was the first U.S. president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." The second ? William Jefferson Clinton
    (Please don't tell me you're SURPRISED!?!!)

  • And the best for last.....
    Turtles can breathe through their butts.

Now you know everything :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Watson: Debugging from Microsoft

Most of us might have always wondered how a software can be developed to near bug-free entity. When we were working with any Software it was easy for us to curse for all the trouble it creates.....

Read on this article which says that it is a near immposibility to make a software bugg-free...and also details how Watson Team tracks bugs at Microsoft ...


People who don’t build software for a living have a quite understandable attitude that you should write your program, fix all the bugs, then ship it. Why would you ever ship a product that has bugs in it? Surely that is a sign that you don’t care about quality, right?

Those of us who work on non-trivial software projects naturally see this a little differently. There are many factors that determine quality of software, and some of them are counter-intuitive. For example, the first thing to realize is that you are not trying to get rid of every bug. What you are trying to do is maximize the known quality of the product at the time you ship it. If the last bug you have in the product is that a toolbar button sometimes doesn’t display correctly, and you fix it, then you ship the product, how embarrassed will you be a little later when you find out that the code fix you took to get the toolbar to display causes your application to crash when used on machines with certain video cards? Was that the right decision? Fix every bug?

The discipline of software testing is one that is rarely taught in university, and when it is taught, it is taught in a highly theoretical way, not in the way that it needs to be done to successfully produce high quality products on a schedule demanded by commercial software.

I often interview university students applying for jobs at Microsoft. They're usually excellent people and very talented, although we have to turn away most of them. One thing that always intrigues me is when I am interviewing people who want to be a developer or tester. If I ask them to write a little code, most of them can. Then I ask them to prove to me that their code works. The responses I get to this vary so widely it is remarkable. Usually people run the example values I gave them through their algorithm and if it comes out correctly, they say it works. Then I tell them, "OK, let's say I told you this code is for use in a firewall product that is going to be shipped to millions of customers, and if any hackers get through, you get fired". Then they start to realize that they need to do a little more. So they try a few more numbers and some even try some special numbers called "boundary conditions" - the numbers on either side of a limit. They try a few more ideas. At some point they either say they're now sure, or they get stuck. So I then ask them if they think it is perfect now. Well, how do you know?

This is a central problem in large software projects. Once you get beyond about 100 lines of code, it becomes essentially impossible to prove that code is absolutely correct.

Another interesting detail here is that people constantly confuse the fact that they can’t find a problem with there being no more problems. Let's say you have a test team of one person, and a development team of 10 (at Microsoft, we have a 1:1 ratio of testers to devs, so we'd have 10 testers on that team). But what if our poor lone hypothetical tester goes on vacation for 2 weeks, and while he is away the developers fix the few bugs he has found. Is the program now bug free, just because there are no known bugs in it? It is "bug free" after all, by the definition many people would use. In fact a good friend of mine who runs his own one-man software business told me once his software is in fact bug free, since whenever any customer tells him about a bug, he fixes it. I suppose his reality is subjective. But you see the point - whether you know about the bugs or not, they're in there.

So how do you deal with them? Of course, you test test test. You use automated tests, unit tests that test code modules independently of others, integration tests to verify code works when modules are put together, genetic test algorithms that try to evolve tests that cause problems, code reviews, automated code checkers that look for known bad coding practices, etc. But all you can really say is that after awhile you are finding it hard to find bugs (or at least serious ones), which must mean you're getting it close to being acceptable to ship. Right?

One of my favorite developments in product quality that is sweeping Microsoft and now other companies as well is an effort started by a couple of colleagues of mine in Office, called simply "Watson". The idea is simple. A few hundred (or even thousands) of professional testers at Microsoft, even aided by their expert knowledge, automated tools and crack development and program management teams cannot hope to cover the stunningly diverse set of environments and activities that our actual customers have. And we hear a lot about people who have this or that weird behavior or crash on their machine that "happens all the time". Believe me, we don’t see this on our own machines. Or rather, we do at first, then we fix everything we see. In fact, the product always seems disturbingly rock solid when we ship - otherwise we wouldn’t ship it. But would every one of the 400 million Office users out there agree? Everybody has an anecdote about problems, but what are anecdotes worth? What is the true scale of the problem? Is everything random, or are there real problems shared by many people? Watson to the rescue.

As an aside, I suspect that some people will read this and say that open source magic solves this, since as the liturgy goes so many eyes are looking at the code that all the bugs are found and fixed. What you need to realize is that there are very few lawyers who can fix code bugs. And hardly any artists. Not so many high school teachers, and maybe just a handful of administrative assistants. Cathedral, bazaar, whatever. The fact is that the real user base is not part of the development loop in any significant way. With 10^8 diverse users, a base of people reporting bugs on the order of 10^4 or even 10^5, especially with a developer user profile cannot come close to discovering the issues the set of non-computer people have.

The Watson approach was simply to say: let's measure it. We'll match that 10^8 number 1 for 1. In fact, we'll go beyond measuring it, we'll categorize every crash our users have, and with their permission, collect details of the crash environment and upload those to our servers. You've probably seen that dialog that comes up asking you to report the details of your crash to Microsoft. When you report the crash, if that is a crash that someone else has already had, we increment the count on that "bucket". After a while, we'll start to get a "crash curve" histogram. On the left will be the bucket with the most "hits". On the far right will be a long list of "buckets" so rare that only one person in all those millions had that particular crash and cared to report it. This curve will then give you a "top N" for crashes. You can literally count what percentage of people would be happier if we fixed just the top 10 crashes.

When we started doing Watson, it was near the end of OfficeXP. We collected data internally for a few months, and started collecting externally for the last beta. We quickly learned that the crash curve was remarkably skewed. We saw a single bug that accounted for 27% of the crashes in one application. We also saw that many people install extra software on their machine that interferes with Office or other applications, and causes them to crash. We also saw that things we thought were fairly innocuous such as grammar checkers we licensed from vendors for some European languages were causing an unbelievable number of crashes in markets like Italy or the Netherlands. So we fixed what we could, and as a result OfficeXp was pretty stable at launch. For the first time, that was not a "gut feel" - we could measure the actual stability in the wild. For follow-on service packs for Office XP, we just attacked that crash curve and removed all the common or even mildly common crashes.

For Office2003 (and OneNote 2003), the Watson team kicked into high gear with more sophisticated debugging tools so we could more often turn those crash reports into fixes. They also started collecting more types of data (such as "hangs", when an application either goes into an infinite loop, or is taking so long to do something that it might as well be in one). We fixed so many crashing bugs and hangs that real people reported during the betas that we were way down "in the weeds", in the areas where crashes were reported only a handful of times - hard to say if that is real or just a tester trying to repro a bug they found. So again we know how stable the 2003 generation of Office applications is - we can measure it directly. What a difference from the guesswork that used to go on. In fact we know for a fact that Office 2003 at launch is already more stable than any previous release of Office ever, even after all service packs are applied, since Windows now collects Watson data for all applications.

Microsoft offers this data freely for anyone writing applications on Windows. You can find out if your shareware application is crashing or its process is being killed by your users often - sure signs of bugs you didn’t know you had. The Windows team will also give you crash dumps you can load into your debugger to see exactly what the call stack was that took you down, so you can easily fix your bugs.

This is an example of what BillG calls "Trustworthy Computing". You may think that's a bunch of hoopla, but in many ways it is quite real - things like Watson are used to directly improve the quality of our products.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cow Economics I

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

You have two cows.
The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to
support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow,
which was a gift from your government.

You have two cows.
The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other,
pays you for the milk, and then pours the milk down the drain.

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when one cow drops dead.
You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have down
sized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one tenth the size of an ordinary
cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give
excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you
really have.

You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's
private parts.
Then you kill them and claim a US bomb blew them up while
they were in the hospital.

You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.

You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk

You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who like the brown one best, vote for the
black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which is the
best looking cow.

You have a cow and a bull.
The bull is depressed.
It has spent its life living a lie.
It goes away for two weeks.
It comes back after a taxpayer-paid sex-change operation.
You now have two cows.
One makes milk; the other doesn't.
You try to sell the transgender cow.
Its lawyer sues you for discrimination.
You lose in court.
You sell the milk-generating cow to pay the damages.
You now have one rich, transgender, non-milk-producing cow.
You change your business to beef. PETA pickets your farm.
Jesse Jackson makes a speech in your driveway.
Cruz Bustamante calls for higher farm taxes to help "working cows".
Hillary Clinton calls for the nationalization of 1/7 of your farm
"for the children".
Gray Davis signs a law giving your farm to Mexico.
The L.A. Times quotes five anonymous cows claiming you
groped their teats.
You declare bankruptcy and shut down all operations.
The cow starves to death.
The L.A. Times' analysis shows your business failure is Bush's fault.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Photography - from hobby to passion:

I was always intimidated by good photographs and wanted to develop photography as a hobby.

Recently what I wanted as a hobby became my passion. I have posted my first album with the photographs I have taken in recent past.

You can find the album at:

I am getting ready for the next album. You can see it under "Through my eyes(Pictures taken by me):" section on my blog once I post it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

On April Fools' Day 1957.....

As we are still in April, let me introduce to you the best all time April fools day hoax till now.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest:

On April Fools' Day 1957, the British Broadcasting Corporation tried a startling trick on its news show Panorama. Journalist Richard Dimbleby offered viewers a tour of a "spaghetti harvest" in Ticino, Switzerland. "The last two weeks of March are an anxious time for the spaghetti farmer," Dimbleby earnestly reported as a family was shown plucking strips of pasta off trees. "There's the chance of a late frost, which, while not entirely ruining the crop, generally impairs the flavor." The show announced "Thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop."

The story concluded, "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like home grown spaghetti." After the report ran, the BBC was flooded with calls from people asking where they might get a spaghetti tree. They were reportedly told to "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

Check out the actual broadcast archived on the BBC's website (You need the RealVideo player installed to see it, and it usually loads very slowly).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Interesting Easter Eggs

What is an "Easter Egg"?

The term "Easter Egg", as we use it here, means any amusing tidbit that creators hid in their creations. They could be in computer software, movies, music, art, books, or even your watch. There are hundreds of them, and they can be quite entertaining, if you know where to look.

In fact, most applications, operating systems, games, movies, and the like, do have these hidden tricks/features hidden/woven into their programming, something akin to the personal signature of a programmer.

For example an ester egg in Windows XP is "Con Folder":

1. In any windows or dos try to make a folder named 'con'.
2. You will be presented by an error that it already exists, or other error preventing you creating this directory.

Another example is in Dreamweaver:

1) Open a new .html document in dreamweaver.
2) From their switch to design view and type gibberish text.
3) Highlight the text you typed and go down to the properties box, open if not already open.
4) Now find the place where the color is chosen and next to it a number is in a textbox, highlight and delete that number in its place type "dreamweaver" without the quotes
5) Enjoy the good old fashion game of pong

PS: If you lose your internal speaker makes a noise not your regular speakers although the regular speakers beep when the ball hits the wall

Here are the sites that deal extensively with various easter eggs...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spider Man 3: Seven minute preview

I have always been a Spidey fan and I have been waiting from past 1 year or so for the third instalment of Spider Man. As per the talk it will kick ass all the previous movie collections and set a new record.

So for all the Spider Man fans who are waiting for the Spider Man 3 release on May 4 2007, here is a Seven minute preview of Spider Man 3:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If you find it very boring in the office, here are some tips:

1. Form a detective agency to find out who is quitting next.
2. Make blank calls to your Boss.
3. Rearrange the furniture, I.e. flick someone else's chair just to irritate him/her.
4. Send mails from MS-mail to your internet mail (and immediately get to the Internet and see who reaches first, you or your mail?) read them there, and note down the time they take to reach there. Then do vice versa.
5. Watch other people changing their facial ex-pressions while working and try changing your expressions also.
6. Try to stretch status meetings as longer as possible, just by asking silly doubts.
7. Have work breaks in between tea.
8. Have a two hour lunch; it's a big social occasion.
9. Read jokes! and send jokes.
10. Revise last week's newspaper.
11. Hold "How fast my computer boots" competitions.
12. Practice aiming the coffee cup into the dustbin.
13. Compile a "How to waste your day" file.
14. Pick up the phone and dial non-existing nos.
15. Make faces at strangers in office.
16. Count the maximum no of applications your computer can open at a time.
17. For Windows users.... move things to Recycle bin and restore them... then repeat this process.
18. Look at someone & try to imagine how (s)he might have looked when(s)he was 5 years old.
19. Learn to whistle.
20. Make full use of the comfortable chair and table provided and take a nap.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Toilets in Trains

Read this letter ignoring all grammatical errors. It has great historic value and you will come to know at the end.

"I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with 'lotah' in one hand and 'dhoti' in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on plateform. Iam got leaved at Ahmedpur station. This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers."

Okhil Chandra Sen wrote this letter to the Sahibganj divisional railway office in 1909. It is on display at the Railway Museum in New Delhi .

It was also reproduced under the caption "Travellers' Tales" in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Any guesses why this letter is of historic value?

It led to the introduction of TOILETS in trains!!!!!! !

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The above picture was taken by me on 07 April 2007 at my Home.

Do you Know?
There is a trust called SPARROW(Sound and Picture ARchives for Research On Woman).

• A trust set up in 1988 [Register Number E-11958] in Maharashtra to build a national archives for women with print, oral history and pictorial material.

• A live archives reaching out to schools, colleges, women's groups and other organisations.

• An active agent of conscientisation.

• A forum for discussions.

• An interactive space

• A daring flight into unexplored areas of experience and expression.

• A commitment.

SPARROW believes:

• That recording, reviewing, recollecting and reflecting on women's history and life and communicating this information in various ways is an important activity in development.

• That change is possible with knowledge and awareness -- of women's lives, history and struggles for self-respect and human dignity.
For more information you can visit:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Tree - Moods of change

The above picture was taken by me on 08 April 2007 few kilometers after Gachibowli, Hyderabad.

When I was editing this picture I had this feeling of similarity between the tree and humans. Like the tree grows, blossoms, withers we humans also experience similar things like growing, laughing, crying etc.

The thing that is different is that for the tree these changes happen seasonally and for us humans these are just random and can happen at any point and any number of times.

One thing that I always wondered is for humans how long this seasons last? again its random, can last from a fraction of a second to sometimes forever. I think this "season" for humans in normal terms is quoted as "Mood".

I am sure everyone of us might have used the terms "No mood man", "Mood nahi hai yaar" at some point or the other but one thing I believe is that if we are able to control our moods then we are fixing 70% of our problems.

So below are some Tips for Controlling Mood Swings that I have found:

1. Daily Exercise Routine – Incorporating just 15 minutes a day of exercise into your day can help to stabilize moods and ward away depression. Take a walk during your lunch hour, exercise while watching TV at night or start your day a few minutes earlier in order to begin each day with a short exercise routine.

2. Eat Right – Eating healthy is always a good idea, but keeping on a healthy diet can greatly soothe the ups and downs of mood swings.

3. Create a Daily Routine – Get up at the same time each morning, go to bed at the same time. Creating a routine can keep your mind and body on a more even keel, even on the weekends, when it is more desirable to spend longer in bed. Keeping your body on a schedule can help to keep the moods more stable. Eat meals at the same time each day.

4. Find Time for Yourself to Relax – Spending just a few minutes every one to two hours in a state of relaxation can help your mind to slow down. Some people find that just a few minutes of meditation every few hours helps to stabilize their racing thoughts and keeps their moods more even.

5. Schedule Your Time – Creating a schedule for yourself can help to remind you to do the small things that help mood swings. The more detailed your schedule is the better. If you find that music helps you to get moving in the morning, then incorporate that into your schedule. This way, you won’t forget to include the soothing or invigorating items that help you move along your schedule.

6. Evaluate Your Current Habits – Determine if you are creating more extreme moods by your current habits. For example, if you are depressed, do you listen to slow depressing music, allowing yourself to go deeper into depression, or if you are in an “up” mood, do you listen to more of the high energy music, allowing your mood to soar uncontrollably. Try to change your activities to even your moods, rather than exacerbate them.

7. Chart Your Moods – Keep track of when you are “up” and when you are “down” to see if there is a set pattern. Do you typically go “down” in the middle of the afternoon and then go back “up” at a certain time. Understanding the pattern of your moods can help you change your behaviors to stabilize your moods.

8. Plan Your Day According To Your Moods – Use the information from your mood chart to plan your day. If you find that you are “up” at a certain time each day, plan your day for high energy activities during that time.

9. Set Goals – Setting goals can help keep you on track and help you to work through the ups and downs. Even if your goals are as simple as “I will get the dishes done in 10 minutes” they can help you stay focused on the task and not allow moods to disrupt your activities.

10. Chart Your Medication – If you are currently taking medication, chart your medication as well as your moods so that you can see if there is a correlation between the two. Discuss the results with your doctor to see if your medication needs to be adjusted or changed.
So, There I go. My first official post. I wish all of you out there, Happy Moods!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Me a Blogger??

I am not new to Blogging, I mean I read and enjoy the posts which are on my friends Blogs. I never thought I will a blogger one day, 'cause I never felt like having a blog.

Today for the first time, the thought came to my mind "If I have a Blog what will I be posting?". This thought it self brought in numerous ideas(Silly, stupid, serious and hilarious).

As I am a kind of a person who always likes to try new things and learn from it, I started this blog.

Coming to the name "Straight from my eyes", I chose this 'cause the blog will have posts about what I see, what I think and what I feel. As eyes are our windows to the world, I chose the name(*Frankly speaking I had some other things in mind but they were not available*).

So, as the saying goes "Whatever happens is for our good", I hope my reflections will bring in some smiles/introspects/thoughts in me and rest all.