Sunday, August 22, 2010

Software development process - which one to use?

If you came to this blog in hope you will find a concrete answer then before you get disappointed let me tell you - I don't know. I don't know like many other including those who do claim they know. Software development process is like a system of political governance one system is not made for everyone. Before choosing one, do not read why one fails but why one succeeds. If water flow process was that bad it would have never been used. Democracy is popular not because it is the best system and everyone who follow are always happy. It is popular because it gives you the best safety net when things start to go wrong. Software development is on the same line. If you get hold of five best believe me you would succeed in any process. If you have an idea and the only one developing it full time, no process is the best process. The process becomes critical when you have varying class of members. Some strong in certain areas and others in some other. How efficient is your business owners? Do they just come to office to flash their shiny cars or they really spend time with your team to delegate the real requirements? Do you produce documents because you think they are ought to be produced or you do think they are good source of concrete referential descriptions. Have you thought if just a blog or wiki could replace your documents in a file? If Agility does work for you then use it. If morning 15min standup meetings with a white board full of yellow stickies sounds ridiculous then you don't have to. If pairing up accelerates the deliverable then yes do it. If one room with a big table makes your team more productive then invest in that instead. It really is what works for you. Don't let articles, blogs, books drive you. Think what you really worked in the past and how that can be modified to adapt to new challenges. Process names are just to publish books read them as a novel not necessarily to become a character of it.

Why iRobot is the worst vacuum to own?

I don't think I am a gadget freak but systems that are "self-sustained" do attract my attention. My purchase of iRobot Roomba about four years ago was one such attraction. I had many choices then as I have now when it comes to cleaning your floors, but ease of use always tops my list for what I do and what I own. In just a couple of years I realized something got broke and after rigorous analysis I found it was the in built battery charger that was unable to charge the batteries. I found Roombas being sold in Costco and in Target and neither of these giant stores carried any accessories. What a bummer! This was the first time I was pissed. Anyhow, I looked up on the web and bought one battery and one external charger from Amazon. Amazon continues to amaze me what I can buy there but thats for sometime later. Roomba was back in business. By this time I already had three other working/partially working vacuum cleaners and out of the four I had I was very impressed by the cleaning power of that small Shark. Ease of use remained at the top of my list and I continued to roombatize my floors. I moved and after stuffing part of my basement with my stash I moved to another place and took just my Roomba with me. I could have taken Shark too but I left it there.
With in just a few months my iRobot turns it battery lights red even after the battery is just fully charged. At this time I do not know whats wrong. But still took a round to Costco and Target in hope that at least now I should get its accessories. Instead of buying a new vacuum cleaner I was still inclined to get a new battery. When I love someone my faith sticks there. Nope! Even after these many years while Target continues to keep one or two Roombas around they still do not sell any of its accessories. This time I was really pissed. I saw a good deal on a Dirt Devil and saw its bag completely full with dirt just after cleaning half of my apartment and this being just a fraction of the price I paid for Roomba four years ago. Roomba disappointed me. If you are selling something this pricey you need to make sure that its operating cost is kept to minimum. Its anybody guess why bag-less cleaners are so much popular today compared to bagged ones - it is about TCO. After paying $300 for Roomba I expected it to run for a very looong time by continuing to charge its batteries. And at least expect to get its so critical accessories to be available freely from big stores. I will continue to tell that I owned an intelligent vacuum cleaner but when it comes to cleaning your home I don't think I am going to recommend it to anyone. Its just one very bad toy to own.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kashmir is in pain - Government's apathy or incompetence

"Stone pelting mob fired upon by security forces" - A problem many nations are facing today and no one seems to understand that bullets cannot be an answer. Security forces can do very little but to fire but it only shows the incompetence of the state as well as federal governments that they seem clueless of finding ways to control the situation. Chidambaram may have been a good finance minister but is an incompetent home minister. He seems to have no answer to Naxal issues and seems again clueless on Kashmir. Not every time foreign forces can be blamed in fomenting trouble in the state. If you want Kashmiris from valley to be Indian citizens then treat them like that. There will always be foreign elements taking advantage and fueling unrest but its the responsibility of the state and what the federal government cannot shy off of, to bring people in the mainstream. If grievances and stones are met by bullets even in the Hindi heartland it will only fuel more unrest so more protests in Kashmir is not something unexpected. Its not Security forces but the incompetence of Obdallahs and this Congress government which is alienating Kashmiris from valley even further. Blood of an Indian - Kashmiri or any other cannot be this cheap. If current governments see no value in it then they have to go. Period.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A story..

The story goes.. there was this true wizard. Poor, unaware but with an astute brain. He had this ability to guess things with his strong intuitions. The King invited him to see if he was a cheat. Without anyone seeing him, the King slipped a diamond ring in his fist and asked the wizard if he could guess what it was? Wizard thought about it for a bit and said it is something circular. Then he thought more and said it has a hole inside it, you have a stone that is elevated on one side. Then he thought more and then - "Its a Grinder" - the wizard said. Everyone laughed and made fun of him. How could a stone grinder could be inside a fist? Wizard was a cheat and stupid everyone said.
Being poor, Wizard had never seen any Jewellery, far from a diamond ring. What he had seen was a hand-driven stone grinder also called a Chakki. What he lacked was awareness and a sensibility to relate even if true how could a grinder fit in a small fist. What he was right about was how he saw the problem and how close he was to solve it that people who laughed would never have guessed either.