Thursday, July 30, 2009

Infosys Joining Date

Freshers who got placed in Infosys have already been informed of their joining dates and now it’s only a matter of time before they begin their new life as an Infoscion. All of my friends have been given joining dates, some guys getting as early as July and the latest being around February. So some guys get busy immediately after completing the last semester while others get some time to enjoy before being burdened by the work pressure.

This system is sure to relief the freshers to some extent, mainly because there doesn’t exist the uncertainty as to when they will join their dream company after waiting for months or whether they will receive the dreaded regret letter at last. However there are a few hurdles to overcome after they step in. A training program is organized which is divided into separate modules. Each module covering a portion of the technical knowledge the candidates are required to be adapted to before being induced into serious projects. Sometimes second chances are given if a candidate fails to perform at first attempt. Subsequently continuous failures may lead them to losing their job.

However, many of my close friends who are waiting for these in-between days between last semester and joining to pass by are having a very enjoyable and chilling time of their lives. They often tell me this is probably the last time they are able to sleep for 10 hours at a stretch without any pressure and a care-free mind. Infosys seems to have made itself known for it’s work pressure alongside it’s quality of services. So when have you got your joining and feel free to share your experiences.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TCS ranks top amongst Global and Indian cos

TCS has ranked as one of the top outsourcing service providers with an outstanding #4 position amongst the best 100 companies in the world in the Global Outsourcing 100 List of 2009. The list which has been prepared by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals not only includes only IT companies but also all sorts of outsourcing companies from all fields.



In the Dataquest ranking in India TCS stood out from the rest with a #1 position. The analysis revealed the last quarter really tested the business model of all the IT companies and TCS admirably braved the challenges with brilliant management skills. Diversification of it’s services also helped it in many aspects. With so much of positives happening around, TCS sure is looking forward to some more growth and improvements that could ensure they remain the best.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mahindra Satyam freshers doubtful

The situation is starting to look really grim as a guy of the 2008 batch shared his worries

here. True to the essence, besides the freshers of the 2009 batch like many of my friends

ist2_1912761-latino-lifestyle-expressions

who are skeptical about their joining this once one of the most reputed companies, some

people of 2008 batch also shared their worries as they'll be ceasing to call themselves as freshers as soon as the next batch passes out. Looking towards uncertainty, many of my friends are unsure when to get their joining dates and are constantly on the look out of  other options available. But the surplus work force that increased fears of job cuts has been put to rest.


According to mid-day.com, the following report provides a crystal clear view of the present scenario.

6,000 engineering students offered jobs by the disgraced computer giant have nowhere to go now.

With the revelation of the country's biggest corporate fraud, Satyam has not only put the jobs of its 53,000 employees in jeopardy, but also spelled doom for nearly 6,000 engineering students. In 2007, Satyam had issued offer letters to nearly 6,000 students on campuses across the country with lucrative salary packages. With the recent series of events, all those dreams and aspirations have come crashing.

'There are no options for us...'

Suresh N, a students picked on campus, is a worried man today. "I was placed in 2007, and finished my engineering in 2008. Satyam HR has been delaying the joining date. When I went to Hyderabad to meet the HR, they did not let us enter," he said.

The sole breadwinner of the family, Suresh said, "I took a loan of Rs 2.5 lakh for my engineering course. My father passed away and I have to look after my mother. I was happy that Satyam offered me a Rs-3-lakh-per-annum package. Now when I went job hunting, I was offered jobs paying just Rs 3,000-4,000 per month"

"Every one is talking about the 53,000 employees of Satyam. But no one is thinking about us. Now, with recession, there are no jobs available," said Sahil Khan, from Shimoga, Karnataka.

The affected students are asking the new board members to consider their plight.

Not only have the students lost out on lucrative jobs, but also the opportunity to go for higher studies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why 5000 employees left TCS?

Latest updates on TCS

The headcount of India's largest software company shrank despite a gross addition of staff. According to Hindustan Times, in the latest quarter TCS added a total of 2,828 employees with the total headcount of 1,43,761 at the start of the quarter. According to a site, if the new hires are taken into consideration, the total employees strength should have reached 1,46,589 by the end of June. However, the firm's headcount was 1,41,642 as of June 30, 2009, showing a net reduction of 4,947 employees.

A company spokesperson confirmed the staff decline but added that TCS's attrition levels were in line with the industry average. "Our attrition level has remained similar to what it was in the previous quarter. However, since we have controlled gross additions, the overall headcount has come down," said a TCS spokesperson.

Regarding the 24885 fresh campus recruitments, TCS confirmed they would honor their promises made to the candidates and would start to give joining from July-September. Lateral hiring would however slow down, but continue however.

But the rumors doing the round whether the employees left on their own or were asked to leave, which I believe TCS would never do because they really value the interests of all their employees. Maybe they were low performers? Or as the TCS spokesperson pointed out, the attrition rate has stayed the same, but only because they have controlled gross additions, the headcount has come down.



Click here for Related Posts on TCS

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Looking to share your Nature, Landscape and Wildlife photos?

All photographers whether an amateur or professional quickly finds he has a pretty large collection of photos, often the better ones finding a place only in their backup storage devices like DVDs etc. But how about sharing your photos with the world where you can allow your family, friends and friends of friends to see them? And what is better than Flickr to share your collection!

You can choose your own settings to allow anybody, or only your friends, or only your family members to view your photos. So privacy isn’t any issue. If you have photos of landscape, nature and wildlife you can start your venture by joining this group and adding your photos. There are lots of groups and as you keep searching and moving about you will find that there’s actually a group existing for virtually every topic.Fullscreen capture 752009 23808 PM.bmp
What becomes addicting after some time is the community feature, because as you share your pics in more and more groups, more people see your photos and leave comments, you comment in theirs when you get time and so it fun to hang out.

Many people are concerned of their privacy being breached and their photos misused. But here if you explore the Flickr’s account section a bit closely you will find lots of right and permissions you can choose to allow or not to allow. For more information you can check out this, though it’s actually an comparison yet the Flickr column alone should prove to be useful.

Monday, July 20, 2009

TCS News : Performance analysis and the road ahead

Latest updates on TCS TCS Joining Date 2009 Batch

With an outstanding performance in the Q1 FY 2009-2010 results, TCS says they will remain cautious as before to try to maintain the same level of excellence in the next quarters as they have achieved, not taking anything for granted in the present global scenario. Talking of 24,885 freshers recruited they said they would ensure to start inducing them in this quarter itself in a staggered way. Here is a collection of some of the highlights of the what the chiefs of TCS said in NDTV Profit and CNBC TV18. Their designations are as follows: S Ramadorai, CEO & MD, TCS; S Mahalingam, CFO & ED, TCS; Surya Kant, President, TCS America; N Chandrasekaran, COO & ED, TCS; Ajoy Mukherjee, Head Global HR, TCS; A.S. Lakshminarayan, VP & Head - Europe, TCS.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Firefox Toolbar: Kewll, now with Twitter, Bing, Real-time search, Email notifier, Best Firefox addons, extensions and more

Get Kewll here

Yes, you have heard it right, cool! This could be a completely new beginning in the usage of toolbars for all the tech-savvy guys around. The toolbar Kewll has been uniquely prepared to cater to some of the most

Kewll 150x50 Text Logo

desired needs of common users keeping simplicity and ergonomics in mind at the same time. Navigating across sites like Orkut, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace is just a breeze now with all the options present distinctly in easy to access positions. Every options of these awesome social networking sites provided just at the fingertips with just a click away. Now checking your Orkut scrapbook, uploading photos to Flickr or posting on your Facebook profile would take less than 10 seconds!

It does boast of the Google, Bing, Yahoo and Wikipedia search options that all toolbars have today. But it also enables you to search some of the top sites like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Orkut, Facebook, IMDB Movies, Images, Scoopler (the best real-time search engine, if you are not yet aware about it, better check it out), CNET’s Download site and Blog search. Did I say Flickr and Picasa? Oh yes, now searching some of the best photos in Flickr and Picasa Web Albums is just a click away. These tools are sure to satisfy all your needs for quite some time now. What’s better, if you have some innovative ideas, just click the Kewll button and contact. WARNING: Do not get addicted to searching !!

Just when you are thinking that it’s all over, a few more bits and pieces come together to make Kewll all the more appealing. You get your most essential tools like Gmail, Yahoo mail, Google News, Orkut, Facebook, YouTube, etc under “Royal Stuffs”. The best part is you can always use the Kewll button to suggest stuffs and see them appear on the toolbar soon. The News and Sports tabs deserve to speak for themselves. With updates happening every moment round the world, you won’t fall behind even for one second with it.

Now coming to my blog’s section. With overwhelming response from my readers about the tech articles and news of TCS, I decided to put it in the toolbar so that readers can stay updated in the browser itself and read the new articles any time.


Checking the new Mozilla Firefox extensions and Firefox Add-ons is a breeze now

with the “Check” option which instantly shows the best Mozilla Firefox Add-ons

available. If you are concerned about a website’s rankings, you can check out it’s Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Technorati rank and even predict a site’s future PageRank. It often proves to be an useful tool to blogger and webmasters or even SEOs. The Gadgets and Games section are for you to check out.


If you are looking for a real-time toolbar, here it is !! Click here to get Kewll !



Friday, July 17, 2009

TCS Q1 Results : Tata Consultancy Services announces Q1 FY 2009-2010 result, freshers rejoice!

Updates on TCS 2009 Batch TCS Joining Date 2009 Batch

TCS has finally released their Quarter 1 results for the Financial year 2009-10. Amongst others, freshers who are awaiting joining dates were really eager to see how they fare. And the good news has arrived. TCS will start to call freshers from this quarter itself. You cannot be sure when they will give joining dates to your college, but people say they call according to the rankings of the colleges. An official assurance for us after a long time!

In a press conference, some of the main points expressed by TCS are -
-Maintained vigor in pricing deals
-Focus on pharma, energy and utility sectors showing result
-Telecom, manufacturing and IT sectors under pressure
-Lower costs, lower forex loss increased dividend in Q1
-Forex hedging loss stood at Rs 85 crore versus Rs 195 crore (QoQ)
-Forex loss to come down further due to less outstanding hedges
-Cost management efforts yielded better margins at 24.83%
-Moved to more offshoring in Q1
-Q1 volume growth stood at 3.54%
-Earnings/share at Rs 7.83 versus Rs 6.59 (YoY)
-Revenue from new clients at 0.3% versus 0.4% (YoY)
-2009 Batch recruits will start getting joinings in Q2 (July-Sept 2009)
-Fresh campus recruitments to start in January 2010
-Net Profit up 15% Quarter-to-Quarter at Rs. 1,534 crore

Campus offers:
The campus offers made for the current fiscal totaled 24,885. TCS has made about 111 job offers to prospects for its development centre in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Of these, 99 have accepted offers,while 38 have joined. It may be recalled that with the help of tax rebates and grants from the Ohio State government, TCS inaugurated the centre in March, 2008. The project aims to create 1,000 jobs there over three years.

Discretionary spending from clients is still under pressure and discretionary projects are sporadic, according to N. Chandrasekaran, Executive Director and COO, TCS. Discretionary spends are those that IT decision-makers in client companies decide on a continuous basis, using their discretion, as opposed to IT budgets for their companies fixed once a year.


In their official site TCS said:
* 24,885 campus offer were made in FY09. They would start joining us from Q2 onwards.
* Campus visits in FY10 would start in Q4 when students are in their last semester.

Though the results may not be mind-blowing, but surely a very comfortable one and something which will assure freshers and the employees alike of a stable future. With the 2010 batch of students to be recruited from January 2010 onwards, it surely is a great news for the 2009 batch whose joinings will start in Q2 as their anxious waiting days are sure to become lot more calm now!

Click here for Related Posts on TCS

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Got a camera phone and know Photoshop? You virtually have a digital camera.

In this digital age today if you are not using a cell phone from the Stone Ages, you have a camera attached with it. If it’s above 2 megapixel you are surely taking photos decently. But have you ever thought of that SLR camera and wished only if you could possess one?

Yeah, all of us at the beginning wish we could possess stuffs like the Canon 50D or the 60D but haven’t yet got a hand on it yet.

But you can do a lot of stuffs with your digital camera as well, surely not those high-end pics you get by a camera, but far better than what you thought your mobile camera could achieve. You just need to know a bit of Adobe Photoshop. You would be surprised at the amount of stuffs you can do with this cool software. Just get hold of a few pics you have taken by your camera. Open them with Photoshop, now try these few things out.
* Go to Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation. Now slide the sliders and experiment.
* Go to Image->Adjustments->Brightness/Contrast. Again try out experimenting.
* Go to Filter->Noise->Reduce Noise. Do until it looks fine to you.
* Go to Filter->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen. Keep sharpening until you are satisfied. But don’t forget the noise you get with it.

These are some extremely basic Photoshop settings and techniques to get started. On prolonged use, there’s virtually a gold mine hidden behind this software. Sky is the limit and while using Photoshop on your photos, you can enhance them and make them almost at par with some digital cameras! Do they say “It’s artificial!”, tell them why do they change their settings in their cameras then!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Power of Technology : Did you know?

It has been obvious and undeniable for quite a few years now, the rate at which technology is engulfing and taking part in every minute aspect of our day to day lives. But seldom we can imagine at what scale it’s impact is right now over the entire world. Seldom we get to know the facts that fill us with awe and wonder at what a tech age we are living in! The future is sure to be much more fascinating with nanotechnology and artificial intelligence gaining pace and Microsoft coming up with some cool projects. But even now, there is enough to make us wonder. See some facts and realize yourself.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Microsoft Internship Experience

This is a guest post by Kaustav Dey Biswas. He is a total tech geek and loves his computer and computing stuff like anything in the world. Programming is something as natural to him as sleep. He’s sharing his Microsoft Internship Experience here.

Last summer, I got an opportunity for an Internship at Microsoft – India Development Center (MS-IDC), Hyderabad for my summer training. Microsoft IDC provides Internship to several students from all over the country every summer. For this, many engineering colleges are notified and interested pre-final year students from CS & IT disciplines are asked to submit their CVs online. The CVs are then filtered (usually by the 10+2 & Semester marks) and shortlisted students from each geographical zone are called in a written technical round consisting of MCQs. The students qualifying this test have to go through two rounds of technical interviews to make it as an ‘Intern @ Microsoft’.

But for me, though, the case was slightly different. I had no information about Microsoft Internships. I had participated in an online Unix-based programming event at IIT Mumbai’s annual TechFest. I came second in it, and was thereby offered an opportunity for Internship at Microsoft (apparently, the event was sponsored by Microsoft). As a result, I didn’t have to go through the CV short listing and the written test. I was directly called in for the Interviews, and thankfully, there was no HR. In the first round, I was asked some OS related questions to start with. I had to explain semaphores and write a few code snippets to demonstrate their usage. Then I was asked algorithm related questions on a few problems relating to sorting, and was asked to devise a few efficient algorithms based on linked lists and trees. To finish it off, I had to solve a couple of puzzles. In the second round of interview, there were a couple of simple programs for me to write in front of the interviewer. But the programs had to handle all sorts of exception conditions and I had to write several test cases to verify my own codes. I cleared both the rounds and was selected for the Internship.

I went over to Hyderabad and joined in alongside several students from all across the country (about seventy of them, mostly from IITs, NITs, BITs and IIITs). The duration of the Internship was to be selected by the candidate (with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 months). I selected mine to be 2 months (that was the most common choice).

Microsoft IDC is the second largest development center of Microsoft, next only to their headquarters at Redmond, US. IDC works jointly with the other Development Centers on several products, and has ownership of a few. Products are grouped into product sets, on the basis of potential target users and field of usage (e.g., IBOT is the product set targeted towards business farms and corporate office usage, consisting of MS Office (Office), Office Mobile (OM), Dynamics CRM (CRM) and Duet). Each product is headed by a Product Unit Manager (PUM) and is subdivided into smaller components or features (e.g., MS Office is subdivided into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc). Each of those features has a set of 3 dedicated teams – Development (Dev), Testing (Test) and Product Management (PM), each consisting of 5-10 engineers and piloted by a team Lead and supervised by a Manager. While the Dev team is responsible for the core development, the Test team is supposed to author and automate test cases to test functionality and performance, while the PM team coordinates activities of the Dev and Test teams and keeps the product heads informed of the progress.

Each Intern was to be placed into a separate Team. As such, I was placed in the IBOT CRM Collaboration Test Team. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a product mainly targeted to be used in corporate service centers for tracking service and maintenance orders. It has come across several versions and now supports complete sales management, office integration & automation, a very tight hierarchical security scheme to support the organizational framework and a variety of other useful features. Collaboration is an Integration feature, newly being added to CRM. Integration teams are responsible for optional integration of the current product with another, completely different product. As such, this Collaboration Team was integrating CRM with SharePoint (SP), a server-based product used to set up a Team Site for collaborative processes, where different users from different teams of different hierarchy can share stuff and interact with the members of other teams.

The IBOT teams mainly use Visual C# and .NET (on a Win 2K3 / 2K8 Server platform) for the development. Apart from that, most products have platform libraries bundled into SDKs. These libraries are prewritten modules which are used in further stages of development, and are often shipped with the mainline product to enable system administrators to tweak the deployment as per the organization’s needs. At Microsoft, code reusability is very much stressed upon. They believe that rewriting prewritten code wastes valuable time and pumps up the maintainability cost. As such, utmost care is taken while building the class hierarchy structures and writing new code so that it can be made as generic as possible and to facilitate portability. Before writing even a single module (however simple it may be), you must search the source tree to find if there is any compatible module already available, and use it wherever possible, without hampering efficiency. If you think that you have a better way of putting things than the prewritten module, you can’t just say “Do hell with the crap module, I will write it myself”. In such a situation, you need to contact the original writer of that module, discuss your suggested improvements with him and get it updated in such a way that codes already using that module shouldn’t break. You then use the updated module. In short, you must avoid rewriting code as much as possible, and try to rely mostly on SDKs. The Integration teams need to know the SDKs of both the mother product as well as that of the product it is being integrated with, equally well.

The Interns are given a very short time to ramp up on the SDKs. Now this is one big problem for the ‘googlers’ like me! If you fail to understand things and try to google up in search of a solution, you will, in most cases, draw a blank because you are probably the first person to be working on it! The SDKs are not adequately documented and suffer from several frequent versioned and sub-versioned changes. Actually, with the tight schedule that people are put into, they barely finish their work in time, and are least bothered about documenting their codes elaborately or updating the central documentation resources. As such, in many cases, you need to study the codes and the inline comments to understand how things work.

At Microsoft, an incremental development methodology is followed. The whole product is subdivided into several Features, and these features are grouped into Milestones as per priority level. The initial Milestones deal with the core level features, while the later Milestones gradually give way to optional features, add-ons and enhancements. At every Milestone, key areas and feature upgrades are highlighted. Implementation policies are then set up by the PM team, and are audited and finally agreed upon through several conferences with the Dev and Test teams. Once the feature design (called Specs) has been locked, the Devs set to work and come up with a pseudo code for the implementation (called the Dev Design), while the Testers work parallel on identifying key fault areas, stress points, performance bottlenecks and Spec bugs, if any. Whenever the Testers detect a glitch, a Bug is opened with a unique ID and is assigned to the concerned person. Once the Spec Sheet and the Dev Design are finalized, Testable Units (TUs) are identified and assigned to different members of the Dev team, with a deadline. These TUs are subparts of the features that can be tested independently; this allows the Devs and Testers to work in parallel. While the Devs work on delivering the TUs in time, the Testers are individually assigned Dev ‘Buddies’ (i.e., the Developer whose work he will verify) and they start off Authoring and Automating Test Cases (TC). In the Test Authoring phase, the concerned Tester identifies the code paths and potential error-prone regions from the Dev Design, and writes TCs to exploit them thoroughly in an attempt to break the code (“A successful test is one which fails the program”). Then, the minimal set of TCs required for verifying the basic functionality of the code are identified and isolated as ‘Scorecards’. In the Test Automation phase, the concerned Tester writes down automation scripts (which provide inputs to the program, calculate the output in a way different from the way the program works, and tally the results) for the authored TCs. The Scorecards are automated as a first priority. When the TUs are delivered by a Dev, he first calls upon one of his teammates (also a Dev) to Review his code (this is done to ensure that things are looked at from different points of view and nothing is missed). After the code review is complete, the feature is first manually verified for basic functionality by his Test Buddy (called Buddy Testing) and the relevant Scorecards are then run on it automatically on several servers, environments and architectures, and failures are identified. Whenever the Dev code fails, a bug is opened by the Tester and is assigned to the concerned Developer, who needs to resolve and resubmit the corrected code on priority. After thoroughly rechecking the bug and verifying that it has been resolved, the Tester closes the bug. After all the TUs have been delivered by the Dev team, the Code Complete flag is reached. The process then enters Stabilization phase, wherein the Testers run all their TCs (called the Feature Verification Tests – FVTs) and bugs are opened and resolved. Once all the bugs are resolved and the features have been optimized for performance and stress handling, the code is ‘Handed-off’ and the Milestone is deemed complete. The next Milestone starts shortly thereafter and the cycle repeats until all the Milestones are completed. The product then moves into the Release Candidate (RC) phase. Thereafter, several alpha and beta versions are released and extensive testing and bug-reporting is carried out by vendors and real-world users until a stable (final) version of the product is released and shipped.

At every phase, several open meetings and conferences are carried out. These meetings can be scheduled by anyone in the team, and may even include people from other teams (if relevant) to obtain diverse opinions and suggestions on different issues. People schedule team meetings after taking every single step, to make sure that it’s the best possible foot forward, and to make use of the collective intellect of the entire team. Apart from these, there are weekly and monthly status report meetings at different hierarchies. One-to-one meetings can also be scheduled by anyone with anyone to close down on personal or less-important issues. As a whole, people spend almost half the time attending meetings and teleconferences! But it results in a very strong coordination within teams and provides enough freedom and encouragement for anyone and everyone to come up with brilliant ideas and novel solutions to problems (and more importantly, novel problems to solutions!). “Identifying problems is as important as solving them”! Utmost care is taken to identify and resolve issues at an early stage, so that after having invested months into a project, blocking issues doesn’t come up to render the project practically unfeasible, or requires to undo everything and start off from the beginning with a new plan.

Several internal tools are used to aid the development process. The most important of them is the Source Depot (SD). As the name suggests, it is a centralized system which holds the entire source tree for a project (product), including core product source codes, test automation codes, built binaries and documentations, all arranged in a proper modular way. This huge storage is split across several servers in the Redmond HQ, and is also locally cached in the servers of the Development Centers working on that particular project. It has extensive support for maintenance and versioning, parallel modifications and resolutions and very stringent, inbuilt checks to verify that updating of codes doesn’t cause other dependant codes to break. SD has a hierarchical access corresponding to the department and role of the enlisting person, and as such, people in CRM project have access to only the CRM codes. Several commands and options are available under SD’s build window to compile code fragments, sync to changes, edit or add new code and submit modifications to the main source tree. Mainline sub-versioned builds are automated and scheduled at the end of each day, so that after each day, you have a complete build with the latest changes incorporated. Whenever a new code or a change is submitted, it is put through ‘Gauntlet’, an automated gatekeeper that compiles and builds the code, verifies rules based on good programming practices, builds the entire source tree from scratch with the change incorporated (to ensure that the change doesn’t break dependant codes) and runs various tests to ensure everything is in order. A change, no matter how small, takes about 4 hours of processing in the Gauntlet, and if (and only if) it passes all the tests, it is added to the SD (this is called a Check-in).

Other useful tools include the Product Studio (PS), which tracks submission of TUs and the corresponding automated TCs to be run against each of them, internally schedules the TCs to run once the corresponding feature is delivered and updates the results (pass percentage, logs, etc). Another tool widely in use is the CRM, for assigning and tracking jobs, verifying their status and remaining time, and automatically updating the overall progress chart. Apart from these, several products are internally modified to suit the particular needs of development teams (e.g., Microsoft Rascal, an internal scaled-down version of the Visual Studio, has replaced the more feature-rich but memory-hungry Visual Studio). Overall, everything is so much well-planned, integrated and well-maintained with everything else that you can seamlessly work between applications without worrying for inconsistencies. A perfect blend of centralization and distribution; update at one place, and it gets updated everywhere!

At Microsoft, you never fall short of resources. If you need ten machines to work with, the machines will be delivered to your cubicle (or dedicated to you via remote desktop connection from the central labs) within ten minutes. The work environment is awesome! The employees enjoy their work, and literally hate to leave office! If you get to any corner of the office, whether it is a cafeteria, canteen, passage, parking lot, or even a toilet, you will hear people talking of Check-ins and dlls and network protocols! There are no conversations on sports, music, movies or politics anywhere, and as such, no scope for diversion. There is no dress code, and there are no work hours; all that matters is completion before deadlines. Informal meetings take place on dinner tables and smoking zones. And if, at any point of time, you feel bored of your work, you have TT tables, Fusball arcades, pool tables, gyms and even football grounds to sweat it out or to relax, whatever be your choice.

Overall, at Microsoft, people do make mistakes and you can find rare instances of lack of coordination, but the elegance of design, the sophisticated development methodologies, the focused approach to close down issues on priority and the seamless integration of human innovation and automated tools make everything fall in place and help craft seemingly flawless products. “If you perfect every small step, the end product comes out perfect automatically”!

It took me time to understand all relevant things, learn Visual Studio and .NET from scratch and ramp up on the SDKs before going productive. But with the help of my Mentor (a team-mate) and my Manager (our team Lead), I got the hang of things very fast and adapted quickly. I developed several wrapper libraries (libraries wrapping up the platform libraries, so that changes in platform libraries can be easily accommodated by making the corresponding changes in the interface methods of the wrappers, rather than changing the actual codes at several places), and authored and automated several test suites relating to the security mapping between CRM and SP. At the end of my Internship period, I was given a fair review and was recommended for Full Time Employee (FTE) by my Mentor and Manager. Thereafter, I had to face two rounds of technical interviews. My first interview was scheduled with the Manager of my Manager (MOM), and I was given a design oriented problem: Discuss and design the entire test suite, including the base wrapper libraries, for testing Recurring Appointments in Microsoft Outlook. I had no idea on how that works, and so I bugged him a lot, asking for clarifications and assumptions at every step. At the end, we agreed upon a fair picture, and I was cleared for the final round of interview. This interview was scheduled with the MOM of another team. Here, I was asked some generic questions on my Internship experience, key learning and improvement points, some basic questions on C and data-structures, a couple of puzzles and a program to be coded on the board with as much efficiency and as little time as possible. I had a fair performance there, and at the end, I was selected as an FTE at Microsoft IDC.

It was an amazing experience all through, and I am looking forward to meet new challenges and enjoy my work at the Microsoft IDC.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Envisioning the future with technology

Ever dreamt of what the future would be like with further advancements. I find it pretty tough to imagine what will be the limits of our achievements. With the touch generation already getting old and projects like Natal are coming into existence, it’s time for something new to come out.

Communication technologies are ceasing to be as attractive as they were before with tele-presence and tele-conferences quiet common nowadays, yet a great deal of fortune seems to lie in communication technology itself, innovative newer inventions or making existing ones innovatively simple, that’s what it should be like. Yet some more which fascinate me are hand-held technologies you carry with you which can be made to have unlimited possibilities. If you want to have a vague idea what I mean you may try out the media below.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Does COMPUTER SCIENCE research really help the industry in India ?

This is a guest post by one of my cool friends Ratnajit Mukherjee. He's really a lover of technology and has a flare for photography. He wanted to share his information on the impact of computer science research.

Well my friend I had a unique experience a few days when I met one of the my teachers who taught me .net in Globsyn technologies and we were discussing how research goes on and how things are different at a research level and in the industry! I was actually flabbergasted to hear from him that research hardly helps the IT industry. I regret to say that it is quite appalling for a person who has worked so many years in the IT industry to say something like that. Obviously he is not alone many in the IT world actually feel like that even some of you who will read this article feel like that but in this article I present my views about how research affects IT industry and how it has affected it and how it will in the near future. Off course you are welcome to differ in opinion but I am always ready to accept comments. Thanks for reading this in the first place. Now lets cut the crap and come to the point.

  1. The whole IT industry owes its existence to one thing global e-business solutions to everything from managing Olympics to a simple online bookstore but who in the world made it possible. ANS)COMPUTER SCIENCE research how ? a)Communication technology, the internet, cryptography, the web technologies used to build the whole array of soft wares and technologies now used in everything in the IT Industry. Mind you J2EE, ASP.NET or the RSA Algorithm or GUI based designs were all research projects my friend. But do you ever think this while writing the program in Java or j2EE no why ? because they are so very ubiquitous to us.
  2. One of the most prolific clients to the IT industry is the banking sector which now proudly announces the core banking systems. ATMs are already connected to each other. You can have a Debit card of one bank and use other bank's atm to withdraw cash at the press of a few buttons but do you ever think how much money, time, effort and research went to make a system so intertwined with our lives.
  3. Lets take an even more obvious example which we all use in our lives in fact somebody or anybody who has used computers ever can't live without it now and it is in fact so integral part of our lives that we hardly know what to do without it !!! Yes my friend I am talking of GOOGLE SEARCH ENGINE ! Almost everybody who has ever placed a hand on the computer has used this seemingly simple, humble thing called Google search where you can search and get answers about everything under and the sun and above it. But have you ever given a thought what amount of research has gone behind this. Before Google there was a yahoo search engine and an MSN search engine but they are nowhere now why because Google came with an algorithm which made search not only faster, simpler more effective and exhaustive but it actually changed the way we think, gather information and use the Internet to our own use.
  4. Another leading research fields like VLSI has changed the way we think about Computer Science processors. We strut our stuffs like a Core 2 Duo or a Core 4 Duo but do you ever think how scientists came up with the idea of multicore processors why the single core processors could not cater to the needs and how multicore processor actually speeds up things.
  5. Ok lets talk about some other stuffs which affected our lives. We all know how useful wireless networks are in terms of robustness reaching places where wired connectivity is not only difficult but impossible but do you know that it was actually a research project which spawned in University of Hawaii. If you think you have heard enough how about cell phones. How many people thought 30 years that all of us will be able to talk on a small gadget which can be moved anywhere in the world and you can still connect to anybody in the world. Well very people thought so and it is due to these people that we all have a handset in our pockets no matter what form/shape size it takes.
  6. A direct implication of Wireless networking is Mobile Networks. Did you ever think that it would be possible to move around the whole world and talk around the whole world at the same point of time with such seamless integration of technologies.
  7. I can give you a more ubiquitous example. Operating Systems. Everybody of use uses a Windows OS or Linux or some other OS of your choice but have you ever given it a thought how OS actually came into being. Yes it started from a garage but the people who actually worked in a the garage were actually doing some research on control systems and they required a system which could handle multiple other sub systems and this idea finally took the shape of an OS.
  8. There are many many examples like this small things which have become so, so very obvious in our lives that have taken them for granted. They have become present everywhere in our lives and we can't think life without them. Here are a list of topics which are being looked at as interesting lines of research for further development of the IT industry like:
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Complex and Neural Networks
  • Embedded Technologies & VLSI Design
  • Machine Learning
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Mobile Computing & UMTS Networks.
I am not going to the details of these topics but any of you interested in these must check out what these are in order to realize that how some of our opinions about computer science research is horribly wrong. India is fast becoming service only country with little or no effort into research. This is a very harmful trend as this will one day help to abate our values as development partners. We are known as terrific service providers but when do you learn to create something new. It is very important to us now since it is time we start something new on our own and there is always a chance of failure no matter how cautiously we proceed.

Anyway I will be returning with some interesting facts and figures and how each labs are working related to the topic, we were talking about !!!
Please give it a thought till i return with some more interesting facts and how it affects the IT industry I would say the whole IT industry survives because there is research to take design newer and better technologies which is the IT industry helps in implementing on everyday basis.

South Point High School opts for CBSE board along with West Bengal Board

South Point High School, Kolkata has got approval from the School Education Authorities to keep CBSE Board besides it’s existing famous West Bengal Board which churns out some of the best students in the state. Now it seems only a matter of time before the CBSE authorities approve this affiliation request. This system is expected to be applied 2010 onwards. This news has been announced by the Principal at the Annual Prize Distribution Ceremony at Science City today.

n6303231994_1520This news comes as a new milestone for this 55 year old heritage. A bengali news channel showed clippings of this news today. As an ex-Pointer, it feels good to say the least. Students will now be able to prepare at par with the syllabus of some of the coolest all India exams like IIT-JEE and AIEEE. Some pressure will also be relieved from the students if they choose this board as syllabus will be much lighter compared to West Bengal board. Students can choose their board before class lX or after their class X exams. But there is uncertainty whether students currently in class Vlll will be able to avail this new system.

With the school keeping the option for both the boards open, it is sure to add a nice feather in the cap for the school, as now students have more options open while aspiring for various streams and avenues for higher studies. They will have option to choose a board after class Vlll final exams. The impacts of this system are yet to be seen, though they are sure to beneficial to the students, in more ways than one. With opportunities of higher studies and jobs widening everyday, this is sure a good move for the education system in the state.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Project Natal : Breakthrough in home entertainment by Microsoft

Details on Project Natal  Latest Natal News


You stand in front of your Xbox 360 and it recognizes your face and voice instantly and logs you in immediately and you can start walking and jumping as you play a skateboard game or any other action game. It brings a real-life experience to all your gaming stuffs. In some circumstances it will also detect if you are lying something! Microsoft Senior Vice President Don Mattrick and Steven Spielberg introduced “Project Natal” last month and it immediately grabbed attention of millions. Spielberg was ecstatic of the concept. This tech stuff about to be released next year has been officially confirmed by Steve Balmer, the CEO. “Two months ago, Don shared with me the ‘Natal’ experience, and the gamer in me went out of my mind when I got to be really interactive with this,” said Spielberg. I really feel this concept of motion gaming is really great and is going to revolutionize home entertainment. It is simply unlike anything that has happened ever before to the gaming as well as entertainment industry. As rumors do the round what could it be priced at, it’s extremely unlikely people will opt for the Natal if it’s priced way to high than it’s existing competitors, however hi-end it might be! A very cool demonstration of this device is given below.