Biking and Running and time for Self - reflection

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During my three month stay in Seattle, I really had improved in swimming. All thanks to Matt, my HR Director who trained me to improve my breathing in water. I almost had a 3 month continuous practice of swimming in one of the best indoor pools I have seen so far. It was called the Pro sports club which had 3 indoor heated 25 yards pools. I was tracking my time taken for doing a 100 yard lap, which I started with a 2.45 minutes when I reached Seattle in August. Before leaving to India I could take a minute off from the timing. I could do the 100 yards in 1.45 minutes. That was the improvement I could see in the 3 months of training and retraining. But what I also improved was my stamina, I could do a 3KM of swimming. Which I could never ever done before my regular training.


The best thing which I enjoyed during my swimming trainings was the amount of time I get everyday to reflect upon my various activities at work and other than work. I felt it was a time for myself to prepare, plan and pursue on my personal development plan. Later I started to increase my mileage by lot of biking and running at Seattle. These two are something which I am doing very dedicatedly even after coming India.


In the past till I was in my engineering I had very little or no time for reflection. But later I found the best things happened in life were because of the time I spent consciously on reflecting upon my actions and thoughts periodically. This could be a weekly or monthly. But the time spent on self-reflection or you can call it as introspection is an investment for your personal improvement. It has brought in lot of change in me and it would be the same for anyone who can put in the time periodically in reflection. This is one of the reason I do not want to miss out my Triathlon practice everyday – either running, swimming or biking.


Anyway I would be running the Bangalore Midnight Marathon on 11th Dec @ 0000hrs. This would be my first half marathon, you can cheer me up by sending your wishes as comments or email. Which would motivate me to practice regularly in the last few weeks and complete the half marathon next month.


More updates about my Half marathon and especially my long biking expeditions recently coming soon Smile Now I need to catch up some work.

Another Knock in the Top Management of Microsoft

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Another big head in the company is going to leave, came the announcement today. The Chief Software Architect position is something which I valued so much for the people like Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates occupied it. Ray Ozzie , who had been an Independent Software Vendor for a long time with Microsoft, came into the company when Groove Corp. was acquired. The Groove is one tool I absolutely love it for the ease of collaborating with team and share documents seamlessly.  BTW Groove is now part of MS Office suite if you are not aware of it. It is called Microsoft Groove in Office 2007 and as Microsoft SharePoint Workspace in Office 2010.


So Today the news came Ray Ozzie is going to leave the Company. This is just not the one thing in the company this year. Here goes the bleeding list of Top guys who has left the company now – Robert Bach, President of Entertainment & Devices(House of Xbox, Zune etc.) who would be leaving soon, Steven Elop, President of Microsoft Business Division (House of Office Suite), James Allard, Chief Experience Officer of Entertainment & Devices Division, Rebecca Norlander, Partner Engineering Manager for AdCenter platform( James Allard’s better half), The list is not complete if I miss some of the technical fellows and distinguished engineers who are the pillars of the company, but left Microsoft for good. Gary Flake, Brad Lovering are some of the TFs who are leaving the company.


As Mini-Microsoft, this is like seriously a Boom-Boom-Boom time for the company to prove that we are still going strong and back on growth. Kevin Turner said the company is back on growth with strong growth in revenues because of Windows 7. I hope Windows Phone 7 and Kinect proves to be successful like Windows 7 to prove the market wrong and against the Goldman Sachs downgrading recently

Data Backups are must

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When I was a Software Developer, this was something sacrosanct – Backup and Recovery.  Especially I used to work in very voluminous backend database for large Telecom and Internet Service Provider. I remember some incidents where we had lost a complete set of data that is essential for us to do the authentication and authorisation of customers who would connect to the system – That is making a call / connecting to the internet. Once the data loss happened, every second counts for us in terms of revenue to the company. Every second it takes to recover the lost data the company would be loosing few thousands of rupees in revenue. This was my first incident I could sense the importance of backup and how much it can impact in business.

But this case is applicable for everybody these days – as everyone store most of your data in PCs/Laptops or Mobile phones. You have multiple storage devices and every damn thing you can imagine is now stored in digital form. So like how we used to insure our properties in life it is essential to have backups for all the data you are having in your PCs or other devices. At least those critical data which you would need – in case of losing that – you would be in a terrible state. Have them in a proper backup schedule.

External Hard Disks / Flash Drives

There are plenty of options for backup these days – The external hard disk rates have fallen so much – every body who can afford a PC would definitely can spend additional thousand rupees to have a external storage device to backup.  Pros : Easy way to maintain  - Lots of software available for free that would help in doing sync every time you connect to the device.  Cons: You must be very disciplined to follow the backup schedule every time so that you don’t have obsolete data in your backup when you lose original data. Also you must take additional care in maintaining the external storage device not to be damaged. ( Who will guard the guards problem – Who will take care of the backup data)

Cloud Storage

In the last 4 years I have used multiple online services for my data backup, which in a way gave the advantage of mobility of my data – access my important data anywhere /  and everywhere whenever needed. Maintaining my important files I would need in any case ( Prioritizing is so important in data maintenance also ) online is better because I don’t need to take care of the storage device – which is maintained dedicatedly by a company.  I used to be amazed with Gmail when they launched the Gigabyte storage in mailbox five years before. So I used to store my important files as mail attachments. All my contacts/ some application details etc. were stored in the form of mail attachments. Again the problem was maintaining versions/ sync up the latest one were not possible. Then I was using the online storage providers who were offering for free like – eSnips, Scribd to store some of my documents and files.

But in the last 2 years the best backup and online storage which I am using which is available for free for many – though people are not aware of it – is the SkyDrive. It is a service by Microsoft ( many Microsoft employees don’t know who’s service is SkyDrive). At present SkyDrive is part of the Windows Live Suite of offerings by Microsoft – which provides 25GB of online storage (25 GB is not a small amount of space you are getting for free).  Biggest advantage is you can just drag and drop files into SkyDrive in browser. That makes it very cool to maintain.

The even more cool feature in the Windows Live suite is the use of Windows Live Mesh Client in your PC. You can configure a maximum of 2GB of documents to be automatically synced to the cloud i.e SkyDrive. So as an when documents are edited/added/deleted in those configured folders files are made sync with the SkyDrive making the SkyDrive an online backup for your important files. This is my latest backup device I am using in the last 2 years and found it very useful and comfortable without any headache. You can give a try – Also for prioritizing files – I maintain those bulky files like photos in online photo-storage not in SkyDrive. You can use any of the photo storage providers like Flickr / Picasa. These things need not be an online sync as mostly you would not be editing the photos every time and you dont need  a continuous syncing.  Also I store my favourites ( Links ) not in my PC rather I store in the cloud – I use del.icio.us, a service acquired by Yahoo. I maintain about 700 favourites tagged in multiple ways and easily searchable. Also it available for public to access it so that they can also use my favourites. For storing it every time I have installed a plug-in for internet explorer. I use the same short cut (Cntl+D) for tagging and it stores the link in my online account instead of browser.

My Picks for Cloud Backups :  Documents/ General Files – SkyDrive, Photos – Flickr/Picasa, Links – Del.icio.us.

So do use any of the backup methods suggested above to save your data without losing it.

My Mom’s advice and way of living

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I am on a business visit to USA. This is my first visit to the west and I have heard a lot about life in US from various people, books, movies etc. All I could say after seeing things here in the last 3 weeks – to have a peaceful life still my Mom’s words remain the same. Irrespective of the place – Live a simple life.


In Subramoney, PV Subramanian has quoted almost most of the things I had followed and felt the real pleasure in doing so – a simple life. You Must definitely read the post.

Ride to Golconda

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Last October I wrote about my cycling trip to Chandil. I recently purchased a new bike – my Shwin Sporterra. So after a long break I went for a long trip to Golconda Fort in Hyderabad. When I started the trip I never had not planned for this trail. But as I started to ride I found a new trail which was simply amazing, It was through the Nehru Ring road (Samshabad Airport Bypass) and via the Scenic India Army Artillery centre. Then came to know that this leads to Golconda.

When I reached the Moti Darwaza in Golconda, I felt great in finding a new trail. The total distance covered was 62 KM up and down and you can find the route map here. The total time taken was about 3 hours. I would recommended this trail for all amateur bike enthusiasts.

Post the ride went for Manirathnam’s Raavan. I read a lot of scathing reviews about the movie. But I enjoyed the beautiful cinematography. Loved every place shown in the movie, wanted to explore such places- reminded me of my trekking experience @ Chalakudy during my Rotaract days and North East trip post XL. AR Rahman was again magical in his tunes. For me this movie was definitely worth watching in the Big screen.

The Yearbook that never came

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In XL we were planning to print an Year Book for our batch. It would contain the profile of every batch mate along with few testimonials from their dear friends. But due to lack of time / some mishap we could not print it. I still hope one day by surprise I would receive the Year Book.

But everyone of us received the testimonials from our friends by mail before it was planned to be published for approval.  Over the last weekend I stumbled on those testimonials which I received from my dear friends in XL. As a memory I thought of publishing those in this blog which I have been using it as my Personal Diary. The below in no particular order are some testimonials written to me, I have added those in this post in the way I read them on last Sunday. (I have also added link to their facebook page as a hyperlink over their names.)

One of my first friends on campus. Obsessive about attending classes and grades, he is also extremely emotional. More Tam than MGR, In XL, has graduated from an ATM to a Brit! Totally a techie, and totally unfit for HR, he somehow managed to combine the best of both worlds and get into MS! Half my grades are because he was there in my project group! Unofficial CR of every class..Will remember the chat sessions outside Bisuda with him and the other idiot! Im sure that he will go on to bag many more gold medals in life. - Reju Mathew.

He has been an inspiration to me. The topper in the batch, this guy has shown me what single minded focus and dedication can achieve. He has attended 849/850 classes in XLRI a feat which is even better than topping the college. A computer geek, I still feel he has chosen the wrong field.  A tamil movie freak, he watches every single tamil movie that releases.  He has been a great companion of mine over the last 2 years. Microsoft is lucky to have picked a person as good as himSrinath

One of the most systematic and passionate person I have seen on XL campus. I learned from you – about how to follow your dream.  I will miss the devotional music that you used to play each morning.. Inspiration to keep my room clean. I hope you will recruit one day successor for Bill Gates. Very clear in thought process and Thanks a lot for helping me in building my self confidence. I m jealous of your hard work and persistence. Hoping that god will give 50% of that to me. Topper - Gold medalist- I m proud of you !! (I hope you will learn not speak in Tamil in front of people who don’t know Tamil  especially me ) (And special request for you to keep me technologically updated )Gaurav Marathe

The star of XLRI, in his own way. Lives life by his own rules. Academics. Attendance. Classes. Elective-choosing algorithms :D. Drive. Passion. Ambition. Modesty. Caring and concerned. Forthright. Responsible. Hard-working. Tendency to FRAX only on things he’s not too keen about. The Tamil face of FLIX. The shy smile. The righteous anger against certain things. Balanced opinions. Trusted TAXI mate. IT Whiz. My technology trouble-shooter and guru. My CV Formatter. Ever willing to help. The long discussions at night. A kind ear when distressed. Kind words when depressed. Rock-solid support. Mentor. Confidante. Counselor. Comfort. The room I go to when I need anything, just anything. - Krishnan S

Mr.Microsoft! An absolutely down-to-earth, simple, no pretentions guy! Macha, one sweet-smile you flash off and some 100 girls wil fall :) From the late night chat up, to the chettinad food to the Malaysia discussions, its been great knowing you! Hope to see you at Hyderabad soon, and have loads of masti! :) – Swapna Kumshi

A work ethic that will put a programmed computer to shame, this guy has one of the most prolific attendance records in the history of XL, 849/850 classes!! One of the most focussed guys I have seen around, this Coimbatore lad has redefined perfection at academics.... Sure to win the top honours this year, he is one guy who swears by technology.... My saviour when it comes to IT issues and a very good friend... I will remember the time we spent holidaying in Malaysia, the late night chit chats and the concept of FREE money.... He is sure to take himself to greater heights. – Tushar Walwadikar

First met him in the train while coming to XL, he struck me as a music lover (with iPod being his constant companion) and  one prefers to be silent. Was right on the first but never thought Hari would turn out to be the colossus of the character that became in XL. An out rightly brilliant guy, extremely hardworking, his determination to overcome the odds is inhuman. A rare Rank 1 who is happy to help even his core competitors and fellow students with acads, he has struck his mark in most fields in XL- Flix, website, sigma,acads etc. Personally, our friendship is an enigma in the sense, he is one guy whom I have rarely withold my frank opinion from, yet I have also lost count of the no of times we have fought; yet the bond has always been good enough to weather the storm. He has helped me personally on innumerable times and made my stay here bearable in tough times. The 'Looti' that we have done with TAXI gang over 2 years seems too good to have happened today. Thank You, Machan for the memories and hope the same continues in future too. "#$*&% NADUNGUDU'..haaa haa an unforgettable quote of urs – Ramasswamy

The only guy in my class to whom I can lose my Rank 1 and still be happy. Macchi I was never able to bring myself to compete with a gem like u. The only thing which I can say about you is you are the guy whom a mother wants to be her son, whom a woman wants to be her husband, whom a sister wants to be her brother. Macchi I enjoyed the time we Big Three spent together. Hope that we will stay that way. –Lenin Mandalapu

Dei Macha to be frank I am not getting any words to pen our two years interaction at XL. How can I put in words the warmth, the care and the confidence you have given me during the times of need ? How can I explain the generosity with which you lend your helping hand at various points of time ?
Hari is a person who sets example for others ! A deadly combination of determination, hardwork, intelligence, courage and most impoortantlyhis way of mixing with all kinds of people. -
Krishna Chaitanya P

Vision: Microsoft Mission: Microsoft Keywords: Microsoft PPO. Socrates, CRISP, 'Anything remotely related to computers', Tamil, movies, Gold Medallist, Travel Major Achievement: Attended 849/850 classes at XL. Hari is the 'stud' of the PMIR Batch, the most sincere student here. A tech geek, he is the one stop solution for PPTs and laptop repairs (a tag which he hates). A great advisor, he is one who I approach for advice. A perfectionist, if he decides to work on something, he gives his 100% (Rem: The kakani assignments). In short, he will go places. - Vineeth Ravichandran

One of the few people I have sought to emulate, Hari is one of the most adorable friends I have. A combination of smarts, hardwork and perseverance, he is also the one stop shop for the neatest and the most comprehensive notes in class. His technical expertise, his humility, his warmth and his personable nature are traits he is known for. A patron of all things Google and Tamil, he has been promoting the subject of economics for a while now. Famous as the guy who missed just one class in the entire two years, one can only admire his love for lectures and exams.  Hari exhibits a quiet resilience and confidence, a quality for which I admire him most of all. - Veena Narasimhan

I initially felt that Hari is your stereotypical tam, really awesome in studies and very simple in his tastes. I was wrong; he is one mean poser, his pictures bear testimony to that, he is one big stud boy, his clothing sense will prove that summarily and he has a sleek style for attracting the fairer gender, refer to the million walks he takes every day in and around the golden jubilee park. He is very hardworking (that’s a given) but he is the biggest FRAXER on campus too (testimony from everyone who has worked with him in a team). I could relate to him incessantly, thanks to his religious habits and his simplicity (which of course is a veil to his party animal interior). I expect him to do nice in life and wish him all the best for the same. cheers – Siddharth Chatterjee

Everyone should once have a look at his “before & after” picture to understand how determined a person he is :) He is a very simple, funny, down to earth guy who is really easy to get along with! A person who does both sit through & audit courses I really have no choice left but to call him a ghissu! But this also shows his insatiable thirst for knowledge & also not shying away vasooling paisa ;) Overall a very smart guy who will definitely make is big one day! - Priya Geddi

Topper of the batch,Mulitalented, versatile and  sunny – Hari is quite the catch. His intelligence and dedication are legendary, With his expertise, Microsoft is sure to rejoice and make merry! On technology and computers, He is all knowing, He helps one and all and during holidays,  his beard he likes growing!! - Garima Bawa

Last But not least my dearest room mate could not write his testimonial for me : But wrote a Long mail to me. That I would always cherish though it was not an intended testimonial only for me.  “The saddest part about a failure is that the person realises only later that he was just one step away from success when he gave up... if you have to refuse anything in life, refuse to give up..It is to you all that i owe the smiles that i had in xl, to you that i owe the pain that i will have when i would miss you after xl (till the time we meet) and to be frank, it is to YOU all that i owe my 'MBA' “ – Hrishikesh Kashyap

I must thank my dear friends a lot for your testimonial.  It really mean a lot to me for spending some time to write down few words for me. I enjoyed the 2 years at XL with every one of you. Thanks a lot for all your help and support.

Search Rankings

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imageI just went through ComScore May 2010 Search Rankings. Google remains in the top,but there is 0.7% dip in the marker share. Yahoo & Bing are with 29.5% market share. I am combining both data because of their Yahoo-Microsoft Alliance.

These percentage changes may look very small seeing the first time. But it matters a lot, because the total core search activity for one month in Total U.S is about 15935million searches. Now you can do the Math.

Operating System Market Share

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Off late I am tracking the market share of various operating systems. I used to read many user reviews, research data to keep updated. Today I found an interesting way to find out the operating system market share from the data which I have been accumulating. I use Google analytics to analyse the site statistics for this website. Google analytics captures the operating system and browser capabilities. That gives the visitor operating system capabilities. I just picked the last 3 months visitor statistics for my website and that gave a glimpse of market share of OS among the people who use internet the maximum.  The image over the left shows Windows is among the top with about 80%. But the data here shows only the PC users who have access to internet. In countries like India/China there are many PCs without an Internet connection and logically they would not be having a Mac/Linux but Windows (Highly likely a pirated version). Another interesting piece was there was couple of visitors from mobile devices to my website – from an Android/ iPhone/iPad. This shows people of now search more from mobile devices. Let us see how the Chrome OS skews this data set in future.

Please do vote to Help Students Solve the World’s Toughest Problems

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Do you think a social media application can help stop the spread of malaria? Could a mobile alert system help warn citizens of a looming natural disaster?  Can a mobile phone be used to detect vascular diseases like sickle cell anemia and type 1 diabetes?

These are just a few of the projects designed by students competing in the Imagine Cup, a global technology competition focused on improving education, healthcare and the environment. These students all have one thing in common; they are going to change the world!

Starting from a field of over 325,000 competitors from all over the world, only 400 have made it to the final stage and will attend the Worldwide Finals in Poland this summer. You can learn more about their projects, watch their videos, and vote to support your favourite team at www.imaginecup.com.  

Open to students around the world, the Imagine Cup is a serious challenge that draws incredible talent, passion and perseverance. The event spans one year, beginning with local, regional and online competitions. The finalists go on to attend the Worldwide Finals held in a different location every year.  The intensity of the work brings students together, and motivates the competitors to rise above challenges and make an impact on the world.

And let’s face it; the world could use a little changing.  We live in difficult times with a ton of problems raining down on people every day.  The real question is who is going to step up and do something about it? We think it’s you. Be sure to tune into www.imaginecup.com on July 8th to see who emerges as the “People’s Choice” champion.

New place, bike and Shock

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So after a lot of thinking, I have moved out of Coimbatore now. I am settled now in a new place. Very hot compared to my home town. But getting used to it. So first thing I have bought is a bike. I used to travel to my engineering college (GCT) in Coimbatore by a Hercules Thriller. After four years I have bought my own bike – Shwinn Sporterra. It is a 21 gear set bike, just getting used to riding this.

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Today I went for enrolling in a nearby swimming pool at Gachibowli Sports Complex. The pool is really awesome, that is what I would say for a 50m pool. But I was in for a rude shock seeing the crowd for enrolling in a swimming pool. The enrolment starts at 7 AM in front of the gate on every 5th of the month. But actually people come and stand in the queue the previous day night about 9.30 pm. There were people with pillows and bed sheets sleeping in the queue to get the 100 odd forms distributed every month.

I have never seen this much of crowd for a swimming pool. You can see that in the picture also. I think people in Hyderabad are more health conscious – if so the statistics should prove that.  I find many people into biking (like me :). There is a Hyderabad cycling club which organises regular cycling events.

I have already seen Lots of Telugu movies, and gulped enough of Biriyani. So far I have i have not travelled much in this place, I  just visited Ramoji Film city. I was travelling to Bangalore and Delhi for my work. Planning to explore the place further in the coming months.

Convergence – All in One – One for All

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When I saw Google/Gmail Buzz today, this time it was not a big surprise for me. I was expecting already some development behind the word “Buzz” was going on. I had tried creating labels in Gmail with the name Buzz earlier and it never allowed me because it was a Gmail Reserve Word. GTalk also never had the Buzz option. The option of buzz in Gmail-  it is another Twitter or Facebook News feed option. Integrating all the things in one is something Gmail started long ago when they introduced chats inside the mail box. They even integrated video and voice chat inside your mailbox. All the recent developments these days is providing all the need in one place – Videos, music, pictures, mail, search, social networking etc all in one. One Application for all these is what every one are trying. I see this as a technological convergence. This is what seen in electronic and computing gadgets where you can get all the things in one gadget. It acts as a mobile communicator, camera, video and audio player etc. The need of customers has also moved to one gadget for all purpose from multiple gadgets for multiple purpose. So the Google/Gmail Buzz can be called as another Gbook/Gwitter right inside your mail box.
A Good move by Google, since Orkut is losing its market share in one of its dominant market – India. Facebook has become the cool thing now in India compared to Orkut and Google very badly need to lock the customers completely switch to Facebook. The idea of locking its email users in this is a good try by Google. Early adopters of technology like me would try at this point and say it is a cool thing. But its the laggards who make the application a success by staying for longer time. Google Wave is yet to make an impact, I keep shouting inside wave to find the use of it and it is yet to become a success. Buzz should create some buzzing for Google next.