Sunday, February 28, 2010

You know that you are growing up (older) when - the old "comb over" actually seems like a decent hairstyle, Bugs Bunny is the only "hair" on your mind and "aging gracefully" doesn't sound like an oxymoron anymore.

Letting the Heap slowly bleed to death

Here's someone on the HotSpot forum asking for something many of us have thought about but been too lazy to ask the experts - Run with massive heap until OutOfMemory but with no pauses.

This, you've gotta read if you write high performance code or never really knew how those things like L1/L2 Cache, Associative Caches affect your program. The things that you read about in Computer Architecture courses in your Comp Sci/Engg course all those years ago - Gallery of Processor Cache Effects.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This month in Sci-Fi (and more)

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle - Classic Sci-fi. An engaging story, a moral conundrum, no buzzwords. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Ringworld - is Larry Niven's most famous. A short novel but you'll be engrossed in that strange, empty world.

My Outdoors: Humor from the Field and Stream by Steve Galea - If you are averse to laughing out loud and feeling good about it, this book should certainly be avoided. I had to put a pillow to my mouth while reading at night, to avoid laughing and waking my neighbors.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big data, BigSheets and other stories

Blogging, re-blogging, tweeting and re-tweeting seems to me like a way of "recycling karmic debt". So, here are some blogs from around the world talking about scalable storage. If nothing, Web 2.0 companies have at least bequeathed us with a large variety of excellent storage solutions.

High Performance Scalable Data Stores is a well written quick summary of the state of the art. (Via:

Nice to see IBM leveraging Hadoop and family. At least they don't seem to be suffering from NIH - IBM BigSheets.

HBase vs Cassandra: why we moved is interesting if you are just starting, but remember to read the comments.

I liked this too - Data-Intensive Text Processing with MapReduce. It's funny how academicians like to express everything as Gamma, Sigma, Theta ... Especially funny when you see they've taken the Java source code and converted it to "thesis-y" language. It's usually the other way round. But it's a good read.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Me, My shelf and IKEA

My book shelf from IKEA is so flimsy it suffers from shelf pity. I was thinking of converting it into a shoe rack, but I didn't want to hurt its already low shelf esteem.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I was browsing in the comics section in Borders when a kid walked up to me and asked - "Do all grown ups read comics?". I said "umm.. I'm not sure, why don't you go ask a grown up". He looked at me like I had taken his candy...Why would I? It was raspberry flavored.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big JVMs, bigger Hadoop clusters, Lucene and other stories

Some folks are using LinkedIn's Voldemort on 18G JVMs. In production. Yes, you heard it right.

Then, there's the Facebook Engineering team running 1200 node Hadoop/HDFS clusters to store 12 Petabytes. Phew! I wonder how many times a day this cluster keeps falsely reporting node deaths due to GC pauses.

Awfully nice of LinkedIn to contribute some heavy duty Lucene add-ons back in to the Open source domain. LinkedIn's latest talk on Lucene SDForum.

Another HBase/HDFS talk from FOSDEM 2010 NoSQL - My Life with HBase.

Until next time..

I was "drinking from the firehose"... until someone told me it was tap water.

The busy Server programmer's 10 step guide to building a quick and not so dirty UI prototype

Yes, yes..I know, you might be wondering why a Server programmer would ever want to do UI. Ha! And that too for a Demo?! Believe me, it's not painful and besides who wants to go to those snooty UX guys for help? :-)

If you know Java, you are already half way there. Just follow these simple steps during your *ahem* long coffee break and before you know it, you will be there. Just a little Java Swing and these simple steps:

Step 1:
Get the latest NetBeans IDE (6.8 as of Feb 2010). You will not believe how far they've come. No, not even IntelliJ is as good as NetBeans for Swing development. Also make sure that you have JDK 6 (update 18+) or newer installed.

Step 2:
Install and fire up NetBeans.

Step 3:
Create a  new Desktop application project.


Step 4:
Start dragging and dropping the things you need on to the form. Yes, as easy as that.You will notice that NetBeans guides you while placing the components on the screen. It's beautiful. What you won't realize is that there's a magic class called GroupLayout. That along with NetBeans almost shows you how to aesthetically place widgets even if you are the type who wears shorts, a faded t-shirt, a pony tail and slippers to work.

Just watch the guide lines/bars for alignment and drop them there. There are also those springy things that will move your components relative to the window size if you do it correctly. Play with it for a while and you will get the hang of it.

Step 5:
Double click the items and rename them - in-place. Yes, it's that easy.

Step 6:
Do you even vaguely remember the MVC Design pattern? Good, that's good enough. Now, just create a package called "control" and add an Action implementation for the buttons.

Step 7:
Go to the button and from the properties, choose the "action" and connect it to the Action class you just created. Once you create this, NetBeans does not automatically import the classes for you. So, go to the Source view and import these Action classes.

Step 8:
Since I pulled you into the MVC mire, we might as well go the one extra step and add a Model to it for the ComboBox. You might find it useful for a slightly fancier UI. Then, go to the action and you will find the model useful there - all your code will be typesafe, thanks to Models and Enums.

Step 9:
What? That's it. Didn't I tell you it'd be quick :-)

Step 10:
One last thing, if you really want to impress your better dressed team mates who shower everyday (a waste of water if you ask me). Add this property "" to the main Application's properties file. It'll make your app look you and your app a lot sexier, because people will think you own a Mac. Not really.

Hope it helps. Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

HIking in Edgewood park, San Mateo

Edgewood Park is just off 280. It's more of an exercise park than an hiker's park. There are several small loops and if you hike along all these trails it adds up to an easy 4.5 miles. It's a nice little park, probably best when it's not too warm like now, Feb-March.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Short toed snake eagle

Short toed snake eagle, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Pallid harrier

Palid harrier, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Pallid Harrier?

Harrier ?? which, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.


Kestrel, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Black kite

Black-kite, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Bar headed goose

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Night heron

Night heron, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

River tern landing at nest

River tern landing at nest, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Large egret

Large egret, originally uploaded by SRJP.

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Marsh harrier just about to raid a night heron nest!

Pic taken by my dad - Dr. Jayaprakash.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I drank deeply from the Cup of Life only to realize that it was just water, no ice.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Scott McNealy's letter to Sun employees

Scott McNealy's letter to Sun employees. Very touching. Like many, I've spent the last 10 years working on Sun/Java technologies and obviously I'm sentimental about it's fading away. Of course Oracle will take it to new levels, but the memory remains.