Settling down at SOM – I

The last one and a half months since the orientation programme for the new entrants to the PG courses in IIT Bombay have been very eventful and really hectic. In fact, the first term is almost over and the end term examinations are scheduled to begin within a week (the management course divides each semester into two terms of around 7 weeks each). I guess it is about time I posted my experiences during this period.

Hostel – from one room to another

The hostels were allotted on the day of the orientation itself. However, the increase in student intake for the IITs seems to be straining the infrastructure quite hard as we got rooms on a shared basis, i.e., single rooms with double occupancy. Then again, construction is underway for a new hostel (scheduled for completion in 2010, so won’t be of much use to us) and there are talks of expanding some of the existing hostels.

One of the interesting aspects of our hostel accommodation is that our entire batch was accommodated in the same hostel, thanks to our HOD and seniors, which is indeed a bonus considering the fact that we have numerous groups activities. In the initial room that I was allotted, I had a local resident for a roommate, and things were going fine till the roof started leaking after 4 consecutive days of rainfall. I subsequently moved to another room in the same wing, and now both my former roommate and I have individual rooms :-). So, I guess roof leaks are not that bad after all.

The first room that I got also had its share of peculiarities other than the roof leak. The former resident had decided to generously leave behind his philosophies in life on the various surfaces that he could find. Here’s a sample:

Hostel Room

In fact, the new room I got also had some philosophy on the walls, but fortunately in pencil. So, I put my eraser to good use.

LAN connections

With double occupancy of single rooms comes the problem of LAN connectivity, as there is only one port per room. However, one of the advantages of being a management student is that you’ll be using a laptop rather than a desktop. This is where network bridges and wireless ad hoc networks come in handy. To get two or more laptops connected to the LAN through a singe hub, just do the following on the machine connected to the LAN:

  1. Create a network bridge using the LAN and wireless connections
  2. Provide the TCP settings (IP, gateway, DNS servers etc) for the LAN in the network bridge if required
  3. Create an ad hoc wireless network, and connect to this. This step is very easy in Windows Vista, but a bit tricky under XP (steps provided in this article). Also note that some of the security and encryption settings provided for the ad hoc network may not be supported on older OSes, so you might need to opt for an open network

Once this network is setup, the TCP settings (same as the LAN settings) need to be configured in the other machines before connecting to the network. Once connected, the LAN should be accessible.

I made a small screencast too (for Windows Vista)

(You can also check it out directly on viddler)

Incidentally, I got myself a Lenovo Ideapad Y510 on my first weekend in the hostel (can’t live for long without a computer I guess). Not only did it get me connected to the internet after almost a week without connectivity, but also provided my first encounter with Vista. And I must say that I like Vista over XP, especially the search.


Goodbye Kolkata, Hello Mumbai

I spent the last 3 years working in Kolkata, and now it is time to take the next step in my career. I will be joining the Master of Management program in the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay. It is a 2 year, full time residential course.

July 1st was my last working day in IBM, and I really enjoyed my work there. I had started off as a campus recruit, with my Entry Level Training Program (ELTP) starting on 22nd July 2005. The training lasted for about a month and a half. I got into a project (Model Driven Business Transformation – MDBT) in September itself as the training was wrapping up. In fact, I continued in the same project throughout my stay in IBM – so not much variety there.

Coming to the project – MDBT started off as a research project in IBM T J Watson Research with the aim of modelling a business process and translating it to a solution and generating a platform-specific IT implementation with customizations along the way. The basic idea is to empower a business analyst with the ability to develop applications for a business process.

There were 8-10 people in the project when I started, and we reached a peak size of around 15 about a year ago. My role in the project was initially that of a developer, collaborating with colleagues from the IBM labs (Watson, IRL – Delhi, ISL – Pune) to customize the generated applications for different projects. I also travelled to the Watson Research in Yorktown Heights, NY (my first trip outside India) in February-March 2007, to interact with the clients and gather requirements. I was also involved the design and development of one of the modules of the MDBT toolkit responsible for code generation over the last year.

The project gave me the chance to explore and try out different technologies, and get to understand some of the current popular areas like SOA and MDA. Apart from the project work, I also got the opportunity to network with my colleagues around the world, and started blogging seriously (but not that regularly I suppose).

From a personal side of things, my stay in Kolkata was even better as this was the first time I got to reside in my native place. I got to spend 3 years amid my relatives, attend social functions and get to know everyone better. In fact, I had opted for my job posting on Kolkata with this aim in mind. I got to stay with my grandfather who was living alone since my grandmother passed away in December, 1999. I will be taking away a lot of precious memories from my stay in Kolkata.

All said and done, it was a very fruitful stay, and it is time to take the next step. Mumbai will make it 3 out of 4 metros in which I have resided (Chennai and Kolkata being the other 2), with Delhi the only one left.