Saturday, December 22, 2007

End of the Semester

So, the semester has finally ended! And I must say it was a hell of a journey. From a new style of studies to cooking it was a struggle all the way. Though battered and bruised, I am happy that I have survived.

I remember when I was shifting schools in 6th grade. I used to be in a smallish school and was transferring to a bigger school and my Maths teacher said (the subject I used to top every time in those days!) that I would find it hard to survive in the new school with no spoon feeding and a higher level of competition. And I think what her reaction would be when I meet her today after not only surviving but topping that school in 12th boards and now studying here in UoA.

I think the one semester has taught me a lot (ok! gimme something new).One, I just can't get up early whether it's a early class or a RA meeting. Two, I can actually study the whole night. Furthermore, nothing can motivate me to work .. unless there's a deadline in a few days.

Hmm.. the third is somewhat surprising and unfortunate because I used to love programming. Well, to be frank I used to be geeky in school. So while a football match was going on in the school, I would use the "free time" to sharpen my C++ skills. But somehow I have lost it. And this was reflected in my project's performances this semester where my performances was certainly below par though I managed to scrape through both.

And I understand, though partially, the value of friends and in general people. I was
helped and cared for throughout this period by people. There were some I knew before coming here but most were complete strangers. I bombarded them with questions and I always got patient replies. And I can't thank them all enough. It's not about studies or survival but about their goodness that I want to thank them for. Just for being selfless.

P.S. Well, this post was a very random one and with the blog title "Musings of an Unsettled mind" what else can you expect.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blog Changes

Wanted to shake a few things here

Side menu changes:

1. About me is pushed down: No one who don't know me will not reach here (unless he googles for Amit Wadhwa, and clicks on result# 5/6 :-/) (Edit: It doesn't look good down there, so its back up)

2. Check this out: The main change I wanted to do, I will try and list something there which I think is worth checking out. It will probably be a site/song which you can "check out" in 5 mins. Just to add a little more personal flavor to the blog

3. Slideshow: Cool little new gadget, fetches pics from picasa and shows it in your blog :) Google always tend to pleasantly surprise me. Next up should be Orkut album + picasa integration. I don't count adding a feed to picasa as integration.

Though I have screwed the layout a bit, That's a to do in December, when I am planning to switch to a better template.

Do let me know if you liked anything

Monday, November 19, 2007

Which Sites are you addicted to?

I just read a post on Natasha's blog where she talked about her addiction to orkut/ facebook etc.

Just wanted to know what sites are people addicted to. My personal list would go something like this:

1. Digg : Amazing web 2.0 news site. Unlike Orkut/facebook where the probability of finding a new scrap/message per hour is pretty low (unless you are as popular as Balaji with 600+ pals) the chances of finding something amusing is quite high on digg.

Alternate: reddit / slashdot

2. Orkut / Facebook: For obvious reasons

3. bash.org /qdb.us: A site which stores comical quote found on IRC. You won't find it that amusing If you have never been on IRC.

4. phdcomics.com : Esp. if you are a new reader, you HAVE to go through all the old stuff so there's a huge backlog.

5. Root of all evil (and good?) : iGoogle?! With all the RSS feeds for jokes/ news plus maps, product search and ofcoz the good old conventional search!

So what are your faves?!

Monday, November 5, 2007

All Souls procession day



The Procession had its beginnings in 1990 with a ritualistic performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson, who was grieving the passing of her father. Inspired by Mexico's Dia de los Muertos holiday, Johnson felt she should honor her father in celebration and creativity. The performance was very well received and many artists were inspired to continue growing the Procession into its modern incarnation.

Details here

Pics from the event:

http://picasaweb.google.com/amit.amitwadhwa/AllSoulsProcessionDay

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fight or Flight

This was my status message for the last whole week in gtalk. And needless to say I got quite a few comments, Some funny, some from people who identified with the message and some asking me what does it mean and some tried to pick my morale up!

Well, the first thing, the message is inspired (stolen) from Heroes season 2 episode 5 title. I picked it up as it described my situation perfectly, I have a feeling I am not able to cope up here, the pressure of doing good, the environment, the away from home feeling, And I am thinking is it worth it? Should I Fight or Flight?

Am I alone in thinking so? I am sure am not.

But are we right in thinking so? I am not sure.

IS anybody gonna take the flight? NO way!

When is right time to call it quits? Do we always have to stand up and fight or should we calmly say "I tried doing it, but I am sure now I will fail(or not able to achieve my target)". So do you lower your expectations and if yes, by how much?

Even if you lower your target then won't it affect the benefit of Fighting or taking the thing in your hand at first place. What if you think "I have realized it's not possible for me to do it without loosing more than what I would gain if I tried to persevere through it".

I believe it takes a much bolder person to take a flight rather than to fight! It's easier to fail for us than to give up, its instinct of a human to get up and fight even if he knows it may be futile. Why? Coz getting up is heroic, we see it in the movies, we have that inspiring moments and decide why can't I do it? But are those moments of inspiration or insanity? That is decided by the outcome not your effort.

The basic question is till what time do you fight and when's the right time to take the flight .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Networks Midterm Rant

Damn it was bad,

Does MRAI works only for announcements? I doubt but others say so! Also how did i calculate 23*2=64! I'll never know i guess! Why I didn't write the OSPF routing table on my cheat sheet or the Decay equation of Damping. And Why the hell are there no choices in the papers! How can one remember all the nitty gritties in the technical papers (This applies to OS more as even a cheat sheet isn't allowed)

Anyways have to slog for OS, Midterm in less than 17 hours!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A close look at the career fairs

PHDComics

You a grad student, Ever had the feeling that someone must have had documented his life as a grad student, all the agony the pain... check out at www.phdcomics.com

A sample:

Nerds

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Must Read

As a part of one of my courses in UoA I was reading an article on "Key Principles of business driven development" And shockingly I found it really interesting. I could co-relate the article with my work ex very closely. Almost made taking the course worth for me.

The article talks about best practices in software development process, their benefits, use and abuse.

Check the article out at http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/oct05/kroll/index.html and do let me know how you found the article

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Suggest me a nickname

I was on this chat channel on IRC today and I realized I need to get a new nick for myself. So people who visit this place do drop a comment with a suggested nick. Serious and not so serious comments welcome.

P.S. I reserve the rights to edit any comments :P

Google Calendar Gadget

Well, I have been a ardent fan of Google Calendar in lack of a better solution for my organizing needs. The problems I have faced with with Google Calendar has been that its missing a few basic features like:

1. To-do list which can nicely dock on the side.
2. It's really important for me to check out events (basically click the check mark after I have accomplished my task). I worked around this problem by having a "Archive" Calendar where I move all my "done" tasks/events. Though moving events around calendar is a pain
3. Another missing feature was a weekly to-do list. Derived from the book "First Things First" this is one of the central theme of any organizing I do and its much better than daily to-do lists. I simulated that by adding another calendar "Weekly Tasks". And I keep adding them to the first day of the week or spread them around different days. The color of the task lets me know that its a weekly task

Another feature I missed was not having a desktop version of the calendar. Now, we have a google calendar gadget which is a addon to Google desktop. It sits nicely on the sidebar of my pc, I have added a notes and to-do gadget. I can add events and see agenda of the day directly from the desktop which is pretty neat.

If you are using Google calendar you should really try this gadget out. As far as rest of the missing features just look for some workarounds until Google adds them, if they decide to add them.

On a side note, now I just wish I had the time to organize and maintain my calendar. UoA has been very hectic and that is the reason for my sparing postings. I hope to get back on track soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Things I am glad to bring to US

This list was kinda mandated by some of the comments I got.

So am gonna list items I am glad I brought with me
1. Masalas
2. Utensils : Pressure Cooker, Pan etc. But I guess you can get a Pan here also, but Pressure Cooker is vital
3. Clothes: I brought a tonne but I need more :(
4. Books : :)
5. Leather Shoes: Pretty expensive here but don't know when I would use them.


Will add more

Monday, August 13, 2007

Things I should have brought to US

These are the things that I should have brought along:
1. Extra pillow cover
2. Some fiction books to read: For the flight.
3. Slippers
4. More clothes

Additions on 08/28
5. Scissors: Had a hard time finding it, the one I liked was $6!
6. Sunscreen: Its Arizona, need I say more!
7. Uno: A addicting card game.

Things I could have left home:
1. Maggi (You get decent cheap noodles here veg and non-veg)
2. Notebooks (You can find them at walmart at decent rates)

Additions on 08/28
3. All the pens and pencils: You get these Free!

Will keep adding as I go along and may be add different lists.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tucson

Well, sometimes in life you end up in places where you never expected you would be. I am sitting in the Science and Engg. library of University of Arizona while writing this post.

I reached Tucson on 28th just before midnight. The Indian seniors here are just great, they took care of everything, pick up, temp acco, bank accounts .. they really made us feel comfortable :)

After that, it has been quite hectic. I have been apartment hunting, grocery buying and what not. I was really lucky to land up a really cool apartment while others had just started to look. So I moved in to my own place pretty quick. Couple of my flatmates have already moved in.

Grocery shopping has been quite an experience, we have loaded our fridge with stuff to eat and we are actually eating at home most times, a really nice accomplishment.

As far as how US is difference from India.. I might do a post later on that

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How To Get Started

I have always wanted to give meditation a try.. and this article really gives a nice brief insight into the process and benefits of meditation.

read more | digg story

Friday, July 6, 2007

GTD with Google

I have yet to read the book , but I really like what I have read from various sources on the net [wikipedia and other sites] That I thought, why not give it a shot first before actually going out and buy the book. (Ofcourse since a Indian edition doesn't exist it would cost a bit too). For all those who are still wondering, I am talking about Getting Things Done by David Allen.

So, I have started exploring various tools that can be used to follow the GTD Lifestyle. Till now, the best I way I have found is Google Notebooks. I know most prople prefer using GMail along with the GtdGMail addon [http://www.gtdgmail.com/] But the problem is that I use my Gmail account for normal email use, and creating a new one for GTD usage is not feasible as I will have to sign-in/ sign-out of Google repeatedly since I am a heavy user of Google Products [Notebook, calendar, iGoogle etc]

Then, I found a article on GTD with Google Notebook at lifehacker and it seems to click for me [http://lifehacker.com/software/geek-to-live/getting-things-done-with-google-notebook-256844.php]

Now I have created the following Google Notebooks:
1. GTD:Inbox
2. GTD:Next Actions
3. GTD:References
4. GTD:Someday/Maybe
5. GTD:Projects

One extra notebook I have apart from the above is:
6. GTD:Archive

This is for all the actions/projects that are done and dusted. This is recommended in the book as well as various articles covering GTD with GMail, though this article missed it somehow. Having this is important for me as it gives me a sense of achievement.

Anyways, I am gonna try this setup for a few days and find out if it helps. Ofcourse, I can always switch to a program like ToodleDo [http://www.toodledo.com/] or Thinking Rock [http://www.thinkingrock.com.au/] if I want a more GTD driven software.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Simpsons Movie Trailer

Waiting for this one

You can't survive if you are unpopular

In the latest episode of The Apprentice, A guy called "Surya" was fired. He was the PM of the team that lost. I wasn't able to watch the complete show and missed the actual task. But this guy fought like hell in the boardroom. He just wasn't ready to go. And he wasn't giving lame excuses either.

He switched teams a few weeks ago and has not been able to "fit in" the team. He has got the talent(it seems) but he never looked like gelling inside the team. He was the Project manager for 3 tasks out of which the team won 2. He also had the best overall record of 5 wins and 2 losses. But once you are in the boardroom and the whole team says I think Mr. X should then Donald trump doesn't really has an option, does he?

One thing I hate is that 9 out of 10 times its the Project manager who is fired. Its like the Manager has an axe on his head. A person remains the Manager till his/her team loses and once it loses he is the most probable candidate to go out. I think they need a little tweak here so to make sure everyone gets a crack at being a Manager.. But since the show will go off the air after this season, we probably wont have this change :/

Friday, June 29, 2007

An Open Request

Come on people , don't just browse around and leave, drop a comment, tell me if you hate the posts or have some views. Drop me a mail if you don't want to comment. Write something, Write anything.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cost of speaking too much

Well in the latest episode of The Apprentice(here in India), the guy I was kinda rooting for just got fired. And it wasn't because he screwed up in one of the task but simply coz he let his tongue take control of his brain. He let his tongue run out of control and called himself "White trash" in the board room. STUPID. The result he was fired instantaneously. I feel sorry for the guy since he was a talent powerhouse but then again maybe he was not that smart. He not only used a offensive term in the boardroom, he isolated himself from the product he was trying to sell and trashed himself in front of Donald Trump. His reasoning: "He calls himself that sometimes when he is kidding". Come on man, "You are in the board room of apprentice in front of Donald trump, You don't kid around here" He was probably very safe coz of his past performances and may be he was agitated coz of the fact that he didnt perform well in the task. Guess he would learn to shut up and stop calling himself that.

Now the task was to promote the latest Lexus 2007 model which had all these neat features, none of which seemed highlighted in the event of the loosing team. The other team really worked on the brand image of Lexus and the Luxury associated with it. They had a much bigger crowd there and it seemed a really well managed event.

There was a 2nd routine firing, that of the Project Manager Jenn.. Now, not only she didn't do a good job, she was pathetic in the board room. She was like these guys are great and didn't do anything to defend herself or to stand up for her the decisions she took. Adding to the injury was the fact that her opening presentation was poor coz she overlooked Sun's daily movement.

There are a few ticking bombs left there, and things should really heat up if couple of people who clearly aren't upto the mark are let go from the show.

Another intresting turn of event in the show was clear irritation on Trump's face when he was cut down by his over zealous assistant in firing making his points.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What a Sunday!

Truly an amazing day for Sports Enthusiasts. Hamilton rode beautifully in his Mclaren to win the US GP. Angel Cabrera, a guy whose name wasn't heard by many won the US Open Golf Tournament, overpowering Tiger woods who was staging a comeback of sorts in the 3rd and 4th after having a dismal first two rounds and Real Madrid are spanish league champs once again.

Lets talk about Madrid for a bit here, this is a team which was in shambles till the first half in season, All that money, the great names in the squad were upto no good. This was a team which was truly a shadow of the powerhouse Real Madrid of the past. But they managed a miraculous comeback with an amazing winning streak towards the end of the season to upset holder's Barcelona. Some have celebrated the success by praising the grit and determination of Fabio Capello and his team, others have whined about the One-on-One record deciding the top position instead of the Goal difference in the league.

One thing that was evident was the top fitness level of the team, it was evident that Madrid played much better in the 2nd half than 1st including the dramatic comeback against Espanyol when they were 0-3 down to win the match 4-3.

The same spirit was evident in the second half of the last game against Mallorca when they made a comeback from 0-1 to win the match 3-1. It was amazing that the best player on the field (Becks at that point) had to be subsituted to make the turnaround in the match.

With Becks and Roberto Carlos leaving this season and Reyes uncertain position. It would be interested to see which players will Madrid get for next season and whether Capello would still be there or not as the coach

Blog Migration

I am migrating my Blog from http://talky.blogdrive.com to here. It'll take some time and you might see posts popping up in old dates from no where :)

To see all my posts check out: http://talky.blogdrive.com

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Usability factor

Well, I was browsing the CNN Website Education section looking for an article (regarding ASU) of which I had an broken link (which I picked up from a forum)

Now, After the finding the link to be broken after a bit of grumbling I really had 2 options:
1) To give up on the article
2) To find the article myself

Well, I picked option 2 for no certain reason and tried the so-called "search" feature.

Now the problems I faced while using the search feature:
1) By default the search is a web-search and not a CNN.com search. I just don't get this, Why would anybody does this? I won't go to CNN.com to do an Yahoo search(this is what they use). This should be really simple to know, understand and do.
2) No section specific search: So I can't search in education section only
3) By default results are ordered by Date and not Relevance. This was really irritating. I was getting really weird top results due to this as the hits were sorted by date.

Though, I wasn't able to find the article using the search, I thought why not just browse to the date of the article (somewhere in april). I clicked on "more articles" link on the Ed section page and viola I was on a page that looked like had archived content but that was limited till May only. I wasn't able to find a link to older stories :(

A simple example of how Small things when overlooked can cause mayhem to a web site's usability.

Common Sense of Loosing weight

A friend of mine managed to loose humongous amount of weight after he was diagnosed with medical problems. Now, this guy was fat all his life. He used to be live on junk food and called all kinds of names during his school days. But one day when he was diagnosed with several health problems owing to his weight. He resolved to loose weight.

He managed to loose about 50 Kgs. in 10 months. And he is one of fittest persons I know of. He's also working on a book called "Common Sense of loosing weight".

You can read his story [rediff.com].

Check out Rishi's site at: http://www.commonsenseofloosingweight.com/

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Women Em"Powerment"

Intresting tid bits of news today on TV and the news paper.

In a incident, one women along with her family and well-wishers ransacked a marriage. Apparently the marriage was of her husband who was marrying under another name.

In a separate incident a "sadhu" was beaten up by a girl and her family members coz he tried to rape the girl earlier in the day. Apparently he ran after she managed to raise a alarm and hid inside the temple. The police has booked the sadhu for attempted rape and the girl for beating and ransacking the place.

What made me noticed the incidents were that they were both reported from semi-urban parts of the country and also the changing face of the Indian woman in these parts. They are actually standing up for themselves and saying if the police/govt. cant protect us we ourselves will. They aren't shy to go after the offenders themselves and give them a taste of justice.

Another thing to notice about the 2 incidents was the role of the media. In both the cases media was present while there was no police to be seen. This sends out a big message about the media and police today. Media has become a powerful force. The police may or may not be able to help you. But once the media is on your side it doesn't matter who is on the other side in Modern India coz soon the whole India would be rallying behind you. Such is the power of media in new age India.

Great pieces of news ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Y2k Bug

Hmm, I was in a phone convo with a friend today, who gave a example of the Y2K bug. Basically saying it was a huge dud and only because US said the universe will collapse on year 2000, the world hit the panic button and upgraded their systems.

That sent me into a tizzy, I dont remember thinking it this way, Infact Y2k was such a no incident that i dont even remember thinking about it after year 2000. But now i think or rather I would quote from wikipedia

"Debate continues on Whether the absence of computer failures was the result of the preparation undertaken or whether the significance of the problem had been overstated??"

Hmm.. I dont really recall hearing *any* major incident coz of the Y2K bug, Why is that? I cant really believe we were 100% ready!! Somebody must have missed it!

Hell, In most circustances I would believe that while upgrading some of the code might have been left unfixed (quite easy !)

So was all that expenditure and the hoopla only due to a overhyped unfounded rumour?

Read:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y2K

To read a parody on the Y2K bug hoopla visit:
http://www.jefflindsay.com/my2k.shtml

Sunday, March 4, 2007

First Things First

I have just started reading "First Things First" by Stephen Covey. It struck me as pretty insightful as did the 7 habits. However, I think, its quite easy to forget what all I can grab from the book writing a brief of the things in the book.

1. Quadrant - II Living: Devote time to Q-II (the important) activities of life. Dont procastinate and let things turn into crisis. Separate the Urgent from Urgent but not Important activities. Avoid Q-III and Q-IV at all costs

What does it mean to me?
a) Things are imp. which I can start anyday has to be started now: Eating right, Drinking lots of water, Exercising
b)Give more importance to relationships.
c)Stop wasting time in Video games and other stupid stuff.

2. Identify the real "First things" : Not only be just more efficient but be more "effective". Identify activities which really are important. Stop living in the crisis world.

Stop giving importance to every to-do activity. Identify the actually "important" activities and start devoting time to those

Saturday, March 3, 2007

3CR

The post is on a funda I call 3CR i.e. confirm, Confirm, CONFIRM, Report. Basically, It says you can easily make a ass out of yourself if you report premature findings with no solid proof quite easily. Hence, double..no..triple check everything before establishing or generalising something. This has happened to me multiple times and hence I push myself to adhere to this principle as much as possible(quite hard at times for me)

Ofcourse the above becomes more important when you are reporting to your boss or client where reporting any findings which may turn out to be wrong could be quite a disaster.

So, before jumping from your seat and yelling Eureka, just run a few more testcases ;)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Interesting thought

I attended a workshop on Coaching today, where I heard this:

"Weaknesses are generally just over-played strengths". Hmm... think about it, It seems plausible to me

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thing I hate about myself

From now on, I will try and list the things I really would like to change about myself and just to remind me of the things, i'll list them here to remind me and to remind you to remind me that i have to loose the "bad habits of Amit Wadhwa" :P

1. Laziness/Procastination : I am epitome of procastination. I dilly dally at every opportunity. From waking up to packing up my bags in office and returning home. I am never able to do it well in time. I get up late and rarely reach office on time. I take off late from office and reach home late. I almost miss all the deadlines for everything.. CAT, MS apps blah blah.. blah Hell, I even put off shaving until it starts itching(okay its not always that bad)

2. I am a mess!!: I am highly disorganized.. Each item I own which can be misplaced is reight now MISPLACED! My first resolution of 2007 was to make myself more organized but I have been tarrying it all along(cf. pt. 1)

Lots More to Come..