ISL Project Interview

I had been to college today for the ISL Internship Interview. 3 of us (me, Kulki and Suresh) left early morning, each with only 4 hours of sleep last night.

We left early morning at around 6:30 and reached by 10:30. The process comprised of a written test followed by interview for short-listed candidates.

We ended up selecting 6 students. It was not an easy job!

I felt really bad looking at the sullen faces of the students who were not selected, especially when I realized I was part of the decision. But then destiny plays its role and I guess we made the right choices.

Thanks to all the co-ordinators. In all, it was a nice (although tiring) experience.

Technologix 2006

I had been to college today to deliver a talk on behalf of ISL. The talk was on 'Innovation at IBM'. The talk was jointly delivered by me and Tariq Aftab.

We spoke about RFID, IBM Everywhere Interactive Display and IBM Smart Surveillance System (S3). It lasted for about 1 hour 15 mins. Overall, the response was good (the auditorium was jam-packed) and there were questions (which means people understood what is going on).

Ananth Narayan from LTC also accompanied us. Ananth is also an alumnus of SJCE.

We then had the privilege of meeting the principal, the head of the department of computer science and several other lecturers.

It was good to be back in college after such a long time. The atmosphere was pleasant and I felt I am really missing college.

Overall it was a satisfactory mission.

6 months up in IBM

I just crossed 6 months in IBM and it has been great!

I have had really successful days in IBM. In fact every day brings in new challenges and I am liking it.

Most of the work I do in IBM is confidential and I am urged to blog about it. But unfortunately, I am not allowed to. These days I am involved in activities other than my core work of product development. I should say it has been a successful start to the year.

Miles to go before I sleep…

I am now an IBM certified XML Solution developer

I took up a certification Test 141: XML and Related Technologies and came out with flying colors. I am now an IBM certified Solution Developer for XML and related technologies (this is an intermediate level certification).

With regard to my prior experience:
I have worked extensively in XML, XPath and XSLT and have about a year's experience in these technologies. I am also aware of other XML technologies.

The motive behind taking up this certification:
I wanted to! This is my first certification and I thought this would be the perfect one to start off with.

Preparation:
Don't even ask! The last week office work was very hectic and I could not find enough time to prepare for the certification test. I went through the following (in part) in the last week:
* W3 specifications for XML and XML Namespaces.
* Professional XML 2nd edition (some chapters).
* A lot of online references.
* Some sample tests from whizlabs, IBM learning and javaranch.

Score:
76.4% (Passing score is 57%).

Results by section:

Section # Questions # Correct
1. Architecture 10 8
2. Information Modeling 15 11
3. XML Processing 18 13
4. XML Rendering 6 4
5. Testing and Tuning 6 6

Suggestions to other candidates:
There are both scenario based questions and questions which ask you about constructs. You need to specially concentrate on XML Schema, DTD, XSLT, XPath, DOM and SAX in addition to XML and XML Namespaces. The others are less important and hardly constitute 10% of the questions. You need to concentrate on the following:
* Difference between parallel technologies – XML Schema and DTD, XSL-FO and CSS, DOM and SAX.
* The BNF of DTD, XML Schema and XML Namespaces would help.
* The interfaces in DOM and SAX.
* XPath (concentrate on working of axes) and XSLT (concentrate on use with other technologies like CSS, XML, XHTML, XSL-FO and scenario based questions).

2 days, 2 experiences

September 2, 2005:

As usual, after my office work, I improve my gyan in my fields of interest. I am trying out the newly discovered Clusty and hit upon something very interesting.

This site is called KurzweilAI.net. It is not something that I can describe, but here are some things it deals with:

* The Singularity.
* Living Forever.
* Will Machines Become Conscious?
* How to Build a Brain.
* Visions of the Future.

If you are not already excited, then you better not continue reading this blog. But if you are, then I suggest you start off with this:

Chapter 1: The Evolution of Mind in the Twenty-First Century.

I am tempted to tell you what is in there, but let me not, or else you will criticize me for curbing your interests after you read it.

September 3, 2005:

Early morning, I find myself attending a workshop in Le Meridian hotel, Sankey Road. This seminar is about:
Model Driven and Service Oriented Development using Eclipse, J2EE and Web Services.

The workshop was lead by Shridhar Iyengar, a distinguished engineer from IBM. It was one of the best workshops I had ever attended. It was jointly organized by Rotary Bangalore West, IBM and OMG.

Why I specially liked is that, this workshop dealt with upcoming trends in Software development. It talked about concepts like Modeling, Metadata, Service Oriented Development, Model Driven Architecture, Reverse Engineering, Reusable Assets etc.

I come to office today and find more interesting stuff:
Microsoft suing Google and Ballmer using offensive words against Google, making comments like Google will disappear within 5 years etc! (Is this more because of desperation?!)

What a vacation!!!

(This blog is subject to change and refinement. All irrelevant details have been suppressed.)
Our final exams ended on June 10th, 2005. It was a satisfying end to a great journey.

What happened after that was more exciting. Wanna know what happened? Read on… It's not a secret anymore.

I have this tendency. My mind works the most, during exams.

It so happened that this concept of Ananyeah hit upon me during the exams. And I was waiting for exams to end. Once the exams ended, I started working on it full time. Me and were quite excited about it.

Now nothing comes easily and for some vague reasons I had to try for other job options. (How bad, I am not allowed to work on my idea even in vacations 🙁 ). I found myself in Bangalore, the IT hub. That week, I talked to many people in Bangalore. (Company directors, managers etc).

Suddenly, Mr. sent me a message:

“Got placed in a cool startup. They want you to be director. Come online soon.”

What?! What?! What?!

I was already excited about all the developments (or rather the events) that were occurring and then this one.

I messaged him back and you know right? He does not answer properly. So I had to go to the browsing center to find out.

Now this is what it turned out to be:

An offer from a US company to start their India operations! They wanted us to start a “Private Limited” in India and they were ready to fund it. We were allowed to continue working in the companies that we were placed in and once we felt this company that we started is able to sustain itself, we could quit our jobs and continue working on it full-time. Sounds reasonable. Worth trying. That's what I felt.

So we started working on this for the next one week in home lab. The main problem that concerned us was, “How can we work in another company when we are already placed in another? Will it help us achieve our dream? We are not after money, so is this worth it?” The person who made this offer (hereafter referred to as Mr. CTO) didn't know how tough it is to start a pvt ltd in India. He wanted us to start it in 2 days and start work immediately. Also, he was probably unaware that in India nothing works without under-hand transactions. So we told Mr. CTO that since we have these problems, we won't start this pvt ltd immediately, but start working on the project. (It would violate BCG of our company, but let's see what can be done about it…)

We had read about the starting of a company in “Management in Engineering” and now we were looking at the practical aspects of it.

Mr. CTO, was not aware that we were placed in IBM. When he did, he was shocked. He knew it was impossible for us to work on this offer. So he made another offer:

Work on an open source project for the next 3 months and at the end of it, I'll give you the entire salary what IBM pays you in one year. You then quit IBM and join us full time.

Reasonable again. Remember that I had not -joined- IBM and so I didn't know what IBM allows and what it does not. But when I read the BCG, I knew that even this would not be possible according to the BCG.

Meanwhile, Mr. CTO, who was not even aware of our problems, was in full-zoom. He sent us the “First assignment”. We found that the “First Assignment” clashes with the interests of Ananyeah. It was clear that, if at all we were working on this idea, we had to make sure that we also own it. So we told Mr. CTO about this. Mr. CTO changed the offer. We soon felt, he was trying to “utilize” us. We could not see any advantages of working with him or his company. So we declined the offer.

In the meantime, we had joined our jobs. And you know how my IBM offer mail began,

“Hope you are having a nice vacation, free from worries since your examinations are complete and you have an offer from an excellent company in hand.”

Well said!!!

(All people relevant to this blog, may write comments putting in their own experiences or blog about it in their own blogs. There is no point in hiding it.)

The XInclude namespace foolishness

I was going through XInclude for my project.

The project required me to use Xerces SAX parser.

My input XML document used 2003 in the XInclude namespace (http://www.w3.org/2003/XInclude). The XInclude processor in Xerces does not support 2003 namespace but only 2001 (http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude) apparently because this namespace is no longer recognized (this document says so). So the processor was not working as I felt it would. I tried hard the whole day trying to find a solution and did a lot of silly things (You would expect anyone to do silly things in case they don't get a solution for a long time when they expect the solution to be simple). Finally I tumbled across this FAQ and lo, it said all!!!

Here's what the recommendation says:

Please note that the namespace URI has been reverted back to the URI found in earlier drafts of XInclude. This document defines the namespace URI http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude; the http://www.w3.org/2003/XInclude namespace URI found in the Last Call is made obsolete by this document.

Too late to realize? 🙁

What a week!

What a week it has been!

It has been only a week since I joined ISL and my name has been put up everywhere!

Know why?

I participated in a skit (!!!) and my name was printed in all the posters put up to invite people.

“Me in a skit?”, you may ask, but it's true.

I don't know how I did, but I am sure it wasn't bad.

This skit was part of ISL Innovation Day. And for my efforts, I also got a cool memento. Thanks IBM, ISL and Deepu (director of the skit).