Yesterday was somewhat oddly spent.

  • Began the day by reading up on Workflow Management: Models, Methods, and Systems (Cooperative Information Systems) and then somehow moved into re-reading Dreaming in Code. And, it all started because I thought of brushing up stuff before I started wrestling with YAWL. Which brings up the lazyweb question – is there a tool/application available that allows me to create workflows using YAWL ? I am not so keen on ‘coding’ the workflows.
  • Random conversations led to the book Beautiful Teams. And, it looks like it would be nice to have.
  • On a side note, I wonder why is it so difficult for folks to conceive of a business of printing GNU Press books on demand. It has been a long while since there have been talks about it. But nothing has moved forward.
  • There is a National Conference on Free Software being held at Cochi around November 15. And, saw this off a flurry of mails on various lists.
  • Current favorite picture is here. Check the rest of the photostream too.
  • The paper had a snippet of an interview with V Ramesh (CEO, Prabhudas Lilladher Financial Services) who thinks that hotels can provide ‘more meeting rooms‘ to improve services because they would ‘reduce travel time to different locations’. *sigh* ! Why don’t folks talk about rationalizing the WiFi access rates in most hotels. The rates are a massive fail !!
  • The paper also had an interview about the RPG Group’s foray into retail. Sanjiv Goenka talking about how the group is planning to spend around 1500 cr (that’s 7 more zeroes) INR in retail. Hmm… he hasn’t been moving about much I’d say. We happen to live close to 4 retail outlets – More (Aditya Birla), Reliance Fresh, BigBazaar (Future Group) and Spencers (RPG) and all of them provide jarring experiences. Barring BigBazaar, none of them have anything resembling parking space. Or, the walk-into-the-store area (and experience) is cramped and congested. Amongst the four, Reliance Fresh seems to have a somewhat better collection of fresh vegetables. However, the stock-out rates of stuff at Reliance is ridiculous which is where BigBazaar kind of beats all of the three hands down. There is rush at all 4 retails stores – and they don’t seem to be eating into each other’s slice of the market. But, they don’t seem to be doing well either. It would be interesting to read more about the ‘retail dream’ and ‘retail experience’ in India. The dream doesn’t seem to be going well now.

মম চিত্তে নিতি নৃত্যে কে যে নাচে
তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ ।
তারি সঙ্গে কী মৃদঙ্গে সদা বাজে
তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ ।।
হাসি কান্না হীরাপান্না দোলে ভালে,
কাঁপে ছন্দে ভালো মন্দ তালে তালে ।
নাচে জন্ম, নাচে মৃত্যু পাছে পাছে
তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ ।
কী আনন্দ, কী আনন্দ, কী আনন্দ,
দিবারাত্রি নাচে মুক্তি, নাচে বন্ধ —
সে তরঙ্গে ছুটি রঙ্গে পাছে পাছে
তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ, তাতা থৈথৈ ।।

Quirky behavior of oocalc

A quirky behavior of OpenOffice.org Calc was observed. I uploaded the sample spreadsheet here [link to .ods] .

Would be great to know if someone else can reproduce it.

The first 3 columns have three dates and cell D2 uses the DAYS function to find the difference between the dates. Since the result is accurate, we also put that in cell D4 by-hand. We repeat a similar set of actions for E2 and E4.

Having done that, we divide E2 by D2 and E4 by D4 to obtain the results in F2 and F4. The results in G2 and G4 are obtained by F2 by 15 and F4 by 15 respectively. The contents of G6 are input by-hand.

For the cells H2, H4 and H6, the data is input by hand and I2, I4 and I6 are obtained by multiplying H2, H4 and H6 by G2, G4 and G6 respectively. Check the results obtained :)

All of the above would be obvious if you check the formula bits in the spreadsheet.

The real fun of course is in the remaining rows. G8 is obtained as a result of the expression F8*15 (note: G2 was 15*F2) which is somewhat different and thus we end up with different results on I8.

Check out the spreadsheet. It is fun. The OO.o issuezilla does not seem to work for me, so shall file a bug later.

Cobbling some thoughts together

  • My last blog post has had a surge of comments. Good to know. It hasn’t done what I was expecting it to do. And, frankly, I don’t think there would be GNOME-y stuff happening at FOSS.IN this year. I would have loved to see some Performance Testing stuff and bits of GNOME Mobile. So, either those folks are talking off-list and submitting proposals or, they don’t intend to turn up. So much for a few mails that I received gushing about ‘doing GNOME‘ at the event. Stop gushing and start doing is something I should make into a signature.
  • I started using duplicity to back up stuff. Wonderful piece of software and a nifty utility. Thanks to Rahul/mether for pointing that out to me. Being the GUI weenie that I am, it would be wonderful to have a GUI wrapped around it.
  • FOSS.IN this year would perhaps be less of a ‘conference’ and more of a ‘summit’+’WorkOut’. In case, you are presenting or intending to talk about stuff at the event, please take care to give your slides some love. Presenting doesn’t really mean that you would [i] be reading huge chunks of text off the slides or, [ii] be deviating from the slide content into something orthogonal. I saw both of that happening. The presentation/talk is a story and it would be good to spend some time during the run-up to the event to practise narrating without the slides. Lots of things can happen and thus, preparing an interesting narration isn’t a bad idea.
  • Interesting proposals for WorkOuts and Project of The Day being discussed on various project mailing lists and IRC channels. To be part of them, hop on to the nearest friendly IRC channel (#fedora-india, for example) and start participating.
  • Wrapped up reading An Indian Odyssey – quick read and a good one too.
  • This article (from the Online WSJ) kind of sums up the situation around ICICI for a quick read. The television media coverage related to ICICI has been all-over-the-park. Half baked statements, grapevine gossip being palmed off as ‘breaking news’ and a steady attempt to sensationalize the facts without an underlying comprehension. Senior media personnel haven’t been performing up to the mark. The global meltdown and the unheard-of-before statements from various world leaders would eventually walk their way to India. However, it isn’t an excuse for the private media channels to go all out and start adding rumors to the dismay of already shaky indices.
  • To all those who have contributed to the page on Subprime mortgage crisis – a round of thanks for keeping the English simple and easily understood.
  • If you have missed it earlier, don’t forget to take a look at the EKG Reports.

Yesterday I was reading a book by Paco Underhill regarding buying trends at malls and retail stores (more on that in a separate post). And, I was wondering when was the last time I went out and ‘bought’ software. Some brain_cpu cycles later it struck me that the last piece of software that I purchased was this one, since the preloaded version that I got saddled with had come unstuck. This was after I had bought Red Hat Linux from FreeOS.

A strange sensation really. I use and consume software or, software as a service, on a daily basis. And, if one discounts the OS pre-loading on the cell phone, I have not actually gone ahead and bought software for around 10 years now. I do my bit for various FOSS projects, chip in with money to a select few or nudge-push-poke some projects to become better. But, living a decade and functioning fully without having to commercially purchase software is something that is totally jaw droppingly awesome. The software development model of FOSS and the collective collaboration that it spawns makes it possible.

And, then we wonder, why is it difficult for more people to really ‘get it’.