Friday, October 30, 2009

Trying to write a book review

Now seriously, I have no idea on writing a book review. But I have been thinking of starting this new thing also. And the best place to write to is my blog,which I doubt hardly any sensible person reads nowadays(making it safe for my experiments [;)] )

So here goes..
The book is "The GOOGLE Story" (OK, majority of the people out there would have read this already) by David.A.Vise. I had taken it from Manu the last time I went home.
I had always wanted to read this book,but couldn't get my hands on it before.

I had started reading this book in the bus(just as it left EKM bus stand on 4th Oct), and finished it just half an hour ago.

The initial parts of the book talk about Larry and Sergey,their families and how they met. Those chapters lay down the firm foundation of who the people are. It was very enjoyable to read,and think about.

Then later on the author brings to light how the idea of Google came up ,who all helped in its early stages(like Late Rajeev Motwani) and the problems they faced and solved(both technical and financial).

Later on when the company faces serious financial needs and the Google guys have to make a decision to get funds from the two venture capitalist firms,the nerdy view of the duo is taken off. They come out as excellent businessmen with a great idea and a never ending passion to implement it.

From that point onwards,the books tells how Google slowly grew up into a respectable company after the dot com bust. The way they managed to maintain growth and innovation,while not losing focus on their core area, made them what they are today. I really was inspired by their technical and business acumen.

Then onwards the author narrates how Eric Schmidt came into the picture,as well as many other new employees.A lot of small narratives have been provided to show how some key developments took place in the market. Everywhere the trio(Larry,Sergey and Eric) were highly active and involved.

Quite a lot of pages have been dedicated to throw some light on the famous Google lifestyle and atmosphere of the Googleplex,including the culinary facilities.
Also,Google's foray into the ad market was covered pretty well, and the various issues they faced while getting into the hot market are given as a good narrative.

Overall its a good read for a range of people irrespective of whether they already know much about the great corporate of our times. The author has taken care to keep technical content to minimum and make it narrative and easy to perceive for all kinds of readers. I must also admit that at some places,the author seems to praise the company too much,but overall he narrates from a neutral point of view. You will definitely like it if you are an ardent Googler...or a Googlomaniac.. so if you haven't read this book yet.. go get it and enjoy maadi...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Infy gates

The maisooru traffic police seem to have made the infy gate their favourite spot. This has been my observation since I started walking home from office(thats about 2 days back).

They find it profitable and easy to prey upon the hoards of young engineers of Infosys and L&T,as well as other companies in Hebbal area(who happen to pass through).
Well,I shouldn't call it 'preying',but my disposition w.r.t being fined for riding without helmets grants me the rights ;)

Though our company has a policy to stop riders who are not wearing helmets,many of them remove them once they cross our gates,only to be caught by the dozen or so traffic policemen stationed in front of the infy gate. It is usual to see a pair of policemen or maximum half a dozen to be deployed for such activities. But here I see all of the personnel busy with around 3-4 riders around each,either negotiating,begging or silently paying up.

Even some locals get caught(they are the ones who wud negotiate).They are the ones who take the liberty to assume that such an outskirts area would be safe for them. Poor fellows.

Many such funny things happen in front of the gates of the Indian IT giant. Being their neighbours,we get to see and laugh upon many. Though their presence has made life a bit costly and difficult for us as well,we take it lightly and instead amuse ourselves on the many idiosyncrasies of Infy lifestyle.There are a group of people in our place who smoke,drink or eat only Infy brand stuff,pointing to things available at the few shops opposite the Infy gate.

During our initial days of training, I was amused by the way many of my batchmates worshipped Infy or Narayan Murthy. Some used to say,oh how magnificent are their buidlings,how big is that,how this is available,blah blah.... I used to dismiss them pointing to the skill density advantage we have..and now that we are into our works,even the most desperate of those souls have no other feeling for the normal IT companies(this is not targetted at infy alone,so infoscions ..chill) other than pity, and sympathy. :D :D
As usual, its not who laughs,but who has the last laugh.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diwali times...

This Diwali we had total of 3 days holiday,which included a monday. I am always happy when a monday is a holiday :)
So, I decided to pay my relatives@Bangalore a visit. Plus I had missed the Yahoo! and Subex boys the last time I visited Bangalore.Also, I was determined not to sit idly 3 days at Mysore,when majority of the people would either go home or be busy at their own homes.

So,I added the Bengaluru plan to my list by around Tuesday last week.I got time to search for many tourist spots,hiking and trekking areas of Karnataka. I was also involved in the community googling event of our team. We covered quite a lot of ground, and I was able to produce comprehensively relevant and detailed data on majority of the topics I got to handle. It was good to scrounge the web after quite some time.

Anyway, refreshed as well as rejuvenated by the extensive googling, I was eagerly waiting for the weekend to close in. On Saturday morning,I got into a volvo bus from the Maisooru Bus Stand at 8 am,and watched some kannada movie copied from Nadodikaatu series of Malayalam and dozed off,waking up somewhere near the outskirts of Bengaluru. Rest of the area, I observed ;)

At Bengaluru, I visited by cousin's place at Madivala.Also roamed around the smoky and war-torn city at night. The smoke was so tight by around 8 pm that we couldn't see the traffic signals clearly. Also, it was suffocating and stung my eyes. At that point,I swore to myself to encourage more and more people to stop bursting crackers for festivals. The sights and sounds of the metro during Diwali simply strengthened my cause.

Anyway,on account of the festival, we found many of the shops closed by around 7 pm and the famed Forum mall was almost vacant,and so were the numerous other malls and streets. That day, the crackers for me were provided by the Royal Challengers Bangalore,in the sizzling display of fireworks which didn't involve smoke.(Though the stadium wallahs were bursting many whenever a six was hit [:(] )

The next day, I had some 4-5 hours free, before I could visit my uncle's place at Kenkeri. So I decided to visit the Yahoo guys place a.k.a "Pulimada". Met them and went to Total Mall (erstwhile Kemp Fort),and saw the Shiva temple(cannot call it temple though). It resembled an amusement park made for 5 yr olds(or foolish adults),with all mechanical models of shivalingas.I felt ashamed seeing the kind of things they put up there in the name of God. It was fit for a good laugh,but as many people might be taking it seriously,I opted not to.After all religion is such an inflammable and sensitive issue ,wherever in India you are.

Then I went to Kenkeri satellite town, enjoying the outlying areas of Bengaluru on the way. That place is beautiful and serene compared to the nearby Metro. I enjoyed strolling out watching the crackers and celebrations in the area at night,until the smoke became too stifling.I got chance to explore the area further the next morning also.
Then was my first train journey in Karnataka(with start and end points within the state). I travelled from Kenkeri to Maisooru,a journey that took the precise 2 and half hours it was supposed to take. I always consider a train journey to be more rewarding than a bus or private vehicle,if you are interested in mingling with the local culture. And that is what I experienced also. I observed the differences and similarities when compared to a journey in Kerala.

By that my journey of the weekend almost came to an end. Its last part is just some funny incidents at my place,owing to the persistent efforts of the people in our area to fill up every dark corner of every house with the sound,smoke and light from their crackers. Woah,that was quite an effort, surviving the night without going deaf or blind...
Now back to the routine life of learning and earning,till the next weekend,when yet another adventure awaits me...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Night Journey

"I am sitting at Seat num 38 of the Rajahamsa express bus,travelling from Mysore to EKM. Finally getting to go home after more than a month.Though at the much feared back seats of Rajahamsa,its not been much of a trouble yet.Its cold outside and hence I am sitting with my face stuck to the window,gazing at the dark outlines of trees and mountains,up and down the curvy roads of the Ghats.
I realise that we are passing by beautiful landscapes,alas hidden by the cloak of darkness.
Still I find the forest so enchanting and calm. I wish I were out there,roaming inside the forests and exploring the terrain. I guess this is what they call,"The Call of the Wild" :D

As the tall trees pass by as gray shadows,a sort of gloom descends on me, as I feel separated from my destiny(or something) by just a thin sheet of glass.Now I recall my friend Jyothish's ideas,who is the enthusiastic torch bearer of the nature club and green movements in my college.The idea of regrouping here,at our workplaces in Karnataka and explore the forests of the I should get some sleep!"

--Saved onto phone as text message at 1.05 am 2nd Oct 2009

Now that was something I have been keeping in my mind to post asap.
I am back home from Mysore after about 1 month. I find Cochin to have changed quite a bit here and there. New hoardings and buildings throng the place. Getting to see malayalam words after some time of Kannada/English/Hindi is also a joy in itself,however small it might be.

The climate of Mysore is quite similar to that of Kerala(minus the humidity and heat). It is raining there also now,so the difference is pretty subtle. But the colour of Kerala terrain is light green set against light or shady blue background,whereas that of Karnataka is sort of dry/brownish green against a dark or shady blue background. That is one thing I really found a contrast while staring at the surroundings from my seat.

This is not the case with all places in K'nataka though.I must admit that there are simply awesome landscapes in K'nataka(and believe me I have seen NOTHING yet). Enroute to B'lore once,near the town of Channapatna, I got to catch a glimpse of a magnificent view. I was in a local bus so couldn't stop to admire and neither did I have a camera(still don't have :)) to capture it. I can try to explain what it looked like. There were two rainbows formed across the light blue sky,both of them touching the lush green fields..resulting in an awesome display of colour and contrast.Also the sun was just out of the clouds,partially illuminating the top of green trees,leaving the lower branches to be in contrast with the lighter upper ones. I felt I was in heaven or something...there was no break in the scene for about 2 mins,after which the bus moved onwards to mortal lands. Thinking of it still gives me the Goosebumps.. :D

Now..returning to Earth..
After coming back I have been moving around a bit(when not downloading something or surfing),absorbing in maximum before I return to my workplace and settle into the lifestyle there. I am still in the planning phase of purchasing myself a good camera phone,and now the need for a laptop/pc is also added to the list,as my parents have expressed their opinion that I should buy my own system rather than transport whatever is there at home. Trust my parents to make me more responsible :)

Anyway its a learning period in terms of multiple facets of life.. :D
I will try to add some pics later on... and some from my Dasara views of Mysore. I forgot to copy them into my pen drive :)