Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Monthly Archives May 2004

Still a small office

Someone asked me at lunchtime what I thought of the Yahoo! India Software Development Center office. I answered that it reminded me of the Y! office 5 years ago in Santa Clara. It’s still small enough that you can know every engineer, all-hands meetings don’t require a microphone or PowerPoint presentations, and the cafeteria has a payroll-deduction scheme for lunch (instead of a la carte and cashiers like we have nowadays in Sunnyvale).

I thought this was a pretty original insight, but apparently I gave more-or-less the same answer as Zod, Filo, Ash and other old-timers gave. 🙂

Only one more day in the office and then it’s back to the US. We’ll probably go back to doing weekly videoconference calls so we can continue the momentum on the project, but it won’t be the same.

Mysore Palace at night

After visiting the temple we came back to the palace to get some nightime pictures. There were thousands of families on the palace grounds walking around or sitting on the grass. We got some boiled peanuts from a guy in the parking lot and then hopped in the car to head back to Bagnalore.

Elephant ride in Mysore

You can’t actually see the elephant here, but trust me, we’re riding one. Badi, Swaroop and I made a trip to Mysore yesterday and visited the palace and Chamundi Hill.

Bollywood entertainment

yuva-mani-ratnam.jpg Last night I went out with Badi and Swaroop to see Yuva. The movie was in Hindi so naturally I couldn’t understand a word, but during the intermission I got a recap of the first couple of hours. Turns out I followed about 30% of what was going on. I guess the language of love (and violence) is universal.

The music was good and the action scenes (especially the big fistfight that takes place in the middle of traffic) were quite entertaining. I bought a copy of the soundtrack at the music store for 125 rupees. It included two CDs: 6 songs from the Yuva movie and a bonus disc with 10 of A.R. Rahman’s hits.

According to the critics, the movie was a bit of a disappointment. Apparently director Mani Ratnam is capable of much better work. But hey, what do I know about Indian movies?

Yahoo!ing in India

I’m currently in Bangalore, India for business. Yahoo! formed a software development center here about 3 years ago, and now the office has about 130 engineers.


I arrived a few days ago, but have been so busy with work that I haven’t had time to post any pictures. This is my first trip to India (actually, my first trip to any part of Asia). The Y! office is located on Mahatma Gandhi Road, which is one of the busiest streets in downtown Bangalore.


Inside the office looks about the same as the Y! corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale. The cubicle walls are lower, but the purple-and-yellow (and grey) color scheme is much the same. Here are Badi and Kalyan in a typical 4-person bullpen cube:


I arrived Wednesday morning, took a tour of the office, met with my team to do a short presentation, and made it back to the hotel around sundown before going to sleep. Thursday and Friday I gave presentations to a larger group of new employees introducing them to a wide variety of proprietary Yahoo! technologies.

On Thursday night after work we went to see a theater group called MISFIT perform three short plays. Very entertaining. We were planning a trip to Mysore today but unfortunately I’m not feeling very well, so we’ll probably go next weekend. I spent the entire day Saturday at the hotel in bed with a fever and dizzyness. Feeling slightly better today, but now I’ve got intestinal issues. Guess I should’ve heeded Venkat’s advice and avoided fresh fruits and vegetables. Hope to be feeling better tomorrow.

One thing I’ve noticed reading the papers here is that Indians really like puns. Coverage of the recent elections has been peppered with groan-inducing headlines like “Singhing in the Reign” and “In Sihkness and in Health.”

Real Food Daily goes kosher

rfd-logo2.gif Real Food Daily‘s restaurant in Beverly Hills is now certified kosher. Ariella and I went there for dinner last night and saw a statement of rabinnic supervision in the window.

Since they serve only 100% vegan food, RFD has always been “kosher by ingredient” in my personal opinion. Many people in the observant Jewish community will only eat in restaurants that have rabinnic supervision, so the fact that RFD is now certified kosher should open their cuisine to a wider audience.

Apparently they’re also going to be opening a 4th store in Studio City, and are considering expanding to Northern California as well. Closest thing I can think of to compare it to is Herbivore in San Francisco.

stubgen 2.06

Today I released stubgen 2.06, the first release since 1998.

stubgen is a C++ development tool that keeps code files in sync with their associated headers. When it finds a member function declaration in a header file that doesn’t have a corresponding implementation, it creates an empty skeleton with descriptive comment headers.

Last week Raphael Assenat sent me a message suggesting two new command-line flags to customize the output to his liking. He included very clean patch to implement the feature and his code worked perfectly. He even included manpage updates in his diff! This is exactly the way Open Source is supposed to work.

I took the opportunity to remove copies of getopt() and basename() that were bundled with the distribution since they’re found in any modern libc. Doing so also let me change the license from GNU to BSD, since I no longer want to contribute to RMS’s zealotry.

stubgen’s parser does not conform to the latest C++ standard. It’s a gigantic hack that I created when I was teaching myself lex/yacc. Hacking the yacc grammar further probably isn’t a good idea, since C++ isn’t an LALR(1) language anyways. It really oughta be rewritten to use a real C++ parser library.

TNT: AIM for Emacs

emacs-logo.png TNT, an AOL Instant Messenger client for Emacs, released version 2.5 this week. I’ve used it on FreeBSD, Linux, and Windows 2000 and it’s always worked like a charm. If you’re not into the whole GUI thing, TNT is a superb alternative to Gaim.