Monday, December 29, 2003
The Last Week of 2003
Being stuck in the United States, Seattle in particular isn't turning out to be as bad as I made it out to be. Nothing matches being in Bombay of course, that city is beyond comparison, but some nebulous plans and interesting ideas are beginning to take shape that can make these next couple of weeks in Seattle very promising indeed. To begin with, Apu and her friends are coming up to Seattle to spend New Year's eve and day here in the Emerald City. We are going to this Absolut Party that has a view of Elliott Bay and all that - I think views are for birds that fly up in the air - view hua toh kya hua - jaise paed khajoor...
I am going to go visit Ishmeet and the gang in Chicago a couple of days after the New Year rings in - Chicago is a cold, cold city right now but I can weather that to hang with Ish, Shaif and Ish's buddies in Chicago. It's interesting how my friend's buddies automatically become my buddies... I want 2004 to start on a good note because 2003 started with us being deserted on a stinky pier in Bombay fighting to get on to a boat that wasn't destined for any party. Vibhas, Rach and I spent the rest of that night driving around and finally ended it with a serving of Pav Bhaji and juice - that debacle set the tone for the rest of the year but I'll reflect more on 2003 come it's last stinking day. For now though, 2004 presents many opportunities to revitalize myself... Time to send out the usual New Year's greeting - any change in fortune for me you think...
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Disappointment, sadness and tears...
In the past 5 years, I clearly remember the occassions I have broken down and cried my heart out. On both occassions, I cried because an important person in my life was not going to be a part of it anymore. One passed away, another moved on and got married...
And then, I cried last night... I can't find my passport on the eve of my flight to Bombay. I was to fly tomorrow evening, the 26th of Dec, at 7:25pm. It's an event I've been preparing for since the middle of August. Plans were finalized to go to Goa for the New Year's; all the shopping was complete; the adrenalin had just started surging through my system and I was getting emotionally ready to meet my parents and brother. They might be thousands of miles away but I realized yesterday that they are the most important people in my life. I couldn't stop crying while I relayed the dismal news to my mom and true to her nature, she cried too. My dad and brother calmed my frayed nerves, I'd been searching for eight hours straight before I caved in, and made me resort to reason and logic. It's time for the fire-fighting crews to step in and take care of the damage. It's going to be an expensive and elaborate operation, getting a duplicate passport will be. I need to get my US Visa re-stamped, I-94 card number (it's required for everything in the states) and that's only the tip of the ice-berg. I am also going to have to go to SFO to apply for the passport in person - how tough can they make this process!
I'm going to continue searching but I know myself - I'm organized and pay too much attention to detail - if I haven't found it after a thorough search last night, I have little hope of finding it today. But I have nothing to lose and only to gain so contrary to my own intuition and better judgement, I'm going to keep on looking...
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Saturday, December 20, 2003
The Biggest Problem with Open Source
The Colour of the Bikeshed:
"This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated"
Ironically, this post completely reflects my opinion...
Friday, December 19, 2003
New Team, New Challenges
New enlistment into the sources of the product, geez, there are too many new things going on in my life. There are definite advantages to this job - it's a fresh start to say the least but more than that, I have to go through the entire process of getting to know new people, new methodologies, new organizational structure. You tend to fall into a rhythym of sorts once you are in the same team/position for a while - I'll have to work on re-establishing that. But as they say, what is life without change! As regards adapting, I don't think I'll have any trouble, that doesn't mean I'm not going to make a big deal about it though :)
Just finished talking to Karand about the NTLM issue we've been tracking. There are enough implementations and revisions of the protocol to make our heads spin. The timing of this investigation is perfect though, there is precious little going on at work what with everyone out for the holidays. I can actually expend time and energy on this and not feel guilty. Besides, I'd be learning something interestingly new, so I'm going to dig deeper, for sure.
Physical therapy last night was intense, enough for me to be sore all morning. I've got a workout spanning 2 pages that focuses entirely on muscles I use while playing squash - I can't wait to see the results. The exercises are kinda aerobic too, I was puffing and panting after every one of them lunges - so it's going to be a double whammy, much like the circuit training program I was on earlier with Nikhil. A leaner Manoj is on his way. Have a fun weekend...
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The Return of the King
10:20 show - couldn't make it in time. 11:20 show - was in the auditorium waiting for the movie/previews/anything to supplant the dark screen. There is something about the Lord of the Rings trilogy that stuns the entire audience into complete silence. The movies have been very true to the books and people respect the effort that has been invested into making the epics - I'm one of them... There is no point drawing parallels between this trilogy and others because unlike the others, the movies are backed by 3 of the best pieces of writing I have read. Enough prelude, now to the movie.
We all know the story, good prevails over evil in the end - Sauron's ring is destroyed in the depths of Mount Doom and Aragorn is crowned king of Middle Earth. It's the nuances in the storyline that kept me glued to my seat till the very end. Unlike the 1st two installments of the trilogy, this one has the perfect mix of emotions and kick-ass battles to appease every viewer. There is meagre character development but I guess it's too late in the game to waste time on introductions - there is a story to be told and many loose threads to be tied up within 3 hours.
We begin with scenes of Smeagol's first encounter with the Ring, establishing the fact that he will do anything to get his hands on his "precious". Frodo progressively sinks deeper into the chasm of suspicion and self-doubt, the burden of the Ring becoming too heavy for him to shoulder alone. This is as much Sam and Gollum's movie as Frodo's, their individual contributions ensure the Ring is finally destroyed proving once again that some things are better done in a team.
Parallel to Frodo's voyage towards Mount Doom is the battle to save Minas Tirth. Gandalph, Aragorn, the Rohirrim and their King march towards Gondor to save the citadel. The battle scene is breath-taking; the cinematography perfectly depicts the darkness surrounding the battle-grounds and the scenes with the Nazgul attacking the hapless warriors are extremely graphic. There is a definite eeriness imparted to the whole setting reminiscent of the march of the clone army into their carrier crafts at the end of Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Trust me, if you thought the battle in The Two Towers was inspiring, it was pedestrian compared to what I saw this afternoon in ROTK. Just the last hour makes it worth the admission...
There is some mush and gush at the end but the story has to be taken to it's conclusion and to this, we must give credit to Peter Jackson; I felt a sense of closure to the tale and for now, I'm sated. Till I go to India that is and watch the movie again with my brother, friends, etc, etc. Highly Recommended viewing for anyone who can sit through 3 hours of intense entertainment...
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
If you haven't heard of India's historic victory against Australia yesterday at the Adelaide Oval, I suggest you point your browser to any cricket website and you will find that India WON, India WON... This snippet is a fine description of the Indian attitude during this last test from an article in the Times Of India - once a venerable source of news and information, now only a tabloid, but that's another discusssion all together. For now, read and enjoy...
"But skepticism about India's grit has evaporated in the blazing Aussie summer. And no needless aggro involved either, in the transformation, just steely resolve and focus. Why, even Ganguly showed restraint, and did not tear off his shirt as a metaphor of joy. Having caught Steve Waugh with his pants down perhaps he didn't have to. "
Friday, December 12, 2003
The "Buying a Digital Camera" Guide
With the Internet at my fingertips, buying a camera became a research project more than just a simple chore of walking over to the nearest electronics store to select out of the limited options on display. After hours in front of the computer, long discussions with current owners and peers in the market for cameras too, I decided to write up my entire experience as a guide to others in my shoes. Here's what I'd consider are the first steps to go about drilling down possible camera options. This guide is by no means definitive and if you want me to add to it, send me email with your comments!
1. Determine the resolution of the camera you want to buy. I chose to go with 4 or 5 mega pixels (Mega == 1 Million).
The higher the resolution, the higher the cost of the camera, which brings me to the First Law of Digital Camera Shopping: Cost is directly proportional to Maximum Image Resolution
2. Now that you have determined the resolution, determine your budget. For a good camera that doesn't become obsolete before you've even received it in the mail you should look at spending anywhere between $300 and $400.
3. There are four extremely popular, respected and established companies in the market today making digital cameras: Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. The first three come from the conventional camera world and are included in this list not only because of pedigree but also because they've been the pioneers in the digital camera world. Sony, though a late entrant has improved it's line of cameras extensively. I decided to go with Canon - respected, best sales and service network and strongly recommended by friends.
This brings me to the Second Law of Digital Camera Shopping: Cost is directly proportional to Brand
4. Select 2 or 3 models from maybe one or two camera vendors and start comparing their features. I used many sites to do this comparison after which I came up with my definitive list of review sites:
a. Digital Photography Preview
b. Digital Camera Resource
c. Steve's Digital Cameras
d. CNet Camera Reviews
5. You want to consider the following features before you decide on the camera:
a. Lens Aperture
b. Lens Focal Length
c. Max Shutter Speed
d. Digital and Optical Zoom - the higher the Optical Zoom rating, the better the Zoom is. Digital Zoom is over-rated
e. LCD size
f. Battery life
g. Video recording mode and maximum video length
h. Included Memory Card Size
6. Now search for deals on the final 2/3 cameras you have short-listed. Here is the list of some of the cool sites I found:
a. Infinity Cameras
c. Bizrate @ Lycos
e. Froogle :)
Hope you find the right camera at the right price. The buzz is that the prices have been going up and up on the 5 MegaPixel cameras so if the person you are buying the camera for can wait till after christmas, you are sure to get a better deal on your purchase. If you can't wait, oh well, what's a few more dollars for the one you love...
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Science proves, hot women are trouble!
Me and my kind have been vindicated. For the longest time men have been ridiculed and chastised for becoming irrational when it comes to women. This new study published by New Scientist proves that it is decoded in the male DNA to become irrational when it comes to pretty women. As the title says - Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future... 'nuff said :)
I've shied away from expressing how I feel; about situations, people and life in general. People expect reactions from me - exultation, excitement but hardly anyone sees into the inner core. When I started writing updates (what people call a blog), I did it primarily for myself - to give a future me a window into how I felt weeks/months in the past. I don't see how reading about The Looking Glass or what Microsoft did to overcome Blaster is gonna give an idea of what I was feeling when I typed what I did - or maybe it might or it is (since these events occurred in the past) and is open for interpretation. I can't decide but I can sure continue writing about how I feel right now...
I'm listening to a new song by Dido right now - White Flag - interesting lyrics - about breaking up with a person and the emotional aftermath. I've experienced a whole gamut of emotions these past coupla weeks: acceptance after all the job offers, ennui from the lack of things to do at work, excitement and expectation from the impending trip to India, happiness from being around such nice people - the good stuff. As I sit here and type, I can't quite justify the feeling of being alone; though it's been here, ironically, like a loyal companion all along. It's been many years since I had a meaningful relationship with a girl and I'm reduced to now wondering what it all felt like. Could that be it? Two of the guys I hang out with are dating girls now and they are different guys all together - it's a metamorphosis that women bring about in men - nothing else comes to mind - my thoughts are in suspended animation - how do comparisons help?? Maybe this will pass and come haunt me some other day or maybe it'll stay! Maybe it's time I actually went out and found myself a girl...
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The Looking Glass
A Demo of one of the Desktop related projects at Sun completely blew me away. It looked similar to the work being done in Longhorn but this was completely UI related. There is this one part where the presenter, Sun CTO Jonathan Schwartz, rotates a Mozilla window to make a note about the page he is currently viewing - Check it out...
Monday, December 08, 2003
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Of note today
BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Miserable failure' links to Bush - :)
First Test Between India and Australia heading to a draw
And finally, Manoj Mehta is now #2 on the Pro Club squash ladder :)
So yeah, the Windows Core Team's Christmas Party was held last night at the Union Station in Seattle. We reached around 10pm and the festivities lasted for another couple of hours before Geni, Arun, Jeff and I headed to the Fenix Underground for some more partying. We had decided to get a little bombed at the Windows party before we went clubbing because the BOOZE was FREE! :) A kamikazi, B52, Vodka sprite and shot of tequila later, I was pretty buzzed. Since I had to drive back home though, I had to lose the buzz in quick time - don't want a DUI on my record - no no! Going to Fenix afforded the perfect opportunity to enjoy and lose the buzz at the same time, since we were definitely going to spend a good 2 hours at the club.
So the said two hours were spent dancing, drinking water and dancing some more - the buzz was all but gone, or so I thought. Arun was totally bombed, the Liquid Cocaine hit him like a rocket, much to the viewing delight of all voyeurs ;) He was so bombed that he had to be woken up when we reached his place - he had totally passed out in the backseat (sounds familiar). The buzz really got to me once I got home and sat in front of the computer - not only was I buzzed, I was also totally awake! The mix of driving to Tacoma and back, playing 7 games of intense squash on a short supply of food, drinking and dancing was wreaking havoc and I was loving it! I called Ayesha and spoke to her for nearly 90 minutes after which I took a hot shower and passed out. I can't reveal what I said to A but it sure was HOT...
Saturday, December 06, 2003
My future at Microsoft
NGSCB is what I have chosen to work on for the next coupla years at Microsoft. I'm going to work on the kernel team for the product, it's called the Nexus and I can't wait to get my hands dirty! Making a choice wasn't easy; as I highlighted earlier, I had 4 very good offers from great teams. It was tough, trust me; on the one side I was tempted to stay in my current team and work on Driver Quality for the simple fact that I wouldn't have to prove my credentials. Network Security was another serious contender because of my experience in Networking and the fact that Network Security is always going to be a problem in our world - us being enforcers of security and all.
What made me then go the NGSCB route was that the project interested me more than any other I had interviewed for. Working on the NGSCB kernel will be like a class in low-level operating systems with a special onus on security. What more can a geek ask for? :)
All I'd like to say is that I am extremely fortunate to have been made 4 great offers. There are also some people I'd really like to thank for all their help during this past month, in no particular order:
Karan - He came back to work at 2:45 on the morning of my Palladium interview to explain how MM worked to me - and that is just one instance of him helping me out. He's awesome!
Shawn - I couldn't have asked for a better manager in the current situation. Shawn has been completely supportive of me interviewing and has given me the freedom to make an educated decision of where to take my career.
Landy Wang - For the best introduction to the Memory Manager I could've heard before my interviews. He's my idol!
All the managers who offered me positions in their team. I hate turning 3 offers down but...
So here you have it, the summary of my life these past 2 months. Studying, interviewing, studying some more - it's been educational, stressful and exhilarating at the same time. For me though, there is no better feeling than being technically rewarded - and this experience is fair compensation for the lack of accolades received last year!
Interviewing at Microsoft - continued...
This is an update to an earlier entry. I've spent this past month finding out if the work of disparate teams at Microsoft was of interest to me. Determining this wasn't an easy task and now that I have, lemme enlighten those who want to do this in the future:
Step 1: Informational Interview
You tell the interviewer a little bit about your past work (after doing this 3 times, it does get a tad irritating), he (I ain't being sexist here, 6 out of 6 HEs) tells you a bit about his team, he asks you a coding question, then the team's HR representative (5 out of 6 SHEs) sends you an email about the interview details.
Step 2: The Actual interview loop
On an average 5.5 people interviewed me for the teams I choose to interview with. I interviewed with:
NGSCB, formerly known as Palladium
Step 3: Wait to receive offers.
I received 4 :)
1. Wireless Networking
2. Network Security - the manager of the team was an interviewer on the Wireless loop - enuff said!
4. Driver Quality - this didn't require an interview since this project is being executed by an arm of my current team
Step 4: Determine which offer to select...
If you got none or want more, revert to Step 1
Interesting isn't it. This is the 1,000 ft view of the entire process. To find out what to expect from an interview, google "Microsoft Interview Questions" to get a plethora of questions, puzzles and interview details...
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
For all ya fair-skinned "brown-skin wannabe" peeps, a suntan is now a pharmacy-store trip away! The news link is part of the title and can also be found HERE
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Interviewing at MS
I've got an interesting statistic for you. Here is a rundown of the 5 teams I've interviewed at Microsoft complete with teams and number of interviewers:
- Summer 2001 - Internship - Networking - 6 interviews
- October 2001 - Full Time - Base OS and SMS - 5 interviews
- October 2003 - Full Time - HTTP and WinInet - 7 interviews
- November 2003 - Full Time - Palladium (NGSCB) - 5 interviews
- November 2003 - Full Time - Wireless Networking - 5 interviews
That's a total of 28 interviews - now how many of these interviewers do you think were women? If you didn't think ZERO, you are wrong. What can you conclude from this... Mind you, all the teams are in some way related to the Core Windows Team! And people wonder why I'm single :)