Archive for July, 2008

Settling in

July 25, 2008

I tried driving last weekend on a rented car. In total I drove about 60km on the first day which is decent given that I got my DL in India only in June and this was my first try in Canada. I went around for an hour in the morning close to the house, mostly in circles getting the hang of the car. In the evening we ended up driving to Richmond with Shubham and me taking turns at the wheel. Driving is nice and convenient when the traffic moves fast but when you are stuck in traffic, it’s boring – on a bus you can at least watch a movie on your media player without worrying about what’s happening outside.

I tried cooking a few curries (A coworker disagrees with me on this “yeah right, men mix powder and chicken and then they call it cooking”. But I still call it cooking since I have to DO stuff and the ROI is pretty good :P). I also made french fries a few times and ended up setting off the smoke alarm the first time. What followed was 2 min of waving the smoke away from the detector until it went off. Phew!

Work finally has started – my manager assigned a project on Friday. I am excited to be working on this project with one of the laziest guys in the world, a title that I have at times gone by in the past (yes, it is possible to work 80 hrs/week and still hold the title. Also, Shubham Mittal, if you are reading this, please please remember to buy French Fries from Safeway on the way back from work).

Today, I went to get my air shipment cleared at the customs office and also got my B1 visa approved which means I get to go for a team morale event in Redmond (white water rafting). Not bad no? Eligble for a morale event after just one week of effective work 😀

One thing I’ve been thinking of doing is working on this startup idea on weekends but so far haven’t started (let’s just say I’m having “start-up” issues :P). Ever been in a situation where you think of an idea that could have a big impact on so many people you know but are too lazy to get up from the bed and work on it? I’ve done that one too many times at IITK, but somehow managed to get back that spark during the MSR internship and hopefully it will stay now.

Work – Week One

July 12, 2008

Monday morning 9 am was the reporting time. We took the new Microsoft Shuttle from downtown Vancouver to MCDC. Breakfast was served there – mostly fruits, chocolate cookies and cakes.

We then had a few talks from Par Singh and also the HR on the Vancouver centre and on working at MSFT. The next few days were spent setting up bank accounts, social insurance, aliases etc. I had (have) some issues since I had an alias change as a result of which a lot of sites still didnt open even at the end of the week. There is a good selection of soft drinks/juices like at Redmond and also some fruits. The cafe is okay but Redmond has much better variety.

Tax is a lot here – about 33% of the base gets witheld as taxes. However on the other hand, at least in my case, the expenses would be restricted to just food, transport and entertainment till April after which accomodation would also be an overhead. I came to Canada with 200$ which turned out to be slightly less that my food+transport expenses and as a result ended up borrowing $100 from Prasanna  (a.k.a. Mr Sankaranarayan, whose skateboard I shall borrow soon).

On the second day me and Shubham were sitting in the office with essentially nothing to do. Well we were supposed to fill some forms that HR gave but that was a boring job and hence deserved to be postponed till the day of the deadline. We then ended up doing the following derivation

at level n, we have n*(n+1)/2 cans
so total no of cans is sigma ((n*n + n)/2)
= 1/2 * [n*(n+1)(2n+1)/6 + n*(n+1)/2]
= 1/12 * n*(n+1) (2n+1 + 3)
= 1/6 * n * (n+1) * (n+2).
Hence, for n = 8 we have no of cans = 120. QED.
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Well maybe at least I should have filled in those HR forms that day itself since I eventually forgot about it till the Friday deadline and ended up filling it on the bus to work.  The HR mildly fried me for two mistakes I made – instead of signing and dating at one place I put my sign and date of birth “So, did you know you were going to work for Microsoft from the day you were born?” . Secondly, the form was such that you fill in a detail in the line below the description and I mixed up above and below in one place and ended up with “Spouse : India”. Anyway 😛

I got in touch with my history teacher from school who happens to be at Vancouver. I’ll be going to her house on Monday for dinner – a welcome relief from microwaved food.