Thursday, March 16, 2006

My visit to Bangalore.

Hello everyone. I had visited B'lore on the 24th~27th of Feb, 2006 in relation to the Code4Bill interview for the internship @ M$. This post is with regard to that. You must be wondering why the post comes so later.... well, at best, it's a culmination of reasons including me being busy with college and project work.... So, here it goes:

I left from Mumbai on the 24th morning by Udyan Express from Mumbai CST. It's a 25hr journey to B'lore by train. It would generally suit me well, except I got bored during the day and slept for half the day. So much for catching up on my sleep. However, I did meet a few interesting people. 2 of them happened to be 2 girls from Germany who had come to B'lore for a year for Social Service to help out the street children better their lives. A truly noble cause.

I reached B'lore stn.[Cantonment] at 9:00am on the 25th, and was told to come at CMH Hospital from where I would be picked up by one of my hosts at B'lore, Chirag Patni. I was going to stay at Saurabh Ji's place & Chirag had arranged the stay. A heart thanks to both of them!!!! They made my trip really worth it. The first day, I was taken by Saurabh Ji to the Jain Mandir. It was a very quiet and peaceful place. Somewhere people would generally come to find solace. The next came Kamp Fort, and behind that was a HUGE, no MASSIVE Shiv ki murti. It was really great, and made me feel quite small actually!!!! And there was also this 12 shivling ka emulation(replicas) which were made to explain the significance of each one of them. It was really gr8, and the effects were quite life-like. After that we headed home, and Chirag was already there watching Tv. We all decided it was time to bujhao the aag in out pets(stomach), so we headed to this place (????) where we got really nice parathas and (????) I had onion & methi parathas, and they were quite filling. After that, back home, and off to bed. Dinner was on Chirag and that evening he took me out to show me the signts & sounds of B'lore. Areas of interest were Chinnaswami Cricket Stadium, VIdhan sabha(which looked quite majestic from far down the road), and Briget road. A lot of malls have cropped up at B'lore off late, and we visited a few of them. Then, it was dinner time and we had a light meal since neither of us were too hungry, and then headed off to Leelas, where we sat by the poolside and had a long chat. It was really peaceful place. We spoke a lot and really got to know each other. After that, it was time to have some coffee.... Coffee was great as usual, and then we headed back home. Saurabh Ji was watching the FilmFare awards, and we joined in. After some time, Saurabh Ji and myself felt quite sleepy but Chirag was still at it, so we left him to flip some channels, and retired for the day.

The next day I woke up at 6:00am(quite early by my standards) since I had to reach the M$ office at 8:00am. Chirag was woken up(in a very hasty manner) and he was sweet enough to have dropped me off on time, and he also told me how to get back. After the interview, I again found my way to CMH Hospital where I was picked up by Saurabh Ji this time.

Come evening, and Saurabh Ji dropped me off at the B'lore Cantonment Stn. were I caught Udayan Express back to Mumbai CST. I reached home at 9:30pm.... A very nice trip all in all. I would like to thank Saurabh Ji & Chirag once again for taking such good care of me.

And as is said: All's well that ends well ;-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What I don't like about Microsoft.

Well, I think this has been long pending. I need to set some records straight and speak out why I don't really like M$. I personally have no problem with their OS(partly because I hardly ever use it. Mainly it's used when I'm forced to at college, but that's a different story). And I feel that M$ Office is one of the best products I have ever used.... However, there are a few areas where I particularly don't like the firm.

[1] Licensing being one of them. They have this massive EULA which probably has lots of undesirable clauses. Something that I would rather stay away from.

[2] Pricing. I got to pay for the software I use, even if it is for educational purposes!!!! I mean come on.... have a heart.... I use Linux at home, and am loving it. I switched about 3 years back, and have learnt more about computers, and programming that I ever did while I used windows for a much longer period of time. So in that sense too, M$ seems to be lacking. Lots of things are hidden, and not revealed, and that really hurts someone like me who wants to explore the internals of a system. GNU/Linux lets you do that to almost any level of detail that you please, and that too in quite an organized fashion.

[3] Number of APIs. Whow!!!! M$ has like zillions of ActiveX controls, and APIs for managing stuff.... and to top it, you can do the same thing in many diferent ways. This is one place where choice really hurts. I mean it's really overwhelming.... And the number of versions of a DLL and stuff like that just drives me crazy. Something simple like updating a DLL file might break something in some obscure place, and the whole thing comes down like a pack of cards. This is one area where IMHO Linux should try not to get out of hand. I agree it(Linux) is growing in complexity, but it has a beautiful POSIX interface, which is relatively small, and quite well documented. And it lets you do almost anything you would ever need to with the computer.

[4] On the 26th of February, 2006, I had been invited to Bangalore at the M$ office for an interview in reference to the Code4Bill contest I had participated in. It was a gr8 eperience all in all, though I didn't get thru ;-) I must say M$ takes a lot of care of their employees(or at least it seems so) and there are lots of recreational facilities available. That's all very good, but in the initial phase when we arrived, we were addressed by an employee who has been working for M$ for the past 16 years, and he was trying to sell M$ to us. Nothing wrong till the point when he started bad mouthing Free Software. He said somehing along the lines of: There is nothing like Free Software. They make you pay in one for or another. If not the software, you will have to pay for service & support. And he also mentioned that Open Software was just a flavour of the month, and it wasn't something that was here to last. I seriously wasn't expecting such comments from someone in a company like M$. I mean they have immense credibility, and such comments could only have been to deter the youth of the country from joining in Open Software, and contributing to it's growth because they see it as a potentially serious threat. With regard to the conments he made regarding Free software, I think he is blatantly wrong, because all the major distros of Gnu/Linux can be downloaded off the Internet for absolutely no cost, and there are loads of help pages, manuals, and How Tos to help you find your way around.... not to mention the numerous forums and usenet groups for newbies.... All in all, it was a very naive and uninformed statement made by an employee of the richest firm on the pace of this blessed planet.