Dealing with Languages

Our friends and colleagues from other places often ask us, “How do you Indians manage back there amidst a myriad of languages?” I have always found this difficult to answer, for I was mostly able to manage my Hindi with some hints of English. You would agree perhaps that whether we have hundreds of languages around us or three, there is always one language that’s close to our heart. Most of the times this language happens to be our mother tongue, the language in which we think. Born in a Bengali family I spent my growing up years in a Hindi dominant state, Madhya Pradesh (the central state of India), so my Hindi is better than my Bengali, which would perhaps add to the bewilderment of our already puzzled colleagues.

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Java for young developers

Are you teaching someone Java? Do you know anyone who is taking an introductory training in Java? Do you want your 5 year old kid to start on Java? If yes, then you can help them further by introducing to free interactive IDEs made just for this purpose 🙂

This Oracle page has a list of cool IDEs, available for free and targeted at Java aspirants of various age-groups. Scratch for example is targeted at age-group 5-15 and helps learn java using animations and games. Alice provides a similar drag-and-drop 3D development environment. Bluej provides visual tools to write Java programs. Greenfoot, which calls its Projects as “Scenarios” has a scenario like the one shown below where you can create “Leaf” instances to feed to a wandering Wombat. Another such IDE called Judo is available at sourceforge.

This page at Dzone has links for other cool stuff to teach Programming to kids.

Overdoing the Anna Hazare thing?

Aren’t we really overdoing this Anna Hazare thing? I mean, OK there is a civic society, it made its recommendations on the Lokpal draft but the government differed and passed their own version. Tomorrow, the parliament may pass a similar or a different bill. But let’s face it, ultimately its the parliament that has the “rights” to do it, we cannot allow a herd of people to dictate how laws should be made in this country, though they are free to suggest.

Haven’t we ignored such herds before? (remember demands of referendum/freedom?). If Anna’s group is able to arm-twist a government, then tomorrow we should be ready for other such “civic societies” coming up with their own sets of demands, we are opening a pandora’s box really. Imagine the mining mafia coming in thousands and forcing a reinstatement of their favorite leader. IMHO, it should be OK in a democratic setup to debate, oppose, resist, pressurize against, differ or agree with other’s views but we cannot ignore that ultimately the laws should be made by the elected representatives of the nation and not by the members of society, who lead but won’t contest elections to join active politics. When they are sitting on the fence we don’t even know which political party/ideology they might be representing, or whose business interests might be behind them. Why is not a single MP or MLA part of Anna’s team? (we cannot just say that none o the politicians want this bill, that’s an easy way out. Anna’s team should have the capability to convince the parliamentarians, they cannot wage a war to get their things done.)