Sunday, October 24, 2010

My First Travelog

I always wanted to write a travelogue - being an enthusiast as I am, recording your current experiences just by twitting them is just not enough, because you end up with a handful of videos, photos etc. when you travel, and uploading them 'on-the-fly' is something that I am not yet familiar with.

And, there is one just difference in this - my travelogues would (at least at this stage) reflect the travel, and not the stay, as they say "The journey matters, not (always) the destination".

So, here goes my 1st travelogue - this time it is just the route exploration, still Buckle Up !

Oh, and by the way, I am interested in recording the destinations (stays) too. I googled for this, and came up with a nice TravelPod to record them. In fact I even created a profile for me. Watch out this space, I am yet to begin :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well, back in action...

For those who had been reading my blogs on and off, sorry about being a nearly-none-active blogger, since I wrote far less stuff than I expected that I should. For the past one and a half year, it is nothing anyway.

Life around me has been crazily busy. On the personal front, it was a shattering experience of being the one getting everything, and then slowly, exponentially zooming back to nothing.

But, I am catching up. I really didn't have much time to talk about what I have been thinking or doing, or working on, but I do want to improve this situation now.

I believe this begins again. I mean the Blogging. Writing. Dreaming. Anything. Everything. And all that.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

BarCamp7 on Cloud Computing

This saturday is the most expected BarCamp7 @ Amazon campus. ‘Most expected’ because the session was code-named ‘computing on cloud 9’ and also because I attended last week’s session on Cloud Computing @ HYSEA.

Contrary to last week, I felt the audience reaction this week was like this:

Supposed to be demo-packed, the sessions are either incomplete (thanks to the bad internet connectivity) or completely DOS-based command line views...pfff! An important feedback for every organizer of such (barcamp-like) workshops/sessions - please arrange reasonable internet connectivity so both presenters and viewers can have a good experience!

An overview of the complete session is time-lined by Ramesh here (one of these days, I should also try live-blogging, he he). I would like to pick up more off-beat information on the sessions.

Hadoop: Jothi from Yahoo gave a presentation on this software layer on commodity machines. He started with an introduction on grid computing, made an age-old statement that ‘hardware is expensive’ (not exactly a reason to go for cloud computing), and moved on to a non-demo presentation of the framework which is intended to solve problems faced in grid computing. The presentation made me think that ‘thick client’ applications alone can be written, still, Hadoop is surely something to look out for. Especially it being open-source and as Jothi states ‘security is not an issue’, it could surely bring smiles to the developer community. At least it did when he credited Google and its MapReduce algo which is used extensively in Hadoop :-). More than the complete presentation, a picture of their data center (20 or so rows, 5+ stacks...) is enough 1000 words to explain the seriousness! Want to do Hadoop projects? Check out here!

Google App Engine: Anirudh gave us a (yet another) Hello World demo (internally, it is using yet another markup language – YAML & Python) using the App Engine, which is the infrastructure for building applications over the cloud. Calling this the (yet another) ‘next evolution in computing’, the demo was more an application demo, and not much on the infrastructure behind it, as Google App Engine was detailed last Saturday itself. The demo was really ‘techie’ right from command line.

DataDirect OpenAccess – T sales force demo from Mateen showed mof Microsoft Access + Crystal reports and less SalesForce – that you really don’t need to know SalesForce, worry only about your work. The demo is a typical example of SaaS consumption.

AMLOCK – Anup presented on re-engineering amlock for multi-tenancy. This is an example for not owning a solution (cost of ownership) and still hosting it. The presentation is a typical problem-solution based approach.

Using EC2 – Narayana from a start-up company Zveego, showed a command line based demo on virtualized, persistent data storage. It is good to see how EC2 is really easy to create a server machine in just few minutes, and host a web site onto it. It is really a pity when he said ‘google is killing us’ - Zveego has a product which is very much like MapMaker.

BPM on-demand – A demo by Jayaprakash from Cordys is more about the Process Factory and how process centric web applications can be developed. If not for the poor internet connectivity, this would have been a complete demo on business processing online. MashApps is an interesting new term now coined by the Process Factory which is something to watch!

P2W2 – This is from a startup, and the demo shown by Chaitanya is really cool. He showed a tool that recorded the voice and had voice editing options which are no match to any voice editing tools available over the net! The demo is about their online marketplace for services.

Tell-a-friend on the cloud – Given by Hrish from Pramati, his ‘word-of-the-mouth’ marketing tool is an embeddable widget which can be used to tell a friend about your blog or anything you did over the web. There is less about the tool and more about Pramati’s various DB scaling techniques already discussed last week.

LootStreet – This is an out-and-out start-up company by 2 guys from Ahmedabad (2008 passed-outs!!!) with a caption ‘every price is negotiable’. Introducing real e-commerce in India, their solutions are (in their own term) rudimentary communication of shopping over the internet. Surely, start-ups such as this (immediately after graduation) were never thought of in India in 2000 (that’s when I joined the tech world), which shows India is growing, and growing faster.

Acuvate – This is another start-up, and the presenter, Hitesh, just introduced his company as the next dimension of PaaS.

The BarCamp concluded with Map-Reduce algorithm show by Suganth.

On a ‘feedback’ish note, every such session organizers have to ensure the coffee machines are kept well away from presentations. They were louder than the presenters :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cloud Computing Workshop @ HYSEA

It takes an effort in the form of a Workshop on a pleasant Saturday morning and a couple of friend’s company to wake a guy like me from a long slumber and bring me back to blogging!

India’s First Ever Workshop on Cloud Computing was conducted by HYSEA @ Google Campus on Saturday.

Instead of talking about the complete workshop, I would like to pick up a few sessions to feel the overall experience. Though all sessions were good, here is what I felt the crowd reaction was:

Yes, a perfect Bell Curve, where there was a lot of applauds in the middle, when there was Microsoft’s demo of the Live Mesh.

MSV Janakiramm started with a suggestion of calling SaaS as “Storage as a Service”, had his talk centered on Cloud Computing for Consumers. Particularly, the demo was very interesting and kept captivated till the end. You can look and try the mesh live, which was very recently launched in India. Nice to think (from his own words) Windows Update as a Cloud Service :-)

Saji Antony from Cordys talked about Cordys's Limited BETA product “The Process Factory” (BPM On-Demand), which was the other demo-based session yesterday, although this one was recorded. The crowd felt the slow but sure change from Mash-Ups to Mash-Apps happening in the web.

There was equal amount of excitement for the MyPicks web application built on Facebook. The one by Rajiv Shivane from Pramati started with the challenges on computing over the Cloud, then came to the biggest challenge in IT – how to scale up your DB. This talk was full of information on the best possible (although called unorthodox across the world) ways to scale up your database.

From the other sessions, there are few munchies to remember:

1. Animoto - Considered to be the beginning of the end of slide sharing, gets you a nice music video from your images and pictures. Their users just shot up from 25k to 250k in just 3 days!

2. Ooyala – (Also a video technology company) is one among the very few software companies started working without a server. A nice example for a server-less software start-ups.

3. TimesMachine – Pretty known and old, but popular digital magazine from Times NY. You can read almost any (Times) news – even the history.

4. GrepTheWeb – An initiative from Amazon using Hadoop from AWS.

5. Heard about Google’s GQL? It’s just another attempt to create a generic (??) SQL interface for Linux and Unix platforms.

The biggest challenge with Cloud Computing in my opinion is in its validity and usage by large enterprises. Questions like storing my own data on a server of some service provider and the IP security and its safety will be large as you go on your journey in building the enterprise (though maybe not foreseen initially). Cloud Computing is yet to be governed and made clear as it is still in its nascent stage.

Anyway, there is something coming up on the same next week in Bar Camp 7. Let’s see.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back to PEC !

It seems like yesterday when I stood on the same building, waiting, expecting...the longest wait that lasted only for a few minutes when finally my name was announced by my placement officer on behalf of Vanenburg Business IT Solutions. I went to the same college again, this time to stand on the other side of the dais, for the same company (now called Cordys). I am feeling nostalgic for my college days now and the only cure for this is a trip down my memory lane.
My fruitful, funny, adventurous and energetic 7 years in Cordys melted right in front of me when I visited PEC (Pondicherry Engineering College), as one of the panel members for the recruitment drive.

As I gave a short speech to share my experiences with Cordys, I was no more an “industry guy sharing my experiences to students”, I almost became the student myself, the old days passing my mind, days which were truly wonderful though they did not seem the same at that time...

The hall at admin block where we conducted the exam brought back fond memories in which I saw myself sweating, bent-headed, doing engineering drawing, the same hall which I now supervised the exams we conducted - believe me, I felt horns sprouting from my head making me feel that the world is round.

That’s the beauty of looking back – it turns the ordinary into memorable, the mundane into magical...

I visited the computer lab that I so stealthily visited during the brief stint of my college life. Remember there is a reason to be in college...the next 30 to 40 years of your life will shape up on the basis of how your spend your time in college.

The final day of our campus visit from which we picked 4 students into Cordys family is memorable in many ways. This is when I visited the classrooms and professors from my Department of Civil Engineering. Oh, its nice to feel the classrooms occupied by me, the sounds of slamming books and dropping bags, the thrills of bunking classes, the fun of movie-going, the joys and embarrassments of facing the person you were talking about, when the same person come standing behind you, everything came rushing to me.

These were the classrooms we sat, letting our minds wander, thinking about canteen or someone ‘special’...

I was never the brilliant student of my department; I sat the 2nd row merely because of my height...but even after these 7 years of my neglecting to visit the college, my Professors still remembered me...!

I promised a sure visit sometime in November again for a quality time spending with my gurus who are still an inspiration to many of us including me...

I looked back just once when I started to leave from campus and smiled to myself. It doesn’t matter so much that I never trekked Himalayas, never scored a single run for the country, never even got married till now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's Happening?

And it just happened...the Hyderabad Twin Blasts; it really shook the city...!

Both the blasts happened at the crowded places of the city:

· An open air theatre in Lumbini Park, and

· Gokul Chat - the only branch of the famous chat center

Initially, all fingers pointed to terrorist group(s). As of now, some suspects were identified. You can Google and find this. And this one too.

There has been no denying that the terrorist activities are now shaping up to new forms and possibilities, but it really shocks you when it happens in your city - the place where you live. While we communicate from/to our nears-and-dears to confirm nothing worse happened, you can't stop feeling sad for what really happened for others.

Just like the ones that rocked Mumbai in 1993, some more in Coimbatore, the attack on Benaras temples, and then one near Charminar, Hyderabad (barely 5 months ago), we forget incidents. Some of them surface after years which create a different interest, now that the incidents are past.

But, there are some things we can really do help in such situations:

1) When the securities on our office gates try to check us, our cars, our bags, don't deny. Using our power at that time thinking "How dare he check me" or thinking naively as "How come he checks me, he sees me daily!" will surely not help.

2) Note down helpline numbers, message friends; call the ones we know for confirmation. We may not be able to stop the incident, but can at least help in minimizing the damaging after-effects.

Oh, and there are new ones, recent one...this is the collapse of a new bridge (under construction). Life goes on.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Incredible Music Machine

I got this video from a relative in Canada. This music machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa.

97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft Iowa. Yes, it’s farm equipment!

It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video, but as you can see, it is WELL worth the effort.

It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.

A note - Youtube’s upload facility is amazingly faster than any Mail box I ever had (next only to Outlook) :-)