Saturday, October 20, 2012

Confessions of a Software Engineer ~Episode 1

Confessions of a "Google-Coder"

Being Software Engineers (developers), or so we claim to be, we are often forced to wonder what would life be if there was no Google to speak of. What would we ever do without it? To who would we run to whenever any unintended bug aka ‘feature’ sprung up? Who would we consult whenever we needed to search any basic concept that so conveniently slipped our mind and the knowledge of which we had already bragged about to our boss? Exactly how many points would we end up with in our KRAs (Key Result Areas, evaluated at the end of every fiscal year, to measure an employee’s performance), if we did not have Google to back us up. How many celebrated projects would have resulted in ignominious fiascos, if we did not have Google to provide ideas which we later claimed to be our brainchild?

We rely so completely and utterly on Google that even to imagine a life without Google, we’ll need to Google! It’s like we were trained to be efficient “Googlers” rather than Computer Scientists in our four years Bachelors Program.

Even the term search has been replaced by the word “Google”. It is more apt to say “Google it” these days instead of “Search it”.

And the funny thing is, it’s not just us developers suffering from “Google mania”, in fact the craze goes far beyond the boundaries of code design and expands through the realm of cooking, cars, books and what not. All kinds of information are just a few clicks away. Once I learnt about the “calculator” feature in Google, I have totally forgotten about the traditional calculators. Anything you want to learn; just Google the tutorials and you are on the path of intellect. (I wish there was some way to learn ‘driving’ through it. Hey! Any actual Google-coders reading this? How about it?)

Let’s go back to highlighting the impenetrable relationship between that of a developer and Google which is such that I am introduced as “Google-coder” instead of “developer” at parties.
For eradicating every inane bug that finds its way to our efficiently coded applications, we developers turn to Google, even before attempting to use our personal search engines that are our brains. (I guess we are saving our brain cells for something bigger than these minor bugs.)

I remember sitting idly one day while we were facing some internet problems in office, when my boss showed up and inquired:
“Why are you sitting? The clients are waiting impatiently for the update? Would you mind working on it?”

Bewildered me:
“But.. there is not internet!”

Incredulous B:
“What do you need the internet for?”

Surprised me:

Exasperated B:
“And what am I supposed to tell the clients?”

“They’ve been developers themselves at some point, I think they’ll understand, in fact, I’ll go as far as saying they’ll sympathize.”

Such is the altruism of Google that I am sure that the students who invented Google have earned themselves trillions of prayers and billions of good wishes from people around the world. Once I overheard someone ready to donate 1$ to Google every day, provided there was such an option, for all the times it has saved his neck and eventually his reputation as a developer.
All in all Google is playing a vital role in our day-to-day lives and even wondering what we would do without it is next to impossible. But then I guess we would have been putting our brains to some use. As the current situation is; our brain cells are simply eroding.

The article is not meant to degrade the work we developers produce. It simply proffers a comical view of the life of a developer.

Confessions of a Software Engineer ~Pilot

Behind The Scenes

I've been planning to write a column-sort-of-a-thing by the name of "Confessions of a Software Engineer" for a long time now, but never actually got around to writing it, until now. Let's see how far I can go with it. The "far" part depends upon not only my will to write but also the frequency of ideas popping up.

The central idea behind it may have altered since the concept was conceived and I may keep updating it as I go along. But for the moment, the column is supposed to be a cluster of things that goes on in the head of a software engineer, jokes that we crack, claims that we make, the follies we are known for, the obstacles that we face. I think it will be more about office life, rather than just the life of a software engineer, depicting the fun aspect of it all.

Readers can share their ideas through comments. Moreover, if anyone wishes to write a piece, feel free to drop-in, again through comments.

The first episode that I'll be posting is an article written a long time ago, but I can think of nothing better than this piece to be the so-called first episode of this so-called column. 

Have fun reading. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kahan aa k ruknay thay rastay.. by Amjad Islam Amjad

Kahan Aake Rukne The Raaste, Kahan Mour Tha Usey Bhool Ja
Jo Mil Gaya Usey Yaad Rakh, Jo Na Mila, Usey Bhool Ja...

Woh Tere Naseeb Ki Barishein Kisi Aur Chhat Per Baras Gayeen
Dil-e-bekhabar meri baat Sun, Usey Bhool Ja, Usey Bhool Ja...

Mein to gum tha tere hi dhiyan mein, teri aas, tere gumaan mein
Saba keh gayi mere kaan mein, mere saath aa, Usey Bhool Ja...

Kisi aankh mein nahin ashk-e-gham, tere baad kuchh bhi nahin hai kam
Tujhe zindagi ne bhula diya, tu bhi muskura, Usey Bhool Ja...

Kion ata hoa hai gubar mein, gham-e-zindagi ke fishar mein
Woh jo darj tha tere bakht mein, so woh hogaya, Usey Bhool Ja...

Na woh aankh hi teri aankh thi na woh khwaab hi tera khwaab tha
Dil-e-muntazir to ye kis liye, tera jagna, Usey Bhool Ja...

Jo bisaat-e-jaan hi ulat gaya, woh jo raste hi palat gaya
Usey rokne se husool kiya, usey mat bula, Usey Bhool Ja... !!

Copied from Urdu World Forum

Friday, October 5, 2012

Suicide isn't the only way out

This must be my very first complete article. I think I've been scribbling since I was in school, however, this one I wrote for my college magazine. I consider this my first article, that was written in full and got published somewhere. For a long time, when I had written many other articles, my friend still quoted this as my best one. 

It might not be the BEST for a lot of people, of course. None of my articles even fall close to Best, yet, it holds an important place for me as, again, it was the very first. :)

I have not made any changes, just copied it from my magazine (which also happened to be the first magazine of my college). Reading it incurred a lot of feelings, the cynical that I have become in these 10 years or so, I can add a lot to this small piece, this written account of  the mindset of a 15 year old. I will save all that for the comments section. :)

Here's the article:

It was a fine Monday morning of 2001. As it was our practice to sit together before the classes started and talk, so we were doing the same that day too. One of my friends told me that a boy of ninth class had killed himself, but I didn’t believe that, I thought she was joking as she had the habit of joking and I hated her for making such a joke. But my anger turned into deep sadness and shock when the news was confirmed as the vice Principal of our school made the announcement in the assembly that one boy of class IX got killed but she didn’t say that it was a suicide attempt. She for the sake of the small children, said that it was an accident. His class teacher was crying, his classmates for once were serious. I saw some of them with tears in their eyes. This all added to the tension.

This so-called accident was not an accident at all as a boy of age 13-14 is big enough to understand that gun is not a thing to play with. This was all well planned. He had been planning suicide for God knows how many days. A day before this incident, he went to his best friend’s place and said that he is sorry if he had ever done anything to hurt him. His friends, of course, thought all of this was a joke. Nothing in the whole world could have prepared him for what he was going to hear the next day.

Apparently, this boy had become very angry over something, and he took his father’s gun (who is a police officer) locked himself in his room, stood before the mirror, put the gun on his fore-head and pressed the trigger. What would have happened next, everyone can guess.
From there on I had started hating this word suicide. All the time I was hearing about this one question kept bugging me why would someone do such a thing? Taking someone else’s life is itself a huge sin but taking away your own life, depriving yourself from a beautiful gift, why? Nothing can be so bad as to make you ready for killing yourself. I can’t even begin to imagine what that boy must be going through, what went so bad to make him take such a big step?... but still.

Everyone goes through bad times. Everyone has ups and downs in their lives but this isn’t the way to cope with them.

Committing suicide doesn’t hurt you only, it affects others too. I didn’t know that boy and yet his death has affected me so much that every time I heard that someone killed himself, I spend one whole day in tension and in just thinking why? But honestly I never even came close to the answer. If this bothered me so much how would his parents must have thought? It is not easy to lose someone so close. They must be blaming themselves for this and what about all his other relatives? What about his best friend? He would still be telling himself that he could have stopped this from happening. Losing a friend is very harsh.

The only reason I narrated this story is to make people realize that suicide isn’t the only answer. May be that boy was going through a lot of hard times but this life is God’s greatest gift. It is just like a school. The different stages of life are the classes. The bad times are our examinations and the good times are our reward. To commit suicide is not a very brave thing to do. It’s a sin, which hurts not only you but your parents, your friends. So how come anything can be so bad for which you are ready to take your own life. If you get bad times it means good times will follow soon.

No matter how hard life sometimes seems, continue hoping for a brighter day. As a new day brings new hopes.

If life gives you a lemon make a lemonade

And never ever think that you are unimportant. Everyone is sent with a mission in this world which only they can accomplish, who strive for it. 

As Jacob M. Brawde said in Brawde’s source book for speakers and writers:

Whoever you are, there is some younger person who thinks you are perfect. There is some work that will never be done if you don’t do it. There is some one who would miss you if you were gone. There is a place that you alone can fill.