Thursday, June 21, 2018

Break a leg!

(Advance warning: upper body nudity of a middle aged male variety ;) )

This is a story of how we had best of both the worlds and hit back harder when the universe took its revenge!

This is a story of how we went from this:

to this:

and hit back with this:

Here is the full story.

Last summer my family left me alone for a month and visited India. I being the full blooded Indian male that I am, did the thing every one in the same situation does. I missed them terribly and while doing this, I had a whale of time.

 Rounds of lake Washington on my bike, learning Kayaking and then taking the kayak to places where it has not gone before :), especially almost full day pedaling through Lake Samamish, Samamish river and lake washington, watching Blue Angles from the water.

And the debauchery continued even when the gang came back.

It had to stop some where and it stopped one day when I was trying to do my first hundred mile ride on my bike.
I broke my leg and tibia plateau. We really had a pretty bad time. Adding to this the complications in anesthesia which made me spend a night in ICU. This was easily the worst night of my life with kids + Pallavi balancing on rickety chairs whole night praying for me to recover. We were stranded in a strange country with no family nearby. Our kind friends were the only support structure. But we were definitely staring in an abyss.

At this moment, we started fighting and crawling back one step at a time. Pallavi and kids showed incredibly courage, we recovered together.

But we also had a lot of fun.  We of course maintained regular schedule of outings, enjoyed as and when we could what ever was happening around us

But we needed to hit back with something more.

And here is the coup-de-grace. While recovering we also decided and reduced my weight from here: 
to here:

The exact numbers do not matter. What matters is that we not only fought together but also improved the earlier conditions!

And all this has been possible only because of the tender love and care shown by my better half. Also the steel and resolve I really never knew existed.

And now we hit an arbitary deadline of reaching 70 kg of weight, just a number in general scheme of things, thanks you pillu for every thing. Here is for more and more challenges and goals together!!

Let's make lemonade when life gives us lemons!!!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Solaris - Lem : Dobara

I have felt this feeling may be a couple of times in my life (obviously, life till now :D ).
The feeling goes some thing like this:
As soon as I start reading a book - it kind of looks familiar. I have definitely read the book earlier. Each event feels like you have read it before. Some part of my brain known the story completely: but is teasing with rest of the head and not opening the unread part.

I keep reading on and as soon as the mystery reveals, the knowing part jests with the dumb part. May be they share a chuckle and I then read on.This goes on for pages and pages/chapters and chapters. I enjoy this game as much as I enjoy the original story line. It adds a lot of spice and color to an already engrossing book.

I am currently having the same feeling re-reading Solaris by Stanislav Lem. I had definitely liked the book earlier. With this private game being played in my head now: I like it even better the second time. Especially the way Lem has handled the mystery: it adds even more intrigue.

This whole process gives my real good high, a purer high than the recently-legalized substances :). I really love this private kick that I get (private only till now. Now the inter-tubes know of this!!). Here is to read more about the book:

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Post-fact world

History has a way of chewing out points of views and personalities. Obama's term in office is an example of such vagaries of time. When he came in the lime light, he was all about the audacity of hope, "yes we can" chants warming hearts on both side of divide.

The Crybaby
But when we see at the last half year of his term, it looks like a worst book end any president could have. He could have hung around and remained neutral in the upcoming elections. This would have added so much to his legacy as well as made his actions against Russia more believable.

The political progression
It is a well known pattern in US politics. There is a definite handover of power between parties every eight years. Only an exceptionally successful President can push for the next candidate from his own party. Only an exceptionally bad president loses the second term. You need extra ordinary proof on you side if you want to rule out this thesis.
Even exceptionally successful presidents, who have done two consecutive terms and still remain popular, generally prefer to remain mostly aloof from the electoral process. One of the major mistake Obama made was ignoring all these inputs. 

Never wrestle with a pig
I think this involved a large amount of miscalculation on his part. Instead of walking in the sunlight with his head held high, he got pulled in the mud by Trump. And as it generally happens, the pig won. It is not the pig's fault that the fight happened at all. It was complete miscalculation on the second party that got in the mud.

Difference between election and party
There is no new proof that the actual electoral process was affected by Russian hacking. As the clip above shows, it is also really difficult to actually impact the actual election process. Words matter here. This is nothing but a very clumsy effort of diverting the blame. Only thing that was hacked was the party's and Podesta's personal emails. The only thing that was leaked actually showed lacked of democracy within the democratic party. 
Only thing Obama is achieving by raising these issues is to land another foot in mouth. His priorities here should have been to (a) Take the foot out of his mouth AND/OR (b) Firmly keep the mouth closed so that nothing else can enter there again.

My conspiracy theory
Here is my contribution to the whole discussion :). I have my own pet theory why things turned out the way they did. In my opinion there are three major possible reasons for it:

Trump is firmly under Obama's skin Trump has got under Obama's skin since the time he started making allegations against him. This is justifiably so. I personally think the Donald played a really dirty game there. But Obama allowed him to get under his skin and did not actually take the "high road" as his better half keeps reminding. And the first chance he got, Obama had to pay Trump back.

It is all $$ If you remember correctly, Obama's campaign was one of the most funded ones. He raised more than 600mil dollars. Hillary Clinton also shared more or less the same bunch of sponsors. Obama owed this to his masters and he did not have a way out. Also once they did not need him, he did not have a lot of investment in making him look good. As soon as the backing went away, his feet of clay were visible.

He made a deal with the devil Hillary's support for 2008 run after she lost the nomination came with a bunch of riders. That's how she got the secretary of state nomination.

What ever may be the reasons, this has left this great country in an unenviable position.

Post-fact world
Every one is trying to out-Trump Trump. Wrestling with the pig.
But the fact is that this post-fact world is not ushered in by the Donald. He just introduced to world to the possibility. 
The media took it up whole heartedly. Instead of being a mirror to the people, they tried to become the opinion makers. They lost grasp of the the facts and objectivity. They manipulated their numbers 
to align with their political leanings.They whole hearted followed him to the post-fact world. 

But the credit of making this a highway goes definitely to his predecessor - Barak Obama. 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Two negatives do not make a positive

There is some thing which has been making me really agitated last couple of weeks. I hope making it public might relieve a bit of my pain by sharing it :)

This all started with this celebration:
First thing that popped up was it was so not unplanned and stage managed. Second thing was that the series was still a 2-2 draw. In 2015-16 they have just played Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh and England. They have won only in UAE and  (maybe in Pak).
Apparently to get to this 2-2 draw they practiced with Pak Army. There are some striking similarities between the Cricket team and the army. Army's terrorist catching record can compete with Akmal's wicket keeping record. Just like the Army then have been just beating starved Bangladeshis and no one else. They both are the best match fixers.
Add to that the frustration of a rained out game without any rain on couple of days in WI and we have the most undeserved test number one ever. Now the irony was full till the brim.
This was one of the few times I prayed to God. That too in Marathi. - "Irony"chyaa devaa tulaa thingi thingi waahu de - my fav song dedicated to the most powerful God of probability.
And lo and behold: my prayers were answered:

And I am like:
Hope you feel the same way too ....

Monday, November 16, 2015

The only easy answer to the question "why" is

Why not.

And now, after two weeks in US of A, I can think of only that to justify my move here.

I, as many people know was never a big fan of moving to the fatherland. This was one subject I thought I have a principled opinion and a strong point of view. coincidently, the other things I had so much strong opinion about India's nuclear tests, atheism,Sachin's captaincy, advances of t-twenty and bunch of other things.  And exactly like these points this particular opinion went the same way: it actually does not matter much.

I consider myself a person who likes to travel around and like visiting new places. Though missus thinks that I am the biggest couch potato ever. The thing is that discussion on this particular matter is already closed with me being shown the

As an aside, If you want to know the real nature of husband, the wife is the best source. And spouses are known to be the best critic. But all the wife-bashing aside, the fact still remains that I have not moved a lot unless really forced too.

And the movement (or lack of it) characteristics have not changed whatever the time scale or the distance scale. I do not move for hours together also for years together. On hour scale my movements are limited to TV remote searching and sofa to dining table/refrigerator reccee. On year scale it was limited to Hyd-Blr IT belt.

So all signs were pointing to continue to gentle walk into sunset basking in the sun of Indian IT industry, may be float in the middle management, earn fat paycheck till the time we retire and then do what ever retired IT folks do (what do they do? Browse net for hours together on your own machines rather than using the ones provided by the employers?).

So the question arises why take such a drastic (only relative to my scale of movement) decision to move to the fatherland the land of opportunities for medium term. Also a land where may be the time difference and location separation is not there to hide how less work I actually do!

 And the answer in there in the first line.

So most probably this is more of just muddying the still waters and  making a scene. This is the glorious habit of taking movement for progress. It does not change much the path the life in general is taking. Maybe it will be more comfortable, a little bit different, a little less routine till a new routine is found. The major difference right now is the two generations we are tying together. The grand parents and the grand children are affected far more than us.

Current status is that we have survived our two weeks in the cold here. Both end of the generation gap have taken it pretty well. Especially the less-study-more-play approach to schooling here has gone down exceptionally well with the younger ones here.

Will keep posting our progress here when ever I feel like: For folks who care or just for my records. To be looked at in the above mentioned retirement. I will also try and make it more of an events-and-happenings post rather than a thinking-and-opinioning one :D

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Good bye Shiv

Shivnaraine Chanderpaul is a very difficult cricketer to like. He has been just about breaking stereotypes and kicking the romantics in the face.  In a game where it is mandatory for a left hander middle order batsman to be elegant, he is inelegance personified.
The game has evolved where the batsmen are analyzed very thoroughly. Even a few degrees of change in the arc of the bat coming down can be exploited as a opening for the ballers. It is known to end careers. But not for Shiv, he took his front on batting stance and faced and most of the times won successfully against the best in business again and again.
The temerity of the man was in being what he is and taking it in front of the best and surviving. The picture that I have of him in mind can not accommodate a farewell series. He is more likely to use it as an opportunity to come back in the reckoning. He does not ask favors, does not give any quarters. When the selectors take him in the team, they do not declare that he is the best that they have. But they need to say he is not good enough when they do not select him. I imagine his definition of fun would be grinding out hundreds under guyanese sun or delaying the sure shot defeat by grinding out partnership with tail enders. Delaying the inevitable opposing the best in the business may be yet another of his pastimes.
In this Shiv is Dravid minus the statesmanship. He is also Steve Waugh who was always riled up and backed into a corner. He is the most distilled doggedness that can be found on a cricket field.
If he is going to go out, this is the only way he would. But I hope he still has in him to fight his way back in to the reckoning again. That is the Shiv I came to know over the years.

Here is hoping for his return to international cricket ....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Docker on windows via Services for UNIX: An Engineer’s dream


I came across this news:

This is interesting in a lot of senses. It is a sign that in the new world the Microsoft windows is ready to move with the time and change. Also it makes the docker eco system more universal.

Of course we all have heard about demos that were run inside Microsoft and outside which showed these capabilities with windows pretty early in docker’s life time. So I won’t be surprised if this gets done sooner than expected !!

but I think it will be pretty difficult to get Linux based docker images working on Windows. So even when the technology is supported it may not be universal.

That is where the interesting part comes in. One of the major requirement of a docker image is the existence of Linux/POSIX kernel. As a few of us are aware, till recent releases, windows used to be released with a POSIX subsystem and tools on top of it.

I think implementing docker on top of Services for UNIX might be a better option or may even be a more compatible option.


This particular opportunity is tremendously exciting. Please watch this space for more discussions about the possibilities and approaches. :D

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hobbyist developer: How do side projects end

This is one of the most important things that folks tend to forget. You should always know the possibilities with your side project.  In my opinion, there has to be an out standing pipeline of projects. You should also know the priority of each of these. Also keeping the status as well as priority in your mind is pretty difficult. It is especially difficult if you have a demanding day job. and almost impossible if you are a middle-aging developer like me.
  This is the bucket most of the hobbyist projects end up in. Many reasons for that happening. But the major ones are that the developer is no more interested or the project is no more relevant. I thing there is nothing wrong in putting projects in discarded bucket. You should not take this as a failure that you are either discarding or suspending your side project. The generic idea is that very few ideas actually succeed. So it is definitely a win to have started. But once you realize things are not coming together, there is not point hanging on to an idea. The theme is that you should be generating and throwing away ideas very quickly.
You should be really cut throat about culling the old projects. This is how new and more exciting and more fruitful projects can be started. Working on the idea is not only the measurement of your will power but of the validity of the nascent idea itself.
One thing that I am trying to change at this point though is the way I let go of a project. I have not been very good at this aspect. When ever you decide to move on, you just need to spend a bit more time and get it in a shape where it is as useful as possible. This means that at the least, you should have it checked in to your private repository. If the idea is applicable, you should share it with the relevant folks.You can blog about the idea if it is globally applicable. And of course the most ideal way to let go of a project is the share the idea as well as the code as widely as possible.
Definitely there are limitations to this, which will reduce the extent of sharing. But you should still try and do it. 
Another place where ideas end up is that because of some reason or another, we need to stop working on them for a while. This is the most dangerous place for any idea. This is where ideas turn into zombies. Not preserving them properly for a restart is the worst you can do to an idea and your potential. To preserve it properly, you need to ensure that you prepare it for a restart.ideas are delicate. So you need to ensure that you preserve them in great shape.  Here is one example :)
The way to achieve the same for a software project is to document as much as possible. Just before you assign you project to the crypt, you should ensure that you have checked in all the code and documentation. You should also think about future when you may want to restart work on it. For it, it has to be as simple to understand and start on it as possible.
Woo hoo !! YOU are the man/gal. If you have reached here, you have already been paid for your persistence. Now that you are out of limbo, other and more dangerous hells await you. But you have crossed the first threshold. I have seldom,if ever, been here.
If you have completed something successfully and have been able to get some money out of it as well – that covers every thing. You , sir , should be writing this post :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Hobbyist developer - Why do you do a side project

There are multiple reasons why one starts a side project. I have been starting those (and not finishing most of them). I think there can be many reasons and some of them are driven by the personality of the developer.
The point there is that it is important that you have felt to urge to try out some thing. This wish for action is more important than the nobility of the reason for which you started.
Here are some of the noble and not so noble reasons folks start their hobby programming projects - these contain a list of reasons why I have started my side projects as well.

Exploring alternate employment opportunity: There can be hardly any developer worth his salt who has not dreamt about starting a google or a facebook in his spare time. This can also be a fact that you have an organization as your next target and you are getting your feet wet with whatever they are doing so that you can hit the ground running. You may also think it makes your resume more attractive if you have some code written especially in the public domain in the same area you want your next employment in.

Your bid to change the world view:  Some of us have thought at least some point in time that folks are not thinking right. The soberer version of it is that you think you have another point of view for the current one which is also right. What better way of doing it than just doing a side project.

Learning:There is some technology, language you want to pick up and what better way than doing a quick project. I tried to learn Ruby on Rails the same way. (Before forgetting it even more quickly :))

Proving your point: There is some assignment at work. You think it can be solved in a more generic way. Your folks do not think so. You build your generic solution and open it to folks. People flock to it and you thumb your nose at the aforementioned nay-sayers. (Have not seen it happen too often - but no danger in trying)

Jealousy: You have the core piece of the work you are doing. You do not get it because it is assigned to somebody else because of experience, credentials or age. A healthy outlet to the envy is to implement the same thing for yourselves.

Of course I have not covered every thing. Do share if you think there are other reasons. It is highly likely they may make more sense than the ones that forced me to start my projects.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

NSA vs The Great Chinese Firewall : Role Reversal

These are two of the most prominent monitoring and analysis agencies in the world. The interesting thing is that they have very peculiar behavior. In fact there is a very good case of role reversal here. Where China is as open and bone-headed as Americans in the popular culture where as NSA is as sly and Machiavellian as Chinese are portrayed to be.

But the interesting thing is that both these things do work and do solve their motives. But the straight forward approach really brings a lot of cost with it - from image to impact on business. As well as because it is known and in the face, the folks who actually need to overcome the challenge would have developed better techniques. If not already done, they will do so definitely in near future.

But NSA surveillance would have continued unnoticed but for inside leaks. Even with these, I will be surprised if they did not plan for this contingency and have already controlled most of the damage.

Looking at it just from strategic and execution point of view, US strategy really is magnitudes superior to the Chinese one.

The reason being that at least in this field, camouflage is the best strategy. Knowledge and awareness is the thing that makes all the difference. If you are subtle and hidden, you can actually monitor things and then take right decisions at the right time.

You will know your enemy, but he will not know you. You will decide the place,time and manner of attack. And in the game of one-upmanship this is what matters the most.

As usual, depend on Hollywood to put it succinctly. Here you go:

Friday, October 03, 2014

A shout out to Daspalla, Vizag

We are on a small trip to Araku and Vishakhapatanam (more on that trip later). And as folks in the know would definitely know we did not plan enough (usual) and did not stick to the plan which was present (again nothing out of ordinary here).
This led to us ending up in Vizag late night without any reservation or even in idea where we will go next. Some kind soul on the train told us to try at Dasapalla Vizag.  The thing is that we faintly remember searching and coming across this hotel but the review were nothing extra-ordinary so we overlooked it. We were really skeptical when we called the reservations desk from the train.
But the booking was really quick and efficient. The surprise was that they did not overcharge us, as most of the other hoteliers would do when they find a customer in tight spot.

And the surprises did not end up then. The food in the restaurant down was very good (especially for the kids and the better half - as they were without any food for long time). The staff every where were very friendly and helpful.

The terrace pool was very nice and kids and myself really enjoyed the surprise.

 The complimentary breakfast spread was really nice. Special mention to the staff who would recommend different dishes and ensured that kids are comfortable and enjoyed the food (which we did).

I was surprised why the reviews were not more glowing on the internet. This is attempt at doing just that.

(P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure : they also had a surprise parting gift for me, but that did not affect my opinion :))

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tools:project tracking and the doctrine of cold start

The idea of lone wolf hacking away in the darkness of the dungeon slowly falls apart in a few weeks at the most. Writing your hobby code is no where glamorous.

Even if you are not as bad as myself,a self declared blue-moon start-and-stop brogrammer, it will definitely happen that you will shelve what ever you are doing and come back later to it again.

This is where a version control system really comes in handy. But the issue is that most of the times you will leave when even your ideas have not completely blossomed into code.

So more than version control, a project tracker which can track status of action items and hold action items under a group representing a single idea is very important.

For example, the project which brought me back from the dead is nearly two years old. I did have a skeleton proof of concept ready in last December and showed it to a few folks. I again started on it in April for nearly two weeks.

In this scenario only way to keep track of what is happening is to religiously document your ideas. The generic idea is that you should be able to pick up the threads within a day or two and get started with whatever you were doing.

This means just like any big organization, you should also treat your self as a cog in a machine. You should always leave things at a place where it can be hydrated with minimum efforts and restarted again.

I have been trying options like Asana, and Trello and I will definitely recommend giving these a whirl. both are pretty good and I remember that their being mobile based can also be deciding point for a few who happen to read this.

But for me, tying things to code and iterations was the most essential part I was looking at. And it leads me (again) to Visual Studio Online. You can really manage your work withing sprints and have a meaningful product backlog. May be it is me but I have always enjoyed the scrum meetings of one where I report progress to myself and then raise questions and answer them myself.

In this particular case, I just started with the pending and planned items in the product backlog and slowly things started making sense. I was almost able to hit the ground running. I am not at a place where I can add more items to the overall product backlog and hopefully when I get back to this the next time, I would start from a newer baseline :D

Let's talk about the dev and deployment environments in next few days !!! I was not doing much for balancing their mutability but that is the next piece of puzzle that needs to fall in place if you really need to follow the doctrine of cold-start

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tools:Version Control:Open Kimono

The most important thing in open source culture is the concept of "Open Kimono".
You need to show your real self, what you are with out any inhibitions. While I agree in principle to this, the thing that I want is control over when I "open my kimono" (sheesh!!)

And I need a public repository which gives me a chance to do it. And of course I want it without having to pay for it.

Github is definitely the first choice as every one who is some one is contributing there. And if I get there, I will definitely release the final version of the things that I am trying out there.

 But it does not at this point  have a free private repository, and I desperately need it

I am known to crash the machines and disks irrespective of the code that I am planning to write. So I also need a repository where I just keep my temporary changes and use it to sync code on different machines and even at different location.

Because of this, Visual Studio is definitely the choice of Version Control for me.

(Disclosure: My previous job with Microsoft I had a chance of working with Visual Studio team. And I am intimately aware of how things are designed and they work. So there is going to be some subconscious bias towards it).

But it solves most of my issues and also has some benefits rarely found in other solutions. So Visual Studio Online it is.
In further posts I will try and get to other issues I want to fix on my hobby coding project (also known as my secret plan to take over the world) and how I got around to solving those.

If while surfing the dark bowels of the webs, you hit this spot and have some opinion - expert or otherwise - feel free to share it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A speed breaker early is the best measure of level of interest and investment ...

And in my case this is UBUNTU system updater.

Usual week end scenario: I turn on machine and boot to UBUNTU. It boots urgently, almost expectant and eager after a week of booting to windows. After kicking face the face-book habit- (semi permanently as of  now - more on it later - same place, some date) -I have the weekend stretching in front of me and some old ideas jumping around my head. And of course they are world-changing, at least changing the face of computing as it is known today- whose ideas are not :).

And there it is, my nemesis, pops up. As if it is suffering from the same OCD which drives me towards it. This is the Software Updater. Which has week long stash of updates for me. Takes its own sweet 2 to 3 hours to get things in shape. The only significant thing I can do till it is done is open a browser and see what the world is up to. And whether facebook or not, that is still a rabbit hole. and a rabbit hole I have not yet found the other side of.

The conclusion is that this is yet another plant where I am forced to test my actual interest in the thing that I am trying to do. This is yet another gauntlet thrown in a long running tussle and I need to find a way around it.

And though at the end I burn a couple of hours, I am still happy as this is proof that I am at level 2 in the super hit game "me against me", and I have a winning card up my sleeve - disable the popup :D

P.S. Nemesis :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Custom hardware/software and scale

Though this is a start, I think at scale, the answer to all the problems is that you can not solve high scale issues with consumer level solutions.  So ironically a thing that started with using off the shelf consumer grade hardware and software as a base and built custom solutions on top of it, again needs specialization. Or the other point is that if there is one flaw in this suggested approach, it is the fact that this approach is not universal.
Most of the technologies in this area of high scalability do use standard software and hard ware at its base and build on top of it.
Every thing including big table,big data and other associated technologies do use the off-the-shelf file system and off-the-shelf operating system on individual nodes. The speed and scalability is achieved by software running on these machines by custom software which most of the times runs in user space as well as is written in high level languages (mostly JAVA).
So even when the suggested approach works, it is definitely needed to first work for the individual machines for existing software stack in consumer space before it gets really prevalent usage.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello world!!

My third day at EMC and it has already been a roller coaster experience. There have been a lot of things that are unexpected and hence even more pleasant. Some of the things are shocking and even when such things should be expected are irritating for the short term.
But I am here and I am loving every moment of it. right now I am sitting in a cubicle and this is a change from my earlier job. The buzz is really heartening. Occasional snippet of Kannada tell me how much I liked hearing it in my earlier stint in BLR. The Bangalore variey of the language is really endearing. This time I want to really learn so that I can understand and enjoy it even more .

This is my first post from my laptop. Something which I am able to do after three days of joining this company. I have always heard about companies where people change code,check in and roll out to production on their first day.Such companies exist. But because of the nature of the domain we exist in, as well as size of the org, this definitely does not happen here. Since joining I filled forms, submitted documents, resubmitted them, showed people signatures on different forms from HR and got different things as gifts.  A bunch of people joined with me and the joining process, though tedious, looks pretty stream lined. Nearly hundred people joined in last two weeks, everyone more or less started working almost on their second day. But you just fall out of step with process and then beware of the effects. As it happens with a stream lined process, any thing that does not fit the process takes extra ordinary amount of effort and time. And I have natural talent that such things happen with me.

But first the thing I liked the most: I liked the large number of empty spaces as well as I really dig the facade of the building.
"A very bad photograph of the gorgeous facade of the building"
 Here are some more from a search engine :) : 

WP_20130409_001[1].jpg"A lot of empty spaces with breath taking views"

Quality of the workspace is better than my earlier org which has really been a pleasant surprise. The coffee is better, cafeteria is better stuffed. 

But as I am lucky enough to draw all the cosmic rays of distrubance. It is a talent I have from a long time and I keep exceeding myself every where I go. The same thing happened this time also. One of the most important person you'd meet is the photo ID printer person. Also known as the key-maker.
(and as importantly hidden as the keymaker from matrix - behind the reception in the basement)
"I am still preparing your ID card"

As the disturbance in the field caused by my presence, he happened to throw away my form without actually printing it. Another interesting thing I found here is the interesting checks and balances. I have to give "form X - 100" signed by "P Q and R" to pick up a thing "Y".
After a lot of concentration I get all the pre-reqs to collect the card just to be confidently questioned on my existence in the company. Finally this got solved as the gentleman found his mistake and retrieved my crumpled form quickly from debris.

This cool, confident and kind smile has been the major companion of my interaction with the non tech staff till now.

Even the emperor at IT,  placed appropriately in the farthest corner on the top floor showed that. With the same kind time he told me "you will get your machine in one month". I was shocked. I ventured: " Did you say one day" - *smile* "One month". "Did you mean a week?" - "One month".

"When I say one month, it is one Month".

But then I talked to the HR and admin and things worked out pretty well after that. Now I have a machine and a team and looking forward to my first interactions with my team and especially looking at the code :).

So with some interesting twists, my rendezvous with EMC is well and truely on its way :)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The problem with activism/criticism in general

As passionately as this is put and the lady also has some very interesting points, it is really interesting to study this from meta point of  view.

It more or less looks like the lady has issues with every thing. Nothing that exists is right. Things have been going wrong for centuries together,
and they are still degrading. Generally this is not some thing you would want to pursue. Even when it is not optimum, human beings have been surviving and majority of it is flourishing.
Especially it is post-reform India. She some how comes across as trying to make a point that green revolution was not a success. This in itself is a point of debate. I know that it definitely did have its own disadvantages and side effects. But that has to be a separate piece of activism with good time spent in elaborating the stand and nuances. By not focusing only on seed freedom, she is deteriorating her other wise rather strong position.
This is some thing atheists also fail at. Actually in my opinion, their point should actually just stop at questioning an omnipotent deity/afterlife. They are the m,most successful when they raise doubts and prove religion wrong. Giving an alternative belief system/lack of it and the framework for it is really the next steps.
By just concentrating on the attack on theism, the individual is freed and then starts thinking on his own, which is a great win. But by just trying to focus on even bigger wins, in my opinion even this advantage is lost.
        Then there comes a time when the activists' win their point and the opinion is with them. Now is   the time for the next generation where the solutions and alternate structures are proposed. Most of the times it is done by the next generations or is done by the activist in the next phase.
So from my pulpit, the sermon for the day is: "you should fight your limited battles with full strength, rather than cover the whole spectrum and give complete alternate solution".

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Only the liberals love their country ...

Some of the things that are mentioned here are universally relevant.
Actually short cuts and corruption seems like a human tendency. This is basically an agency problem.
This basically means that when ever you delegate some thing to another person or the group of people, they would always have their interests first.
If this involves subverting the original goal, then they would do that as quickly as possible. Running a democracy for the people is one such thing.
Here is one such try to alleviate the agency problem:

This is really interesting to compare this situation with my country, India.
Here things are at the same time better or worse from different angles. One thing is that more and more the separation between the funder and fundee is going away.
This means that the politicians themselves are wealthy enough that they need not think about life after their time in the legislator. In fact politics is a life time and most of the times a family business.
The impact of big businesses and corporations is not as much as it is present in US. Here the politician is inherently strong and in most of the states, both opposition and the ruling party keep switching places. This means that it is a fight between the equals and people get a say at least a few times or just by chance.
But a true republic is still an utopia. It is not achievable so the problem that is mentioned in the above talk is not solvable.
We can only go as near to the ideal state as possible. As this is a continuous process and just a state of mind, only way it can be achieved is by appealing to the emotions.

I completely agree with the goal though.

Country is the best way to get people together and work for their benefit, democracy is the best way they can be governed, a true democracy is always a republic.
And following transparent and small funding is a very important (though a very small) step towards this state !!

Friday, April 05, 2013

(Exeunt stage left, end act3 scene1 ...)

Fri 5 April is going to be my last day at Microsoft. I did have a blast in last 7 years and enjoyed every moment of it.
From this point on, this gets horribly cheesy and sentimental. I do not have any advices to give as well as any confessions to make or even axes to grind.

So the sane would stop here and make and keep peace ;).

Ok, so you were warned:)
So long and thanks for all the fish!!
The time I spent with MS has been one of the most productive part of my career and life thus far. I have worked with incredibly smart people, picked up large number of technical and soft skills..
Spread myself across different teams with small hacks of their own in the culture. Saw release cycles shrink and methodologies change. For example, my first  release was SFU in Vista which was an OS release maybe after a 6 years or more gap and now we are talking about quarterly release of features. Did stay back for nights together, pulled all nighters with "this is the end"(doors) playing in the back ground as well as as well as spent time mindlessly watching youtube videos of best stand up comics to while away time.
It was not all at my desk either, I reached my peaks as a volley ball player :), changed teams, had regular fights disguised as design discussions and always made a point to ensure that every one knows my mental age - all of five years.

Talking about work life balance and astounding feats of efficiency:  I also added ten plus KGs, bought an apartment,my two kids were born during this time.

But through all this, I always knew that this will end at some point in time.but I knew that my stint was MS was always supposed to end. The days flew  by and the time to make a decision has come. The reason more or less being this: :)

Some lines from one of my most fav Hindi film also explains:

But I never thought it will be this sudden and will get over so soon. It looks just yesterday when i got down at Hyderabad airport and the heat burnt me n the face (BTW this is some thing that I won't be missing. Do enjoy your time in the sun ppl ...). But the call of the wild beckons, my clock has run its time and it is time to force reboot my machine again as it is running slower and slower.  The building and furniture being younger than you is a definite sign and I am responding to it :)
Though this looks relatively simple thing to do, this is dicey and destabilizing enough move for me to hear the ringing in the ears on and off, and I need all the good wishes as I can get.
So fair maidens and stout hearted codermen of MS, fare thee well ;) See you again in the after life. It will be an honor to cross paths with you worthy folks again. It has indeed been a privilege. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Agile design and development in large orgs - some practical fallacies

Traditionally the agile story says that the pigs make all the decision ( But this step is really hard, especially for the organizations where hierarchy exists.

File:Pig and chickens.jpg

Apart from this fallacy, one more thing that is left unsaid is the thing where we decide when to stop or when to make decisions. It is really an art to close on some thing or let some thing remain open. I think the addition to the eight fold path( has to be right timing.

The real deal is when the decisions are made by committee and by hierarchy. but the worst of it are decisions made by hierarchy and enforced by committee.

This is the place where sunshine never reaches and middle management thrives. The places where decisions needs to be made are pushed to the top. Which gives the top execs some sense of ownership and control. Also such decisions are easy to force on to the teams which are actually executing it. where as the control remains with the middle management. Who are most of the times just chicken (all the puns intended Winking smile )

I think the  problem is systemic and all middle to large orgs can not run a truly agile project. This is because the definition of agile and large are almost opposite to each other.

Are there any stories which prove me wrong? The caveat is that being agile is not equivalent to being successful, neither is true the opposite way. So is the case with being quick. you can be quick and still not be actually agile - follow all the points mentioned here :

Friday, November 23, 2012

NOSQL and ACID : NoSQL == Not(only) SQL

Freedom for the tyranny of schemas!!!
As mentioned earlier, my main reason for venturing in to the data was the (preceived)democratization of the field because of the terms NoSQL. Which basically means that I need not have to learn a completely new language, technology as well as methodology to understand this. In a span of a week, I am already proving myself wrong again on this one: but I will explain a bit more in another post !! 

But still it makes sense to actually understand the things as well as the two parties before taking sides Smile.

When the noSQL proponents mention SQL, it is actually a strict RDBMS they are referring to. One of the things that these systems follow is ACID properties NOSQL thinks it is not necessary to make the data store follow all these properties. in fact adherence to these properties actually makes their solutions difficult to implement and maintain and scale. So they selectively choose some of the features of the data, depending on the properties that are important semantically for the data.

Having data completely separate from the implementation looks like a great idea from a high altitude. But this has just ended up in making database development as a completely different and an independent branch of software engineering. with the DB having its own tiers and the development team being split in two far early in the development cycle. This compartmentalization is definitely not acceptable where agility and cost are major considerations i.e. with the startups. in my not-so-educated opinion that is the reason for emergence of NOSQL.

It is definitely attractive if all the code looks almost similar for every thing instead of having a different partition and technology for maintaining the database. The ACID properties at least are used as and when they are actually necessary.

There are definite technical differences and advantages but in my opinion that is not the major reason for the emergence of nosql. The reason also has cultural and economy related shades.
This really means that there can not be a single solution that works for any context but there will be implementation dependent behavior of the data store. This really helps the edges and fringes where these things really matter because of multiple reasons. The usage where economy and speed matter most – the startups - is in my opinion one of the biggest validators of practicalities of this approach.
here are some of the reasons that I cam think of. (caveat: As I am still a novice, definitely I am either misinterpreting some of these or missing a lot more)
  1. Exceptionally large size of data where the concept of a normal relational data base break.
  2. Monochromatic behavior of data(remember I coined this word here Winking smile) : meaning the unique way data is generated, stored and its relevance calculated. These can be: data which comes only in append mode, data which comes from real-time streams,data where age changes the relevance etc
  3. Geographic location where data is stored as well as the speed and method the computing nodes use to reach it.

But the biggest take away for me from all this is really this:
NoSQL is a loosely coupled way of thinking about your data. There are techniques which you use along with the strictly relational ACID data. That’s why most of the high scale data startups use both the approaches, depending on need. Any further advocacy of one way over other is just fanboism Smile