Bits of Learning

Learning sometimes happens in big jumps, but mostly in little tiny steps. I share my baby steps of learning here, mostly on topics around programming, programming languages, software engineering, and computing in general. But occasionally, even on other disciplines of engineering or even science. I mostly learn through examples and doing. And this place is a logbook of my experiences in learning something. You may find several things interesting here: little cute snippets of (hopefully useful) code, a bit of backing theory, and a lot of gyan on how learning can be so much fun.

Monday, August 21, 2006

MS Ramaiah Polytechnic Talk

Last Saturday, I got a good experience of giving a lecture on 'Advances in Software Testing' in MS Ramaiah Polytechnic.

The invitation came from Mr. T. Shankar, a scientific officer in our department who was also one of the organisers of the Training the Trainers workshop in February this year. I had given a talk in that workshop which was received quite well.

While I was in middle of preparing for the lecture, I got this input from several sources that I could expect a fairly frigid audience. It was quite demoralising as I was hoping to present something really different than the usual stuff. It was quite ambitious and I was quite excited in the beginning. However, thinking about the possible response I would get for all that effort, I got quite psyched. I aborted the slide preparation in middle, and decided to make the whole thing impromptu. Going by what I expected, the lecture would be around 35-40 minutes long.

However on reaching there my experiences turned out to be quite to the contrary. I was warmly welcomed by the principal of the college. On entering the lecture hall I found a bunch of bringht young faces waiting for me. Quite gratifyingly, I could strike up a comfortable and friendly interacative conversation with the students. The lecture, that I thought wouldn't survive beyond 30-40 minutes, flowed smoothly for nearly two hours! It was such a terrific experience to evoke so much interactiveness with the students who'd been alleged to be uninterested. I felt like having won a victory in a battle. Added to this pure joy, my eog was also gratified as I was given a very generous thanks and a memento -- a clock, a bouquet, and a shawl. I felt really honoured.

Here are the slides.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Orientation talk

As every year, there's going on the orientation programme for the new comers to Computer Science and Automation department in IISc. It follows the usual format of introducing the new students to various aspects of the department : coursework, research, labs, computing environments, administrative procedures etc.

I presented a talk on Software Engineering in CSA this thursday.

Here's the link to the slides.

It was late in the evening just before dinner. The audience looked tired, majority of which were the organisers, and very few new students. I had worked pretty hard in preparing those slides. But I got a very uninterested look in the faces of the members of the audience. I scurried through the talk in a resembling mood!

Nevertheless, I always look forward to talking to new students.

JRE plugin for Firefox

To run applets, we need the Java Runtime plugin for the browser. The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) plugin for mozilla is available alongwith the JRE installation. For example, if the JRE is installed in the following location:


Then go it its plugin directory. You may find such directories:
ns4/ ns610/ ns610-gcc32/

All of them contain a file named

One of these is the shared object plugin that you want.

Now go to .mozilla/plugins/ directory in your home.
create a soft link of the above file here:
ln -s /usr/java/j2re1.4.2_10/plugin/i386/ns4/ .

If this happens to be the right plugin your firefox will now be able to run applets without trouble. If it's not, firefox will not run. If that happens just remove the
soft link:
unlink from the mozilla/plugins directory and try the files in the other directories in /usr/java/j2re1.4.2_10/plugin/i386/.

One of them should work.