Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've done a couple of minor changes to this blog's UI. Nothing dramatic, but I thought I should draw your attention to it, especially if you are one reading only from my Atom/RSS feed.

The first change came from realizing that my posts are longer than they should be. Somehow, I can't seem to compress them beyond what I already do. Long pages are a pain the wrong spots to read, so I decided to expand Douglas Bowman's original layout to a fluid width page, so that my posts consume lesser vertical space. (I just noticed that Steve Yegge has done similar fixes - I'm flattered.)

Secondly, and sort of to compensate for my lowered rate of posting on this blog, I've included two new feeds you can subscribe to on this blog. You can find latest updates to these feeds in the right sidebar. First is my feed from, which happens to be my bookmarking service of preference. Secondly, is my list of shared RSS feeds from my Google Reader. Both of these feeds get updated more frequently than my blog itself, so you might find these interesting.

This way, not only do you keep in touch with what I'm writing, you can also keep in touch with the stuff I'm reading. Expect to find some tech humor in these feeds too ;). Here's the rule of the thumb: The two new feeds reflect what I'm thinking strongly about, but I do not necessarily have an opinion about. My blog is my list of opinions. That's the difference.

I've been testing these thingies on my blog for some time now, so if you've been around here recently, you might have already noticed these changes. I just thought I'd wait a bit before I can announce these new things - turns out Google is doing a reasonable job of ensuring these things work, after all. ;)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

JavaScript for Linux Hackers

Two weekends ago (24 August), I gave a talk about JavaScript at the Indian GNU/Linux Users Group of Mumbai (ILUG-BOM) - A small gathering of Linux hackers from around the city. The talk was held at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBSCE), TIFR, Mumbai.

It was very weird having to explain JavaScript to kernel hackers and sysadmins. It entails a different approach - one where you have to assume that the audience knows a lot already, probably more than you in some respects. They are not one to get wowed by browser effects and visual fanciness. Also I know very little about Linux systems, so we had very little in common. It's very challenging preparing for such an audience.

I spoke about the language, it's history, it's expressiveness, the type system, variable casting, objects, marshaling objects, it's lambda nature, and several language constructs, especially functions. What I didn't cover was things like the DOM, inheritance patterns and constructor functions, but there has to be something for next time, right? ;)

I think it went pretty well. Well enough for them to invite me for another session where we could cover the left-out topics. I'm sorry - I would have put my slides on slideshare or something, but honestly, when I was running through my slideshow the day before the presentation, I nearly dozed off. So I decided that I'd just do the presentation without the slides - just me talking, and a JavaScript console on the screen.