Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Asking the right question in an interview

Here's an interesting discussion on slashdot on what questions to ask a prospective employer in an interview.

Netkraft had interviewed me in my sixth sem of Engineering; there was a full year to go before I could join the company. In that interview, I remember asking "Assuming that you do select me in this interview, what technologies should I study over the next year to prepare myself?" Seemed a little overambitous to me at first, but I got the impresseion that the interviewer might appreciate a little brashness ;-)

Monday, 5 December 2005


I used to have a website (actually I still do) at But to maintain this thing was really not worth the effort. I tried out this tool called htp over the weekend, and I really seem to like it. Perhaps it might make the web publishing job a whole lot simpler.

I don't have much against html, but writing html for more than one page is quite boring. And if one needs to update it over time, it's really quite irritating.

Anyway, let's see how inclined I am to put something up again.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

Mah Jong

I've been hooked on to a game called Mah Jong for the last week or so. Have been playing it on the Excite website. Site needs javascript and flash.

Here's how one plays it. You've got a bunch of tiles that are arranged in semi-pyramidal structure. The idea is to remove two tiles at a time, as long as they have the same face (they should represent the same figure, or should have the same theme, e.g. seasons or flowers). The catch is that you're allowed to remove only the tiles located edges -- it doesn't matter if the two tiles that you remove are in different layers. The objective is to be able to remove all tiles from the board.

And it took me a week to win my first game, and here's the screenshot before the last move. I think my score was around 900, too bad Excite refreshed the window a bit too fast when I'd finished.

The Full Monty

Naveen, my classmate from Engineering, has this interesting discussion on probability. Something about a 1970's show called Let's Make a Deal

Thursday, 24 November 2005


Has anyone received a telegram lately? I hadn't seen a telegram for ages, but yesterday, some recruitment consultant decided to send me an email that looked like a telegram, or a telegram that was wrapped up in an email... here's how it goes:

Dear Chiranth,

UNIX ADMIN / LAN-WAN / WIN-NT in Bangalore on 23.11.2005 (Wednesday ) & SHIFT LEAD / DCC / PC SUPPORT in Bangalore on 26.11.2005 (Saturday)--Inperson Interviews with CMM Level 5 Accenture

[name snipped]

What's wrong with chappie? Being a quick fire mode of communication, does email give license to put basic letter writing skills to the backburner? My English teacher would have been apalled if she saw this.

I received a suggestion that I should send this bloke back an equally short reply, but I want to make it harder for him to read it. Perhaps, I should avoid using the spacebar while writing back, or I should toggle between upper and lower case for every alphabet.

Any other suggestions?

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Old pictures of Bangalore

Some photos of Bangalore that date back to 1946 made their way to my mailbox earlier this evening. Here they are:

The building on the left-hand side now is the Lee and Louis Phillipe showroom.

South Parade Road, now better known as M.G. Road. We can see the Higginbotham's building in its former glory.

Town Hall -- really peaceful, isn't it?

Ah, this one (my favourite) is where my office is located... Hosur Road.

Missed Call

Here's a post I'd sent to our class mailing list a few days back....

"Chiranth, give me a missed call." Sure, no problem.
But please tell me what a missed call means, will
you? As far as I know, I can only give you a call.
It's up to you to miss it, intentionally or not. I
cannot create any special magic or dial any special
buttons on my cell phone to transform a regular call
to a missed call. It is you, the receiver who
decides which calls to miss -- am I right?

In the days of the good old land lines, we used to
term these as "blank calls". Yeah, it's true that if
I call up a number and disconnect, it shows up as a
missed call on a mobile -- but that still doesn't
count as a "missed call". It was a matter of chance
that the receiver did not receive the call before I
disconnected, wasn't it?

So please, do me a favour, and if you want to store
my number in your mobile, just ask that I dictate it.
Please don't ask me to give anyone a "missed call".

I've griped enough, I'll shut up now.


NoScript - Firefox extension

NoScript is an extension for Firefox that I've discovered today. It blocks out JavaScript on a per-site basis. Yeah, it's pretty handy to block out the nasty scripts out there.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

Recruitments & work-experience

I've been trying to think over how companies plan and manage recruitment. Comments welcome.

Companies seem to be planning their growth targets in terms of headcount. It's not rare to come across headlines in newspapers like "xyz to be 10,000 strong in India by Dec 2005." Well, having a measurable growth target of this kind is fine, really. And to measure attrition, they release another headcount -- again, in terms of numbers or percentages.

Though companies measures their personnel growth & attrition through the number of people who join or leave the company, they don't usually publish the number of person-years of experience that has been added or reduced in any given year.

Think about it this way -- let's say I run a startup with 10 people who've got about three years' experience on an average, my staff therefore has a net experience of 30 person-years. If all of these people continue to work with me for another year, the average experience of my staff increases to four years. Even if a person leaves my company, my staff's cumulative experience is still 6 years more than what it was last year, inspite of a 10% attrition.

Let's look at the other aspect. Let's say I start recruiting, and I add in another 10 people to this startup -- 10 college grads with zero experience. Yes, I've doubled my company's headcount, but have I added anything to my net experience? No. Have I added to the company's maturity? If there is a direct correlation between experience and maturity, the answer's again "No". So, what have I added? I've ensured that as these people learn in my company, I am assured of a higher net experience one year down the line! With my staff of nine, I would have had at the end of next year a total experience of 45 years. With these additional ten recruits, I've upped that to 55 years. On the other hand, if any one of my recruits was a person who'd already been in the industry for 10 years, my net experience would jump up by another ten years.

Perhaps, companies' HR teams do actually relate these two factors -- total experience and headcount and build a profile of the average experience of company's personnel. If the average experience of a company shows a gradual increase over time, it probably indicates a) steady growth, and/or b) low attrition. Sharp changes in this average-experience figure would indicate that a company's going through a) an exodus of employees or b) inorganic growth (or disintegration) of some kind. Of course, the greater a company's headcount, the easier it can absorb these shocks of changes in average-experience.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Hello, World

uhh.. my first post? umm.. hello, world? Is that appropriate?