Joel, be ready for the competition!

Written on 11:03 PM by Tushar

From Scott Adams.

Good old days!

Written on 3:07 AM by Tushar

Found this while surfing on the net. What a pleasant surprise:) I didn't expect VIT to be so tech-savvy!

‘Free’ as in free speech not as in free beer!

Written on 10:12 PM by Tushar

You guessed it right! Richard Stallman or RMS as he is better known to the world was at Hopkins today to deliver a seminar on ‘Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks’.

I have seen him many times in documentaries and no book on Linux will be complete without the mention of his name. His work in GCC, GDB, Emacs etc is truly extraordinary. I was standing outside the lecture hall before the lecture started and he just walked in with no air of superiority. His speech was as usual impressive and he narrated how the entertainment companies such as Sony,Disney as trying to exploit the copyright laws through various measures such as ‘Mickey Mouse’ Act and the DRM technologies.

He mentioned about 4 degrees of freedom –

Degree 0 – Freedom to run the program

Degree 1 – Freedom to modify the source code

Degree 2 – Freedom to send your modified code to another user

Degree 3 – Freedom to send your modified code to the community

Seems to me that the student community is a true believer in the freedom of degree 0 , 1 and 2 even before RMS coined these terms;)

The last lap

Written on 4:27 PM by Tushar

Even though the semester is almost in the last lap and the workload is not much this week it is just about the time that the roller coaster ride will begin! OS project and IR Web robot homework are due next week and one more painful PL hw will be out soon. Every PL hw so far has been a battle! Maybe since I am not able to see where all the concepts that I am learning in this course fit in the grand scheme of things I am not able to appreciate the time and hard work that I am putting in this subject. Ever since Prof.Yarowky gave examples of how several course projects resulted into startups me and Wyatt hope to come with some cool topic for the final project for IR course and make a few bucks :P

Independent study in IO virtualization is taking shape nicely. VMware has been kind enough to suggest me a good project idea and provide the technical guidence. It is an honour to work with the most knowlegeble people in the virtualization domain!

Ever since I have come here I have been really lousy in managing the money matters. I forgot to pay my rent twice and had to pay the late fees! After paying around 450$ in tax since the start of this year I Figured out that I should have submitted W2 form again to get the tax exemption as the fiscal year in US does NOT start on April 1st. Filed the tax returns a couple of days before the deadline. Thankfully I never had to 'try' to make money and still have a few bucks to spare after all these blunders:) I should be careful in future to not screw up my credit history.

Has the spring arrived?

Written on 3:41 PM by Tushar

During the spring break (Mar 10-19)the temperature had gone up to 26 degrees C and the entire campus had turned very beautiful as seen in the pic. But then it snowed again ruining the blossom.Annul spring fair was organized by Hopkins last weekend but it was washed away by the impromptu rains. I could not even get a glimpse of it.
After a few days of sun and snow it is raining these days and the campus has turned green reminding me of Pune after the first rain!
I even walked to/from lab a couple of times by CHOICE:). The weather here looks really confused about what to do next!I hope the sunny days will be back soon... Amen!


Written on 7:03 PM by Tushar

It was my status message on gtalk for a while and many people asked me about the meaning so here it is!

The 2007 National Cherry Blossom Festival marks the 95th celebration of the original gift of the 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington, DC in 1912. It was Swaroop who mentioned that to me for the first time and I was really excited about it. Wyatt and I decided to go to Washington DC to see the cherry blossom on Friday.

DC is amazing! During my first visit during the winter break I fell in love with this city. There are so many places to hang out. It is just an hour away from Baltimore and is easily accessible by public transports as well which makes it even more attractive.

All the cherry trees are lined up besides the lake which is an awesome sight.Though ideally I should have visited the blossom a couple of days before during the peak period the view was no less than spectacular! We found a couple of trees which had magically survived the cold weather and had retained their bloom.

We visited the Georgetown area in DC for the dinner. Unfortunately didn’t make it to the Georgetown University campus which Wyatt says is really nice. It being a Friday night the streets were filled with people and it was a nice break from the hectic week.

Customer service?

Written on 1:06 PM by Tushar

I thought it would be really cool to send a video iPod to my sister in India. Fortunately one of my dad's friends was going to India in next 3 to 4 days so I placed an order with and gave his address for delivery.To make sure that he gets it in time I paid around 20$ for expedited shipping. It should have worked! There was absolutely no problem...

But it didn't!

A day before the order should have been delivered to his place I got an email saying that your order is canceled for one of the 5 reasons and they had mentioned all the 5 possible scenarios. They dint even tell me what the reason is!
By that time it was too late to place an order with somebody else:(
On the top of that this company charged my card for 250$.. I still have not got my money back.
I tried calling them on Sat and got a reply that the customer service dept operates only on weekdays. I thought 'It's my fault. I should call them on Monday'. I did call them today to get the same reply that they are closed and operate only on weekdays!
I tried all the combinations to reach a customer care executive but got the same reply.
Eventually one the combinations worked and I got hold of one the customer service guys and told him about my problem.
He arrogantly told me that you will get your money back in 10 business days. I said, 'fine. At least tell me the reason for canceling the order'.
His reply was ridiculous! 'Whichever of the 5 reasons that we have mentioned in the email makes you happy is our excuse for canceling the order!'

Folks it is time that you outsource your customer service to India! Read Joel's post on 'seven steps to a remarkable customer service'. You have got to learn a LOT from that!

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