Monday, October 26, 2009

This blog has moved!

This blog has moved to !

And more importantly here is the RSS feed for it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Has your blog been Redanyway'ed ?

If you check my blog, you would see a widget at the right hand side name Redanyway which looks similar to a Google Friend Connect but it is much more than meets the eye.

A bit of background first, Redanyway is developed by a startup run by some of my engineering college buddies.

It is like the Google Friend Connect widget (which shows who all are following your blog) but it also allows you to show off your Twitter Followers on the blog.
Also it lets you autopost your new blog posts directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts eliminating the need for a third-party twitter RSS feeder like twitterfeed .
Hence it achieves the effect of Google Friend Connect as well as twitterfeed. So your blog becomes more "social"ly shared across multiple social networks which are the most popular these days i.e Facebook and Twitter.

Thats why this service advertises itself using the catchphrase "a social way to follow a blog".
This is not all though !!
It has google reader like capabilites where you can find friends, follow them which in effect means you are subscribed to their blogs . Also your friends can follow you (your blog) which again you can show off with the cool Redanyway widget.

So increase the social awareness of your blog and build your social network around your blog by checking out redanyway. Moreover its free!!!

Quotes from The Shawshank Redemption modified for I T Industry.

These are some Memorable quotes from The Shawshank Redemption modified (applicable) for the I T Industry.
  • Orientation for New joinees (especially freshers): Put your trust in the management your ass belongs to your manager.

  • One coder( moving into management) to another: Get busy livin' or get busy coding.

  • Assigning/Blaming bugs/issues in your code onto others is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

  • One employee after completing few years in the industry, to a fresher: On the outside (in the college etc),I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come into the I T industry to be a crook (Fake status reports, fake sick leaves, misuse internet connections for torrents, produce fake bills etc).

  • One senior employee to a junior searching for a "better" job esp during recession: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope(Finding a better job) is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

  • Salvation lies within (self-code/design review, testing one's code).

  • Employee, after spending more than 10-years in the company to new joinees, These cubicles(walls) are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized.

  • One coder: Hows' life? Second coder: Same old shit, different day

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Difference between Indian and American Colleges

Notice put up in Indian College:

Notice put up in American College:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

3 years old !

I completed 3 years in the software industry last week. Its a milestone though a small one. Its also time look back, reflect and share some of the lessons i have learnt.

1. Quality of Work:
Chances are that you are not happy with your work because it is not challenging, repetitive, and/or there is nothing new to learn. Now frustration sets in, and typically one's productivity reduces. I faced this problem more than once fell in the same trap mentioned above. Yes, i did tell my manager and tried to get better work and eventually did, but that is only solving half of the problem.
It is not always for possible to get a team change/project change due to various reasons like economic recession amongst other things.

Along with crossing swords with your manager another thing one should do, is to try to see if you can change something about the current project/work. Improvise some code/some feature, automate something, add some more features. Look around and surely something can be done. Something can be learnt.
Also, another thing is capability. Even if there is some work/project to which you can be assigned; are you capable enough? How do you prove you are capable? e.g You are doing QA work and some Dev work opens up which interests you. Now what?

The solution to this is obviously, try to take on some more work which is challenging (along with you actual work) that can prove you are capable. Hence when eventually some new work comes along. You are in the radar.

Initially, i failed on both counts and found myself miserably frustrated. Along with frustration, self-doubt set in. I started doubting my capabilities also. Was i ready good enough for a better quality of job?
Luckily for me, my mentors/seniors at work helped me, guided me out of the rut.

Another aspect that comes out here when you hate your work is lack of productivity and interest. When you are in the right frame of mind, ideas flow; you are more creative. When you lack interest/hate you job; this flow stops.
Hence remember, even if your job sucks. Try to be most productive and give your best, while looking around for
other opportunities.
Its tough, but not impossible.

2.Ask for Feedback:
Always talk to your manager and ask for feedback. It helps in evaluating your performance throughout the year.
At my previous employer, i never bothered asking my manager about my feedback even though we had numerous one on one meetings. At the end of the year, i was surprised when i got a not-so-good rating in my review.
I make it a point to ask for feedbacks atleast per quarter. It gives good insight into where i stand and what i need to improve.

3. Communication:
Supplementing the above point; Always have one-on-one meetings with your immediate managers. Let them know of any issues you have. Don't crib that the manager doesn't ask. Its your job to tell them anyways.
Another thing is, letting people know you exist.

Once my manager asked me, how many people did know on this floor. There were atleast 100 ppl on the floor. I knew around a quarter that too because we were in the same team.
Let people know you exist; across teams. Interact with people in common areas like cafeteria, sports room etc. (No, not in the toilet!). This helps in the long run especially when you want to know about openings in other teams .
Also, talk to senior people in your team. You can learn a lot from them. In turn they know that you are active/forthcoming and will get you more involved in important activities.

4. Peer Pressure:
Another important lesson i learnt is handling peer pressure. Too often, we spend time comparing ourselves with others. Do I have better work than others? Is he getting paid more? Does the manager prefer him over me? etc. Don't let yourself be bogged down with all these thoughts.

Remember the competition is always with yourself. It a very tough but important lesson. Try to find your own weaknesses and strengths and find work accordingly.
Note, its good to observe your co-workers and learn their good qualities both work related and general.

5. Gossip: Indulging in gossip especially one which spreads ill-will about your team, manager or the company is harmful in general. Criticizing companies policies etc are ok to some extent. But idle gossip brings the morale of the whole team down. This may not affect people who have been in the line for a while, but affect the freshers who have just joined. Try solving problems instead. Bring it to notice of your seniors and upper-management

Enough of fundas for now. These are the lessons i learnt after failing/falling multiple times. I was lucky enough to get chances to fix them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview Tips

Having given quite a few interviews over my short career and taken a bunch of them in my new workplace; i think its time i share some tips for people being interviewed.

  • Firstly, preparing your resume. Remember the KISS funda. Keep it simple stupid. I have seen a lot of resumes which have an overload of information; which confused more than informed me. The main thing is that one's resume needs to inform not confuse. Customize your resume for the company to which you applying i.e  highlight the work you have done which relevant to the profile they are looking for. Mention relevant skills-sets.

  • Highlight Awards/special recognitions/papers/patents who you have got/published/filed. Put this at the very first.
  • Don't mention tools like gcc/gdb or even cvs/svn/clearcase etc. If you have done C coding you surely have used gcc/gdb etc and no one cares abt which code mgmt system one has used.

  • Don't misguide or provide inaccurate information in resume. I have interviewed people who claim to be "developers" or "maintainers" and give an impression that they have done a lot of coding but are in fact doing most maintenance/bug-fixing kind of work.
  • You will easily get caught when the interviewer starts digging deep.If you have done bug-fixing, say bug-fixing. 

  • Also don't lie about your known expertise/skill-set. eg. One candidate i interviewed mentioned C/C++ as known languages. When further probed he said he learnt it in college and never professionally worked on it. That was the end of his interview.
    Mention skills sets acquired while working professionally or even on college projects.

  • Also interviewers don't care about you hobbies/interests.

  • Old adage but worth repeating: If you don't know don't lie. You are surely going to get caught. Its better to say that you don't know or haven't work on it so don't know it.

  • Brush up on your basics. Although we understand/know most of the basics, we tend to forget them over time. Brush up ! Read your college reference books or other books that talk about the basics. This is the single most important advice

  • Typical questions asked are "briefly describe yourself", "explain what work you are currently doing". Come prepared with these answers especially what work you are doing currently. Interviewers will check how deeply you understand the current product/system on which you are working.

  • When asked to solve a particular problem, like writing a C program / solving a puzzle; take some time to think properly and use the whiteboard (incase of face to face) or use paper sheets (for telephonic interviews).
    This is stating the obvious, but people try to solve problems in their mind; then lose patience and although they could have given the right answers; they screw up.
    I have done it in the past and seen people doing it.

    Real incident
    : Once, during an telephonic interview i asked the candidate to solve a certain C problem, he thought for a while; got impatient and asked me to move to the next question while his brain processed the current problem in the background.
    I was ROFL ! I wanted ask if he had a dual-core brain!

  • Don't interrupt the interviewer with questions about the work/company etc during the interview. Once the interview is done, typically the interviewer will ask you if you have any queries. If not then you can tell them that you have some questions. Don't hesitate in asking about the type of work/general info abt the company but only at the end.

  • Lastly, if you mention you worked on a certain technology or have knowledge about certain concept. Make sure you know it in and out else don't mention it at all.
    eg. If you mention something like IPSec or RTOS and don't really know it properly, then its quite a turn-off and your chances of going ahead are close to nothing

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Once upon a time on a Sunday..

Sundays are meant to be fun, meant for "chillax"ing, watching movies, sports, IPL etc . One tries to minimise work as much as possible. Order food from outside, postpone the work which was postponed from the weekdays to the weekend to the next weekend and so on.

Most importantly experimenting (which often fails ... rather always) should surely be avoided at any cost. Some folks though don't heed such sane advices and learn their lessons the hard way.

It was a usual Sunday morning with my spouse in deep slumber while i was booting my laptop to watch a movie, suddenly i heard couple of blasts that sound similar to bomb blasts.
Neither was i close to any war zone nor was the Indian Cricket team winning any matches. Also there was stink .. really bad odour . I dreaded the worse ; Chemical Warfare.
( Disclaimer: I didnot fart ! as opposed to popular belief )

I instinctively (like Spiderman) turned around , ducked to save my life and then i was shocked to see the merciless carnage around me.

Lets move back in time to Saturday evening where we were visiting the exhibition for household items. We found a very useful item that would save us some effort during the early morning rush to get to work daily.
Rush? Is my job hectic? No man.... there is free AC at work . Only way to beat the heat !

It was a Microwave Egg Boiler. Wow... thats a really handy item. Place some water; then eggs and microwave it for 3-4 mins.. Voila ! Boiled eggs in no time.
The stall owner convinced me that against popular opinion eggs will not burst/break .
I as always was first very eager to buy it and then even more eager to use this contraption.

Hence, on this very unfortunate Sunday i decided to experiment boiling eggs in this device.
Instructions were simple.
Fill water in the vessel, place the perforated cover on it, place the eggs, cover the lid and microwave it for 3-4 mins.

I did egg-actly that and as being an expert in multi-tasking ( No, i am worse than Windows 98 at multi-tasking. One process hangs... system hangs) decides to boot up the laptop the same time.

As soon as i heard the alleged bomb blasts, i instinctively turned around and saw something devilish flying towards me. I ducked ! Phew! Then there was the stink .
I opened my eyes; Yes, the flying towards me was the lid of the Microwave Egg Boiler and the eggs had been overboiled; they burst all over the microwave, the floor, the otta . I was shocked at the turn of events and then the failure of my experiment.
I attempted to move close to the microwave and removed the utensil which still had one egg intact. I keep the vessel near the sink and turned around.
Then there was another blast ; sadly the last remaining egg also burst.

Not only had the lovely breakfast gone away;
I was in shock for sometime . Now What? Then it dawned upon me.. i had to clean up before my wife woke up.

Also, i could no longer use the old trick that i exercised daily and was really tired. Why ? See here.
Hence, now I a software engineer who most important decision of the day whether i should share this link on Twiter or not had to actually do some work ... i.e cleanup!!

But fear not, i have receiving training on fixing household disasters. Yeah! Really ?! Are there classes where do they teach all this?

If you come to my aerobics class... you will surely learn the subtleties of cleaning the house.

How??? I shall gladly enlighten ! Follow my lead

  • Take your left leg forward; raise your left hand ; bend all your fingers ; Raise your ankle. Now your rotate left wrist and left ankle to the tune of Main Hoon Don! Main Hoon Don!". Voila! you just learnt to change a bulb . Now you can confidentally change all the old spoilt bulbs in your house.

  • Keep a distance of a foot between your feet. Raise your arms to chest height. Keep your arm and fingers straight. Now rotate your wrist to the tune of Bappida's legendary "Tamma Tamma Loge". All you need is a dusting cloth in your hand and you just learn to dust. You can bend your back and clean that dirty centre table also.
    Raise your hands (arms straight). Now take a broom and clean those decade-old cobwebs.

  • An extension of the above step is keep one stand still and rotate the other . All you need in the dirty dish in your steady hand and a scrotch bite in your right hand... Now you are a dish washer !

  • Now, again keep a foot's distance between your feet. Keep your hands on your waste. Lift your left ankle. Rotate your left foot. Repeat the same for the right foot. Do this to the tune of any of Jitendra's song prefably one where he wears white shirt/shoes/underwear.
    All you need a cloth under you foot and you have learnt to do swabbing
    (pochha in your native tongue).

  • and there are many more.... You can learn the sweep, clean your clothes and even fly kites.
Hence using the above super cleaning skills i was able to effectively clean up the kitchen and thus hid the experiment from the Mrs. Though the stink was difficult to get rid off; and my wife smartly sniffed out that a crime had been committed.

I told the whole story, but my loving/charming wife understood and helped clean the stink .

I was let off so easily? Really?
Alas! No... my wife played the song "Aao Sikhao Tume Ande Ka Funda Yeh Nahin Pyare Koi Maamule Banda " and made me do those embarassing aerobics steps.

Have mercy.............

Monday, April 27, 2009

Testing Again