Sunday, October 21, 2007

Angrejo jaise

Random Updates

1. V for Vendetta - overrated. Good in parts, but direction lacks ambition.

2. Stephen Colbert and Russel Peters are amazing. Catch them on youtube.

3. Indian fans have it better than English, when it comes to be disappointed by their ridiculously paid sportsmen.

Exhibit A - England v Russia - 1-2
Exhibit B - England v S. Africa - Rugby final - 6-15
Exhibit C - Lewis Hamilton snatches defeat from the jaws of F1 driver championship victory.

Ab to Aadat si...

Mithun was finding the whole IT thing bizarre. You would have thought with his vesuvisial lava of analytical skills waiting to be tapped, he would get the opportunity to go finger-dancing on his laptop - writing C++ code and give Chopin's Raindrops a half-sister in the programming world. He would code with such ferocity that his grey cells would go into infinite loop and heat generated in his brain would melt his head.

Well, but Mithun soon realised that software is nothing like that. The whole hacking thing is really cruched into 5% of the project life-cycle. Rest of the time goes into planning, waiting for resources, waiting for business requirements, talking to business, talking to PMs, talking to HR (who have been findmucked into believing that they pay the employees' salaries), talking to schizophrenic halfs of the above mentioned folks, and last but not the least you talking to yourselves.

On top of it, there were really some IQ challenged people at work. The worst was this guy who would wash his banana - after it was peeled. The guy was unfortunately his lead. The lead was a difficult one - superficially you would have thought he was a great manager. But scratch the surface, and his failings would ooze through like pus from a wound.

Lead has done absolutely no homework about the design and goes into an important workshop. The project sponsors are there. If you screw the workshop, chances are that project may not go ahead.

Lead opens the meeting- "We are planning to build this using SAS and Oracle database with SAS interfacing the legacy systems and the new Consultant Management System. This is the only viable approach ".

Anybody with half a mind - "But SAS is not the best tool for pure ETL projects. Forget that, it's not within our client's strategic roadmap. And we don't have the licenses."

Lead - "That is not what I was told. (shakes his head and looks at Mithun). Looks like I have been misguided".

Mithun is fuming - Even a moron would understand that Lead is farting. And why is hell is he looking at me.

Mithun - "We are not using SAS, we are using Datastage."

Lead (with facial contortion signifying outrage and betrayal) -"WHY WAS I NOT TOLD".

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Good and Bad News

Bad news is that I didn't get promoted (unofficially- results are not out yet). Good news is that I was sooo prepared for it. Not because I knew I didn't deserve it (if I didn't I won't have gone mad with anger at not being nominated). Good news is that there are people rooting for me, who think that I am worth keeping. Unfortunately, the way it works is that, my actual managers don't get to see my work and my value (if any). Also, they are busy with stuff far more challenging that looking after the well-being of their employees (they will get more marks for managing a new account and none for ensuring that their resources are happy).

I had been told a few things were not possible, and then a few of them happened. There is no complete resolution yet (it would be nothing short of a miracle), but still with important and genuinely supportive people, I have set a few do-something alarms ringing. I am just disappointed, that things didn't take so much time, and that for genuine employee requests, we didn't need to take so many exceptions and make people jump through hoops.

But overall, just pleased with things (used that word a lot in this post). Putting on weight in spite of some intense baddy is not one of them. Pizzas and crips to blame, not me. Pringles is devil incarnated as a potato slice.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is a large palace with sprawling gardens, wooded area and huge lakes surrounding it. It's about 15 miles from York, so me and Anthony, a guy from work decided to cycle it there.

Well, for a start we didn't have a cycle-map of areas outside York, so were not sure how we will avoid the motorways. We managed a good start taking the small countries roads, but then hit the A64. As it busy with traffic, so turned back and started on a bridleway. The bridleway would have taken directly onto another country road, but we lost of way (the bridleway passes along the periphery of farms and through private properties, but it's a way of allowing people to enjoy the countryside, without causing disturbance for the land-owners) and reached a gold course. Turning back would have been futile, so crossed the barbed wires into the golf course and as discreetly as possible tried to make our way out the other sides. Balls were whizzing past us, trying to knock us intruders down, but we held our own.

Finally reached the driving range. We got more stares, but we pretended like we were the grass-cutters inspecting the course on our cycles. Finally, out of the course hurriedly.

At Strensall, Anthony bought a proper map which was very useful. Then onto Foxton, Thorton-Le-Clay and Foston. Close to Castle Howard, the journey was uphill. My cycle isn't amenable to gear changing, so I can't navigate gradients. So, it was off and on the cycle for some distance. But the view was spectacular and the weather was fine. Passed through a series of majestic gates into Castle Howard. Had a great steak sandwich (my first steak). The admission price was expensive, but then Anthony thought it would be worth it and it was.

The house is well-maintained and well-restored. It has a huge hall with frescos and statues. We were taken through various rooms with paintings, and artefacts, books, and furniture. Quite fascinating. The Howards still stay in the other block, so it must be a royal and lavish life for them.

Got a lot of interesting tidbits from Anthony about Greek and Chinese mythology. The guy is a knowledge store of information. Would be interesting to learn more and atleast get introduced to more history (I am extremely poor there).

The way back was smooth (mostly downhill). We missed a turn, but it wasn't a lot of time lost and were back in 1.5 hours (the way to, took 3 hours).

All in all, a great day of cycling.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Had an excellent trip to Newcastle. When you have the car, you tend to cover lot of places, but you don't explore these places that well. So, it was highlights of Newcastle that we caught - some of the best at Quayside. The weather was fine and the company was awesome.

Also went further north along Amble coast, Alnwick, Warkworth castle and Big Waters. Things have been intense for a while - some important people threatening to leave the program, someone trying to sabotage the good work others are doing, a shrew not knowing how to close a conversation and making a spaghetti mess of a fruitful discussion. It's been great learning working in this project. But as usual, new challenges keep popping up on the sidelines and it becomes difficult to concentrate completely. I am getting the feeling that this is going to the norm of professional life rather than an exception. Later, it would be kids, and their schooling, and promotions, and takeovers, and then finally finding a landmass to pitch on in a water-world.

Been reading Heat by George Monbiot. I know Monbiot as an author who features in Outlook and anyone who writes in Outlook, I respect (btw, anyone sees any similarities - personality wise between Anirudhdha Bahal and Anurag Kashyap). The book suggests that we should cut carbon emissions by 90% by 2030 in order to keep the temperature rise below 2%. Above 2%, it spirals into an environmental disaster (heating causes more heating and earth starts releasing more carbon dioxide than it can absorb).

Have to stop aimlessly surfing the net and TV.

Baddy is going along well, but still not in full control of the smash the back-hand. There are some pros playing along side and just watching them is tremendous experience. Baddy and football together are taking a toll on my tibia and it's sending shooting pain signals up my leg. Need to take it a bit slow. But still. I am loving it.