I have been doing lots of interviews recently. My project is half way and it is very behind in the schedule. How do we get into this mess in the first place? As usual it is bad management decision. Somehow we underestimate the complexity of the chip and largely overestimate the productivity of Indian contractors. The only way to stop the project from slipping further is adding more resource. When we first move our operation to Indian, one of the promised advantage is we will be able to get as many engineers as we need. Never believe any sales pitch, especially the sales pitch of Indian contracting firms. Wipro basically runs out of qualified engineers that meets our requirement. Indian contractors is the casue of the mess, it would be repeating the same mistake to hire more of them. This time we are hiring N. America contractors.
The project is in pretty bad shape, so we are approved to hire 10 engineers. To fill those positions, we have to do lots of interviews. I guess my boss is too busy to interview all of them, so I am helping him to interview the candidates. I did mostly phone interviews since most of the candidates are from the East Coast. I even have an interview with someone from Israel. I kinda act like the first line of defense, screening the qualification of the interviewees before pasting them to my boss for 2nd round interview. My role is to preform technical interview, trying to determine whether the guy knows enough to be productive. Since I am doing phone interview, I can’t ask very detail technical question because it may require some writing and drawing. I found asking what challenges the candidate had in his previous project is very effectively in judging his level of expertise. The more experience the person has, the challenge is usually more complicate. Sitting in the other side of the table gives me new insights. The questions asked by the Interviewer always have a certain purpose. A successful interviewee should look beyond the factual question and try to give answer in a way that satisfies what the interviewer is looking for.
Last Friday, 9 bombs set off in Bangalore, killed two people and wounded over twenty people. I never feel so close to terrorist attack. I worked in Bangalore for two months. My colleagues took over my tasks are still working in Bangalore. According to the news, one of the bomb went off just outside the Forum Mall, which is right next to where I live. When you have been to places so close to bombing, it seems quite scary. Everyone I know in Bangalore is safe. The unlucky souls drafted to serve the Bangalore tour of duty is now getting cold feet. I guess they have every right to concern about their own safety.
According to the news, the bombing is carried out by a Islamic terrorist group called Indian Mujahideen. It is a small outfit of the worldwide Muslim jihad terrorist. It seems no one knows the political agenda of this little known terrorist group. They are not making any request according to the news. I don’t see any reason Indian Mujahideen to fight. India has freedom of religion, Muslim are allow to practice their faith freely. The Indian government is not oppressing Muslim in any mean. On the other hand the Muslim are oppressing those who live next to their Mosque by their 5a.m. morning prayer with loudspeaker.
When Indian independent from the British Empire, the Muslim had their own country in Pakistan. If the Indian Muslim don’t like living among the Hindu majority, they can simply move to Pakistan. They have no right to ask for more than they deserved by threatening others who don’t share their religion. If the Indian Muslims think they are oppressed because they are poor. They are fighting for the wrong cause. Believing in Muslim is probably why they are poor in the first place. Think about how much productivity is lost in time wasted for daily prayers. If they want to leave poverty behind, maybe they should stop reading Koran and start learning marketable skills.
Fossil fuel will eventually runs out, one of the solutions to the environment problem is switch to biofuel. Biofuel is produced by convernting plants into ethonal. Plants is 100% renewable energy. As long as there is land, water and sunlight, plants will grow every year. Although biofuel is a clean energy, there are controversials about biofuel will disrupt food production. I believed in this myth in the past and have doubt about the use of biofuel. It turns out that is only true for 1st generation biofuel made from grains or corns. The 2nd generation biofuel made from cellulor plants like grass or algae will have a 100 fold increase in efficiency. We can produce enough biofuel to fill up all our gas tanks without affecting food production. According to a news report, the effect of biofuel on food production is less than 1%. Developed countries already waste more than 1% of food, so making biofuel should have virtually no impact on the food price.
I quoted the news in an online discussion about renewal energy and environmental problem. My view point is the Earth have more than enough energy for our consumption, only that we don’t have the technology to harvest the energy. It contradicts with the view point of most environment people that we should simply use less energy. I think the best way to solve the energy problem is through technology. You can never solve the problem by conservation, it can only buy you some more time until the technology is ready. Some people challenge the 1% number and accuse me posting misleading information. I don’t know how the number is arrived, so I decide to work out the math myself to prove I am right. After some research, here is the math:
US has 938 million acres of farmland (from US Dept of Agriculture website)
US use 138 billion gallon gas per year (from US Energy Statistic)
The highest efficiency of biofuel production is 15000 gallon per acre (from Wiki entry on Biofuel )
938m * 1 % * 15000 = 140.7B > 138B
Therefore, if we can produce biofuel with the most efficiency future technology, we will only need 1% of US farmland to produce enough gas for all the cars in US. With the best technology today, we can only produce 1000 gallon per acre. (BTW, grains, corn or soybean’s efficient is less than 200 gallon per acre.) Biofuel is a pretty new technology, there are lots of room for improvement. If it can follow the pattern of the Moore’s Law, 15 fold increase in a few decades is totaly feasible, at least according to the theory.
Recently, I am addicted to this silly facebook application, which is quite not myself. In general I keep my distance from uselss facebook applications. I naturally ignore most of the application request and actually spent time delete all the useless applications from my profile. Somehow this application had a click on me and turn me into a patient of compulsive disoder. I log on facebook loyally and play this little application every day.
The idea of plane crazy is pretty simply. You got a photograph of an airplane on your profile. You start off with crappy hang glider and work you way up to A380 or Air Force One. Each day, you have a quota of 10 races with other players. If you win, you get points. You can use the points to upgrade your airplane. I like airplanes since I was a little kid, so I spent my 2 minutes with this silly application, then wait for my turns until the next day. I am working my way up slowly. I just got to the level of business jet. My goal is to get reach some decent fighters, like a F-14 or F-22.
I wonder why I am so addicted to this silly game. I guess it probably the same reason why people are addicted to fluff friends. It is just a mystery.
When I worked in India, I made friends to a few colleagues in the Bangalore office. They shown me show me around town on weekends and we had lots of fun together. One of them is visiting Vancouver for work, so it is my turn to be the host and show him the city. We had a welcome lunch with other team member at Cactus Club today. This friend of mine is a rare Indian because he eat beef. He is the one brought me to try the illegal off-menu Indian deep fry beef in Bangalore. We recommended him to have steak for lunch. At first he wanted have the steak well done, luckily we stopped him or his steak would be like shoe leather. It would taste best with medium-rare, but we afraid he may not like the blood juice, so we ordered him a medium instead. This is his first time travel outside of India, so this is his first time to have a real steak. He like the steak a lot and complain that he could not find such a good steak in India.
When I was in India, I told him about my guns and I promise to bring him shooting when he come over. So tonight we went to shooting range after work. Due to various delay, we had dinner at McDonald to save time. It turns out having a hamburger in McDonald is a new experience to him. The McDonald in India don’t serve hamburger, they only have chicken, fish or veggie burger. The funny thing is somehow he think hamburger is made of ham instead of beef. I have to explain to him hamburger is not made of ham. The name comes form where it is invented, which is Hamburg, Germany. Other than serving hamburger, our McDonald is pretty much the same as the Indian McDonald. The next food I will get him to try is sushi. He still haven’t overcome the idea of eating raw fish. I guess we should start with California roll then slowly work the way up to sashimi. It is always fun introducing new cuisine to people from different culture, whether he like the food or not.
Today we have our department quarterly update. The director flew in town to give us overview of how the department is doing. My project is the only project in the department, so it has very high profile and no room to fail. Thanks to the stupid decision of close down two design centers in Canada, lay off many experienced engineers and outsource the work to India, the project is quite behind schedule. Now the management finally wake up and realize the problem, they are all scrambling and try all means to pull the schedule in. They try to add more resource in India, but they simply could not find any qualified engineer.
They try to hire back ex-employees from the closed design center as contractors. It is pretty much admitting last year’s decision to close down the site is stupid. One desperate measure to they try is by making us work hard and longer hours. This idea won’t work if they use the stick because it would only demotivate us and further lower our productivity. They try to use carots and lure us to work overtime. The director said if the project is finish on time, the whole team will have a special bonus as incentive.
This idea sounds great, the only question is how much is the bonus. The director did not give us any number or percentage, so the incentive won’t work. No one would work harder if they don’t know roughtly how much we will get in return. After the meeting, some of us did a rought calculation, we all agree that the bonus has to be at least $10k to be attractive. Judging from previous record of the company, the so call special incentive bonus could be merely a few thousand dollars, which won’t worth working your ass off.
Today I tried a very unusual sandwich, yakisoba sandwich. I have heard of this sandwich from a childhood cartoon. The characters love having the Yakisoba sandwich all the time. I thought it must be a joke in the cartoon, who would want to eat sandwich with no meat or veggie, but it turns out yakisoba sandwich is real! Yakisoba is Japanese fried noodle, so Yakisoba sandwich is Japanese fried noodle inside a bun.
The taste is OK. It taste like yakisoba and bread. However having double dose of cabrohydrine seems a very weird combination. I have no idea why Japanese would come up with this silly sandwich. Apparently, it’s quite popular in Japan. If people are stupid enough to believe having the no-carbo Atkin diet will lose weight, maybe I can start a new all-carbo diet fad. I can create a series of double carbo sandwich such as fried rice sandwich, french fries sandwich, toast sandwich, cereal sandwich and ultimate sandwich sandwich, which is a sandwich bun inside another sandwich bun.