lunatechian (lunatech-ian)

one relating to, belonging to, or resembling lunatech

I hate bloggers who think they can change the world just by blogging about $RANDOM_THING. Reminds me of armchair activism.
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public and private spaces

I have been thinking on how to distinguish between Private spaces and Public spaces. Let me clarify a bit by what I mean by Public space. Again the Wikipedia has come to my rescue. Wikipedia defines Public Space as

One definition of public space or a public place is a place where anyone has a right to come without paying an entrance or other fee. Typical examples are most roads, including the pavement, and public squares and parks. Typical differences between e.g. sitting on a public bench and sitting on a seat in a pavement cafe:
  • the first costs nothing
  • there is no time limitation
  • one can consume brought-along food and drinks (for alcoholic beverages the law prohibits this sometimes; this may even be the case if it is allowed in a pavement cafe)
  • a pavement cafe may have a dress code such as a prohibition of being shirtless, while in a public space only general law applies
Going by this definition, Private Space can be defined as its exact opposite.

There has been a lot of malls springing up in Delhi and nearby areas these days. The general population considers them to be a Public Space .. i.e anyone can come into the mall, browse around and generally hang-out. However, the homogeneity of the crowds at these places (teens with branded clothes, mobile phones, and generally with an I don't care but am conscious of your stare) leads me to think there is something wrong with it. I don't find this same homogeneity when I go out for a walk in my colony's road .

I have come up with a test to see whether a space is really private or public. The test is Does the place allow beggars and street urchins to come into it ? If yes, it is a public space. The roads and park in my locality cleanly qualify as a public space. At least the external grounds of Priya cinema hall, PVR Saket cinema hall, Dilli Haat qualify as public space. However, the malls like Ansal Plaza, 3Cs fail to qualify this test.

My reasons for choosing beggars and street urchins for my test is simple. Most people dislike being around them. To put it bluntly, their voice is the easiest and the first to be censored. Hence, if you want to test censorship, test whether the entity(in this case the owner of the mall) censors them. Now start extrapolating their censorship. Will these mall owners allow protesters protesting, let us say, the increasing private school fees. I doubt it. Will these protesters be disallowed from waving their placards and sitting on a hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar ? I doubt it.

Places which portray themselves as public spaces are not necessary so. Just some random musings on a Saturday afternoon while I was feeling sleepy at work :-)

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my perspectives on working in a small company - Part 1

Till a few days back, I worked in a very small company (5 people including the office boy). Over the next two days, I want to list down the advantages and disadvantages of working in such a small sized company. I am doing this, so that the next time I have to choose again, I have a written down list of checklist of my experiences that I can go through while making the decision.

The advantages are

  • Freedom to experiment with Free Software - Most (All ?) small companies work on a small budget. They are always looking for ways to bring down their working costs. In this, Free Software offers a definite advantage. The owners are willing to adopt option that you have researched and which have a cost advantage. From my perspective, this is a definite plus. It aligns well with my philosophy that software should be Free.
  • Freedom to have a say in who is hired - In my previous workplace, I was the one doing the interviews and vetting of the resumes. I was able to get two of my classmates from my college into the company. We were quite comfortable with each other and knew each other's quirkiness. In case of any problem, we usually were able to work things out by talking openly with each other. This definitely helped in getting more work done.
  • Lack of politics and backstabbing - This was the biggest plus as far as I am concerned. It allowed us to concentrate on the work at hand or our respective areas of interest without worrying if anyone else was going to take the credit of our hard work. I think since all of us were friends, taking anyone's credit was the last thing on our mind. Also in a small company, it is quite easy to see what is area of expertise of each person.
  • Multi area of expertise - I worked as a system administrator, programmer, team leader and the support guy for our products. This really helps in identifying areas that interest you. In my case I found that I prefer programming more than working of network security (which used to interest me a lot during my unemployment days). Having expertise in many areas also helps you when you are looking for a new job.
  • More responsibility - I used to maintain the production server at my company. I doubt that in even an average sized company they would have handed over the root password to a newbie. These things are not rocket science. Anyone can master them when he is faced with a hard choice of either learning the new thing or getting fired. In a smaller company, you have to be a fast learner and really have the belief that even though things are not making sense right now, they will start making sense once you are through the HOWTO or the quickstart guide. It really does wonders for your confidence.
  • Importance of writing and speaking without mixing in geek-terms - A thing which I learned early was the need to write in "normal" english i.e. writing things after filtering out all the geek talk. I was the support guy and when clients mailed me with their problem, my first reaction was to explain to them (in full gory details) why things were not working. Over time, I saw that they were more confused with my replies. I then learned the importance of illustrating my emails with screenshots and writing in terms of what people can understand.

In my next entry, I will detail on what are the disadvantages of working in s small company

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A anti-spyware tool is becoming a necessary add on for windows machine now. The other necessary add on is certainly an antivirus. Any AV suite can bring a PC to its knees. Whenever I see a AV doing a full system scan, my heart goes out to the poor IDE drive. With MS entering the anti-spyware and antivirus department, I cannot keep thinking "first create the problem AND then charge money to pretend to solve it." ... nice strategy

Hmm... if anyone near Mayur Vihar (Delhi) wants to migrate to Linux, you know where to ask ;-)

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On 1st February I joined a new company, Data Armor. With the new job, I also became one of the many Delhi commuters (someone who travels regularly from home in a suburb to work) . At my first job, I was lucky enough to have my office located at a fifteen minutes drive from my home. The traffic on that part was pretty light. However, the new office is at least forty five minutes drive, and that too through the very heavy traffic. I start out early in the morning and thus (have been able to escape) traffic snarls in the morning. However, the journey back is quite another story. I have to snake my way through bicycles, scooters, bikes and fast moving buses. :-(

On the positive side, I am working as a programmer right now, which is a very important change from my previous job as a programmer/sysadmin/team leader/support guy. I have always liked programming and got sucked into sysadmin-ing since I worked on Linux and knew a bit about networking. However, I do not really grudge being a sysadmin. It provided a bit of extra butter on my bread (through freelancing jobs) and bought me in tune with quite a few interesting people.

I think the problem right now is to chalk up a routine which balances my job+commute time+reading and learning time+ time for my efforts in the linux and php community.

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