BN Annual Ride to Dandeli

Day after tomorrow I start on a ride for the BikeNomads annual meet. This year it happens in Dandeli. 

The route and distances are going to be as follows :

Place
Hop (kms) Cumulative(kms)
Pune
0 0
Shirwal
41 41
Khandala
26 67
Satara
33 100
Karad
50 150
Peth
28 178
Kohlapur
46 224
Nipani
38 262
Sankeshwar
19 281
Yamkanmardi
17 298
Belgaum
32 330
Khanapur
27 357
Londa
23 380
Dandeli
30 410

So, thats it then. 410kms one way. 4 days of a meet. 

EvE Online - 2nd and 3rd impressions

2nd Impressions :

The 2nd impression was fraught with failure.

Last time I started off as the Minmatar race. A republic. Followed the training sessions. And then continued from where I had left off. This lead to another 'Agent' (basically the quest givers) and I had to wrap in space to another solar system. Pretty cool... until I figured out that damn ! I had to load the quest item given to me (it was a courier mission) into the ships cargo hold ... oh damn ! warp back again, and back again. nothing to do - just put the ship on Auto Pilot and do something else.

Its boring after a few times.

The next mission I got said it had to be done in 24 hrs ! huh ! A time limit ?? :(

Unfortunately that does not work for me - with erratic office schedules - there is no way I am sure whether I will be online the next day or not.

There endeth the 2nd session. Not something I wanted to play.

3rd Impression


This time I started on the Amarr Race. An Empire race with a cool looking ship. The MinMatar ships looked unfinished while these ships look good !

This time I figured out that I did not need to take up the mission if I forsee not having enough time the next day. I just don't accept it - and leave my ship docked in one of the stations. I also figured out that almost everything is menu driven (shame ! bad game design !) and that once I warp to a solarsystem where I have a quest I need to warp to the quest location in the drop down menu. phew ! Much better.

The last mission I did was about meeting a rebel ship who asked me to join his side ! nice ! :)

On the whole a nice space simulation. I am still not clear about how good a game it is though. Things are confusing at most times, and this game requires me to lvl up skills - which take days. So, the longer one is subscribed to the game, the better he can potentially become. This seems to be a money gathering option for the game studio.

next blog will do a comparison with WoW - as both games , inspite of being similar are quite different.

oh .. and yes .. I play this on Linux !

EvE Online - First Impressions

After a discussion in the office about Homeworld, World of Warcraft and then EvE-Online, I decided to try out EvE.

EvE is similar to WoW that it is an MMORPG. After that the distinction ends.



So, last night, after office, I created a trial account and logged in. I had approximately 1 hr of time before i slept, and I thought I would get some action before that. In WoW you can level up 5 levels in that much time pretty easily. Thats about some 15 quests. 

The start screen in EvE is quite daunting. While WoW provides one screen for choosing a character, EvE has multiple screens to go from one to the other. Anyways, the comparison is for a later date. 

After spending 20 mins clicking , i chose a race and other attributes. I was reading all till about 10 mins, then i got bored, and just click-click-click to the next screens. 

Then the game starts with a tutorial - played out with a sulky woman's voice. I am looking for a way to shut off that audio. 

3d space is quite difficult to navigate. But the game mechanics make it quite easy. Most of the interface is based on clicking on things either in space or in the different boxes which litter the screen. The interface is quite cluttered. 

The interface

Its also lonely. 

Usually in WoW the starting areas does have atleast a few people who are questing in the same space - but in EvE - in space, you are alone. As far as you can see you have lots of ... space !

The tutorial is long - and I have not yet finished it. Hopefully, the next few days should see me progress a bit. Right now - the game looks very complex and daunting.

Thirst

THIRST
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design crisis)


An Amazing presentation

This is how i would *like* to work !

From GK's blog on the Google Germany Office.

The price of being a sheep is boredom


Wow ! What a powerful thought ! 

Expressions with Flags

The forward comes as :
A Norwegian diplomat Charung Gollar was asked to present the UN with a graphical representation highlighting the main problems faced by the world in 2004.

He presented a set of 8 pictures entitled "The power of stars" and was applauded for the simplicity of his idea. In spite of having no pretension at all, his work was presented to participate for the Nobel Price of Political Marketing.
 Unfortunately, a search on the web, cause i wanted to link to wikipedia or some such thing throwed up that Charung Gollar does not exist ! Well, whoever made these flags - brilliant work ! 



Angola

Brazil

Burkina Faso

China

Columbia

Europe

Somalia

USA

Managers vs Individual Contributors

Edit : this is my 300th Post !

This thought started off innocently enough. A person asked me what differences are there between a Managers role and an Individual Contributor's (IC) role ? In most technology companies there is a growth path which is technical or managerial - and so the dilemma is faced by most people at some time or the other. I am just putting the thoughts in my mind down.

Usually here in India people start off on a technical role and work upwards - in most technical companies. Very few companies actually take people who are managers as the first role for them ( so, even you can see in MBA , people with work ex are preferred). Earlier, there was just one way to grow up - become a team lead, become a manager, become a senior manager etc - which was not the optimal solution. It's not always that a good IC can become a good Manager. The changes are a lot - and moving to a management role can be quite a shock.

The Good,

1. As a Manager you are the boss. That means that if you say 'this needs to be done' - it usually has to be done - unless you are exceptionally bad about asessing the situation.

2. As a manager - you have more say in the working of the project. Be it asking for budgets, or working on the featureset for the next project. Yes, ICs do get involved in feature sets, but if its decided at a manager's level to drop it (no matter how cool it may be using the latest language etc),it will be dropped.

The Bad and The Ugly

1. The first and biggest difference is that as a Manager you are responsible for the group.

Now, what does this mean ? It means that when you are an IC, you do your work - and you will be held responsible for that. When you are a manager - you will be held responsible for the work that others do.
As an IC, meeting your individual deadline is all thats there. As a manager, you need to make sure that everyone reporting to you is meeting his or her deadline.

2. As an IC you do not have to worry about budgets. A manager on the otherhand has to work around the budget - and let me tell you, the budget is always less.

3. As an IC your holiday means its a holiday. If you are smart, you handover the work properly having a backup in place, and unless something really goes wrong - you don't have to worry about anything till you are back. The manager on the otherhand has to keep sure that things are going ok even when he is on a holiday.

4. As an IC you are friends with everyone. However, once you don the hat of a Manager - you are on the other side of the fence. Even if you want to be on good terms, there are many times you will take hard decisions - which will alienate people in your group.

5. An IC role has satisfaction on a day to day basis. You can see the output everyday - you coded a class, your unit test cases work, you fixed a bug. For a manager, there is rarely something tangible on a day to day basis. The high you get it when you finish the project - with minimum issues - cause believe me - there is no project withouth any issues through its lifecycle.

6. As a manager you will need to have many meetings - many a waste of time. As an IC you will not have to worry much about the meetings.

The Challenge

Frankly, I think that a managers work is more challenging. Not only does he have to be competent technically, so that people do not pull wool over his eyes, he also has to work on maintaining the group synergy and also be able to get the work finished on time. As a manager one cannot make everyone happy at the same time. You will step on people's toes.

I also believe that becoming a Manager is not the cup of tea for everyone. A great IC does not mean that he will become a good Manager also. The jobs are quite different.

Ultimately, it comes down to which path to follow - Technical or Management. Here I would say - go where you have more fun. Are you having fun coding or solving problems between team members ? As long as you like what you do - you will be able to move high up the ladder. Unfortunately , most people do not work on what they have more fun - cause they get influenced by their peers into going to management - usually for more money ( a total myth I think made by companies so that they can get away with paying less to managers), and then you have many disgruntled middle-level managers.

Why I chose to be a Manager

For my decision - I knew I was good technically, but I also knew I had good people skills. I caught myself once thinking that I can do this better than my current manager - and thought of putting my money where my mouth is !

TFD : Great Teacher

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher