Building JSure on Ubuntu

I needed to do the following additional steps to get JSure: The Javascript Checker (Version 1.0.0 from to build on Ubuntu (8.04, hardy).

  1. I did not have ocaml installed — I need to run “aptitude install ocaml“.
  2. The build was failing with errors referring “ocamlopt.opt” — I had to modify all references to “ocamlopt.opt“, “ocaml.opt” and “ocamldep.opt” to remove the “.opt” in the Aurochs build file
  3. The JSure build was giving me “/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lgdbm_compat” errors — I had to make softlinks in /usr/lib to the version specific libraries that linker/loader was complaining about (ln -s

The other instructions at the JSure web-site also need be followed.


Insightful blog post

Relying on other people’s feedback is a nifty shortcut that became hardwired into our postmonkey brains.

In a blog post with a mundane title, Zachary Burt makes very keen observations.


Wes Anderson directed most of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” by e-mail!

I was reading this movie article about the movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox” in the weekend section of my newspaper (review by Chris Lee of the Los Angeles Times) and I was shocked to read about “…Anderson’s unorthodox choice to direct most of “Mr. Fox” via e-mail from his apartment in Paris”. Wow! More respect for Wes Anderson…we all know how doing things by email goes. The director of photography for the movie comments “..Whereas here, you’ll try to get something right. It’ll go back. It’ll be wrong. The feedback is blind, essentially.” The movie is nice, BTW. George Clooney’s voice is perfect for Mr. Fox. Sort of old-fashioned.


Why you should use background uploads with Amazon S3…

  • Uploading directly to S3 will possibly be slower than writing the file to disk. So your server process will be tied up during the duration of the upload. As a result all other users of your site will feel the slowness.
  • If an S3 error occurs, users will be see an XML based error page that you won’t have control over.

Smartphones suck when used as phones….

Today I bought the Motorola Droid phone and after a few hours of playing around with it, realized that SmartPhones suck at being used as a phone :-(. They have fancy features and Internet access and what have you, but with my old (not-so-smart) phone, I could dial a number that I was used to dialing without looking at the phone (using a couple of key presses or using speed dial using my memory of the physical layout of the keys). With the Droid, it appears like you cannot do a simple thing such as speed dial (remember there are no keys available to dial the phone — you need to “look” at the screen and bring it life by doing stuff like flicking your finger on the screen requiring the use of two hands — one to hold the phone, one to gesture correctly — and then get the number you want out of some form of menu — ugh).

Thinking about this, it seems like BlackBerry is really the best smart phone — they haven’t compromised on the traditional phone functionality and have smartly addressed the iPhone market with the Storm which they aren’t really paying too much attention to. The rest of the touchscreen smartphones including the Driod are simply chasing the iPhone market segment without innovating on what a cell-phone is — iPhone defined a new segment for itself and it’s finish and polish outclass just about everyone else. The others should not simply copy it — they should come out with something vastly superior to it. Until they do, I am stuck with the Driod.


“It’s much easier to just borrow other peoples’ audiences when you need them.”

Some advice that can be useful for software sales too:

It’s much easier to just borrow other peoples’ audiences when you need them.

Try emailing prominent bloggers discount codes for your software — you then can borrow their audience if they are willing to publish your discount codes just like the linked articles says (for getting “beta” users).


Company matching contributions to 401(k) plan

  • Does the company matching contribution to my 401(k) count against my 401(k) limit (16,500 in 2009)?
    • No. Your company’s contribution doesn’t count towards your personal 401(k) limit.
  • What is the tax-treatment for my company matching contributions to the 401(k) plan?
    • Your company matching contribution is tax-deferred.

Using the right programming font

After playing around a bit with various fonts and color schemes due to increasing eye-strain, today, I finally settled on using “Lucida Console” with “ClearType” font smoothing for C/C++ programming (under Windows with Emacs and Vim) and realized something — when the code looks beautiful (as it does with this font combination), I feel like writing beautiful code :-).

I now use Lucida Console Regular, font size 11 with ClearType font smoothing under Windows.

(UPDATE: Mensch is now my new favorite. On my Emacs on Windows XP, Mensch looks mostly like Lucida Console, but has minor enhancements (like 0 with a dot in it to distinguish it from O) that I like)


Changing Emacs Font Settings

Use this simple method to choose fonts, font styles and font colors under Emacs for Windows: Click the first mouse button with the Shift key pressed. Doing so brings up the Windows font chooser dialog. The dialog only brings up fixed-width fonts — perfect for programming. Choose and set the font settings you want. The change only affects the current session.