All posts by Vineet Karkera

A mix of everything. Sugar Spice and everything nice! Na. just kidding! That's not how I was born! Neither am I powerpuffed, nor am I a girl. I am just another confused IT developer who wishes to experience all that life has to offer, but is possessed and owned by his laptop!

Do a Phd in Canada and then get back to Corporate / Industry – Yay or Nay?


I’ve been debating this myself, since the time I learned that I have gained admission to a Phd program at the Institute for Big Data Analytics at Dalhousie University, NS, Canada.

It was exciting at first and wanted to quit my job and jump onboard no sooner I learned of it. But then the budding analyst in me kicked in, and I took a step back and realized that I am going to do my research, so why not do a little research (digging in) to see what people have to say about doing your Phd with plans of getting back into the corporate / industry workforce.

Career

After speaking to a lot of Phd holders, Professors, colleagues, friends, family and a lot googling, I found a few points that helped me make my decision. Read the information below (especially the little excerpts shown in qoutes) before you take this plunge.

HOW MANY PHD’S DO YOU KNOW WHO WORK FOR CORPORATES?

When I spoke to my fellow post doctorate friends, this was the first thing I asked them, “How many Phd’s do you know who are currently working for a corporate?”.

And, for some reason they only responded in Binary digits (0 or 1)!!

Private sector in Canada hires only 4 per cent PhDs compared to the 42 per cent hired in the United States.” – The Huffington Post. Read full article.

Now this will vary from country to country, city to city and also based on your field of research.

For instance, if you have a Phd in Computer Science / Biology / Applied Mathematics or a combination of them you will get calls by big Healthcare / Analytical corporations.

“In Canada, PhDs unemployment rate is even worse: 50 per cent more than Masters (6 per cent as compared to 4 per cent).” – The Huffington Post. Read full article.

If you are willing to go against those odds, is proof by itself that you are passionate about your research and must go for it without any second thoughts.

Many things remain the same no matter which country you apply to, like this comment here –

Many HR departments will view the PHD and assume that you wouldn’t be satisfied with the pay levels that are set to attract people with Bachelors or were self-taught. Even if you declare you’re fine with it, there’s the assumption that your job dissatisfaction will be very high after a few months and you will view the work as beneath you.” – by dcousineau. Read full discussion on reddit.

It is advisable to be straight forward and mention your salary expectations in your cover letter so that they know you are willing to work for a reasonable pay.

That being said, you must have a dream role / designation / job title in your mind before you commence your Phd. And work towards it; In that way, you will not be dissatisfied with your role or willl not be doing work that is ‘beneath’ you. This is exactly what is said below, in different words –

There’s still a lot of prejudice against post-grad degrees in the industry, and listing a PHD on your resume may actively harm your chances at landing a job. The one exception to this rule is if your PHD is extremely focused and you’re looking for a job that perfectly matches your focus.” – by dcousineau. Read full discussion on reddit.

There are also HR departments that view a Phd student as a person who worked for a university with minimum pay for the past 4 or 5 years and try to take advantage of that fact. Be confident, and be bold. You know how much you deserve.

MONEY IN YOUR POCKET

Willingness to accept a minimum pay (funding) for 4 or 5 years while doing your research, while your friends move up the corporate ladders and buy fancy cars, is something you will have to deal with for a very long time until you find your spot in the corporate jungle.

PhDs, even after five to six more years of schooling, earn only 8 per cent more than Masters. In U.S., they earn 43 per cent more.” – The Huffington Post. Read full article.

This may sound clichéd, but if you are passionate enough, doesn’t matter in which field you’ve obtained your Phd, companies like Wallmart, Google Alphabets will have a spot for you!!; And they pay BIIIGGGGG!!

It is the market leaders that seem to respect, value and strive on Phd holders.

4-YEARS, ARE YOU SURE?

…looking at studies on PhD completion times at Canadian universities, it is clear that the vast majority of students do not finish in four years: the average post-master’s completion time is about five years, according to a 2003 report by Frank Elgar, Dalhousie University (PDF).” – University Affairs. Read full article.

ENVIRONMENT

Another important factor to consider when selecting your University is the city, campus, department, life style and weather. Otherwise, you will spend 5 long years walking in the corridors of the university shaking your head, trapped by the weather, or because there is nothing fun that the University campus can offer.

ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST

If you’ve come this far you may have realized that there is no universal answer to this as it varies from case to case

You can very well do a PhD and wind up with much more impressive experience than you would get at your average entry level position. For example, there are students who work with governments and large corporations solving very real issues like traffic congestion and automated threat detection etc. All this depends on your research lab and how much you yourself put into it. If at the end of your PhD all you have is the word PhD on your resume along with some publications on theory, then that’s on you.” – by pamme. Read full discussion on reddit.

But, what is common for all prospective Phd students is that you have to choose a field that you are willing to sleep, eat, dream and think about for the next 4 or 5 years.

Don’t quit your job; Instead create a new one : If you wish to get back into the industry immediately after your Phd, one way to do it is to narrow down and select a field that is relevant to your employer and the University. It must be a topic that will benefit / solve a real world problem for the company. In this way you can establish that bridge between your employer and the University, and do your Phd in a mutually beneficial topic, while working at the company. It’s not only a win-win situation. It is a win(employer)-win(university)-win(you) situation.

What’s most important is for prospective PhDs is to have a clear understanding not only of the competitive conditions for academic jobs, but also the range of possibilities opened up by doctoral education, which are far more diverse than those generally presented in graduate programmes. Those possibilities must also be developed actively through collaboration between universities, governments, other non-academic organizations and students, so that the promise of advanced education isn’t lost due to lack of mentorship, guidance and opportunity.” –  The Global and Mail. Read full article.

To the future 2% of the world, good luck.. and to the 98%.. good luck as well. : )

Let me know your thoughts. How many Phd’s do you know that work in the private sector?


Analysis Training Institute (ATI), Bangalore – Review / My Experience


Desperate to change my role in IT, I stumbled upon a 1 month program related to analysis of data. It was a SAS (Statistical Analysis System) program, held by the Analytics Training Institute in Bangalore, India. It seemed perfect. One day to go before the course commenced and there was only 1 seat left. I logged on to the web and did a quick background check of the institute. But, sadly couldn’t get much.

This institute seemed to have a clean sheet! Convinced, I pick up the phone to call the Institute. A very kind, polite lady answers all the questions I had, satisfactorily. With one day for the classes to start and the last seat reserved, I couldn’t be more excited.

My first day in the field of Analytics.

I researched thoroughly before I made my decision on pursuing SAS programming, and not R Programming (which is open source BTW!). I don’t regret my choice, but I do regret the decision of choosing a training institute to empower me with this freely available knowledge. To prove my point I shall put up a short 5 day starter tutorial to SAS, followed by few very handy links.

This is my review cum account of my experience at Analytics Training Institute (ATI) as the course progresses. A first of it’s kind on this blog.

With a prayer in my heart, “Lord, give me the strength to pound through this data. : ) “, I left home. I had to travel about 35 km one way, to the Institute. Despite the distance I still felt a spring in my stride, from the excitement of learning new things.

This is an account of my experience on Day 1 at Analytics Training Institute (ATI).

Date – 11th Jan 2015
Instructor – Tina Mary Wilson

The class almost always starts about 30-45 minutes late at ATI. Apparently the teachers are never informed by the management that the class starts at 9:00 a.m.
Well, we all have those administration and management glitches. And for crying out loud, we are in India, IST is known to be 30-45 minutes late! C’mon!

Moving on…

As the class progresses you begin to realize that the instructor really has no real-world experience in SAS programming or data analysis (She mentioned it in class during the introduction round). You also begin to wonder as to why aren’t you doing this course online. You don’t need to pay a large sum of money for an instructor to tell you to type this code and check the result on the screen. But you would rather know, the purpose behind that code? what are the best practices usually involved? what are the other options? when should you use which option?
With questions piling up in my head, I choose the most relevant and ask, “Is there a universally accepted coding standard followed by professionals using SAS?”.

And I get a confused look, followed by a response that is related but yet not so related.

“SAS is not case-sensitive.”

Day 2 –
As usual the class began at 9:00 a.m “Indian Standard Time”, i.e 9:30a.m, although it was unanimously agreed upon that we should commence our class at 9. The instructor had changed without letting us know in advance.

The new substituted Instructor didn’t know where the previous instructor left off. She related every concept of SAS to MS Excel. What sense does that make? We are here to learn SAS.

The class was eventually canceled, as most of the students were dissatisfied with her teaching and had left, post lunch.

Day 3,4 –

Our original instructor Tina, was back, on “popular” demand. Tina Wilson, was patient and helpful, and clarified student’s doubts very satisfactoriy. But the fact remains, that the instructors at the institute are inexperienced in the real world, but have a long history of teaching experience. She went on to cover the course syllabus, quickly. Avoiding students cancelling the course and asking for a refund.

Enough said.

If you are lazy to search around the internet for tutorials on SAS. Or if you are just looking to get started with SAS, but not to get deep into it. If you are in a managerial role in SAS, and just want to know what your minions do, when they say they are working on SAS. Or are being sponsored by someone/company to learn SAS. Then, I’d definitely recommend the SAS program at the ATI (Analytics Training Institute).

But, if you hope to give the SAS Base Programmers Certification, soon after the course or hope to get an in-depth knowledge of SAS, save that money, and buy a good book on SAS.

HIGHLIGHTS / TIPS
-> Classes don’t start on time
-> Too Slow. A lot can be covered during each class
-> Instructors are inexperienced
-> The syllabus covered can be easily learnt online
-> Apparently, once enrolled you are allowed to attend the same program any number of times when it is offered, as long as you register yourself for it. (What is the point? I paid for 1 course, not a life time membership of the same course.)
-> Students say, (Not sure) certain instructors at the insitute are really good. If you get a chance to enroll your self for the SAS course taken by Kamal Vaswani of ATI, Redwood Associates. I’d say go for it.

Stay tuned! Will see you all SAS enthusiasts in my next post, where I shall share some useful SAS code, SAS tutorials, SAS templates, and free SAS vidoes. In the meantime, let me know when was the last time you paid for a course outside of school or college, and actually got what you paid for?

Looking forward to hearing your experience with Training Institutes. : )

Cheers!
Peace. Happy learning! : )


Image Source : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/SAS_Institute_logo.png

Look who’s been Crowdsourcing


Taking Crowdsourcing to the next level : Level Extreme!

Walmart

Walmart has recently revealed that it is considering a crowdsourced delivery system, in which it would get its in-store customers to deliver packages to its online customers, by providing them discount coupons if they agree to make a delivery that is on their way back home. Say what again?! You mean a stranger is gonna deliver stuff that I ordered online? What are the chances that I get it in one piece? Or what are the chances that I get the stuff at all?!

Although this idea is in the very early stages, I have to agree that it is very exciting, interesting and innovative. Kudos to Walmart. But no not for me. Thank you.

They say, the use of crowdsourcing, will help Walmart avoid shipping costs, improve delivery time and also make more happy (unsafe) customers.

Indian Traffic Police

India does not have the best reputation in terms of driving! This is no news!

To handle the (un)organized chaos (Indian traffic), many Indian cities like Pune, Chennai and Delhi, have turned to crowdsourcing to tackle traffic violations!

The use of crowdsourcing and social networking sites to police street traffic is slowly gaining popularity in India. Thousands of users have started submitting both photographs and video footage of traffic violations, to be acted upon by the police. So, the next person you see taking a video of you driving rashly, make sure you run over his phone too!

A constable traffic policeman directing taxis Calcutta Kolkata I

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” – Bill Joy, Cofounder Sun Microsystems

Unilever

Can somebody help us? Anybody? Unilever, despite having world class facilities and a respected and a reputed research staff. It seeks external contributions from outside the firm through an open crowdsourced Innovation project (http://www.unilever.com/innovation/collaborating-with-unilever/open-innovation/ ).

Nokia

Nokia’s Ideasproject (https://ideasproject.com/home ) is a great example of crowdsourcing, as it draws on the consumer experiences of participant-innovators to generate new ideas about the kind of products they seek from Nokia. Crowdsourcing participants are enabled, becoming their own agents of product-design. Nokia promises to share the revenue generated from the crowdsourced ideas with the participants.

Yes, Nokia is trying to listen! It’s too late, Nokia! 

Is that even a word? Shouldn’t there be a hyphen?

By now, you would have got a gist of what crowdsourcing is all about. If not,very quickly, ‘Crowdsourcing’ is a job that is usually outsourced to an undefined, large group of people in the form of an open call.

crowdsourcing-2

Isn’t Crowdsourcing, Outsourcing?

This is usually a debate. I believe that Crowdsourcing is a type of outsourcing, as when doing so one has to follow the same Questionnaire, to help decide whether or not to crowdsource, such as –

Does it involve a core competency?

Does it involve confidential or sensitive IS services or software development?

If the answer to the above such questions are “No”, then it is safe to crowdsource/outsource. More crudely, crowdsourcing could be described as projects that are outsourced to the ‘crowd’.

There are several online outsourcing/crowdsourcing websites like elance.comfreelancer.comodesk.com, Innocentive, Cambrian House, iStockPhoto, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Threadless, Rent a coder, crowdflower etc that have millions of users. Some believe, with websites like these it can lead to “digital sweatshops”, where workers put in long hours to generate very little pay and no benefits.

A Chinese website, Zhubajie claims to currently have 7.6 million workers, if this is true, it would mean that Zhubajie, is the largest online crowdsourcing site in the world. How many of them are underage?

From a business perspective, crowdsourcing is a popular way to get work done with minimal costs. A poetry magazine that I remember sending my submissions to for a long time, in the hope of getting published was a Canadian online poetry magazine called, Mattia. This is a crowdsourced online poetry magazine, that publishes, and maintains a regular doze of online magazines, without having a crew of writers/authors/poets. Instead crowdsources it to the public by organizing an open International Poetry Competition every season, gaining not only submissions from all over the world, but also readers and viewership. The top 25 submissions were published, and the best three are given prizes (CAD $100 for first place). Similarly, an Indian website/blog called ‘The Underground Writers’ collects submissions of articles from all over via weekly submissions and prints the best. Thus, creating content for their business, while also gaining viewership, with minimal expense.

Crowdsourcing, as a marketing strategy

Crowdsourcing, according to Laurence Wolf, cofounder and chief executive officer of Brand Honee, a crowdsourcing platform, in Australia, is “just another tool in the box of brand marketing.

We have seen examples of crowdsourcing on the television, restaurants and in the media where crowdsourced advertising has been used. Crowdsourcing has become easier, with the advent of social media, as it is easier to spread the word, and find people who are ready to work

Many companies like Coca-Cola, Intel, Emirates NBD Bank, Walmart, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch (AB) etc have been using crowdsourcing to their advantage, while also engaging their customers.

crowdsourcing2

Crowdsourcing – Good or Bad?

The Downside..

1.     To find good content in crowdsourced submissions, someone must first sift through piles of submissions, and there is no guarantee the search will be successful.

2.     No guarantee of the quality of work, as there is a lack of face-to-face communication. Companies do not get a chance to work closely with the team building the project.

3.     Talent is only paid for chosen ideas. This means that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people are working for free in the hope of having their idea chosen. This devalues talent enormously.

4.     There is no reliable way to verify the age of the people employed, when a job is crowdsourced, as some may be ‘working’ underage.

5.     No accountability. With no contracts and low (or no) wages, one will always be on the lookout for a bigger, better deal.

The Good Stuff..

1.     Work can be done for less than the cost of hiring a full-fledged team of professionals.

2.     The talent pool is huge.

3.     You have access to international talent.

4.     Great collaboration across multiple disciplines, languages and age ranges.

5.      Helps you understand your audience and marketplace.

6.      Crowdsourcing is a very effective way of getting work done with minimal expense.

Lisa Arthur, chief marketing officer of marketing automation firm Aprimo says, “Crowdsourcing, is an effective approach for getting people to help you shape something that’s an idea into a tangible asset, whether that’s a piece of content, white paper, video, all the way into strategy, depending on what your need is and what the idea is.”

Umm… What did Lisa say again? More simply,

“…the world is becoming too fast, too complex and too networked for any company to have all the answers inside.” – Yochai Benkler, Yale University.

So if you don’t know what you’re doing, make use of the wisdom of the crowd!


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Sources, Related articles and Image sources –


Police man image – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/India_-_Kolkata_traffic_cop_-_3661.jpg

“Walmart to get CUSTOMERS to make deliveries in radical new ‘crowd-sourcing’ approach to shipping” – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2300599/Walmart-CUSTOMERS-make-deliveries-radical-new-crowd-sourcing-approach-shipping.html “India turns to Crowdsourcing for tackling Traffic Violations” – http://dailycrowdsource.com/20-resources/projects/910-india-turns-to-crowdsourcing-for-tackling-traffic-violations 
“About Walmart’s Idea to Crowdsource Its Same-Day Delivery Service” – http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikamorphy/2013/03/28/about-walmarts-idea-to-crowdsource-its-same-day-delivery-service/ “The Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing” – http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=87290&PageNum=3
“The Ups and Downs of Crowdsourcing” – http://advertising.about.com/od/insidetheindustry/a/The-Ups-And-Downs-Of-Crowdsourcing.htm
“Crowd-sourced adventure: The couple on a cross-country road trip letting readers of their travel blog decide where they go next ” –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2309979/Crowd-sourced-adventure-The-couple-cross-country-road-trip-letting-readers-travel-blog-decide-next.html “Crowdsourcing is booming in Asia” – http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/08/asias-secret-crowdsourcing-boom/ 
Crowdsourcing Idea image – http://www.businessesgrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/crowdsourcing-2.jpg “5 examples of companies innovating with crowdsourcing” – http://www.innocentive.com/blog/2013/10/18/5-examples-of-companies-innovating-with-crowdsourcing/ “Innovation Zen” – http://innovationzen.com/blog/2006/08/01/top-10-crowdsourcing-companies/ Websites-  www.freelancer.com www.elance.com www.zhubajie.com www.odesk.com www.mattia.ca “Crowdsourcing: Pros, Cons, And More” – http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/what-is-crowdsourcing/ Crowdsourcing Image 2 – http://blog.gremln.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/crowdsourcing2.png http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/wealth_of_networks/Main_Page“Managing and Using Information Systems – A Strategic Approach” by Keri E. Pearlson, Carol S. Saunders; “Chaordix – Crowd Intelligence” – http://www.chaordix.com/crowdsourcing-101/

Back to School …..First week in Canada!! :)


New place. New people. New culture. New school. New grocery store. New apartment. New Beer.
Now, that’s a fresh start!

It is almost safe to say that the friendliest people on the planet are in Newfoundland. And in the province of Newfoundland, St. John’s takes pride in being the most welcoming, most friendly, and most caring of all. Coming from a city of 8,500,000+ people, to a town with a population of 150,000 people, is strange, but very refreshing. Even though St. John’s is one of the smaller towns in Canada, they have their own ice-hockey team called the IceCaps, founded a year ago, in 2011. Ice-hockey is CRAZY BIG here! Everyone indulges in some sports or the other. It’s surprising to see even the faculty of science, PhD guys, being involved in sports, and that too so religiously. Some of the professors in the university, also train students in cross-country skiing, ice-hockey etc during semester breaks. It’s just so impressive. Kudos man. Hats off.

So far, the weather has been pleasant. But it may be the calm before the storm. Quite literally. Here’s a link to the news of a Hurricane Leslie likely to hit Newfoundland, Canada tomorrow. It gives the media lil something to talk about here, otherwise a man mauling his dog will make the headlines (it actually did. Last week.).

Brian, a taxi driver, who I got quite acquainted to on my way to the one of TWO malls in St. John’s…  the Avalon Mall, used a term that I was quite unfamiliar with, and soon became my  favourite word for some reason, but only lasted a while – “Newfie“. Ain’t that a cool word?

Newfies is a slang used by many, to refer to the actual locals of Newfoundland. It’s a word I became very fond of, for some reason, and I try to use it whenever I get the chance,while always meaning good. Like most slangs, it can be offensive to some, and as an immigrant (or a non-newfie or a non-local), it can lead to misunderstandings, and meaningless bar fights! But, most Newfoundlanders will say, “Damn right, I’m a Newfie” with a big smile on their face. Here’s an interesting, but slightly confusing article on the subject.

So this is one of the last times I am gonna use the word, “Nefwie”. : )

And NO mummy, daddy, I haven’t got into a bar fight….. yet! 😛 hehe

There’s tons of Beer brands to experiment with, only if my loan sanction letter would’ve covered that… 😛
There is a Beer brewery just down the road from my place, and according to the landlord here, he says, you can smell the Beer being brewed every once in a while. Looking forward to that.

1st pic

I have loads of things to do during my stay here at Canada, all planned up in my head. Hope I get through all of them.  Just realized that ‘study’ isn’t one of them. hehe.

I keep forgetting that I am here to study; I just hope my grades don’t show it too. So far this journey has been wonderful. I hope it stays that way.

Well, I’m back to school.

<< A silent prayer, as I plunge confidently into the unknown.    >>

Image source : http://msride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/St-Johns.jpeg
http://www.thetelegram.com/media/photos/unis/2012/07/26/photo_2133854_resize.jpg
http://www.straight.com/files/images/wide/shutterstock_62742052.jpg


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Short Story ~ Is that you, Melissa?


Is that you, Melissa?

“…be the hottest day in Norway since 1962.” reported a brown man on the televsion, blaring in the otherwise silent room. The sun faded away in the distance, taking it’s last bow for the day, as the evening set in, the clouds could be seen gradually taking over from the far end of the skyline.

It rained everytime it got hot in Norway. It was one of the many things the residents of the small town loved to complaint about – the sharing of almost-got-roasted-in-the-sun stories. But Vanessa couldn’t have that joy of sharing stories; All the residents of the town had fled to better towns, better cities, with better climates, leaving Vanessa by herself in this lonely part of the world. Although, only a week had passed since the residents had left, it had seemed like there had never been life here at Jefferson town. With the town deserted, it looked more like an old stage-set that hadn’t been used for years.

The usual hustle bustle, had died down to the occassional, sound of the scrapping of dried leaves against the weak wooden walls of Vanessa’s house.

It was hard for Vanessa to believe that the entire town had migrated. Something very understandable after 3 earthquakes, an active volcano in the vicinity, and an ever so unpredictable weather.

The silence. The calmness outside the house, was almost surreal.

“…In other news, Apple realeases a new version of the iMag, sources say…”

Vanessa turned her gaze from the open window and pushed hard on the OFF button on the TV remote flinging it on the sofa, it bounced twice before it lay still. She turned back to the empty window, just in time to watch a lonely bird shriek as it flew across the stretch of sky, racing the clouds hoping to catch up with it’s group.

But Vanessa wasn’t that bird.

The good neighbours of Jefferson town, had begged her to come along with them, till the very last second. But, she didn’t budge. A neighbour, even offered her a place to stay. But Vanessa stood her ground. Even, at the age of 68, she was ready to battle with mother nature.

She didn’t move an inch, for an hour, her eyes looking straight at the heart of the setting sun, as she nervously scanned the enormous horizon, seen through the only window in the house. But it was a window, everyone wished to have. It was the only house in Jefferson’s town that entirely faced the thick, dense, beaultiful green forest and also had a clear view of the volcano, seen just below the orange sky. People joked, it was a view straight out of the Discovery channel.

Everybody in Jefferson’s town knew Vanessa’s house. It was not only because of the famous, scenic window, but also for it’s location. It was practically the end of town. Vanessa’s house would be the first to know, if the active volcano decides to sweep this quiet little town out of the face of the planet.

An hour had passed, since the shrieking bird had passed by. The forest outside Vanessa’s window, looked ghastly in the dark. The sun had set, Vanessa continued to stand by the window. She was a dainty lady, her legs frail, but she still looked splendid  in her long, red dress. Her eyes sparkled a beautiful gray, sporting an old fashioned red lipstick, and her hair set just the way she liked it – tied to a pony with the front fringe taken to one side.

She looked outside, with keeness, as if waiting.

The tall grandfather clock in the living room struck eight times, anouncing it was 8 o’ clock. Vanessa hands anxiously rubbed againsts the window sil, her palms aimlessly moving accross the rough surface of the window sil. She looked restless. She knew it was time.

The clock seemed too loud in the silence of the house.

She was getting anxious, she couldn’t stand it any longer. The wait was making her insane.

When suddenly, a ‘thug’ sound was heard from the door.

The sound would have been mistaken for a fallen branch of a tree, or a fallen fruit ..but no… Vanessa knew. She smiled. The sound would have been inaudable, if there was the slightest of noise in the house. Not this house. The 2 storeyed duplex house, echoed in the silence. It could be heard in every room as clear as a doorbell.

Suddenly, a child’s voice came from behind her….”Graa-nd-maa?”

Vanessa screamed and jumped.

Turning around, to a child, crouched up, sitting half way up the stairs.

His hands were folded on his knees, his palms covered his face, allowing only his eyes to be seen. He looked fightened. He shivered as he began to speak.

“Whoo….. ee….. ..is..it?” is all he could manage, half not wanting to know the answer.

Max had sat there, that very spot since morning, waiting, dreading this very moment.

Startled Vanessa, smiled at him, the most beaultiful smile, but didn’t answer. Her eyes sparkled in excitement. She quickly checked her lipstick in the mirror, brushed her hair with her long fingers, and rushed to the door, swinging it open in one quick movement, without answering Max.

Max screamed, covering his face completely now. His heart was pounding faster than ever.

“Melissa!..” exclaimed a very happy lookingVanessa.

“You look beautiful!”, she continued, as she stared at a young lady in a long flowing white dress. She had black mascara on, smugged around her eyes, making her dark citcles seem prominent. Her lips a strange, but beautiful red. Her lips seemed to have sucked out all the blood from her body, as her skin looked painfuly pale. Her short golden hair moved gracefuly behind her smooth, spotless, beautifuly shaped face, dancing gracefuly in the breeze.

Melissa refused to smile, but still looked beautiful. The pitch black night sky outlined her beautifuly shaped body.

“That’s a lovely white dress you’re wearing..  you look fantastic!” exclaimed Vanessa, giving the warmest of smiles.

It was the first time Max had seen Melissa. He remained motionless, just inspecting, watching quietly from a distance.

“I knew you’d make it! I had been… Infact!.. We had been waiting for you”, Vanessa said with a smile, as she pointed to Max, who remained motionless at the middle of the staircase. A safe distance, he thought. He peeped through the gaps formed between his fingers, while beads of sweat seemed to roll down his face. Vanesaa took Melissa by the arm, and led her to the dining table. But the new guest didn’t leave her gaze off Max.

“Look, I’ve made your favourite..Lazagnia with extra cheese…”

“.. it’s Max’s favourite too!” Vanessa continued chirpilly, hoping to get a smile from Melissa, but failed.

Max continued to stare down, with a blank expression on his face.

He watched quietly, as Vanessa talked and talked while she set the table for an early dinner, while Melissa continued her quiet spell.

It was not long, before he noticed both the ladies looking at him. His ears, body felt lifeless.

“Come, darling!…let’s eat….  don’t be stubborn!” said Vanessa, offering a hand,.

Max didn’t move. He was then carried down and placed on the chair opposite the guest.

Vanessa then continued to serve herself and the guest and went on with their dinner, while Max watched them.

Fourty five minutes later, and after a lot of thought, Max built up courage to approach Melissa. He chose a time when his grandmother was back in the kitchen, fetching desert bowls, and after she had cleared the table.

Max reached down, and carefully advanced towards the other end of the table. He took one careful step at a time. Vanessa had noticed him, but didn’t react. She didn’t want to distract him.

Once he reached Melissa’s chair, he asked in a shivery voice, “Gra – eh -and ma?”

“Yes dear?

“Whe-ere es mommee now?”

“Don’t be silly dear…. She is sitting right in front of you.”

Frightened Max put one shiverring hand out, moving it, as if to stroke Melissa’s hair, but ended up waving his hand in the air instead.

Max walked back to his seat. He sat there quietly, while Vanessa served him his first food of the day – a piece of his birthday cake.

Max played with his piece of cake on the plate, while his legs dangled in the ait. Vanessa looked content.

“Grandma?”

“Does Melissa like my cake?”, asked a hopeful Max.

“Yes. She does, dear!.. Very much.” responded Vanessa.

Max looked up at a photo of him on the wall. In the picture, he was being carried by a young version of Vanessa, standing along with a beautiful, young lady, with long, flowing golden hair. Vanessa saw him looking at the picture, and told him that it was a picture taken before the accident. He stared at it, looking at Melissa’s beautiful smile.

After a while, little Max looked around.

He looked confused, dazed, lost at the same time.

“Where is Melissa now, grandma?” asked a concerned Max.

“Oh, Honey, she’s gone.”

After a minute of silence, Max asked

“But isn’t she dead Grandma?”

“Max!… ” screamed a furious Vanessa.

He remained quite for a while, and then asked

“Does she love me, Grandma?”

“Of course, she does, dear”

“Will mommy come for my next birthday as well?”

“I am sure, she will … she promised…she’ll come like she always does.”

“Every year?”

“Every year!”, Vanessa said, as a tear drop trickled down her cheek as she turned around from an empty window, and picked up little Max by his arm.

She screamed, screamed so hard, her face turned red, as she looked at Max’s other arm dangling in the air. She stared in horror at a huge opening in Max’s right arm, oozing with oodles and oodles of cotton.

She held the remains of Max’s right arm in one hand, her lips pressed into a thin line and her pencil thin eyebrows drawn low.

Who did this to you? Was it Melissa?” asked a furious Vanessa, half not expecting an answer while she hurried to her drawer, desperately searching, when finaly she found and took out a sewing kit and placed it, heavily on the table.

“Don’t you worry. Grandma is going to take good care of you.” Vanessa said as she removed a long needle, and a longer roll of white thread. Quickly stuffing back the oozing cotton from Max’s right hand, and began stiching it carefuly, as she whispered into his tiny, furry ears,

“Don’t worry dear, your mother, Melissa will not be here for at least a while now. You are safe.”

“It’ll just be you and me.”

Max’s shiny button eyes stared blankly back at Vanessa.

Infosys ~ Over and Out – My last day at Infosys!


To be an Infoscion is not easy! You have to follow endless policies, abide by rules, abide by the rules, did I say abide by rules?! You will also find yourself in queues most of the day, follow a queue to get a cup of tea, to go to the loo, to the lift, to the bus, to use the bench press at the gym, the list is endless. You also have to compete with 150,000 co-workers. Yes, Infy is a 150K+ person organization. It’s like a whole town by itself! And they have done a brilliant job to keep so many of us satisfied. To run a company of such strength is not a joke.

There are policies in Infosys I understand, but most I don’t. Although they are reasoned out in every Q&A opportunity given, but still they haven’t been able to convince me about many things. But I am very sure, every company has some policies that, have you gritting your teeth. So I am gonna look past that and tell you how cool Infosys is. Infosys boasts of several Development Centres, A Gym, a Jacuzzi, a Basketball court, a Music Room, has a steam room, a Volley Ball court, Tennis courts, a Football ground, a dormitory, 8 Food Courts, Chemist shops, Restaurants, a Supermarket, a private bank, a recharge centre, a Bangalore-One, Print-o, retail shops, an Amphitheatre, a 24/7 clinic, a swimming pool, snooker tables, all in one campus! And the same can be found in all the campuses around India and the Globe. How cool is that? Infy definitely promotes the work hard and party harder, attitude. And there is nothing else in the world that I agree more to. With that approach I have completed, a very fast-paced 3 year stay, here at Infosys. I am grateful for the opportunity given. And if given a chance, I would do it all over again, the same way.

I have to thank my managers, Mr.Ankur and Mr.Santhosh for being so kind, patient and so lenient with me, also for being so understanding, and for guiding me through out.

If the time spent at mysore during our training were to be put into a loop, and I had to live it for the rest of my life, I would gladly do so. : )  Moments I shared with Anita, Elen, Suman, Joy, Su, Srini, Utsav and the rest of the gang, are moments to cherish for life. : ) Cheers <clink> to all the good times. : ) Hope our paths cross sometime, again and real soon.

Friends made at the bball court. On the floor. At the music room. Will miss you all! Bhuva, I’ll probably catch up with you on your wednesday’s Karoake night at LOR. : )Rakesh, thank you so much for all the great drumming tips. My project team, Abhilash, Lohith, Boopathi thank you all for being supportive and helping me out whenever needed.

To my parents and sis- Sorry for all the chaos that I have created every morning during the last 2 years; searching for my tie, my shoes, my wallet and what not. Daddy, a special thank you for helping me chase down the bus whenever I got late. i.e 90% of the time! 😛

All this memory….. of my short time spent with the real king of good times – Infosys.

I Salute.

Vineet Karkera
# 129911 : )

“Dude, I just got Page Rank’ed! “


“Dude, I just got Page Rank’ed!”
“You mean pranked?”
“No!”
“Spanked?”
“No.. What’s wrong with you?! .. Page Ranked!”
“Dude. What the hell you talking about?”
“Google Page Rank is… <blah><blah>….”
“What’s wrong with you? That’s stupid! … …. Anyways, so what rank are you at now?”
“I was a Zero.. and now it’s a …umm… never mind. It’s nothing.” : /

Yeah, so my stupid google page rank stands at 2 out of 10. Are they trying to inspire? Or are they trying to depress?! Beats me.

Whatever may their intention be, I am just happy that Mr. Google knows that ‘The Confused Graduate’ exists.

How to check your pagerank?

It’s simple. The result of one of the most complex algorithms written by Google can be checked every once in a while with the help of any of the following google approved sites,
www.prchecker.info
http://pagerankandalexa.com
http://www.checkpagerank.net

Trust me, it’s addictive!

For now, my page rank stands at 2. It began as an N/A as most new blogs will, then climbed up to a noticable 0/10. And now, voila! It’s 2!!! : ) : )
Read an older post of me complaining about my old page rank. : )

Although, the traffic to my blog hasn’t significantly increased or such after the latest PR update.
But I did notice that my blog comes on the first page for the following search keywords when tried on ww.google.com .

          KEYWORDS
colleges that don’t require gre
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/list-of-us-colleges-that-do-not-require-gre/

drakes fortune 3 puzzles
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/uncharted-drakes-fortune-ps-3-puzzle-walkthrough/

llb after engineering
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/top-ranked-law-universities-offering-3-yr-llb-courses-india/

cocktail making classes bangalore
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/cocktail-making-courses-in-bangalore/

8×59 M35 Breda
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/8×59-m35-breda/

vtu transcripts
Article : https://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/vtu-transcripts-made-easy/

Pretty cool huh 😉 : )

Few things you should know about the google page rank –
1. It takes a few months before your page rank changes.
2. No one knows how it works except Larry Page.
3. It is not whole numbers as you would think, but a decimal, floating-point number.
4. Each higher rank is progressively harder to acheive.
5. It is one of the most complex algorithms written by google to rank web pages.
6. Google will penalize you if you share a bad link. Leaves a scar for life!
7. Lastly, and the most important – Don’t give a crap about the google rank.

But, If you’re site depends on search engines to get visitors, then I suggest you learn a few things on how to impress Google’s official web spiders. Although Google Page Rank is not the only criterion that search engines use, there is the Alexa rank, Mozilla rank, certain SEO techniques etc.

If you really do care about your google rank, read on and follow few simple things that will help your blog.

For starters, try and get a backlink from a high ranking site/forum i.e a page rank 8 or 9 or 10.

Remember there are Page Rank Penalties, if done in a wrong manner

Here are a few examples of how Google has penalized those who try to cheat their way into a good Pagerank(PR).

Proof of Page Rank penalty

Www.DaneCookFansite.com
Backlinks = 20,000
Page Rank = 0
That’s Google penalty for building links too fast!

Another important factor, is to keep your blog/website alive.

You do not want to bore the google spiders when they come back to your web space, crawling over the same stuff. Treat them to new interesting posts.

FYI – The spiders are illeterate. The don’t read content, but only look at links.
Sometimes new posts may end up harming your rank.

So give them what they want. Whenever you use a picture, or content that is not yours, make sure you provide a link back to it’s origin.

Hope this helped! Keep posting, and more importantly enjoy blogging.
Have a good one!

image : https://theconfusedgraduate.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/6a155-google-pagerank.png

Poem ~ January Calling


January Calling

Death comes knocking
Sounds of wine glasses, clink
The news always shocking
Life, a hint longer than a blink
Our worlds’ to be seperated
My intestines curl
Every breath so precious
Has my time really come?
Questions arise
Flooding memories, divine
So many lies, So many unheard cries
Swallow, the pain, gradually sinks in
Thinking, What lies beyond?
What lay before?
Have you tried it all?
As you beg, for just one last chance
Have I lived before?
Do I have any more?
Or is this our only shot?
If I die tomorrow,
I’ll be alright
Life’s not given to throw
But after all, I’m ready to go

With death come and gone
Heaven or Hell – the time has come at last
One has to be strong
The journey back to where you belong
Now just a memory
A picture on a wall
My life lived so ordinary
Can I talk to people when they call?
Somethings I’m certain
I finally am free
A feeling so warming, a feeling so right
Sight of eternity so close,
came a promising, bright light
When life dropped it’s curtain on me
That late January night.

image source : source

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Global Warming – YAWN!!!


Curious to know what our top scientists and researchers are doing in the world, I head to the Science and Technology section of the DailyMail. And all I found was, Global Warming gonna kill you, Global Warming gonna make you short, Global Warming is bad. I mean, what’s the deal? Are they trying to scare us? Are they trying to blame us? Are they gonna do something about it? Do they know what it realy is?

Curious. I read on.
Here is a list of all the confusing, misleading articles on global warming..

Article #1: “Everest could soon become impossible to climb because of global warming…”

Mt. Everest is already impossible for me to climb! I can’t even think of it, considering my physical fitness. Even if I was fit, and ready to take on the Everest, I am sure that my manager would not approve my leaves.

So, dailymail stop telling me things I already know. Oh, it’s not for me you say, Apa a.k.a ‘Super Sherpa’ wants to climb it again. And he is complaining that it’s difficult to climb the Mt. Everest now because of ‘Global Warming’?……. and not because he is 55 years old? Are you sure?

link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2107013/Everest-soon-impossible-climb-global-warming-says-Sherpa.html

Article #2: “Global warming ‘could make us shorter’ after horses are found to have shrunk the LAST time the world heated up”

Who would want freakishly tall Horses roaming around? Well, for this I thank god for Global Warming! At least my future kids will have a scientific reason to tell at the Basketball court, if they turn out short, “I could’ve dunked, you know… only a little taller… stupid Global Warming!”.

Did the title say the ‘LAST’ time the world heated up? That means there actualy was a world heat up before too, and during that time, I bet it was the smoke coming out of Fred flintstone’s feet.


Note – I did not read the article. It really wasn’t for me. There might be something there, so here’s the link for all you Al Gor’ians.
link : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2105508/Global-warming-make-shorter-horses-shrunk-time-world-heated-up.html

Article #3: “Baghdad was frozen over 1,000 years ago in new clue over climate change”
link : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2107130/Baghdads-frozen-past-revealed-ancient-manuscripts.html

Article #4: “Science&Tech Article: Global warming theory in chaos after report finds increased solar activity may COOL the Earth”

Now what? After reading so much, all I understood was Global Warming was a bad thing, heating up the earth, melting snow caps, not allowing Sherpa to climb, wiping islands, not keeping the same climate even after 1000 years, in famous places like Bagdad. And now you tell me that Global Warming is actually Cooling. Let’s get serious here. Where’s my money gone? I demand my green tax back!

I request all you arrogant, self-righteous, self-pomptious, hobyless, Al Gor followers to kindly leave us, equally arrogant, self-involved, ignorant, selfish, majority alone!

link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1318425/Global-warming-theory-chaos-Increased-solar-activity-COOL-Earth.html

Just, beware of the 21st century scam called Global Warming.

image source: http://indianamerica.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/the-flintstones-car.jpg

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VTU Transcripts made easy


You will be surprised how well VTU (Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum) is managing to give it’s thousands of ex-students their Engineering transcripts. If you have plans to go abroad for your higher studies some time soon, or planning to immigrate, then you will definitely need your “Official Transcripts” from your ex-university. And if it’s VTU, I just might be able to help you.

So here are a few things that you might find interesting

What are Official Transcripts exactly?  You’ve got all your semester marks cards. You have your final year degree completion certificate. Then what the hell is a transcript? The transcript will contain all your marks from all the semester in a single sheet, with a small indicator at the corner of each semester table, showing the number of attempts you had for that semester. It’s basically for the University that you are applying to, to have a general idea of how the rating system was at your previous university. Coz’ each university has their own way of grading students, like the GPA, Percentage, Percentile (Yes, it’s different from Percentage!), Grades, Levels, Marks etc. It can get quite confusing for the university you have/will be applying to, to compare students. The transcript will tell the university how exactly to interpret these marks.

What do they mean by ”Official”? You will receive your transcripts in envelopes, which are sealed and signed by the VTU Registrar on the flap, to show that no one has tampered with the marks. For example, if you have requested for 15 copies of Transcripts. You will receive 15 transcripts in sealed, signed envelopes + 1 additional unsealed transcript copy (without an envelope) for you to know the contents of the other envelopes you just received. The 15 sealed, signed envelopes will remain as your Official Transcripts until you break the seal. Refrain from opening them.

What do they look like inside? .. It is exactly like the extra copy that you get along with your sealed transcripts. If you haven’t applied or seen one yet, here’s a sample of my VTU transcript just so you know what to expect.

VTU Transcript Page 1 of 2
Click to ENLARGE
VTU Transcript Page 2 of 2
Click to ENLARGE

How do I get my Transcript from VTU? The answer to this question depends on how soon you need them. Coz’ there are 3 ways in which you may obtain your Official VTU transcript –

Option (a) IN ONE-DAY  (GET YOUR VTU TRANSCRIPT ON THE SAME DAY)
For this you will need to go to VTU, Belgaum.
Step 1: Reach Belgaum by 9:00 a.m on a day except Sunday and National Holidays.
Step 2: Take an auto (costs Rs. 150) or Bus (quite frequent) from the railway station to the VTU ofice.
Belgaum Address:
Visvesvaraya Technological University, Regional Center Belgaum, “Jnanasangama”, Matchhe, Belgaum – 590 018, Ph : 0831-249 8197
Try to reach by 10:00 a.m
Step 3: Once you reach, If you haven’t made your DD yet, there is a national bank bang opposite the VTU Transcript office in VTU campus. It opens at 10:30. Try and get it done as soon as possible.
If you already have a DD ready with you, order a hot tea and an Aloo Bonda (very tasty) from the Canteen just adjacent to the Bank, as you have enough time.
Step 4: After your tea, cross the road. Go to the first floor. Fill out an application form handed out by the receptionist.
Step 5: Submit the xerox copies of all your markscards + Application Form + DD.
Step 6: You’re work is done.
Now, all you have to do is – wait! Simply roam around the campus or take the next bus to the ‘city’ (half hour by bus), eat at a good restaurant.
Step 7: Return by 04:00 p.m to collect your transcripts.
Step 8: There you are! Return to wherever the hell you came from, on the same day.

Vineet’s Tip: Try and submit your application by 11:00 a.m to expect your transcripts on the same day.
Vineet’s Tip: Avoid the autos, they will scam you into staying in a hotel, waiting charge, food etc. The bus is quite convenient and reliable.

Option (b) WITHIN 4 WORKING DAYS (Submit and Collect from VTU, Regional Office)
VTU has opened Regional offices, in other cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga etc, for the convenience of current/ex-students
Step 1: Reach the closest VTU Regional Office by 11:00 a.m

Address:

Bangalore
Visvesvaraya Technological University, Regional Center Bangalore, RHCS Layout Annapoorneshwarinagar, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore-560091
Ph : 080-23181188

Alternate Number : 080-23016694
Mysore (They don’t have this facility yet)
Visvesvaraya Technological University, Regional Center Mysore, Hanchya Sathagally Layout, Ring Road, Mysore – 570 019.
Ph: 0821-2570012
Gulbarga
Visvesvaraya Technological University, Regional Center Gulbarga
Ph : 08472-25 6155

Step 2: Fill out the application form provided by the receptionist, if not already done.
Step 3: Submit your xerox copies + 1 DD + 1 App form.
Step 4: Done! Come back to the same place after exactly 4 working days (exclude Sundays and National holidays) to collect your Official Transcripts. Voila!

Option (c) WITHIN 15 DAYS (AT THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME)
Step 1: Get all your documents ready to submit i.e DD , Application form, Xerox of all your markscards.
Step 2: Write a letter to the VTU, Registrar requesting for a Transcript.
Sample Letter :  Sample Letter Download

Step 3: Buy an envelope and shove all the documents stated in Step 1 and Step 2 into it and address it to –
To,
The Registrar(Evaluation)
Visvesvaraya Technological University
“Jnana Sangama”, Machhe Belgaum: 590 018
Step 4: Send this package my post.
Step 5: Now, you play the waiting game! You will receive your transcripts by snail mail in 15-20 days time.
Vineet’s Tip : Do make sure you mention your current address in a legitimate manner.
Vineet’s Tip : Send it by Speed Post.

Here’s a sample of how your letter will look like –

VTU Official Transcript Envelope Side 1
Click to ENLARGE
VTU Official Transcript Envelope Side 2
Click to ENLARGE

To make your life easier, make sure you have the following ready well before hand-

1. Xerox copies of all your markscards

2. A filled out Application Form (available at http://vtu.ac.in/pdf/circulars/atten1.pdf )

3. A DD from a national bank in favour of “Finance Officer, VTU Belgaum”, with an amount of

Rs. (250 + (n-1) * 150) , ‘n’ being the number of transcripts.

(You’re an engineer you can figure that out!)

Well, all that’s left to say is “Good Luck on your applications!” : )

And Happy Studying in the near future, and please support me by liking my facebook page (can be found at the end of this page). Cheers!

References : http://www.vtu.ac.in/
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Not so celebrated Websites !


There is a website for every single thing, today! iamfat.com, ihatethat.com, teachmetodrive.com, notinlove.com, iambored.com, its2inthemorning.com.  Every body, every business, every shop owner, whether he has a roof on top his head or not, he has a website. And it is a wise thing to do, considering how much useful time we spend uselessly in the online world.

Now since we spend almost all our time here on the net, why not learn a few more website names apart from our usual, linkedin, facebook blah blah …

Here are a few sites that I found that are worth a mention. They come quite handy, and the best part is that, the site does it’s job without any frills, with no pop-ups, no pay and proceed, no ads, and it’s free…

In short –  clean, straight to the point, no-frill websites.

A list of websites that are NOT so celebrated.. Take a look! –

Learn the Guitar from scratch, ultra-beginners – I just dusted off my old guitar a while ago. The guitar lessons are back! The best part is that there will be no annoying teacher or trainer, I’ll be able to learn the guitar in my own sweet pace. A one stop for all beginners. Trust Me!                                                              http://www.rhythmguitarzero2hero.com/

For those PDF File problems – Ever wondered how to edit a pdf file? Ever wondered why Adobe spend so much money creating a software that helps only read a file, and not edit, and still managed to do so well. If somebody does know please do tell me. But, here is a website that will not require you to do that research of Adobe’s secret.  Simply upload your file on the site, Make your changes, Save it back to your comp, Voila! Done! Simply Brilliant! Muahh!                                                                                                                                                               www.pdfescape.com

Convert ANY Format to ANY Format – How cool is that? Believe me! You don’t? Let me list out the array of formats this awesome website can convert. It has an Audio converter, Video converter, Document converter, Image converter, E-book converter, Archive converter, Hash generator converter all in one place. Convinced?    www.online-convert.com/

Lost your TV’s user-manual? Can’t find your Music System’s instruction manual? C’mon how many of us actually have a cabin that only has the user/ instruction manuals of all the electronic gadgets in the house, arranged in alphabetical order? If you do, get a life! Well if you don’t here’s a site that contains all the user/instruction manuals for all electronic/electrical devices, and when I say all, I mean all! ANY Brand! ANY Model! Check it out. Save paper! Save the Earth!                                                              http://www.manualsonline.com/

Bookaholic? Love to know the latest in the reading zone? If you’re a librarian and would like to keep your library updated, with the latest releases, latest entries, latest magazines, then this site will be a treat. Book lovers can take advantage of this site, by getting a glimpse of freshly printed books, available in the market. Good reads! Certainly yeah, I agree!                                                                                                                       http://www.goodreads.com

New to JAVA? Learning to code but need assistance? So you have your Sun (Now Oracle) Certification coming up soon and you have a few doubts but no one around who knows JAVA. Why not ask the founders of the language themselves? Yes! Just post your query, and get a response within 24 hours, by Kathy Sierra herself. Even if you’re a Khalid follower, this website can be very very useful –                                            http://www.coderanch.com

Someone Stealing your site content? Blog? Posts? Find that looser, sew him! But you need a reason for suing that copy-cat! Ask yourself. Do you want the content removed? Or do you want to be paid? Do you want the credit or the fame? Or do you want a simple link-back to your site?! Once you have the reason in mind,  you will also need money, a good lawyer, loads of time,  and also this site whois.net  It gives the domain of any website, very helpful in tracking the host. You can bring down the site, by just contacting it’s domain / ISP server. Mission accomplished!                                                                                                                                                               http://www.whois.net/

Tweaks for your WordPress blog – I’m sure you’d like to know how to put an online pet on your blog, how to split your sidebar into two, how to have a background music play on your blog, change your blog font etc. All that decoration and re-decoration for your blog can be done here. Pimp your blog!                     http://www.wprecipes.com

Why not create your own 3-D characters for a comic strip, play, avatar, site, movie? Here’s a site that allows you to download a very simple, easy to use tool which will enable you to create such amazing animations/ characters with absolute no prior knowledge of animation or MAYA or flash. You will surprise yourself. Check ’em  out yourself. A fair warning before that – This site is very very addictive, but fun. Indulge! http://www.pixologic.com/sculptris/

I hope I’ve made your life a lil’ easy, for all you modern ‘e-Columbus out there, surfing the web, whether lost or not, I hope you find what you like! Happy Surfing!

image : source

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A humble bow..


Woohoo!! What a way to be wrapping up the year?! My blog just received two awards from two very lovely people Joana Alonzo and Joe.

Joana is a young, talented student who has an adorable blog at The OC.

Joe, is simply quite a lot of things, a golfer, an ex Air Force man, a family man and an IT braniac. Wat more?! You can catch Joe at My Haphazard Proclivities.

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Liebster Blog

I did not know, until about a month ago, that blogs received awards. I think it’s just amazing, how a simple gesture by a fellow blogger, can help boost your confidence and give you that urge to keep going.

 Liebster, I believe means dearest / beloved in German. Thank you so much, Joana Alonzo and Joe for the love.

The Liebster Blog Award

This award is meant to motivate and attract more attention to new blogs, by spreading the word! I hope this award does just the same for the blogs that I mention below. I believe that the world needs to see these blogs!!

Nominations for the Liebster Award –

Rasta Teacher – A true music lover. A true human being. A teacher not only by profession, but by example. Visit rasta teacher’s blog to know more.

The Pyjama Warrior  – A sarcastic, witty, yet funny account of the everyday dramas of our motherland, India.

Klextin – Turning the Page – A very unique blog about a blossoming relationship. Love reading your posts.

Diabetic Redemption – Judith’s everyday encounters and my everyday reading material. Check her blog out.

I Live, I Love, I Teach – She’s a teacher. An educator. She moulds children. She’s an inspiration to us all. Don’t miss her blog!

PCC Advantage – A highly highly recommended blog. It has everything, you need to have in a blog! Love it!

Mayank Pandey – The colours of India seen through Mayank Pandey’s lens. Don’t miss it.

Congratulations to all of you!! Feel the love… : )

The Versatile Blogger Award

This award is very special for me, as I try to make sure there is something for everyone, on my blog. This award portrays just that. I am indefinitely grateful to The OC and My Haphazard Proclivities for nominating me.

Nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award –

I Live, I Love, I Teach

Granbee

PCC Advantage

Yay,Kiss,Purr

Bodhi Rose

Partial View

Congratulations on your award!! : )

Wow! I feel like Santa Claus! 😛

Now, remember with great awards, come great responsibilities..

There are three specific rules regarding the acceptance of the Liebster and the Versatile Blog Award.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link back to their blog.

2. Place the Liebster Blog Award photo on your blog.

3. Nominate five to seven blogs of your own which have less than 200 followers that deserve the proper attention.

A special thanks to Joana Alonzo and Joe.

Thank you so much for this. : ) I hope I don’t disappoint you guys.

I can’t thank you enough for believing in me and my blog – tHe cOnFuSeD gRAdUaTe.

Good Day and Merrrry Christmas! Ho! Ho Ho HO!

 

 

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Short Story #1 – Wish it were a dream…


              It was a huge, dark, dingy room with lamps lit only at the corners. He looked around, trying to find a familiar face but found none. Watching people walk in and out of the room, made him feel more lonely and lost. He suddenly spotted a hefty man entering the room and recognized him at once.

It was him.

It was him, he knew it. He tried hard to scream but in vain. The man was already charging after him like a bull. As a reflex action, he began running franticly. He had no idea, what the man wanted from him. He ran up the stairs, two at a time.

Panting hard, he stopped at the third floor. He turned right and barged into a room.

Inside, a man far from human, sat on the sofa… singing a very familiar song

It gave him the creeps, it always did. The song sounded as spooky as the singer himself.

He ran to the balcony, screaming for help. The next thing, he was falling straight into a pool, a pool as dead as him.

And then “Kevin! Kevvv – inn!! Wake up!”

Kevin opened his eyes to see his History teacher, glaring at him through his bi-focal glasses. He squeezed Kevin’s ears ruthlessly.

Kevin could almost see steam come out of his nostrils.

He heard his friends, laughing at the back.

Things were happening too fast for him.

Everyone watched as though it were a play and he’s playing the main role!

Sweat dripped from the tip of his nose as Prof. Henry dragged him like a piece of rag.

He literally mopped the floor. His hair was in a mess.

His neck hurt, but Prof. Henry didn’t show any mercy.

Kevin didn’t protest but instead just watched, as all eyes followed him.

He didn’t want to believe this was happening to him.

“Kneel down” Henry yelled, once he reached the blackboard.

Kevin obeyed.

He still hadn’t yet woken up fully from his dream. He thought this was another cruel nightmare… but no…  the school bell rang, as if answering his question, telling him you’re back to ‘reality’.

Henry was saying something but it had got eaten up by the shrilly bell.

He wondered if he was glad for the good timing of the bell.

Prof. Henry looked at his watch, thought for a moment and then looked up at the class.

“We shall disperse for lunch.” sounding disappointed.

“ And you follow me into my cabin. ” pointing at Kevin.

Just then there was a loud roar outside the classroom as children ran out, to their freedom, which Kevin truly envied. This was a common scene every lunch hour. But Kevin’s class still maintained pin drop silence, as Prof. Henry hadn’t yet left their class.

              Kevin followed Henry to his cabin walking with his head down, trying hard to think… but he couldn’t.

He continued the ‘ashamed look’ as he watched his shoes walk into Henry’s cabinet.

“I am to call your parents today…” Henry said, as he closed the door behind Kevin.

“I’ve warned you, son…  you leave me no option”. His voice was low and grave. He felt his coat and found a diary, which he carefully set on the table and went for the phone on his desk.

“Prof. … I’m sorrrie …  “

Kevin said, before ‘twas too late

“I had a bad headache… I’m sorree…Please don’t call my parents

…It wo’ happen..” is all he could manage before he burst into tears.

Henry looked at him cry bitterly for a minute or two until he was satisfied and said, “Alright, this is your last warning”.

It had actually worked, Kevin thought, smiling inside.

“Go! …Before I change my mind” he blurted.

Henry then replaced the phone and watched Kevin as he scurried out of the room like a scared rat.

That day Kevin got back home with two things- humiliation and a project assignment. Both troubled his mind equally. He got to his room, threw his bag to one corner of the room and picked up a note he found on top of the pile of books; His mother usually kept them when she was away, it was to help Kevin have everything in order, which was difficult to see how it helped! This one told him to pack, as they were to leave early the next day. That’s when he realized that it was his birthday the next day and his dad had promised to take the whole family to The Hilltop Hotel for a week. He was a day short of being 13 years old. This lifted his spirits a little, as again all the highlights of the day ran through his head, like a tape, making him feel sick. He crept into his bed, put his head under the pillow as if hiding from the cruel world. Hiding from the humiliation.

Hiding from everyone.

Dozing off slowly into a very familiar dream…

He was in a large, well-decorated room. The ceiling stretched far beyond the line of sight. He looked around, only to see faces he didn’t recognize.

A deep feeling of loneliness filled him.

Continue reading Short Story #1 – Wish it were a dream…

America rules the world… now the moon too?!


I read an article the other day that had me laughing really hard. It read NASA has apparently introduced a ‘no-fly’ zone over the moon-landing sites, and a ‘look-but-do-not-touch’ instructions for anyone approaching the artefacts left on the moon by Nasa’s astronauts. It brought so many thoughts to my head..

THOUGHT # 1

Anyone is not gonna’ be walking around the moon! It has to be a well-qualified astronaut who will obviously respect the artefacts lying on the moon, or may be a filthy rich billionaire, or a test subject monkey. Now explain to the arrogant billionaire or the excited monkey that he/she should not walk on any feet marks, and to not touch any of NASA’s things lying around. If the billionaire, is a son of a billionaire and not the one who actually contributed to any part of the billion, made by his father, he is ought to do somethin like that, coz’ that’s the only way he is gonna write his name in history! The man who allegedly wiped US’s print off the face of moon.

THOUGHT # 2

Did the US find oil in the moon? Otherwise why would they indirectly try to claim the moon theirs? If that was the case, they would probably be in the process of creating a space astro-terrorist group, ‘Ál-Space-K-da’ that would terrorize, shoot at any spaceship that comes close to the moon! That’s not too far away!… A war for the moon! I mean what gives them rights to create rules in space, it’s unclaimed free damn territory!

THOUGHT # 3

Or are they trying to cover something that never happened? I’m sorry, this had to come up in my head. The whole fake moon landing story is so amusing, that I sometimes wish the lies were true. But sadly, NASA’s given enough evidence to back their story up. But hey, wouldn’t the whole ‘one step for man..’ be actually be a crater after the spaceshuttle left? shouldn’t it be covered by moon sand by now? How heavy was Neil, to make an ever lasting foot print? Whatever may be the case, NASA’s request/demand has been noted, and I shall tell my wife and kids that we can’t go to the moon landing site this weekend, and will park my shuttle back into my garage.

Jokes apart, the article was a good read and all they are saying is that if you stop by in India, please don”t stub your ciggies on the Taj Mahal.

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