The Three Layers and How They’ve Changed

When I started out in the software business, it used to be called either “programming” or “computer science,” not this weird “IT” term which always makes me think of income tax.

For the middle class mind set at that time (1985), this was a strange new beast and the middle class never likes strange or new:

“The only job you’ll get is in the Department of Statistics in the Ministry of Labour,” counselled a particularly annoying uncle.

“It’s just typing on an electronic keyboard,” said another educated-beyond-his-mental-capacity  friend-of-the-dad.

Well, I didn’t listen to them, and you shouldn’t listen to me either for career advice. But I do want to point out something which I observed a few years ago. It comes from hundreds of interviews I’ve done, starting in 1996.

A very real example interview session started going like this:

Interviewer: “Why did you pick computer science in engineering?”

Candidate: “I was always interested in computer (sic) in school.”

Interviewer: “I’m interested in movies, but I’m not an actor. Why did you pick computer science as your major?”

Candidate, smiling weakly and thinking: “Oh hell, I got the crazy dude. This wasn’t what my seniors told me about!”

Turns out, thanks to what the industry calls “mass recruiters,” the industry has successfully managed to turn “IT” into a “secure job.” Which means, just like the older secure jobs, there’s a formula to get into it, and if you don’t play the formula, you’re the crazy dude.

So in 1985, what all those kindly “uncles” and “aunts” wanted us to do was layered thus:

  1. Secure job: Government Service. Preferably an I*S officer of some sort.
  2. Secure job, but more money: Public Sector. CMC (remember them?)
  3. Poor fellow: Works in private sector.

Today the layers are a trifle different, but the mind set is the same:

  1. Secure job: Mass Recruiter of choice. 
  2. Secure job: MNC of some sort. USA based, of course, otherwise you fall down in the layers a bit.
  3. Poor fellow: works in a start up.

And there you have it folks, the middle-classification of “IT.”

No wonder we can’t be the first to port Unix to Intel any more (Wipro in late 80s), or build a world class switching system (C-DOT), or a supercomputer worth its name (C-DAC). 

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Posted in Software

Android 4.0.3 on Nexus S is the best reason to upgrade to iPhone 4S

Upgraded my Nexus S to 4.0.3, battery life sucks, switched to iPhone 4S, end of story.

Posted in Nexus S, Software

Skype on iPhone/iPod/iPad – bad/bad/bad

If you’re having trouble getting sound and/or video on a Skype call and one of you is on an iDevice of some sort, then just it’s not bandwidth which is messing you up, it’s the compute power on the iDevice.

Switch the culprit to a computer on the same network, and you’ll probably get a usable connection.

The reason is simply the way that the audio/video codecs work. They’ll drop frames if the machine/network can’t keep up.

Posted in Software

Team BHP

Tried to create an account on Team BHP – the car forum which showed up on google while searching for a review on the Mahindra Thar.

Turns out that the car guru who runs that site has a really fragile ego, which needs stroking with a 1000 word essay praising him, his unwashed socks and the forum itself. Else no username/account for you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Android 2.3.4 for Nexus S

Auto downloaded (some 12Mb). Phone restarted and installed without any problems. Not bad at all. Can’t see any major changes, except some obvious typos in the USB on/off dialog boxes have been fixed.

I haven’t yet tried out the new video chat alleged to be in this release. Now that Skype is going Microsoft, that’ll become a priority pretty soon.

Posted in Android, Nexus S, Software

Dumping all your Facebook connections’ birthdays into a calendar.

Okay, not quite a calendar. But if you connect your Amazon account with Facebook, Amazon will suck up FB data into one convenient page. You’ll see it under your “Amazon Facebook Page” when you’re logged into Amazon.

Click on “See all your friends on Facebook and their birthdays” and then ask for all friends on one page. There you are – complete with mugshots and links to gift suggestions.

Also marvel at how much information is out there about you and your buddies.

Posted in Uncategorized

Google Streetview cars in Bangalore

Just saw a Google streeview car mapping out a really narrow road behind our house. No logos or markings, just a black Scorpio with the camera system on the roof. (When the maps come out, the white Honda blocking their way is mine.

Posted in Uncategorized