Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When was the last time..

This one is for those moments of existential dilemma: why am I alive, and what am I doing that's in any way significant

What you may be undergoing is actually a mental rejuvenation. You must, from time to time, move away from the scorching heat of intense mental activity. If you don't, then eventually you may force a point where you are mentally so tired that you will begin to see negative thoughts more often

What your mind may be actually telling you, is that it needs an oil change real bad..

All is well if you have been with me so far.. but now I am going to the other extreme. It is for you if you have lost the part of you that brings you to your office desk everyday and makes you work and give your very best

When was the last time you didn't feel like stopping?

Like when you were young and were out playing with the gang and your mom was yelling out to you to come home and you were refusing

Do you remember any of those sentiments?

Suppose you were in the stock exchange in a day the Bull went crazy - didn't you wish the day would never end?

Describe to yourself the sentiments on that day when you didn't feel like stopping what you were doing - and record it for the day the opposite sentiment strikes.. I think, a nice blog idea..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Browser as a weapon

Being a techie I can't help getting into such a topic even in a blog like this. But then, this is a blog of my thoughts. And, had it existed 10 years ago I might even have described AJAX (in concept) in it

My post comes from my own experience with testing web applications by firing http packets at it (not a lot of that, but enough)

Any hacker knows (and probably most users realize) that the browser is a window to the Web Server. What happens inside a web server is a result of what you send to it via your browser.

The code in a Web Server, if written carefully, should do all the data validations even if already carried out in the browser. However it is quite common for a Web Programmer, especially a novice, to just do the validation in Javascript on the browser and take the incoming data for granted in the Web Server

In case you didn't catch it, the keyword in the previous para is "Javascript" - as in "disabling Javascript"..

However this is not even the beginning of what I would like to express here.

When a Developer writes a code for the Web, he uses the commonly available browsers. He may be the best coder in the world, but he will certainly miss writing the proper code for a browser that he does not know exists!

Imagine this: A spy agency downloads Mozilla source (or makes a browser of their own, for that matter). Now, this browser would not work the same way as regular ones. The regular browsers allow the programmer to dictate how it should behave. However, this browser would be fully under the control of the user. If the user wishes, it would validate some data, and skip others - to mention the tip of an iceberg. It could do session substitution, and in a jiffy have access to all your mails. It could pose as literally anyone, provided knowledge of ongoing sessions are available to it. To what extent are the web servers security-aware? No one has an account of that - or am I wrong?

For the techies, let's do a session - What features would you put in a hacker's browser?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What does it "FEEL" like?

What does it feel like,
- being the outer rubber on the tire of a moving car? How tough a tyre must be? How convenient for a car? How did they hit upon the rubber idea? Where did they first find rubber? Is there any substitute for it? Metal is noisy and wont go smooth..

One for the recruiters:
What does 7 years feel like? Yes, I don't have *Recent experience in a language. But I have n number of years in it, and am an expert of it
Or let me put it this way. You spend 7 years in prison. In the 9th year, I ask you, How was prison life. You most likely DIDN'T give which answer?
- It was terrible. I missed my family. My wife deserted me. My kids turned to drugs. My daughter turned preg at 15. I got regular beatings in prison. These 7 years were pure unforgettable hell for me
- It was the worst part of my life. I wish I had never been involved in this crime. It's a worse punishment on earth than the devil could have given me in hell
- It is an indelible part of my life. I lost everything. True, I gained a few friends and won a lot of sympathy, but I will never forget this experience till the day I die
- Prison? What are you talking about? I am a moron, and don't remember where I was yesterday


About Karate and stuff

Allright - when opening any topic, there are so many other things that can be talked about. Nothing, it seems, can be mentioned or considered in isolation. This is part of "relationship with truth". The implications are profound

Let me begin by connecting the 'Karate' word found in the title, with my own life, primarily because this blog is connected with my life.

Yes, I learned some Karate in my teen years. Developmental years are so full of questions and options, you don't know what you want to do with your life. But what you do know (if fortunate enough) is you are preparing for being a fully fledged adult some day.

The helplessness, insecurity, self-doubt of a child growing into a man (or woman) needs to be addressed at some point. My own tryst with Karate began as an antidote to the fear in my mind growing up bullied by most

What Karate did to me was, gave me a leeway to tap into my real underlying physical strength, so I could defy someone should a need arise.

What is Karate for me?

First, some points on what I consider it NOT to be:
- Some means of getting into fights and winning
- Defending against adversaries or showing off
- Even, playing cool (often to detrimental effect)

Yet, to a teenage mind these things are hard to get right

Now the part about what it is, and how it should be used
- A "real fight" really takes place at a mental level. I was once attacked by a group of drug addicts. I gave up the moment the fight started. Why? Because the settings of the fight was not of my choosing. It was completely dark. I didn't know how many of them were there. Some were behind me. It started with a guy from behind me hitting my head with a blunt weapon. I didn't know what other weapons they had.
If you really want to learn to fight, then concentrate on these kinds of scenarios. If I were to run a dojo, I would form groups of students who would unexpected jump on a target student. I would even entail the services of another dojo or organization to do the work, because the surprise element should not be lost. To add to it, I would assign everyone to walk through a dangerous place every few days and give their report (but would secretly flank him/her with a rescue team that I would outsource).
- It is anxiety control. When you are in a real confrontational situation, your heartbeats go all but crazy. If you truly want to be a good fighter, or a fighter at all, you must learn to deal with the extreme state of caution
- It is anxiety inversion. Behave or talk in such a way as to deter the adversary.
- It is game theory. Understand how to apply the carrot and stick. The physical fight always, always comes LAST, and it's best not to even hint towards it but simply to preserve your ground gently, maybe with some humor

Does your Sensai teach you to work on yourself? I would say jump on him some night and find out how good he really is - even an initial reaction would do the trick, for knowing him better (you don't have to get hurt for that!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The horse carriage

You will have to wait a bit for the "Relationship with truth" write-up.. in fact, I am debating whether I can really do justice to that topic

Anyway, I mentioned it here to avoid burying it under new posts

Today I want to take a horse's point of view, of a horse carriage.

A horse is burdened as it is by his blinders. I remember wondering how frustrated a horse might be feeling under his blinders. When I was little, things like these would leap out to me. My perceptions and sensitivity were much keener.

I once saw a goat skinned alive in a road accident and it lay there bleating helplessly, neither bleeding to death, nor able to get up and leave. There was a huge traffic mess and heavy vehicles moved slowly inches past the animal.

The scene never left me for several months and I wonder to this day what would have been the its ultimate fate

The goat had a placenta-like covering beneath its skin.. and in different circumstances it would have been quite interesting to examine

Anyway.. coming back to the horse...

I boarded a horse carriage only one time in my life. I must have been around 10 or 11 at that time. It was a full carriage and I was supposed to squeeze up in front. I couldn't help wondering if the horse would feel better off if I boarded on the back, because it was a two-wheel carriage.
If the back of the carriage were heavier (significantly enough), the carriage would have an upward force on the horse as it moved. Maybe it would struggle a bit to get a grip on the road, especially when moving up-hill. If the front were to be heavier, it would strain the front ankles and bear down on the creature down-hill
This could perhaps be avoided if the carriage were a four-wheeler.

Or maybe not. Why? Because it is easy to design poorly. A design fault may make a yoke a tad too low for the horse, and it would have to put up an upward pressure on the front wheels..

Who wants to be a horse?


Friday, August 7, 2009

Self definition

This just occurred to me..

Can you imagine some key or significant situation in your life, where, if you had behaved differently, or reacted differently, you would have had an entirely different outcome?

Suppose you imagine someone else (whom you know) in that situation - what would that person have done?

No one is perfect. Most of us would be happy to change ourselves in some albeit small way or the other. Yet the change we seek, however simple, just eludes us. We are unable to. Of course, if you are an exception case, congratulations to you.. but please read on...

Some of the reasons we are unable to change, according to me (and my readings), are:
- We don't know any other way of being
- As we grow older we lack the imagination, daring (or sheer innocence) to experiment with a different way to be
- We are locked in by a reputation imposed by the world surrounding us. Imagine a convict, even though he may have been not guilty. When he comes out of jail, is it easy for him to get a job? His jail term has set the course of the rest of his life - and suspicions and accusations will always haunt him. Others' fears may well act as a self-fulfilling prophecy

However, let me come back to the point I was trying to make here.

It is, that, to change, we
- need a role model
- really understand in our gut, what makes him/her tick. Why his behavior works. And how we can make it work for us
- make our minds flexible and innocent to take on and play a different role
- get away from old acquaintances and escape getting locked in
- avoid getting internally locked in by our own mind. Overcome negative thoughts or lack of conviction by gentle persuasion and inner diplomacy
- perhaps a supportive partner would help - but don't count on it

Well.. it so happens that I am coming to the REAL point only now, after saying all the above words..

How to answer the question "Who am I"?
You are whom you are locked in as. The younger you are, the more difficult it is to answer, because you can change. You become someone by continually practicing being in that role. As the great Shakespeare said .. The whole world is a stage, and we are all but actors

So, in my opinion, it is best to be what you want to define yourself as. Now, that reminds me of the curious psychiatric case of a lady having 18 different personalities, each of them oblivious of others

In that light, let me re-word my opinion.. no .. let me allow it to remain dormant. I am going to write another entry "Relationship with truth". And let's see if we can make a connection between the two entries

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Early thoughts

From time to time I remember some old ideas and thoughts from my childhood. I will try to maintain these using a title similar to this one..

Just remembered while watching the carpenters..

How to draw a straight line if I am not allowed to use a scale, a thread, or any such man-processed instrument/thing?

How to draw a perfect circle?

I remember having thought about these a day or two, before some ideas struck me.. I don't want to remember what they were right now .. so you can think of an answer as well

Where did this thought come from? It is from the recursive questioning.

Q. How to draw a straight line?
A. use a ruler

Q. To make a ruler you need to get a straight line first. Assume you are making the world's first ruler
A. Stretch a thread

Q. Fool! A thread is woven from cotton with the help of a machine. To make that machine you needed to draw several straight lines.
A. mmmm how about a hair ..?

Q. You are taking the fun out of the question. Try a better answer

I later plucked a hair and examined its structure. It wasn't all that uniform...

Logs and back-logs

Dear Dad

When I was little, - and this is just my chance to reveal to you - I used to make several 'notes' - about you I should treat my children, what I would do and what I would not, etc

However I never had blogging back then. If I maintained a diary it risked getting lost, falling into "wrong" hands, embarrassing me, and felt somewhat wrong, because I was after all a kid with no understanding

So this blog is an attempt to re-construct that which was lost in the humdrum of the past 3 decades. You (and my other readers - though 0 in all at time of writing) may feel that many of my ideas here are kiddish. They are meant to be. To explain, I want my sayings here to reflect my young mind. I may not be feeling the same now, or my feelings have evolved and morphed into something else, or perhaps disappeared. So a little pinch of salt here and humor there would serve good..

I don't want to conclude on that note, however. There will be ideas here that will elevate this blog and make the discussions and incidents interesting (hopefully). I know there will...

At present feeling dry of ideas so signing off ..