Monday, June 30, 2008

WALL-E

Fantastic movie. Pixar’s one of the greatest movie, easily going to beat all previous records. The color combination, mixing, frame rate, and final smooth touch are excellent. It is hard to believe, that this is an animated movie. Very decent sci-fi story and greater in-depth animated color are the great success for this movie.

This is Robot love story, movie starts from unlivable earth, because of over pollution, frequent dust storms and mountain of trash, where lone robot trash collector WALL-E (with his friend cockroach), just doing his job to convert all wastes into some deposable form for 700 years. All humans were evacuated from earth to space because of unlivable condition 700 years ago by various space ships.

One of the space ship called Axim, sends a probe mission (like the one NASA send to Mars) to earth, that robot is EVE (but Wall-E calls her EVA), the mission is to find life in earth.Wall-E helped her to find a life, a tiny plant inside shoe. As soon as, EVA finds it and store it inside chamber, she becomes kind of coma (actually as per program, robot’s main system goes sleep mode after the mission completes).He chased her up to Axim and fun starts from there.

This movie can be enjoyed by grown ups also ,i did !. My 4 and half years old started talking about this movie a month ago. He was not even blinking his eyes from start to end, he just enjoyed with involvement.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Struts 2 - Unit Testing

Somebody asked me to write a blog about unit testing for Struts 2. Cactus is the best test frame work to test any server side code. One advantage of Srtuts 2 is, action classes are no longer tied with servlet container and A)each action class is a single Java class in other words POJOs B)No mocking object required. Unit testing is very simple for Struts 2, that is, the main purpose of Struts 2 framework. We can use simple JUnit test framework to do Struts 2 unit testing. I recommend, very simple JUnit is better option to do unit testing for Struts 2.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Searching logic in illogical world

This world is full of illogical thoughts and events.Some times I feel that I'm the only one left alone in this planet with logical thoughts and finding hard to survive with this illogical. In last week alone, there are this many illogical events :

Logic 1: Fix immediately whatever issues concerns you most (in context of lawmakers, it is whatever issues concerns to people of a country)
US congress passed a bill to save monkeys on last Tuesday "unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any live animal of any prohibited wildlife species." Source: Chicago Tribune
This is really important to tackle this issue now, because people now really enjoying with Midwest flood, high energy cost, foreclosures, credit crunch and worried about monkeys, dracula, snakes etc.

Logic 2: Don’t talk too much about future, plan for it and take action for todays
McCain announced that he is willing to give $300 Million (I don’t know from his pocket or tax money) to any one, who invents a super-duper battery to power up our cars. He didn’t mention it is for individual, team of people or a company. Is it for only cars? then what about flights, power generators, rocket engine, trains. If McCain and others (senators) works now and take action against US oil corps about not using all available leased oil resources, oil would have came down at least by 50% within 1 month.

Logic 3: Don’t be a coat, be a skin
In business environment, particularly service oriented organization, be a skin with customers. Attach firmly with customers, help them to grow so our business also grow with them. Last week there was a rumor that HSBC is going to buy UBS for $80 Billion, an Indian outsource company stock nose dived. It is just a rumor, what will happen if it really happens, simple matter is HSBC may cut that outsource company as vendor since they are not attached with core UBS business, they just supplied human heads. This service oriented sector is the main source of India's future growth, if they don't know how to glue with business, there is no point of talking about growth, success etc. This is not a rocket science, just read some IBM white papers; there they clearly mention how to support other business and business based consultancy.

Logic 4: Whats gonna to work, team work!!!
“All Indians are our brothers and sister….” this is the oath we took from school days on every Monday in front of Indian flag. This was to eliminate the difference between us, and promote team work and to decrease ego between us. I don’t know our brain was designed to forget everything we learned from school, college, career. Anyways we hate teams, we love cricket, that to, Sachin’s one man play, nothing else. Other sports we loved are not team sports such as chess, carom, formula one and tennis. Last 2 decades, India is ruled by team of political parties, one party ruling was gone long time ago. This is good for some extend, but it is bad when we try to resolve major issues, like the one now Indo-US nuclear deal. This is really important and we don’t know how to trade off between parties and ego is the main source for disagreements. Finally the next election is around the corner, we(people) are just watching this circus again and again.

To be cont.d...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Heat on Outsourcing

Outsourcing/off-shoring is the 21st century modern global economy trends. It is something, sharing some work with other partner or company or an entity, which perhaps located other country/state from the main business location. The main purpose of outsourcing is to increase finance utilization and get more things done with less money. The main driver of outsourcing is currency inequality between two countries. After 2001/2002, tech bubble burst this outsourcing trend increased to several folds and more and more companies wants to “share” their work with foreign entities.

After 6-8 years, outsourcing IT industry losing steam for the first time, this company’s stock price and value started plummeting. Why is that? This should not happen? Is there something fundamental wrong?

1. Big mistake with human resource: The main asset of outsourcing company is brain. Unfortunately, nobody can make brain “out of the box”. It is naturally embedded with each human. So human is the main asset of outsourcing companies. How soon a programmer/engineer grasping new design/code and how soon he/she converting into meaningful document and how soon he/she transfer the knowledge to their peers and how soon they can deliver a work is the fundamental success of an IT outsourcing company. They all are young smart brainier professional, but as soon as these professional crossed ocean, out of their main work location for on site projects, their touch with HR would be reduced, literally no HR policy. No body cares about them, several HR violations; nobody asks some basic humanity needs; they are out of sync with their company. As a result, they try to jump in to other companies, de-motivated and always looking for other opportunities.

2. Business or domain knowledge: Growth is the main ingredient for business success but at the same time, domain knowledge is the main catalyst for sustainable business success. Lot of time outsourcing companies wants to capture market, they make lot of moves, didn’t allow people to be in same domain and allow them to become master of that domain. The excuse would be, hire a lateral domain knowledge candidate for that position, but reality is, that lateral candidate would take lot of time to adjust with culture to provide some value, by the time competitor take all business.

3. Politics: Workplace politics is okay, as long as all politics are for positive purpose. But with in outsourcing companies, politics range from state, language, color, region, religion, direction, social status, history, geography etc. None of these are positives, all are negatives and unbearable and highly unprofessional.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quit (7th time) Smoking

Yes. This is my 7th try to quit smoking and passed 96 hours. Last time, almost year ago, i tried and fell apart after 4 months. But this time something positive catalysts are working, they are

A) new workplace, no smoking buddies
B) i have a solid plan
C) this is my father's day resolution to my kids
D) i announced it thru blog so everybody knows it,now i have a morale obligation to follow what i preach :-)

Previous times, i was not following solid plans, i didn't use "stop smoking aids" completely and once in a while, i smoked one or two puffs or a cigarette here and there. Most of the times, i quit because of external forces but this time "some force" triggering from internally.

Last 96 hours or so, i felt like my sugar level dropped completely, dizziness, forgot to press correct floor number in elevator, food tastes bad and blah...blah...blah. i couldn't even blog, getting sleep at 8.00PM. But now all are back to normal, i can type blog and not sleepy. One feeling though, how come all are inside home/office, all the time without going out for a fresh air. Is it normal or only i'm thinking that way?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Yahoo,Microsoft and Google

Again Microsoft and Yahoo deal drift away and Yahoo going to join with Google as planned before. I have no idea why Microsoft targeted Yahoo, it is beyond our comprehension, especially technician like me. Microsoft has brain, products, track record and mainly power, as friend of mine pointed out, Microsoft wants a big presence in bay area to directly compete with Google, so they targeted Yahoo. Microsoft can build a new software facility and hire scientists within 3-6 months in bay area to ramp up their presence. But I think Microsoft really self-doubting themselves about their competence against Google, again it is all beyond our comprehension.

Google's strength is cloud computing and Yahoo doesn't has one neither do Microsoft. I think Microsoft without cloud computing is biggest drawback moving forward. So without improving Microsoft's cloud computing capabilities, acquiring other big company will ends up in disaster. If Microsoft strategy is to just kill Yahoo products, so that they can become the only one competitor for Google, will not get support from public, media and technicians.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

World War II – USSR Snipers

Last weekend i bought World War II DVD collection from Costco and watched all of them. It was horrible and weak hearted people should avoid it. I liked one good part is USSR army special unit snipers, they are the one who really led Stalin’s USSR to victory against Germans, second to strategy. I like snipers, when ever i play Xbox Halo or Medal of Honor video game, i get excited with sniper’s shooting mode. Because it is very hard to shoot somebody from distance with precise aim into their head.

Snipers required special coaching and lot of practice, more than that, it was less expensive to hire somebody and give him training to make him as deadly weapon, rather than building a cutting edge military weapon which required scientists, technical and man power etc. The strategy was, snipers were placed everywhere at Moscow suburbs and their aim was to kill whoever driving military war tank, top commanders, and whoever wears top military stars, German military power collapsed sooner without people to drive German modern war tanks and commanding the force. This was excellent strategy, because Germans advanced so much deep into USSR, German can’t replace somebody with those who got killed by snipers.

Stalin knew very well that he had the power of snipers and let Germans advance deep into USSR territory and he also waited for weather to assist him. The bad part was, his selfishness, at any cost he wants to save Moscow and he didn’t care much about outside Moscow people. They all got killed after tortured. I was amazed that all of this torture and killing were documented and we saved for this long, so that we can see now after so many years to understand the value of human life and peace.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stereotypes - Architecture point of view

Today morning i went to an indian store to buy chicken for lunch. One of my ex-colleague called me for a friendly chat. Since i'm in indian store, the context was set as business and india, he told me that recently he visited a suburb where 70% of business owned by a particular people from an indian state. I said yes their main core is business, but we (both of us from south india) are good for project oriented jobs. Is it stereotyping or assumptions?

As per architecture point of view, stereotypes and assumptions are really important to understand/build a new system but with in human systems based on stereotypes and assumptions "forcing" is wrong. My opinion is, a little stereotype, common sense and general knowledge is really required to understand a stranger and to build a good relationship or persuade others. The 3 combination of stereotype, common sense and general knowledge are success weapon to deal with most diversified cultures like india.

For example, couple of weeks ago my wife with couple of other housewives planned to contact a get together. One is from east india, other one is from west india(we haven't meet them earlier). My wife came from prominently beef eating state based on that she suggested a beef dish. She lacked to apply stereotype, common sense and general knowledge here, because i knew western india states banned beef slaughtering , and most of them are sensitive to hindu culture in which eating beef is sin and a simple stereotype that their last name belongs to veg. only community. I was upset with her and i felt some uneasy when we went there for dinner ofcourse with pure veg. dishes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Survived in new workplace for 15 days

Many of us try to join new workplace for various reasons and it is very tough to survive for first 15 days. Here i’m trying consolidating all my experience with survival of first 15 days.

I started with a bank for contract to hire position, i liked this “contract to hire” concept because it very balanced act for us and company before both of us committing anything. Since it is a hiring position, added this is bank, i went through extensive security, background, credit, reference checking plus all kind of testing. This is important because all these process went through for 2 weeks before they asked me to start work, so patience is really important. I liked this also, so my manager knows my financial data and credit balance, did i bankrupt before, my credit score etc.

Day 1: Hiring manager welcomes me and took me to my desk, what a surprise for me? All the equipment was ready, even my laptop booted and ready for login, and all stationary items are in place at my desk. I never ever experienced this “welcomed”. He explained me all the details like documents to setup email, login info, etc. I just setup everything and i accepted his first meeting request that was, welcome lunch at Flattop Grill. So i had a very good time with my team members, they all interviewed me so i had some introduction with them.

Day 2: I thought since it is bank i have to wear very formal and polished shoes. But what a surprise again, i can see tech geeks walking around with jeans and T-Shirts. I think this is “kinda of” incubator so no formal dress required.

Day 3: My first assignment is to design and develop a module. But i faced a challenge from my laptop; it was loaded with, you name it all was there in laptop. So i have decided to clean up laptop first before starting my work.

Day 4: After cleaned up, started work it was very easy for me to finish it within 2 days.

Day 5: My first code with design document checked in source control.

Day 6: My manager showed up my desk with a laundry list of code review comments, again i tumbled; he did an excellent job to capture all technical details and helped me to change code as per comments.

Day 7: We decided to review code with my team. I got other assignment at same time.

Day 8: Code review went fine, they want to use same thing for their module also. I felt very happy that i introduced a new concept here.

Day 9: Busy with new assignment, hard part was to understand banking terms and domain knowledge.

Day 10: Started designing for new assignment and checked with manager, he asked me to start coding.

Day 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15: Happened to attend a road map meeting. Completed new assignments and code checked in source code. Felt very satisfied and feeling a new rock ’n roll started for me. Time to take couple of beers.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

KidZui - Web Browser for kids

My 4 and half year old drives me and my wife crazy with his browsing habit, especially after school close. He knows how to start safari and go to youtube and search for "transformers" or "spiderman"( he knows if he types "t" in search box, first one would be transformers) to start watching video clips. We don't want to be strict about it because i don't want to raise him as "computer illiterate" or learn how to sneak in at same time, so we needed some protection. I know our trained software professionals must have thought about it and developed some kid's only browser, but i couldn't find one, that effective and intuitive. Today my wife found one from NBC Today Show, the kid browser KidZui, this is really highly intuitive and must have one. Very funny to see their team bio also. It is subscription based $50.00 / year.It has each kid's own avatar and over 600,000 kid friendly websites.The websites are regulated as per the age.So as soon as my son logs in, all his favorite character's websites pops up.He loves it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

HISTORY IN MAKING...

Finally Barrack Obama got Democratic nomination, he entered the auditorium with my favorite song "Beautiful day" from U2 in background. He just before ( while I'm typing ) announced that he got nomination with explode applause. I blogged some months ago, http://ibloggergeek.blogspot.com/2008/01/rise-of-obama-what-does-it-means-to-me.html, here. We are going to witness another historic moment, when he enters white house with the same support.

Optimism Vs Cautiously Optimism

These two words very often used in finance articles, particularly to describe investor’s thoughts about current market condition. I confuse with these and which context or situation we need to use these or follow these. In my mind, cautiously optimism was as equal to pessimism, which is totally unacceptable by capitalist’s thoughts. Capitalist and investors should not be pessimist, if they are then the whole progressive growth and world’s economy will melt like iceberg in artic.

But later on I realized that these two are equally same meaning but the main differentiator is time to take a decision. If an investor is “cautiously optimist” means they are not willing to take any decision soon, such as invest on one company’s stock, they are analyzing the situation very carefully and closely, exploring various options etc. Where optimism means we tend to take decision on the feet, we think that this is the right time to invest, don’t delay, go for it and seize the opportunity.

It is very hard to change the context between optimism and cautiously optimism in terms of thinking. It is all depends on how our “decision making skills” shaped up during the course of our life time. One of the hardest thing is our life is decision making, when to make decision, how to make, can I make decision based on my instinct or need an experienced people’s advice etc.

In business scenario, making decision is really tough. For example, latest fall of Wachovia and Bear Sterns. Both of these companies were very optimistic about sub prime market, they didn’t exercise cautiously optimism rather they want to make decisions on the feet. What happened now? The later made JP Morgan Chase rich by giving Manhattan skyscraper/ and their employees, clients for almost free.

Here is one good article about decision making http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/he691. What I’m thinking about decision making are,
  • We should not jump into conclusion based on newspaper articles, news clips and videos. Sometimes media’s would influence or test our decision making abilities.
  • No decision is a bad decision – take a decision and move on whenever required.
  • Family value and their inputs are the most influential factor of making decisions – I would say 90% of our decisions based on what is good for our family.
  • Once you made a decision, stick with it - if it is reversible (in my mind, other than career decisions all are reversible) do it quickly, if not, continue with that, until you feel happy about it or search for happiness from it.