The Visiting Student

I wrote this article for NIT Surat’s (my alma mater)  college mag, Renesa. You can download the mag here http://issuu.com/svnit_renesa/docs/renesa_may2010_2011

I can still vividly remember the first time I stepped inside my first year hostel room with luggage in hand, hope in eyes, fear of ragging in mind and stench of urine from the nearby washroom. The room (BF-3, Gajjar Bhavan)was nothing like anyplace I had ever lived in; a decrepit, disheveled, disintegrating excuse for a room that was smaller than my bedroom back home and was somehow supposed to fit 3 living human beings. To say that I was disappointed would be a massive understatement, I was devastated. It is in these times that you really start appreciating your mom and begin to sympathize, even long for, her obsession with cleanliness that always irked you.

First year is probably the most important year in your undergrad life, both academically and personally. You learn to adjust with complete strangers, get used to invasion of your personal space and learn to put up with quirky habits of not just your room mates but also their friends. Some of my very good friends are those my roomies introduced me to. I got introduced to southies (or as I called them Idli, Dosa and Uttapam) through one room mate and Jats and Punjabis by the other. One of these, who should rightly be compared to an Uttapam because of his size went on to become a KVPY scholar and has 2 patents to his name (considering the nature of his patents I am sure the abysmal toilets and latrines in the hostel inspired him to a large extent and the hostel office rightly deserves 40% of royalties from those patents).

 The fear of ragging was obviously there but it turned out to be largely hype and very little substance and seniors soon became friends. I was also introduced to ‘Ginglish’, the Gujju accented version of English, in due course by the faculty and staff – it sure did take some time to figure how a beam could rest on a ‘hole’ (also pronounced as ‘wall’ in Queen’s English) and a boiler could have a ‘cape-city’ of 20 MW, but things soon fell in their own sweet place.

 Seniors played a significant role in shaping me up and I was lucky to meet some awesome seniors through my association with ACM and Drishti. Exams had become unimportant to me in the very first month and I found myself at a ACM Linux workshop the night before the first internal. ACM was like a baby and we nurtured it, we made mistakes, had some triumphs but things worked out eventually. We also started ACM Quest with the intention of having a totally computing oriented event having a ‘no frills, no garbage, minimally sponsored tech-focused event where money is to be spent only on prizes’ policy. I also spent some great time at Drishti labs but never really managed to learn much about electronics (I still remember having shorted the entire 8051 board while soldering in first year and then painstakingly unsoldering it).In retrospect, I really should have learnt more electronics.

Oh yes, the acads bit; well I took the suggestion of two awesome ACM seniors (one of them, a 9 pointer here and a MS from Texas A&M who has written patches for NMap and now works for McAfee; and the other, now a MS student on full scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University Language Technologies Institute, who never gave a damn about pointers) a little too literally and really hoped that you could “easily get a 8 pointer by studying one night before the exam” and ended at the bottom of the academic pecking order – a 6 point someone. Classes were something I scarcely attended and once a teacher remarked “What happened Sandip? How did you enter a class so early in the morning?” when I swayed into her 8:30 class 20 minutes late (I also once entered a class minutes before it was about to end so that I could give my attendance and once I entered the wrong elective class insisting vehemently that this was ‘the right class’ ). You could almost say that I was a visiting student and went to class only when I wanted to meet up friends.

 I got involved with Renesa in 3rd year as I wanted to have some side activity beside tech and Renesa was the perfect opportunity. Working there taught me to put words together to form a decent sentence and it was one of the liveliest and most stimulating interaction there could possibly be. I really miss the team and the people.

Among my batch mates and friends I can count a guy who has made it to a CompSci program at University of Michigan, another who scored AIR-4 in GATE and is now at IISC, another who scored AIR 11 this year while another friend who came 5th worldwide in the Top Coder Studio Collegiate design contest in 2007, chucked a regular engineering job to join a online music magazine as a staff writer. Then there was this CAT phodu who’s doing an internship with Coca Cola and another who is doing her Masters in Germany. There is also this guy who is doing an M.Tech in Rural Technologies at IIT-B and intends to join the Civil Services one day. Have I missed anyone? Hell yes. My batch mates were awesome and it would take an entire article to list down their achievements.

College life is all about making the best of four years, learning new things and building up yourself to face the challenges once you are out of those four walls. Getting an admission at NIT Surat, does not mean you have arrived and are ‘set’ for life; far from it. It only means you have it in you what it takes to become a good engineer and it’s up to you whether you are willing to put the necessary effort to become one. For those in 1st and 2nd year who have already decided that they want to do an MBA, I strongly urge them to give engineering a chance. Engineering is awesome and I you will miss it once you are out of that place.

So here’s wishing my best on behalf of the entire class of 2010. Be awesome. Take risks, be foolish, dare to dream, don’t opt for the ‘safe’ option. No risk, no return. That’s the fact of life. You are young and have very little to worry and the backing of a undergrad degree from a prestigious institution. If you don’t take risks now, you sure can’t take it after you are 30 and have a family to support.

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The BIG ACM post

This was a long time due. While I blabber about a lot of things on this blog, I have rarely written anything about ACM or Association for Computing Machinery. During my undergrad at NIT-Surat, it was by far the most important thing in my life, more important than academics or attending classes.

I was inducted into ACM by Sunayana on the very first Linux workshop in my first year. I was sitting behind her, on the second bench, and was making comments about the lack of knowledge of the presenter (yes, I was always into Linux), and I even answered one of the question that was posed to him and he was unable to answer. She was impressed (I am awesome, what up?) and asked me to join and I join I did. Well, Anusha Jayanti(her batch mate, my senior and ACM Vice Chair 2007-08) was with her and I thought she was kinda pretty and you don’t argue or think twice when asked by a pretty girl to join some club she is in. Actually, I had read about ACM on the institute website and was a little curious, and since this was all about computers, joining it was the most obvious thing to do. Oh did I mention, I had internals on the very next day of this workshop and I still decided to attend it. Yes, my apathy towards exams had begun.

One of the first things I was asked to do was to get people to join the ACM Chapter as student members. I, Punit and Sanchit (my classmates) took up this job very enthusiastically; we visited room to room and got people to join (and mind you joining wasn’t free) and at the end of the week we had 130+ members from first year itself, without any poster being put up or any seniors coming to give a brief talk on ACM. The three of us managed it entirely by word to mouth and door to door publicity. That year, and that was the first year of the chapter, we became the largest ACM chapter in the world and were given the Outstanding Chapter Recruitment Award by ACM.

It was in my second year I got some more responsibilities. Sunayana had become the Chair and we worked well together; and along with Punit, as well as Sanchit and Harit, we did some really good events. My first event was a Linux workshop. We had prepared well, made a decent presentation but I was not at all comfortable with public speaking and seeing a crowd of more than 100 that had miraculously arrived for the talk, I was unnerved and literally trembling. But when it began, I cooled down and everything turned out well. I used to have this tactic of just concentrating on one or two member of the audience who seemed interested in my talk and that’s what I did. Almost the entire time, I looked at just one member of the audience who appeared to be deeply interested in the presentation and I was able to deliver a decent talk; all thanks to that member in the audience, you saved the day. Of course such a tactic results in lack of eye contact with the rest of the audience but at least the audience does not see you shivering or stuttering. I have improved a lot since then, and don’t need any such tactic anymore.

It’s the people who make an organization and ACM always got the best in the institute as far as computer science was concerned. Ankur Nandwani (guy with hair like Jonny Bravo, a flirt (a legacy I inherited from him), talks in a strange accent swaying his head from side to side) was the founding Chairperson, he was way too studious and was in the good books of all the faculty. He always liked playing by the rules and his most common statement used to be “I have to talk to Jinwala Sir about this”; only later did I realize that this statement had to be the daily chant of any ACM Chairperson. Ankur’s style of leading the organization was a little laid back and he was good at delegating responsibilities (usually to Rajdeep,Sunayana, Anusha, Punit and me). He was instrumental in doing all the ground work in starting the chapter and get it up and running. Sunayana was the opposite of Ankur. Like me, she didn’t give a damn about exams and hated the system much more than I did. She has great ideas and had a finger on various things happening in the world of computer science. It was her idea to start a Linux Users Group and a Web Design Club; which we implemented and I headed. She always motivated everyone to go for research and enjoyed discussing about various happenings in the field. However, as with most research oriented people (and nerds), she was bad(sorry Sunayana) at execution. Her tolerance for tantrums thrown by the faculty and bureaucratic red tape was nearly zero and her most common statements began with “I just hate…..”. We spent long hours discussing computing, our vision for the chapter and stuff that she hated (usually some faculty or the other). While she came up with ideas, it was mostly Punit and me who implemented them. And that was a good thing, because we learnt to manage before getting to lead. When our time came to lead, we too came up with some good ideas and quite a few not so good ideas; but as far as ideas and vision are concerned Sunayana was probably the best.

Leading a voluntary organization has its own challenges. No one is legally or contractually bound to work for you, you have motivate them, threaten and beg if needed, to make them work. Most importantly, you have to yourself set very high standards of work ethics so that when you ask others to perform, fingers shouldn’t be raised at your own performance. Also ego management is a very tricky affair, you are managing a team of equals and that must always be at the back of your mind; you never know when something just manages to hurt someone’s ego.

No discussion about my time at ACM can be complete without Quest. We decided to do something big and like every other club in the institute, we too wanted our very own fest. So in came Quest, a two day computing event. There were a lot of things going against us; this was the first time a computing event of this scale was happening in this part of the country and there were very few students interested or even good at programming; and even among those few, most were ACM members and helping organize the event. Plus, we got delayed in starting off because of some administrative red tape which was beyond our control. There were two other fests (Autofest and Entrumeet) by two different clubs in the institute about to happen around that time in the college; so there was huge struggle for sponsorships as well as good people to work in the team. We had openly told people that they should expect to get any sort of monetary incentive to work for us and that kept away a lot of people from working for us, some of whom were really good at organizing. We wanted to be a taint free event. The fight for sponsorships and participants from other colleges ensured that that the people in the other two events undercut us and even spread false information about Quest in other colleges. On the days of the event, regional politics by these two clubs caused many students to abstain from our event. The ACM chapter was always against any form of regionalism and we did not employ a tit for tat strategy.

However, the biggest problem with Quest was probably my lack of trust in the commitment of my team, which proved to be a very misplaced notion. I was bad at delegating and impatient for results, as a result of which I ended up doing almost everything and micro managing even the smallest of tasks. When I trusted a person, I gave them complete freedom but if I didn’t I had the habit of interfering in their work. Most of the time the person in question was trustworthy and it was only my fears that prevented me from trusting. And I paid for this heavily during Quest. Of course I ended up trusting and delegating more and more towards the end of the preparations but it was too late then. Nevertheless, my team member surprised me with their ideas and commitment for the event. Akshay and Bimal did an admirable job with managing the events, something I had planned to micro-manage. Biswaranjan did a great job on the Infra end and got his hands dirty with the arrangements. Harit organized the best ever press line up and the smooth press conference impressed the administration. Punit was much much more than just the Sponsorship head. In retrospect, having two conveners, the other being Punit, would have been a better idea. May be I should have been the events head instead of being the Convener. The juniors too did a great job and worked hard in every way to make the event a success. Kudos to them.

I thought Quest would slowly die out as we won’t be able to find interested people. I have been proved wrong this year with more than 400 participants and a very very successful run of Quest. Undoubtedly, the current team has pulled off the impossible.
I think my contribution to ACM was in giving it a proper shape and structure. Ankur was the initiator and Sunayana was a dreamer who had great ideas. I was more into managing and getting things done, building a proper structure, laying down rules, guidelines, dos and don’t and giving the chapter an overall character. We presented the image of a free and fair club, where people are chosen entirely based on merit and not based on regional dynamics. By taking a stand on not fudging our financial statements for personal financial motives, even when that meant that we did not always get the best people to work for us in Quest, we set a precedent for all other events; some followed it and some didn’t. At ACM people did not command respect they earned it; and that was true even if you are a senior. We empowered juniors and they could do their own events or freely argue with us. We made ACM the place to be if you are interested in computing.

 

Besides Quest being a success, 6 teams from the chapter will be participating in the onsite round of ICPC which is a great achievement for us. Kevin Patel needs to be thanked here as he is the one who guided these teams. The current chairperson Deepak (who like me wants to do an MBA) and the vice chair Shrey deserve a round of applause. They have taken the chapter to greater heights and I hope we will continue doing well. We succeed because we choose the best people and give them complete freedom to do their thing. Last year’s interviews were one of toughest and we asked people to write algorithms and solve conceptual questions on the spot when they were probably expecting some globe HR questions like “Why do you want to join ACM?” Some of those questions were taken from Microsoft, Google and Directi interviews. We also set the benchmark high for every generation of members and the final outcome of such a system is that we get better people every year.

Whoaa. That was long. But have I covered everything? Well no, not at all. There is just so much to write and I will keep that for some other time. A lot of what I am, professionally and personally, is because of my long association with ACM. I got to do cool stuff, met and worked with some really cool people and made some great friends.

My Letter of Resignation From Renesa

Respected Sir,

I have been a Senior Editor of Renesa for more than a year now. During this time I have seen it scale greater heights and undergo tremendous change in terms of content and design. Over the past few months, our readership had exploded and people had actually begun to sit up and take notice. Our untiring efforts had finally bore fruits.

However, the decision of the administration to reconstitute and expand the editorial board of Renesa and to review the scope of the content, has come as a rude shock to me. I am unable to see the need of any changes, whatsoever, in the editorial board. Like most other well functioning organizations in the institute, viz Drishti, ACM etc, Renesa too follows a free and fair procedure of selection where the seniors select their juniors based on their actual skills rather than CGPA. The ever increasing quality of the magazine bears testimony to that.

I personally see this as an infringement on our freedom and creativity. As an human being and more so as an engineer, it is of utmost importance that we learn to think for ourselves, question established norms and express our creativity without any fear of repercussions. I am not sure this will be possible once the proposed changes to the editorial board are made and the scope of Renesa is reviewed.Since I do not see eye to eye with the new directive and cannot work under an atmosphere that might stifle creativity and expression, I hereby offer my resignation from the editorial board of Renesa. My best wishes to the new team that takes over. I hope they succeed.

I am honoured to be part of an enthusiastic and dedicated team and I leave behind a part of me in Renesa. I am thankful to the faculty advisors for guiding us and standing by us in times of need.

Please consider this email as my official resignation from Renesa.

Yours sincerely,
Sandip Dev
Senior Editor and Website Head,
Renesa

The end of the beginning

What happens when a group of motivated students decide to turn around a flagging college magazine by completely revamping the magazine? Well they succeed, they bring in guest writers like Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Richard Stallman, Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Rashmi Bansal. Readers take notice, they wait eagerly for the next issue to come. In a institute where elections are already banned, this magazine starts creating opinion with a view to bridge the gap between the students and the faculty. This means two things, explain the actions taken by the faculty or administration to the students and ensure that the greviences of the students reach the concerned authorities. And sometimes, this means criticizing some incidents , particulary the complete lack of response or timely action when a fire broke out in a hostel. These students reported what they saw – college authorities clueless as to how to put out the fire, where the fire extinguisher is and most importantly the fact that there was no water in the hostel at that time, a rather frequent phenomenon at our hostels. These foolish students thought that this would make the faculty wake up to the incident, learn from their mistake and ensure that fire-preparedness is maintained in future, lest we have charred bodies to unravel next time such a thing occurs. And what fools they were. And to add to their foolishness, they also added another article on the various disciplinary committees that are formed and the fines that are imposed for such crimes as forgetting to switch of the lights or using the word “Sexy” inside hostel premises, fines anywhere between Rs. 50 to 300, whatever comes up in the lottery that minute.

The authorities did not take this kindly. After all, students were not supposed to speak out, not when this could be read by outsiders, and certainly not when this magazine was largely funded by the college. What ensued was a disciplinary committee(Disco) with the unsaid agenda, “Show’em whos the Boss”. The editors were called one by one into the closed room, questions fired from all directions, students were reprimanded for their conduct including (but not limited to) their lack of mastery over the Hindi language. Each student is grilled for 30 to 45 mins and the,predetermined, verdict announced. The offending articles shall be removed, the original magazine too will be removed from the website and a new one put up along with a written apology stating that the facts we presented were wrong and ill conceived. The students grudgingly do it. May be we were really wrong with some of the facts. May be we shouldn’t have pointed out flaws like that. They are after all our teachers. We accepted all their conditions, of course the decision was made easier by the fact that we had no other option after all.

And we hoped, things were back to normal. We don’t critisize them and they let us do our thing. A perfect arrangement. But it seems the establishment had other things brewing. Already curbs were put in place to screen every word going into print, the final draft of all articles had to be passed by a chain of 6 faculty members and after getting signatures by all of them, could we go to print. And we accepted it. But on the 4th of Feb, we received a rude shock, the magazine committee was to reconstructed  (read dissolved) and expanded. A committee was formed for this purpose and its job was, as the official memo says

1. To review the scope / contents of the news letter
2. To invite nominations as editors from the students and carry out
selections
3. To suggest a system of information collection / retreival, screening,
editting, documenting, printing, circulation and feed back
4. To review  / suggest financial support for the news latter.

(Pls notice the  word “news latter” 😉 )

We had no idea this was coming. There is already a team in place that brings out Renesa, the college magazine, every month and are doing a great job of it. So why form a new team right in the middle of the academic year? The whole team had a meeting at night and we decided we were not going to take it lying down and we will all resign before they could dismantle us. Also we would not be part of any new committee that is formed. We would rather love to watch the new committee come and fail, fail miserably. A meeting with faculty advisers, the next day, confirmed our worst fears. Yes, the team would be reconstructed, with more bureaucracy added in the form of a General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative, besides a few more members of the faculty as ex-officio members. Apparently, all this new additions were supposed to give the magazine the supposed required legitimacy and official recognition. Keep in mind that the magazine has always been official, there have been two faculty advisers overseeing our work and we receive funding from the college, it is a mouth piece of the students of SVNIT. Also we were invited to send in our resumes for the post of editors in this new team.

Our grounds of discontent are many and obvious. For one, why is the administration bent on putting in place its own selected team? For those who are not aware, our university banned elections 3 years ago and since then the General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative have been selected by the administration based on their CGPA alone. And we have seen how well these elected representatives have managed the affairs of the students. Most of these elected representatives had never worked in a single committee or event of the college, you can’t really do that when you have a 9.9999 CGPA to maintain. And once again it has been mostly us, some low CGPA idiots, who have stepped forward at the time of crisis and work behind the scenes, round the clock, to make thing happen while our appointed representatives were running clueless.

We did not want these people to tell us what to write, most of them had never sent in a single article for the magazine. We have our screening process in place to select articles and it has served us well. Also first they would disband us, and then ask us to sit for interviews to form a new team. Damn unacceptable. Our selection process has always been transparent, the seniors selected the juniors based on their writing skills. We were asked to write an article and bring it to the panel which then made the selection. And no, none of our faculty have the time to go through that many articles to select the best, after all wasn’t the selection for General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative over in less than a hour.

Renesa has always stood for freedom of speech, we are the fourth pillar of democracy in this institution. But apparently, democracy here is passe, its a dictatorship baby. And we protest. We have asked our members to think for themselves (after all that’s what freedom is all about) and then decide if they want to be a part of the new Renesa or resign. As of now many have sent in their resignations and I shall send in mine shortly.

We refuse to sit mum when wrong happens. We value our freedom and will protect it all costs. Ironically, the theme of our last issue was Freedom and it featured Richard Matthew Stallman as a guest writer.

Finally, I have nothing against the elected GS,CS or LR. The hold they post they do because of their CGPA and many of them would be happy to vacate it for a more interested candidate. They are at no fault, they are my friends. They are part of the system. But they are awesome people, and helluve smart too.

Our February issue was going to be on love. Here is the cover for that

If you want any of our previous issues, just let me know. Some students have decided to make a peaceful protest on Monday (8th Feb) by wearing black. Lets see what happens. In case you want a unofficial PDF based Febraury issue  of Renesa to come out, drop an sms at +919825730603.  That will be our parting shot.

Until we meet again,
Senior Editor, Tech Chaser and Website Guy, Renesa



Will this give me a JOB?

Before getting any further, let me clarify that I am not really an expert at getting jobs. With my 6.14 CGPA, I haven’t been eligible for the campus placement process at any of the companies I fancied and I wasn’t interested in any of the companies where I was eligible. So basically, my experience of the whole interview and selection process is zilch. And I very much hate wearing formals to an interview, I mean I will code just as awesomely whether I wear jeans, formals or bermudas. Nevertheless, I have solved the technical questions in the mock test papers for many of my friends who were eligible and I also answered last minute phone queries on various technical stuff (oye difference between C++ and Java? Polymorphism ka definition bata? etc) right before my friends were about to face the interviewing panel (And I can proudly say that most of them are now happily placed).

Now lets back to the topic. As you are aware, Sun Tech Days 2010- Hyderabad is on March 24th and 25h. I had a blast last year at Tech Days and will go again. So I sent text messages, tweets and status updates to see if anyone is interested in going with me. And yes, a few people were interested in coming along. But almost everyone has the same query, “How is it useful? Will Sun give me a job if I go there? Will it look good on my CV?”. I then politely inform them that TechDays (or any developer conference for that matter) is about learning new technologies, meeting up the developers of that technology first hand, expanding your horizon and yes, networking with other developers. But none of these can directly lead to a JOB. Any company, be it Sun, Microsoft, Google or Oracle or any other, does not do these event to recruit, they do these to popularize their products, get developers excited about them so that these developers would go back and use some of these products in their own projects, but never to find potential employees. Yes you could, potentially, meet up the company people, and really impress them with some cool idea and they might refer you; but that’s just as unlikely as me beginning my preparations for any exam more than 14 hours in advance. Very very rare.

And when I say this, it dampens their spirits to no end. The response is somewhat like, “Ummm..Well…Its 1000 bucks plus travel and stay…good event..but I don’t know any of those stuff….I will be lost..still I will think…”

Well I am sorry but I hate this attitude. First realize that no company will ever recruit people from a developer event. If say Sun were to recruit everyone who came to Tech Days Hyderabad, it would directly double their present employee count. So that ain’t happening. Secondly, why is that you expect that almost everything that you do has to directly enable you to get a JOB? If you are good at what you do, you will get a job (provided you haven’t messed up your academics like me and your university has got a competent Placement Division). The goal of your engineering studies should not be to get a job, it should be to learn how to develop software (or electronic circuits,buildings, bridges, cars, chemicals etc but I will stick to my field here) that are awesome and flawless, near perfect. It should be to develop a deep, almost fanatic, interest in your field (or a sub field or sub sub field). It should be about experimenting, making mistakes and screwing up, and yet gearing up for the next adventure.

As Rancho puts it in 3 Idiots, “Chase excellence, success will follow”.

Last year when I attended Tech Days 2009, I had just become a Campus Ambassador for Sun. I was still not much into CA activities and my only contact was my co-ordinator Ajay Kumar. I had heard about Ganesh Hiregoudar, the APAC Manager of the CA program and my boss, but I had never met him. His name drew up visions of some burly, short haired, short tempered, pointed haired boss images in my mind. No one other than Ajay knew I would be at Tech Days and I too had no idea that anything special regarding CA activities would happen at Tech Days. My first day went well and I met one CA, I was wondering if anyone else had arrived. The next day, in the morning, I ventured to the OpenSolaris installation area tucked at a corner of the HICC. Actually I did not go there for OpenSolaris but rather for the Sun SPOT demo by Jay Mahadeokar and Vasusen Patil, I was very excited about it and hadn’t received my kit yet, in fact I did not know that I was supposed to get a kit. Unknown to me, a lot of CAs, Ganesh Hiregoudar and other people associated with the CA program were all there near the OpenSolaris corner. They identified me because of my orange Sun bag. A few confusing moments followed by introductions with a lot of awesome people and I was put to help out people install OpenSolaris and also register for OSUM . And yeah I got to finally meet Ganesh Hiregoudar and all my fears turned out completely false. He was anything but burly, didn’t have short hair and was did not frighten you at all. He was the most polite boss one can ever have, the most awesomest boss. I also met Rajesh Umashankar and Kumar Abhishek. The whole CA gang went out for dinner in the evening, sponsored by Sun.

Before I had gone to Tech Days, I was an unknown CA, just an employee ID, an email address. Once their, I met these people, was able to impress them (though I have to admit it wasn’t intentional). Now they knew me and liked me. After a few weeks, I was offered internship at Sun,I applied and was selected. Not every CA gets to do an internship at IEC but I made it. And it was due to that internship that I was able to work with the Sun HPC Team at Singapore. And now I am doing another project with them. And all of this happened because I went to Tech Days. I did not go to announce my presence to my bosses there, I went there to learn about Sun technologies. I hadn’t even hoped to meet any of my bosses, Ajay too was not coming. But that visit really worked wonders.

So the lesson is, don’t just do things because you are absolutely sure it will give you a JOB, do things because you like to do those. Learn and explore. Opportunities will surely come and you will be at the right place at the right time. Don’t do everything for a “certi”. Most of the certis that you get after working in fests in our college are useless. No employer is really bothered about those. But you might actually end up learning something in the process. There will be no dearth of jobs if you have a passion for your work.

Well, enough free advice for now. Have fun. Hope to see you at Sun Tech Days 2010 at Hyderabad.

Lets set a few things straight

This is my personal blog (Please notice the emphasis on the word ‘personal’). Moreover, the Indian Constitution gives me freedom of speech and expression. These two facts imply that I am free to write whatever I want on this blog. Anything and everything that is mention in this blog is either my personal opinion or a verifiable fact or both. For example, when I say “ZFS is a 128 bit file system”; its a fact. If I say, “Ubuntu is better than Mandriva”; its my personal opinion. And I have every right to form a personal opinion and also to write it on my blog.

If any of the statements made in this blog, hurts the sentiment of any person and/or organization, I am extremely sorry for that. However, I will NOT take it off the blog. Those are my statements and I stand by them. If at any time in future, any of my opinions are proved wrong, categorically and with proper evidence, facts and arguments, I shall publicly admit the same on this blog. In fact, if I don’t, you are free to remind me of the same. I am open to facts and evidences and am ever ready to change my views in the light of verifiable evidence. But unless evidence to the contrary is provided or I stumble upon it, I shall not change my opinion.

However, this is a free world and you are entitled to express your opinion as much as I do. Therefore, if you think that any of what I have written is wrong as per your established views, you can leave those opinions as comments and I will publish them provided they are reasoned arguments and in a civil language, and I shall also answer to them. You can also try convincing me to change my point of view.

Lastly, I am not an expert on any topic other than squandering my parent’s money and wasting time. Therefore, my views expressed on this blog on any subject barring the aforementioned should be read with discretion. I can not and will not guarantee that whatever I say here is correct. However, I always strive to provide a correct and well judged viewpoint to the best of my mental faculties. But, like any human, I could be wrong. And as mentioned earlier, you are free to argue with me on that.

 

If you don’t like what I write, you can do either of the following

  • Stop reading this blog and ask your friends to do the same. But, then, I don’t make money from this blog and therefore I don’t really care. This blog is for my friends to read and they will always come back.
  • Publish another blog debunking me. However, I am not sure if I am that important to deserve such honor. Nevertheless, my best wishes if you want to do that. It will surely be fun to read.
  • Sue me. But nothing’s gonna come out of it. I have a faint understanding of laws relating to blogging online and I can assure you, no clause of the IPC or IT Act will empower you to make a successful case against me.
  • Leave comments telling me I am wrong. Please do that and I shall approve those as long as the language is civil and the arguments reasoned.

What you cannot do

  • Please do not mail me with your grievances. You will not elicit a reply. If you want to communicate, do it as comments on this blog.
  • Make a plea to stop me from writing or discussing about anything/anyone. I honor arguments not pleas.
  • Try to call me and discuss your grievances.
  • Try to get some mutual friend to call me and ask me to restrain myself. Not gonna work. You can however, drop me a comment wanting to talk to me and I might honor your request and if you so desire, I shall not publish that comment. It will be between you and me
  • Spam my phone with SMS or calls. I shall straight way take the matter to the cops

Also understand that, it is not in my nature to slander any person or organization. I respect people and their abilities and consider that everyone is brilliant in their own ways. But as a human being, it is in my nature to form opinions. We do that all the time. However, I have no agenda against anyone. If I write against anyone, it is probably because I feel strongly about it and I want my readers to be aware of it. Again, I repeat, my opinions could be wrong. But I try my best to be right.

So bottom line: THIS IS MY BLOG AND I SHALL WRITE WHAT I WANT AND WHAT I THINK IS RIGHT.

Future Plans

Well this is my 7th sem, and by this May I will be an computer engineer, expected to contribute to the Indian IT industry and make billing/ERP/SAP/CRM software for some of the biggest(and boring) IT companies. Of course, if the Training and Placement section has its way, none of us will be working for anyone whatsoever. This and the fact that I love my coding, and therefore do not want to do stupid IT software, is making me think about a good career choice. See I love my coding, and I think its an art. But what you do in IT firms in not art, its road painting. Therefore I detest. So here are a few career options before me and I have arranged them in the order of appeal and ease of attainability

  1. Spend my dad’s money for the rest of my life: Not bad. And I have shown immense prowess in this skill. And I am improving every month. Pros: Everything, Cons: None
  2. Marry a girl with rich parents/high salary: I don’t mind if she is older to me. I just want to stay at home, watch TV and code. Will contribute hugely to FOSS projects because I dont have to work about money. Pros: No work , Cons: A wife
  3. Do freelance programming: Will decide my own schedule. Will work when I want. Pros: Mentioned already, Cons: Freelancers don’t get to do challenging work
  4. Do a MS: Pros: Yippie, Coding+Academic life(less stressful) Cons: There will still be exams
  5. Do an MBA: Pros: Will get the GOMBA tag (Grossly Overpaid MBA) Cons:Will have to clear the Bschool entrance exam,Will have to study for the degree, Will have to work at work 😦
  6. Ad-hoc faculty at SVNIT: Pros: No work whatsoever Cons: None if I have to remain here for just one year and leave in May 2011, else the Cons are: God, SVNIT all over again, same boring faculty members I suffered for 4 years, stupid students whom I will have to teach
  7. Do a JOB: Pros: Will get paid Cons: Will have to work, Will have a Boss

Hopefully, I will be able to take a decision over the next few months. Any suggestions and sarcasms on the same are welcome.