Thursday, January 18, 2018

Indian Festivals

Festivals are a true manifestation of our rich culture and traditions. They are a sign and celebration of abundance, prosperity and new opportunities. This blog is an attempt to explain the history behind the key festivals that Indians celebrate..
[** This blog is work in progress and will keep adding other festivals as we celebrate in 2018 **]

Makara Sankranti ,  Pongal, Lohri ....

On Makar Sankranti, the sun enters the sun-sign of Capricorn or Makara .The word 'Sankranti' signifies the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival literally means the movement of the sun into Capricorn.
Salutations to our Son God 🌞(  Be part of something bigger than yourself)
 The festival is one of bonding πŸ€—where every member of society is asked to bury all the negativity with others and live in peace. Also, there is belief that during the festival, the Sun God forgets his anger on his son Shani and visits him. Thus, by distributing sweets, everyone is asked to spread joy around.
"Yellu tintdhu olledu maatadu "means
Eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words'. πŸ˜‡
Also, since the festival falls in winter, eating of sesame and jaggery is considered beneficial to health as they are warm foods. (Health benefits).

Also There is a very interesting  reason behind kite-flying, the human body is exposed to the sun for long hours. considered beneficial for the skin and body. (Vitamin D) .
It is also believed that if you die during Makar Sankranti, you are not reborn but go directly to heaven. πŸ™ƒ( Moksha) .

it is officially the beginning of spring or the onset of Indian summer and the days become longer, and nights shorter πŸ˜….

This  festival is predominantly a harvest festival and is celebrated throughout India, from north to south and east to west. πŸŒΎπŸŽ‹πŸŒΌπŸ”₯
Bless our farmers with bountiful harvest they are the backbone of our nation πŸ™
Have a blessed year πŸ™πŸŒžπŸŒžπŸ””

The Markers of a Humble Leader

** Taken from an article written by By Kristine Kern from the table group

The Markers of a Humble Leader

Humility, unfortunately, is something that’s difficult to teach, but I have seen leaders with true discipline have success in showing up more humbly by mimicking certain behaviors long enough that they become second nature. 

This means doing humble things like:

complimenting teammates

     readily admitting mistakes

     sharing credit with the team

     offering and accepting apologies

     accepting accountability with grace

     showing conviction with openness

     listening to input of others

     inviting open debate from the team

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Everything about goals..

Everyone on this planet is born for some purpose/calling. One should find out what is his/her calling in the life is. Once your calling is figured out, it should become your life's mission. To attain that, you need to have some intermediate goals and have a strategy to meet them time after time.

Goals can be for any time horizon. You can have some long term goals to attain high impact things. However, you can break them up to short duration goals so that you can focus to attain them. These short term goals should have the long term vision in mind and they should bring you one or more steps to closer to the end goal.

Lot of material out there on the internet about goals, goal setting, goal tracking, breaking down to smaller goals, benefits of goals in general.

This blog is the collection of my reflections from a session I attended today. In this session, we focused mainly about the goal setting for year 2018.

Some generic points to remember while setting up goals and tracking the goals

  1. Goals can be of 3 or 4 different categories to cover some key aspects -- Body, Mind, Spirit, Skills
  2. Once any goal is closer to heart, chances of attaining them would be easier
  3. Have bigger goals with smaller milestones by breaking them down..
  4. Visualize and emotionally feel the goals. This helps in making 
  5. Build SMART (Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relavant-Timebound) goals
  6. Develop some good habits which will help in attaining your goals in life 
  7. Always better to write down your goals - place them where you can see them on a daily basis - visualise them daily
  8. Have strict discipline when it comes to goal tracking
  9. Eliminate any self-doubt and build self-confidence; Avoid comparisons which are not taking you toward the goal; Avoid seeking approval/validatiton. Always think how much progress you made from the previous occurrence 
  10. Build positivity - have attitude of gratitude

Everyone started sharing their short term goals and long term goals. Team members were asking for clarity and helping fine tune those goals. We used trello tool to capture these goals for all the members of the team. This tool helps one to track closely and help others as well in this process.

Most of them mentioned about reading some good books as part of their goals. We are planning to use goodreads to share the book recommendations. 

I would like to thank my team members (Sam, Elsy, Nagamani, Nandita, Sharmila and Philo) for all their insights, positivity and energy. 2018 is going to be an awesome year with great progress across all aspects of my life. Wish you all the best for the best year ever for you. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

US Consulate in Chennai - Passport Renewals

Here is my experience of US passport renewal in-person at the US Consulate in Chennai, India. We have visited recently (29th Dec, 2017) to renew my kids passport and also mine. 

You need to take an appointment before hand for the date & time you would like to go there. Usually, you can get an appointment in a week's time. Make sure to add who are all accompanying for the interview while taking appointment.

I have found the following list pasted over there which covers all the documents that one should carry and keep them in this order. 

Documents that need to carry and keep them in the following order for child's passport renewal..
  1. DS-11 Printed copy with your 2X2 photo stapled in there.
  2. Copy of applicant's passport
  3. Copy of Birth Certificate - The one that is issued in US
  4. Copy of the passport bio page of both parents
  5. DS-3053 if applicable
  6. Completed Courier Slip - You can buy this at the small counter in the waiting hall inside the US Consulate
  7. Demand Drafts for the fees - You can also pay by cash, credit card in INR or USD
  8. Original passport and birth certificate of the applicant - They will be returned back after verification. Passports will be cancelled by punching holes in it
  9. Original passport of parents 
  10. Additional Supporting documents - I didn't have to carry anything. I guess, it is for some special cases.
Note: For adults passport renewal, carry the print out of DS-82 instead of DS-11. You don't need #4 that is parents passports. 

You can reach the embassy by taxi or your own private vehicle. There is some roadside parking behind the Saravana Bhavan restaurant 

We walked to the consulate after parking our car. It has two entrances: one that is on Anna Salai is for the Visa appointments and usually you will see lot of folks waiting over there. For citizenship services, you need to enter through the Cathedral Road gate. Security at the gate will check your appointment printed copy and issue one token slip with a number on it. 

After taking the token, you will be directed to go through the metallic scanner where they ask you to deposit all electronics like phones, tablets, computers, keys etc. They give you a separate token for claiming those back on your return. For adults, they issue some visitor badges to wear on. 

After taking the badges, you will be directed to enter into the embassy building and directed to wait at the waiting room. You can take the fedex courier slips there. They charge Rs.450/- for passport, Rs.550/- for passport card. Wait until your turn comes. 

Once your turn comes up, you will go there to show all the documents and pay the fees as per your situation. You will be asked to wait in the room until called by the Consulate person. 

Consulate person calls again to actually verify the application and take a oath stating that all the information provided is correct. We were asked to sign the application in front the embassy person. That's all. You will be asked to leave and passports will be arriving in 3-4 weeks time by Fedex. 

I was bit skeptical on what to expect for the interview. However, I can confidently say now that it is a very pleasant experience and quite delightful to say the least. 

We spend an hour in the library there which is open for all public. They do offer annual & bi-annual memberships and you can request books online. For more details, send mail.

Wish you all great experience at the US consulate as well. 

Some related reference links:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Great Lessons 4 Life - The Quality way

Great Lessons 4 Life - The Quality way

This blog post by Quality Evangelists Raju & Karthik - right now ready to learn more in life (perhaps its the mid-life calling..).

Passion is the Key - Love what you do, do what you Love

Passionate about Quality :-
  Discover your passion
  Walk and Talk Quality
  Be Bold
  Be a Bad Person
  Be a critic
  Stop a Release
  Wear multiple Hats (5C - Customer, Critic, Coach, Contributor, Consultant)

Quality in the VUCA world - And journey in the last 2 decades and beyond…..
  Testing became Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering to Combined Engineering now…
  Quality is getting to be a sweet spot between being Shift Left and Shift Right… (Quality Buil t In ….to Testing in Production)

FACETS of Quality
  Functional…and the ilities (Scale-ability, reliab-ility, compati-bility…)

  Be Secure or be attacked

So.. Quality is way of life.. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

best learn to code websites

The Best Websites to Learn Coding Online

The best tutorials and websites where you can learn how to write code in PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python and all the other popular programming languages.

couch modeprint story

The Learn to Code movement has picked up momentum worldwide and that is actually a good thing as even basic programming skills can have a major impact. If you can teach yourself how to write code, you gain a competitive edge over your peers, you can think more algorithmically and thus can tackle problems more efficiently.

Learn Programming

Don't just download the latest app, help redesign it. Don't just play on your phone, program it. — Obama.

There's no reason why shouldn't know the basics of coding. You can automate tasks, you can program your Excel sheets, improve workflows, you can extract data from websites and accomplish so much more with code. You may not be in the business of writing software programs but knowing the basics of coding will help you communicate more effectively with developers.

Gone are the days when you had to enroll in expensive computer training classes as now exist a plethora of web-based courses that will help you learn programming at your own pace in the comfort of your web browser.

The Best Sites to Learn Programming

If you are ready to take the plunge, here are some of the best websites that offer courses in a variety of programming languages for free. I have also added a list of companion ebooks that will give you a more in-depth understanding of the language and they don't cost anything either.

Online Courses & ScreencastsProgramming Books (Free)
JavaScriptCode AcademyLearn Street,Code CombatCode AvengersEloquent JavaScript,JavaScript Guide,Speaking JSJS The Right WayOh My JS,Canvassing
HTML & CSSCode AcademyDon't Fear The InternetTutsplusLearn LayoutA to Z CSSDashWeb AccessibilityThe Hello World,Khan AcademyHTML5 from ScratchMozillaDive into HTML520 Things I LearnedHTML Dog,HTML & CSSHTML5 for DesignersDOM EnlightenmentHTML Canvas
jQueryCode AcademyTutsplusCode SchooljQuery Fundamentals,Learn jQuery
PythonCode AcademyGoogleLearn StreetPython Tutor,IHeartPYPython for You and Me,  Dive into PythonLearn Python the Hard Way,Think PythonPython for FunTango with Django,Django
Ruby & Ruby on RailsCode AcademyTryRubyCode LearnRailscastsRubymonk,Learn StreetWhy's (Poignant) Guide to RubyLearn Ruby the Hard WayLearn to ProgramLearn Rails by Example
PHPCode AcademyPHP Programming,Practical PHP
Also see: How to Learn Regular Expressions (RegEx)
Google Apps ScriptGetting StartedOffice HoursGoogle Scripts Examples,Learning Apps Script
WordPressTreehouseWordPress TV
Linux & Shell ScriptingStanford.eduExplain ShellConquer the Command Line
Node.jsNodetutsNode SchoolThe Node Beginner Book,Mixu's Node bookNode Up and Running,Mastering Node.js
Angular JSCode SchoolEgg HeadLearn AngularAngular JS Tutorial,Thinking Angular,Angular TutorialGetting Started (Adobe)
Also see: Learn Touch Typing & Code Faster
Git (version control)Code SchoolGit Immersion,GitHub TrainingUdacityPro GitLearn GitGists in Github
Objective-C (iOS & Mac)Code SchoolStanfordiTunesU
Chrome Dev ToolsCode SchoolDev Tools SecretChrome Dev Tools Tutorial,UdacityBuilding Browser Apps
Go LanguageGolang.orgGopherCastsProgramming in GoGo by ExampleLearning Go,Building Web Apps with GoLearning Go
JavaLearn JavaCoding BatJava UdemyLearnerooProgramming in Java,Thinking in JavaO'Reilly Learning JavaThink JavaJava & CSJava for Python Devs
Android App DevelopmentUdacity (Google Developers), CourseraThe New Boston,Google UniversityApp Development EssentialsCode Learn,App Inventor (Visual)
D3 (data visualization)Data Visualization for the WebDashing D3D3 Tips & Tricks
Also see: Learn VIM, the text editor for programmers
SQL (Databases)SQL ZooSQL @StanfordEssential SQLSQL for Nerds,Intro to SQLSQL BoltPHP & MySQL
Everything ElseUdacityedX.orgCourseraUdemy$Lynda$Pluralsight$,Treehouse$Open ConsortiumOne Month Rails$

Teaching Kids to Code

If there are kids in the family, you should download either Tynker (Android/iOS) or the Hopscotch app for iPad and they can learn the basics of programming through games and puzzles.

There's also Scratch, an MIT project that allows kids to program their own stories and games visually. Scratch is available as a web app or you can download it on your Mac/Windows/Linux computer for offline use. Microsoft TouchDevelopBlockly and Alice are some other web apps that will introduce the concepts of computer progamming to your children.

On a related note, the following chart from Google Trends shows the relative search popularity of various programming languages over the last 5 years. The interest in PHP has dipped over the years, JavaScript has more or less maintained its position while the popularity of Python & Node.js is on the rise.

Popularity of Programming Languages

Monday, July 20, 2009

America's Unrecognized Assets

A time for inspiration…  


Here is a link of a photo-documentary recognizing some of Silicon Valley’s H1B’s and immigrant entrepreneurs.


Have a read and be inspired.