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Being on the other side of the Interview table

Attending an interview tends to be a scary, nerve-wracking event for most, me included. It’s like college exam 2.0 – you don’t do anything building up to the event, panic & do a splash and dash the previous night(though in my case, it’s more like “ah, fahgettaboutit”), start wondering and worrying what’s about to be asked prior to the event, with your mind racing about – “what if x comes, oh shit I forgot about y”, the big moment where you stammer, blabber and spit out something and then keep worrying till the results are out.

Last week, I got a call from the HR team asking if I’d be available and willing to come to office on Saturday. The reason? We had a weekend hiring drive and they wanted me(among others) to be an interviewer. My first reaction was – “mm okaaay but I’ve never done this before”(though never is not true, I did take up an interview, but that was for my team & was more of accompany-the-project-leads-and-ask-a-few-questions). This case, however, was different. It’d be a face-to-face interview. With people willing to join the organization. I decided to say Ok. Hey, it’d be a different experience.
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On Contact Lenses and Bausch & Lomb’s Pure View “HD” lenses

I’ve been wearing contact lenses for more than 10 years now. Switched to contacts from my clunky spectacles when I started my PU(aka 11th).

Guess who I am & win!

Guess who I am & win!

When you use something for 16x7x365 (I won’t say 24×7, since the lenses are off when I’m sleeping), you tend to know it inside out. And especially when it’s something like contact lenses, which sit on your eyeballs, every little change will result in instantaneous result. For instance, if you put on your lenses with an every-so-tiny speck of dirt that it’s bloody invisible, trust me, you will know about it & you eyes will water like there’s a big pump pushing out all the tears.

Anyways, all these years I’ve been using Bausch & Lomb’s SofLens monthly disposable lenses. They’re great. Actually, scratch the great part. They’re fantastic. Fits perfectly, no shifting, no dryness nothing. If coloured lenses are your fancy, they come in various colours, but I’ve been on the stock ones, which have a light-blue visibility tint which is awesome if you ever do the scary part of dropping your lenses on the ground or in the kitchen sink.

I’ve tried some other lenses, mainly B&L’s “permanent” ones(in reality, they’re supposed to be changed every year or so), but these didn’t suit my eyes & would go bad in less than 3-4 months. Also tried Johnson & Johnson’s contact lenses, they were fine, but not as comfortable as SofLens.

Over the past few years, we’ve had HD shoved down our throats – everywhere from video to audio. Heck even FM stations started touting “HD quality radio” crap. And joining this “we have HD” queue is… *drumroll* B&L.  Yes. Bausch & Lomb claim their lenses have “HD” optics.

Whatever the heck that means. And on their webpage they have pretty, pretty pictures(albeit served as Flash, so if you’re on a laptop, move it away from your thighs else you’ll have a Seekh Kebab down there) showing what happens when you wear their “HD” lenses. Apparently “blurred” images become crispy, squeaky clean & sharp. No more halos. Excuse me you brilliant folks at B&L PR and marketing, all those (blurred images, halos) are signs of a person wearing lenses NOT suited to them.

Curious to see how they actually work – I took the bait & bought them. For a pretty steep price. Lenskart took about 10 days to deliver them. They forgot to ship the free lens solution & case which was to be included as part of the offer, but after a support ticket, they sent them to me via courier.

Been wearing these for about 2 months now. And as expected, the HD’s just marketing gimmick. Everything looks the same. And to answer those who asked me on twitter, wearing “HD” lens and viewing a “HD” movie on “HD” monitor doesn’t give you a 2160p display. Har, Har.

It’s not just the ludicrous steep price that bothers me. These lenses don’t have any visibility tints. Trying to find where the lenses are in the case itself is like fishing in the deep sea with your eyes blindfolded. Don’t bother searching if you’ve dropped them. While there has been no “shifting”, the lens tends to get dry a wee bit faster. And not to forget, the lens is a dirt magnet. Picks up dirt way faster than anything else that I’ve tried.

So to sum up: Don’t buy ’em. HD or no HD, you won’t find any difference. And you’ll save some cash to buy another pair of lenses. Or for some shopping. Or beer. Whatever you prefer.

Capping off a roller coaster year

2011 was a roller coaster year. Here’s the year in review, in bullet points

  • Sold off my iPhone 3G and purchased a Nexus S
  • Supposed long term US stay gets cut short.
  • 3+ years of work on project gone down the drain. On the upside, learnt quite a lot.
  • Met Manaa in person, after being a very close friend for 6+ years
  • Was elected as Community Moderator for one of the Stack Exchange sites, Super User
  • Wrote my first Chrome Extension to get around WebNonsense crap
  • Bad security practice from the past comes to haunt me.
  • Quit 3i and joined Logica at the middle of the year – after almost having joined TCS, rejected in final round of interview at Oracle & a bungled interview at Société Générale.
  • Did a short term stint in Bangalore for training at Logica
  • My beloved Nexus S got stolen, purchased a iPhone 3GS from Shivaranjan as it’s replacement
  • Went on a road trip to Goa with Appy, AshwinSid and SwaroopH during the middle of the rainy season.
  • Test drove the Swift & Figo. Waited for the new Swift to arrive in market and then went and booked the Ford Figo. Swift’s price put it out of my budget & couldn’t wait 6+ months for the Swift
  • Met Harshad Sharma & Malcolm after having known them for *years* on twitter.
  • Gatecrashed Ravi’s wedding.
  • Ran all over Chennai in trying to get the paperwork & formalities done for the car loan
  • Car loan got disbursed, did the payment, only to be told, couple days before taking delivery that I will be relocated to Bangalore
  • Cancelled car booking, return loan since re-registration of TN car in KA === heavy losses. Total damages: 2.3k(loan processing fees) + 4k (first month interest)
  • Got a permanent transfer to Bangalore! (woohoo!) Ashwinsid & 9_6 welcome me in style.
  • Moved to a 1BHK house on rent. Much thanks to Dkris for allowing me to stay at his house and give expert tips on house hunting.
  • Watched Poets of the Fall perform with front row, centre stage view at The Great Indian Octoberfest
  • Got clicked for #TAD365, thanks Roycin!
  • Met GeekGod & Waste-u Photographer, Waste-u Photographer’s bitch and Frequent Flyer Manish
  • Finally, welcomed the New Year at a far-away coffee estate in Chikmagalur.

Gadgets bought/acquired/reviewed

Overall, a fab year. Happy New Year – and best wishes for the year ahead.


… for a fortnight, that is.

Although, I was not  strictly Bangalored, barely a week after joining Logica I was asked to come over for Bangalore for 2 weeks for some training sessions. Now since this was a company sponsored training, my travel and accommodation was handled by them.

Reached Bangalore on Sunday, May 1st morning via the Jan Shatabdi Chennai-Mysore train at 10:45am. Ashwin was kind enough to come over to the railway station to pick me up. Headed over to At-home Guest House at Koramangala, which was to be my place of stay for the duration of the visit. With no agenda being set, Ashwin & Me were wondering what be the next thing to do. Ashwin & Me remembered Ashwin Murali ( “Cruise” to avoid any confusions” Smile with tongue out ) tweeting about TGIF having reopened in Royal Meenakshi Mall, and that’s where we decided to move next.

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Goodbye, 3i

I had tweeted these 2 simple sentences, the former about 3 months ago, the latter yesterday. Yep, after nearly 4 years, I’m moving away from 3i. It’s been an interesting experience – I’ve ranted and raved about my journeys on twitter, and often blogged about my experiences and misadventures in 3i ( if you have same free time, go read through the archives – good stories there). In these past (almost-)4 years, I started out as a trainee, creating patches & shipments, moved onto to GUI development using Oracle forms, switched over to backend stored procedures development using PL/SQL. Then came the big challenges – client interaction & data migration. Moving data from a 30-year old legacy system is no easy task, and with the constraints & adherence to business logic to be followed – was no doubt, the most challenging task that I had undertaken. Big props to all my colleagues, team mates, peers who helped me along and encouraged and motivated me. Also, a special Thank You to the Ruby gang.

So what’s next? I will be moving over to Logica, starting Monday. I’ll still be in Chennai, though.  Here’s for the new challenge ahead.

Of Thanksgiving Trip, Gadget Overloads, Cancelled Christmas Trip & Back To India

I’ve been absent in posting here – more because there’s hardly anything interesting going on. Well, there’s laziness as well. So here’s a recap.


For the past couple of months, my colleague had returned back to India, which meant me having no company. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I decided to pay a trip to my cousin sis’ place in Allen, TX. With no car with me & bus service from Austin to Allen non-existent – I decided to rent a car from Enterprise.

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Two months on, I’m soldiering on…

Hard to believe, but it’s been two months since I’ve been in Austin.  Let’s rewind back to my flight details.

As mentioned in my previous post my flight was due to depart at 04:45, and I would have to reach at the Airport by atleast 2AM. Since I didn’t have a vehicle, I called up a call-taxi and arranged for it to come at 01:30. The airport was about 45 minutes from where I stay, and wasn’t sure about the traffic (if any – plus it was kinda stormy that night/early morning) so revised the taxi timings and asked him to come over at 01:15.

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You owned and used a Dell laptop until now. Recently you purchased an HP Envy. What factors influenced you in choosing HP over Dell or even Acer, Asus for that matter? No beer for short answer.

Posted as an answer to Ashwin’s formspring me question

I had rather definite set of requirements that I was not going to deviate from:

– A 14″ screen

– Decent graphics card

– NO Full HD resolution on the screen

– Bonus marks for looking good

– Price not exceeding $1200

Let me elaborate on each of these points:

1. The 14″ screen – Why 14″ you may ask ? Considering that my previous was a 15.4″ screen you might think this is a downgrade. My reason was – weight. The difference between a 14″ and 15″ screen, in terms of weight is perhaps about 600-800 grams (on an average ?) – and this might seem small – but boy oh boy, when you travel( I realize I don’t travel much, but when I travel its _long distance_) every bit helps (hurts?) and when you stand for hours in queue, it hurts bad – and affects my back and shoulders for the next couple of days.

2. Decent graphics card – No brainer. I’m a gamer ( though my gaming has drastically reduced) – I do go on a gaming spree once a while and I didn’t want to be limited by this.

3. No Full HD resolution – Trying to get a non Full HD screen is increasingly difficult. Full HD screen ( ie, 1920×1080 resolution) on a small screen is a joke – the text becomes so freaking small it severely strains the eyes. You can do things like increase the DPI, but the effect still lingers. ANother thing is to reduce the resolution. But hey – WHY bother getting Full HD then ? And God save you if you try to play any games at Full HD resolution with those piddly onboard graphics.

4. Hey, I’m carrying it all around!

5. Getting light laptops under this budget, with all my requirements is tough 🙂

HP Envy wasn’t my first choice – though. Had a look at various others:

Asus ROG series – but they were too bulky, no 14″ screens, and the 15″ screen model was obsoleted, and new one was introduced – and I didn’t have time to wait ( not because I didn’t have patience – but this is currently NDA 😉 )

MSI had decent alternatives, but again the weight factor, and lots of complaints from users. Plus almost nil service/support in India.

Acer – Mmm yeah, Acer would perhaps fit for bit low on the budget, but not at this price range. Also, none of their laptops have what I needed.

Alienware – AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAAH. Um, yeah. Waste of $$$ for a below average config and freaking bulky set. Sorry, for rich n00bs only.

Dell – Wouldn’t mind Dell again, but same problems – no suitable laptops

Gateway – Again they had nothing I wanted, plus now Acer backed & no support in India.

After all this analysis, going through the ‘web and some Ad hoc queries over at Chip, concluded on getting an HP Envy.

So would that be a Keg of Beer or a 2L of Chivas ?

Fire away.

Heading back to Austin

Well, I’m heading back to Austin for a second stint. Had an amazing time the last time I was there – was there for almost a year. Learnt a lot – technically & otherwise. Unlike last time when I had a flight from Chennai to Mumbai and then a direct Mumbai to New Jersey flight ( with a Mumbai International Airport to boot) – this time, the flight will be from Chennai.

The route would be Chennai – Doha – Washington – Austin. Worst part about this journey is that flight takes off at 04:45, and I would have to reach there by atleast 2AM – which means – Goodbye sleep. Will be reaching Doha by 06:45 for a 2 hour stopover. The connecting flight leaves Doha at 09:00 and would reach Washington at 16:00. The final flight to Austin is set to depart at 18:50. I’m a little worried about this difference – I’m not sure if this difference is enough for me to finish off the formalities – especially the immigration part. Lets see how it goes. Hope it will not be anything like the last trip!

Of comatose blogs & vacations

Its been a very busy, hectic past few months. Besides my day night job( I work at US timings, PITA), I’ve also started contributing to techie-buzz, though my day night job takes a whole lot of my time, and I’ve not been able to contribute much. My Linux blog and as well as this blog has been lying almost in a coma state. I plan to start posting some articles now and then, got it in shipshape with a new theme, so watch out!  I’m still pretty active on twitter ( again, not as active as I used to be – even with my “low” activity I keep getting requests not to spam the timeline :p). I’ve been fairly active on posterous though.

I started using tumblr as my tumblelog, but switched over to posterous. The primary reason for switching over was at that time, tumblr was incapable of handling multiple attachments – it’d post the first attachment and discard the rest. Started looking for alternatives, and posterous caught my eye. Its unbelievably amazing how simple posterous is. Just send an email to [email protected], and you’re done. That’s it. That floored me over.

I’ve been actively involved in Web communities for quite some time,  and now time constraints mean that current my involvement is at Chip forums where I’m the Super Moderator and at SuperUser( with rep of 7.1k ) – The StackOverflow for Power Users. I also lurk around in Meta – there are some good discussions over there. When I get some time, just drop by Reddit, Hacker News and TED.

Coming back to real life, as mentioned I’ve been pretty deeply involved in work, and come this Wednesday, I’ll be taking a break for about 10 days ( after a span of about 5 months, I believe). Initially, the break was meant just for the weekend – the plan was to head to Thrissur, Kerala and then hop back to Chennai. I decided to extend the plan,  and head over to Mangalore to take a break. Deepti, Ankit & the rest proposed that we meet up at Cochin for the weekend,and so it was settled. So, currently the plan looks like:

Jun 23rd: Chennai to Thrissur

Jun 24/25: Thrissur to Cochin

Jun 25 – Jun 27: Cochin

Jun 27 – Cochin to Mangalore

Jun 28 -  July 4th: Mangalore

Will be good to take a nice break. Hope I don’t calls regarding work, my experience says I will get it :/

Got nothing planned in Mangalore, lets see how it works 🙂

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