Category Archives: General

Don’t just scratch the surface

We tend to get in a comfort zone after stretching the surface, i.e. barely learning about anything.

The little confidence that comes from scratching the surface is good but we don’t need to just settle there; we need to keep scratching below the surface.

I have interviewed and worked-with many people over the years; people who have had different educational degrees (bachelor of technology, bachelor of science, master of computer application, etc.).

I realised few knew in depth about any topic; and most only touched the surfaced. I intentionally didn’t use the word scratching because I found they didn’t even do that.

Simon Sinek correctly says that this is the age where we lack patience, and want instant gratification for many reasons.

Isn’t it easier to google a problem and get results with quick solutions, e.g. one from Stack Exchange family sites (StackOverflow)?

That’s useful but not always. If we want to build our career in anything we need to work harder than that.

Most people end up copying code from those green ticked answers. AFAIK, the green tick means the answer is accepted by the person who asked the question?

That means, the answer might not objectively be acceptable in all situations or by everyone?

If one spends some time critically reading & thinking entire thread, some learning (applicable in similar future situations) can be expected to happen.

I believe, StackOverflow and similar sites are very useful provided it’s used to enhance learning process, and weigh different options/opinions about a problem.

It takes years to get good at something. There would be some technologies that might not last for years, but there would be many (specially web standards or other standards) that would be there in better forms in years to come.

We can only create or contribute anything useful if we keep learning in systematic manner.

Once we get used to it (systematic manner: discipline, focus, getting below the surface), a momentum is built and it only requires little force to learn new versions of standards/tools/language, and apply effectively.

It’s important that beginners spend time learning various jargons, concepts, and fundamentals; and keep reading and practicing everyday (follow a book or a good course – and complete it); take every opportunity to get deeper at the subject in the hand.

Our career is not limited to work hours, hence our learning should keep happening all the time we can manage beyond work hours. I am sure we all can manage enough to shine.

We can’t expect to use time at work to learn basics or read books or practice; a good professional won’t do that.

A good professional practices and tries to be ready to perform whenever required. Like many other, our field of work requires professionalism and craftsmanship.

Let’s say, you are requested to work on an existing project that is being done in JavaScript for frontend (using some framework) and backend (most of stuff – API, workers, etc.).

Assuming you never worked on JavaScript, how would you start contributing to the project as soon as possible?

The answer deserves a long post I will write soon. Meanwhile why don’t you share your experience or opinions?


This post was written using WordPress mobile client. Please let me know if you find any typos.

Hiring is hard

Ok, I know I shouldn’t generalise things like that.

I will stick to my case: Hiring is hard in Kanpur. Do you know I moved back to this city ten years back? I guess it was April 30 or May 1 2008.

Among many of my failures the biggest one has been – not being able to build or sustain kind of team I wanted. See, it’s my fault there

I can’t even find good HTML/CSS guys here. Or am I failing to reach out and connect to them? Got any better ideas, I am all ears.

I tend to hire people who would value working in Kanpur. For example, someone pursuing B.A, or B.Sc. degree, or someone who has strong reasons to be in Kanpur. I am trying to be patient while they spend ages to learn things. Patience is virtue.

MacBook Pro 2017 – Keyboard & Trackpad issues

I have started using a Apple MacBook Pro 2017 (15 inch) around two weeks back.

I have been little unproductive since then because of keyboard and trackpad issues:

  • Keyboard isn’t as good as we have one in MacBook Pros from 2011. I don’t feel the feedback from keys, and my typing accuracy has been very poor for some reason.
  • Trackpad doesn’t allow me to use single finger (tap + tap pressed) dragging of file without drag-lock. The dragging stops the moment I press any key on keyboard, e.g. to switch window where I want to drop the file.

I don’t want to use dragging with drag-lock or using three fingers. I don’t want to reconfigure all other things to use four finger gestures.

Unlearning something is painful and frustrating. I am happy to learn new things if I think those are better than old ones. I don’t think that’s the case here.

I will update this post if I find some other issues.

Been a while

Hope you all are doing well. I know some of you still visit this space to check what I am up to.

It has been a while since I posted anything here. I am now to let everyone know that I am still around.

I think of writing sometimes but then I go blank. With growing age, I have started feeling I don’t know anything.

Anything I think of writing has already been written, or perhaps not but I think like that. What value my writing will offer? Wouldn’t it add more noise to already noisy internet causing information overload?

I might be wrong. I guess, I can write something that might be useful to someone. I will try to.

The Psychology of Doing Nothing

I ended up on YouTube, via hacker-news or somewhere else, to watch a lecture which made me realise what I have been going through.

Please watch the following lecture on \”The Psychology of Doing Nothing\” by Professor Helga Drummond. You can also read the transcript if you don’t want to watch whole video.

Toptal

I recently came to know about Toptal. I am impressed and happy to see that some of the top developers of world are contributing and making difference through Toptal’s platform. I want to be among them for only one reason:

  • I want to work on (and contribute to some of) the best, useful and challenging projects with possibility to collaborate with some of the top/best developers/designers of the world.

NodeSchool

NodeSchool is a fully community driven effort and is 100% open source. This means that anyone can use the NodeSchool materials and/or host an event.

I have set up NodeSchool Kanpur chapter, and I hope to organise (with help of like minded people) a couple of workshops on Node.js (and web-development ecosystem around it).

I am looking for mentors and co-organisers, if you are interested, let’s have a conversion.

Data Visualisation

Infographics have become things of everyday. Data is more meaningful when it’s visually displayed.

Some links, you might find useful:

Please share links (in comments) to any interesting and inspiring articles or videos or apps. I would put those in above list.

Delegate Carefully

While running a business or teams, we delegate a lot of responsibilities to individuals in our company. Over delegation can be counter productive and stressful if not managed carefully.

While management gurus suggest to delegate almost everything, I differ and don’t recommend that to technical entrepreneurs/leaders. We need to be in shape (technology, hands on skills) by doing tech stuff while we have to wear another hats (management, operations, etc.)

I delegate enough to empower my team to do things better than I can. I never delegate everything; I try to be an active participant instead of one on sidelines reading only mails/reports.

What I am up to?

This is how my 2014 passed, or what I am up to:

  • riding my motorcycle a lot
  • hacking electronics and IoT using OSHW
  • dockerising things (apps, services)
  • playing with Apache Mesos, and ecosystem around it
  • hacking projects using Javascript (framework, toolchain, node.js, ES6 way of doing things) and web-standards (HTML5, CSS3, components, etc)
  • got Google’s Widevine certification (as required in one of projects). Personally, I like non DRM’d content 🙂
  • built a Chromecast app using dash.js, modular Widevine DRM with node.js based proxy service for licensing, and Java for content encryption and packaging
  • been reading a lot of stuff through hackernews
  • helped and built stuff: QRizq, Diziana, 99doodles, IndieReign and other projects
  • not having meetings (waste of time)
  • not interviewing candidates who are not worth anyone’s time. [should do another post: sad and bad state of technical education in India]
  • bunch of other things I can’t recall

Did you notice that I have been mostly playing (or having fun)? On other side of it, I have also been thinking what’s nex; I think, I have figured that out.

At present, I am still involved with couple of projects mentioned above. I have also taken up a couple of interesting consulting assignments around technologies mentioned above along-with my old love (flash/actionscript).

MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC is known to everyone these days. I am enrolled in some of the courses on Coursera, Edx, Udacity, Stanford, and others most of the time. I sometimes look at Khan Academy’s lessons/courses as well. We are living in a time which has made learning things so much easier compared to what we have a decade back or earlier.

Anyway this post of mine is not about reiterating facts and benefits of MOOCs. I rather want to talk about an idea which I found in my notes written many years back.

Yesterday, I found an old note (written during Feb/Mar 2006) on my Yahoo! Notepad. I think, I wanted to present this idea in an upcoming BarCamp Bangalore. I couldn’t give my talk because I fell sick on the day BarCamp happened.

Following is what I found:

While I was sleeping, I dreamt about my school days and I woke up suddenly in the middle of night. I started thinking, how cool those days were.

Since I was also thinking about some idea for BarCamp before sleeping, something struck my mind…
How podcasting/videocasting can be used in education (school, colleges, training institutes etc) combined with the philosophy of open-source, knowledge-sharing.

For example, in a school a teacher is teaching Maths/Physics…if the entire session is recorded (audio/video) and uploaded to some site (like Yahoo! Podcasts, Odeo, YouTube etc)…Not only students from the same class, who were present or absent but also students from other schools, students from remote villages/small-towns with decent internet connectivity can benefit…

This requires, schools to be more open and willing to share the knowledge and adopt the technology in this fashion. Technically, it is quite feasible, my prototype requires following:-

* Broadband connection
* Account on YouTube!, Y! Podcast or on Odeo account
* An high-res webcam and a microphone..
* A web application written in Macromedia Flash/Flash Media server to do the entire recording, locally…

What I expect that someone comes with a Web 2.0 app like Odeo, where you can do publishing with their API in real-time as well as should be able to upload pre-recorded content. At present, Odeo, Y! Podcast etc lack publishing API…which is I think is important…

I like the idea of Odeo channels, if it’s little more improved it can be like a TV channel…

I think, such things have great importance and we should really start thinking that how can we improve society, education and system with the best use of technology….

We’re Hiring Developers!

We have been working on bunch of products (indiereign.com, and others) for sometime. To take these products to next level, quickly and elegantly, we have recently started expanding our team.

We are starting our new development centre in Noida. We want to connect, talk to and hire smart and passionate developers (hackers) who love to work on products in a small company or a startup (like ours).

We are looking for:

  • bright and smart guys
  • one who can fit in our (small team/company/startup) culture, and becomes a great team player
  • can learn, adapt and use cutting/bleeding edge technologies
  • can inspire and mentor others
  • importantly, loves building cool, useful and scalable products/services

Experience, we would like to see:

  • Application Developer
    • Proficiency with web standards and frontend (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc.) development
    • proficiency with one ore more languages (Python, Ruby, PHP, Scala, etc.)
    • proficiency with analytical approach to problem solving
    • has worked or very interested to work on other frameworks (Django, Rails, Symfony, etc.)
  • Mobile Application Developer (iOS or Android or both) – apps/games development;

Details description can be found at http://jobs.hasgeek.com/at/allies.co.in

We are not rigid about number of years (of experience). We think experience comes out of depth, challenges one has taken, and how many great problems one has solved over the time. If someone has all that, we are happy to talk to him/her.

If you are interested or know someone who is good fit; I would appreciate, if you can connect with me (aqabiz at allies.co.in) and share details.

IndieReign – Discover a world of independent film and have fun doing it

My team and I have been working on bunch of products/services for last 3-4 years.


IndieReign is the one, we have been mostly focused on, and took care entire engineering and technical architecture.

It is a platform for indie filmmakers to promote, distribute and monetize content. It is actually more than that.

IndieReign runs on open-source software stack (for everything including video transcoding) with exception of Adobe Flash Player (used for video playback), and Amazon’s cloud.

Please share your feedback.

Update: Whereabouts

Just in case, you still follow this blog and wondering about me? I thought, it would be fair to leave some details on that.

  • In Kanpur (my hometown)
  • spending most of time on (or around) IndieReign,
  • learning electronics and trying to build something,
  • yet to grow to team, because it is hard to find and get right ones 🙂
  • still does ActionScript, mostly for fun stuff,
  • might start blogging again; got so much to talk about, and share.