Monthly Archives: June 2006

Personality Gauge


Lovers? Ever had heart breaks?She turned out to be a totally different person that you initially thought?

Managers? Ever recruited a wrong guy?

Strangers? Ever got cheated by a stranger?

I wonder if it will ever be possible to make a  device that would inspect and tell you about the basic traits of a human such as honesty, sense of humor, Moral-values, nature, intelligence, ethics etc. One should be able to get a measurement of all those traits by pointing a device in the direction of a person we want to know more about…Something like a personality decoder.

 Will it ever be possible to decode a mind or is human mind is gonna remain one of the most mysterious places in the universe. 

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XP Extreme programming : Older than you think


XP means Extreme Programming(TM) . Its an evolutionary way of programming, where design improves with every iteration. Continuos feedback is taken and continuos integration is done. Feedback is incorporated at any and every point in the development cycle.
The output is presented to the stakeholders and based on their feedback, the best aaproach is taken.This concept was given by Kent Beck bout 8-10 years back. (refer to http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ for more info on XP)

In my words, its an iterative approach tending to perfection. Most people know that XP methodology was brought to life about 8-10 years back. However, I think  that XP is way older than that. In fact XP has been here for ages. Its as old as the life itself or may be older than that.

Ever wondered how evolution works? Mutation is the nature’s way of bringing about a change for improvement. Mutate, produce a new feature, if the feature is good, acceptable and an improvement over the earlier version then keep it and build further over it, if not then discard it. Its a natures way of making a selection thats the best fit for the environment.
Since the begining, nature and its creation-man, is following similar approaches to attaining perfection.
Say let’s take a simple example when we think of a calculating machine what comes to our mind? a computer or a Laptop . The first computer ever built, ABACUS, I am sure, didn’t resemble the modern laptop in any way. It contained beads. The sliding of the beads formed the basis of primitive calculations. Then came one of those hardware programable machines leading to the development of punch cards and then those gigantic boxes of mainframe computers. Somebody, somewhere thought, just like nature does, that there is a scope for improvement and those gigantic boxes can be reduced to table top boxez and further to lap-top boxes and whoosh came the era of small and elegant personal PCs.

Did you seeee???Evolution and iterations working hands in hands.

In a way, ABACUS went thru endless cycles of iteration and evolution both in  hardware and software and the result is this 12 by 12 inch piece of technology that I am carrying on my lap while I am typing this post. What a wonderful piece of technology, probably the best perfection of ABACUS one can ever see. init?

Laptop is not just one example. Look around!!! The CFL (Compact Fluoroscent Bulb) that you have, the tubelight, the car you drive, the pen you write with, the food you eat, nothing was developed in one day. The things you see around are the results of billions of iterations carried over by millions of brains in thousands of years, each iteration tending to perfection. These are the products who had something better than their predessors that made them survive the test of time.
As I am writing this post I am sure that someone somewhere might be having the idea of having one more iteration over this little piece of perfection (My laptop) to make it even more perfect.

XP at work .. once again…

Making decisions, an art, intuition or just a stroke of luck?


Some might say that great managers are inherently good at making logical decisions then there are other managers who rely on their aquired or natural intuition to make big decisions.One school of thought believes that intuition is nothing but an extrapolation of past experiences. But then, how do they explain great decisions made by managers who are young and have far less experience.

Decisions (based on the past data) 

The most important ingredient for making a decision is knowing what all you want and once you have answered that question and if the answer contains more than one option then the next step becomes prioritising those options. Writing a number ( between 1 and 10 both inclusive )and the sorting the options in an ascending order. Then one can make decisions accordingly.
The approach mentioned above, works very well for those situations where all the variables of the equation known and are based on the ‘present tense’ and have negliable or no extention in the future. And such situation if not totally impossible, are certainly rare.

Decisions examples based on past data (the ones close to being perfect) 

  • If the company has done good in the past.
  • Which product to give the most attention in the coming years based on historical selling profile of that product.
  • What you would like to have in dinner (not what you had yesterday) 

Decisions (for the present data)

I personally believe that no such category of decisions exist. 

Decisions (for the future)
Most of the decision that a manager has to make have their extensions rooted in both, the past and the future. I can well understand the logic and certainity of a decision. But then I wouldn’t call that person a manager, I would rather call him a statstician or an accountant or may be a historian (to some extent).
When a Manager is making a desicion that effects an event in future, he is basically dealing with a equaltion that involves lot of forseen and unforseen uncertainities. And most of the variables in that equation is not under his/her control. Any great decision (made in the present) might turn out to be the greatest or the worsest decision depending upon how the variables of the equation of uncertainity unveil themselves

I would suggest a3 golden rules of making a future decision. I might add more golden rules once the price of gold drops down 🙂

  1. Have a long term goal in sight and then make short term plans , each propelling you a quater of the inch towards your goal. This will give you the flexibility of fine tuning your plans to achive the goal.
  2. Have an open mindset. Be open to new possibilities even thou you think you know pretty much everything thats out there to know.There is always something that you don’t know. And the problem with the thing you don’t know is that you don’t know what you don’t know.
  3. Find people who can be trusted and who are good at making decision. Invest in these people. Keep them with you cuz these people and their ability to make decisions is the only thing you would want to reply on to help you make decisons

Decisions examples for future (unknown variables)

  • Investing in NGN (Next generation networks) when compared to the investment in existing network solutions.
  • Which skillset to acquire so as to have the max gain in 20 years from now.
  • Which technology to adapt to as a part of corporate initiatives. 

Points to ponder

  • At any point of time whenever you are faced with a situation you can either chose to make a decision or to not make a decision. Doesn’t matter whichever way you go, you are making a decsion… Author.. Life player
  • There are some people who would explore any and every possible options and then do the right thing and there are people who would do just anything and then search for any and every reason to prove that what they did was right.. Author… Life player

My energy saver (TM) AC really saving energy?


So I recently purchased this cool ulti multi functional  AC in my bedroom, which can do this and that and I dunno what  all…
Like many other equipments it comes with that Energy  Saver ™ logo.  And to a simple user like me, it means whenever I am gonna switch that mode ON, this AC will start saving energy.
I  did some research on it and it seems that this mode simply means that when AC senses that the  room has achieved the desired temperature, not only  it shuts   down the compressor but also the  blower. Well that  makes sense doesn't it ?

Simple algorithm.
If Desired temperature equals Room temperature , shut down compressor
If ESaver equals ON , Shut down blower.
Simple logic and yoohoo lots of energy saving !!!!!

But but but my  darn logical mind can't just be satisfied with that. Can it?
Here is my minds technical analysis.
When the AC is trying to reach a desired temperature it must continuously run the compressor so the coils must be really cold. And I know that since compressor needs almost all the energy that an AC consumes so making the coils that cold must have taken a decent amount of overhead in the form of electricity. Now AC figures out that the desired temperature is reached and the energy saver is ON, it shuts down the blower and the compressor.  Right?

 But dude the coilss are still ice cold. You still need to keep the blower running untill all those coils have deccipated that coldness in the room. Failing to do that might dessipate that coldness in the air surrounding the AC and since in most ACs, the temperature senser or therostate will  work  on the surrounding air temperature, it will delay the kickstart of the AC, sice the air around it it still colder than the air in the room. By the time AC kicks ON the temperature in the room has already arisen to an uncomfortable level. When that happens, there are high chances that the room occupants will set the desired temperature to a lower temp, making the AC run longer. And that will lead to  wasting more energy and higher electricity bill.
Wondering  if  that energy saving mode is really saving energy.

Client’s way or the rightway?–III – the Deliemma


Previous Posts 1:

Previous Posts 2:

For more than a week or so, we kept on playing teacher-student, predator-prey kinda games and then he threatened to escalate the matter to my Regional Director is things were not done his way. And I know this guy was serious about it.

Now here I am, the consultant who is specially called from across the continents to fix the very process he is now asked to unfix and there he is the client, who knows what is being done is wrong but he is still admanat about making me do that wrong thing.

I am standing at a cross road. One way goes in the direction of what he is asking and the other way goes in the direction of my principles and the work I am suppose to do for the money I am being paid. 

 If I go in his direction, I might just let the vendor make that application live without the testing, might just save a few thousand $$ that he is gonna pay to testers to test that application out, he might be able to meet his immediate deadlines and he might just be able to get the short term praise from his boss/managers and he might just praise me enough in front of my boss that I could have asked for a decent raise then and there…..

isn't that what i want?

But then there is my way..

Don't let the code to be delivered unless its been thoroughy tested, even thou it will cost him a few thousand extra dollars and make him miss him his immediate financial targets and deadlines, make him super angry at me but yet go ahead with the testing plan, let him call my boss and blast whatever way he wants to, let my boss scream at me for not making the client happy and may even take the risk for losing my job for something I think is not right.   Cuz I know, a few $$s he is gonna save in here will cost my client dearly in a month or so, that this application will not work if it doesn't pass the test phase, that the users are gonna reject this app as soon as they start using it, that it might just cost him about a million dollars to rehire a team of software experts retrain them, make them understand the system and then let them test/maintain it, and that sooner or later he is gonna thank me for saving his company a fortune and that that this is the work I was suppose to do and this was the whole purpose of my coming to that place…

Is his way the right way or is it my way?

Client’s way or Myway?–II Rabbit hole


Previous Post :

dude ! If you have't got the idea about the kind of place I am talking about I can give U the address and location of that place and you can see it for wait See and feel it for yourself.

As I have told you before, I was to implement software processes in this place as the business unit I was dealing with , didn't have the best software project implementation history. Projects have failed due to deveral different reasons in the past. And my great self was suppose to figure out the problem and deliver one half a million baby without any delivery pangs in best of its health. Not a tough job, after all i was a veteran when it comes to delivering babies.

The place looked and felt like any other place I have worked. So I thought its gonna be like any other routine assignment. Get the feel of the place, the company culture, the project, prepare the strategy to counter any mishappenings, define an exit criteria, successfully deliver the baby and head out fo next assignment.

Ah… if life was so simple!!!
Took me about two months to realize the hidden problems. Ego clashes, uncertainities, non-sense, impusive decisions, ill processes, downsizing, politics.. you name it and they have got it…

I was probably the youngest of the lot and even thou I had more experience in software industry than those guys, I realized that, I was seldom taken for my face value( gotta blame it on my genes that keep me looking young for my age). I had to really walk an extra mile to get my point across. Since those guys were more experiened than me in terms of age and moreover since they were my customes, certain decisions were imposed on me without proper consultation or thought. But since I was more experienced in software, most of the time, I would make them understand the implication of their decisions and they would understand or at least try to.

However this one time, things went different.

I was the lead for ensuring that this another software vendor confirms with the Software industry standards for software processes. As the part of this responsibility I was suppose to ensure that the vendor adhers to the stringent software methodology and processes and that the tool delivered was of product quality.

The project development cycle ran into a few preseen and unforseen issues and I was asked by the client NOT to move the final delievery date. Dude now everyone knew that considering the work and schedule that target was too inhumane to be met by a human team. While I was struggling to figure out a way to make that team meet the deadlines, I was called by my client-manager and  was randomly instructued to remove the testing phase from my plan and make the system live the day it gets a code freeze. Why?? cuz he thinks that the test phase was kinda unnecessary considering the delivery urgency.

Nice idea and pretty smart guy I must say! WHAT? NO TESTING??? Are you out of your frikking mind ???? Who is gonna be responsible for all the bugs that usually reside in a new system? What happens if users start using it and they can't complete a single workflow or get those annoying pop-up Java script messages. What if they were told that they can't use half the functionality of this tool since it was never tested.Aren't they gonna question tha sanity of half a million dollars "well" spent by my client-manager on that tool? Who is gonna be responsible to fix all those bugs once we own the code?  Its half a million $$ on stake dude and so was my client-manager.

Why the hell can't he understand one simple logic? I had to make him understand that the path he is taking in order to get the system to the restless users is the path to self destruction.

I understand that he was getting pressed politically/physically for delievering this baby who has already consumed more than half a million dollars but still …

I tried meetings, offline talks, online chatting, sign language, mother language, father's language .!.. To make him understand the rational behind testing. But that guy was totally adamant even thou he knew that the software was infected with bugs.

To be continued…

Why beauty and brain can never (or seldom) coexist?


well simply because god has written a switch statement

switch
    case : Beauty
            NO BRAIN
    case : Brain
            NO BEAUTY
    Exception   
            Beauty with brains

(Code in god's native language)
lol not really. God doesn't really supply software. Just plain jane OS. Its upto that OS to program itself and trust me while you are reading this 'word' your OS is programming itself without your concious knowledge.
Since childhood a beautiful soul gets all the attention it wants just by the mere display of a beautiful smile ( that comes preinstalled with the OS). As she grows up she further learns that she is different from other underpriviledged OS available around her. While others are trying to excersize their grey muscles to get their way she can just make the things happen by a single gesture. Not to mention that latter is easier. By the time she reaches teenage, she pretty much knows every possible rule, that starts with beauty, ever written.By this time most of the gray cells she came fitted with are already dormant or dead.

Don't blame a beautiful soul next time , if you ever see her struggling to use her brain. Just appretiate the god's OS in its Native form.

🙂