Steve Jobs: How to start a business

This is a short documentary on Steve Jobs, trying to start again with the NeXT computers. It captures him as a individual working with his team, using his experience, build and sell a computer for education market.

Given the team he had, the approach he took, it seems that the result was a successful one.

BYTE in 1989 listed the NeXT Computer as among the "Excellence" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that
it "shows what can be done when a personal computer is designed as a system, and not a collection of
hardware elements". Citing as "truly innovative" the optical drive, DSP, and object-oriented programming
environment, the magazine concluded that "the NeXT Computer is worth every penny of its $6500 market price".

CS50 Lecture by Mark Zuckerberg

Listened to this guest lecture by Mark Zuckerberg in 2005. He was not world famous then yet, so the audience size is small and they ask pointed questions about facebook. This was supposed to be a computer science class, and Mark chides multiple times at the crowd that they are not asking CS questions yet.

Mark Zuckerberg's personality comes out well in this lecture. The interesting things that a computer science engineer can pick up is, Mark suggests, knowing "C" you could jump to "PHP". The idea about scalable architecture, performance optimization early in the game etc.

His thoughts on running a business in a competitive environment were interesting too.

Book Review: The Meaning Of It All - Richard Feynman

This is a short non-technical book consisting of compiled speeches of Richard Feynman. It does not into physics, but covers a lot of topics like religion, politics, society, ethical questions in science, atom bombs and scientist motivations. Richard feynman has lot of context to explore all these areas. Plus, his communication style is very pleasant.

I usually avoid reading general books like this. But I happen to pick this up, and on a day, when I was about to give some leeway into an astrology (it's not a science) shared by my close ones, having just reading a topic in this book gave me excellent points to bring my thinking back into track. Contrary to my assumption when starting to read this book, I found it extremely useful!

Intelligence is Malleable

Received this motivational quote from Khan Academy today.

Recent research shows that students learn more when they are taught that intelligence is malleable and can be grown through hard work. Students do worse if they believe that intelligence is fixed, and so are afraid to make mistakes or ask questions because they will look like they aren't smart. Let your students know that they're getting smarter every minute they spend practicing and tackling tough problems!

Git Clean Shortcuts

I added these git clean short-cut aliases to my config.

   cls = clean -x -n -e *.iml -e .idea
   cl = clean -x -f -e *.iml -e .idea

Often, I would mistakenly delete my IntelliJ idea files and I will loose the various customizations I had done. This setup will prevent the mishap from happening again.

How to become a better programmer by James Long

The original post is here.

I might have stumbled upon this via hackernews and this topic is of perennial interest to me. The general advice given were helpful. I liked the specific, measurable suggestions too. These were:

  • Learn C - I know C. I have written C. I will need to get back to writing in C.
  • Write a compiler - Not yet.
  • Learn macros - Not yet.
  • SICP - Not yet.
  • Understand continuations - Not yet.
  • If anything, just try a new language - I try this every now and then. The emphasis on his post were learning functional languages which, I think, I will be starting this year.

Andrew Carnegie, an immigrant and child laborer.

We know of the Andrew Carnegie as the famous philanthropist who donated huge portions of his wealth for setting up public libraries across united states. What I was not aware was, he as an immigrant and a child laborer who got benefited from his reading, when one of his boss opened up his library on Saturdays for his workers.

Got to know this from a very tangential post titled Keep the Internet Open

From Alan Kay:

Yes -- in fact, the original notion about all this was to be in the same spirit as the 1936 Electrical and Telephone Federal Act which was specifically aimed at rural areas that the utilities didn't want to spend money to reach, so the fed mandated "power and phone" as a kind of universal right. This has also been a theme of the EFF. The basic impulse was also one of the drivers behind Carnegie's huge support of the free library system in the US (the whole story there is interesting, including some of the high minded stipulations in the Carnegie bequests, which I've on occasion tried to get the Internet communities to buy off on).

Every Carnegie library had to have two special rooms -- one just for children, and the other where people could be taught to read. Part of the Carnegie money for the libraries supported the reading teachers and sessions. Carnegie was an immigrant and child laborer who could read a little. One of his earliest bosses would open his home library to his workers on Saturdays. Carnegie used this to raise himself up, and never forgot how it happened. (He was also one of the few truly rich people ever who said he was going to give it all away to benefit the civilization around him, and actually did it.)

Analyzing the Smoky US Travel Ban imposed on refugees on March 6, 2017

I tried to determine the motivation behind a Travel Ban issued in US on March 6, 2017 against certain nations. I tried to read the document directly instead of being influenced by numerous news articles.

My reading of the document, whose entire text is available here, leads me to believe that this move is a vindictive, politically motivated, irrational and causes harm to everyone living in US (not just the citizens).

Let's try to analyze this rationally and ask questions.

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy

No matter what your identity is, as a human, you are taught to protect the weak, stand-up against cruelty. If you protect the weak when you are strong, rationally someone else will keep you safe when you come become in your old age.

Who are refugees and what is their process to come to the US?

Refugee a person who has been forced to leave their country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

If you are a Tamil speaking person, you can identify the refugees as Sri Lankan Tamil's who fled to TamilNadu due to oppression based on race and language.

Safe and Sound nations welcome refugees as part of their commitment towards peace of the world.

  • India, after vetting, keeping in line with it's broad mindedness, welcomes refugees.
  • US follows a 2-year of vetting, and so far with it's broadmindedness has welcomed refugees too.
  • Britain, vets and welcomes them.
  • Australia, vets and welcomes them.
  • Germany, vets and welcomes them.

What happens when you block refugees from certain countries for a short period of time?

Nothing changes in practice. In theory, you create an opinion and give a signal to other countries and your territory is not a safe place. If that is not the situation, you are just oppressing the weak. This is happening with the United States banning people from certain nations.

  • It is politically motivated by a coward at the top of the government who signed this.
  • It is vindictive and reactionary to the defeat received from the judicial system trying to hold up humanities for the country.
  • It is creating divisive identity-politics, harboring people who side with racism and are phobic towards Islam religion in America.
  • It is giving way to hate crimes by racist-terrorists in America. Indians in first week of March 2017, were subjected to this with 2 deaths and 1 person wound with injuries due to racially induced gun-violence.

Now, to the text of this travel-ban:

The title says "Foreign Terrorists". In fact, US has 2 years to vet any applicant and determine if the person is a terrorist or not. This ban for 90 days is undermining the 2-years of vetting period.

The claim is:

It is therefore the policy of the United States to improve the screening and vetting
protocols and procedures associated with the visa-issuance process and the USRAP
  • What can a 90-day ban achieve, which could not be done for more than 730 days? The document fails to answer that.
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  These are countries that had already been
identified as presenting heightened concerns about terrorism and travel to the United States.
  • Where is the proof?
Additionally, Members of Congress have expressed concerns about screening and
vetting procedures following recent terrorist attacks in this country and in Europe.
  • What concern have they expressed and where is the proof? The terrorist attacks from the people of the above nation in US is 0. Why have not the members of congress raised concerns for racially induced gun-violence?
Nationals from the countries previously identified under section 217(a)(12) of the INA warrant additional scrutiny
in connection with our immigration policies because the conditions in these countries present heightened threats.
  • Where is the proof?
The following are brief descriptions, taken in part from the Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 (June 2016), of some of the conditions in six of the previously designated countries that demonstrate why their nationals continue to present heightened risks to the security of the United States:

It then, provides snippets on the crimes committed by the Individuals from the countries.

We can look at the entire list, which is claimed as an authoritative reference:

  • Why is it citing the reports from 2015 for a 90 day action in 2017?
  • There are other nations in the list, why pick up only 7?
  • What has changed in 1 months that a travel-ban on Iraq is no longer included and suddenly that is considered safe?

This is answered here.

In addition, since Executive Order 13769 was issued, the Iraqi government has expressly undertaken
steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject
to final orders of removal.  Decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals
should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or
other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety.
  • If this is the case, just call the requirement that provide "travel documentation".
  • This still does not justify the prejudice displayed with countries as a whole.

The ban, tries to support itself by giving some examples like this.

Recent history shows that some of those who have entered the United States
through our immigration system have proved to be threats to our national security.

The incident is this one:

  • The person involved did not have a ground from Somalia. What makes the claim that the entire country is at fault?
  • Why is the 2010 incident being referenced for this Ban? Where are the incidents for other countries?

These are the glaring holes in the document.This was signed by someone who did not take effort to read the document. It was prepared by the salespeople for money.

As new challenges crop up, this bad-act will be forgotten soon. Keeping quiet does not seem to be right thing to do. Let us be aware, spread correct information and help to bring bad-actors down.