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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Things that Cellphones changed … July 1st, 2014

Vinod Kumar

The era of cellphones and smartphones have hit us by storm for sure. Each manufacturer is surely trying to put something more every time with every release that they make. Having said that, I come from an era where I feel these cell phones have gone lengths to be more than just a calling machine. In this blog post let me call out my top 10 things we lost at our homes with the advent of cellphones/smartphones.

1 & 2: Watches and Alarm clocks

 

What can I say here. This I am sure a lot of you can relate to. Nowadays time is never seen using wrist watches but using the phones more often. I don’t recollect when was the last time you even bought a watch? Do you?

3. Calculators

From Minimal to scientific / advanced calculation, one can use their phones to perform all calculations and this nice little gadget is slowing getting replaced in front of our eyes.

I can say with confidence that my engineering was never complete without that Casio Black Calculator. Do you have one at home still?

4. Memorizing Phone Numbers

This is also no brainer – When was the last time you dialled a number of your cousin, aunt or grandparents without consulting your phones? The days of smart phones are to make you less smarter :).

Today, I see ads saying you must teach your children your phone numbers etc. Remembering numbers was always fun and it sharpened ones memory power in my opinion.

5. Encyclopedias

My childhood was filled with these books and there used to be a refresh that I got every other year.

Encyclopedia and Dictionary were household items which are getting replaced by search engines and Wikipedias. And with smartphones, all this at your finger tips.

 

6. Reading books

I was not an avid reader in my childhood days, but caught onto it very late. Having said that, I love the smell and the feel of reading printed books quite a lot. Even today I order a number of books every other month.

With the concepts of eReaders and larger screen sizes, now smartphones seem to take that spot too. Reading on the go !!!

 

 

7. Selfie or Celfie’s

I don’t need to explain much here. Gone are the days where on used to carry a still-camera to take pictures. I do have one at home to show my daughter once she grows up that we used to take pictures using that :).

8. Navigating using maps

It used to be fun to go around the city using a piece of paper and I for sure used to love this experience. I find it difficult for people to now tell directions without the help of their GPS devices – a.k.a phones. More so that they even cant tell which side is East or West :)

9. Fountain Pens

I have always loved the personalization of a hand writing brings. It showed a lot of care for the other person.

Today one can access Facebook on the go and the days of sending a personal note to your friend via the traditional cards is rare.

I am still from an old school, but I love this personalization even today.

 

10. Distracted life

I saved the best for the last, our morning walks are distracted, our driving are getting distracted, our lunches are distracted, we cant just sit calmly at airport and watch enjoy the weather. Our smartphones have also taken over our life where every minute is watching something on our phones or playing a game.

As I sign off, wanted to share this video– it is about social life. I personally thought this was worth a share.

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Don’t sell, solve the problem May 30th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have been working at the MTC for the past 3+ years as Technical Architect and the learning experience has been amazing. As part of my daily work we solve some of the toughest customer problems from performance, scalability, deployment, architecture, solutioning, best practices and more for big enterprises to product companies. Most of the customers are brought-in by our Sales team and when the customer experiences MTC, they get a different perspective of MS. So what are we doing differently. As part of my picture post, I have been wanting to pen down this thought process so that you will get a better idea.

Typical Sales mindset

Most of the sales teams are focused and start their discussion with Product / License and SKU’s in mind. Many are obliterated of what the problem they are solving end of day. They are worried about their sales quota to achieve for the quarter etc. I would put a typical mindset of a salesperson as following.

PS: I know not all salesman are like this, but just a general majority’s thought process.

MTC Architects Mindset

At MTC, we always start a conversation asking – “What is the problem?”. This is totally different way to start any conversation with customers. We make sure we have all the requirements, challenges and problems on the table and then we approach a solution as a whole. Rarely do we try to talk about specific product features unless it solves a problem for our customers. We want to make sure customers get the maximum value out of the solution and we want to be complete in our approach.

This is a simple workflow that I thought was worth sharing like a picture post. Do let me know if you have experienced something similar in your daily life or organizations that you work for. Does this make sense? Let me know your thoughts.

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8 ways to be Positive at Work !!! May 29th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

We all have had our good and bad days at work, but what sets us aside is how we deal with the stress that work brings to us. The high level term I am using here is to be “Positive”. There is surely a lot one can do to themselves than what you can see. Here are my top 8 things you can do to stay happy at work irrespective of the external pressures, office politics, deadlines, discontentment and others factors. I love to take control on things that I have influence on and I personally feel it is the best way to get the most out of you.

Learning is the key

This goes without saying that you need to find ways to learn something new everyday at work. Learning keeps you excited and keeps your confidence high and current. Just because you are out of formal college / learning environment doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. The day you stop updating your skills, you will be obsolete in this IT era in less than 6 months to an year – trust me.

Also, don’t expect to learn everything at work or as part of your work. That has never worked for me in this ~15+ yrs of career. I always say – “Any knowledge is good knowledge”, so don’t stop learning.

Share what you learn

I have come from the school where sharing is caring. So if you learn something, try to share them. One of my sharing avenues has been my blog, UG meets, presentations etc but at work this can mean a lot. If you share – you obviously making a statement to your management that you know something and because you have empowered your team mates, they are going to be lesser dependant on expecting you to finish the task assigned to them because they now know how to solve the same. I hate it when someone says – “You will miss the edge you have on others when you share”. I don’t subscribe to that thought process though.

It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and grateful that there’s something in it.

Take mini-breaks

We all have an tendency to go on like a marathon when we do something that is really close to our hearts. Understand, there will always be work and work will fill all the time that you can give it. So try to leave your work at work and when you get home spend all the time dedicated to the family. They deserve every bit of it – your undivided attention.

The one thing I learnt after my first job change is not to work over weekends and I have been successful for the past 10+ years. I do other things that I love doing over weekends like blogging, speaking, going to orphanage, community building, teaching differently abled children or other activities which are not my official work.

Make loads of friends

I personally like to meet, greet and mingle with people. As part of my above Point-2, the best way to learn is by talking with people and sharing what you know. In this process you get to learn a lot more because they are going to ask some fundamental questions. It is an iterative process and symbiotic relation that you can build with people.

Do one thing at a time

I don’t quite believe in this multi-tasking concept (Multi-Tasking reality or just fad?). Take the task in hand and finish before going into a new activity. This has been my mantra for a long time. It is worth to recall yet another blog where I talk about the same thing – Getting more from your day.

Happy are they who take life day by day, complain very little, and are thankful for the little things in life.

Treat yourself for what you achieved

A pat on the back always helps and a sense of achievement can be overwhelming. It is always not necessary that you be recognized for what you do. If in your inner-self you are confident that you gave 100% in doing a task, take a break and give feel free to treat yourself (also your family maybe :)). Good work will always be recognized – if you gave your 100% it will automagically get noticed by folks in your organization. So don’t shrug – move on as you have a larger life in front of you than what you have within a given organization.

Be with positive people

A rotten fruit can spoil the complete batch – so it is important to be with people who have an positive attitude. A positive attitude helps you drive greater results. Your mind plays games that need positive blood, so try to hang around with people who inspire / motivate you always.

Be happy to share a smile

The best thing you can share with your colleague as you wish them in the morning is a warm smile. This is inline to the previous point, it sends positive vibes and creates an environment of inclusion and sharing. You now have become an approachable person and that is always a good quality to have. It is one of the simplest tasks one can do to create a great day for everyone at work.

Life is like a mirror: It’ll smile at you if you smile at it.

These were my Top 8 tricks to be happy and positive at work. All these are things under your control and you can influence them directly to stay positive in your daily life too. Hope you agree with me and let me know your thoughts.

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Picture Post: Lifecycle of Sleep cycles May 21st, 2014

Vinod Kumar

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one – Leo J. Burke

I have been wanting to post back few series around picture post and didnt make it. Well, being a parent there has been a great learning curve personally. And this thought of posting my sleep cycle has been on the mind for a while. I just got it ironed out today as a picture.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book – Irish Proverb

How many out there are able to relate to me on this concept of bed timings :). Life changes every few years and we start to learn to change with it. If you agree with this, leave me a comment and let me know if you are sailing or sailed the same boat !!!

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.

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Lost era for this generation children May 5th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

It has been busy last month with GIDS and tons of other activities. On the personal fronts, it was a great feeling to see my daughter become 7th month old :). And with each passing day and night – there is something new to discover and explore with her. As I see her grow, there are so many things that come to my mind – how was my childhood and what is my daughter getting into as her childhood. This deep thought that they are a new generation having their own childhood dreams to realize. I am so much biased with the fact that they have missed so much of our childhood experiences which they will never get anywhere. I want her to spend and enjoy the times with her grandparents as she learns some of the life lessons that have been passed on for generations.

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser – John W. Gardner

So what was my childhood memories? So I wanted to cherish and remember those old times which are worth a mention here. I miss them so much – I want them back so that my daughter can experience atleast few of these in this era.

I know this generation has everything in its hands – from technology and resources. But these life lessons are sometimes learnt and enjoyed if you are from an generation older. There is a lot of Indian context to some of the experiences below – let me know if you want to add few more?

1. The symbiotic relation between an cassette and a pencil :)

2. Sunday reading time involved these witty novels. Not to forget Amar Chitra Khatha and others.

 

3. Family time mostly involved a game of carrom board. I wonder how many still have this at their homes.

4. The stains in pockets, the sprinkling of ink and the most cherished “Hero” pens. Were a fascination of lost era.

5. Well, my movie times / TV times were never complete without – “I am the power – He Man”,  “Mickey and team”, Tennali Raman and others. I still want to show this to my daughter.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. My dad got a Television home in the late 80’s and the hypnotic tunes of Doordharshan resonate in my minds even today. Not to forget the Sunday gala of Surabhi, Chitrahaar, Rangoli and others. Still nostalgic – want to recall it here.

7. Call it trunk calls or the then fancy dial pads. These phones were so much fun.

8. Coins collection. This is like a lost art amongst children nowadays. I still have lots of these old coins just to show my daughter, there were other denominations other than 1Rs and above :).

 

9. Playing carrom in school was always with Pencils. This was a favourite passtime in our school days.

10. I got introduced to Computers early 90’s and the fascination to play games never died. From Dave and Prince of Persia – my computer journey would never be complete :). And when networking was possible – the game of roadrash still fancies me.

 

11. Being a super hero to adjust the antenna was a favourite pass time. Those were the days of bravery to climb the rooftops :)

12. A Hot Wheels toy in a boys life – how can that be. My dad still tells me, I used to always carry one in my hands it seems.

13. Playing with magnets, bring sand and get some dust to get shapes always fascinated me. These games are still interesting today.

14.  With the era of emails, the need to write and collect stamps are long gone. Can you recollect when was the last time you got a post with a stamp on it?

I am not saying these are not available in this generation. I know these experiences are slowly changing taking a new dimension with technology enhancements. Having said that, I am sure my daughter will read this some day – I have one sentence for you dear -

There are no perfect fathers, but as a father I will love you perfectly.

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