Archive for May, 2006

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May 29, 2006

I finally bought the laptop. It belong to the HP nx6125 series, only difference being that I thought 512 MB RAM would be on the lower side, so I made it 1.5 GB. The laptop has got a fingerprint reader, so I’ve configured so that I can login to XP by swiping my index finger, instead of typing in a 11 letter password.

Work is going on okay. I met my first deadline three days ahead of schedule. Now if only this would happen with the IITK assignment deadlines!
The mall, (Forum) that I had talked about earlier, that was 100m from my workplace… its quite big and one of the employees told me that half if not the whole of Bangalore hangs around there on weekends. Its seriously is a nice place to go if you are hungry : There is Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Mc Donalds, KFC, Coffe Day, Subway and also several other fast food places that server everything from red hot Mexican to Italian to Chinese to British to Indian!
Then there are plenty of these international brands like Bose, Nike, Pepe Jeans and so on.

The only problem is that I dont have enough cash to spend now : My monthly expense account goes like this : 3K for accomodation. 3K for food (Rs 100 for a meal at Pizza Hut/McD/KFC/ the rest of the lot multiplied by 30 days). Then 40x 30 = 1.2K for transport.another 1K misc. so totally about 8K a month. Bangalore is quite expensive. At Kanpur I struggle to spend 2K a month (this includes the mess bill which is 1K).

Anyway, its time to get back to work now.

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May 21, 2006

One thing that makes the work environment at Bell Labs very different from that at IITK is that there is hardly any perceivable notion of juniority/seniority. At IITK, for just about each and every thing that I’ve been involved in, there has been some kind of hierarchy :

For Techkriti/Antaragni and the other festivals, there is the system of Coordinators-Asst Coordinators-Secretaries-Volunteers. For clubs again, there is a similar hierarchy. In general, a 4th (final) year is considered “superior” to a 3rd year, leave alone 2nd and 1st yrs…it is not explicit, but it is reflected in the attitudes of people.

Here, excluding salaries, everyone seems to be level : I’m interning here for 3 months and I get a cubicle of the same size, with the same facilities as full time employees, including a computer, Internet, email account, proxy quota, printing quota, comp, phone, refreshments, lunch and so on.

moreover, my mentor (who did his Btech from IITM and then a PhD from UWashington) has no problems coming to my cubicle (which is a bit far from his cubicle) to see what I have done…. I just phone him, tell him that “I’ve done this this this and am wondering how this should be done”, he says “okay, ill just come over there” and comes here.

At IITK its standard for a senior to call a junior to his room, when he wants an update on the progress of some work. As far as I know, no senior at IITK has ever gone to a junior’s hostel for this purpose, in fact, they generally avoid going to hostels where the juniors stay (except during the initial week of the odd semesters to do ‘you know what’ to the freshers, also some of them come to see the hostel preparation festivals).

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May 19, 2006

Okay, so the first week of my intern is over. I’m pretty happy with this place and my project. The project is basically to take an RPR network simulator, add a GUI and later, modify the algorithms and see the results.

The deadline for the first part is June 15th, when one of my mentors in the US will use the package in a presentation. The internal deadline is 29th May, so I don’t have much time.

RPR stands for Resilient Packet Ring. It is an alternative to Ethernet and SONET for optical networks. It is a state of the art technology, which was standardized just recently, in 2004. That’s why I’m happy with this internship : since it will help me whether I go in for a job in future, or for research since I get to do both during the intern.

More interns have arrived. Now there are 8 totally : one 2nd yr from IITM, 3rd yrs, one from IITM, one from IITB, two from IITD, one PhD each from the university of Nebraska and from DAIICT. We have lunch together, so its interesting to discuss various topics that come up.

Work is offcially from 9 am to 5:30 pm but it’s quite flexible. We get free lunch and snacks here. Also there is this Mall called Forum, 200 metres from here where there is a Pizza Hut, KFC and a McDonalds, so this is a pretty nice location.

I commmute from room to work by autorikshaw. It generally costs about Rs 20. I’ve pretty much decided on buying a laptop…the configuration is decent and it is a bit expensive, but not so expensive. I plan to buy this model.

That’s it for now…I’m off to probably KFC for lunch 🙂

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May 15, 2006

Today was my first day at work. It was nice. I had a bit of trouble finding the office building but after that things were okay.

The workplace is like in most big companies : a big hall with cubicles. each cubicle has place for 4 people. My seat coincidentally happens to be nearest to the tea room. I reached here at 9 am. I was shown my cubicle. Then, I got my email id/login : cmathew [at] lucent.com

Internet access is through a proxy. All email sites are blocked. Orkut isn’t. I am able to sign in to YM and Gtalk. The computer that I’ve been assigned is pretty fast : a Dell OptiPlex P-IV running at 3 GHz.

There are four other interns : two from IITM, one from IITB (all BTechs) and a PhD from an IIIT whom I haven’t met. Their names are Harsha Vardhan, Bandi Chaitanya and Rajasekhar Reddy (all guys).

I didn’t do any work till noon (barring orkutting, drinking tea and chocolate milk, both with extra sugar). The tea reminded me about my first internship at the IITC, Muscat.

The director and the others were all at a meeting which went on from the time I came until lunchtime and so, I didn’t get to know my project until after lunch. Anyway, I’ve been asked to choose from one of 3 projects : developing a soft router (it is a pretty big project with lots of people working on it) then there is something on optical networks and one on virtual storage for mobiles. I probably would like to go for the soft router project.

I drank 6 cups of tea and 4 cups of chocolate milk today at the office. Now I have to go back to the guesthouse, take my stuff and move it to my accommodation.

Dad has agreed to let me buy a laptop. initially he didn’t agree but now he has. But now I myself am wondering if I really need one.

Office hours are officially from 9am to 6pm but one of the employees said that things are very flexible and one was expected to be here mainly from 10am-4pm because that’s when all the meetings are held. He also said that if you knew that there would be no meetings, you could walk in at 11 and go at 8 or whenever your work got over.

That’s it for today…I’m going home. Ciao.

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May 14, 2006

I spent the past five days in Kerala.
It involved quite a few long drives, just me and Dad in a car, talking. Dad, Mom and grandparents are all facing the usual small problems here and there… the small problems that always happen with people, but while I’m at IITK, I just dont notice that they are there. More specifically, problems like sister’s admissions, selling and buying of land and so on, problems that I tend not to notice while I’m at IITK.

There was a point during the last sem, when I felt that I was finally ready for ‘life’ but after the last few days, I guess I’ll do resonably well in life as far as job life and personal relations go, but when it comes to other things, there is a lot I don’t know yet.

Anyhow, I guess a change is always a good thing since it gives you a different perspective of life : while at IITK one tends to think that if one studies well/gets a good job/earns money/publishes n papers and gets along with people, that would be a successful life, but then again perhaps it isn’t. Hmm. I get the feeling that this post is sounding vague so I should shift topics.

I left Kerala on Saturday morning. My cousins from the US also happened to be flying in to Cochin on the same morning, so I couldn’t meet them. Then I went to Coimbatore to meet my Mom’s aunt and uncle, with whom I had lived for two years when I was a kid. We went to this restaurant thats holds the world record for the longest dosa made. I ordered this dosa that they called ‘The Family Roast’. It was 6 feel long… and of course, filling!

Then from there I came to Bangalore. One of my classmates from IITK had already started his intern at Motorola here. He came to pick me up at the station. Then we found my temporary accomondation (a company guesthouse). We left my luggage there and went to have lunch at Pizza Hut. On the way we say a McDonalds and changed directions and went to McDonalds instead.

Then we went to see my accomodation. It’s about two kilometres from my workplace. Its pretty decent… TV, washing machine, hot water, breakfast, lunch for Rs 3050 a month. Then I came back to the guesthouse. It turns out that there was a Sify place just next to it, so I came here to check mail. Tomorrow is my first day of work. Lets see how it goes.

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May 7, 2006

Well lots of things to write about.
I’m presently in my hometown, Tiruvalla, Kerala. I reached here on 6th night, am staying with parents, aunt in a house that has 6 mobiles and a landline but no internet or comp and so, have to walk to a cybercafe to check mail.

I’m trying out this idea : I left myself logged on to googletalk on my comp in my room in IITK (my roomie will be using the comp so anyway it will be switched on 24×7). So now when I com to a cafe, I log on to Gmail and chat via the web interface. I also check the chat logs to see messages I got while I was “offline”. So far its worked quite well.

I came here by train…It was a 54 hour journey so I slept for 2 nights on the train. So now it’s nice to sleep on a bed that doesn’t “rock”. The train journey was uneventful…spent my time listening to music/took a few pics with my cam/played with a friend’s laptop/drank about 20 cups of tea in the 54 hrs (its not my fault…that tea guy kept coming and the tea was tasty!!) . There was this tiny little girl who sat next to me for a lot of the journey…and she kept eyeing my Miranda whenever I was drinking it! I thought of giving it but unfortunately her mom caught her staring at my Miranda and so scolded her 😦

Less that 24 hrs before I left Kanpur I got an intern offer from Bell Labs Blore which I accepted. So I had to partly vacate my room (and bribed my roomie to handle the rest of the vacating). Till Wednesday, I was struggling to get a stay permit. Then I ended up getting two stay permits, so I had to cancel both of them.

I reached here at about 7 pm on 6th. I gave Mom her gift, she was happy and also surprised, just like that other person whom I gave the other gift to. Mom bought a new camera, so I’m “borrowing” it … its got a lot of good features…30x zoom, a swivelling lens, a bigger screen and so on.

I’ll probably leave from here on 13th, reach Blore on 14th night and work starts on 15th. That’s it for now.

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May 1, 2006

Yesterday night was interesting : My exams got over so I decided to go to Rave with a friend….so the two of us decided to go to Rave by car… on the way there, the car suddenly stopped…out of petrol.

So my friend took a bottle and started walking to the petrol pump (which luckily happened to be about 100 meters away). He came back with a liter of what he thought was petrol and filled the car. But the car still wouldn’t start. So we began pushing the car till the petrol pump. Whew! We filled petrol and the car was starting properly. That’s when he realized that he had earlier filled diesel and not petrol!

Anyway.. we reached rave and went for the McD-Dominoes combo… we were both full so decided not to go to Barista for dessert. Then I decided to go to Pantaloons to buy something. The birthday of one of my friends is coming up so I bought a gift..then I bought a set of diamond earrings for my Mom. Whew… that is probably the most expensive purchase I’ve made since coming to Kanpur. Mom, as far as I recall, doesn’t have any diamond jewelry and so I hope she likes it. While at pantaloons, I also happened to meet one of my departmental classmates with his parents.

Then I returned back to the hostel. So another 2.5 days left in Kanpur. I still haven’t gotten a stay permit. Still havent made a definite decision on what my major project would be.

Tonight we have another senate meeting. One of the other senators described his first senate meeting like this “all we did was fight and get bitten by mosquitoes all the time” … interesting comment… yeah, I guess we just kept arguing and arguing…but that is to be expected…since decisions are made/stances taken, not by a voting process, but by discussing till there is a consensus. But this sometimes really prolongs things so in the end sometimes, there may be a voting process in the end.