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Prashanth blogs in Desitech.in

October 12, 2008 1 comment

Prashanth seems to have lots of time these days. Not only does he have time to frequently update his blog, but he’s also started co-authoring desitech.in.He promises to focus on IT in india rather than his usual posts about other men’s wives and romance between diplomats.

Good luck dude!

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Categories: Personal Tags:

Things I’ve learnt in the past year at Amazon

September 28, 2008 10 comments

Well, Time seems to fly with one of those out of service mach-3 planes these days. It’s already been more than a year since I tricked Amazon into thinking I know shit. To commemorate this grand event, I thought I’d bring this blog back from coma to post something.

This one year has probably been the best in my life so far. You might think that’s exaggerating, but try throwing in a couple of years of wasted childhood, a rural high school and four years of struggling to pass in college and you’d see my point.

But it’s not just me, ask anyone working for Amazon Chennai and they’d tell you the same thing. The brain power here is astounding. Everyone is a rock star. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that you’re probably the dumbest person in the crowd.  To really tell you how cool Amazon is, I’ll have to write a 1000-page book with a 100 page appendix on why each character is cool.

But I digress.

Coming back to our headlines today, these are a list of lessons I learnt the hard way (that’s a fancy way to say that I was caught with my pants down). These mistakes were caught by highly trained individuals. Do not attempt to repeat them at home, or anywhere else.

  1. Keep it simple.

    This is the first thing I learnt out of college. You don’t need to spend 4 hours writing code for an optimal implementation if can get a sub-optimal one working in 30 minutes. You will normally have 10 other things to worry about when you’re working on this one. Just get the easiest, right way to completion. Measure. Improve. Repeat as necessary.

  2. Relate every task to the goal

    It’s easy to lose focus on the larger picture when you’re lost in the woods of detail. Here’s a simple solution – Whenever you take any decision, see how it helps you progress in the overall vision.

  3. Always back assumptions with data

    Within Amazon especially, you’ll quickly learn that numbers are your friends. If you’re crazy idea has enough numbers to back it up, you’ll suddenly find that it’s not that crazy anymore.

  4. Never leave your code base worse than what it was

    I’ve seen real war stories based on this one. Even if you can’t improve the code base, try not it add more filth into it. Overtime the percentage of good code will push you to clean up the remaining filth

  5. Test – Code – Test

    I confess. I don’t practice this myself. Well, at least not exactly. It’s usually Code – Test – Code – Test for me. I usually write out simple happy cases and then use test cases to fill in my test cases. Now that I’ve preached it, I’m now forced to practice it.

Other random stuff:

  1. Java is actually a nice language. Thanks to Bloch. (Someone buy me the second edition 😀 )
  2. Zsh is awesome!
  3. Ruby is not bad. But I still like Python for some reason.
  4. Track the time you spend working. You’ll be surprised to find how amazingly inefficient you are.
  5. Planning is important. The plans themselves are useless.
Categories: Amazon, Personal

22 and counting….

“I think grown-ups just act like they know what they’re doing” – Calvin

I can’t agree more. Wait, maybe that’s because I never grew up 😐

Anyways, it’s been fun staying alive for the past 22 years and I hope this body can take the same amount of abuse (if not more) for another good 50 years.

And, a very happy birthday to my classmate Pradeep who’s also celebrating his birthday today.

P.S: Special thanks to JP who had the Calvin quote in this jabber status message

Categories: Personal

Chennai at 3:11 PM

October 28, 2007 5 comments

Damn, I need a camera.

Oh well, I’ll at least help spread the word

http://www.311pm.com/

Pick of the (last) week

September 23, 2007 Leave a comment

A little late this week. Better late than never I guess 🙂

  1. Chinna Chinna Aasai by A.R.Rahman in Roja. Gets me everytime
  2. Mun Paniya Yuvanshankar raja’s best melody to date. The instrumentation is too good for words.
  3. Thirupathi ezhumala venkatesa by Deva. Ganaa at its simple best! Deva simply rules when it comes to gaana. Maybe it’s because gaana can’t be *inspired* from other songs, if you know what I mean 😉
  4. Hurricane 2000 by the Scorpions. I never liked rock as much until I heard this song.
  5. In my place by Cold Play. Inspite of all the noise, this song still sounds melodious to me 🙂
Categories: Personal Tags:

Pick of the week

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

I recently saw Mark Chu-Carroll friday random ten articles and liked the idea. So here’s the Indianized(or rather tamilianized) version for your taking – My Pick of the week! A list of five songs that have fascinated me over the week.

And the winners of the inaugral edition are…

  1. “Maha ganapathim” from Morning Raaga by Amit Heri and Mani Sharma. Vinayak Chathurthi special! The best rendering of the song I’ve heard to date. Suda Ragunathan at her best. I don’t know what happened to the Mani Sharma that composed for this movie. All his other movies seem third rate compared to this one. I almost refused to believe that this was one of his works for a while.
  2. “Yennadi Muniyamma” from Vaathiyar by Imman. One of the few remixed songs that still sound nice! Karthick has done a great job in rendering the song
  3. “Dreaming of you” from the Scrubs OST by The Coral. I still can’t figure out why I like this song so much. I almost feel disappointed that its only about 2 minutes.
  4. “Yentha kuthariyal varuvaan” from Satham Podathey by Yuvanshankar Raja. The movie that marks yuvan’s return to good music. He’s finally back to his old form after a huge pestering pile of noise he’s composed in the recent times. Shreya Goshal’s shines with her ability to set the mood for the song
  5. “Kallori Salaikkul” from Sivapathikaaram by Vidyasagar. Probably the only song about college life that makes sense. I’m still trying to find out who wrote this song.
Categories: Personal Tags:

Amazing Amazon!

February 6, 2007 Leave a comment

I frankly did not know much about what Amazon does until i attended their pre-placement talk. I should honestly say that I’m now very excited by the great work they’re doing which, by the way ranges from online Stores to Custom Online Computing and Storage solutions. And in case you missed it, that was my not-subtle-hint that i was given an offer at Amazon 😀

We were called in for an off-campus interview at their swanky office here in Ascendos, Chennai.We had one written and three face-to-face interviews. All of really did great(a fact that even Amazon could testify). At the end of it though, only me and my good friend Rajiv Mathews got offers.Although only two of us were hired, Amazon’ assertion that the standard of our class was very high was something i was very happy about.

The interview itself was really an enjoyable process, with some of our “All star” Alumni like Dharma and Prasanna(who were just legends uptil then) interviewing us. My inteview by itself wasn’t too hard as the questions were mostly on OO Design.
One question, from Dharma that swept all of us, off our feet:
Given a doubly linked list where

  1. one link points to it’s next neighbour
  2. Other link points to some random node in the list(could also point to NULL)

Write an algorithm to make a copy of this list.

Amazon simply had almost anything and everything a good programmer could wish for

  1. Great People to work with
  2. ALL their products are innovative *and* have business value
  3. Free Lunch, Laptop and Ride home!
  4. They have an office in Chennai(Okay, that only ONE programmer wants 😉 )

P.S : Thanks to Vijay Nagaraj, the man behind the title!

Categories: College, Personal