Archive for November, 2006

Thinking on the job


In my years at Bell labs, we worked in two-person offices. They were spacious, quiet, and the phones could be diverted. I shared my office with Wendl Thomis who went on to build a small empire as an electronic toy maker. In those days, he was working on the ESS fault dictionary. The dictionary scheme relied upon the notion of n-space proximity, a concept that was hairy enough to challenge even Wendl’s powers of concentration. One afternoon, I was bent over to program listing while Wendl was staring into space, his feet propped upon his desk. Our boss came in and asked, “wendl What are you doing?” Wendl said, “I’m thinking.” and the boss said, “Can’t you do that at home?”


TDM in Peopleware

Humor at Exams

At viva voce:

External : How does the capacitor block DC but allow AC current to pass through ?

Student  : See, a capacitor is like this —| |—, OK. DC comes straight, like this ——, and the capacitor stops it. But AC, goes UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN and jumps right over the capacitor!

External : How do you limit surge current within an integrated circuit?

Student  : By using a miniature circuit breaker

External : Why is a thicker conductor necessary to carry a current in A.C. as compared to D.C?

Student : An AC current goes up and down (drawing a sinusoidal) and requires more space inside the wire, so the wire has to be thicker.

Some of the freshmen students are so clueless, that they think General calculus  was a famous war hero!

The guy gets on a bus and starts threatening everybody: “I’ll integrate you! I’ll differentiate you!!!” So everybody gets scared and runs away. Only one person stays. The guy comes up to him and says: “Aren’t you scared, I’ll integrate you, I’ll differentiate you!!!” And the other guy says; “No, I am not scared, I am e^x.

Avoiding spambots

A while ago I had posted on verification process using few scientific questions to separate humans and spambots.

Now Brain Hayes has few questions to distinguish spambots. The good thing is you learn some new things even if you are unable to comment 🙂 .

Sample these few questions form his blog. (Currently the questions seems to be very few in number, I wish to see lot of variety in it shortly). As for my blog is concerned, spammers are caught by Akismet. It is too good, it has blocked all the spams and there is no false positive yet!

  • Which is larger, 0 or 1?
  • 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 +….?
  • 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 …?
  • Square root of 169
  • Who published the first prrof of the impossibility of trisecting an angle?

As good as Westindies..

Now, I am happy that we Indians at least as good as Westindies in cricket. Both the teams have perfected the art of loosing the match.  

400+ Differences

Any tool is a weapon if you hold it right – Ani Difranco

Visual Studio 2005 comes  supposedly with 400+ differences from it’s predecessor. If this is the case, I am wondering what kind of tools did Microsoft offer before 2005?

Take a look at sixteen different takes: Life as a developer. It is funny and you may corelate to it.

Design & Simplicity

How to keep it simple. A must read from John Meda.

There are plenty of bad design, complexity that I encounter in daily life.

  • Area in front of my office has glazed tiles, due which people fall from their two wheelers, cars skid. It is a lousy job from the architects.
  • The toilets are designed so bad that there is a constant leak and user has to do extra work to get it right and not mess the floor.
  • Drinking water bottles with wider opening.

An update:

The sitting tables in open cafeteria is covered with granite stones. Now no one can use them in day time as no one wishes to burn is as* !

Schrodinger’s pickle Jar & All purpose mirror


The directions for use on the Le Parfait jar for pickling onions warns “Do not consume products from an unsealed container.” Thomas wants to know how else you get the contents and wonder if Erwin Schrodinger might be able to help.

David Prichard shops for mirror in a super market and finds an “all-purpose mirror”. When he reached the checkouts Prichard enquired as to how many purposes a mirror could have apart from the function of  reflecting things, but none of the people working knew the answer.

Source :


Thru Lens


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