Monday, September 24, 2007

Using an HP Craptop

After 2 years of sole Mac usage, I've now been been saddled with an HP Pavilion dv6000 laptop for official usage. Tragically, my iBook also developed some problems with its DC-in board, so I was forced to use the HP laptop for everything. And it sucks. Big time.

First, a look at the OS - Windows Vista Home Premium. It really makes me puke, even on an empty stomach. I don't know what Microsoft has done over the past five years, but they've managed to 'crap'ify a decent Windows XP to such an extent that I can't believe this got past the QA testing. I don't see why I need Vista when there is XP. MS's idea of security is to ask me whether I want to run any program that I clicked on ... what sort of an OS can't make up its mind and ask me some sane questions ? This is just annoyware to the max. And WiFi didn't (and still doesn't) work either. I've had to download hundreds of MBs worth of patches, and I need to keep my Anti-Virus signatures up to date. The system is damn too slow to use. It doesn't allow me to do any productive work. I felt so lost in this (and I've used Windows from 3.11 days) that I immediately went about installing linux on this. As a product manager myself, if I were the Vista product manager, I would really hang my head in shame and try to forget about the fiasco. There can't be a better advertisement for Linux or Apple than Windows Vista. :)

Installing Ubuntu Fiesty Fawn was pretty simple (after some 6 tries, and figuring out the right kernel parameters to pass), and within a day, I'm up and running. WiFi sometimes works, and suspend often hangs the machine, but atleast in other ways, it is really fast. VmWare runs pretty fast too. I've come to rely on sleep-as-soon-as-you-close-the-lid and wakeup-as-soon-as-you-open-the-lid behavior of my Mac and I miss it a lot.

If Vista is crap, then HP has added insult to the injury. The HP Control Panel loads up whenever you boot into Vista and stays in the system tray. Not that it is of any use. I don't know which retard designed the keyboard - the most frequently used keys are small and hard to reach for my typist fingers. And the headphone jacks are at the front - which means u can't use headphones if you keep it on your lap ! The battery life sucks - only a couple of hours compared to five hours of my iBook. How can I use it if I have to keep worrying about it running out of juice all the time ? And which idiot thought of putting all the product stickers all free parts of the laptop ? Looks as ugly as a Formula 1 car. Reminds me of this video I saw in youtube.

That is what I love about my Apple laptop. Tiny details are taken care of. I don't have to spend time worrying about the hardware or the operating system. I can focus on my work ... It simply works.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

A new approach to work

I go to office at around 9am, wearing the "IIT uniform" - TShirt, Pants and Chappals, and on an 8-year old Hero Puch, and yet I reach within 10 minutes. I go to my cubicle, remove the chappals, and sit comfortably with my feet on the desk and laptop on my lap... I work till 7-8 pm and then go home and take conference call from 9 pm to 10:30 pm ... I argue with people a lot about tiny technical details, and yet there is no ill feeling around. And I'm having a lot of fun. But for the fact that I'm exhausted at the end of the day, I'd keep on working.

Yes, I'm no longer in Patni. I've joined a startup as product marketing manager - a really ostentatious name for an L-Board MBA, just 4 months out of the b-school.

I always wanted to be a product manager. During PanIIT 2006 conference, Google were advertising for product managers for current IITians. I applied and got rejected, because they were looking for fresh BTech's, and not one with prior web-related experience. I hope they got what they wanted, but I think their HR policy is just screwed up. Sour grapes etc ...

Anyway, just as I was getting comfortable at Patni and learning how to threaten PMs, IT managers, etc, I got an opportunity out of the blue. A switch back to networking, with some of the most brilliant and capable people I've worked with, as a product manager ... wasn't something to be ignored. I thought about it, and finally the lure of a profile this good and in a startup this promising, was enough to generate the necessary escape velocity to escape the overwhelming comfort and inertia of a big company, and make me jump at the offer.

People's responses have ranged widely from "I told you so - why did you stay in Patni for so long ?" to "Are you crazy ?". The main objection has been - do you know where you want to be after some 10 years ? Do you have a career map ? It reminds me of the first class in SOM (the HR class), where some people declared they want to earn crores of rupees in 10 years ... how typically stupid !

I have no career map and I don't know what I want to do in future - I don't even want to know ... that would remove all the fun in life. I'll just go where I feel I have to go. I've continued to ignore their wishes and go where things take me. So far, I'm not disappointed.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Auto logic

In April this year, after my exams, when I landed in the Bangalore Airport, I immediately proceeded towards the "pre-paid" auto stand. It isn't prepaid in any sense, but it is pre-registered, and it saves a lot of time that would normally be spent in negotiating the destination with the auto driver.
Anyway, I had a big suitcase and a bag, the weight of both not exceeding some 40 KGs. However, as the auto sped away out of the airport, the driver demanded 100 rupees extra for the luggage. Of course, I'd have paid if he had demanded something far lower, and in fact, often I don't ask for change back, but this extortion sort of got my hackles up, and I then conjured up the most brilliant piece of analysis in years.

My logic went: The driver doesn't charge anything extra if there are three people, and assuming each weighs around 200 KGs, the auto would convey some 200+ KGs without extra charge. But if I weighing around 70 KGs (it isn't polite to ask for a gentleman's weight or a lady's age :-P ), and 40 KGs of luggage are there (and the driver is not helping me with the luggage), the driver charges me extra !! In fact, I must get a discount :)

I eloquently put forth my arguments, and by the time we travelled another kilometer, the driver had given up. Why am I mentioning this on my blog ? I thought it would be obvious, but when I narrated this to a couple of people, they thought it was a brilliant idea ...

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