Education & Learning

First of all, a very happy new year to all the readers. I know its been 19 days post-New year, to be exactly. I have been keeping busy lately, especially from the start of the year! I want to take this opportunity to give you some updates (yes, yes, manager’s style of starting a meeting ;))

New Year resolution

The tradition of new year resolutions started as a moral favor- mostly to be good to others. In the course of time, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. And now they are replaced by TODO list!

Every year I used to make New Year resolutions, only to find them being forgotten within some days. So this time I decided not to make any. Yes you read it rightJ. As Akshar has said, only thing that changes in the new year is the CALENDER; nothing else.

I am hoping to have a fantastic year ahead, both personally and professionally. Instead of resolutions, I am taking concrete steps to contribute to bridge the digital divide, work on tutoring and start working on a product/service.

Spoken Tutorial

This is an initiative by MHRD to pass on the knowledge of technology and free and open source software (FOSS) through the website to the masses that do not have the access to learn any software. This site provides videos and notes on FOSS in Indian regional languages.

I have actively started contributing to this project. I would urge you to participate/contribute in this effort to take software education to the masses and to bridge the digital divide!


I love tutoring/teaching. I am not sure how, but that’s something in my blood. I have been helping my brother, sister, cousins and neighbor’s kids in their homework. It might sound very easy but its easier said than done, when compared to giving advice to others. Just ask a parent and you would know!

During college days, I wish I knew how to prepare myself before entering the industry. I want to help the current students to make them aware of the industry, be prepared and mould themselves accordingly. I hope this would bridge the industry-academia divide to some extent.

To practice myself, I have started technology sessions for team members. Soon I would be starting giving sessions on technology and programming to students; I am sure this will help the students immensely while starting their career.

New Product/Service

These days I have been thinking, discussing with friends and colleagues, brainstorming about creating a product or a service. Being in the IT industry, my thinking (and I am extrapolating this from my experience, that others in the industry too are thinking this way) has been restricted to creating only software products/services. But there are many possibilities/opportunities out there that are yet to be tapped. If you are thinking of creating a start-up and are want to have some ideas, do visit these articles written by Paul-

I would like to hear about your ideas for new products/services/startup and engage, if possible.

I am currently accessing a possibility of creating a software product/service and its in the very early stages. More will follow as the idea materializes.

Swami Vivekananda

12th January marked the 150th birth anniversary of a person who dared to say “Give me 100 youths and I shall transform India”. Despite many odds and poverty, he visited America in 1893 to participate in the Chicago Parliament and got a standing ovation there.

I revere Swami Vivekananda, whose life and works remains an inspiration to me and the many.


I will be going back to Pune within weeks. It was a good time spent here in the Maximum City.

You must have heard of the recent patent infringement case between Apple and Samsung, which Apple eventually won. From the recent developments related to patent cases it appears that, the patents are used by the inventor or assignee to sue their competitors, rather than for new inventions.

Being from a software background, I have distanced myself from this area, especially because of the jargon used and the process involved. However, now its much easier to learn about it, thanks to StackExchange (a community-driven Q&A site) which has come up with a site for patents – in association with US Patent and Trademark Office.

Go and check out about the patents and the prior art.

When he became President, some of Dr. Radhakrishnan’s students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, 5 September. He replied,

“Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day.”

His birthday has since been celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India. (Reference

An authoritative of comparative religion and philosophy, he wrote critical interpretation of India’s religious and philosophical literature for the English speaking world. He was the first Indian to speak at the Hibbert Lectures; the only other Indian to speak here was Rabindranath Tagore.

I remember – during school days, our seniors (10th class students) used to take the responsibility of taking classes for the juniors, on the teachers’ day. When I was in 10th class, the senior students organized the full-day events along with conducting the classes for the juniors. It was a wonderful experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every teacher who has been a part of my academics and life, in general.

BTW, Hindus and Buddhists have another day to commemorate teachers i.e. Guru Pournima.

A few days back, I was looking for good videos/links to interview questions on technical topics specifically for .NET. Unfortunately Google didn’t help me much to search for the required content. In the end I bought the book of questions and answers and found it useful to go through it, rather than spending time in searching for the content on net.

I was an avid reader during school and college days.I would spend the days and nights reading a novel-be it historical or a classic. However the reading habit slowly died out as i started working for the employer. Lately I have been trying to read Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, but I am stuck in the first chapter itself:(

Jeff Atwood (he is my favorite blogger) points out that programmers don’t read books, largely due to

  1. Programmers are addicted to computing devices, be it PC, laptop, tablet or a smart phone, and with the inefficient but relatively available internet connection, they prefer to find things online.
  2. The whole bunch of technical aspects are packed in the book, whereas the programmer would be interested to find out about the problem at hand.
  3. it does take a fair amount of time to read the whole book- and people don’t have time in this digital era.

I found stack overflow the right Q&A site for technical questions. Quora is a great Q&A site if you want to look for some specific content or if you are looking for an answer to a specific question.

What Are Patterns? by Nello Cristianini

In the above video, the speaker talks about patterns, its history and the significance and usage of patterns.

Wikipedia quotes for Nello Cristianini-

Recent research has focused on the evolution on gene families in mammals, the automatic detection of reporting bias in media content, and the development of a unified framework for pattern analysis algorithms.  has a collection of good videos on a variety of subjects.

if you are interested in patterns, read Turing pattern on

Yahoo! Research conducts a series of lectures quarterly under the Yahoo! Big Thinkers India Series. The lectures are conducted in Bangalore, however for the first time Yahoo hosted the April 2011 lecture outside Bangalore, in LeMeridian hotel in Pune. The lecture titled ‘web retrieval: The surprising role of users’ was conducted by Yeolle Maarek -a senior Director of Yahoo! Research.

Yeolle explained the role of users in a pretty nice way-it reminded me of film 21 in which Professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) puts up a stupendous job in his opening scene of the class.

Although the session was scheduled on a weekday (yersterday), we went to attend the session. The session proved to be a catalyst to think about something that we as web users should care about and was a good lecture in terms of content as well as presentation rather than those boring  meetings. Apart from this, the attendees got a nice and heavy snacks-the snacks in LeMeridian was really tasty, a key chain and a Yahoo! diary:) I know some people came solely for these things ;)

I hope the video of the session will be available on Bigthinkers site soon. The recorded sessions of previous lectures are available in the archives.

An old story, but worth reading again…

It was autumn, and the Red Indians asked their New Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a Red Indian chief in a modern society, he couldn’t tell what the weather was going to be.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his Tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared.

But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked ‘Is the coming winter going to be cold?’ ‘It looks like this winter is Going to be quite cold indeed,’ the weather man Responded.

So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more Wood. A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. ‘Is it going to be a very cold winter?’ ‘Yes,’ the man at National Weather Service again replied, ‘It’s definitely going to be a very cold winter.’

The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. Two weeks later, he called the National Weather Service again. ‘Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?’ ‘Absolutely,’ The Man replied. ‘It’s going to be one of the coldest winters ever.’

‘How can you be so sure?’ the Chief asked. The weatherman replied, ‘The Red Indians are collecting wood like Crazy.’

This is how stock markets work!!!

Two years ago when I joined this programme-M.S. in Software Engineering from BITS Pilani, I hadn’t thought that I would be able to complete it in 2 years time (pun intended:)). Considering that I had to work for 5 days and attend the classes on Saturdays,it required more dedication than hard work as Rameshwar pointed out. It was really a pain to sit in the class on Saturday when others were enjoying the weekend; but it did pay off in the end.

Today I got the provisional certificate for completing the MS. I got CGPA of 5.92 overall (it did remind me of Five point Someone by Chetan Bhagat). But the most satisfying thing was the 10 grade point (an out of out:)) for the dissertation (based on design for monitoring application servers and implementation of the tool) I did for the 4th semester. I did learn a lot of things as pointed out in my earlier post – I am happy but not contended.

I would like to thank all the people especially my teachers and colleagues for helping me out as and when needed!

I am still waiting for the degree certificate…

Update on 12 Jan 2011 – I am part of BITS Alumni now. Got Masters degree certificate from BITS Pilani in a convocation ceremony today!

Why do I blog?

  1. Improve communication skills
  2. Clarity of thought
  3. To express myself (that’s the motto of the blog-Abhivyakty means expression)
  4. Share my thoughts and experiences with others

During school days, as I would start studying on verandah, my neighbor would turn on radio/TV and put it on high volume. Instead of cursing his jealousy (if any), I maintained calm and developed myself to study/learn in a noisy environment. That proved to be a boon in my later life.

There was a time when I could hardly talk with peers, friends, relatives, known people and strangers, let alone sharing my personal thoughts and experiences. During childhood I was a shy kid reluctant to talk to anybody, as a teenager I was sometimes afraid, sometimes feared of sharing personal things. During school, as a teenager I ignored social networking (I am not talking about online social networking here), sharing and talking with peers solely because I thought it was such a waste of time.

But no! That’s not how the world and society works. After I came to Pune and started working on the job, I realized the importance of communication skills, interpersonal skills and presentation skills among others in addition to intelligence. At times I had to convince others, and at other times I had to order, take permission, delegate, ask for help, and offer help to get the job done.

During course of my employment of 3 years, I pursued M.S. (from BITS Pilani). During 4th semester I had to do a dissertation-all the tasks had to be decided by me and worked upon them-to successfully complete it. During the course of this dissertation, I learnt a lot about the process itself.

Recently I was searching for some “how to” articles on PhD and stumbled upon Azuma’s ‘A graduate school survival guide’. The guide described what the author should have known at the start of the graduate school but had to learn the hard way instead. As the Chinese proverb goes-“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”, I thought of going through the guide. As the guide offered some tips from an experienced PhD student, I began reading it.

Go, read it. Its not enough just to be academically successful, but be able to inculcate the skills required to survive in this highly competitive world. After reading the guide, I contemplated over my professional experience of 3 years and I have to say my job has taught me some of the skills described in this guide.

Once I get my MS degree, it will be time to start working on PhD. My mother wants her children to pursue formal education as much as possible (whether this is truly an education is altogether a different story; self-learning has to be inculcated)-which is a primary factor for my success in education. I am the first one in my family to complete graduation (I am aware that this is not a big achievement. There are many in this country who have achieved greater heights despite social, economical and cultural hindrances/barriers) and her support and will power helped me to achieve it.

I am happy but not contended:)

Update: Surely I would not have been in a sound condition today had it not been the perseverance of my teachers in the school. I owe a lot to them.

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