A Tribute To My Teacher

I  think its time I write this due credit to my Sanskrit Teacher.

Today I am a good speaker. Can talk in front of 1000 , no problem. Speak often at conferences. Did you know I was not always like that. I think I owe it to two people. First is my dad who himself is a speaker. So that may be a gene effect. But I really owe it K T Sundarasampatkumarachar, my 8th standard Sanskrit teacher.

In 8 th grade, when I studied at National High School, Bangalore, ( which by the way is a fantastic school), we used to have these inter school debates in science. I was chosen from my school to participate against many competing schools in Bangalore. There were other kids too from my school.

Competition day came, and I went to Vidya Vartaka, another sought out school at that time. I remember even now my name being called, and I got this weird feeling in my tummy. Went of the stage and all I said was good morning all or something to that effect. After that i had a complete brain freeze.

I could not take the tension of 200 kids and teachers from other schools watching at me. After a few minutes, I was told to come back as I could not speak a word. I think I did say thanks in the end.  Not sure how I felt that day, But i am assuming I must have not felt that great.

What i remember clearly is the next day. KTS who was a Sanskrit pundit and a very strict teacher ( my class teacher) had heard about this fiasco. The entire class would freeze at this stern look. I remember him calling me that day at the steps and asking me to come and meet him.

The conversation with him did not go that well. I remember him shouting at me for what I had done. I  had actually done a lot of preparation for this competition. I remember even now telling him that I will never again be able to speak on a stage as get scared looking at other teachers and kids faces.

Next day when I came to school, I was in for a surprise. I was told there was a special presentation and this was by me on the same topic that i had failed to deliver. KTS had asked me to go do well. He also gave a tip , look at someone you are comfortable with.

I did not know what he had done that day. He had invited our principal, all teachers and made them in the first row. He also had invited all 10th and 9th grade kids whom I would rather not look in the face.

I remember KTS patting me on the back ( He had this pundit ji brahmin cut and would also be in a dhoti and kurta) and saying look at someone I am comfortable at. There I went on the stage and was more scared than ever as all my teachers were sitting in the first few rows staring at me.

I said hello and starting looking for my familiar face. All I saw that day was the smiling but stern face of KT Sundarasampath Kumarachar sitting somewhere in the back.

I don’t remember how I started and finished in style in 20 minutes . I remember his  nod and smile even now and lots of clapping in the end.

Thank you sir, Without what you did that day, I would not be what I am today. I got selected as a keynote speaker recently at a conference again and I really want to thank the man, who made it all possible.

Teachers are really great. They do things with no return favors just like Parents I guess. KTS is no more today, but i am sure he will read or hear what I am feeling today

To you sir, Many Thanks.

Download Mediachitter for IPhone

A good friend of mine has released http://www.mediachitter.com/ .

 a mobile voice blogging and messaging service that lets you exchange Rich Voice Topics with family and friends.

Key Feature Highlights:
* Share voice messages. Play back received messages like visual voicemail.
* Share a photo with a voice tag. Play back audio comments as you view the photo with an embedded voice tag.
* Check in a location and share it with a photo and a voice tag. Play back audio comments as you view the map and photo.
* Share a web link with voice tag. Play back audio comments as the web link gets previewed in a browser.
* Or, just share text messages without any audio.
* Play back received topics with quick access to voice messages or view topic contents as a detailed slide show.
* Exchange topics only among approved friends.
* Share a topic with one or multiple users.
* Create circles of friends for easy group messaging.
* All topic exchanges stay private to topic participants.
* Your friends don’t need to be online when you send voice messages.


3 Months Free Trial:
It is free to download and you can enjoy full-featured experience free for 3 months – no credit card or contract required to sign up! It is available for iPhone 3G and later, IPod touch 2nd generation and later, and iPad. You can find more information about the app on the website
http://www.mediachitter.com/ .
Please click
http://www.mediachitter.com/appstore/ to download the app from Apple’s app store.

I hope you get a chance to try the service with your family and friends. Appreciate if you can download and spread the word

Architecture summit Bangalore – Out of sync from my Agile world

So I am here at the World Architecture summit. I am an Agile Lean Practitioner and have been building systems for many years. To be precise – 15 years all together now. I began with big systems built using XP Practices this was for a US railway automation project which took five years to build. I started as a developer who simply took orders to now where I tend to question everything about why and how we go about building an enterprise and the software that runs these enterprises. I am not sure if I have matured on not,but since I have held on to iterative, agile modelling over years, for me big bang architecture esp at a enterprise level is something I have erased from my dictionary.

I am not saying architecture is not important but havent’ we matured at all over the last fifteen years to realize that the more pictures we do, system diagram, component diagram, network diagram, Sequence diagram, strategy diagrams and then somewhere code follows, the worser systems we would develop.

Today’s key note was by John Zachman.

It has been a while since I saw the use of overhead projectors. His hour long presentation was quite a eye opener for me and made my resolve to build systems in an Agile way that the big bang framework based development.

His presentation was quite emotional but not well thought out. I am really curious to dig deeper now and understand from companies that follow Zachman Framework, and understand their ability to adapt to the ever changing business needs.

The second one was from Sunil Datt Jha, who is the organizer of this conference and runs the company ICMG world.A great presenter who worked the audience well. He presented a seven step process for an enterprise that is built on the Zachman framework. His theory was that architecture governance is key to the company. He compared the Bangalore Metro project and its mapping to the Zachman Framework.His main point was that software development is like construction project. Both need a lot of planning and governance etc.

This I fundamentally disagree. Software systems are exactly the opposite of construction projects. You can build really large systems and maintain systems with a fundamentally different set of thinking.

Draw less, think more. Write less code, build more.With good engineering, software can be changed much more quickly than you could redesign a half build bridge.

Architecture to me is knowing as a company what to build and why to build those systems. It is not about diagrams boxes, code etc.

One thing in Sunil’s presentation got me thinking. Why do we have titles today in our organization. J2EE architect, .NET architect. He asked why dont we have GE XRAY Machine Doctor.Companies are changing though. I believe TCS and Infosys here in India have reorganized themselves now around verticals that specializations like .NET, JAVA, SAP etc.

The last key note which I am sitting now in is by the Police Commissioner of Karnataka Police who spoke about Architecture in the Indian Security. He is a fantasic speaker. This discussion was nothing to do with architecture, but was more about how he is using Zachman Framework for his work at the police department. His argument was that this framework helps him with the process that gives him a way to get the right information at the right time.

After lunch I took some time to speak to a speaker from Germany. Then went to a cloud presentation from OrangeScape a cloud platform provider. One line that stuck from his speech – “Use cloud for scalability and not for performance”

My Opinion of India that I have come back to.

We returned back to India ( it had been three months ago) after staying in US for 14 years. The move is for work reasons and also to spend some time in India, get the kids exposed to what India is , what grandparents and family means etc. In this move we actually had to give away lots too, a fantastic pet ( GIGI I hope you are doing well), wife had to give up a career. So far things are going well. Bangalore is a city where things are happening all the time.

You get everything that you get in India. But some days can get frustrating. Like the last evening, we drove to this crazy part of the city called Brigade road to see if we can get some decent burgers. A seemingly easy task in the US, it look us a good 30 minutes or so to find the parking, walk through the so called clean streets of the city only to reach this restaurant that was supposed to serve burgers to find they do have a fantastic buffet but no burgers. Our patience was running our by now , so we settled for a lavish buffet instead of what we really set out to eat.

Jobs are in plenty, people do have money, there is better connectivity that US and so materialistically, we are even better than US. And the biggest gift of all the
Press wala”

Presswala

whose courtesy I get to wear everything clean and for a small fee.

You know that Indian Population is exploding when

  • You go into a elevator and there is a person waiting to take you up the elevator ( called Lift here)
  • When you go to a parking lot and there is a guy waiting at the automated machine where you take the parking ticket. All he does is take the ticket and give it to you.
  • You are eating in the restaurant and the waiter is always waiting to make sure he can serve you as soon as you finish.
  • People in general are very helpful, even more so than you want them to be. Driving is more like a big boy game. If you have the guts, keep moving on . Round abouts are my favorite. People block one another completely, and then take the time to roll the window down to shout at each other. But once i knew how to stop worrying about being in the traffic, it has been smooth. We have a small car ( one that looks like its back has been cut) but it can get through any bangalore traffic in seconds.

    The missed call Syndrome

    This can truly only happen here. There are no voice mails in India on cell phones. The only way you let someone know that you called is to SMS them. Buying a cell phone here is more important that brushing teeth. So when you meet someone and ask thier number the immediate answer is ” Swalpa missed call kotbide” meaning can you give me a missed call. Missed call is the act of calling someone on the phone so that they can store them in the contact.

    Swalpa Adjust madkole ( Please adjust a bit ) Syndrome

    Bangloreans are notorious at this. Example You ask for a coffee in a restaurant, the waiter forgets you needed coffee and brings tea. Instead of saying “Sorry let me get you the cofee” , the answer is “Swalpa Adjsut Madkole”

    Idli Vada – Oh no

    In the morning all the hotels serve, the standard combination of Idli, Vada Sambar, Vada Sambar, Idli Sambar. etc.

    IVL
    Whatever happened to my bagels, fruit cups. Yogurt etc. I think the Bangaloreans gobble up more idlis just in this city compared to the entire world – bangalore put together.

    But what bothered me the most is

    1) The big gap between the middle class and the poor. The rich are a class of thier own. The average Banglorean Driver still makes 6000 Rs a month ie 133 dollars a month. While the guy who the driver drives around makes 100 times more. Labor comes cheap. A carpenter in US would cost me an arm and a leg, not here. I can get one person to help me get up, one to brush my teeth, one to give me bath( well may be not), one to feed me, one to drive me, one to work for me , one to sleep for me.Heck what the hell am I supposed to do. But these folks work damn hard and yet get paid peanuts.

    2) The Cruelty and coldness to animals.

    Not one day goes my when my family shouts at me for going near a stray dog whose feet is injured, feet may not be there. These dogs are all over and so are cows . But since people don’t know what to do with them they start throwing things at them. Often they get hit due to a careless driver.

    3) People lack civic sense.

    Trash all over except inside their homes. No soap anywhere in any bathrooms. Not even in the so called International schools. People just don’t care. Where is the time to care. When in doubt mess up , is the attitude. This is not just the uneducated, event he so called Educated class does the same.
    Fortunately there is reasonably well done trash pick up service. But the people in those trucks handle trash with their bare hands. Oh enough of cribbing , Vibhu you may say:)

    4) There are a lot of freak accidents that need not happen.

    Every day there is some of the weirdest accidents happening. Today was a guy getting killed as he was thrown from the bike after dropping kid as the car in front of him abruptly stopped and the guy in front of him opened the door. The girl who died a few weeks back as a wall collapsed on her due to bad construction etc.

    At the same time the health care system if you can pay is fantastic. Cheaper and at PAR with USA.

    I think every Indian living abroad / otherwise has a moral responsibility to do something about these four things. I am still trying to figure out where i should help.

    When I think back of the issues I saw when I went to US many years ago those were more like

    1) I dont know how to use the phone, or the coffee machine or to take the freeway etc.

    The other way round coming back the issues are a lot deeper and something worth thinking about.

    Another weekend trip near Seattle – Lake Chelan at the Q Landing

    If you are thinking of a good place to go for a weekend near Seattle in Summer think Lake Chelan. If you have a big family like mine – we were two families 9 adults and two dogs then the normal places like the inns dont cut it.

    Try this place
    Name: Chelan Concierge
    Website: http://www.chelanconcierge.com
    Email: chelanconcierge@gmail.com
    Phone: 509-228-8323

    Great place to stay
    This place is owned by a couple who don’t live here. THe care taker who came by promptly was a fantastic person.

    There was a deposit of 500 $ which was promptly returned to me . The two dogs had a great time. This place is after Lake Chelan not too far. The Kitchen was clean had all the ameneties. The best attraction was tha large hot tub that the kids and adults soaked into.

    Stress free few days. There is a grocery store right at the corner. Down town Chelan is just 10 minutes away. The only flaw is that opposite this place is some sort of industrial area, but dont let that fool you.

    A neat camping trip in a trailer park in Portland

    As promised to Dan I am writing about this fantastic camping trip ( the lazy sort of trip ) we did a couple of years ago in the summer in portland

    This is called Gorge Trailer Lodging and run by Dan who I believe works at the local school district. What makes this a fun trip is that you pick a camp site in the Columbia river area and also pick a trailer.

    we picked the larger trailer and had two camp sites one for the camping kind and one for the lazy ones. when we arrived the Trailer had already been brought it There was a carpet out, some wood kept for the night. The trailer was impeccably clean too. Beware if you have a pet, they are not allowed in this. That is the only flaw i guess.

    Total was a couple of hundred dollars. Cant beat that. We could camp, go out for hikes and in the evenings use the trailer. A must recommended experience if you trying to have fun in portland. If you see this and use thier services, tell them Vibhu Sent you:)

    Director Identification Number – Steps

    Steps for getting a Director identification Number in India ( THIS IS JUST MY EXPERIENCE AND I AM SIMPLY SHARING INFORMATION)

    Recently ( Jan 2010), I was faced with getting a DIN Number for setting up a company in India. Where there is a lot of information, getting a DIN number was a challenge in itself . So here is a quick documentation of what you will need. Note: They are really picky on names being exact as the identity proof being sent.

    1) go to http://www.mca.gov.in/MCA21/ and fill in your online DIN form. This actually submits the DIN to the Ministry of corporate affairs.

    Indian Citizen – If you are Indian Citizen ( Not an NRI) , you just need to attach a picture and a proof of residency ( License eg) and proof of identity ( passport eg) . It is better to get these copies attested The photograph has to signed by a notary with a stamp on the top of the picture. This is weird but some where on the top of the picture above the head , you need the attestation. Send these with the voucher for fees that you need to pay on the site and send it to DIN cell in NOIDA. In two days after they receive application your DIN should be approved. If you are eager to find out you can keep putting the number on their site and keep getting the status. This is quite upto date. The application mentions the various authorities that can attest.

    NRI or US CITIZEN WITH OCI CARD –

    Assuming you outside Indian eg USA you need to do step 1 mentioned above. Then ask someone in India t o pay the fees online and send you a copy of the voucher. Attach a photo , copy of US passport / OCI card . Send all pages. A US copy license with exact address should work. Get all these copies attested by a NOTARY in your town. You do not need to go to the Indian consulate.

    If you are a US Citizen and do not come from India
    Step 1, attaching a photo, license copy and passport copies are all still true. Someone in India would have to pay your voucher fees. You even need to get all the pages attested by the notary.

    You have two more steps that folks of Indian Origin or Indians do not have.
    a) You need to get an APOSITLLE done. For this take your attested copies of DIN 1 form with the photo, passport copies and drivers license that has been notorised. Take this to the state department. In Washington state the apostle section is in capitol Olympia. Go there pay a 30 – 40 $ fees. They really don’t care that the content is valid but they put a huge attachment to the DIN form and a stamp. If you open the seal the apostle is invalid. http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/apostilles/Default.aspx. You will pay a fee of 35 dollars

    b) Take the apositlled documents and go to the nearest Indian Consulate. They need to attest ( put a stamp ) on the apostilled document. There is a fee in the Indian Consulate for putting a stamp on the document. Also you need to give them a complete photo copy of the DIN form with the proofs that has been apostilled. So you need to find a way to make a copy without opening the seal.

    Remember notary, apositlle and Indian consulate before you send it to DIN cell If you skip these steps they will happily reject your forms. There is a phone number for the DIN cell in Noida where you can call and if lucky you can get someone to help.

    Good luck with your DIN process.
    l

    Sharing data in a form between new and edit using partial

    This is pretty basic 

    if you want to share a field name in account object then you would create a partial called _account

    and will have to pass the form field as locals to the render call. Othewise you will not be able to use the data between new and update

    Update

    <% form_for :account, @account, :url => { :action => “update” } do |f| %>
      <%= f.error_messages %>
     
          <%= render :partial =>’account’, :locals=>{:f=>f} %>
         <%= f.submit ‘Save’ %>

    <% end %>

    New

    <% form_for :emergency_profile, @emergency_profile, :url => { :action => “create” } do |f| %>
      <%= f.error_messages %>
     
          <%= render :partial =>’profile’, :locals=>{:f=>f} %>
         <%= f.submit ‘Save’ %>

    <% end %>

    Note the locals being passed in both

    Now the partial _account.html.erb looks like

      <p><label for=”account_number”> Account Number:</label></p> <%=f.text_field:account_number,:size =>20%>