autonomic computing in the works

It seems like Google lets out something out of the bag once in a while.. take Google Omega..

and their recent announcement about their use of linux containers —

lmctfy (on github)

To me, this sounds like a developer / app deployer being able to specify the characteristics of the workload when they deploy it (represented by SLAs – priority, latency expectation etc..) and the management platform using metadata about resource pools, their available capacities to fulfill the SLAs , then choosing the right pools  and then deploying them there..

So, in effect, it’s not just their workload scheduler, they require the right metadata to be populated along with their workloads..

It just so happens that the unit of deployment they may be using is containers using cgroups and kernel namespaces, and they add additional metadata to the definition of the containers that users can manipulate 

one can start doing this with docker today, with custom metadata.. the harder part is the scheduler, which would have to be something custom (maybe piggy backing on openstack work around nova scheduler, neutron etc .. or an existing PaaS ecosystem like openshift)

This is probably a truer version of workload management moving towards the idea of autonomic computing, than just moving VMs around.. Granted you could do the same with VMs, add metadata, but you’d also have to deal with resource management at two levels – at the hypervisor and at the vm level — which is usually not a good idea.


it is what it is

It is what it is or
some words of wisdom from across time.
I ran across this posted saying at the Durga Hindu Temple in Fairfax County Virginia almost two years ago. I took several shots of the poster. I do not know the origins of the text. Maybe someone can comment on that. It’s written in Hindi. I’m sure there are versions available in Nepali as well. It is most probably translated from Sanskrit from one of the many old Hindu texts like Gita, Upanishad or even the Vedas.

Here is my approximate translation of what is being said. Take it with a grain of salt.
I have to say, just like everything else, it’s ambiguous, almost bitter-sweet.

why do you fret so? who are you so afraid of?
who has the power to kill you?
The soul neither takes birth, nor does it die.

Whatever happened, happened for the best.
What is happening now is for the best.
What is yet to happen is also for the best.
Do not regret about the past. Do not worry
about the future. The present is still going on.

What did you lose that you cry so?
What did you bring with you that you lost?
What did you create that was destroyed?
You did not bring anything with you –
What you took, you took from here.
What you gave, you gave here.
What you took, you took from God.
What you gave, you gave to God.
You came with empty hands,
you must continue with empty hands.
What is yours today, belonged to someone else yesterday
and will belong to someone else tomorrow.
You are lost in the enjoyment of what you think is yours.
This very pleasure is the root of your worries.

Change is the law of the universe.
What you think of as death, is the very personification of life.
One moment you are the master of billions,
the next you are poor.
The concept of mine-yours, small-big, friends-enemies
erase these from your heart ,
erase these from your thoughts,
then everything and everyone belongs to you
then you belong to everyone.

This body does not belong to you
neither do you belong to the body.
Your body is made up of fire, water, air, earth and the sky
and it will go back into these.
But the soul remains, stable.
Then what are you?
Dedicate yourself to God.
This is your ultimate support.
Those who recognize this support
are forever free of fear and worries.

Whatever you do, do it with dedication to God,
thus you will experience the true pleasure of deliverance from life.

here are the pics:

his dark materials, heresies and reciprocal hearsays

His Dark Materials trilogy
I don’t understand the irrational behaviour behind the condemning of the His Dark Materials trilogy (of which The Golden Compass or The Northern Lights is the first).

This is the age of free-will, of great intellectual discourse, of tolerance, of recognition of universal values (including human) and openness. We are led to believe that a certain way of doing things, the way that it’s always been done, is the right way. We are told to ignore thought and reason and believe blindly in the ways of tradition. We are also taught, because of science, to believe in reason and to question blind faiths and work towards the truth. Blasphemy as a word should not have any value in this age.

So, this sort of behaviour makes me suspective of the religious establishment. Agreed, there are two schools of thought colliding. My argument is that they don’t have to collide. Religion started with faith and should be about faith. It should not be about protecting the hegemony of “religious” establishments. Religion can also be about trying to obtain the higher truth, just as science can be about not blindly dismissing spirituality as unprovable.

Coming from both backgrounds, it seems to me, there’s gotta be a common ground. I mean, for god’s sake, didn’t we all come from a common ancestor?

Whatever works for people, I guess. I gotta say though, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are all excellent writing for both entertainment and food for thought. I am eagerly waiting for the rest of the movies, if they ever get made.

full circle to lisp

My programming experience has been thus: perl, c, lisp (clisp), python, scheme (mzscheme/drscheme), php, java (grudgingly), ruby. I’m now trying to find time to dabble with clojure.

Every time I came across a bit of lisp code that I could understand, I was drooling with envy. What interests me is the ability to interpolate data and code. I’m not aware of any other language besides the lisp family of languages that do away with that line entirely and meld them.. data = code = data.

I don’t program at my day job and haven’t done so for a long time. I program personal projects. I’ve tried to use lisp as much as I can for some of them. I’m a lazy programmer (I got that from perl – laziness, impatience, hubris). I like to think of a programming language as a tool to get me to the results I want as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If I have to write every piece of code, including a library or wrapper to talk to the file system or to internet data sources, it’s an immediate turn-off. Perl has a ton of libraries, including third party ones that lets you do almost anything.. but I can’t read my own code after a year. I don’t want to have to remember to do things a certain way. Python took that and came up with a much prescriptive way of programming, it even includes a lot of libraries as standard libraries, but tabs? Besides, it doesn’t do code as data very well. Ruby takes it a bit further making it a lot easier to do code as data. It has a lot of the good parts from a lot of other languages (perl, ruby, python, java, even lisp). I use it every time I would opt for perl or python.

I’ve tried different lisps, clisp, sbcl, allegro cl, drscheme etc. The problem for me with standard lisps has been that each of those lisps are a platform on their own and interfacing with the outside world is (for me) a case of acrobatics. The commercial lisps obviously have wonderful ways of doing that (with their own proprietary libraries). But, they’re commercial.

I’m neither a languge purist nor an academic. I want something that comes with batteries (like python), is lispy (code as data), has easy access to tons of third party libraries (like perl), is possibly cross platform (at least linux, windows and mac os x), is easy to ship (like jar files or scripts), has decent ide/editor support (emacs is not what I have in mind, even textmate is more useable for me) and is also fast.

Drscheme/mzscheme comes pretty close and is pretty darn good (except for the third party libraries thing besides native calls). Java has tons of libraries but I hate the verbosity and the 100 lines to do anything heritage. I waited for arc but was disappointed when it finally got here. It will evolve over time and I will definitely have to take a look at it once in a while.

Clojure, however, is here and is pretty close to what I want. It’s getting netbeans support soon, already has an inferior lisp mode for emacs, works wherever a JVM works, has access to anything that a JVM has access to, does lispy things really well (real macros, reader etc), and even has lazy evauators (sequences actually)..

So, I’m game. Some lisp or language purists will probably have things to say about this, but that’s ok.

my friend, baburam

Dashain was here. Finally. I was excitedly packing my bags. I hated school by now. It happened every year. Return from a two months winter vacation to school. Stay there seven months. By the time seven months were up, I was itching to go home and eat with my bare hands, no utenils to deal with. Sleep late, no early morning drills. Yoohoo. The cycle went thus. Go home for a month for Dashain. Come back for a month and a half. Go home for winter vacations. Repeat. People returned home. We ended up returning to school.

Towing my hastily packed overweight bag, I piled into the bus that would take us to Martyr’s Memorial, the heart of the city. Our parents and guardians would be lined up there to take us home. The richer kids had their parents pick them up right at school. They got away from all this faster than we did, lucky bastards. We had our moments on the bus though. Singing memorized songs all the way along the 14km ride. They’d miss that later in life. We’d be singing memorized songs all through life and they’d be wondering how we remembered all those songs. It’s rote, I’d tell them later. You never rode the bus.

This Dashain, I’d be going to my mama-ghar. My mom grew up in a village several dozen kilometers north of Janakpur. There was no semblance of city life there. No electricity, no tap water, forget natural gas. No roads, just dusty tracks worn bare by oxcarts. I can’t believe there’s still no electricity there, to this day. There, I’d be treated like a prince by my mamas and maijus. I’d take gifts to my friends there, some of whom were amazed by the fact, in the cities, light came from glass covered things that you didn’t have to light up. You just flick a switch, I’d say. I would end up spending half an hour trying to describe what a switch was. I was eleven. I must’ve ended up describing it as some magical thing that only gods and magicians could figure out.

I would be meeting baburam. He was my age. We had become good friends over my successive visits to the village. He came from a family that owned a couple of acres of land and so could afford to send him to school in the next village for three four days a week. He still had to work, helping out his dad doing farming things that I still don’t understand or doing other house chores. Due to his having gone to school, and him being bright, he was thought of as a young man with a lot of promise. Other people, older people, came to him to have their letters read and written. He would happily oblige, patient that he was. Imagine that. Eleven years old and playing leader already. He indeed was a lad with a ton of promise. That was my friend baburam. My best friend.

I had already written a letter to him saying I would be there that year. I had been so enthusiastic while writing that letter that I had just ended up writing,

Dear Baburam,
I am going to be there in during Dashain this year. We can go
keshar-hunting at night in the next village.
I will see you soon.
Your loving friend,

Two sentences, properly formatted and spaced in an eight by eleven lined piece of paper with date, salutation, ending statement and everything. We were supposed to do it that way. We were supposed to scratch our mistakes, not erase them. In English too. We were only allowed to write letters in English, under the pretention that it would make us better writers and communicators some day. Baburam understood English though. He’d been to school.

… to be continued

the question of why

Why am i here? Why are you here? Why do I have the capability to think this thought?

Aah.. Sorry, don’t have the answer. Look somewhere else.

That’s the age old question we’ve been trying to answer. We’ve formed various vehicles to help us solve these problems. Religions, science, traditions, laws, societies and boundaries. I’m not sure we’re anywhere near solving that question. Good old Doug asked the right questions. Take it lightly. Don’t panic. (Didn’t mean to confuse you, I still think those are questions, not statements)

God, and by proxy, religion, although with negative connotations, is a nebulous concept. It’s something we can’t reach, yet we want to and still try, but is fabricated by the masses of us, solely for the reason of satisfying our curiosity and to a greater extent, our wishes to be fulfilled.
Science is trying it’s best to make sure everything is replicable and calculable or it’s not science. There’s no chance for errors. Ooh, the horror if we have dichotomy. Blasphemy.

Ah, the comedy!

Not to be nihilistic, what about the way we just are, it just is, the universe exists because we think it does and so on. Or, the sense of reality reflects what you want or do not want.

Thank you Zen. Get it right Wachowski’s.

Parody of errors

(or parody of comedies and comedy of errors)
A person is a conglomeration of his or her past experiences from the day s/he starts remembering things, nothing else.

A person’s mind is a shells that starts building it’s personality, adding a layer of memory each time it thinks it’s worth remembering. It could hide it amongst it’s folds never to come out consciously or it could lay it on top ever ready to be called upon. It’s a ballfull of memories and experiences flexing their muscles, each competitively trying to exert influence on the action the person is about to commit.

I’m sure it was borne out of evolutionary necessity. Frail humans are no match for the brawn of the wild without something to hold it’s experiences to call upon when needed.
Add to that, the growing threat of each other.
The mind breeds superiority. Superiority breeds survival. Survival breeds abundance. Abundance breeds scarcity. Scarcity breeds competition. Competition breeds hunger for knowledge. Knowledge breeds superiority.
It’s a circle. The mind just happened to be the trigger.

So much for theory. Now, out here in the real world, you can see each of those steps at work. I have yet to come across another human being that is above and beyond that cycle. Forget Buddha. Abundance wasn’t abundant back then. Show me a guru and I bet you I could spot a thread of that cycle in the glint of his/her eye.

Tall men have fought and won wars. Short men have changed the course of history. It’s not what we have outside. It’s what we have in the creases of our gooey matter, the crud that’s settled in since we were three. That’s what makes us tick or go jump off a building.

If you could sit at an auditoreum to watch the universe performing, you would bowl over laughing at the repeated mistakes we make and the perseverance of it all. It’s funny. Take my word for it. Or better yet, take it as if you were watching a parade of parodies through the ages, you and me among it. Oh, the comedy of it all.

Look for those memories that your mind is not letting you look at. Review it and give it an up yours. 🙂
(I’m still trying by the way).