May 31, 2009

Battle: Bangalore Vs Buffalo


This blog title is the most hyped phrase in Indian IT companies as of this month. I really like the style of the first black American president, Barack Obama. He is entirely different from his precursor, George bush. Inferring from what Mr. Obama is doing, it seems the precursor thought very little about the economy of Uncle Sam, concentrating more on toppling the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square.
This is what the president quoted that blown a thunder storm among Indian IT giants.
“Say no to Bangalore and yes to Buffalo”.
Before discussing this, one should know the actual story happening out there in the U.S. If you don’t know, this is what happening in the U.S.
U.S software vendors are more interested in recruiting Indian software engineers. When compared to an American, an Indian IT guy will do the same task even more efficiently with just 20% of his salary, and surprisingly with extra effort too. The Indian equivalent of this 20% salary is convincing enough for us, which Is one of the reason why people don’t care much about getting paid less than an American. Now Uncle Sam gives Tax exemptions for those companies to help grow his U.S economy.
See how smart are those IT companies…
“for increasing their revenue, they recruit Indians & pay less salary. As a consequences, Americans go jobless, but the IT companies gain profit, Indians take most of the salary back home spending very less out there”.

The Crux

Now everyone is smart here. The Indian software engineer & the U.S IT company. Only fool is Uncle Sam because even after giving benefits to U.S software vendors, his country men go jobless. Someone else is getting bread & butter (or idly & chutney :o).
Obama is even too smart & identified this. He visualized a striking jobless situation in his country, if this proceeds. This ultimately leads to the downturn of the country.
Now Coming back to Bangalore – Buffalo story, Obama announced the end of years of tax incentives to those US companies which create jobs overseas in places like Bangalore.
Instead, the incentives would now go to those creating jobs inside the US, in places like the Buffalo city -- bordering Canada in upstate New York.
"We will stop letting American companies that create jobs overseas take deductions on their expenses when they do not pay any American taxes on their profits. We will use the savings to give tax cuts to companies that are investing in research and development here at home so that we can jump start job creation, foster innovation, and enhance America's competitiveness."
Obama said at White House announcing the international tax policy reform.

Aftermath

Now this a brave, beneficial decision by obama & i salute his efforts & patriotism. Surely. But being an indian software engineer whose profession also depends on the U.S Markets, it's a not a very good news for me(us) :(
What do you think ?

May 17, 2009

What software engineers actually do ?

People wonder about software engineers on what they actually do at work. Being a software engineer, i need to give a fair, convincing answer. This is a famous statement. It holds good not only for a software engineer but for any professional. Even it holds well for a doctor or lawyer.
"If you are not able to explain your mom & dad about what you do at work, then YOU don't even know what YOU do..."
This doesn't refer your parents especially but for any non-technical person having no knowledge about your profession. Well, that said, read more & find out what WE do at work.

Role of IT

With hype of technology at it's peak, the fact that IT enables business is blatant. I refer "business" to every possible category like banks, media, travel, automobiles, entertainment, shopping……Almost everywhere. Now I would like to share few examples about how IT supports the business before I brief on what I do @ work.
Here is a very simple, small scenario.
A billing system in a provisional store. Without one, the store keeper use to write down the list of items in a paper, adds them up to finally get your bill. Now the billing system not only gives the bill in a minute but also it keeps track of the total sales for the day, month & year too. Even it will order the wholesaler for more goods whenever a particular item is sold out.
Here is a slightly complex one. My friend, Sri vallabha is a mechanical engineer who at work spends most of the time with a computer. You might wonder what does a mechanical engineer have to do with a computer. This is what he does.
sri’s uses an engine automation software. This software is just a tool using which he can ‘virtually’ build an engine & test it’s output & performance. He configures this ‘virtual’ engine with varying parameters and he gets a perfect design after finalizing the torque, size, bhp, diameter etc.,
Previously they are made physically & tested live. To get the perfect design, we need to change the parameters & manufacture the engine enumerous times. The tool he uses comes under a category called CAD. It is a type of software which is used to create & design virtual objects. like the engine sri designs.  This avoids the manual work in manufacturing the engine. So now you can easily understand how much time & money IT saves for his business.
Few other examples are…

  • The ATM you use every day

  • The online shopping you do with your credit card

  • Automation of Rocket launch.

  • The visual effects & sound effects used in movies.

Role of a Software Engineer

Now you have seen how computing helps real life, here is what MY role is all about. Most of these real-world solution are provided by something you know very well: Software. The utility we build and provide the customer is technically named as Software. It takes a lot to develop a software. It involves invaluable effort from several people where my role lies in the lowest level. We have people with varying designations to define, design & develop such a solution.
When we build a house, initially we will finalize a PLAN for the house, estimate the total cost, gather labors, build the house & complete it. The same story applies in software too…
People at the top level will try to understand the business & the problem scenario. They will finalize a PLAN to solve it. Once a PLAN is in place, a design is created. It will have all the details to technically solve the problem. After a proper design is done, we come into picture. We are the people who will DEVELOP the solution using the design.
‘DEVELOP’ means, writing programs. ‘Programs’ means creating or defining a set of instructions. Why Instructions ?
The computer is an IDIOT. It cannot take any decisions on it’s own. You have to program (instruct or tell) what to do. If i say, “Go, jump into the well”, Will you actually do it ? But the computer will !!
Though the computer is fast & effective in processing & producing results, it cannot think on it’s own. WE (Software Engineers) have to write the instructions & TEACH (or GUIDE) how to do. Writing instructions is also not easy. I cannot just say, “Computer Ji, please solve this problem”. So we have to write step-by-step clear cut instructions after which the computer can take care of the rest.
Usually, a “Programming language” is used to write such instructions. If you have heard of C-language, C++, Java, Visual Basic, DOT NET…..they all come under the category of programming languages.
So this is what WE do at work. We help resolve real-world business problems with our computing knowledge. Now if this article helped you in understanding our world, i can then make sure that I know what i am doing @ work :)

May 12, 2009

Making of Vodafone ZooZoo ads

The trend of TV ads have now changed....
people show the frustrations on the Remote, continuously browsing thro' the channels when an advertisement comes....
as i said, it's not the case these days as ad makers are so focused in getting the people watch their ads a ton times without getting bored, whether or not, it promotes the product....
The best example......
ZOO-ZOO Dolls for Vodafone aired in SET-MAX for the IPL-2 Edition......
The Strange thing that made this ad to enter my blog is the FACT that how they are made.....

Watch the ALL IN ONE 15 COMMERCIAL PACK below.



Now, How Zoozoo characters are made?
First, they aren’t animated characters. They are human beings who were made to wear body suits.

“The design of the characters is such that one gets fooled into thinking it
is animation,”
shrugs Rao, which was indeed the very illusion that had to be created. “In a sense, it is ‘live’ animation!” he quips, referring to the fact that it was all shot live.

Prakash Varma, ad filmmaker, Nirvana Films, has directed the commercials, and reveals that the Zoozoos were a big challenge to create. The practical aspects of how they will move, talk, gesticulate and emote were very important. Essentially, costume design and artwork were crucial elements.

“It took me three weeks of pre-production to understand how it will work,” says Varma. There were two fabrics that were considered for the body suits, and one was rejected for it had too many wrinkles and was shiny. The wrinkles would have shown when the characters moved, thereby shattering the illusion of animation. “So we chose the more practical, thicker fabric,” Varma explains.

The production team divided the outfit into two parts: the body and the head. The body part of the outfit was stuffed with foam in some places, while the head was attached separately. To make it look bigger than a human head, a harder material called Perspex was used, which in turn was stuffed with foam (with scope for ventilation).

If one wishes to understand the size of this head, here’s a fact: a human head would typically reach up to the mouth level of this giant Zoozoo head. “We kept the hands and legs thin, which is why we cast women – and occasionally children – wearing the costumes,” says Varma. The thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans. Sets were created to suit the size of the Zoozoos.
Concept Note: Zoozoos are not animated characters. They are human beings who were made to wear body suits. The films were shot by Nirvana in Cape Town, South Africa.
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