my recent reads..

One Night At The Call Centre

I had the chance to participate in a focus group for the NLB, and as a bonus got a book voucher to put to good use. Within a few minutes of walking into a bookshop, Chetan Bhagat's One Night At The Call Center caught my eye and was immediately locked-in as a purchase.

This is a refreshing read. In one night we meet Shyam and his call center collegues as they each face life: from a plagiaristic, useless boss who can't hold a real conversation with out using MBA jargon .. arranged marriages gone wrong .. manipulative mothers .. and a job that pays just well enough to suck you in and seduce you into giving up your dreams. It would easy to be cynical like Varun (Vroom):
We get paid well, fifteen thousand a month. Fuck, that's almost twleve dollars a day. Wow, I make as much a day as a US burger boy makes in two hours. Not bad for my college degree. Not bad at all

But this is really a book about hope, and what you are willing to sacrifice in pursuit of a better life. It's a story that transcends culture.

Near the end of the book, there's a self-referential discussion of which of two versions of a critical scene should have been used [don't worry, you'll understand how that makes sense when you read the book]. My only criticism of the book is that I think the author choses the wrong version! But it works well enough to not be a major detraction.

All up, a very good read. Highly recommended! I don't think you need to be into IT, outsourcing or Indian culture to "get it"; this is a book anyone would enjoy.

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JDeveloper Filter Add-in Now on Sourceforge

I introduced the JDeveloper IDE External Filter Add-in project last weekend. Happy to announce that the project's registration on sourceforge is complete, so full source and downloads are now available from the sourceforge jdevfilter project page.
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Tux gets his break with OS/2

Staying with my OS/2 reminiscence for a moment, there's a trove of old gems up on YouTube (including the famous quote from Bill "we believe OS/2 is the platform for the 90's").

While IBM ads in the US defied the limits of corny, in Japan it is all so kawaii.

Of course! The correct way to market an operating system is with a TV star/model (Yamaguchi Tomoko 山口智子), a bear and a penguin.

At least we know what Tux was up to before he got his big break with Linux in 96...taking gigs playing "DOS" and living it up in Ropongi!

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Magician: Apprentice

Moving on to some fantasy after the hard sci-fi of Jupiter...

Magician: Apprentice was Raymond E. Feist's bestselling opener for his Riftwar Saga. First published in 1982, I read the 10th anniversary "author's preferred edition" (I gather that basically means he now has the stature to override the original editor's cuts;-)

Fantasy isn't normally my preferred reading material, but I really enjoyed this. Sure the scale is epic, but unlike Tolkien, Feist keeps the pace up and gory action a-plenty. And I'm looking forward to following Pug's development as a magician. Unlike the fast-food, just-get-the-pronunciation-right approach of Harry Potter, magic in this world is hard.

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