Ravi Mohan's Blog

Friday, November 16, 2007

Meet "Spineless"

Spineless is a small Django app my friend Manoj whipped up to help me keep track of my books. People generally borrow books from me and I have a hard time remembering who took what when. Even after giving away almost all my 300 or so java/j2ee/dotNet/"agile"/"enterprise" books, I still have a few hundred books lying around in Bangalore and more in Trivandrum. I have entered the first 50 or so books into the app (actually I type some keywords and the app looks up the books in Amazon and grabs the details and plonks them into a database). There has been some demand for something like this, so all who asked, enjoy! I'll keep adding books whenever I find the time (which is a commodity in very short supply right now :-( ).

One of my friends asked me to enter my book list into Library Thing, but I have a visceral dislike of "social networks". Maybe too strong a mental association with Ruby on Rails, I don't know exactly why.

And before you ask, the name doesn't really refer to books' spines or anything to do with books really. It has to do with a private joke about something someone we know said recently. Manoj liked it so much that he named the app after it. Mention "optimization" to Abey or me and we'll roll around laughing. Mention "Spineless" to me or Manoj and you'll get the same reaction. Commemorating stupid things said by intelligent people (or vice versa) is a bit of a tradition in my circle of friends. What's life without people to make you laugh ?

6 comments:

the_dormant said...

Did you have any experience in AI and compilers before giving away your 300 "other" books or are you an autodidact?

Ravi said...

@the_dormant
"Did you have any experience in AI and compilers before giving away your 300 "other" books or are you an autodidact?"

I can't parse the question as written. So I'll answer the sub questions separately.

"Did you have any experience in AI and compilers before giving away your 300 "other" books"

I gave away my "other" books (on various "enterprisey" topics) after I left the world of enterprise programming, yes.

I knew a few things about AI and compilers before I gave them away, but the main reason was that I was running out of space and these books weren't providing any value.

These days I use Python as my main scripting language and Django as a web application framework and don't take on "enterprisey" work.

" are you an autodidact?"

Yes. I have no formal education in either programming or comp.sci.

the_dormant said...

I've been skimming the last two days through all of your posts on this blog. It's very interesting, and I probably share most of your ideas and visions about programming and the obvious need for maths and deeper (correct) understanding of what's really going on behind the problems we programmers are trying to solve(Even though I'm officially an "Enterprise Architect", which doesn't mean anything, and my job is not to solve problems but to adapt solutions to the same problem) .

I've spent the 2 last years in learning new programming languages (Ruby, Python, Lisp, Erlang, Oz, OCaml, Haskell, Scala, Coq ..) for the sake of discovering new ways to solve problems, this experience is very enlightning for an almost ex-java bigot, however at a certain level, there's a bitter sense of still being just a "cargo cult" scientist. So today I'm working through a copy of Birkhoff & Mac Lane's Algebra book(back to basics) but I feel that this process will take very long(vs learning a new programming language) before I can start applying this knowledge to real world problems.. but as of today, I'm enjoying the learning experience.

(Sorry for my bad english, I live in France, and this is how we speak english in there : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vq_1xt6vuY)

Ravi said...

@the_dormant

"So today I'm working through a copy of Birkhoff & Mac Lane's Algebra book(back to basics) .... but as of today, I'm enjoying the learning experience."

Welcome to the rebellion :-).

"Sorry for my bad english, I live in France, and this is how we speak english in there :"
Ha! Don't worry about it! English is not my native language either. Even more funny, I speak a (very) little French thanks to the efforts of the local Alliance Francaise.

I'll look you up the next time I am in Paris!
Keep hacking. We'll change teh world yet!

Salut,

Anonymous said...

Aho my friend ...

A bit off topic ... I gues I'm just frustrated at work today ...

Is the software world filled with 99.99% of absolutely clueless morons ??

Is it the same in that part of the world too ?

Maybe I should just pick up that camera and run off into the woods ...

FUCK FUCK FUCK !!!!

Arun Vijayan said...

You did it. Cool
http://twitter.com/mixdev/statuses/496410532