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The Bangalore Report III – Day 3

Filed Under (Projectplace, Social) by Olle on 11-03-2010

So, this is my last day in Bangalore for now, and it’s a bit sad but at the same time I really miss the family back home.

Flow of the day:
1. Check out of hotel
2. Wait for Ramesh to pick me up
3. Talk to Ramesh in the car
4. Talk to Ramesh in the office
5. Laugh about things with Ramesh
6. Talk to Ramesh a bit more in Coffee Day.
7. See Deepa and Ganesh succeed in the investigation of @ referencing.
8. Take part in a BBC* news report, a three minute interview about what I think makes a distributed team work.
9. Talk to Ramesh and Blue Star about stuff.
10 und so weiter, und so weiter…

Ramesh has been complaining about headache the complete day, I think it’s due to that he has been forced to think today.

Durring a coffee break with the gang today I got a little more information regarding the “on thursdays the developers don’t eat meat” thing that was reported yesterday . Apparently all the weekdays are somehow connected to a god, so if you are a fan of a specific god you don’t eat meat on that specific day. To add some confusion to this, apparently Saturday is the day for som big god that most people like, so almost no one shall eat meat on Saturdays. Bad news for all restaurants I thought. But Adarsh unfolded the truth to me, apparently there are ways around the “don’t eat meat on the day”. The trick is to have some relative pray a lot, then you can do as you please, even have a steak on a Saturday.

Since me and Ram have had massive amounts of talks today as all other days, we have also had our moments of confusion. The conversation, in Swedish, I have in mind started due to that Meriem had sent the tickets through mail:

Olle: You will arrived late to Stockholm on Tuesday right? Don’t forget to print the ticket for the Alps trip here in Bangalore before you leave.
Ram: No, I’ll come by the Stockholm office.
Olle: Ahha, ok. Yeah then you can print it there.
Ram: Yeah, I’ll be staying at Christophers place and we have plans to go out and buy some moss in the evening.
Olle: Moss? Why do you need moss?
Ram: I have thrown away the one I had!
Olle: But why the heck do you need moss?
Ram: What do you think, I don’t wanna freeze when going to the Alps, all of  you guys wil have moss!
Olle: Oh you mean a hatt of some kind
Ram: What?
Olle: Well you see, “mossa” is moss, and “mössa” is some kind of hatt
Ram: Aaaa, how do you spell that?

Today I also had the chance to talk a bit to Prasad and he had som really happy news. His wife is pregnant in the second month and I’m positive that Prasad will be a really cool dad to a really cool kid who will know how to  drive through the Bangalore trafic at the age of 3.

So, that’s about it really.
Finally me and Ram had lunch now at 9:45PM, better late then never, and I’m mostly waiting for the cab to come and pick me up at 11PM to take me to the airport for the flight that leaves at 03:30AM.
Durring lunch Ram shared the secret with me about how to get upgraded into Business Class. Apparently is just to ask a lot of questions, that can be answered by looking at your ticket, at the checkin counter. But according to Ram, that’s the trick. I will surely try to look really confused tonight!

*Blue Star Broadcasting Company

My open Windows

Filed Under (General) by Olle on 11-03-2010

Got inspired by Michael Lebowitz and his blog post My Open Windows, so here comes my copy of open tabs and windows:

The GIT help pages.
Still have not read the” Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow..” article sent to me by a colleague.
Twitter API Best Practices, great info.
The JS Test Driver Google Code page, download it now!.
Feature Injection over at Agile Journal.
Twelve emerging best practices for adding UX work to Agile development.
Projectplace

.. and the final list of open applications:
Google Chrome
Safari
Mail
iCal
iChat
Numbers
Coda
Tweetie
Spotify
Parallels

The Bangalore Report III – Day 2

Filed Under (Projectplace, Social) by Olle on 10-03-2010

Day 2 is over and tomorrow is my final day here in Bangalore. Can’t believe how fast time fly.

Today has been kind of slow on the blog material front, or as Ram put it at 5PM today: “ha, today you will have nothing to write about!”. Due to that comment I have decided to focus this blog post on Ram.

Well the day started as most days do here in Bangalore for me, I get up, eat breakfast(this time out in the sun, really nice) and made sure to be on time when Ram arrived to pick me up. The trip was like always, Ram swearing at the “Yellow Nazis”(that’s auto rickshaw for the rest of the world), while leaning at the horn and trying to miss the cars in front of us.

Today me and Ram have mostly been hanging out together doing a lot of talking and walking. Really not much action. But talking to Ram can sometimes be an adventure. Today we where sitting at the local “Coffee Day”, den having the fourth bubble espresso for the day, discussion on what day Ram had booked the “Star of the Sprint / 70% Coverage Celebration” dinner, since Lisa had re-scheduled the Sprint Meeting. The conversation went like this(image this in Swedish):

Olle: So we have made a reservation tonight, not on Thursday?!
Ram: Yes, tonight!
Olle: But you booked the dinner on Thursday in the calendar?
Ram: No, on Wednesday!
Olle: No, on Thursday.
Ram: No tonight!
Olle: No, see here(showing my phone). It’s booked on Thursday.
Ram: Probably a bug, we will have the dinner tonight!
Olle: But does the gang know about this?
Ram: Yeah, probably!
Olle: Probably? But who made the reservation?
Ram: Jojo or Adarsh I think.
Olle: But how can we know that they know its tonight?
Ram: They know!
Olle: Ok, but still, why can’t we have the dinner tomorrow?
Ram: It’s Thursday, so they do not eat meat!
Olle: What? Is it some religious thing that happens on Thursdays?
Ram: Think so.
Olle: One every Thursday?
Ram: No, don’t think so, just this one
Olle: Well, they do not need to eat meat!
Ram: If they go out and eat they must eat meat!
Olle: But aren’t they vegetarian?
Ram: No, just me and Ganesh.
Olle: Ohh

So this is the kind of conversation me and Ram always seem to end up in, it’s kind of fun when one looks back at it.

Well the dinner was reserved by Adarsh. Adarsh seems to be the guy when it comes to reservations, mostly due to that he is the one who is the most picky when it comes to restaurants. Adarsh has one demand, and not all restaurants can live up to that, and the demand is Buffet! Adarsh would never ever set his foot in a restaurant without a buffet, and with this demand he has become the natural booker of dinner reservations in the team.

Once more Adarsh selected the excellent Barbecue Nation where we celebrated Supritha and Ganesh(a draw this month) as worthy Stars of the Sprint and we also celebrated the great effort of 70% Coverage in the last Sprint. Way to go!

We (the non vegetarians that is) all ate great hot food(Adarsh won) and some of us(Adarsh) even managed to have several cakes as dessert. After dinner some of us(Adarsh) had problems walking out of the restaurant due to the massive amount of food we had eaten.

After dinner we got stuck outside the restaurant a while since Ram needed some Indian snus. A word of warning, never ever try it, it burns big holes in your throat.
After we had said good by to all, and Adarsh left on his motor cycle with this helmet nicely hanging on the back of the bike; me, Ram, Durgesh and Jojo went back towards the office in Rams car. Luckily me and Jojo used the belts where we where sitting in the backseat, since Ram had a 100% hit rate of all road bumps on the way back. Ram’s comment to this, when me and Jojo notified him about our bouncing in the back of the car, was that his new car “has shitty shock absorbers”.

Tomorrow the adventure continues in the land of double parking holy cows(check out twitter/olled for proof).

The Bangalore Report III – Day 1

Filed Under (Projectplace, Social) by Olle on 09-03-2010

So the trip started the same way as always, the alarm trashed my dreams at 03:40. The Taxi arrived at 04:00, driven by the most talkative cab driver I ever met. Arriving at Arlanda was kind of a relief.
But I sure hope the family issues sortens it self out for the cabby.

I shared the flight to Frankfurt with the Argentinien DC team, I think I even satt next to one of the players. He looked like it at least, really good looking with long black hair and a big bag of tennis rackets. I managed to sleep and hour on the flight.

Arriving at Frankfurt my first task, after checking e-mails, was trying get a window seat for the flight to Bangalore. I had been seated in a middle seat and I was not looking forward to the long flight squeezed between two people. But I was out of luck since the Business Class was over booked, so they needed the good seats in Monkey Class (in other words the window seats) to move the Business people to. So I was stuck between, I hoped, two tiny frequent flyers who mostly would sleep.

Well I did not get two tiny frequent flyers, but two large versions of the same, one German and one American. The American guy worked for Cap Gemini in Pittsburgh as some sales guy going down to Bangalore with some customer to meet the teams in Bangalore and Mumbai. We had great talks regarding his experience working with skilled Indian developers and finance people, hockey, the Olympics and the massive amount of snow some parts of the world have received this winter.
The only thing I heard from the German guy was a “Hallo”.

The flight from Frankfurt was delayed with an hour due to that one of the engines didn’t start the normal way, so they had to start it manually. What?

Due to my “stuckness” in the middle, the amount of sleep I got was very limited.

I was a bit nervous about the my encounter with the Indian customs, but to my surprise all went very well.
After I had managed to get through the first Passport/Visa/Are-You-Carrying-Any-Deadly-Virus section of the customs, I took an extra minut or two, while waiting for the luggage, to see how the really experienced got through the last part of customs, the give-the-little-papper-to-customs-guy part.

My analysis was that one needs to walk really fast, ignore any form of queues, and look like you have done this hundreds of times before and simply give the little paper-thing to the customs guy and just keep on walking. So my strategy was clear, but everything was destroyed when I got my bag.
The thing was that I had planed to use the small bag we have at home, but just before the taxi came to take me to the airport I realized that the bag had no lock, so I quickly grabbed our big bag instead. What I had failed to notice, in the bad morning light, was that the Mark of Customs(the white cross feared by travelers of the air) was still shining bright on both the back and the front of the bag since my last visit to Bangalore.

So my plan to look confident failed badly! But I managed to place my laptop bag on top of one of the crosses and I passed through the last Customs defense successfully!

Ram was waiting for me outside the Airport to bring me to the hotell. But unfortunately he had managed to upset two people working on the parking lot, so before we could leave, we needed to talk to some parking lot manager so that Ram would not get a 6000 rupe fine. That’s my Ram! Well I guess it’s easy to upset people at 2AM.

After a bumpy and long drive into Bangalore Ram finally dropped me of at the hotel at 04:00. I checked in and to my surprise I had gotten a bigger room then the one I had reserved. Later I have found out that Prasad of Blue Star had called the hotel, urging them to upgrade me. He’s simply too kind!

Tuesday

The wakeup called at 07:40, and I managed to drag myself down to breakfast. After a while Ram came by to pick me up, and we, by gods grace, made our way to the office.

At the office it was great to meet the gang again, we chatted about stuff for an hour or so before everyone got into coding stuff.
An interesting fact is that Durgesh and Jayesh always sync the big things in life, they buy cars at the same time, buy apartments at the same time, and will have babys at the same time.. Really strange, but it seems to work for them. Great!

Work for me have mostly been looking and thinking about Excel/Numbers sheets, talking to Ram and having meetings with Blue Star people.

Besides that I have had my first real encounter with website blockers today. Places like Twitter.com, Facebook.com, Craigmod.com and translate.google.com have all been blocked for me a couple of time today. Rams calls someone, they fix it for a couple of hours, the blocking comes back, Ram calls…. yeah you get the picture.
It’s really really bad, I really noticed how dependent one is one access to the Internet.

At 8PM me and Ram left the office, Ram was a bit pissed of due to massive traffic, but we made it. If they had bounty on auto rickshaw here in Bangalore, Ram would be first in line to sing up.

I had dinner at the hotel and wrote this.
I’m really impressed by how smooth this trips is going, not stuck in customs, no stuck in elevators.. no nothing..Hope it lasts.