Monday, May 29, 2006

On the Yogya Earthquake

I wanted to write about the Yogyakarta Earthquake, but decided to wait. For some reasons, I felt that I am exploiting the victims by generating traffic to my blogs. I know that it is not the case, but that's how I felt. But, on the other hand, I wanted to say my condolence to all the victims and their families. So, this post. The heck with traffic.

Our research center (Microelectronic Center) the university was shocked by a news that one of our researcher - Waris, who is doing his doctorate, passed away during the quake. He went to Bantul for a holiday with his family. Our deepest sympathy and condolence to his family. We will miss him.

I was born in Yogyakarta. I even make jokes about Yogya, its people, and technology. It is a special city for me. I am sad to see what happened to Yogyakarta and its people. I hope they can get through this as soon as possible and as painless as possible. Hang on. May God be with you.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Security Architecture

I've been searching for the meaning of "security architecture." Various references point to different directions, depending on the source of the reference. For example, security architecture according to network companies is network security. Database people think that security architecture is access control, IT consultants think that security architecture is a working framework and activities, and so on.

In anycase, I decided to define my own security architecture. A presentation material is available at my presentation's page. Unfortunately, it is in Bahasa Indonesia. Although, the terminologies are in English. Go there (to the presentation page) and read the "security architecture" presentation, which I presented a few days ago (24 May 2006) in Jakarta. Comments and feedback are needed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Rule of Four

rule of fourThe Rule of Four is a novel written by two authors; Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. The back cover has a comment from Nelson DeMille; "If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four." Having read Dan Brown's books, I was intrigue by the comment. Also, I saw this book was featured in a couple of bookstores. I decided to buy the book. It took me a while to read and finish it.

The story in the book is about a mysterious Renaissance text called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This text has seduced many people. Marriage went cold. Friendship was broken. Even murder!

Messages were coded in the text by using steganography and cryptography at the same time. To get the actual message(s) you have to solve some riddles. A student took this text as his thesis at Princeton. Needless to say, there were problems and fiasco. Can he finished his thesis and solve the mystery behind the text?

I love reading books with code and hidden messages, but this book is dancing around it. It doesn't give the actual text to see how difficult it is to write (and break) the riddles. The rule of four itself is only introduced at the end and is only used a little. Why the title bears it, I don't know. Why four? It could be the rule of five for all I care. They should explore more into the rule of four. I've got the feeling that the end of the book was written in a hurry. But, what do I know? I am not a writer.

For some reasons, I found the book difficult to read. Maybe it's because the book uses many references to the Renaissance era which I am not familiar with. It's just difficult for me to memorize the names and events. It goes fast forward dan flashback creating a jumpy flow, in my opinion. Because of that, I'll give 4 stars out of 5.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Quantum Entanglement and me

I have just finished watching numb3rs at AXN. In it there was a talk mentioning about "quantum entanglement." Whoa. It's not everyday you hear this in a conversation. I heard it long time ago, didn't understand then and still don't understand it now. Hah.

The funny thing is ... I come in contact with the word "quantum" quite often lately. One in email from Singapore (which forced me to browse some websites). One in relation to 4G telecommunication security (don't ask - it's about the future of 3G). And, just a few minutes ago in a TV series. What's with this? Coincidence? I think not.

Quantum entanglement?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Lines of Code (LOC) Review Questions

My team was asked to do a source code review of a large application. This is actually the third (or probably mode) time we are doing a source code analysis. Our past experience was with smaller code. This time the code is around 2.5 million lines. Now, time for some questions.

How many lines can a good programmer/source code reviewer read in a day?
Is there a rule of thumb / best practice on this?

What is usually the portion of actual code compared to comments (and other non-executing component)? We were joking predicted that the number of actual codes that we have to review is probably only 5oo thousands lines. The 2 million lines were mostly comments and documentation. :D That would be nice.

To be frankly I don't like the LOC approach, but that's the only measure we can use. Is there other measurements? We had a discussion before and came up with some ideas, such as as the number of modules or functions. But they still depend on the size of the modules which could vary.

Now let's talk about the use of tools to generate code automatically. In our case, all of the codes were generated by hand, but there will be cases where the codes were actually generated from (GUI-based) tools. For this case, LOC approach does not make sense, or does it? What measurement can we use for this case? Number of blocks or elements in the diagram?

What's your opinion on this? Pointers to other resources are appriciated.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dancing around (work)

I am doing many things, just to avoid work (that is inevitable)! I am dancing around ...

Next week I am going to do four (4) presentations in five days. There were 5, but one was cancelled yesterday. I have not done anything to prepare that presentation. Well, that is not true. I did some reading and collecting background materials. All I have to do "just" put them down (into a presentation material). Yeah, right. The "I just do it later" sounds familiar, right?

The thing is, I am not in a mood. What's this? Yes, you heard me right. I could not make a presentation material until the day before presentation. I've done hundreds of presentations and they are almost the some, done in the last minute. I am not lazy, I am just not in a mood. (Tell that to your boss!)

So, what I am doing right now is reading emails, blogs, and web sites. Dancing around. To tell you the truth, I am still thinking about those presentations (what to present, how to deliver them, punch line, and the like), but they are still in my head. Some were written on pieces of papers.

I cannot concentrate! I guess I just have to put things aside and start writing my presentations.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Clustering of technological companies

I am writing a paper on various Siliconia (Silicon Valley wannabe) in Indonesia, such as the Bandung High Tech Valley (BHTV) initiative which I am part of. One of the thing that I am still missing is a reference on "cluster theory." Could somebody suggest the definitive reference(s) or article(s) on this?

My hypothesis is that technological (technology-based) companies have to cluster in a region to survive. While there is a believe (myth?) that computer nerds (IT people) like to work alone, tech companies cannot survive being alone. They have to be surrounded by "friends" (aka competitors).

The second thing that I am interested in is references that argue why certain regions in the world are able to attract tech companies (and talented human resources). Why is it difficult to duplicate Silicon Valley, thus the many failed Siliconias ... ? I would like to argue that the city of Bandung has the "ingredients" similar to Silicon Valley, but it still is missing the "chef" to make it a successful Siliconia.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Do you read book/blog entry more than once?

Do you read a particular book more than once?
If you do, what book?

I read books just once because I am afraid that I am wasting my time (by re-reading it again) and that I could spend the time on reading other books. I am sure I am wrong on this, but I just could not do that. (I am sure that I have read book[s] more than once, but I just could not recall it at this moment.)

Let me quote from Philip Gerard's "Writing a Book that makes a Difference":
One test of a book is whether it stands up to rereading.
It's not that books that I have read are not worth re-reading. It's just that I don't want to waste time. I have a stack of books (that's an understatement) that is waiting for me. Read me, please, they plead.

We can extend this to blog. Do you read a particular entry of a blog more than once? Which one?

I keep a list of URL on del.icio.us, browsers bookmarks, and even I created a special tag on my email mailboxes (so that I could grep-it later on). But, I never do that. I hardly re-read blogs (or even emails). I am collecting junk for no reason. That's beside the point. Is there a blog worth re-reading?

What do you think?

(note: Comments on this blog are not moderated. My appology for that, but I am just trying to weed out irrelevant comments/spam.)