Thursday, July 30, 2009

Animal Farm - George Orwell

Animal Farm was written by Eric Arthur Blair ((25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell. Eric was born on 25th June 1903 in Motihari, Bihar, India. His work is marked by a profound consciousness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism.

Animal Farm is a very short book (around 120 pages) but it is an amazing story that continues to throw up twists and surprises. It can be bought for next to no money and be read in couple of hours. :)

The book is a fable. It tells a story of how the animals of manor farm stage a revolution against their owner, Mister Jones, and how they run the farm by themselves. The animals, the neighbouring farms and all the characters are symbols of different political ideologies and political figures. Both the time period and words used make it pretty clear what and who we are dealing with. Animalism/communism is one example.

The message of the novel is clear. Power corrupts the mind of every person. If you give somebody the power to rule over the life and death of others that power will eventually be abused. No man should have such power all by himself this is why democracy and capitalism will and have outlived communism.

As the blurb says: A biting satire on dictatorship. It is that, and much more besides. So don't wait, go ahead and treat yourself.

Personally, I enjoyed every bit of the book. Another thing, which surprised me was that the book was written in 1945 but still it predicts the collapse and ruin of the Soviet way of life. I wonder if George Orwell himself would have been surprised at just accurate his predictions were :)


Monday, July 27, 2009

IYALGTOTOM Exam (If You Are Lucky Get Through Or Try Once More)

The exam rules:

  1. The committe who conducts the exam is always right and you are always wrong.

  2. There are different levels for the IYALGTOTOM exam depending on the year of study and stream you have taken like 1.1 (first year students), 2.2 (Second year students - 1.1 included), 3.3 (third year students - 1.1 and 2.2 included) and so on.

  3. Even though you are studying a particular course, the questions can be from other streams too. For example you are doing a physics course, you are expected to study other streams like commerce, chemistry, maths, mechanical, electrical etc.

  4. You are supposed to take your regular exams and score very high marks. If you happen to score less marks then you will be thrown out of the college and your career will be at stake.

  5. Even though you score very high marks in your regular exam, if you don't clear the IYALGTOTOM exam, then you will be depromoted.

  6. The pass percentage for the exam is 70%.

  7. You can apply for revaluation only if you score 65 -69%.

  8. If you are very sure that some of the questions were wrong, then go back to rule number 1.

  9. P.S: Only those who know the context, can make something out of this post!!! Chew on it anyway.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Random Video - Fire at the nearby factory!!!

    07/21/09: 20:45: When fire broke out at the small sofa factory behind our flat in Chennai. There were no casualties reported.

    This factory is just, 5 mins walk from our flat and its very very close to the hotel (Sapna) where we have our dinner daily. That day, we got out for dinner and saw the flames coming up. When we were on the road, we saw people running around and then only we realized the seriousness of the situation. Trust me, we wont ever understand the devastating power of fire unless we see it with our own eyes. Thank God, there were no casualties.

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    SQL - Stored Procedure Performance Tuning

    For the last few days, I was working on some of the complex stored procedures in my project. Just thought of mentioning few points which I used in my stored procedures to fine tune the performance.

    1. NOLOCK hint

      If you are not updating the table and just reading the records from it using the SELECT statement. You can make use of WITH NOLOCK For example,
      Select * from Customer WITH (NOLOCK)NOLOCK indicates that no shared locks are issued against the 'Customer' table.
      The advantage of using the statement is that the database engine wont issue locks against the tables in our query. As there are no locks involved it definitely increases performance.

      The disadvantage is that, DIRTY READ's might happen. A "dirty" read is one in which the data being read is involved in a transaction from another connection. If that transaction rolls back, the data read from the connection using NOLOCK will have read uncommitted data. This type of read makes processing inconsistent and can lead to problems. If you are pretty sure, that the table from which you are reading, does not get updated often then its recommended to use NOLOCK, since it does improve the performance.
    2. Avoid Temporary Tables

      In one of my SP, I had to get data by joining 9 - 10 tables. And this data was used else where in the same SProc. So my natural choice was to go for a Temporary table. I got the data inside the #Table and then dropped the table at the end. My mistake, its always better to use Table variables instead of temporary tables. The major reason is that any procedures with a temporary table cannot be pre-compiled, but it can be done for stored procedures with table variables. Pre-compiling a stored procedure is a major advantage to its speed of execution. This advantage becomes a very much considerable especially in the case of long stored procedures, where recompilation causes performance issues.
    3. Never use functions in WHERE CLAUSE

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Anne Frank - The Diary of a young girl!!!

    For the past 2-3 weeks, I had been reading "The Diary of a young girl - Anne Frank". The book is all about the innocence, emotions and the mixed feelings of a teenager towards her parents, sister and the second family with them in the hiding. The diary entries also reveal the grubby particulars of life during wartime and the mixed emotions familiar to every adolescent (everyone criticizes me, no one understands me, when will I be loved?).To be honest, I dint find it all that interesting (am still reading it. So don't know whether my opinion would change). Anyways, guess my expectations about the book was entirely different. May be that's the prime reason.

    But Anne Frank was no ordinary teen, the entries in her diary reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl who was just 14. I came across some wonderful German quotes, some her own and some from famous German authors. Few of them, which I found really good along with its english translation.

    • "Der Mann hat einen grossen Geist
      Und ist so klein von Taten"

      "The spirit of the man is great,
      How puny are his deeds"

    • "Himmelhoch jauchzend, zu Tode detrubt"

      "On top of the world, or in the depths of despair"