Think about it and its there

I spend most of my day in some IDE .Nowadays the IDE that takes most of my day is Visual Studio ( and not IDEA boo hoo)

I read blogs using bloglines and today I was looking for a way to do this within Visual Studio.

Power of google,

Less than 5 minutes from that thought here i am able to read blogs from within studio.

Here is what i found Sharp tools and plugins

Then i went to my bloglines account and exported my blogs as an OPML file and imported it into this plug in.

Whats next – Is there a plug in to write to wordpress from within studio? So far google says no?

O2 Xda Exec

I Stumled upon this cool phone ( Not available anywhere yet ), O2 Xda Exec

O2 Exec

A mini laptop and phone with two cameras and so on.

The unfortunate thing is this may not be available in the US for a while. THanks to the cell phone operators.

Check more reviews at Gizmodo and a more detailed review at ZDNet

Wisconsin Tech Bloggers Meet

Wisconsin Tech Bloggers Meet
I got a good response to my last post  about a get together of Tech bloggers in this area.

Here is a plan

I picked a Wednesday as it was mid week and was better than a Monday and Friday:)

I was thinking somewhere around the Zoo interchange as it is midway for folks working in all directions

I thought the first meeting could be a casual drink and dine.

Any volunteers that can provide a location / idea for a restaurant please send me email.

Agenda: Discuss the RSS and Atom Specification Just kidding ūüôā

No agenda really, except discussing stuff like what makes us all Blog, how do we make sure we get traffic, Can we do anything different as bloggers from this area.
Anything else goes too:)
Date:  21st September
Time: 6 PM
Location: To be announced

Please send me an email to let me know your choice of date and any preferred location that has beer and cheese

Send email to

Here are the names  I have now.

Al Wick
Brennan Stehling 
Cobbie Behrend
Chris Peterson
Craig Walker 
Vinny Carpenter
Dave Burke
Pete Prodoehl
Matt Luce
Derek DeGroot
Dan Bartels
Scott Isaacs
Casey Chesnut
Matt Terski
Sean McCormack
Gerry Heidenreich
Damon Payne
Dion Almaer
Simon P. Chappell
Damien Evans

SOA in Seattle

I am sitting here in a class in Seattle ( Pluralsight). Earlier in the
day we had an excellent debate on what is Service Orinted architecure( from a Microsoft perspective)

Many including Aaron Skonnard think that the one of the four tenets ie Services are autonomous is not correct.

The main discussion was why are we doing SOA?

We went from a Component based interface driven design to a COntract based Protocol independent design.

Joel Spolsky’s Law of leaky abstraction got a mention here. The abstraction works fine when everything is fine, but the leaks in these abstractions force the developers to soon know the details.

So if services are autonomous, ie they should be independent of every other system, why are there specifications like WS Transaction which are making systems dependent on each other.

The message that everything is a service and services are not object oriented is not correct. Behind services are OO components which still do the work.

Some one here was pointing out that every now and then the processing power of our systems becomes so much higher that we as a industry need something new to make out lives more complicated.

SOA makes testing a hell? Since the premise of service is contract/schema and not data, there is a new problem that we only talk about the syntax of the contracts than the semantics.

Here we are fifteeen years later, still finding answers to the distributed problem.

Also there are a bunch of Microsoft employees from the team system group in the class, who had some interesting views on what services mean. Hopefully they will solve the problem of distributed software developement( Oops some more leaky abstractions!!)

Are we making the realm of software development more complex than we really need to. Do we really need to solve this distributed problem?

We first define a complex problem ( Distributed computing ) and then define a much more complex solution ( Well may be Indigo will solve all of this ) when we really could have focused on some other simpler non distributed plaftorm. Why are all the Java folks suddenly talking of simpler things like Spring Frameworks and simpler API’s.

Oh well:)

Wisconsin Bloggers Meet

My cousin was talking about the Washington DC bloggers summit that he attended last week.

He though it was a fun and much better than interacting through the rather lifeless RSS feeds.

I was curious to know names and links of bloggers ( more interested in the techy ones) in Wisconsin /Milwaukee area.

May be if I have enough names, I thought it would be cool to get all of ATOM feeds together:)

Here are the names I could find

Al Wick –
Brennan Stehling –
Cobbie Behrend –
Chris Peterson-
Craig Walker –
Dan Bartels
Vinny Carpenter –
Dave Burke
Scott Isaacs
Casey Chesnut
Matt Terski

Thanks to Vinny, here are a few more

Pete Prodoehl –
Matt Luce –
Derek DeGroot –

If you folks have more names can you send them my way or leave a comment here

Life is back to normal again

After a year of driving like crazy from home to client to school both I and my car are taking it easy . It felt really odd getting off an exit 10 minutes after leaving home yesterday after an interesting assignment finished last week

It always felt like a rush to reach the next destination for the last year. I was a car crazy road freak driving 200 miles a day. I knew something was wrong when the sign “Drivers Wanted” sign on Semi trucks¬† started to look good. If i ever need a change of career I know what I should be doing:)

I wanted to thank all who tried to make my life easy by adjusting to schedules both at work and home for being patient with my timings.

Thanks to all those audio books,IPOD, NPR, Cell phones I made it through quite OK.

At last I can chat with the real world on IM and Skype and listen to shoutcast.

Send me an email in the day, and I might actually respond to you in the day instead of late in the day!

Spiderlogic is hiring

The company I work for Spiderlogic is hiring in Milwaukee and in Pune India.

.NET and Java geeks – Here are some thoughts

I love my job as I have the freedom to grow, I am respected, and I get to debate and have fun at doing what I do ūüôā

Everyone in Spiderlogic loves being a Spider.

One of my biggest complaints is that companies hardly listen to employees. It is different here. My opinions matter a lot
And I like that a lot.

I also get to learn a lot from others.

I get to go to training of my choice ( unless I pick something like Art which has no relevance to technology),  Be in touch with other geeks around the community through things like GeekBookClub ( which had originated at Spiderlogic) and  play games  (( The real kind on the PC ) when we have time apart from having serious debates in technology, mentoring and learning.

I currently lead a fairly large project (not to say that the team I work is the best I have ever worked with)

So if you like being challenged, learn, teach and have fun you may want to consider being a Spider.

In case you are someone you know is interested please visit Spiderlogic. com for more details

If you at JavaOne you could meet Al Wick from spiderlogic or else drop in a note and meet with us anytime to see why we are different.

Visit some other Spiders


Spiderlogic Geek portal has articles and blog enties from many of us.

Online booking made simple

I am hooked to this site. Thanks to Arvind. I have always wanted a site that crawls to different sites like Expedia and Travelocity and does the work for me.

I had blogged about lack of such software sometime last year.

Check this out

Sidestep Rocks

This is written using Struts (watch the familiar .do in the URL). Fill in a price and date and sidestep crawls to all the sites and gives the rates. It is instantaneous too.
However the cheaper rates appear in the end. Watch how the screen refreshes itself without posting back.
Now what I want is a site where I can set my type of vacation, Number of people and max dollars that I can spend and it should figure it all out.
Phew, think of something and sure enough it is there.

Some days are simply frustrating

I love object oriented development. In my C++ days, I sure used to do a lot of OO development. One of my best project was in 1997 when i was working on a Unix based real time system where performance was critical. I got to work with some serious technical folks. One of the guys in my team would write thousands of lines of C++ code ( the OO Way) and it would compile at the first go.No compilation errors. Remember those were the days when there were no tools like IDEA and Visual Studio. It was all on the friendly VI editor( Esc key)
The problem with these new tools is they hide so much of details away from the developer. They help you so much that you stop thinking
There was not one day that year that went by without me learning something new.

You always need someone to look upto, someone to learn from. This is not a blog or a website, Some real person whom you look up to to learn

Then came the evil world of internet and web based development.

Problem #1 – I am not a UI guy and every time I see the poor stateless browser filled with functionality that it make Rich client apps look ugly, I freak out. It is stateless, so dont make a screen so big that it needs a tonne of Java script. Does the end user really care about all this.

When I go to Amazon, I want to find something quick and get out of there. I want my websites simple.

Problem #2 – All web based systems have a UI layer(MVC), a database, a tonne of business rules ( 80 percent of complexity is in business rules ) many Rules are simply there to make the orogrammers life a hell, some database layer and one or more databases.

After having developer more than two dozen commercial systems over the years, I find it quite disturbing that in every project we discuss the same thing over and over again. Where is the business rule, how is data being passes from one layer to another, do we use stored proc or not.

Problem # 3 – And then there are the evil patterns. The book ( you know which one) has stopped us from thinking. There are no more design ideas. Need a solution refer to Gang of four. ( Over the counter design solution)

BE it Java or .NET the problem is the same. Web site development sucks.

For many years when I was working in Java, I never felt as dumb as I do since I moved to the world of .NET.

Not sure ,there must be something poisonous in the Microsoft Kool Aid

Rescue me:) Bring back the world of intelligent systems

The world does not stop with Data sets , remoting and Business Rule:(((

My Job Went to India..

Since the day I sat in Dave Thomas’s Ruby presentation, I have been a big fan of his. Not to mention his books particularly Pragmatic Programmer. So Whenever I read his blog, I naturally expect something that
I never have to doubt about.
I have always¬† carried a “Yes he is right” attitude when I read his writing, be it a blog or a book. I have a lot of respect for his work.

I must say I was taken by Surprise to see a book coming from the Pragmatic Press called My Job Went to India.
Here is the introduction to that book

Title:    My Job Went to India
And All I Got Was This Lousy Book
Author:    Chad Fowler
Pages:    200
ISBN:    0-9766940-1-8
Date:    August 2005

HINT: It’s not “their” fault, it’s ours…

The American IT job market is slowly coming apart at the seams, and it’s all our fault. Most of us have been stumbling around letting our careers take us where they may, and now we’re surprised when our companies are shipping our jobs overseas for a fraction of the price. It’s time to take control of our careers, and in the process, learn to stay both relevant and employed. This book will show you how to take action to avoid becoming yet another casualty of offshoring.

* Treat your career as a business. Learn how to apply business principles and build your own brand as a software developer.
* Walks you through the process of making intentional choices about technology and domains to invest in.
* Helps you develop a structured plan for keeping your skills up to date and staying competitive.
* Shows you how to market yourself both inside your company and in the industry in general

Introduction Ends

OK here are my Issues with this book

First, It is the title. “My Job Went to India And All I Got Was This Lousy Book”

I am an Indian by birth( yes from the same India this book is talking about) and I dont feel racist or feel hurt.
On the contrary I am quite proud that Indian Software Industry is matured enough that they can compete at levels that make the folks
at pragmatic press write about it, I also work in the same place as a lot of folks who would read this book reside i.e. The United states
of America

I think that Titles speak for a thousand words. Software Engineers like me have migrated to the USA and have been working quite hard in the software industry here. I face the same issues any other American faces.  I pay the same taxes,( At one point I actually paid more that a citizen).Authors of these kinds of books tend to forget that millions of Software professionals of Indian Origin are still working here. Potentially lots of people I know could look at me Negatively as I am from  that same country that the title of the book is trying to portray simply to bump up Sales..

So when Dave is looking for Catchy phrases as he claims in his blog, he should surely given this a second thought.

Please change the title to something else to make it more meaningful.

Second, Here are some facts

  • India still constitutes less than one or two¬† percent of the world software and related service markets
  • The total revenues of the entire software industry in India amount to less than a third of Microsoft revenues
  • ($25,296 million in 2001) and less than 4 percent of the revenues of 25 top U.S. suppliers of software and computer services
  • Revenue of the largest software firm in India (TCS) is one half the revenue of the 25th software firm in U.S. (Adobe)
  • With foresighted policies it could become a major force, capturing 5-8 percent of the world market
    Or, it could celebrate too early, and stop at one percent of the market as better equipped competitors overtake India
  • The Indian IT Services and software industry is likely to grow to US$ 22.2 bn, with domestic market revenues of US$ 4.9 bn in FY 2004-05

    This is a small fraction compared to what is being portrayed. A lot of this bad press started happening during the elections.
    Here are some statistics in PDF format

  • So what this means to me is most of the jobs are right here in the US still . Instead of crying over nothing , let‚Äôs look at ways to improvise skills
    ( This by the way seems to be the intent of this book)

    And lastly,

    Almost all the high techs in US, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Sun, GE( Jack Welsch Tech centerare moving many  of their R&D efforts to Asian countries, India being one of them
    And this is not simply due to cheap labor. Most of this on the contrary is due to the highly skilled geek market out in these countries.

    The ratio of  number of employees with a Software Engineering background ( BS in engineering ) to Non engineers is very high in those parts of the world. In the USA I never see such high ratio of engineers in the software field. So may be there is a lesson to learn here and focus on the core technical skills than the business aspects this book is trying to portray

    Oh well