Good Vocabulary - For A Better Thinking

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I have always admired the Anchors in BBC and CNN from my childhood days for two important reasons.
1.Their command in the English Language. Ease of use and Fluency.
2. Vocabulary rich Language they

The amount of words we learn every day is like a bell curve. In the early age during the school days we learn new words every day and after a particular saturation point we just abruptly stop this activity. The curve then falls down and me you will also just admire other people for their vocabulary rich conversation. One point I would like to stress here, by saying Vocabulary Rich I am not mentioning using Verbose language, but using the apt words in the places though they are simple words the proper usage makes it more powerful.

Reading and Listening are the two activities which I forgot. These are the two important activities which will make the bell curve go up and down like a Sensex Graph. If you read and listen regularly then you are like a bull market else you will be a bear market.

So to start with, I was not able to read any novels or an Editorial of a newspaper,as I had to refer the dictionary at least thrice to read a paragraph. So I was struggling to cultivate the reading habit as well as to improve the vocabulary.

Then one of my friend suggested the following books to start with, so that we will learn some important most widely used in English in a better way rather than just memorizing the word meanings.
1. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
2. 30 Days to a Better English

Reading the above two books properly will arm you with at least 500 to 800 New words. Which will give you an edge to start with reading. These two books present every word in a easy way to us and make us enjoy the words. After reading these two books my appetite to new words has increased, and I am on a constant search everywhere to learn new words.

So if you are by any chance sticking in the bell curve you can start with these two books and prosper like the Indian Equity Market :)

Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certification - No Big Deal

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For the last one and a half years, after joining the company I work with now , one thing was pending in my list. That was Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certification. I am working with Oracle 9i Release 2 and had a great chance to work extensively with PL/SQL and little bit of Database Management Activities. I was told long back about this certification by Mr. Arunkumar who was my mentor in the company, who also gave me insight on the DBA activities.

I had made up my mind two weeks before that I should complete my certification before December 10th. Some how I managed not to skip the deadlines this time and completed by December 6th. I gave my first Exam (1Z0-007) on December 1st and Second (1Z0-147) on December 6th. I wanted to write about this with a main objective to help those who have any plan to write this Certification. The following Steps would be more useful in reaching your target easily.

a. First and Foremost if you have been working with Oracle more than a year (Need not be full time) just go give this at the earliest, no big deal this is.
b. The basic hands on requirement to crack the exam confidently, according to my perception are the following things,

(1) Ease in creating Tables, Views, Procedures, Functions.
(2) Once in a while you should have given Grants , Created Sequences, Indexes and Synonyms
(3) Queried and seen at least once the Oracle Data Dictionary
(At least to understand what it is)

(4) Written some Queries with Joins.
(5) Tried Creating some Packaged Procedures and Functions
(Public and Private) , with a little use of Cursors.

(6) Used some basic oracle functions for computing (Like Count, Sum etc)
(7) Dabbled a little with different Triggers
(8) Knowledge of Dependencies.
(This you can get even if you have programmed in any language)

(9) Hands on with any IDE, Most Preferable will be the command line Interpreter SQL *PLUS.
The above 8 things are Minimum requirements to give the exam with full confidence. So if you have just heard of these just sit for a 10 days of preparation (After Office Hours) with the reference material I can suggest to crack this certification.

c. For the 1Z0-007 exam you can refer this SQL Fundamentals Guide.This covers all the topic for the exam. You can also refer these sample question papers to get some insights on how the questions would be. The most time consuming part to study will be Single Row Functions and Aggregate Functions. You Can rush through this topic by just skimming on the various questions. You can give this exam on-line without going to any pro-metric testing center ( You can call this Open Book :). For the test registration refer this. The Passing score is just 70% , so approximately 39 Questions should be correct out of the 52 Possible. Don't think this is some hilarious task, even I was able to clear 49 out of the 52 possible.

d. After you pass 1Z0-007 exam give the second exam in a time gap of maximum one week, so that you will not lose touch with the preparation. 1Z0-147 - deals with basics of PL/SQL, so to get good understanding about PL/SQL the rescuer is always the PL/SQL Guru. You can read one of his best books of PL/SQL by Oreilly Publication. But for the exam point of view if you want to rush through then refer this syllabus oriented book. This book may be tough for you to read , as I found ,because this was a collection of presentations, which did not give me a continuous flow like Steven Feuristein gives in his book. After attending the exam I could see everything was covered in the syllabus book, so you can have a final look before going to the exam. For 1Z0-147 you can use these model question papers to get some insight on the type of questions :). This Exam can be given at only a Prometric testing center, for locating your nearest testing center check here. The passing score for this is 77%, so approximately 51 questions should be correct out of the possible 66.

e. The total cost of the two exams will be 220 USD. A credit card can help you pay on-line as well as at the testing center.For the certification path refer this oracle education site.

Hope the above 5 points may help you in clearing this small carrier goal, if you have set this in your career path. All the Best for all those who is going to give the exams after reading this :)

Update : (29th Jan 2008)

I could see many hits for this post and some of my friedns where asking for the SQL Fundamentals Guide book also in e-book format as I have given for the 1Z0-147 exam. So you can download from here. Hope this helps all those people who reach here :)

Update : (02nd Jul 2008)
I am not sure whether this is the best post I have written as I am seeing the highest traffic only for this post. If you find this useful please leave a comment on how useful it was so that I can improve in my future post.

Cleared my Level 3 Speech

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Last week , I gave my level 3 speech in Toastmasters. The objective of this level was to Get to the Point.Compared to my last 2 levels one thing I have improved is Time. The First Speech I spoke for 8 minutes and the Second one was for 7 minutes and 45 seconds. This time it was 7 minutes and 36 seconds. The stipulated time is 7 minutes and 30 Seconds. I Have decided to reduce the content little for my subsequent speeches.

The topic which I delivered was "How to Start with a Start up ?"

I should thanks Vivek for helping me in forming the speech. The resource was from
Paul Graham's Blog.

The basic organization of the speech was based on the below skeleton.

How to Start with a Start up ?

1. Opening - With the Oxford Definition of Start up. (This opening is similar to Second Level, Same with Definition. Must make it up with Level 4)

2. Introduction of the three important Recipes of Successful Start up,

3. Body
a. No Big Idea
Substantiated with examples of Google and Microsoft.
b. Good People
Substantiated with examples of Good People.
(Example Salesman, Programmer and Marketing Manager etc.)
c. Spend Little Money & Produce Things of Lesser Complexity
Substantiated with examples of Stephen Hawkings books and Programming Horrors.

4. Conclusion - If these above ideas are Doable , though Hard , Successful Start up is doable.

Evaluations for the speech :
++ Interesting Topic
++ Good Diction
++ Good Usage of Examples
-- Clasped hands in the beginning & Improper Gestures
-- Overshoot the Stipulated Time by 6 seconds.
-- Short Conclusion

But I was able to clear my speech with those negatives which I will carry forward in the next speeches will try to rectify those errors. To see the draft of my speech refer here. Though my presentation was completely different based on the above skeleton. So it may not match with the draft. This may be helpful if you want an overview on this speech :)

Lakdikapul to Paradise

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Two weeks before I had a chance to visit Hyderabad for the second time. The last time I went to change train to Mumbai a year and a half back. This time I visited to attend my colleagues marriage. I had a good time mainly because this trip was after a long gap in travelling. I got down at Lakdikapul in Hyderabad and travelled most of the time and ended at Paradise to board my return bus.

I need to tell three things about this travel. If you ever want to visit Hyderabad from Mumbai by Bus, I can recommend you to travel by Kesineni Travels. This is not an advertisement, the Volvo bus they provided was really good. I travelled in the last seat up and down but never felt any of the usual horrors of last seat jerks in bus. Also the convenient Internet booking they provide was good.

Next thing I wanted to say was about the Auto rickshaws of Hyderabad. The auto meter run faster than autos. Its strictly not for weak hearts, the auto meters are at damn good speed to show to end up at some high fare :)

The final thing, Horrible traffic. To move between any important place it takes only in hours even if you travel by a rickshaw. I don't know the condition if we travel by local mass transport, I did not get the chance.

Overall the trip was good, had a chance to visit only a shopping mall, to finally watch a 3D movie there. If you ever plan to visit Hyderabad please plan for a longer duration because you must travel a lot in the city a lot.