August 21, 2009

Microsoft India to train school teachers in IT

The Maharashtra state has accepted an initiative from Microsoft India to train school teachers in Information Technology. The initiative is said to focus on "employability-readiness" among junior college students by imbibing the fundamentals of computing at an early stage.

A step in the right direction, this initiative may result in more students taking up Computer-related science and engineering courses like Computer Science and Information Technology. Who knows, in years to come, this initiative may eliminate the need for IT companies to train students placed in campus recruitments.

I see Microsoft making more inroads into the Indian student scene and making its presence felt in a big way. In late 2007, I attended a sort-of orientation session (there was a name to it, I don't remember exactly) organized by Microsoft for Visual Studio 2008 in the Andheri branch of Aptech and that single session has led me to a probably lifelong association with .NET. Then there was the DreamSpark program early this year which sparked off a huge wave of students appearing for MCTS certification exams and the like. Way to go, Microsoft!

August 20, 2009

The 4-year holiday called Engineering!

An e-mail doing the rounds today - a day when the final Semester results of IT Engineering are out. Here it goes:

The 4-year holiday called Engineering !!!
Things we have to remember.... common to all Engineering friends :
1) The lecturers don’t teach. The students don’t study.. The only guy who benefits is the one who owns the 'dhaba' next to the college.

2) Rules are made to be broken.

3) Deadlines are made to be extended...ALWAYS!

4) Guys always think the girls in the college next lane are more beautiful.

5) The geeks are the most pampered lot during the internal exams.

6) The lab assistants are the most respected people (during the lab exams)

7) Watchmen are the people most bribed.

8) The HOD is the person most respected (heights of sycophancy here).

9) The principal is the person most abused and insulted (behind the back)

10) Dropping subjects is 'cool' (arre yaar… drop the idea of dropping subjects plzz).

11) There is always a lecturer in the college who can’t speak proper 'English'.

12) Night-out is the second most important tool to ace the exams.

13) The most important tool… the bhramastra… is the 'chit' in which the words can be understood only by the person who wrote them (in most of the cases)

14) The freshers are the most seen in the canteen, in the 'free' periods or for completing the records, assignments.

15) The second-years are the ones with the 'I am the don-of-the-college' feeling.

16) The third years are the ones with the 'so-many-backlogs' feeling and the poor souls get down to studying after bossing around in the college for so long. But the fun still continues…

17) The fourth years have no connection with the college whatsoever...with no interest in ragging, pulling each other’s legs, the b'day parties, the b'day bums etc all which they enjoyed so much till now. All they want is a good placement and a 1st-class tag attached to their memo.
19) The first three years are spent in cursing the college, the people there, the system and all.
20) But towards the end of the fourth year, people tend to feel nostalgic about the pure unadulterated fun they have had for 4 years. Now the very system they disliked, the very canteen they cursed, the time that they spent there, the b’day bums they suffered… all these seem like heaven to them… As a engineering student everyone wanted to get out of the college fast... Now they realize that incomplete journal, and KT’s were far better than unfulfilled dreams & broken emotions... miss the engineering life…

(Disclaimer: Not all of the ideas expressed above are endorsed by the author of the blog)

August 14, 2009

English batting - a chore!

Having watched a see-saw Ashes series so far with 4 Tests all different from each other, the most shocking thing to witness was that England batsmen have just 1 century among them, while all the Australian top-order batsmen have had at least 1 century each (with the exception of maybe Hussey - I may have got my facts wrong here!)

Sitting through the English batting is really boring in any situation. The BBC middle order (Bopara, Bell, Collingwood) is the saddest middle order in cricketing history and the openers are, well, not much different. Strauss leaves alone maybe some 80-odd percent of the time, but he has good strokes which Collingwood may never manage in his entire life. The reason why Collingwood saved the first Test was obvious - he is basically a blocker and nudger, he just can't hit the ball, due to lack of skill or power or both. Cook is a very good batsman, but his dismal Ashes campaign just makes the English batting that much sadder.

The lower middle order has by far been the best. There are some truly good stroke makers there, with Prior being the best of them. In fact, Prior has been the unsung hero for England all along, I feel. Prior's batting in the second innings at Lord's and the first innings at Edgbaston saw some breathtaking strokes and an excellent strike-rate as well. In many ways, he ats like Sehwag - if the ball's there to be hit, hit it. Flintoff was the hero for England at Edgbaston, and if it were not for a fluke Hauritz ripper, he well may have got another Ashes century. Broad and Swann are no mugs with the bat, and their batting at Headingley in the second innings was something to behold. Nasser Hussain termed Broad as the next English all-rounder after Flintoff. Well, let's see!
During the fourth test, commentators joked about reversing the English batting order for the fifth Test, but it may just turn out to be effective for England. I say, get Bopara and Collingwood to bat at no. 7 and 8 and things will be just fine!

Prejudice - such a disease!

It is never easy to be purely unprejudiced in any human thought process. Just like sin and lies, one can never say that one has never thought or acted with prejudice. But, prejudice can plague the human mindset in ways we never realize. Prejudice pervades our very vision - what looks good ought to be good, and what looks bad ought to be bad. We associate prejudice with extremes like racism, casteism and religious intolerance, but there are more relevant forms right among us.
Take the case of a Municipality school student boarding a BEST bus. The "Municipality color" of his uniform is instantly repulsive, and the aunties have that all-too-familiar frown on their faces. The bus conductor gets louder and ruder with his "Ticket", and the smile with which the child had entered is suddenly gone. The coins are snatched from the child's hand, the ticket is pushed back, and he is ordered to go ahead, if not pushed.
"चल आगे!! (Move ahead!!)", the conductor thunders.
The child goes and stands in a corner up ahead, quietly waiting for his destination, trying to avoid looking at anyone. He looks up occasionally, but the disgusted look on an aunty's face pushes his head down again.
This is just one example of how much prejudice there is in the modern human mind. And just like in the case of the Municipality student, there's not much logic or reason behind the prejudice,
"He's just sick", they say.
One never realizes how much prejudice has clouded one's mind unless something drastic happens. "Melting pot" Mumbai needed an MNS to make it realize just how much prejudiced it was towards the Marathi language. English is the de facto standard, Hindi is for colloquial and slang, Gujarati is for the Gujaratis, but Marathi is just so "sad". Why?
School admission time for kids and parents ask -
"Where are the English medium schools nearby?"
"But there's a Marathi medium school just across the street!"
"वेडी झाली आहेस का? (Are you mad?)"
Prejudice is such an affliction!