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Showing posts from 2007

Outsourcing ATM Maintenance - Next big business

This is one of my speculations - things I feel will be the next thing coming. Of late all of the cell phone service providers have been hiving off the the setting up and management of the cell phone towers into separate business and some of them are even selling them off to third party tower management. What I think ultimately will happen is that the tower companies will put up the towers and manage them and they will lease out space on the towers to cell phone service providers to put their equipment on them. This has a a lot of benefits - The same tower can be used by multiple cell phone vendors thus sharing the cost of ownership - Takes away the management of towers away from cell phone service providers thus helping them to concentrate on their core business - Ensures someone is looking after setting up new towers and also managing them thus giving better performance. On a similar note there has been quite a bit of news lately about RBI wanting banks to allow customers to use an

He sure can "break" anyone

I was driving the other day and I noticed this truck filled with sand in front of me and a couple of things caught my eye. The spelling of power "break" (should have been brake) and I thought to myself if this guy even nicks my car I will for sure be broken - so it is quite appropriate. Notice the guy sleeping on top and relaxing - this is a moving truck and he looks like he is sun bathing on top Well thats India for you - you never know what you are going to see next. So when in India always keep your eyes open and your camera shutter off :).

Not so frequent posting

For the next two weeks life is going to be a bit too busy to post everyday - the reason being that ourspace.in is having its annual christmas sale and I am helping out there. I am sorry about this and I thank all my regular readers for coming back each day and checking if there is something new that I have posted. Please use the new features that I have added to the blog and that is to be notified by email or subscribe to the RSS feed. That way you don't have to come everyday to the website. In case you have any queries in using either of these features do let me know by mailing me at sudeep.dsouza (at) gmail.com. I thank all the readers who come to my blog for giving me an average viewership that is out of the single digits for a complete month now. This is for the first time I have achieved this since I started writin my blog almost 3 years ago.

How wrong can Sunil Gavaskar get ?

Being a bit busy with life and work and not getting much time to follow the cricket match - I was intently reading the sports section of today's paper and saw that India pretty much lost all hope of winning the match on Day 3. So I started to read some of the columns to understand what happened when I came across a column by Sunil Gavaskar that said " Ishant not yet ready for Test cricket ". And then this is what I read at the end of Day 4 - Ishant takes a 5er. Congratulations Ishant and I hope you continue to defy all your critics. The point to note here is that commentators and columnists have to be careful about what they say and write. Ishant is just starting his career and something like this from someone as experienced as Gavaskar is totally out of line. This is not the first time that this has happened and if you have noticed they never apologize or accept that they made a mistake which makes them look bad to the public.

The Christmas Sale is back

For the second year running we are conducting the annual Christmas sale at St. Theresa's Church at Erragadda , Hyderabad . This year we are back with a lot more variety. We have also been able to get Crib sets which was requested by a lot of buyers last year. So if you are in and around Hyderabad please do visit our sale. Also spread the news among your family and friends about the sale. Check out the Christmas Sale website that we have put up.

Funny name for a training institute

I really wonder what they would have named their institute if they were teaching "hardware" !!!

Managing teams is like managing simultaneous equations

As a follow up to my article on Life is an equation you balance all the time I will talk about imagining the management of teams to be similar to managing or solving simultaneous equations. So if you have not read the first article please do so before continuing. In the first article I looking at managing oneself as similar to managing an equation with multiple variables and coefficients and having a constant on the right hand side. Now when you associate multiple individuals together each one of them having their own little equation to manage it starts to get a bit complex. Teamwork is being able to manage the equations in such a way that everyone in the team has similar goals (variables) and these responsibilities have similar priorities (coefficients) since the constant on the right hand side is always going to be the same. If everyone in the team have differing goals and priorities then you will never be able to solve the simultaneous equation and that is when the team work just

A walk down SAP Street

This morning I walked down the famous "SAP" Street ( that's what it is called by most locals) in Ameerpet , Hyderabad. Below is a map of the path that I took. This is where the software industry first started off in Hyderabad - but now it is quite infamous for all the stuff th at happens here. The streets are filled with banners proclaiming to teach anyone anything from any ERP application, data warehousing, languages, testing practices, testing tools and the list goes on. Name it and you can find the training here for it. Now one may say that this is not that bad a thing to have - you are training people in technologies that will be useful to them. But that is not the case - There is no real quality training happening. These institutes also play on the minds of the impressionable - they hook them into one train ing course and then make them take a series of them promising them jobs and lucrative careers both in India and abroad. I have known a lot of people that hav

How do i tell my readers I have posted on my blog?

Continuing on my series of posts on blogging in this second part (The first part was How do i start blogging ) I talk about the problem where I used to post pretty infrequently and there was no way for me to tell my readers that I had posted something new. That's when I searched around for a service that could notify them that something new got posted and I discovered the joys of RSS . To quote wikipedia " RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually." So the next question is how do I make my blog available on RSS - after a bit of searching around I found feedburner . There are a couple of things in Feedburner which I think are must haves on your blog - one is to make your website RSS friendly and the second is to add a widget that allows your readers to give their email address and whenever there is an update to your blog they will get a mail. Now this may reduce the

Life is an equation you balance all the time

I had an interesting thought the other day - why can't we look at life like an equation that needed to be balanced all the time. On the left hand side of the equation the coefficients represent the priorities and the variables represent the commitments that exist. On the right hand side of the equation you can either use the constant for 24 hours for a day, 7 days for a week, 30/31 days for a month, 365 days for a year - but it is always a constant. The equation may look something like this 3x + 4y + 7z + 2a + 4b + 5c + ... = 24 The commitments never really go away they keep going down in priority and come up again and so the variables always stay in the equation its just that the priorities of the commitments keep changing and so the coefficients keep moving themselves up and down. Life is all about balancing this equation. The key is to never get any one coefficient so high that it gets out of hand. You need to always manage all the coefficients within manageable levels as they

An organization’s journey to CMM Level 3

This is an article I wrote more than 4 years ago to describe the journey of an organization to become CMM Level 3 compliant – I was part of the team working on it and this is my view of all that happened. It all started around September 2001 when it was decided that the organization would look at implementing the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). A formal Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG) was formed to achieve this. The SEPG conducted a Gap Analysis of the templates and guidelines in the Quality Management System that existed at that point of time, and updated them so that they complied with the CMM Level 2 Key Process Areas (KPA). There were then training sessions conducted for the members who were Project Leads and above on the QMS. The first audits were conducted on the projects to assess their compliance with the newly defined standards. Once we were comfortable that the projects were following the standards defined the team set a goal of reaching Level 3 by December 2002

A better understanding of the Capability Maturity Model

Having been a programmer for the first few years of my career - I moved to quality assurance some years ago to get a better understanding of processes around building quality software products. My first assignment was to work with an external consultant and ensure that a 500+ member organization was assessed to be at Level 3 of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). As a programmer my typical lifecycle was to get requirements over the phone, come up with my own design in my head, code it, unit test it and move it into system and integration testing. There was not much planning or process to the whole thing - just churn out as much as you could in the shortest amount of time and system and integration testing done by the client would tell you all your defects. So when I entered the world of quality assurance it was a whole new world. One of the first things I learnt was the necessity of having a Quality Control (QC) Function and a Peer Review Activity to validate the fitness of the prod

Are all services in India bad - Now its Hyundai

Based on my recent run-ins with various organizations for their services my experience seems to be going from bad to worse. Now its the turn of Hyundai when it came to servicing my car. Here is what happened - I took my car for servicing about a couple of weeks ago and as always I dropped it off in the morning at about 9:30 AM and I was told to come and pick it up in the evening at 5:00 PM. So I gave them a call just before leaving to go and pick it up and was told that there was some part in the steering wheel that was spoilt and so they have to change it and my car won't be ready till 7:00 PM. So I leave to go and pick it up at around 6:30 PM and was made to wait till 8:30 PM before my car got done. I drive it home, all seems fine at first until I realise that the central locking is not working any more. Since it was not a very serious problem I decided that I will get it fixed if and only if I drove in the direction of the service center. A couple of days later I got a call f

What is quality ?

I have realised that we use the word quality a lot in the software world but a lot of the software professionals do not understand the word when they use it. When one does not understand the word it is hard to deliver what it means. According to wikipedia quality means " non-inferiority, superiority or usefulness of something ". Let us step away from definitions for a moment and try and understand what we mean when we say - " This apple is of the highest quality ". A lot of answers I have got just say - it means it is the best - but my question is best against what ? So there is a comparison - there is a comparison against a perception or an expectation. Everyone has expectations when they go to buy a service or product and when those expectations are met the person is satisfied with the product or service and that is when the product or service is deemed to be of quality. Different people have different expectations of the same product. So each one of their per

Retail Boom - customer service is the key

Everyone around the world is talking about the retail boom happening in India and the way it is going to explode and everyone who is anyone in the world retail space wants to be in India. Having said that things have changed quite a bit in terms of presentation and availability of products in India but what has not changed is the attitude of the sales staff and the way customers are treated in the stores. The feeling one gets is that the store is doing the customer a favour by existing and serving the customer and its not the other way around where the customer is king and you need to do all you can to delight the customer. Let me give you a few examples of my experiences in the last couple of weeks to illustrate this. I visited Metro Cash and Carry (India) here in Hyderabad and I wanted to pick up some furniture. So I found what I wanted and was waiting for someone to help me find a packed piece. There were a couple of sales guys who were buying shirts (yes during store timings and

Building a website

I have been spending my last 4 weeks conceptualizing and building this website - http://www.dsouzaweb.com/ . How did I go about doing it. Collect the content The first thing that one needs to do is to collect a reasonable amount of content to put up on the website. I have been collecting a lot of the information on this site for the last 3 years through the yahoo group. What is a reasonable amount of content is subjective but I would say at least enough content for about 10 web pages ( at least that is what I think would make the website look like something worth visiting) Blog or Content Website A blog is a website that typically contains views of a person or a group of people. It is more like a diary of thoughts where content is displayed by date. On the other hand a content website is a collection of content on a particular subject where a blog is only one of the components. These content websites can be driven by static content or dynamic content that come from a database or it

How do I start blogging ?

I have been asked these questions a number of times How do I start blogging? What do I blog about? How often should I blog? How do I get people to read my blog? What happens if I do not blog everyday and readers come to my blog and don’t see anything and stop coming after that? I have been blogging for close to 3 years now and I went through pretty much the same set of questions when I started to blog. Let me try and answer these questions based on my experiences . How do I start blogging? First you have to find a site to host your blog – there are a lot of them out there like Blogger and wordpress being the more famous of the ones out there. I found this comparison chart that can be a start to compare the features but it is outdated. You can use it to get an idea of the features offered by the various blog hosts. Microsoft and Yahoo have their own blog hosting software within their social networking applications. I have been using blogger for all the 3 years that I have been blogg

Circulation Coin Set - 2001

Thailand Circulation Coins

1972 India Proof Set

Another Disaster - Relief is just pathetic

Just about a week ago a bridge under construction came down in Hyderabad. I was at that point of time about 200 yards away from where it happened - I was stuck in a traffic jam. Its sinister to think that if it was not for that traffic jam I would have been very very close to the accident spot. What happened was that the scaffolding of the bridge gave way and the beams that the scaffolding was holding up came crashing down on the motorists on the busy road. 13 such beams each weighing 40 tons came down. Its Gods blessing that it was a sunday and it was raining that 2 people lost their lives. Bad enough the accident happened but what was shocking is that the injured in the accident were able to get to a hospital barely a kilometer away from the accident spot only after 2 hours due to the traffic blocking the traffic. Why is that if a politician is coming on a road they can clear it in a matter of minutes but when it comes to clearing the roads for an ambulance does not evoke the same r

How do you calculate productivity?

Let me start off by defining productivity - It is the ratio of the quantity and quality of units produced to the labor per unit of time. As we all know productivity is the measure of units produced in unit of time. But as you see in the definition above there is also quality involved in the units that are produced. So we can never calculate productivity only using quantity without quality. When we think of productivity in software everyone goes for the easiest measure - number of lines of code written in unit time usually a man day. This is a very very dangerous metric to use for the following reasons A lot of code is written by code generators and by copy pasting existing code and modifying it to suit ones needs. So there can be a large amount of code written in a very short span of time. A good design may cause a lot of code reuse - thus reducing the amount of code that is written but in turn improving performance and maintainability. Does this mean that the productivity has co

Pictures from Pragati Resorts

We went for a picnic to Pragati Resorts in Hyderabad and these are some of the pictures that were taken there of the resort. This is the entrance of the resort and on the right is the reception. This is the walkway leading away from the reception. It has a lot of greenery and it is quite beautiful. Swimming pool. It is not deep but there are a lot of slides. Careful if you are big made as you tend to roll over and your head hits the base of the pool. A nice ground to play cricket. A must do if you are in a big enough group. The portico around the swimming pool. Just cool to hang around. There are pool side rooms on top of this area but I can't seem to find the pictures. Will upload them as soon as I find them. This is the outdoor restaurant. This place has 2 restaurants. One is indoor and the other outdoor. The indoor restaurant doubles up as a bar so is not very conducive to families having food there as it is smoke filled and noisy. The outdoor place tends to get ve

Lack of professionalism in support services

India's economy is booming. India is on a fast growth trajectory. We hear many such slogans these days describing the booming Indian economy. But the last few days have shown that even though we have the best of products available in India the service level commitments of these companies is absolutely atrocious. Let me give you a few examples Kenstar I had a kenstar washing machine and the spin on it stopped working so I called up the service center and was promptly given a complaint number. I did not have a technician come to my house for 48 hours and only after numerous telephone calls and a lot of frustration. He then told me that he had to take the washing machine to his workshop to repair it and it would be gone for a further week that's when I decided to buy a new washing machine since the machine was anyway getting spoilt every 8 months or so. LG So I went and bought a new washing machine. The machine was delivered promptly and efficiently. I then called up LG to

Security flaw on Webex

I was starting a meeting the other day on webexone and to my shock and amazement as soon as I gave the name of the meeting and clicked on "Start Meeting Now", I looked at the URL and I found my password there for all to see. Being an administrator of the account anyone getting this password could have pretty much done anything with the account. This is quite a serious security flaw in webex and I hope they fix it soon.

Summer internship

We at Inforica had an interesting summer this year. Three students had to do a summer project and I had a project that needed to be done for a local church. As a first step a senior developer along with myself sat down and decided what the requirements, design and scope of the project should be. We then interviewed these students and realised that they did not know C# but they had an aptitude to compute. So we first gave them some assignments in C# which they quickly learnt and completed. We then trained them on the design of the application and gave them a sample page that made use of the design. We then asked them to code all the pages similar to the sample. We then told them to code pages that were a little different from the sample and in the end we asked them to code completely new stuff. What was interesting and a great learning experience was that how 3 students who did not know C# were able to develop a production application in 6 weeks. You can read their blog Summer at I

Bomb blasts again !!!

I was sitting at home watching a movie when I got a call from one of my friends asking me if I had heard the news about the bomb blasts. I was shocked when I heard it since Lumbini park would have been the kind of place I might have visited on a saturday evening (had it not rained) to go for a boat ride or to just hang around. What I don't understand is, what do these terrorists have in mind? I believe every action has an intended goal or perceived benefit, but in this case I see none of it. When you bomb a religious site you are targeting a community, when you bomb a financial center you want to bring down the economy and so on. But when you bomb a park that most probably the terrorists themselves will visit with their family I am not sure what message they are trying to send and to whom. If the goal is to dissuade investors - then I don't think this bomb blast would have achieved that since they did not hit at where the investment is happening. It is sad what they have do

A long time since I posted

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything on my blog. But there was a lot happening in my life on the work front and I was trying out a lot of the blogger features moving back and forth between a lot of websites. Anyway I think I have now settled on this website address http://sudeepdsouza.blogspot.com and I hope to start blogging again. Thanks to all the readers who kept coming back to check my posts and I hope to have something for you'll to read soon.

Blog Roll

Digital Inspiration Amit is a batch mate of mine from ADP in Hyderabad and it is amazing to see what he has done. In his blog he talks about various ideas and products related to the digital space that anyone can use. Problogger I wrote my first guest post for Problogger and it kind of gave me the break into the blogging world. There is a lot one can learn from this blog if you intend to take up blogging seriously. If you plan to make money out of blogging then you should devote a lot of time reading the articles in this blog. Baby Accessories Opinions Mona in this blog showcases all the baby products that are available in India. She talks about their cost and her experience in using the product. Blogs of colleagues and Friends Kiran Banda The Live Web Links to my blog Aala Santhosh Reddy TechBlues.com