Friday, October 29, 2010

Microsoft PDC at India Development Center – Hyderabad

After attending the Community Tech days earlier this year,I got a chance to be at the very same place once again to attend PDC Nights at the India Development center in Hyderabad.What is so unique about this year's PDC is that Microsoft has taken a different way of interacting with Developers working on Microsoft's platform and MVP's by conducting it simultaneously at various places all over the world with 30,000 participants.

Before we could start watching the Live PDC stream from Redmond,We interacted with the head of the Mobile Application platform.It was also a good chance to interact with some my fellow MVP's who like me were attending a Microsoft event for the first time.

After watching Steve Ballmer's keynote,it was time to take note of Microsoft's latest offering in the Mobile ecosystem,the Windows Phone7.It remains to bee seen how the Windows phone 7 will be received,but since there are loads of developers out there who already work on Visual Studio, Apple's Iphone might be facing a strong competitor in terms of app development.Some cool apps which were created for the windows phone 7 were demonstrated.Also included in the demos were how to develop an app by using a Visual Studio Express edition for Windows Phone 7 by using a live Emulator of the Windows Phone.

The main focus of Microsoft other than the Mobile and Windows platforms has been the cloud.The inclusion of a Cloud computing platform in its portfolio completes the trivia of Technology platforms.Cloud computing on its part reaches far and wide across the boundaries and it certainly has a promising future for SME's and Corporations who cannot afford or maintain large number of Data Centers of their own.An interesting example was demonstrated in this regard.Pixar studios which requires exponential computing capabilities utilized the Windows Azure platform to render their animation sequences.The Pixar head also mentioned that If they had to rely on rendering a 1140 frame sequence on todays single processing machines,it would take them approximately 124 years to complete the rendering sequence! On the the other hand since the Cloud computing platform is scalable in nature,it provides the same rendering and completes it in approximately 2 hours.

According to Microsoft today's cloud computing environments have 3 main services in the offering.The well known SaaS(Software as a service),Platform as a service(SQL server Azure,Virtual Machine hosting,Visual studio),Infrastructure as a service(Data center computing power as explained in Pixar's case)

For now we have seen how Amazon's EC2,Microsoft's Azure and Ubuntu's One service have come out.These are certainly interesting times and more such scalable technologies may bring number crunching computing to affordable levels

It was fun to be at the event,I am still a noob at Visual studio and stuff but may want to learn more as and when I interact with more number of people along the way...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sights and Sounds of the Indian Railways…

Ogilvy and Mather was recently approached by the Indian Railways to release an ad about its connection with the common man as the preferred mode of transport across the length and breadth of the country.What's amazing was that a public sector unit which has virtual monopoly over rail transport in the country was trying to send out the message of the Human connection which the railways has had with most of the people

Although the timing of the campaign had coincided with the commonwealth Games,this has been long overdue.The railways had never promoted itself as the preferred choice of the aam aadmi (The common man).It has always been the preferred choice! With the little time in their hands,a sensible ad which touches the very basic Human way of living has been produced.

Being one of the millions of aam aadmi this is what I have experienced so far as a frequent traveler on the Indian Railways

Unlike for other countries where Rail transport is just another way of public transport,for many Indians it has always been the part and parcel of their life.A friend of mine once compared his life to train,I really liked his thoughts so will share the same thing here!

He says and I Quote "Life is like a train,many people come and go as you pass but there there is only one engine for my train".What he meant to say was that only his future better half can lead along with him in his life while all the others might just be lame passengers :)

Among other things during a train travel you come across interesting encounters from different sections of the society, Entrepreneurs,Small scale business men,IT guys and what not!.Since the last two months I have been experiencing more of such encounters where discussions go abuzz once you get acquainted with you co-passengers.They can go for hours together.You may meet the same person again on the same train at times...If things go pretty well you may even end up keeping in touch with some people just like what we do nowadays in all those social networking sites...this one though I would prefer to call Rail networking :D.

Let me give an example of this.Last year I was travelling to Bangalore for an Internship program at the Ogilvy-Lenovo marketing hub.Now I was not advertising guy to go there but my mind told me that it would be a very good learning experience.Lucky enough while on the train an HR was sitting in front of me and from what I noticed was observing my body language(Dunno why! :D).I at once confirmed the same and asked her on how PR firms work and whether she could help me in correcting any structural mistakes in my resume(I was a freshman out of my bachelors).She had 6 years worth of experience in resume making so it was my luck day indeed haha!Her insights about my career objectives and my resume were truly valuable!

What I realized is that not only people per se but even the entertainment Industry(Bollywood to be precise)leverages on the popularity of the railways... there are many Instances of these, the most recent one being Slum Dog Millionaire.In one way or another in the form of a song or a dance the Railways has maintained that unique distinction of Indirect promotion platform!

The Hero and Heroine meeting between the two very trains every day....

Wanna Dance on the train??!!
The Academy award winning song at Mumbai's Victoria Terminus

The railways are also chaotic and unpredictable at times.There are hawkers who have their own business to run on the train selling everything from Snacks,Cookies and Indian Junk Food to Coca Cola and the like.Travel by any early morning train and you will get piping hot coffee/Tea and newspapers as well! During festive times face nightmares in the morning,chaos in the stations where millions and millions travel to their native places...People jostle to find a seat..why so? 17000 trains are not enough for 1 billion people!The lucky chaps who get a seat involve in conversations and the unlucky ones simply have to bear the brunt of standing(Happened loads of time with me but only used to stand for 3 hours).This is when an a new hobby started from my side an amateurish hobby --Photography.While they may not be of any standard it is a good thing to pass your time(other than reading a book while standing)
[caption id="attachment_743" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Rows and Rows of green paddy fields,nothing but thick monsoon clouds hovering ahead!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_746" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="One of those times when you get place to stand only near the doors,good time to capture the monsoon clouds and the sun fighting it out... "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_747" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="How can Max-New York life Insurance become a household name?Use the Railways of course!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_749" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="A clear and sunny day would give you loads of time to enjoy the country side.."][/caption]

Ive got some small dreams If I can call them to cherish with respect to the railways

1)Visit the Grand Central station in NewYork
2)Travel by the Eurostar,The French TGV and mostly the German ICE.I only ponder sometimes If I can go and visit or experience any one of these in my life...only time will tell...