December 23, 2011

Back to Unix

And finally, I have landed myself back into Unix/Linux domain.

All those stuff I had seen 2.5 years back have to be brushed up now and applied at a professional level.
Everything people speak around here sounds familiar but never quite strikes any place in my head.

That is the state one got to get out asap so that the  machinery gets into motion without any unfortunate events.

The state of lethargy and the bone chilling(relatively) climate of Bengaluru acts as resistant to such brave plans and as usual I get back on my plan to take over the world.. :P

Couldn't resist mentioning the jargon, this being a technical blog:-
Memory :-)

so on and so off..


"A coward dies a thousand times, but a brave man dies only once"

May 01, 2011

Management Instincts Revisited

This is again about instincts in the software engineering industry.

Last time I vouched for trusting your test cases and what-if analysis rather than instincts.

But I missed upon a major point, that is the part that instinct plays in the overall process of software engineering.

You might have highly qualified engineers, architects, designers and so on employed to perform your tasks. They might be very well trained in the technologies and process also. But still there remains a scope for instinctive decision making and analysis.

These instincts are usually expected from the experienced ones. They would be able to instinctively capture missing parts of a system based on their past experiences and some pure gut feeling. But the gut feeling part is eased by the experience, and hence their suggestions and hints are considered as 'expert opinions'. Such people are also conducive to developing gut feelings among junior personnel.

But sometimes inexperienced personnel in charge of similar duties in the absence of the above mentioned qualified experienced personnel, get to experience such gut feelings. But more often it happens so that they are incapable of expressing the feelings into useful input for the team or getting it implemented in the right fashion. The reasons for these are partially individualistic and partially due to the organizational atmosphere.

Some people have the natural skill to reason logically and think deep into what-if cases, and some are good in providing a wide angle overall picture. If deployed in the right roles, such people can boost the productivity by a huge margin. But if they are deployed in completely unrelated roles or shifted around roles, the overall productivity from such individuals will go into the negative scale. This is something every resource manager has to take care of.

Overall, managing people in an organization is a tricky business involving lot of patience, detailed study of people, quite a lot of common sense and a bit of psychological motivation. And it would be good you have the instincts for it too :)

There is more to it than what I can summarize here. So watch out for more..

February 27, 2011

Time is Money

I was browsing through some sites, when I came upon this product called BRING TIM!. TIM stands for Time Is Money.

It seems like a very much required device for most of the organizations which spend a lot of time in meetings. If they can keep in mind how many dollars are spent in the meetings, it can help save a lot of time and hence money.

The problem of repetitive and often unproductive meetings is predominant in corporates, politics, government offices and such similar groups which need lots of brainstorming. If such devices are installed and utilized in those places, it will surely help in increasing their productivity. Afterall, how many really like to sit all day discussing the same things again and again, without much results?

It seems there is also a free online tool which does the same. Visit Meeting Ticker.

February 11, 2011

Instinctive Software Engineering

When I stepped into the profession of software engineering, a good 1.5 years back, I had a feeling that my habit of relying on gut feelings, trial-and-error and happy-go-lucky would help me excel in my job.

But after 1.7 years of working in different environments and with different people in the same organization, I feel that though I was not completely wrong, I was not completely right either.

Instincts and creative sparks help you in some tight spots or spur you to new domains. But more than those, it is the tried and tested principles of Software Engineering which will keep your ass away from the fire for a longer period of time.

Simple processes like always doubting every single piece of word in every document, every line of code and every test case, go a long way in keeping you on the safe side. Having said this, I can't still stop thinking about the amount of time 'wasted' on such processes in cases where you 'know' what has to be done.

But time and again, it has been proved to me that the benefits of such habits are valuable beyond what they are generally believed to be.

So my new mantra which I am trying to tell to myself and my colleagues is: "Trust your instincts, but trust your test cases more".

February 05, 2011

VLC Shuffled Off

I have been using VLC media player for Windows and Linux for over a year now.

Since then I have been plagued with various issues ranging from improper folder expansions, crashes etc.

Now, the lack of randomness in its 'Shuffle' feature has been a pain in the neck for me for the last one week. That became the last nail in its coffin.

There is no doubt that VLC is quite good in playing various file formats and provides a good UI. But randomness in my tracks is a must for me. Hence I decided to replace it with Winamp for playing my audio tracks. VLC still maintains its position as my favourite video player.

Winamp with its global hotkeys and awesome experience had been my favourite media player for Windows during college days. Now it is back to take its original place. I must add that Winamp for Windows 7 is quite intuitive and flexible for me. I am one satisfied music buff now.

On the other hand, I need to explore for VLC alternatives in Linux. I might opt for rhythmbox, which somehow resembles Winamp w.r.t the UI. Or there are tonnes of other players out there, from which I can take a pick.

Question: What would be my choice for Mac. Update: Received a tweet from Moosa to go for Itunes player in all three OSes. Will certainly give it a try.

January 22, 2011

Why Google Image Search is falling short

How do you assign thoughts, and ideas to images?

You all must have heard about a picture being equal to a thousand words.
If so, when Google Image search relies on just the keywords in the site for retrieving images, how accurate can it be? Though I am aware that some experiments are going on in the information retrieval community and search engine giants, for mapping common thoughts and ideas to images, I want a tool coming out of it soon.

The task of finding an image that matches the emotion in your mind, even though accurately mapped to English words, is quite tedious because not many think alike. And, Google uses a pagerank method for ranking, and the image you badly wanted could very well have been out of the index due to hundreds of reasons.

At this point, I am forced to learn graphics designing, explore myself for an artist within, and bring the idea into an image and upload for common use. Though that might sound like an excellent business/utilitarian initiative, the fact is that it is very tedious for a small spark of idea.

Having said all that, I am feeling more in need to pursue my Neural Network Mapping campaign I started in college. That would give me the position of being on top of the problem, rather than the problem being on my head. Here begins my reunion with the Information Retrieval side of Vivek. ( ah those days were so intellectually fulfilling )