Protos' Musings

"In the long run men hit only what they aim at" — Thoreau

Archive for February 2006

Dravid on the “right” people in a team

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I was pondering over the last few days over having the right kind of people in a team, any team, including a Software Development team. It suddenly flashed in my mind that I had seen a quote attributed to Dravid somewhere on the same topic.

At last, I figured it out. Dravid had given a rather absorbing interview to the Cricinfo magazine that appeared in the inaugural issue (Jan 2006 issue that had Dravid on the front cover) of the magazine. This was what I was looking for:

“The right people – and I hate to say it – not have the wrong people around them. You don’t want people whose own insecurities, whose own problems and whose own fears drag everyone else down. That can be a big dampener in teams…

“…If you’re going to be spending time in the team always having to cajole and look after a few people, you’re doing a disservice to the rest because you’re wasting and investing too much time and energy in a few people who’re taking away from the group. Players need to understand that they need to give energy to the unit. There are times of course when you’re not doing well and your form’s not good and you’ll need the support of other people. But most of the time you’ve got to give to the team and make sacrifices to the team and give back to the team.”

Read it in full here.

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Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 23:23 hrs

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Programmers

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Fantastic write-up on the seven habits that can help one grow as a better programmer. Aptly titled the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Programmers, it is written by someone who has been-there-done-that. A must read for any serious programmer, or someone who cares about the craft, especially if you work in a team.

There are other articles too on that site, and so check them out as well. But this is the best of the lot, as they say.

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 22:35 hrs

Posted in Programming

The week that was [2006 Wk# 8]

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This was a pretty busy week at work, though mercifully it was not very tight. We are about to venture into the next version of our product, and so the days and weeks ahead will be “a bit busy”, I guess.

That is one of the reasons I am toiling hard today to finish off the backlog.

Yesterday (Saturday) I spend some time (for the nth time) travelling around Chennai in search of a home. I have learned enough to post a separate entry on real estate in urban these days.

I also managed to disturb Arun’s parents, who are here these days, and took his father to one of the sites. As always, he managed to provide me with fantastic insights about the situation I find myself in, and what all I can do with what I have, without compromising too much. Incidentally one of the amusing things he told me was about the real-estate price in Trivandrum. Chennai is cheaper, I guess, when you compare what you get in return for the money invested.

Today I decided to stay back at home and do nothing. Well, err, nothing except browsing ;).

Thanks for reading this post. Have a great week ahead, and don’t forget to visit my blog often :).

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 22:12 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings

Bangalore Trip# 2, 2006

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I promptly reached Bangalore on Saturday morning, and managed to find my way to the Gudaam (read Subru’s wonderful place which happens to be in a Gudaam :).

I spend the day visiting Meghdooth motors more than once, catching up with Arunachalam and of course, the good old house-owner Mami in the wonderful Cambridge Layout. I also visited SaiBaba temple there.

For lunch, I took Subru to the Hotel Ajantha, and surprise, surprise, after finishing his lunch, Subru remarked that this was the best meal he had in Bangalore. I pity him, really, as the food at Ajantha is not that great. It goes to show how much Subru is suffering in Bangalore. Come over to Chennai soon, maan. Ringie will manage without you ;).

I also thanked my stars for keeping Kadambam running while I was in Bangalore as a bachelor. It was the best food I had in Bangalore, barring the North Indian food at the Adda. However, I can’t afford or eat the food at Adda everyday. And so Kadambam was/is a very important thing for me. It is a pity that during the end of my third year there, they had to close down the branch in Manipal Centre.

The evening saw us meeting Reghu, Lakshmi (his sister-in-law) and her Dad (his father-in-law) for watching Rang De Basanti. It was a fantastic movie, though certain people might beg to diasgree. Thanks for the link, Subru. I really didn’t knew whether to laugh or to cry after reading that version.

The next day I spend pursuing my personal job, and was mostly with Reghu :).

That evening I finished the dinner at Subru’s favourite restaurant, The Mallige, and rushed to catch the Bangalore-Chennai Express at the Cantonment Station.

On my way back, I was happy that I managed to get the required Certificates from Meghdooth, which would directly relate to a saving of about 4000 bucks. I can put that money to good use either at Easwar or Gangarams!

The other thought was about not meeting Harish or Beeba, though both of them were in Bangalore for at least one of the two days.  But then, life is like that.

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 21:55 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings

The week that was [2006 Wk# 7]

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Hmm..this week was sandwiched between a couple of trips, and so was boring to say the least ;). Nothing much to report about the working week, except that I had applied to re-register my bike in Tamilnadu. I will be travelling to Bangalore over the weekend to collect some docs and to finish some personal work.

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 21:42 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings

Pilgrimage 2006

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I reached Trivandrum [in case you are wondering why I reached Trivandrum, read my previous post] by Saturday noon, met Sir and Mami, and then visited Chithi’s new home with Periammai. I also visited Harish’s place while I was in VKK Nagar.

Later in that day, I was lucky enough to ghoom around a little bit in Harish’s car. Saw many parts of the city as part of the task of “locating a Reliance Web world”. The places I chanced upon during that trip include a visit to NSS Public School after almost 10 years, Sarath’s place where we met his mother and saw his fiancees’ pix, the Shangumugom beach (looking as great as ever, if not better), the well maintained Beach road leading to All Saints College, the relatively new underpass constructed near Chandrasekaran Nair stadium (flashes of Mekhri circle underpass flashed our mind), the DPI Junction, and finally the Reliance Web world at DPI, where Harish was busy ;).

After finishing the browsing work (to book railway tickets on the net) we went to Jiju’s place, had a 30 min chat with him, and since it was getting late, rushed back home. Thanks Harish, for the wonderful Saturday evening.

The next day (Sunday) was Ayilyam day, and it saw me visiting Papps, Sir’s Ganapathy Temple, the Ananthankavu temple, and the Railway station before boarding the Chevrolet Tavera along with my parents, Sir, Mami, Periammai and Periappa, and Komi Mami.

We generally had a nice time during the trip, though there was bad news in the form of my Chithi at Nagercoil having fallen over in the Nagaraja temple during the morning darshan, and incurring a fracture in her leg in the process. We visited her on the way.

Sunday night we reached Courtallam, stayed in a hotel right opposite the Bus Stand (perhaps the best available hotel in Courtallam), spend the next morning catching up with my family God, Mr. Annavi Pillayar inside the Courtallam temple. During the afternoon, we visited Shankarankovil.

The next day we visited Ayikudi, about 15 km from Courtallam. It is my Appa’s native, where he spend his first 23 years. Incidentally it was only my second ever trip there, and the first one happened when I was about 8 or 10 years old. We visited the BalaSubramania Swamy temple in the Ayikudi village, and since it happened to be under the Kanyakumari Devaswom (as against Tamilnadu Devaswom) the way they conducted the various Poojas was simply fabulous. It was just like in any temple in Kerala (Pooja conducted with sincerity and dedication as against what I have seen in many temples in Chennai and Tamilnadu).

The highlight of the visit to Ayikkudi was the “Padi-poojai” that we performed that day. In essence, it involves preparing high quality Sarkara Payasam in liquid form, and distributing it to the localites by first cleaning the steps, and then pouring Payasam on the steps that lead down down to the River Hanuman, that flows (I thought the water was not quite flowing) beside the temple. There was a huge bowlful of payasam and it was over within no time.

I was sort of taken aback by what I saw — people drinking Payasam literally scooping it up from the steps using bare hands — and when I enquired with the Poojari there, got to hear the history. The system started during a time when there was more than ample flow in the river and when it used to be very clean. No one used to take bath there using soaps, or used to wash clothes there. In fact the belief is that Lord Balamuruga himself will join his devotees to drink the Padi-payasam.

It was a very fulfilling experience on the whole, as the Temple authorities helped us to distribute three huge bowlfuls — each of more than 100 Litres — to a local orphanage-cum-school run by “Amar Seva Sangam” about a kilometer away from the temple. Also this was the fulfillment of a promise made by my Paati (Appa’s mother) to Lord Balamuruga about 25 years ago.

On the way back, we visited Amar Seva Sangam, and then reached Courtallam, checked-out of the hotel and started off the return leg. The plan was that we will get down at Tirunelveli to catch the Ananthapuri Express on its way to Chennai. We reached Tirunelveli where the ladies wanted to do some small shopping, and I used that spare time to visit Sundar Anna and his family.

We finally parted ways at the Railway station, and Sundar Anna was kind enough to come to the station to meet Ammai. I was one tired soul by the time I reached Chennai on Wednesday morning, and I was really happy that I had taken that Wednesday off too. The Trivandrum party reached home that night.

Thus ended the Courtallam and Ayikkudi trip 2006. As already noted above, it was a very good trip on all counts.

Thanks for reading thus far. Take care and be well.

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 21:33 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings

The week that was [2006 Wk# 6]

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The week was not-that-hectic at work as my TL was back. I was pre-occupied with making plans for the longish weekend (I was on leave on Feb 13-15), as from Trivandrum we had plans to travel to Courtallam, Sankarankovil, and Ayikudi. I had to arrange for the vehicle, poojas in various temples etc.

Wednesday night (Feb 8th) saw my parents leaving to Trivandrum to attend my Chithi’s house-warming in VKK Nagar, Trivandrum. Harish was kind enough to pick them up from the station at Trivandrum.

Friday night (Feb 10th) saw me leaving to Trivandrum by Ananthapuri Express, after sweating it out till the 11th hour at office to fix a bug in one of the QA persons’ box, that later (after I left office) turned out to be a version problem! That ensured that the trip to the Railway station was a very tense one indeed!

Written by Proto

February 26, 2006 at 20:17 hrs

Posted in Random Ramblings