Monday, February 26, 2007
richest man who has donated $31 billion (85% of his fortune) to charity.
Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:
1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
3) He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.
6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.
7) He has given his CEO's only two rules.
Rule number 1: Do not lose any of your share holder's money.
Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
8) He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.
9) Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.
10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.
11) His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Everyone brings one piece of the plane along when they come to the airport. They all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing non-stop about what kind of plane they are supposed to be building.
Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again. Then they push again, jump on again, and so on...
All the stewards, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look and act exactly the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are gently but firmly told that you don't need to know, don't want to know, and everything will be done for you without your ever having to know, so just shut up.
The terminal is pretty and colourful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.
Windows NT Air
Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.
Windows XP Air
You turn up at the airport,which is under contract to only allow XP Air planes. All the aircraft are identical, brightly coloured and three times as big as they need to be. The signs are huge and all point the same way. Whichever way you go, someone pops up dressed in a cloak and pointed hat insisting you follow him. Your luggage and clothes are taken off you and replaced with an XP Air suit and suitcase identical to everyone around you as this is included in the exorbitant ticket cost. The aircraft will not take off until you have signed a contract. The inflight entertainment promised turns out to be the same Mickey Mouse cartoon repeated over and over again. You have to phone your travel agent before you can have a meal or drink. You are searched regularly throughout the flight. If you go to the toilet twice or more you get charged for a new ticket. No matter what destination you booked you will always end up crash landing at Whistler in Canada.
Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself.
When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?"
More Interesting topics at http://www.zyra.org.uk/os-air.htm
This is a true story of a young college girl who passed away last month. Her name was Janaki. She was hit by a lorry. She has a boy friend named Prabath. Both of them are true lovers.
They always hang on the phone. You can never see her without her hand phone. In fact she also changed her phone from Dialog to Mobitel, so both of them can be on the same network, and save on the cost. She spends half of the day talking with Prabath. Janaki's family knows about their relationship. Prabath is very close with Janaki's family. Before she passed away she always told her friends "If I pass away please burn me with my hand phone" she also said the same thing to her parents. \
After her death, people couldn't carry her coffin. A lot of them tried to do so but still couldn't everybody tried to carry the coffin, the result was still the same. Eventually, they called their neighbor, a religious man from a village, who is a friend of her father. He took a stick and started speaking to himself slowly. After a few minutes, he said "this girl misses something here".
Then her friends told the learned man about her wish to burn her with her phone. He then opened the coffin and places her phone and SIM card inside the casket. After that they tried to carry the coffin. It could be moved and they carried it into the van easily. All the people were shocked. (Can u feel the fear? I'm shaking at this moment) Janaki's parents did not inform Prabath that Janaki had passed away.
After 2 weeks Prabath called Janaki's mom. Prabath..."Aunty, I'm coming home today. Cook something nice for me. Don’t tell Janaki that I'm coming home today, I wanna surprise her." Her mother replied....."You come home first, I wanna tell you something very important." after he came, they told him the truth about Janaki.
Prabath thinks that they were playing a fool. He was laughing and said "don’t try to fool me - tell Janaki to come out, I have a gift for her Please stop this nonsense". Then they show him the original death certificate to him. They gave him proof to make him believe. (Prabath started to sweat)
He said... "It’s not true. We spoke yesterday. She still calls me. Prabath was shaking. Suddenly, Prabath's phone rang. "See this is from Janaki, see this..." he showed the phone to Janaki's family. All of them told him to answer. He talked using the loudspeaker mode. All of them heard his conversation.
Loud and clear, no cross lines, no humming. It is the actual voice of Janaki & there is no way others could use her SIM card since it is nailed inside the coffin they were so shocked and asked for the religious mans help again. He brought another religious man along to solve this matter.
They both worked for 5 hours. Then they discovered one thing...
MOBITEL has the best coverage :) LMAO
When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens would not work at zero gravity (ink will not flow down to the writing surface).
To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did the Russians do...? They used a Pencil!
One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan 's biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty.
Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soapbox went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty.
No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.
But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.
Always look for simple solutions. Let us devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problems.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Korea Herald: How long did you live in Korea as a child? What was it like?
Dennis Hwang: I was born in Knoxville, Tenn., but moved to Korea when I was about five years old. My hometown was Gwacheon where I had a very normal childhood. I went through public schools like everyone else, spending six years at Gwacheon Elementary School and two years at Munwon Middle School. Actually, much of my ideas and style stem from the time I spent during my childhood in Korea. Whatever challenges the logos bring, I can often rely on the little doodles that I used to do in school when I was young. Something that used to be frowned upon turned out to be my greatest asset.
Herald: When did you move back to the United States?
Hwang: I came back in 1992 when my father received a Fulbright Scholarship to research in the United States.
Herald: What was it like going to an American school all of a sudden?
Hwang: I was placed in a public middle school but was completely unprepared for it. I didn't speak a word of English. For the first six months, I couldn't communicate with the teachers or students. With the help of ESL programs though, I got better. My father returned to Korea, but my brother and I decided to continue our education in the States. My parents have made unimaginable sacrifices for us over the last 10 years, and I wouldn't be this successful without their support.
Herald: What was the first logo you designed for Google?
Hwang: Google had been using outside contractors to do the earlier logos, so the first project I got was modifying the Fourth of July logo in 2000. The two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wanted something more fun, so I redrew parts of the image. The next logo was for Bastille Day, which is the first logo I did from scratch.
Herald: Which letters are your favorite targets for manipulation?
Hwang: Understandably, the "O" and the "L" are the easiest to deal with. The "O" has become a Halloween pumpkin, a Nobel Prize medal, the Korean flag symbol and the planet earth. The "L" has been used as a flagpole, the Olympic flame cauldron or a snow ski. The first "G" is the most difficult to deal with, and I don't think the "E" has gotten much action because of its location.
Herald: How did you come to do the Korean Independence Day logo?
Hwang: Google makes a big effort to recognize holidays that aren't necessarily mainstream. The Korean Independence Day logo was seen globally by tens of millions of people. Numerous Korean-Americans wrote to thank us on Aug. 15 last year. Many expressed how proud it made them to see the Korean flag.
Herald: Do you have plans for other Korea-related logos in the future?
Hwang: I'll definitely to a special logo for Korea hosting the World Cup.
Herald: You're only 23 years old. What are your future plans?
Hwang: Who knows? It's very important to me that I can work both technically and artistically. Google is a perfect place to do that. It allows me to have a programming job while letting me express myself artistically, with the added bonus of having my work be seen by tens of millions of people in a single day.
Herald: What is your favorite letter among the ones found in the word "Google?"
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The writers clearly saw "Mad Love" and said "We can do better than that." And they do. They follow a very similar story line and add a non-stereotypical Latino twist for a different take on Romeo and Crazy Juliet.
While the ending isn't entirely believable, it is satisfying for a movie. With many thanks to Deepali...
Monday, February 19, 2007
The initial Tapestry HDS-300R holographic disc drives shipped in December to beta users
The Tapestry HDS-300R, which is the first rev of the product, will use a write-once format suited to regulatory agencies and is aimed strictly at the archival market for industries such as IT, health sciences, government agencies and professional video recording. InPhase plans to come to market with a re-writable format disc by the end of 2008.
"We're not going to play in the backup market at all," said Nelson Diaz, CEO of InPhase, in Longmont, Colo.
InPhase's first generation product has a data transfer rate of 20MB/sec., 100,000-hour meantime between failure rate and a 50-year expected lifespan. By the end of 2008, InPhase plans a second-generation 800GB optical disc with data transfer rates of about 80MB/sec., with plans to expand its capacity to 1.6TB by 2010. Diaz said his company plans to make all of its products backward compatible.
Diaz also said InPhase announced today that it has signed a partnership with jukebox manufacturer DSM Handhabungssysteme GmbH & Co. KG in Germany, to adapt its holographic drives to a library system. Diaz said DMS plans to have a holographic library out in early 2008 with up to 675TB of capacity. InPhase is also working with a number of other tape library manufacturers to adapt their technology.
Each holographic disk actually holds up to 600GB. Diaz said the remaining 300GB not being used for data storage is taken up by error correction software. "We have lots and lots of data redundancy. Because we're going after the archive market we've really erred on the side of caution in terms of data recovery," said Liz Murphy, vice president of marketing at InPhase.
To a backup server the holographic disc looks like a drive letter, allowing users to drag and drop files, Murphy said.
"We've also tried to make as easy to integrate as possible from a software perspective. So it can emulate a DVD, CD-R, magnetic optical disc or tape drive. So software companies don't have to do any major changes to write to it in native mode," Murphy said.
The optical platters are encased in a 5.25-in. square casing that looks like a floppy disk, except that they're 3 millimeters thick. The platter itself is 1.5 millimeters thick and data is written as a holographic image throughout the substrate of the disc.
Unlike CDs and DVDs where data is written on the surface, data is written throughout the substrate of the disc, meaning scratches, dust or dirt have little effect on data retrieval, Diaz said.
InPhase was spun off the technology from Bell Laboratories in 2000. The company plans to sell the product through resellers. Hitachi Maxell Ltd. will be manufacturing the tapestry line of holographic discs with photopolymer materials from Bayer MaterialScience AG.
Diaz said he already has orders for the product from big-name organizations such as Turner Broadcasting System Inc., the U.S. Geological Survey and Lockheed Martin Corp.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Q:What exactly is Java's role in the Mars Rover mission?
A: The places where NASA scientists have used Java for this mission is all on the ground side right now. They have created this collaborative command and control system called Maestro, which does this combination of data visualization, collaboration, command and control. It lets them look at images and create 3-D reconstructions of terrain. It allows various experimenters to look at the scenes and topography, browse the image databases and take part in all the participation they need to do. And to do it in a remote, distributed and collaborative kind of way - so they could actually have scientists at institutions all over the world who are not only looking at the data, but also collaboratively deciding on the way the mission should proceed. One of the nice things that the JPL guys have done is that they've made a "cleaned up for civilians" version of this application available that's called Maestro.
Q:How is the Java assisting in controlling the Rover from earth?
A: There's a Java API called Java Advanced Imaging, that's used for the images captured by the panoramic camera - the one that producing images with excruciating detail. Those panoramas are being created by combining images from two different cameras onboard the Rover, so with the two lenses they get two images - just like you've got two eyes - so you can do a stereoscopic mapping where your brain is able to figure out how far away things are. Because they've got these stereoscopic images, they can go through a process that's called stereo-image correlation, so they can calculate for each pixel in the image how far away that picture element really is.
With this information, the JPL scientists can calculate how far away each rock is, each picture element, for all of the millions of pixels in one of these large images. So you can get the depth of the image at every point. That's what a stereo camera gives you. When you've got the depth information, you can then actually build a 3-D model, the actual model of the terrain. And then you can actually map the image back onto the 3-D model. So then what you've got is a colored, three-dimensional model of the world around you.
Q:Are they actually commanding the Mars Rover with Java?
A: For the command and control system, big parts of it are this rather large Java application. There are a lot of parts involved in this. The Rover itself has a computer onboard. There's no Java in that computer now. But on the ground-side, there are a number of parts of the whole command and control chain that goes out to the Rover that's done in Java. It's not like every last piece of every subsystem is based on the Java code. Great big pieces of it are. In particular, all the data visualization, user interface front-end stuff and I believe a whole lot of the database stuff is.
Q:How does the public version of the Maestro application work?
A: If you go to the Maestro website you will find that they've got two sets of downloads. One is the Maestro application itself, and the other is a first teaser set of data from Mars. There are different versions for different platforms. There's one for Solaris, a version for Linux, there's a version for Windows and more. The fact that they've got all those versions just shows you how portable Java is, how cross-platform it is. It's exactly the same program in all of those, they are just packaged differently.
So when you download the first set of data. There's a script that walks you through looking at some of the data. Using the 3-D model they have there, and using your mouse, you can actually manipulate the 3-D model and you can get a view as if you're standing off to the side of the landing looking back at it. You can actually wander around the landing site. You can see the rocks. You can see one of the places where one of the air bags didn't deflate completely. All of this 3-D, walk-through visualization is using standard Java APIs like Java 3-D API, Java Advanced Imaging API, Java networking APIs and the user interface APIs.
Using the Maestro version they are distributing, not only do you see a 3-D model of the terrain, you see a 3-D model of the Rover. You can actually drive the Rover on this simulated terrain. It has this "video game" aspect to it. Except that you're actually driving it on a terrain model that's real. It's real Mars data that's constructing this terrain. It's not like playing Dune, where you're going through this maze that's completely fictitious.
Q:How has it been to work with the JPL scientists on this project?
A: I've spent a good amount of time down there with JPL, not only interacting with some of them, but I'm also on one of their advisory boards. In terms of talent density, IQ points per square meter, it's just an amazing place. Plus, they are doing things that most people would think of as science fiction. Most people read science fiction stories about driving dune buggies on Mars. These guys actually build them. They actually know how to fly between the planets. I've spoken to some of the guys that do interplanetary navigation, and that is really spooky stuff. You actually have to pay attention to relativity, the fact that time is not a constant - the faster you go, the slower things are. They function in a world where relativity actually matters. They are way outside of Newtonian mechanics.
JPL is a place to go to have your mind blown - partly, because they are really charged up about what they do. This is a crowd of people who are living a dream. What they are doing is so out there, so wonderful. They are doing something that is very heroic, noble, exploratory and exciting. They are the only part of the U.S. government that I can really get excited about. NASA has this incredible public outreach program, because they know that they are loved and it's a tremendous public service. They do lots of stuff with schools. The fact that they put this stripped-down version of Maestro out there is a wonderful piece of public outreach.
Q:What is it about Java that makes it so attractive to this type of application?
A: The answer is there's a bunch of things, not just one thing. One of the aspects of Java that was really important to them is that it runs on a lot of platforms. If you look at JPL, they've got Solaris boxes, Linux boxes, Windows boxes, Apple boxes - it works on all of them. If you look at the standard available API libraries available for Sun, there's a huge toolkit of things that you bring to bear. There are things like the 3-D modeling APIs, the Advanced Imaging APIs, and all the user interface APIs and networking APIs. The JPL guys used all of them. They were able to leverage all of these standard tools.
Plus, there's been a lot of experience with Java where folks have measured things like developer productivity. For example, if you compare how long it takes someone to develop a piece of software in Java versus C or C++, essentially all of the measurements show it to be about twice as effective. So if it takes some team of engineers ten months to do something in C++, it will take them five months to do it in Java. For an outfit like JPL that does everything on a shoestring budget, that also means you can trim it down five months - or still do it in ten months, but trim it down to half as many people.
There are also a number of aspects to Java that are all about building more reliable applications. It is a lot easier to build things that are more reliable - that break less often - so you don't have to worry about blowing your machine to bits. There's also a lot in Java that's all about security. So when you've got something like their large databases - whose integrity is something they need to be careful about - security is important. So, it's a whole bunch of things that all swirl together. Whenever you talk to Java developers, you get a different answer to the "why did you do it Java" question. Although, there tends to be a standard set of themes.
Q:Is this the first time that Java has been used for this type of application - being beamed out into space?
A: Actually, I don't think so. I've talked to people that have been doing various things with satellite ground station control and people that control systems for giant telescopes. People are doing stuff like this all over the place. The JPL project is what people tend to talk about because it's too damn cool for words.
Java Technology and the Mission to Mars
By Dr. James Gosling
CTO, Developer Programs
Monday Jan 5, 4:00 PM PT
This weekend I saw what has to be the coolest Java(TM) app ever. We talk about "Java everywhere," which usually means Java(TM) technology in vehicle navigation, imaging, control consoles and things like that. This time "everywhere" means all of that and then some, because Java technology is playing a big role in NASA's latest, highly successful, Rover Mission to Mars.
On Saturday night I watched as a control room full of immensely tense geeks explode with joy as they successfully landed the six-wheeled Mars Rover "Spirit" on the planet's surface. From there, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena will get to use their powerful, Java technology-based, ground side control system to maneuver Spirit on the Martian terrain in what has to be the most amazing network "video game" in history.
Java 3D and Java Advanced Imaging technology are also key to the software JPL is using to render and interpret realtime images captured by the Rover. NASA has even made a stripped down version of the software that you can download so you can view a simulated 3D landscape and drive the Rover around in it.
There are all kinds of reasons JPL is using Java technology for control and imaging systems for the Rovers. NASA engineers had access to hundreds of specialized APIs and network protocols that they needed to bring this off. They got great productivity and reliability. The data they're collecting through this program is part of a distributed, collaborative network of scientists and engineers, and the ability of Java technology to run on any platform enables a secure, reliable global dialogue within NASA's scientific community.
Now that Java has helped us get to Mars, who knows what "Java Everywhere" will mean in the future?
Sean O'Keefe, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, celebrates after the staff in the Mars Mission Control Room receives a signal that the Mars Rover has landed safely on Mars.
Mars mission controllers, Stan Thompson, foreground, and Bill Currie, prepare for the long evening ahead in the Mars Mission Control Room.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Prior to the mid-1960s, computers were extremely expensive tools used only for special-purpose tasks. A simple batch processing arrangement ran only a single "job" at a time, one after another. During the 1960s, however, faster and more affordable computers became available. With this extra processing power, computers would sometimes sit idle, without jobs to run.
Programming languages in the batch programming era tended to be designed, like the machines on which they ran, for specific purposes (such as scientific formula calculations or business data processing or eventually for text editing). Since even the newer less expensive machines were still major investments, there was strong tendency to consider efficiency to be the most important feature of a language. In general, these specialized languages were difficult to use and had widely disparate syntax.
As prices decreased, the possibility of sharing computer access began to move from research labs to commercial use. Newer computer systems supported time-sharing, a system which allows multiple users or processes to use the CPU and memory. In such a system the operating system alternates between running processes, giving each one running time on the CPU before switching to another. The machines had become fast enough that most users could feel they had the machine all to themselves. In theory, timesharing reduced the cost of computing tremendously, as a single machine could be shared among (up to) hundreds of users.
The original BASIC language was designed in 1963 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz and implemented by a team of Dartmouth students under their direction. BASIC was designed to allow students to write programs for the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System. It intended to address the complexity issues of older languages with a new language design specifically for the new class of users time-sharing systems allowed — that is, a less technical user who did not have the mathematical background of the more traditional users and was not interested in acquiring it. Being able to use a computer to support teaching and research was quite attractive enough. In the following years, as other dialects of BASIC appeared, Kemeny and Kurtz' original BASIC dialect became known as Dartmouth BASIC.
The eight design principles of BASIC were:
1. Be easy for beginners to use.
2. Be a general-purpose programming language.
3. Allow advanced features to be added for experts (while keeping the language simple for beginners).
4. Be interactive.
5. Provide clear and friendly error messages.
6. Respond quickly for small programs.
7. Not require an understanding of computer hardware.
8. Shield the user from the operating system.
The language was based partly on FORTRAN II and partly on ALGOL 60, with additions to make it suitable for timesharing. It had been preceded by other teaching-language experiments at Dartmouth such as the DARSIMCO (1956) and DOPE (1962 implementations of SAP and DART (1963) which was a simplified FORTRAN II). Initially, BASIC concentrated on supporting straightforward mathematical work, with matrix arithmetic support from its initial implementation as a batch language and full string functionality being added by 1965. BASIC was first implemented on the GE-265 mainframe which supported multiple terminals. Contrary to popular belief, it was a compiled language at the time of its introduction. It was also quite efficient, beating FORTRAN II and ALGOL 60 implementations on the 265 at several fairly computationally intensive programming problems such as maximization Simpson's Rule.
The designers of the language decided to make the compiler available without charge so that the language would become widespread. They also made it available to high schools in the Dartmouth area and put a considerable amount of effort into promoting the language. As a result, knowledge of BASIC became relatively widespread (for a computer language) and BASIC was implemented by a number of manufacturers, becoming fairly popular on newer minicomputers like the DEC PDP series and the Data General Nova. The BASIC language was also central to the HP Time-Shared BASIC system in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these instances the language tended to be implemented as an interpreter, instead of (or in addition to) a compiler.
Several years after its release, highly-respected computer professionals, notably Edsger W. Dijkstra, expressed their opinions that the use of GOTO statements, which existed in many languages including BASIC, promoted poor programming practices. Some have also derided BASIC as too slow (most interpreted versions are slower than equivalent compiled versions) or too simple (many versions, especially for small computers left out important features and capabilities).
Notwithstanding the language's use on several minicomputers, it was the introduction of the MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer in 1975 that provided BASIC a path to universality. Most programming languages required more memory (and/or disk space) than were available on the small computers most users could afford. With the slow memory access that tapes provided and the lack of suitable text editors, a language like BASIC which could satisfy these constraints was attractive. BASIC also had the advantage that it was fairly well known to the young designers who took an interest in microcomputers. Kemeny and Kurtz's earlier proselytizing paid off in this respect. One of the first to appear for the 8080 machines like the Altair was Tiny BASIC, a simple BASIC implementation originally written by Dr. Li-Chen Wang, and then ported onto the Altair by Dennis Allison at the request of Bob Albrecht (who later founded Dr. Dobb's Journal). The Tiny BASIC design and the full source code were published in 1976 in DDJ.
In 1975, MITS released Altair BASIC, developed by Bill Gates and Paul Allen as Micro-Soft. The first Altair version was co-written by Gates, Allen and Monte Davidoff. Versions of Microsoft BASIC soon started appearing on other platforms under license, and millions of copies and variants were soon in use; it became one of the standard languages on the Apple II (based on the quite different 6502 MPU). By 1979, Microsoft was talking with several microcomputer vendors, including IBM, about licensing a BASIC interpreter for their computers. A version was included in the IBM PC ROM chips and PCs without floppy disks automatically booted into BASIC just like many other small computers.
Newer companies attempted to follow the successes of MITS, IMSAI, North Star and Apple, thus creating a home computer industry; meanwhile, BASIC became a standard feature of all but a very few home computers. Most came with a BASIC interpreter in ROM, thus avoiding the unavailable, or too expensive, disk problem. Soon there were many millions of machines running BASIC variants around the world, likely a far greater number than all the users of all other languages put together.
There are more dialects of BASIC than there are of any other programming language. Most of the home computers of the 1980s had a ROM-resident BASIC interpreter.
The BBC published BBC BASIC, developed for them by Acorn Computers Ltd, incorporating many extra structuring keywords, as well as comprehensive and versatile direct access to the operating system. It also featured a fully integrated assembler. BBC BASIC was a very well-regarded dialect, and made the transition from the original BBC Micro computer to more than 30 other platforms.
During this growth time for BASIC, many magazines were published such as Creative Magazine that included complete source codes for games, utilities, and other programs. Given BASIC's straightforward nature, it was considered a simple matter to type in the code from the magazine and execute the program. Different magazines were published featuring programs for specific computers, though some BASIC programs were universal and could be input into any BASIC-using machine.
Many newer BASIC versions were created during this period. Microsoft sold several versions of BASIC for MS-DOS/PC-DOS including BASICA, GW-BASIC (a BASICA-compatible version that did not need IBM's ROM) and QuickBASIC. Turbo Pascal-publisher Borland published Turbo BASIC 1.0 in 1985 (successor versions are still being marketed by the original author under the name PowerBASIC).
These languages introduced many extensions to the original home computer BASIC, such as improved string manipulation and graphics support, access to the file system and additional data types. More important were the facilities for structured programming, including additional control structures and proper subroutines supporting local variables.
However, by the latter half of the 1980s newer computers were far more capable with more resources. At the same time, computers had progressed from a hobbyist interest to tools used primarily for applications written by others, and programming became less important for most users. BASIC started to recede in importance, though numerous versions remained available. Compiled BASIC or CBASIC is still used in many IBM 4690 OS point of sale systems.
BASIC's fortunes reversed once again with the introduction of Visual Basic by Microsoft. It is somewhat difficult to consider this language to be BASIC, because of the major shift in its orientation towards an object-oriented and event-driven perspective. While this could be considered an evolution of the language, few of the distinctive features of early Dartmouth BASIC, such as line numbers and the INPUT keyword, remain.
Many BASIC dialects have also sprung up in the last few years, including Bywater BASIC and True BASIC (the direct successor to Dartmouth BASIC from a company controlled by Kurtz). Recently, the remaining community using Microsoft's pre-Visual Basic products have begun to switch wholesale to FreeBASIC, a GPLed compiler which has been in the process of moving BASIC onto a GCC backend. Many other BASIC variants and adaptations have been written by hobbyists, equipment developers, and others, as it is a relatively simple language to develop translators for. An example of an open source interpreter, written in C, is MiniBasic.
The ubiquity of BASIC interpreters on personal computers was such that textbooks once included simple TRY IT IN BASIC exercises that encouraged students to experiment with mathematical and computational concepts on classroom or home computers.
10 INPUT "What is your name: "; U$
20 PRINT "Hello "; U$
40 INPUT "How many stars do you want: "; N
50 S$ = ""
60 FOR I = 1 TO N
70 S$ = S$ + "*"
80 NEXT I
90 PRINT S$
110 INPUT "Do you want more stars? "; A$
120 IF LEN(A$) = 0 THEN GOTO 110
130 A$ = LEFT$(A$, 1)
140 IF (A$ = "Y") OR (A$ = "y") THEN GOTO 40
150 PRINT "Goodbye ";
160 FOR I = 1 TO 200
170 PRINT U$; " ";
180 NEXT I
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Top Ruby Features according to Michael Neumann
* immediately executable (no waiting period while compiling)
* execution speed much slower than with compiler (e.g. Pascal, C++)
In Ruby everything is an object (as in Smalltalk). Ruby did not use multiple-inheritance, but the same is possible through mix-in.
Ruby is highly portable, so that one and the same Ruby program runs without changes under UNIX, Windows, DOS, Mac, BeOS and others. Of course that's only true unless using platform-specific modules, like for example some GUI's for UNIX or WinGKR (Win32 GUI Kit for Ruby).
* less expenditure (only one program had to be managed)
* wider distribution of the program (because it runs on serveral platforms)
Variables in Ruby have no type, such as in Smalltalk, BASIC or Python. Variables behave as placeholders, but data is typed. In C++ or Pascal, variables are typed (e.g. int / Integer), but the data in the memory is not, that is you cannot recognize if it's a String or an Integer. In C++ or Pascal the types are checked at compile-time, whereas Ruby checks the type at runtime, so if the object understands the message (method-call) is first known after a method-call. You do not have to declare variables, because they are automatically created when you use them.
automatic memory-management (garbage collection)
You do not have to release allocated memory in Ruby (as you have to do in Pascal/C++ with dispose/free). No longer used memory, i.e. memory-frames where no variable points to, are automatically freed by the garbage collector.
* no memory leaks
* fewer crashs or errors
* more easier, faster and more uncomplicated programming, because you do not have to look after the memory management.
* less speed (about 10%). But Ruby is an interpreted language, where 10% are not so much.
easy and clear syntax
Ruby is based among others on the syntax of Eiffel (Ada)
* well legible
* ease to understand
* easy to learn
* fewer errors
Ruby often offers an additional C++ similar syntax
* hardly changes for those, who come from C++ (Perl) to Ruby
* less code ==> faster
advanced OO-concepts and features
* singleton methods
* mix-in instead of multiple-inheritance
* operator overloading
* method-overloading (such as C++)
* exception handling
* iterators and closures
* build-in pattern-matching (like Perl)
* Ruby is free, also for commercial applications
* many existing libraries make programming easy
* Ruby is permanently developed, without loosing backward-compatibility
* There are interfaces to Python, Perl and Java. Thus existing programs can be reused.
* Many important data-structures are available (such as dynamic arrays (lists), strings, bignum, complex, ....)
* Easy to extend through C/C++ with dynamic (DLL's) or static binding.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
The arrival of President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was heralded by the blowing of trumpets by the Sri Lanka Army. They were received by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya, Home Affairs Minister R. Gajadeera, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana and Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray.
The Chief of Defence Staff, the three Services Commanders and the IGP conducted the President to the Main Flag Post where he hoisted the National Flag, amidst the beating of Magul Bera and the blowing of Conch Shells by Artists of the Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage. This was followed by a 21 Gun Salute to the President, who later addressed the Nation.
The National Anthem was sung by a bevy of 100 schoolgirls representing seven Girls' Schools in Colombo - Vishaka Vidyalaya, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Devi Balika Vidyalaya, St. Bridget Convent, Janadhipathi Vidyalaya, Ramanathan Hindu Balika Vidyalaya, Muslim Ladies College and three from outstations - Kurunegala Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalaya, Debarawewa National School and Dehiathakandiya National School.
Jayamangala Gathas and "Devo Vassathu Kalena" was also sung by 25 school girls of seven selected schools from these 10 schools.
The colourful pageant ended with a 'March Past' by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, STF and the Civil Security Forces who portrayed their strength and dexterity. Naval offshore patrolling and surveillance crafts, Sayura, Sagara, Nandimithra, Samudura, Shakthi and Udara, displayed their manoeuvrability skills in the sea off Galle Face Green, while Kfir and MiG fast-attack aircraft of the Air Force displayed their air power.
This was followed by 'Group Performances' including 'Ves Netum' and traditional drums.
Yesterday's ceremony reflected the will of the Nation to face the myriad challenges of the present and the future as one, devoid of any ethnic, religious or political differences.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.
without any modifications
The celebration was well organized and joined by Sri Lankan Armed forces to display the Nation armed strength to the World. Displays also included Armed Vehicles, Naval Crafts and High speed jets.
I'm using both WIN XP and GNU/Linux Debian Etch. Working with Apache Web Server.
And I'm so glad to have contacts and make friends with Other interns from different Universities. This includes University of Moratuwa, Informatics Institute of Technology and Technical University of Clausthal - Germany