Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year 2010

...has been really eventful year for me. I changed teams at work, which I was very paranoid about, but turned out to be one of the best decisions I took this year. Works great, was busy Mar-Nov with a 60hour week every month, and was so burned out that every long weekend I made some memorable trips, attended some amazing concerts and really great parties.

Another great thing this year was my Seattle to Portland 200mile bike ride. I always wanted to do it and was training last year for it.



Intersting change that happened this year is that with my work schedule I didnt get chance to update my blog, my RSS feed reading trends have tumbled to a life time low (~8000 skimmed articles a month to ~700 a month) , havent read a lot of books this year, havent spoken to family and friends as often as I would like to, been a leach at review sites by not leaving my opinons on places I visited or electronics I bought or books I read, and have got a beer belly.

Well, thats the dynamics of life... Looking forward to what 2011 has to offer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

World is Flat - Thomas Friedman

This had been on the list of "wish to read" for a while, finally I got a chance to lay hands on it. Its a very well written book explaining the globalization of the 21st century with a thought provoking idea; "The World is Flat" if not, tending towards being flat. I am glad to pick up the updated version of the book, and the times this book speaks of are the ones, I can relate to as the events happened while I was a part of this flattener.

I must say the books perspective can be related to the economy's of the developing countries along with the main cause of flattener "the entrepreneur attitude of people in US". Theres a clear difference in the entrepreneurship of North America and Asia. NAmerican entrepreneurship is about innovation, new products, innovative business models (supply chain, cost cutting, facilitation ) while the entrepreneurs in Asia contribute to the above by providing services/ opportunities to facilitate above.

One must note that the ideas and theories discussed in the work might not relate to all economies globally, but hold true in the major continents of the society. I wouldn't go over the 10 flatteners from the author as I don't understand all in detail and I might not doing justice to what the author meant. Secondly I am not knowledgeable enough to speak about economics and its a topic I recently started reading about. But I would like to discuss briefly the factors that do make sense to me and also gave me a new perspective which I being a part of never thought about.

  • The fall of communism (note: he talks about the communist practices of Russia at the time of Fall of Berlin Wall). This is time when PCs started catching up, allowing people to communicate and express all over the world.
  • Netscape, the biggest factor for flattener as it defined web for all who had access to a phone and a computer in contrast to "early adopters and geeks".
  • Offshoring: Idea of moving the manufacturing beyond borders to benefit from lower cost, which helped other economies to grow, and kept the commodity costs low.
  • Outsourcing, this not only helped people to be productive round the clock but also opened opportunities to people round the globe. The biggest innovation that helped was laying fiber optics across seas, facilitating the communication to be more efficient.
  • Insourcing: this is a very interesting factor and I was never aware of it. The example that author presents explains it well. UPS, a delivery company that takes cares of your packages. Since this company did study and invested in the supply chain of transportation to reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver a package, it got innovative enough to open the repair centers for companies like HP. Where HPÊ & Toshiba certified engineers repair your computer reducing the turn around time for defective pieces to minimum. Companies like UPS not only provide services to bigger organizations they also provide investment to smaller business and do consulting for them in lowering the operating costs based on their fully established system.
  • Open Source, Workflow softwares, Search Engines: I club these 3 together as I think of technology as one. Though I would still keep Netscape out of this category as that was a defining factor in the world of web. OpenSource society of geeks who love to contribute like Linux, apache, wikipedia, bloggers. This started a streak of innovation in the world making productivity softwares and new available to people for free. Workflow softwares like webex, smtp (mail protocols) ftp, http enabled people to communicate and work real time in collaboration regardless of geographical location, and ofcourse Yahoo and later Google which made any information available while on the move.

Other than this author explains how the .com boom and bust helped global economies grow. In a way the bust was a blessing in disguise for global economies in India. During this hard phase a lot of skilled workers in US had to go back home, which gave them an opportunity to start their own companies. Note all fiber optics was laid till then helping these new companies to make ties abroad. Not only this now Asok from IBM was in India and IBM had a reliable cheaper contact in a distant land and could help them in being productive. This though a factor of the start of business model for outsourcing turned out to be a blessing for India to step into IT.

The book is a good start for anyone who wants to understand or start on understanding the global economy. It has been written for a layman without throwing in heavy terminology from economics and helps perceiving things with examples from bigger established organizations. Its a work drawn out of a series of interviews of people working a different levels of organizations and then arranging it into place to explain what drives global economic.

Interesting work well written.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tickles from Seattle - 11

AgentA: m going to Vancouver to eat
JG : I've been there too... great food specially the desi food. Do you know theres a dhaba o'er there?
AgentA: Is that so...? m going to check it out...
JG: Yeah you must... its brilliant. They serve parathas and the ambiance is like a dhaba in India.

-----------------trip to vancover, couldnt find the dhaba-----------------

AgentA: I couldnt find the place dude.... neither its listed anywhere online...
JG : huh really...?
AgentA: yeah so where is it...? u've been there right?
JG: Actually i haven't been there ever i heard pple talking about it. They must be talking about some other city 'en... i guess

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who’s Whose Bitch…

Well, its so confusing in the motor world, and its easy to loose track of which company is owned by whom. Car companies in past 5 decades have been played around like the share trading. You have to think twice before vouching for your favorite engine, as you never know whether its still in the hands of Germans or the Italians or the yankees took over it (n now TATAs in the game too).

The dynamics of this industry is always on the move with mergers, models, takeover's etc. Needless to say that then there are other companies which take the engine and remaster it to push it over the limits like Pagani Zonda who love the German V12 from Mercedes-Benz AMG.

Maserati one of the the known names with a glorious past in racing history and a established brand from Italy, did a miracle in 2008 on a Enzo engine establishing the fastest lap time on Nurburgring in 2008 (before DidgeViper 2009 smoked it out) is a classic case. They have made some of the most beautiful and powerful cars for roads and tracks. As an independent company was butchered by French Citroen, followed by the Argentinian De Tomaso which had to partner with Chrysler and then finally after a long wait back in the hands of Italians Fiat, Ferrari, and now Alfa Romeo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chilly Hilly 2010

DSC00946 This organized bike ride marks the start of the season for bike rides in the Pacific Northwest and is one of the biggest organized events in US (~6000+ riders showed up for 2010). Its a 33mile ride looping the Bainbridge Island of WA, organized by Cascade Bicycle Club.

This was my first organizedDSC00960 bike ride since I started biking last summer and I must say, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The route has everything to offer from spectacular views of Seattle skyline and Mt. Ranier to quad calf busting hills.

33miles isnt that long a trail for a weekend ride but Chilly Hilly needs some preparation for sure. The total elevation gain is a little shy of 3000ft over several hills, and the weather in the month of Feb makes it more fun.

This year people say that we had the best weather, just the right temp and partly cloudy with no rains.

I saw several riders who struggled along the way because of insufficient preparation or first ride of season. This ride definitely requires some preparation else you might end up with a ice pack for the upcoming days.

Cycling Timelapse & Video (Chilly Hilly 2010) from Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

The ride lives up to its name. Its chilly and its for sure is hilly and at the finish line you get to eat some delicious chilly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green Zone

How about if I open a statement with something like “If you don’t agree to me then you are ignorant

Well that's exactly how Time(magazine) is promoting the movie Green Zone.

If you’re not gripped and terrified by the movie, you haven’t been paying attention

…n i think that’s a lame attempt to make people agree with ones own opinion.

Well to speak for myself I was waiting for this movie, I stepped out of office approximately 2 hrs earlier just to watch the movie on its first week. P. Greengrass impressed me with the last 2 works of his in the name of Bourne and Matt Damon, there's no question about his abilities to act. So you cannot say that I wasn't paying attention if I wasn't “gripped or terrified” by the movie, because I was not.

Time (magazine) states:

Greenzone has fullness of character, a density of detail, a cunning mystery plot and so much stuff blowing up that audiences might not realize they’re seeing an Iraq war film. They’ll be too scared stiff enjoying themselves.

None of it is what I felt. In the name of mystery any dumb ass can figure out that Freddie will kill Al Rawi. The fuck up that happened in Iraq war is no news or surprise to anyone today. At one point the author of article says, that Matt Damon goes Rambo, go and watch Rambo. Matt Damon wasn’t even close to being a one man army.

The story had a great potential but turned out to be a sheer disappointment to me. I gave up on Newsweek last year primarily because of Fareed Zakaria and his stupid opinions and I think I will be giving up on Time soon because of Joe Klein and this kind a promotion of big banner.

Original Article from Time is here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Piraat

How many times have you found yourself quoting: “What ? that looks like half a pint of beer and half head”

Well I can assure you if you are ordering Piraat off the tap you are most likely to find yourself with the _MG_4103-1same statement. And half way through your pint you could be a happiest person around the table.

Belgians have learnt the art of brew over the ages and some of the finest beers in the world are from Belgium. Piraat is my favorite Belgian brew along with St Bernardus Abt12.

Piraat has a very high alcohol percentage (10.5% by vol) and before you finish your second pint the tasting glands go numb. But that first pint is enough to make you realize how good it tastes. It has a sweet citurs aroma and a fruity taste leaving behind a tinge of hoppy bitterness. It tastes better when poured from the tap in an exclusive piraat glass, in that golden color. Beer quantity is 3 quarters of the pint and rest is the head.

If you are one of those who believe in getting hammered to have most fun on a sat night without spending a fortune on drinks in a hefty club… 2 Piraats’ before the party can make it a memorable one.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Livesite Support – Who should do this?

Customer service is the first line of support for any e-commerce. Traditionally these people have admin rights to the system and written instructions to follow them.

Second line of support when something goes down on live site is to call the developer on pager duty. Workaround for the problem is found and fixed on a ASAP basis and then we tend to stick with the work around forever.

Kayak has this great idea:

Why would you pay an engineer $150,000 to answer phones when you could pay someone in Arizona $8 an hour?" If you make the engineers answer e-mails and phone calls from the customers, the second or third time they get the same question, they'll actually stop what they're doing and fix the code. Then we don't have those questions anymore.

Pager duties are not fun but why Developers should be the only one to be quad-damaged by them. It should be a shared duty of the team. The tester on the team should be equally responsible for it and at the same time the program manager too.

These 2 other disciplines have their own excuses to escape such responsibilities.

QA/PM: I didn’t write the code, I don’t know the fix, how am I supposed to handle it.

You as a part of the project is expected to have a level of debugging skills, or investigation and identifying the cause based on symptoms. May be the code is right and its a network issue or service is down. Could be a false alarm etc, may be something needs to be bounced. If things are beyond your understanding I am sure developers will be more then happy to help you out. Also the ground work on investigation is going to help in getting things fixed earlier.

Its hard to sell this idea to these disciplines but then there are some smart asses who know how to frame and sell it and here’s an example:

This is a great opportunity to be close to our real customers and it will be a good learning experience for everyone to be involved in this highly visible customer service exercise. Remember that as a pager carrier, your only responsibility is to triage the issue and escalate them if necessary. Developers will always be around to help out if there are any questions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking forward to a Wheel-to-Wheel

There is just something about some men that once they retire and make a later comeback, you don’t doubt them. Once they attend a press conference declaring a comeback you know how great the next season is going to be and you just cant wait to glue back to your fav sports bars’, bar table.

I am talking about Schumi’s come back. Yeah later last year when Schumacher declared a comeback with Benz it was a unanimous hail of happiness all around, regardless of the followers of F1. I wonder how do people like Lewis Hamilton feel in their heart who grew up watching the legend and then get a chance to compete against him. When Schumi declares his come back you don’t have a slightest doubt on his skills. They say victory belongs to the most preserving and what better clutches can it be in other than Schumi.

Some athletes and sportsmen belong to a league of legends who are born for glory, and radiate inspiration. Name to some: Lance Armstrong, Valentino Rossi, Michael Schumacher, Sachin Tendulkar. Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Tiger Woods, Zinedine Zidane. Whether they stay away from sports or do whatever they want but once they declare that they are back in the game… you know they will be on the Hall of Fame again.

Skill and confidence are an unconquered army
George Herbert

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tickles from Seattle - 10

AgentA: Woah Woah Woah… that is some deal $87 for complete series of Seinfeld and I have $30 of coupons.  I have waited for it so long….

<amazon.com> <click> <login> <cardDetails><checkout> 

<waiting><24th Dec phone rings>

AgentA: Hey Di how ya doing…?

Di             : I love you so much… u remembered how much I  wanted this series. This is the best Xmas gift I’ve ever received. You know you are my favorite brother…

AgentA: huh..

Di             : Yeah the Seinfeld that you send me.

AgentA: Ahhh… THE SEINFELD you are welcome.

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lesson learnt: Never get too excited on a deal… always check the shipping address as UPS doesn’t make mistakes… you might make someone real happy but may regret yourself