Saturday, March 15, 2014

Technologists Can ‘Move’

Sharing excerpts from my interview with the Methods and Tools, Professional Communications team @ Sapient

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Describe your earliest experience with a computer. 
My first encounter with a ‘computer’, an exclusive gadget in those days, was in 5th standard.The first things I learned were GW Basic,Logo,and drawing diagrams based on coordinates. It was fascinating! Cyber caf├ęs were new in the market and I remember browsing the Internet at 50 INR per hour on a dial up connection.

What books/blogs/sources of wisdom do you value, and what would you recommend to others? 
I am not a big fan of reading books especially now when there are several online forums where experts discuss trending topics in real time. I started my journey with JavaRanch(www.javaranch.com) and found it quite useful while working onJAVA/J2EE projects. I was active on the site for around three years and made some good friends. I still discuss complex project issues with them. With a hard-core interest in technology, I started contributing to the Tomcat (http://tomcat.apache.org/lists.html), Castor (http://castor.codehaus.org/), and Andromeda (http://www.andromda.org/forum/) forums where I couldinteract with industry experts.

Practical API Design: Confessions of a Java Framework Architect is a good book for people who want to learn writing API that will stand the test of time. It is written by the designer of the NetBeans API at Sun Microsystems (now Oracle).
I have learnt a lot from online discussion forums and strongly recommend that all technologists should join forums that are relevant to their field of work.

What are your interests outside of technology e.g. music, sports, and who are your idols there? 
I have a supreme love for dancing and I have managed to learn a few forms of professional dancing like jazz and contemporary. Dancing de-stresses me and is a welcome break in my daily routine.ShiamakDawar (master of contemporary dancing) and Michael Jackson are my role models. 

Apart from dancing, I write blogs (www.agrawalsaurabh.blogspot.com) to share my personal experiences and my observations.

I am also a sports enthusiast and was a part of the Under 16 Cricket team of Madhya Pradesh (a state in India).


                          
What is the thing you worked on that you were most proud of? 
When I was in 12th standard, as part of a science project,I designed a smokeless chimney to control air pollution. The aim was to help the textile industries change the way waste is recycled. This project was adjudged second-best in India and was presented at National Children’s Science Congress (an international science fest) as a testimony to awareness of environmental pollution. I consider it as an achievement in my life because I received this acclaim at the very dawn of my adulthood. I had just started playing around with technology for the betterment of life in general.

INSIDE INFORMATION

If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
The power to reduce and annihilate suffering.

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration? 
Steve Jobs,because he transformed the way technology is perceived today.In my opinion, he designed products that symbolize the true amalgamation of technology and creativity.

What comes to your mind first when you see/hear the following words?
·         Bar – A place to get sozzled
·         Bench– A place in the IT world where I would not want to be in, for a long time
·         Apple– iPhone
·         Technology–Crazy
·         Java–Coffee beans translated into technology

How do you define great craftsmanship? 
It is debatable as to whether craft lies within machines, with individuals or is a combination of both. Can Mercedes Benz be considered a great car even after being created by computer controlled robots? Such questions always cross our minds because we tend to start drawing a line between machines and humans and in doing so lose the essence of appreciating a great craft.

Crafting is a skill and great craftsmanship symbolizes the effort put in by a skilled individual to develop something of real quality that is accepted globally.

Brooks, one of the oldest English firms, who manufacture bicycle parts in Birmingham, is a classic example of great craftsmanship. Please see the video that shows how bicycle parts are created there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=z9w-y24Waz4

It demonstrates a combination of sophisticated machines and skilled craftsmen producing high quality saddles. If we take the machines used by Brooks out of the equation, human skill alone may not be enough to produce bicycle parts with that quality. Similarly, if we take the craftsmen out of the equation, the quality of the saddles will drop again.

In summary, I feel a great craftsman is one who lays the foundation of quality products or services through creative thinking and passion.
  
What are the first warning signs of bad craft, i.e. code, design, or engineering? 
Deviation from the basics can complicate any project. A good developer is not one who just delivers the assigned tasks on time, but also gets the basics right. Aspects like exception handling, code re-usability, using the right semantics of code at the right place, etc., if addressed as a regular coding practice, can mitigate 80% of the associated risks.

An interesting article on how missing the basics of design can lead to faulty websites can be found at http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com.

Are there any experiences outside of programming that you feel have made you a better programmer? 
Keeping an eye on what people discuss and share in online forums, like CodeRanch, has definitely changed my perspective towards approaching a problem statement. It has helped me evolve from a good programmer to a better programmer.

IN THE WORKS

What technology trend(s) are you watching out for right now?
I am currently exploring social analytics tools like Social Mention and Tweet Deck to understand their role in gathering useful statistics on trending buzzwords in social media.These tools can be integrated with e-commerce sites to present useful content and products to end-customers.

Cloud computing is another area that I am keeping an eye on. 2013 will be a key year to see how the buzzword around ‘Enterprise Cloud’ fares in the market, especially with the ongoing hot debate between cloud versus virtualization.

Tell us about a project that went wrong. What could you have done differently to make it a success? 
Every project in IT industry has its own bell curve symbolizing ups and downs. I wonder how I have started accepting that as a fact now.
In one project we had to build a complex system that had around 15 to 20 integration points, complex business requirements involving SCM, portal technology, complicated pricing, and a governance engine.It had to be delivered in about nine months. The project was delivered before the deadline,but not readily accepted by the prime stakeholders. The reason was not bad design or multitudinous functional issues, but the lack of involvement of country-specific stakeholders during the requirements phase. During that phase, the country managers’involvement was very minimal and as a result, when the system was delivered, it had some missing pieces that could have a negative impact in certain countries.This incident taught us that unless technology marries business, we can’t have a perfect solution.My personal mantra is – “Success is not doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things extraordinarily well”.

What’s one problem in everyday life that you’d love to solve using technology? 
I would like to see technology being used for studying the human genome to diagnose a disease and simplify clinical practices. If we know the reasons behind the activation of diseases, the development of new drugs and therapeutic procedures will become easier.

Imagine wearing a wrist band with a small screen displaying a disease syndrome.

What do you think is the most important skill for a programmer to have? 
It is essential for a programmer to possess strong analytical skills. I believe that developing software is like playing chess where one needs to predict the moves. A developer needs to have the big picture in mind while coding.

It is also important for a developer to know about other areas like productionizationand working on the Web – be it infrastructure elements, networks, web servers, databases, communication protocols, integration points, etc.Being able to see the ‘Big Picture’can guarantee a resilient craft.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lunch with GOD ...

GOD - What's that and whose that ? A myth, a belief, a picture, a super natural power or someone to fall back on when in problem ? Lots of questions baffle our 1300 grams of brain and yet we don't tend to follow a particular answer. Every one has their viewpoint which may or may not be justified by facts. However, in trying to get an answer we tend to forget that GOD is not someone to hunt for, GOD is something that is around us in various forms. 

I remember crossing a crowded road once when an old lady standing there for good 15 minutes trying to cross just ended up being a spectator. All her innocent eyes was looking for was that someone who can help her reach her destination which was shear the other corner but no one attempted. That's where I helped her cross the road and feeling of satisfaction I had with her blessing on top of it was something I am still penning it down and can't forget. GOD is your deeds and your action that gives you a kick to live your life.

I will take you to an interesting story which may open up your choked brains to attempt to live life differently. So here you go...

A little boy wanted to meet God. He packed his suitcase with two sets of his dress and some packets of Cakes and he stared his journey. He walked a long and felt tired. So he sat in a park on the way and opened a packet to take a cake to eat. Then he noticed an old woman sitting sad with hunger nearby, so he offered her a piece of cake.She gratefully accepted it with a wide look and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy longed to see it again.

After some time he offered her another piece of cake. Again, she accepted it and smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. While it grew dark, the boy was frightened and he up got to leave but before he had gone more than a few steps, he ran back and gave her a hug and she kissed him with her prettiest smile.
When the boy opened the door, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you look so happy? ”He replied,” I had lunch with God.”
Before, his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen in my life!”
Meanwhile,the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and asked, “Mom, what did you do today that made you so happy?
“She replied, “I ate cakes in the park with God.” Before his son responded, she added,”You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile,a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Remember, nobody knows how God will look like. People come into our lives for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime. Accept all of them equally! AND LET THEM SEE GOD IN YOU!!!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Transformation - Phenomenon of Metamorphosis

A month back, I mentioned myself as a so called "blogger" to someone and it brought smiles all around especially looking at my contribution to blogdom in last 4 years, So I have decided to pen it down again with a swift smile on my face.

Transformation
Transformation - Yes that's the theme and the picture says it all !!


"After you've done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully.  After five years, look at it with suspicion.  And after ten years, throw it away and start all over" - Transformist way of looking at things and with that let's jog along.

9 years of spending time at the same place, witnessing same faces with probably slight tanning over the period of time, doing virtually the same things with probably a bit of smartness, I have been part of the "look-alike" league for coon's age . Delhi, the city where I landed with aspirations to go great in life and start my career with a small sized firm, transforming from a college kid to a matured individual is now a PAST. Carrying a suitcase of emotions, witnessing relations transforming from nothing to something, from travelling in rickshaws to owning a car, from a rented flat of Rs 6000 to 23000, from acquaintances to friends, the journey has been enthralling and exciting.

From north to a "NOW" south, Bangalore is the next juncture, a halt that I seriously don't know for how long will it be. At times I wonder why people want to explore the globe when India has so much to offer in terms of variety of changes. And then I explain it to my deadly head that  people may want to travel across the globe to learn different culture, experience a different climate, food, etc. . But then India is one country where from north to south and east to west you will witness what we call it as shear transformation with variety. From dialects to behavior to food to color, everything is so very different. So here I am transforming from Centrally born kid, to a western grown adolescent, to experiencing northern adulthood venturing into south :)

I have been seeing everything transforming in such a quick succession that I hold on and suspect myself of being an Incognito ;loosing my own charm.

Before it gets too philosophically emotional, I would like to end with Mr. A.R. Rahman, what a music transformist he has been. So sit back and relax with his latest album "O Jugni O, Patakha guddi O" and I sign it off :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

RAABTA - Attempt to Connect

Ever imagined falling in a trap, tripping with anxiety, pinch of fragrance lingering in the air and you feel as if it's not you, the surroundings are not yours. It happened to me when a phone call struck at 7 A.M. hinting the transformation in and around me.

Some unknown number flashed with an unknown but soothing voice that trickled me with ambiguity, and got me out of the bed in no time. It was start of a new beginning which was establishment of sinewy "Raabta". The story is long and strong that had moments of almost everything that one can think off.Not to be penned here though.

It makes me wonder what it takes to establish a relation. Literally nothing !! A man is supposed to be close to being unconscious when in profound sleep and then simply a voice can turn things on to a mysterious relation.

Welcome to the world of relationships Mr. Agrawal; that's how I introduced it to myself !!

In the ampshere of this world, we hear different notions of relationships and here is my attempt to take you through to the journey of different observations around.

When in school, we tend to meet different students with whom we spend like few hours and become "CHUDDY BUDDY" friends but never evaluate how much have we introspected to term that as friendship. From amateur to experienced whimsical person, we start building interest in exploring the word relation. Try to hit on a girl and express your emotions and you will get a punch saying - "I hardly know you, how can we be friends". Getting the difference between 2 phases of the life ? Human relationships are much subjective.

Go out partying in a disc bombarded with different species, shake the booty and within few hours of gaga moments, you end up being in a relationship or rather a conundrum relationship. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are nurturing relationships on a daily basis leading to an unending process of increasing world's population :)

Contrary to what we have seen where there has been an attempt to connect, you will see cases where unknowingly you strike a bond. You walk on a road and find someone badly bruised, blood flowing down the throat and within few hours the person is in hospital thanking you for all your help and establish a bond thereafter. Some people might debate it to say it's a human act but the fact is that we got ourselves into another relation; cant' escape, can't escape !!

Here is another one - An arrange marriage proposal landing in your mailbox, you try to connect with the person and then the comes the sword of expectation - In Couple of formally unusual conversations you are bound to decide who you want to screw your happiness with for whole of the life :)

Crazy !! Isn't it ??

Being in a relationship is an added responsibility and obligation as the success of any relationship is the collective result of the attitudes, behavioral patterns and personal preferences of two or more people included in the relationship. Arghh !! It's complicated and I read it somewhere !!

We just try to overly complicate a simplistic phenomenon. Think of your first love in childhood - Poppins ?? Ride on a bicycle ?? Parle-G dipped in tea ?? Playing Hide n Seek or marbles (kanche) ??

Your first love should make you realize what a relationship is all about; at least it does to me. A craziness driven passion to get hang of someone around forever and ever is "RAABTA", so better not complicate it !! 

RAABTA - "A bridge for people connecting with each other", The picture (Hold Me Forever) speaks it all. Stop watching social media and get on with it :)

Until my head overwhelms with more such observations, time to say good bye :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

$ I hAtE LuV sToRiEs - Do I Really ?? $


I have just turned 28 in this month and things have still be the same for me. The only thing that has changed from past to the present is that I have learned to manage more idiots with time.
What surprises to many is that in spite of sharing table with loads of people around, I am yet single who is fascinated to adore love stories and at times get into the bottom of them to understand the intensity and hidden mystery.

What made me write this article ?
 Shear Observation prompted me to put an ink on the paper and try and explore the real meaning of - "I hate Luv Stories".
A few days back, I was sitting in CCD all alone at around 11 P.M. and saw a happy couple sitting next to my couch. I didn't want to overhear the conversation but "Jaanu" is one word that always catch my attention. I can't imagine my Wife expressing her "Jaanu" love this publicly :)
The couple looked like a perfect match for each other from 2000 feet view.  I got busy in blogging and God knows within 30 minutes of the game, it seemed another relation was on the verge of traditionally and sophisticatedly termed"break-off". I heard the girl saying "I Hate you" and banged her foot and left CCD. The guy kept trying his luck but I think he was a touch late to understand that his meter is down.

30 minutes - 60 expressions and one final ending with - I hate you. Was that the transformation from Love to Hatred - a 30 minute affair ?

I hate luv stories - The very first thought which comes to my mind is every one wants a fairy tale till the time they rain check the reality that its not the fairy tale but the series of episodes they have been handed over in life ; Some sweet some bitter, some make you fly and some make you cry but nevertheless to fall in love, I'd say who doesn't give it a try.

For those who say I hate luv stories that fact that they are considering luv as a belief as a symbol in their mind no matter on what side ,the thought has already rooted somewhere in the cauntious. All it takes is one moment one instance, that one strange second when they happen to feel it even for a short span but they live through that moment ..breathe that moment of belonging to some one else with out expectations, without selfish reasons in the purest of forms that ever existed on earth.

Hate and Luv in one sentence ; one will not survive without the other. Hate would lose its essence if love doesn't exist.

Stories - Every one has a story, a love story. I, you, someone else, infact everyone. Some make it happen some let it go and some live it through with out even realizing that they have a story; for I know people who have loved with all their heart and soul but never told their love to whom it was to be told. Some luv stories are shared by two while some are lived alone but they are still luv stories, Some even die living them, Some dream of having one and some claim to lived once.

Look around, look deep into the eyes of people and you will  find their luv story in their eyes in their smile, in their gestures and at times in their hatred.

Your End - I am so much in love with love itself that all my life I have been scared in falling for it.

My End - I just know How to Love. Tried hating it but I could not hate it. Before I conclude, I would say practice love with no expectations so that there is no room for hatred around. By the end of this write up, I have realized - Hatred should not be sitting next to love and hence I have kicked it off. With that I will sign off  !!

Morale of the Story - Luv stories should not be hated.  Love Stories should be lived forever till the last breath. For people who keep finding flaws in individuals and yet claim to love each other don't know the real meaning of this pure thing. I have been tilted towards love but that someone made me realize that emotions don't have space in love and over possessiveness is just a blanket which should not be worn, questions become conclusions and may be I think it's not meant for me.

Poll - What do you think guys ?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Come on - Let's Venture into Life

What is Life?

I am neither a writer nor a poet, so I won't be describing things as beautifully as you expected.
Life is ubiquitous and fundamental concept and hence there is no unequivocal definition. After all variations are the ingredients of life. See even in my explanation I have already started defining life. Hold on to yourself; soon you will see the dispute of the words to find the "REAL" meaning of life. It is just an attempt to play around with the words.

It has taken me sometime to understand LIFE. Many of us think that it is highly complex affair but still we would like to live those affairs. Many of us feel that it is really tough because of the variations it has to offer us. Not everyone appreciates variations and would like to follow a very much structured approach.
Life to me is very simple affair. It is like wet sand which takes the shape as you give it. I have experienced variations in my professional and personal life but yes there have been many a odd times when the level of anxiety and frustration has crossed the borders but still i am going strong.

Life is when two people who were indeed close after sometime that they don't understand each other.
Life is when two people knowingly that they are different, try to unfold the things to take it to next level but then life is when these two individuals realize that they are not meant for each other.
Life is when you want to walk in the rain to hide your tears.

Life is when you have money but you strive for that extra mile to get the real happiness.

Life is when you just feel you are a lone soldier in the battle field and you would like to be in a group but you just see the opponents cruising their way towards you.

Someone said - "Life is Beautiful". If life is beautiful why that is we fail to entail it?? ? If life is beautiful why can't we see the beauty of it? If life is beautiful why that is we still try to bolster ourselves hard to know its meaning.

Someone said - "Life is Challenge". If life is challenge why everyone fails to accept the challenge? Why can't we simply accept the challenge and simply move on.
I did an interesting exercise just now. I logged in to chat rooms after ages to see how the crazy freaks define life. I was expecting weird replies but just tried to reconcile the same. Have a flavor of it as follows:

Frustrated Dude -" Nobody dies virgin, life fucks everybody" Now that’s some definition - Kinky :)

Some Riya Saxena - “Life is all about expecting the unexpected"

Koki - " Mind can give anybody a good livelihood but its heart that will lead you to a good life"
So that was a TEENSY attempt to capture views of different people but not much luck. I'd like to conclude this topic here before it really strikes your mind to start looking positive side of the things. I would like to conclude the discussion by MY OWN view of life.

Sauby - " Life is when you realize its all about YOU, ME aur HUM - It's all about enjoying the bond i.e. Relations"

"Life is when you realize your existence has a meaning and hence instead of wasting time around surrounding pressures, we understand to live it. Simply live it to the chore"
 "Life is when you can stop defining it and start living it"

Friday, December 21, 2007

`` GuRu oF tHoUgHtS ``

22 December 2007 : Summers have passed, Monsoons have hardly drizzled away and Winters are almost about to be blown away. Well when time has indeed shown variations slash changes , how is it possible that things haven't changed at my end. With ever changing world, one thing which has not changed is my thought process, my emotions and me as a person. That is why I am back to the blogdom business. Indeed its been ages to pour words on this whiteboard and as usual lack of time would be an excuse but lets know forget managing time is upto an individual.

I do think a lot but when it comes to actually implementing those thoughts many a times I am lost and that's what exactly happened this time. From march '07 to Dec '07, I have kept myself busy with my work but somehow there isn't satisfaction with whatever I am doing; not just professionally but personally as well. If someone will ever come to know about achievements in this year, the numbers will be much high; still why the satisfaction is missing ?? Am i over ambitious ?? Am I am a person who doesn't know how to celebreate success ?? Still searching for the answer..

As a person someone should not be carried away by emotions and with me though I can be seen as a tough nut, I am still a ' Mixed Split Personality'. I think a lot and thats what actually starts digging holes for confusions and you find youself in a complex web of thoughts where you as a moron want to just apply your brains everywhere. Why can't I be just normal ?? Relax dude, you are again analysing things, So you lack basics. New year Resolution - " DoN't ThInK beyond persmissible limits :) " , Look I know how to motivate myself :)

Lets talk about things which have happened off late. Well had a third trip to London for my professional assignment, got an appreication in the form of an award for outstanding performance in 2007. What else ? I am in process of loosing good people around :) Rest everything is fine; Slogging work hours, No beer still , No Gals still;

I will be back shortly to throw light on few more facts of complex brain.. Until then please stop reading this shit of blog, it has got no purpose, no thoughts put into it, just wanted to see if my words have not faded over in last 9 months. The best if yet to come .. Over n Out !!