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Unfair interviews

1 Jan

Sometime ago I interviewed for a big and well known MNC … I thought that the discussions went pretty well but after a few days got a callback but this time for a different group, that is, restart of the process 😦  .  After some days another call and same story.  “The last discussion went pretty well but unfortunately we could not hire you since we got an internal candidate.  It is our company policy to give priority to internal candidates.”

After a few such good interviews but bad experiences I asked the HR representative for a frank opinion about whether I had a fair shot at the job or was I making up for numbers ( do they have a target of ‘n’ interviewees per position) .   The answer was an expected ” we have fair hiring practices ” etc.  But I didn’t get anymore calls.

Why do people do such things?   Why force a candidate to take a day off to interview when you know beforehand that you are fulfilling some shortsighted HR policy.

 

 

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What the Indian Software Czars think about their employees.

12 Jan

N.R.Narayana Murthy – the god father of Infosys has in recently requested for a smaller airport near Electronic City since the current airport at Devanahalli is very far from Electronic City and the commute is killing. He has earlier also made statements like “… imagine if somebody who lives in Jayanagar wants to take a flight …”. He is concerned about his people’s troubles in taking a flight – commendable. The Infosys campus is out of the city at Electronic City and people from all over the city commute upto 2 hrs one way to reach office. The commute to office is daily, and the commute to airport is occasional, even for the most frequent travelers. Why does Mr.NRN need a huge campus outside the city with a golf course, swimming pool, etc., when his slaves employees who travel for looong hours every day don’t even have a realistic chance of using these facilities. Why doesn’t he have tall skyscrapers in the middle of the city with reasonable access to all parts on Bangalore – ofcourse this may not have golf course … but the rank and file won’t care. Is Infosys in the real estate business or software business? NRN simply does’nt care about the commuting owes, low quality of life, inability to have even a half an hour of quality time with family on a average week days, etc., all problems of his long commuting employees. Azim Premji – (almost) owner of Wipro in an interview in the late ‘90s announced that some taxes should waived on corporate because the said companies when they operate out of Bangalore employ sooo many engineers and all the engineers pay income tax. At that time I am guessing that the average engineers salary at Wipro was about Rs.20,000/- and they would take home about 15-18 thousand after tax. And since most of Wipro’s income was Premji’s a waiver on tax on Wipro would mostly mean that Premji, being the de facto owner, got a tax waiver. So in essence he was campaigning for his employees who earned a measly twenty thousand should pay tax and he should not when he makes about twenty thousand thousand!!! All your employees love you too.

Bug parity

11 Jan

7-spot Ladybird Beetle

One of my ex-colleagues recently told me that he was working on bug parity.  It turns out that bug parity has a meaning is the software world.  You have a system that has some bugs.  The customer has written a lot of scripts or wrapper software that takes into account the said bugs.  Now if the bugs are fixed then the customer written code will no longer work because the bugs are absent.  So, in order to sell new equipment to the customer the vendor will work towards re-introducing the bugs so that the customer does not have to tweak his code!!!

Did somebody say that life is stranger than fiction?

Misunderstanding

9 Nov

As my regular readers already know I work in software.  Just thought of sharing a long ago experience.

One of my testers had filed a bug with very little information.  Obviously something had misbehaved; but there was no way of either reproducing it (the steps were not noted) nor tracing the logic (i.e., no traces stored).  So I told the tester that if you do monkey testing then it will be very difficult for me to provide a suitable explanation or fix.  I need some inputs apart from “I saw something”.  Next day I get called into my bosses office asking for an explanation of why I called a colleague a “monkey”.  After explanation the issue was resolved.

So, what is monkey testing?  It is usually used to test GUI’s where in there is a software that will enter random data in text boxes and click random links/buttons.  Every input, character type or mouse click, is logged into a file.  When any bug is found the same is logged along with the log-file.  The developer then looks into the log, finds the root cause of the problem, and provides a fix.

It turns out that my colleague and my boss were not familiar with the term and hence I had to provide a red-faced explanation!!  A classic misunderstanding if there was one.

Smart City : Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

23 Aug

I have been recently interested in this “smart” concept; smart buildings, smart cities, smart grid, etc.  One case study that always is quoted and stands out is Chattanooga.

Chattanooga has the fastest broadband network in the United States, built by the power utility company EPB as part of a project conceived originally to implement Smart Grid and Smart Metering into every home.   Chattanooga became America’s first and only city to complete a community-wide network capable of delivering up to 1G bps Internet speeds to every home and business in EPB’s 600-square-mile service area.  Chattanooga’s fiber-optic network has lead to the development of a high-speed Internet-connected management and control system, which controls capabilities such as IP surveillance cameras, street-light power management and a city-wide symmetrical WiFi grid.

I am truly impressed.  Read more here.

 

 

Asteriod mining!

25 Apr

Planetary Resources is a venture which aims to mine valuable minerals from asteroids.  The plan has many steps.  The first is to launch small telescopes into orbit to survey near-Earth asteroids for useful substances, with volatiles like water, oxygen and nitrogen top of the list.  The second stage is to send out probes to tap these resources and place them into in-space supply depots. The third stage is the one which actually involves mining an asteroid.

Could all this be true?  Or is it science fiction.

All info is from http://www.theengineer.co.uk/1012426.article .  Have a peek.

Work For Home (WFH) :-D

16 Jan

WFH well summarized by Dilbert 🙂 http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-08-14/ 🙂

  1. Do you work from home?
  2. How effective is it?
  3. Incase you need to explain something, anything, to a colleague is it possible to do it effectively over internet instead of over the white board?
  4. Are the same questions associated with outsourcing?
  5. Have you witnessed people work-for-home rather than work-from-home?
  6. Do you think it reduces team spirit?
  7. Do you think it reduces visibility?
  8. Do you think people who are good in talking (may or may-not be equally good in working) do better in WFH scenarios?
  9. I would like to know your thoughts – let me know.
  10. Finally … have you ever made it to the control group 😀 😉 😀
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