VCs for open source software

Open source has its genesis in an academic environment. The suits brushed it to just a hobbyist’s excuse, and the jeans never bothered too. But as everything else, attitudes regarding open source are also changing.New kinds of business models revolving around open source software are emerging. The viability of this model can definitely vouched for by the recent acquisition byIBM. Of course, this is nothing new. There were lots of companies which rode on this tide. The only difference now as it seems, is that the VCs are concentrating on certain areas of the open source development and are looking at a unique busines model for startups wanting to work using open source software.
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Bangpypers – motm 21st May’05

First things first – always check your mail before you go to any user group meeting. I didn’t and had to travel half way around Bangalore!! I assumed that the meeting was at the ThoughtWorks office on Airport road, and merrily wheeled there, only to find the man at the security desk giving me strange looks. I tried to explain it to him, that there indeed is a meeting and he clearly said saab andhar koyi nahin hein. I thought I will wait, but somehow logic got better of me, and I started looking for a browsing center to check my mail. The darn folks there charged 10 bux for 2 minutes of browsing time, hmmph X-( And when I check my mail, I see that the meeting was rescheduled to Yahoo!. Darn, from Airport Road to MG Road, Saturday evening traffic. All I could do was chal meri luna 🙂
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Hitch – not a great movie after all

The name Hitch doesn’t prepare you for what you see in the movie. Let me cut through the review. It is not a greaaat movie to watch, heck it is just a passable movie. And given that it has Will Smith and directed by Andy Tenant , it makes it – spare yourself. Ok, may be I am being overly critical, but hey it is not such a great movie.
The movie is about Will Smith, who is a dating consultant helping people to make the best of the *one* chance they have with the woman they are interested in. The other character in the movie is the tabloid reporter Eva Mendes who doesn’t believe in the idea of ‘man of the dreams’, and goes about her life. Parallel to the main story line is the story of a junior financial consultant Kevin James who likes his client, the rich and famous Allegra Cole, played by Amber Valetta and how they (finally) get together.
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BrainBoost – an answering engine (called a search engine too !)

Via Thejaswi’s blog I found a link to a new search engine – BrainBoost. This seems to be an interesting search engine to evaluate. So what is new about this search engine ? I will cut through the chase. This search engine is supposed to be an answering engine. It tries to answer a Natural Language search query by displaying the appropriate page and the appropriate section of the page. According to this interviewthe core of the search engine is the answering engine, which collates the results obtained by BrainBoost from other engines, and using its answering engine, ranks the pages and tries to display the answer most appropriate. The natural language processing, is not anything new. AskJeeves had (in whatever capability) NLP for quite sometime. The new thing in BrainBoost is the answer engine.
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gcc GA framework – ACOVEA

Performance tuning is an art – no doubt about that. I know people who do it for a living and know how observant they can be. But, more often than not, performance degradation is due to the fact that some developer somewhere has written sloppy code. I am not saying that good code can’t be tuned – definitely not. I am talking about the law of averages. And the job of a performance analyst would be to see how the application hogs the resources (cpu / memory /io / cheese burgers) and try to find out how he/she can fix it – usually, without access to the source code. Cool job eh, you bet it is.
Now lets look at the same problem from a developer’s eyes, and more specifically from a C / C++ developers’ eyes. I am not well versed with Java and hence will refrain from commenting on it. As a developer you write code that does something (may be trying to find out what the ultimate question is !!). Once you have done that, you compile it using gcc (or xlC_r or acc or cc)and you get the a.out. It works – great. Now you want to make it run faster. Going by the tenet premature optimization is evil you look at the source code and do some modifications – inline a function, perform a batch
commit of sql, reduce memory fragmentation whatever. You get a x% of improvement. Cool. Now that your status has been moved from a novice developer to a knowledgable hacker, you wonder if you can push your code a little further. you wonder if you can push your code a little
further.
You know of few compiler/linker optimization flags and you use them – the usual -O2/-O3 , -mfpath=sse etc. (in gcc). Now what if you want to try the best set of options ? What would you do ? (apart from wondering about the futility of the exercise). You try a set of optimization options in tandem to see if that gives you a better throughput. May be it does, may be it doesn’t. So what next. In case you are wondering where this is all going, the meat is round the corner.
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Cedars – Lebanese cuisine in Chennai revisited

There is an interesting thing about exclusive cuisine restaurants. They get better over time. A perfect example would be Cedars. This exclusive middle eastern (and more specifically Lebanese) cuisine
restaurant is definitely fine place to dine if you are in Chennai. Contrary to the popular belief that Chennai doesn’t have good places to eat out, Cedars is a treat both to the palate and the eye.
The place is dimly lit and finely furnished. The waiters are very friendly and do make sure that you are comfortable with the cuisine. As compared to my previous visit, the menu had changed considerably.
Earlier it was authentic lebanese food that was served, but now, there is more choice (no, don’t expect Tandoori Chicken) in the cuisine.

Usually the vegetarians (like me), find it difficult to find a variety of dishes when they try new cuisines. Even though Cedars doesn’t have a wide variety, it does have enough dishes to sassiate your taste buds. Needless to say the non-vegetarians can have a ball there. A wide range of meats, finely cooked are available.

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