12 startups to launch now

Business 2.0 magazine has an article on the 12 best startup ideas for the present times. The ones I really like/find interesting are:

The first  idea is pretty interesting seeing the global demand for combustible energy resources. Also, Argentina serves as a central location for distribution to all the energy dependant economies.

The second idea is controversial in my opinion. Sure, the growing economy, coupled with added disposable incomes has made the Indian youth yearn for more expensive tastes, I doubt there’s a very big market for imported wines. Indian culture is different from western culture in that sense, and no matter how much Indians try to mimic the West, there’ll always be subtle differences. Consumption of alcohol isn’t favorable culturally, biologically, and even environmentally!

My trip to Harmony, MN

I love driving, and living in North Carolina has made me appreciate nature more than/equally to high rise buildings in cities like Chicago. I am also getting used to driving without a GPS with help from AAA maps and their trip planner website.

So, yesterday I drove to a small town in south eastern Minnesota called Harmony, with my parents. On the agenda was a drive on the “Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway“. The plan was to spend a couple hours at “Niagara Cave”, one of the best undergroud caves in the US. The cave has fossils as old as about 400 million years, and huge stalactite formations along its 60 meter depth. It is located about 5 miles from Harmony.

While at Harmony, we decided to take a 2 hour long Amish Country Tour. We hired an 83 year old (!) tour guide, and he sat in our car to expose us to the Amish way of life. Truly spectacular. We drove around Amish schools, houses, farms, bakeries, a cemetry, and even interacted with a few people. They are extremely traditional, and consider themselves German, and everyone else around them “English”. I learned a lot about them, and bought handmade soaps, candles, brownies, and decorative stuff. They live in harmony with their “Englishmen” peers, and it’s amazing how the latter would have electricity and cars at their place while the Amish household neither of those.

It was definitely one of the most memorable day-trips I have made in the US.

Road “signs”

So, I was driving on MN-55 in my lovely car, with my parents with me, when this beat-up Toyota/Honda overtakes us, and the girl waves at me like she’s never gonna see an Indian guy again!

Now, this could mean 3 things:

  1. She was really proud of her beatup car overtaking my Mustang.
  2. She knew me.
  3. My car was blowing deadly black smoke.

Of course, number 2 is the first thing that comes in the mind, and your parents’ mind, but I doubt it. Number 3 is ruled out. My car is awesome!

Now, if only there was a way to reconnect!

Really smart, or really cogitative…

Very often, I come across blogs of friends or acquantances with extremely lengthy and/or profound posts. These kind of blogs are generally pretty interesting for a number of reasons.

But first, broadly speaking, I have found blogs to be either one of the following types:

  1. Rehash of the hottest news with added commentary.
  2. Lengthy posts with lots of metaphors, literary gems, and historical research.
  3. Random short, sometimes long, ramblings (possibly like my blog).

Now, the thing I have observed with bloggers with profound posts is the fact that most of them are actually not as interesting or even intelligent as their posts want you to believe. Of course, there’s my personal bias here, but I have noticed that these people usually get very little done in real life due to their inherent proneness to spending more time thinking than doing something. Yet, they have extremely intelligent posts.

Sometimes I wonder if most of those bloggers should have been philosophers or writers instead of engineers. Maybe the Internet does afford us the luxury of creative enrichment in unprecedented ways, blogs being one of them.

PS: This was yet another rambling brought to you by the creator of this web-log.

Take the Pew/Internet Bloggers Survey

The folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project have created an online survey for bloggers about their blogging habits. If you’re a blogger reading this post, I strongly urge you to participate in it. There are about a couple dozen questions, and it would take about 10 minutes of your time.

Some of the questions from the survey that I would like to see statistics for are:

  1. Do you make money from your blog?
  2. Do you research the facts before posting something?
  3. Do you blog specifically to educate others?
  4. Is your blog an exercise in literary skills?
  5. Do you use a different name/identity while blogging?

Link: http://www.pewinternet.org/

Developing games made easy !

I can’t believe I used to be one among the Microsoft-hating sheep sometime ago. Micro-soft has come a long long way since those days of noncompetitive practices. Windows has evolved into a secure and reliable operating system with a consistently improving user interface.

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Happy 60th Independence Day!

Today is India’s 60th Independence Day celebration. I would like to salute my nation for giving me the kind of global opportunities that the youth of some other countries could only dream of.

Vande Mataram

JBoss and mySQL

While JBoss is an enterprise strength application server, it probably has the worst documentation I have ever seen for an open source project. I have spent more hours debugging and troubleshooting simple issues than actually getting my idea to work before the launch. The online forums haven’t been worth talking about, either.

For instance, I just discovered that the truncation errors I was getting on the server launchtime were actually due to JBoss not fully supporting mySQL5. The workaround is actually as follows:

MySQL 5 can run in strict mode, which causes errors to be thrown instead of warnings when data truncation occurs (see mysql bug 14048).

Errors may look similar to this:

11:16:36,520 ERROR JDBCExceptionReporter? Data truncation: Data too long for column 'jbp_viewrealemail' at row 1

While MySQL 5 is not yet supported, there is a way to prevent the error from being thrown during the installation of the portal:

  1. If you have MySQL 5 installed already and running in strict mode, edit the my.ini (or my.cfg) file of MySQL and remove the “STRICT_TRANS_TABLES” part from the line: sql-mode=STRICT_TRANS_TABLES,NO_AUTO_CREATE_USER,
    NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION
  2. Add “jdbcCompliantTruncation=false” in your datasource descriptor file (*-ds.xml) under the deploy directory. Your connection URL should look like: <connection-url>jdbc:mysql://your-host-name:3306/jbossportal?
    useServerPrepStmts=false&jdbcCompliantTruncation=false</connection-url>

This should prevent any further data truncation related errors during the portal installation.

Now that that is resolved, I need to figure out why the source tree of the JBoss Portal server doesn’t include the directory structure exactly as described in the “documentation”.

I love Enterprise Java too much to switch to .NET right now, but I hope I am able to get things running!