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I recently and luckily came across this and thought its worth writing about. If you are not very proficient with blogging yet, you definitely want to know about this:

Windows Live Editor

Basically it is a client where you can create rich formatted text and publish it your blogs at wordpress, blogger, etc. You can edit and delete old posts too. In addition to this basic stuff, what makes this tool extraordinary is the plugins you can use to add functionality into your articles. Take a look at the gallery to find about the available plugins:

Windows Gallery

And the best part- its free and works like magic!

If you are wondering why you should bother, well it would serve you well to note that the difference between writing “into” your blog and using this client editing tool is like the difference between writing code in Java and Perl to read from a file:

Java:

 package MyProject

import java.io.BufferedInputStream;
import java.io.DataInputStream;
import java.io.File;
import java.io.FileInputStream;
import java.io.FileNotFoundException;
import java.io.IOException;

/**
 * This program reads a text file line by line and print to the console. It uses
 * FileOutputStream to read the file.
 *
 */
public class FileInput {

  public static void main(String[] args) {

    File file = new File("C:\\MyFile.txt");
    FileInputStream fis = null;
    BufferedInputStream bis = null;
    DataInputStream dis = null;

    try {
      fis = new FileInputStream(file);

      // Here BufferedInputStream is added for fast reading.
      bis = new BufferedInputStream(fis);
      dis = new DataInputStream(bis);

      // dis.available() returns 0 if the file does not have more lines.
      while (dis.available() != 0) {

      // this statement reads the line from the file and print it to
        // the console.
        System.out.println(dis.readLine());
      }

      // dispose all the resources after using them.
      fis.close();
      bis.close();
      dis.close();

    } catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
      e.printStackTrace();
    } catch (IOException e) {
      e.printStackTrace();
    }
  }
}

Perl:

my $contents = do { local $/; <HANDLE> };

Java fanboys – this was only an illustration, so don’t feel bad. Hope you got the drift. Explore this tool and I bet you won’t easily go back to writing your blog entry from editor built into your blogging service.

Just a quick update- after all these years of bschool applications, interviews, sleepless nights, pestering ex-bosses for recos, etc I feel happy to call it a day. I am joining 1 year executive MBA program(christened General Management Program or GMP) at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

In case you don’t know XLRI, it is the oldest Bschool in India, estd way back in 1949. The reputed Indian Institute of Managements(IIMs) were established in 1960s. You can perhaps skim through this wiki entry for more info on XLRI- XLRI@Wikipedia

On this historic day, I also feel compelled to list down my MBA journey in chronological order for posterity:

Year Interviewed with CAT score(percentile) Final result
2002 IIM-L, FMS, IIT-D, NMIMS 98.91 Not offered
2003 IIM-A and IIM-C 99.15 Not offered
2004 Nada 97ish;got busy working :) Nada
2005 Nada 97ish;still busy working :) Nada
2006   Skipped  
2007 ISB GMAT-710 Nada
2008 None interested, despite 5 year experience and 92%ile QA, 99.70 in VA, 98.5 in DI 99.70  
2009 SPJain PGPM, XLRI(GMP)   Offered by both

 

Believe me as I was putting together the above table, each year, each interview came in front of my eyes very vividly. It was a very rocky journey indeed and I feel anguished after having come so close to top schools but never making it.  But today, I am very happy to move over the hurdles and get into a school of the stature of XLRI.

Over to next hurdle- making the most out of the MBA experience and to achieve my ambitious goals in life. In the meantime, this song is what keeps humming in my mind every now and then:

Its almost the end of the road to ISB. If I don’t receive interview invite in next 3 days, that dream to attend ISB will be over, well almost. Thanks to the XLRI GMP interview call which I received yesterday, I am not shattered yet. In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about my future course of action. Will post about that in detail later. But just to give out some direction in the meantime, see this video:

Yes, breaking out on my own is one option. Moving to business consulting roles, without MBA is another. Going for the best possible MBA program in current year is one more. Hope I will have my path chalked out in next couple of months.

I just came back from a 10 day vacation in SE Asia(Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia). Hangover is very strong and I can feel the deep contrast between a vacation life and a real life right now. So thought of expressing the feelings which I have right now.

This is how I spent my vacation. First what I didn’t have/didn’t do:

1. No cell phone(no bill payment reminders, available bank balance!)
2. No internet for most part(no company emails about things breaking apart back in office!)
3. No television(no bheegi billi from 9XM !)

This is what I did a lot:

1. Cheers for this, cheers for that! Did you try the cocktail “Fantastic Phuket”? Argh how much I hate whiskey….. but … !
2. Water sports. Jet ski, para-sailing, snorkeling, white water rafting. The action never stopped.
3. Water water everywhere. While not bathing in beach, it was the swimming pool. In fact soon I felt like I was living a “fishy” life. Later into the vacation I started avoiding going into the water and now I think hard about even taking a bath!
4. Not sleeping before 5 am. A lot of long nights in the pubs, discs, beaches and one time in the hotel room just playing poker.

On a more introspective note, I also learned a few things during this time. I would share it in a new post. For now its time to get on with the predictable and less exciting old life. But it has a silver lining- it pays you so that you can redo the vacation!

So last month I read this novel by Jeffrey Archer(yes yet again. I can’t resist him) which I picked up at a railway station. Before I begin the review, to make things more challenging for myself, let me resolve to NOT use any cliches which are usually used by book reviewers. Let me know how far I was successful.

Sons of Fortune

 

Before we start, I would like to mention that most of this review would be a "spoiler" for people who actually want to read this book. But to help people who want to have some idea about the plot, before they go buy(original please. Say no to PIRACY!) the book, I am dividing the paras in this review into two parts- "Mild Spoiler" and "Big Spoiler".

First the plot:

This novel is based on a real event. Though I did not know this all the while I was reading it and read it as fiction. In brief, this story is about an English man named George Mallory who twice led British expeditions to climb up the Everest in 1920’s.

Caveat: Mild Spoiler

Archer describes the life of George Mallory and presents a live picture of his childhood, youth and his adult life. In this sense, this book is not really about the Everest mission or any controversies surrounding it but it is more about what material George Mallory really was. His natural desire to scale anything which looks tall, his uncompromisable love towards his wife Ruth and his ideas of "equality of opportunity" skills are very well established by Archer. As a result instead of being a mere "climber" to readers he becomes some sort of a role model.

The storyline is rather simple, which is so unlike the Archer we know of. But the Archer’s masterful depiction of the rivalry between two people("First Among Equals", "The Fourth Estate") with totally contrasting personalities is back to its magic here too. So George Finch is some sort of a foil for George Mallory(heck, they even share the same name!) and they both desperately want to beat each other in conquering the mountain first.

Archer describes the life of George Mallory and presents a live picture of his childhood, youth and his adult life. In this sense, this book is not really about the Everest mission or any controversies surrounding it but it is more about what material George Mallory really was. His natural desire to scale anything which looks tall, his uncompromisable love towards his wife Ruth and his ideas of "equality of opportunity" skills are very well established by Archer. As a result instead of being a mere "climber" to readers he becomes some sort of a role model.

Conclusion:(Caveat: Big spoiler ahead)
Whether Mallory reached the summit or not is still a subject of intense international debates and as a result of inconclusive evidence Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgoy are still credited as first humans to conquer the 28000 feet(well today it seems to be 29000 ft) tall mountain.

So if you like Archer and more importantly -you are one of the curious kinds, this one is absolutely worth your time and money. Go for it!

Been wanting to write this post for long. Been much busy without much work. :) Anyway here it is.

In this post, I wish to just lay down the foundation for beginners.

1. Get equipped! : The fear and discomfort most people face in the pool is when the water gets in from all sort of places – ears, nose, mouth and rattles your internal sensitive nerves. So investing in protective gear to avoid this puts you in a better condition.A good eye goggle and a silicon swim cap is highly recommended. Goggle is obviously important as it protects your eyes as well as makes it easy for you open your eyes inside water- you want to be able to see where exactly you are in the pool! Swim cap, sometimes is given a skip by people(esp. guys) as they think it is a beauty tip. It is more than that as you can pull it down to cover your ears too, so you cover one more entry points of water.

2. Understand how to breathe once you are in: Its a no-brainer- we are not fish so we cant inhale inside. Still it takes a bit of control to tell your nose and mouth to think before performing a function they have doing all your life almost automatically! The simple concept is – Inhale from mouth when it is outside the water(large air in less time) and exhale from nose inside the water(less air leak in more time).

Here is a video which explains this:

Breathing Exercise

Just note this and try to stick to this rule. When you goof this up inside the pool, I bet you will know it. :)

In the next post on this topic, I will try to cover floating and basic leg movement. Feedback invited!

Swimming is one thing which I have always wanted to do. I think the desire got stronger after I was instructed by ENT doctors to avoid swimming as I had a big perforation in my right ear. My visits to water parks and swimming pool, as a result, have been limited to being in the shallow waters and pretending to be relaxing in front of swimmers around. :) To save myself from this embarrassment, I got my ear fixed some 1-2 yrs back and about 10 days ago I started going to a nearby swimming pool to learn this cool thing. :)

I have been searching on usual internet resources to learn the basics of swimming, but have come across only myriad scattered pieces on different topics like different swimming strokes, maintaining balance, squeezing more speeds, etc. I didn’t easily find a web resource for beginners, a resource which covers the aspects novices need to know in order to swim. The small steps I have taken in last 7-8 days have been full of learning and unlearning. So I thought I would make a note of my learning process here so that it might be of help to someone else. These notes will largely be a result of my browsing on the subject, my swimming trainer’s words and my own experiences in the pool. As a result, these notes are subjective and I welcome any comments/advices from experts. I will try to experiment with such advices in the pool and will update the posts accordingly.

Hope this will help somebody somewhere to learn swimming faster.

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