“How to Get Rich” and the First-Borns

August 25, 2008

A few days back, I happened to read a discussion in Hacker News on a book “How to Get Rich”, authored by Felix Dennis, who is one of the richest self made man in the UK. He is the owner of Dennis Publishing whose publications include “The Week” and “Maxim”. Starting out from nothing, he went on to build one of the biggest fortunes worth at least $400 millions by conservative estimates.

I usually never buy such books which tout to make its readers rich, and instead spend it on learning a new technology. But, based on whatever I read in Hacker News (by users, who are more like me) and searching for more stuff on the internet, I decided to try it out. So, when my wife and I went to Landmark (Chennai, India) for purchasing gifts to be given away on my son’s second birthday, I used the opportunity.

The book does not seem to be very popular here, yet. Was not available in the best sellers. I sought help and the salesman helped me find my copy from a remote corner of the store. Happy that I did not have to wait to get my hands on this book.

The better part of Sunday evening went into this book. Will share my experience from the reading, in the days to come.

From whatever I have read until now, I would say that I did not find stuff, that was different from what I believe already. But it is nice to know that one of the richest man has very much similar thoughts, when it comes to running businesses.

In the preface, Felix Dennis’ answer to “Honestly speaking, what kind of people get to become rich ?” among other information includes..

“There is a confidence that radiates from first-born sons and daughters. Not in all the cases I’ve observed, but in too many for it to be a coincidence. A similar confidence is to be observed, more often than not, in people who are rich, no matter whether they were born with it, inherited it or acquired it through their own efforts.”

I believed this for a long time, apart from the other point that the first-borns are better at handling money. They usually save better, instead of spending it off on luxuries. They tend to be more concerned about their studies and mostly end up with better grades and settle in better jobs, relatively speaking. Again, I have known more than a few examples for this to be coincidence.

Probably this has got something to do with getting to know the financials in running the family, while shielding such problems or how they got solved, from younger siblings.

Felix continues..

“Whatever qualities the rich may have, they can be acquired by anyone with the tenacity to become rich. The key, I think, is confidence. Confidence and an unshakeable belief it can be done and that you are the one to do it.”

Yes, I know. I am “the one” who is going to do it. Come on Felix, tell me something I don’t know already 😉 !!

I am not sure if Wachowski Brothers’ “The One” is a first-born. But I agree that Felix’s “the one” and Neo have at least one thing in common, “the confidence that it can be done and that you are the one to do it”. That belief is undoubtedly essential.

More experiences from reading the book, will follow. In case you want to check out the reviews, here is a quick link : How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets

Problems, Indirection and Performance

August 25, 2008
Quote 1 : “There is no problem in computer science that cannot be solved by an extra level of indirection.”

Quote 2 : “Any performance problem can be solved by removing a level of indirection”

Software engineers do not need quotes to apply concepts. Many of us would have been following them already.
Was familiar with the first quote for a long time now, came upon the second quote yesterday.

For those who are not very sure what indirection means,

In computer programming, indirection is the ability to reference something using a name, reference, or container instead of the value itself.

Thinking about it, it seems both quotes are right.

Q1. Is performance problem not a computer science problem ?
Q2. If yes, should not a level of indirection solve it too ?
Q3. If yes (tell me how), will this solution in-turn end up being a performance problem ?
Goto Q2.

Q4. When will this looping between Q2 and Q3 end ?

I do have my answers. I will post them later.

Care to give it a thought ?!

(Originally posted on Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:10 pm, in my personal blogs in blogs.adventnet.com. Currently those blogs have been moved to archive and many links do not work already. So, making a copy here. )


Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:09 am

Seems some were not able to interpret the meaning of indirection, though (as I had said earlier) most of us would have used it for sure.

I will try to speak in terms of how we use it often…

Executing a piece of code which conforms to some interface, before or after a point in execution, is indirection.
This piece of indirection code can change the values in execution context and also redirect the execution path.

An interceptor in JBoss / NMS-NG or a filter in WebNMS 4 is an example of indirection.

Now for some scenarios of performance problems as mentioned by friends during a chat…

a. Packets from network processed and inserted into database.
b. High volume of data received (from server) in the client, painted onto the client application screen.
c. Server thread processing requests from multiple client’s.
d. Querying database containing a lot of data.

Now let me know how you would normally solve each of these problems ?!

posted by rraj


Recursion anyone ?

August 25, 2008

An actor (who acts in a film about an actor)+
A story-teller (who tells the story of a story-teller)+
A thinker (who thinks about a thinker)+
A painter (who paints a painter)+
A peom (which is in praise of a poem)+
A code-generator (which generates a code-generator)+

More ?

This blog itself will have such a recursion. You know what :Rolling eyes: ?

BTW, why this thought on recursion ? – you might ask…

Was thinking about recursion in movies and the overhead of a system which understands recursion (in this case, the viewers).

Expressing recursion is very simple as we had seen. But for a system to take in recursion, will be a bit difficult.

Assume we are to watch a movie with such a recursion taken to inner levels. That is, a story based on “An actor (who acts in a film about an actor)+“. We will not be able to comprehend after a depth, as the amount of info (context) which is needed to go into a level and come back and follow the story in the outer level would easily overwhelm us.

But assume the recursion is replaced by a loop, wherein we see similar story one after another. This will not overwhelm our resources (as we will have to deal with only one context at a time) and we will be capable of prediciting a similar story (reusing the context) and get our system ready for it.

When some part of the outer-level context goes into the inner-level (or vice versa), it will be hard to convert a recursion into a loop.

If you have read till here and you understood whatever I wrote, welcome to the club !!!! :Very Happy:
And here is more for you…
Cross Recursion (Cyclic recursion with n = 1) : An actor (who acts as a writer who writes a story about an actor)+

(Originally posted on Mon May 23, 2005 8:20 pm, in my personal blogs in blogs.adventnet.com. Currently those blogs have been moved to archive and many links do not work already. So, making a copy here. )

Some interesting comments from the original post :


Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:57 am

You should watch the movie “The Player”. You will like it.

posted by Tim Robbins
Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 5:55 pm

Thanks ‘Tim Robbins”.
Had a peek of what The Player was about, in IMDB.

A related quote in the user comments…

During the same scene Mill gives a little speech in which he avers that “movies are art,” a statement that amounts to sardonic irony since, as a greedy producer, he cares nothing at all about art, but only about box office success. His words also form a kind of dramatic irony when one realizes that this movie itself really is a work of art. As Altman observes in a trailing clip, the movie “becomes itself.” The Machiavellian ending illustrates this with an almost miraculous dovetailing. This is the kind of script that turns most screen writers Kermit-green with envy.

posted by rraj


Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:38 am

To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion

posted by Captain Recursion


Me and My Memory – 1

August 25, 2008

There was a mail from one of my school-mates (to our recently formed yahoo groups) stating that she had met Anand and that he has news to tell ( I knew it was about marriage), but who is this Anand ?

>>>Who is this Anand ? <-|
“MGR Anand” (0.0 sec)

My mind-map for Anand flashed out my colleague, who used to play shuttle(badminton) with me and had recently left for another company (< 1 year).
AdventNet-ians, will remember him donning the role of MGR for K2K4.

>>> No, I want an earlier Anand ! <-|
“Anand Bharath” (0.8 sec)

>>> No, I want an earlier Anand ! <-|
“Anand Chakravarthy” (1.2 sec)

Flashing back again, I got the Anand’s from my college (~ 4 years). Anand Bharath still has mail contact, though infrequently. Anand Chakravarthy was hockey team captain and if I remember right represented the state hockey team.

>>> But who is this school-Anand (~ 8 years) ?! <-|
“The system does not seem to respond. Please try after some time.” (5.0 sec)
>>> But who is this school-Anand (~ 8 years) ?! <-|
“The system does not seem to respond. Please try after some time.” (5.0 sec)

I was ashamed. May be I will call Sundar and ask him who Anand was – but what will he think of me (or is it just that I am getting older – is 25 too old ) ?!
So I left the query process and continued with my work.

<beep> “Thatha” (125.5 sec)
<beep> “Thatha” (0.0 sec)

After around 2 minutes latency period, my system beeped out the result of the query which I sent earlier. It striked upon me that it was Thatha (nickname for school-Anand). How can I forget Thatha !!!!

For those who know Java : think of it as a case all “Anand”s as having equal hashCode() values, ordered based on access order. It is an LRU cache with the Least Recently Used (accessed) object lower in the list for the same hashCode. The recent object-instances of Anand are accessed one-by-one for an equals() check. If not accessed for a long period it get removed from map.

In my case the School-Anand was indexed first in list for a hashCode() for “Thatha” (there were no other “Thatha”s after school) and somewhere lower in list for actual hashCode of “Anand”.

Anand : [“Colleague Anand”,..,”College Anand Bharath”, “College Anand Chakravarthy”,…..,”School Anand”]
Thatha : [“School Anand”]

I was as close to Anand as Chandramohan, Dhanasekar, Gokul, Mahindiran, Narayanamoorthy and others. But it so happened, that I met more Anands after school and he got pushed lower into the list within the name-map.

While it is already taxing, to strain my memory cells ; there is this maintainance issue of name-map, when people change names and it has not been updated on my index. Will blog about my recent embarrassments in this front later.


P.S : Thinking again, there was one Ashwin, referred to as Thatha by some of my classmates in college, but I remember him better as Ashwin.C.Punjabi

P.P.S : After this incident, I got hold of my school group photo (during the Independence Day weekend) and was able to recognize the names from the faces. For the benefit of my fellow group members, I hosted it in our yahoo-groups. Also attached to this post.
Anand is 6th from left. Identify me ?!

Sacred Heart Convent Higher Secondary School - Computer Science and Biology groups - 1996 batch

Sacred Heart Convent Higher Secondary School - Computer Science and Biology groups - 1996 batch

P.P.P.S : Psst, I have a secret to tell, I still dont remember few of the C-section girls in my group photo (i was B-section) though I remember their faces well (now that their faces have been recently accessed). Will have to sit with Sundar one day and get to know the names.

(Originally posted on Fri Oct 01, 2004 8:30 am, in my personal blogs in blogs.adventnet.com. Currently those blogs have been moved to archive and many links do not work already. So, making a copy here. )