Doc

The personal weblog of Arijit Sengupta, called Doc by some of his friends!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Vote for me... at Code4Bill

As most of you are aware, I am in the top 20 of Code4Bill and currently interning at Microsoft India (R&D) as a part of this contest which aims at sending the top one to work with Bill Gates at Redmond. The final presentation and interviews will be on the 31st of July at Hyderabad. There have been minor presentations every week, with the next one scheduled for the 11th of July. On this day, there will be a CNBC shoot of the intern projects and votes will be cast by students across India to choose the best intern, which will account for 10% of my evaluation.

To be the one to make to Redmond, or even make it to the top 5, I’ll need all the votes I can. I am expecting you to support me in this endeavor and lobby and campaign for me. The vote count has to be significant to make a mark – at least a thousand or so.

So, if you believe in me and feel I deserve to make a mark on the code4bill platform, please vote for me on Tuesday, the 11th of July, at www.code4bill.com. Your vote can make a difference. Also, please mail this post to all your friends throughout the country.

I must apologize it this looks like cheap publicity, but I sincerely need your support. I have not come this far only to give up without a fight. And if you help me in this, I can assure you your vote will count – I am not one to let you down.

If you have any queries, please post a comment on this blog and I'll get back to you asap.

Arijit Sengupta, NIT Warangal

Friday, June 23, 2006

Microsoft secrets leaked!!

I've finally decided to break my long silence at Microsoft, which must have got people wondering about Microsoft's confidentiality policy, and share a couple of MS secrets with all you people out there.

First secret that not many of you know about is that MS is a great place to work in. Well... to be honest, I don't know if it is a great place to work in, but it sure is a great place to be in. Look at the always-busy Pool table, the Table Tennis table, and there's of course Foosball. My friend AKY is the reigning foosball champion, but then friend HS is not far behind, in fact he's already beaten AKY at a couple of games. Kudos, HS! Why, I just came back from 2 games of Foosball with him and managed to beat him 10-9 in the first one. Am I getting better or was AKY lost in thoughts of Emma Watson?

And then there are drinks, lots of them and all for free. For the last couple of days, they weren't so well stocked, which led to think that either:
1) The drinks contract must be over.
2) All interns out here must have had a lot of it and finally MS decided to stock drinks only after all interns leave.
Today however, drinks were back. And no, I didn't bother to research the reason, thats for guys at Microsoft Research India (MSRI), I went and had a drink. The drink refreshed me so much that I decided to use office time for blogging! And if anyone from my office just manages to stumble on my blog, I assure you that blogging takes only 5 minutes and most of my time is spent in projects.

Enough is enough, now let me tell you about my project. It is going great at present, but you never know when it might take a turn for the worse. For the first three weeks, the project was progressing quite fast, and then I turned to a Nokia-related API and starting from corrupt DLLs available for download from their side to bluetooth problems, everything came my way. Now of course, all these problems are over and everything is running smoothly again.

I have got a great project and a great team to work with and a great mentor as well, so I am having fun out it. Microsoft turns out to be a great place to work after all!

And if I haven't bored you enough, please go through my friend AG's blog - please excuse his Jedi weirdness - but apart from StarWars, I wholly agree with him. I would not be, at this stage, averse to spending a large part of my life at Microsoft.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Signing off for a while

I haven't been active lately, and each time I come after a lull, I promise to be active; by now you must be wary of my promises. But this time, I am bent upon making an exception, I will not promise to be regular - in fact I am promising not to be regular.

But first let me take some time off to let you peek into my current affairs.
  • First, my practical examinations start Monday and extend through Friday. The next week, I'll have my end-semester exams.
  • And that reminds me - today was the last working day of the semester - I'll never forget this year. And my, did we work - I reached class at 07:27AM and was back at the room by 06:02PM. Yes, I did see my watch.
  • Microsoft has communicated with me. I am due to start my internship stint on the 15th of May, for a period of 10 weeks at Microsoft India (R&D), Gachibowli, Hyderabad. Though I haven't yet got the travel allowance, people have started receiving it and my number shouldn't be far behind.
  • Google has not yet sent its T-Shirt for CodeJam. I already have a Google T-Shirt, and 2 MS T-Shirts, hence eagerly waiting for Google to even the score!
  • The Computer Science and Engineering Association, the most active association in the college, signed off with a valedictory function - in which I got three certificates and 2 T-Shirts. Why, after stone age came iron age, after which came the T-Shirt age. What do you say?
  • The Pointer magazine, of which I am the Associate Editor made it to print. An electronic version will be released soon.
  • The Department Web Team fell short of the deadline by around 6-8 hours. The web site work had to be suspended for 3 months, for these 6-8 hours.
  • A new college web team has been formed. There are some new players - I wonder how all this will turn out - there is my friend Nero, there's SG, VD, juniors PV, VR and RD and many more. We are to work together as a team. The only hitch might be that PV is too enthusiastic, and idealistic, and impractical - on top of it, he is one of the persons doing the maximum amount of work - sometimes I wonder how Managers manage to manage?
After the examinations, there are the summer vacations. I'll spend a week at home and then 10 at Hyderabad. I don't think I'll post during that period. But I'll get back after that. Till then, adieu.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sir, you wrote a paper, that was selected in Las Vegas

"When you copy from one paper, it is called plagiarism, when you copy from more than one, it is called research"

However, this definition is not universal, research can also mean actual research. But research papers are not always based on research, are they? Well, this is a story of a short research paper that was...

My friend and room-mate, Asankhaya Sharma was the researcher. After long researches - I am sorry - short research - he brought out a short research paper. Knowing perfectly well that for a paper to be selected, it needs to have the name of a senior faculty, he added the name of Dr. S.1 to the paper, and sent it to numerous conferences for selection.

The paper was selected in the World Academy of Sciences. Post selection, Asankhaya approached Dr. S and told him that his paper had made it to Las Vegas. Of course, Dr. S. was going to Las Vegas, as it happenned, along with a full-length paper, which three students had authored, probably under the aegis of a certain Dr. M., not of this institute.

The comments of Dr. S. and the thoughts of Asankhaya (as told to the author) lasted three minutes. A few samples...

S: The format is wrong.
A: Come on, it is IEEE format and above all, it's got selected and now you say it is wrong.

S: Short research paper? Had you come to me before, I would have made it 10-12 pages for consideration for a full-length paper.
A: You haven't read the paper, and you claim to expand it. How, when there is not enough research material?

S: I won't be putting your name to the TEQIP, they'll get confused when they find I've authored two submissions.
A: I wonder why? (Asankhaya claims he knows the reason now, but the author refutes it and refuses to be associated with the reason, so the reason has not been disclosed)

Anyway, congratulations Asankhaya, keep up the good work. We need more of your kind.
1 Published with the express consent of Asankhaya Sharma. The name of the faculty Dr. S is not disclosed since his permission could not be taken.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

100% Placement for Students, 20% for Faculty

The placement record of National Institute of Technology, Warangal's Department of Computer Science and Engineering is well known and documented. Ranked 7th in India by a NASSCOM-Dataquest survey, the college lists placement as its major strong point. This has only been strengthened in the current year by a rare accomplishment that left the department and the college proud of its faculty.

A department is generally proud of the acheivements of its students, and a department that can boast of 100% placement for its students (in fact, close to 200%, almost every student I know has 2 jobs or so, and still dreams of Stanford!) has got every reason to be, but the bizzare was when two lecturers left the department in quick succession! Probably placed! New arrivals may take time, given the stay on recruitments pending a Court case.

The department is proud of its faculty for its excellent placement record. In the years to come, the department expects its faculty to replicate the success stories of a majority of its students. Good luck to the 2 placed teachers! The department, including the students are proud of you.

A few questions are bugging me:
  1. Will the placement record of the faculty ever reach that of the students?
  2. Will the faculty get dream job offers?
  3. Will the major colleges of India, the IITs and others, acknowledge this achievement and endeavour to replicate it?
I don't know. But I can only hope. That one day, major Indian college websites will boast of a 100% all placement performance, 100% for both students and teachers. Until then, teachers may have to settle in for a second-class deal.


The comments given in the above article are the author's own and are given in a lighter vein. It is not the author's intention to offend anyone, including IITians, or the teaching community. The author will take note of your comments, impressions and flames. Everyone is invited to join in this move to accelerate the case for a day, when teachers and students will get equal rights and oppurtunties.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Back after a month

Well, it has been a long time - well, nearly a month. In the space of this one month, a lot has happenned in and out of my my life. Let me list them out to you...
  1. We'd a college tri-departmental fest in which I was in organizing committee for an event. The event (Debugging Contest) went on really well. But what I am really proud of is not this - it is winning the 1st prize in Hacking Contest with classmate Craig DeSouza. Haven't got the prizes yet, I was told I'd be given them shortly. Check out TechnoZion '06.
  2. I flewto Bangalore in a Deccan Airways flight for the Microsoft Code4Bill interview. All I can say is, I didn't like the little plane at all - not when I remember the cushy Airbus ride in Indian Airlines earlier. And speaking of Indian Airlines reminds me - it is Indian now! I know the name's changed, can anyone tell me if anything else has?
  3. I came back to college by bus, APSRTC runs good Volvo service. I recommend it!
  4. The next day started the mid-semester examinations, which went on for a week.
  5. The next week was spent in productive activity - seeing movies, etc... etc... You get my point?
  6. And during this period, Microsoft India offered me another internship for being among the top 20 in India. Well, all I have done is end up with two internship offers from Microsoft. In the previous offer, I was told the internship was at Hyderabad - now I can be interned either at Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad or Microsoft Research India, Bangalore. Lets see...
  7. And then I went home for Holi, spent close to 10 days home and returned yesterday - and here I am!
  8. Its already become so boring, I never expected you to reach point 8, anyway, congratulations, you have successfully completed this ordeal.
Each of the points mentioned herein will need to be discussed in further detail and I promise to do so in subsequent blogs. Promise to keep in touch...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Firefox weds IE

Find anything amiss??


Consider looking again at the picture! Now you notice, don't you - and no - I checked - there is no plugin for IE tab viewing - the IE error page shows up in Firefox without a IE View plugin for a Microsoft page! This is my friend T's computer - his e-mail address is shown - but this is not a license to spam.

Classes held in the lavatory - dedicated to Nero

Today is the 10th of Febraury, 2006, the date of birth of my dear friend N - Happy Birthday 'Nero'! Many happy returns of the day! This post is dedicated to Nero the Burning!!

It is bad enough that our HoD resorted to marks for attendance to bring students to class - after all he beleives that students should be brought to class - contrast these views with mine - every student has a right to go or to decide not to go to class at the peril of his future - but it went beyond that when he suggested that he was interested in a full attendance in other courses as well.

He takes the 9-10 class, disallows those who bunk 8-9 class, and leaves late - I mean he keeps standing outside the class to make sure students don't leave the class after 10.

The day I am about to speak of began with this backdrop. Sharp at 10, our HoD went out, leaving an entire stream of students ready to fly out of the class - only to find him waiting for them! The unlucky ones got caught, the lucky ones beat a hasty retreat - the luckier ones made it - in the nick of time - to the toilet.

Friends N and N2 were lucky to get to the toilet. Other friends, call them A1 through An hastily ran up a flight of stairs to wait for the HoD to move to his classroom. Annoyingly the HoD stayed outside.

Five minutes passed ... then ten ... then fifteen ... the next teacher came in for the Communication Systems class ... in the class, we started following his lecture ... and still the HoD didn't move. Or, rather, he did. He moved forward, straight towards the toilet.

Friends N and N2 were horrified. N found time to retreat inside, but N2 didn't stand a chance. Without second thoughts, N2 stepped over to the urinal.

The HoD did not enter the toilet ... thank goodness ... he walked passed. This was the time... a bound, a rush and the fleet was gone... free at last, back in the real world!

Time for reflections

So, now we ponder upon a few points - like if it was really worthwhile to spend that time in the bathroom? There are many more such questions, we'll not get into the what-if question sets, however.

What courses did N learn from the lavatory class? Will he be regular to classes once again, like he once used to be? Will the lost glory of N be resurrected? I sincerely hope so. At the very least, I hope he has learnt lessons of civil constructions from the urinals. Will quiz him on materials used for tiling today, what do you say, Nero?

As heard/ mis-heard by the author from the lips of one Nero MD, of Solapur! Happy Birthday, Nero!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coding for Bill Gates

Just check out www.code4bill.com.

As you must have known/guessed, I am one of the eager participants; I know I already have an internship offer at Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad, but then it wouldn't hurt to have a go at working with Bill Gates Technical Assistants team, would it?

So let me tell you how it went off. With a flying start two weeks back, one attempt on Saturday and one Sunday. These had 8 questions scheduled for 360 minutes, the questions were similar but their numeric values were different. That was Round 1, and those who qualified were packed off for Round 2. Round 2 had 4 questions to be solved in half the time, the questions were harder and same for all. Round 3 is scheduled this Saturday, and goes on for 1440 minutes (for non-mathmeticians, that is 24 hours). Only the top 10% will be able to clear this round, to be eligible for F2F interviews with Microsoft!

Well, then, wish me all the best!

Any comments about the contest, wishes or queries, or if you are a competitor, please leave a impressions behind on this site.

Long time no see

Its been a long time since I last wrote to this blog. As a matter of fact, I was out-of-station. Now you might say that there is no such thing as an out-of-station in the online world (unless, of course, if you are on the moon) and I'd have to grudgingly concede that you are right. What I meant was that I was so away from my computer that I just found no time to keep you updated.

Anyway, I'll endeavour to remedy that in the days to come.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A string of surpises

Surprising!

It is surprising that teachers can surpise you with a surpise test! After all, aren't surprise tests meant to surpise? Our DWDM teacher must have had exactly that in mind, when he unfolded the surprise in class today - the announcement of a surpise test! Being one of the one-third that actually turned up for the class, I could count myself lucky I didn't miss the test. I was sorry for those who did miss it, but then surpise is a terrific thing. Read on...

Surpised! Thats what friend N* was when friend T* sent him a message (SMS) telling him somthing like the following:-
come to class. TEST
The response! Must be surpising to the average NITWian, but continue...
what subject? No, I am not joking!!!
Pat came the reply
DWDM. For novices, that's Data Warehousing and Data Mining. Period
That posed a real big problem! N checked the time - 04:15PM, class starts 04:00PM sharp; called up a few hostel mates, lets call them friends A* and B* and had an animated discussion, which went something like this -
A - I didn't attend a test last semester and ended up with a grade B!
N - I did attend them, but not very confident about what I wrote - grade B again.
Final Decision - Not going to class, test or not!
Are you surprised? There is more. N wrote back to T, much to T's indignation, a text that resembled the one given below.
Don't waste my time! Let me sleep (or work, the author sincerely doesn't know which)!
End of story. Are you surpised? Well, don't be. Did I not tell you that surpise is a terrific thing?

* Names truncated to protect privacy, and changed where required.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A tough time for students

When the Head of Dept (he takes Lang. Processors course for us) announced that it was now a rule in the college that any teacher who goes on leave, must offer a substitute, it did not invite much reaction. Till he announced that to cover the syllabus, he would be constrained to take extra classes. Extra classes in the very first week of the semester! Can you imagine that? But what is to be done.

So, we'd classes from 08:00AM to 1:00PM and 2:00PM to 5:00PM with none of the usual free periods. That in addition to the Saturday's extra class for a couple of hours or so!

IF THERE IS SUCH A RULE THAT STUDENTS ARE TO BE ENGAGED DURING CLASS HOURS, IS THERE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ANY SUCH RULE THAT STUDENTS ARE NOT TO BE ENGAGED DURING OTHER HOURS.

Please post your comments here...
Today, however, students got some respite from the continuing classes, with as many as two classes free:

The Computer Networks teacher sent in a substitute who did not take class. That is very important since I remember sitting from 11-1 in CN class when the class is supposed to end at 12.
The Commu. Systems teacher came in and announced that he was busy, he wouldn't be taking classes, maybe, he'd call us later!
Looks like teachers are beginning to understand students, or, are they?