Sunday, April 15, 2012

the future of coding practices: bad is good

When you run your searches using your favourite search engine, not all the results ranking high are useful, unbiased or even accurate. Sometimes you need bias to understand what most people think is a good idea. Sometimes, even with bias, it's often difficult to figure out that what most people do is a rather bad way to do things. So you find yourself going to portals like TheServerSide and StackOverflow to get answers that are reasonably sane, answers that you can trust (with a good degree of confidence). Of course, you also stay abreast of articles posted in places like DeveloperWorks,, JavaLobby and Dzone.

A post came up on dzone a few days ago and it portends a dark future for sensible software engineering.

It's laced with idioms (Though .. but still) that are now getting increasingly common in IT writing thanks to the growing number of people from Patil's Estate, who are able to churn out code like a cow with a bad stomach churns out you-know-what, but never really bothered to get competent in the department of technical writing (or perhaps -- the horror -- even writing itself).

And then we have egregious advice that, one hopes, anyone with a modicum of common sense will ignore. Consider a few samples:

Add comments for each ending block so that it is clear which code block is going to end

Clearly, this gentleman does not use an IDE.

Comment out the code which could be reused in future but could not be implemented this time

Surely this writer has either never used version control or uses it without really understanding what purpose it serves.

The comments on the post are encouraging -- here's hoping that this is not a trend and just an aberration.

abrash resurfaces: at valve

After Michael Abrash (who's he, you ask? click me) quit Id Software, I lost track of him until this post shows up on Hacker News. He covers a lot of stuff -- the past, the connection Valve had with id Software and company culture. It's good to see Abrash back online and if you're following things like Google's Project Glass, you might even consider following what Valve is up to.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

trailer trash

Department: RGV returns with the Big B, ropes in Sanjay Dutt, tosses in the familiar shots and crazy Dutch angles, drums up the throbbing tropes of background music and gives you a vaguely satisfying dish of interesting elements that, unfortunately, you know too well as broad stereotypes go. It's like Tolkien writing another edition in the LOTR soap. One wonders: can RGV break out of the genre he created or is he a victim of his own sandbox?

Rowdy Rathore: annoying slow motion, cars rising vertically after an explosion has hit their underparts, people rotating in the air after being punched with a feathery touch, top shots zooming into desii Busby Berkeley setups, furiously infectious South Indian percussive music. Despite the annoying presence of Akshay Kumar (was the moustache the only creative element of this enterprise?), this smells like another remake of a South Indian hit. Is it? Check. Did they get a South Indian director to direct this? Check. What's the point? Despite the poster art and credits paying homage to the pulp of yore, there's nothing but noise here. Go watch a Michael Bay film instead.

Shanghai: I've watched Z just once and my memory is dim, except that I remember liking the film a lot and regretting not knowing enough about politics to truly appreciate it. Dibakar Banerjee transplants the source novel by Vassilis Vassilikos to India and this trailer only offers a great portend. It's nicely edited, shows off some great makeup, promises some good character work (imagine not being irritated by Emraan Hashmi!) and some welcome familiar faces of yore (Farooque Sheikh!). Then there's Vishal-Shekhar's first soundtrack for the talented Mr. Banerjee. Where's the credit for the lyrics? Why not include Khosla ka Ghosla in his credits? The red on black titles are strangely familiar. But सोने की चिड़िया / dengue malaria is enough to make me await the soundtrack. Bring it on!

Monday, April 02, 2012


blunder is an anagram of brundle. Who knew. Who's Brundle, you ask? Seth Brundle. Don't you remember the eccentric scientist who decided, under the influence of alcohol and fear, to use himself as a guinea pig for his Telepods and was transformed into a genetic hybrid of man and fly?

The Fly comes to the South Asian cinematic woods as Eega (Telugu for fly) courtesy director S. S. Rajamouli. Is this a tribute to Chitti and the mosquito in Sivaji? Who knows?

The trailer tells us more. Lover boy gets snuffed out only to return as ... a computer-generated fly with bulbous red eyes. If bullets moving in bullet time, video-game style chases, slowed-down crashes of vehicles defying physics and money wasted on rather obvious computer graphics is what tickles your spine, look for further than this ambitious venture of dipteran proportions. Don't swat it. Just watch it.

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