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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Inspiring innovation!!!

There is opportunity to innovate in whatever you are doing. If there is something that you do everyday, it probably needs to be automated - assigned to a Robot or a Computer Program. Atleast some part of it can be automated so that you only need to make a quick decision and then its back to the automaton to take over.

Here are things I am trying to improve at work:
=> Sorting my mails and taking standard actions to certain mails - Have defined rules in my Outlook to automate it and simplify my work
=> Templates to send standard mails to Team and help make the rules defined above (some based on Subject Line) work better. In fact even wrote some VB Script to customize the e-mails sent (like setting today's or the following Friday's date and sending it) with just a couple of button clicks.
=> Excel sheets with calculations put in to avoid having to use the calculator in billing and budgeting. Pivot Tables in Excel Sheets. They Rock!!!
=> Scripts to automate sets of commands to be run on login to Unix Box
=> Storing SQL commands used in the different screens so that testing becomes easier
=> Using iOpus Macros to browse all my favorite webpages and automate web tasks - still lot of scope for improvement.

Looking for ways to innovate everyday. Life's becoming simpler everyday. But at least with some of these things, do I really want it to? Maybe its the joy of doing things that doesn't require any effort from the brain while you can dream away to glory that I don't want to miss. :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Have we lost the pride?

I know enough has been said by anyone who is somebody and everyone who is nobody about the NRN-Anthem saga. Here's my two cents on this.

Just to set the context for the few who haven't heard about this controversy. The president comes visiting to Mysore and twice the National Anthem is played in Instrumental Form instead of being sung while Dr. Abdul Kalam seemed to be the only one actually singing it enthusiastically. Later in a press conference, when asked why the Instrumental version was played, the great Indian Business Leader says

“Indeed we had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners on-board here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem.”

I was shocked when I heard this and I bet everyone with some good sense would be. How can you feel embarassed by someone singing their own national anthem. What about the Olympics? The National Anthem of all the Medal Winners is played one after the other. What about the F1? The National Anthem of the Winning Team and Driver is played. Which world is our great leader living in?

To think that this man was being projected to be the President of the country? Were we lucky as a nation or what?

Does this require NRN to be arrested? Maybe that's going too far since I'm assuming he didn't mean to actually insult the National Symbol. It's just that being servile to Customers has become a way of life for most IT Leaders. I see the way my Onsite Managers used to behave with the Client. Just the sight of a different skin colour makes you servile by habit. "Customer is always right" being the Mantra these days. But does that have to mean you stop being proud of your country and lose your self-esteem?


Sunday, April 01, 2007

First Official Interview

You know what I'm talking about, don't you. Yeah, the interview where there is no Interviewer or Interviewee. The one that can make or break your life or just provide wholesome entertainment maybe some time in the future when you look back at it. Why official? I'd been through one unofficial one - sometime back. :)

I decided to put it in my blog so that I'll have some humour to come back to. Well. Not really. Maybe some learnings for upcoming Interviewers(ee) once I'm done with this.

We reach the decided place and are about to call the bride's parents to see how much longer they are going to be when I see a cute girl step out with her parents. They too seemed to be looking around as cluelessly as us. So sort of figured out they were the ones and approached them. After a few minutes of Introductions, the parents got down to the usual linking each other by links as far as they could go. Some links traced included school, college and work connections. Just as I was about to doze off, my mom said - you guys must be getting bored. Why don't you go to a different table and talk to each other? Oh!! No. I was really enjoying this. :-)

Me and N move to a different table in the corner (Bad choice as it turned out later). First couple of minutes of stunning silence. Then a few stupid attempts at conversation later, we did get to know each other a bit. Unfortunately, it turns out N hadn't yet recovered from her last broken engagement. She was going on and on about why it was the worst phase of her life and here I was consoling or atleast trying to console her. I was praying that she wouldn't burst into tears and make everyone think that I'd made her cry.

At one point, I told her about why she needed to take more time off, get over this crisis and then restart her search for her life-partner. Here I was acting like an Agony-Uncle to a potential life-partner. Anyway, even if she was a potential, the timing just wasn't right. The reasoning given by my parents to convince me to see the girl was that neither were they in a hurry to get married nor were we (since my bro was still looking). So if we liked each other, it would have been perfect. But as I'd repeatedly suggested to my parents, no-one and I repeat no-one can get over a broken engagement or marriage in a month and be ready to get engaged to another person.

Anyway back to where I left off, N and I were talking about our likes and dis-likes and interests and how we spend our time when an old man next to our table started blowing cigarette smoke in the general direction of our table or maybe it was just the wrong corner we chose. This brought our conversation to an abrupt end. We looked at each other. I said let's move to another table, got up looked around to see if there was another clean empty table, found none. The only other option was to walk back to the table where our parents were and wrapped it up.

My personal opinion was that we could have let it hang as it is and take it up whenever she was ready for this. But as it appears, things didn't work out (why it didn't is interesting material for another post).