Thursday Mar 08, 2007

Visit to BITS-Pilani, Goa

Naveen Asrani and myself arrived in Goa at 4:00 PM 24-Feb 2006. We were looking forward to the Sun University Day scheduled on the 25th at BITS, Pilani's Goa campus. The BITS campus, a ten minute drive from the airport, is blessed with a beautiful view of the Zuari river meeting Arabian Sea. Its beauty is accentuated by the well kept lawns and newly built facilities. Some really lucky students study here. BITS, Pilani one of India's foremost institutes, has been in service for more than 77 years. The Goan campus was instituted three years back to extend its legacy.

Prof. Bharath Deshpande met me at the guest house to discuss the campus engagements and Sun India University Initiative. Soon we were joined by Harsha, Vignesh, and Roshan Sumbaly – these students are working on setting up a grid across the Pilani and the Goa campuses. I was very impressed with the fact that students are involved with creating and maintaining all of the college's IT facilities. We went on the tour of the mighty 195 acre campus. With an Auditorium with seating capacity of 2500, a library that occupies three floors, a large sports facility, and air-conditioned classrooms and labs, the campus is truly state-of-the-art. The evening ended with a spectacular view of the sunset. After having dinner at Abhiksha, Vasco, we headed straight back to campus to catch the movie of the day played at the Auditorium organised by the BITS-Pilani Goa movie club.

Naveen, Peter Kaarlson, Simon Ritter and me arrived at the venue well before the scheduled time to get ready for the session. The crowd slowly flowed in, with students from colleges all over Goa in attendance the crowd was estimated at around 800. We met the director Dr. T.C. Goel and Prof. Venkatesh Kamath (HOD, CS dept Goa Universtiy) just before the session, and talked briefly about Sun technologies to some of the faculty. Dr.T.C. Goel gave a brief keynote before Naveen talked about Sun academic initiative and the introduction of the speakers were made. Simon started off the session with a presentation of Sun and the future of technology, with included a superb demo of Sun Spot technology. The demo generated a lot of interest from the students. Peter Kaarlson followed it up with a very informative presentation on OpenSolaris and the features of Solaris 10. I made a presentation on Grid Computing that included a demo on Grid Engine. There were some interesting question s asked. Simon Ritter engaged the audience in yet another demo on J2ME and webservices. He created two applications, one mobile application, and another mobile application that interacted with a web service. All of this done using NetBeans and writing only a single line of code. Super. Simon spent quite some time answering students' questions on J2ME, RFID, and Sun Spot. Many SDN forms were signed.

The lunch was served at the guest house. We left the campus with a renewed determination to build a strong and friutful relationship with BITS-Pilani, Goa Campus.

Link to some of the pictures

Friday Dec 08, 2006

Trip to Surathkal

Surathkal is home. I spent the most important four years of my life there. Situated on India's west coast it is the home a fine engineering school. The National Institute of Technology Karnataka, formerly Karnataka Regional Engineering college, is my alma mater.                Naturally, when my company offered an opportunity to visit KREC, I jumped at it. We went there and talked about some great technology that Sun had to offer. Here are some pictures from there. Sanjay Manwani, manager @ Sun India, wrote a nice article about it [here].             

National Institute of Technology, Surathkal Karnataka(NITK) is one of the premier technical colleges in India and is rated even higher than some of the IITs in some of the surveys.

NITK has 5 streams of Comp. Science - BTech CS(undergrad course) - intake of 60 students for 4 years, M.Tech(postgrad) - Intake of 60 students for 2 years, BTech IT intake of 60 students for 4 years, MCA (postgrad) - intake of 60 students for 3 years, PhD - intake of 10-15 students for 4-5 years.

After a long phone association of almost 6 months with between NIT Surathkal and Sumitha Prashanth from Sun; 3 engineers and me went to NIT Surathkal on 10th and 11th Nov 2006.

The planned agenda was:

  • Sanjay Manwani - Talk to Dr.Shet and HOD about Sun and Universities and work with them to identify Campus ambassadors
  • Sun and Participation Age pitch - Jeevan (an alumnus of NITK 2005)
  • Introduction to OpenSolaris - Moinak Ghosh
  • Introduction to Project Glassfish - Varun Rupela.

The main agenda of the trip was to make the students and teachers of NITK aware of the Sun contribution to opensource and solicit their support. Also to get 3-4 names of students for the Sun ambassador program from NITK.

Though most of the sessions were planned only for 11th Nov. We were able to organize 1 formal and one informal discussion between Sun and NITK.We reached and were received at the University by one of the student volunteers and an active participant of the Open club - Dhaval. Dhaval is a 3rd year student and has done a project at IBM and is scheduled to join IBM at the end of his studies. His interest is in Linux kernels and he is currently involved in a project related to that. The Open club is a group of students and a lecturer (M/s Vani ) who are actively working on open source projects with a lot of them being Linux enthusiasts.Dhaval introduced us to Mr. Annappa who is one of the lecturers at NITK with interest in distributed systems. Mr. Annapa was very enthusiastic about the Sun visit and immediately organized a meeting with the lecturers of the Computer Science (CS) department.

During the meeting which was attended by the Professors including Dr. Vinay (HOD), Dr. Shet, Mr. Annapa, and M/s Vani, some PhD students including Mr. Jose; whose interest is in the area of compilers and some M. Tech students. We went over the canned presentations that we had planned to share with the students.There was interest in the gathering and some decent questions were asked. The Mtech students informed us that this was good learning for them.

After the meeting Dr. Vinay informed that he had already sent 3 names to Sun to choose a student ambassador. He also informed us that the attendance may be less in our session due to the end semester exams in 2 weeks.

Dhaval organized a impromptu session for students to talk about projects. about 7-8 students attended and most were interested in how to get projects. All of us informed about the power of open source and how they could easily contribute.It was a very open session with lots of questions about Sun and open source.

On 11th at 9 AM we began our formal session. there were about 30-35 students and slowly the whole classroom with the capacity of 40-45 students filled up. Dr. Shet introduced the session and mentioned that he had recently become aware of the open sourcing of Solaris. M/s Vani and Mr. Annappa were also in attendance. It was a very interactive session with lots of demos and questions. At least 20 students had worked on Linux and many of the questions related to open source were answered. There was no flagging of interest till the 3.5 hours of the session when we broke for lunch with the promise of D-trace demo after lunch. 30-40 SDN memberships were signed up and more forms distributed for people who could not attend. Lots of Netbeans CDs and Belenix DVDs were distributed, with 5 of each given for the library to be borrowed by students.


It was a very fruitful trip to learn about such an open and enthusiastic community of teachers and students interested in open source not too far from IEC. We have a lot of leads to continue our association thru students and lecturers for the SAI. We need to keep up this engagement to make sure that it bears the results that we want from our academic initiative.

-- Sanjay Manwani

Tuesday Nov 21, 2006


Come in, its open.

Boa vinda.

Friday Oct 27, 2006


I got myself a generous helping of Solaris Nevada (build 46) OS and like they say in the McDonald's ad "I am loving it". In case you have no clue what Nevada is, go here. I was suprised with the nice Look and feel it offers, compared to the older releases it is a relief. Whats more I was able to attach my camera to it and download pics. Cool!
                     Now, I am not an advanced user (like the majority of the people), and the small things like the ease of use is what matters (first impressions are lasting, remember). It is good to see that the Solaris folks are addressing usability issues while adding  advanced features, cause time and again Apple has proved that usability is the key to good business. Kudos, to the design folksOSDir has some screenshots for you to see here.  Look here for one of them.

Wednesday Oct 18, 2006

Pesit trip

I have been involved with Sun's University relations initiative for a few months now. The present project involves evangelizing Sun's technologies in colleges so as to capture the mindshare of students.
PESIT, a premier institute in Bangalore, was among the firsts to be chosen for the project. The talks mainly revolved around the Solaris OS, the Java platform and the Netbeans IDE. I was itching to give a talk on Java and volunteered for the 'Java Fundamentals', ' OOPS concepts' and 'Extended topics'. Jaya Hangal, a senior developer, picked myself and another colleague, Mahipal, to talk about Java fundamentals at PESIT.
                         PESIT is situated on the outskirts of Bangalore so there was another hurdle I had to pull myself out of the bed and get going by 8 ( on a Saturday it is tough, any self respecting man wil vouch for this). Since Mahipal is an alumni of Pesit we had no trouble getting there.
                    All our dreams of being the guest speakers came crashing when the guard refused to let us in unless we produced an ID card. Thankfully we managed to convince him that we were indeed speakers from Sun Microsystems. After a quick breakfast we landed at the Computer Science Dept of Pesit and we met Dr. Kris kumar the HoD.
              Mahipal and myself walked the students through the basics of Java and OO concepts. The students showed a lot of interest and posed good questions. The really good ones were awarded with a bar of chocolate. Then came the lab sessions. We found Belinix, a distro of Open Solaris operating system, was installed on all machines. We helped them complete five small programs that used the Java language. The five programs touched upon various fundamental I/O operations and the collections framework. Atishay lent us a hand in completing the lab session.
                         I found that a couple of final year students interested in developing a J2ME app the can be used to do some nifty tasks with a computer, with the ability to receive streaming media from the computer. Helped them out by introducing them to my friend(/classmate) who had done a similar project for his graduation. Me, Atishay, Mr Nithin and the Folks at PESIT.

Mahipal, Atishay, Mr.Nithin and the Folks @ PESIT

Thursday Sep 28, 2006

A beginning

It has been almost a year since I joined Sun. It is about time I started a blog about Sun, its techologies, its people and me.

There are many reasons I love working for Sun. One of them is the amount of freedom one is given to work. I personally feel that brings the best out in people and that is how a innovation centered company should function.

Now, there is another reason why I have admired Sun for a long time (much before I even joined Sun), it is the ground breaking innovations that come out of Sun. Java is already more than 10 years old. More recently the shipping of UltraSparc T1 processor-that has 8 cores with 4 threads each, when the industry has just started making dual core processors. Now that is called 'leading the pack'.

The Sun Grid Compute Utility is another such innovation, which opened early this year. The Sun Grid compute server is a utility computing service that Sun has pioneered. It is much like your electricity usage. You plug-in your application and pay for the compute time it uses. More details here. Get youself an account and get rolling.

I am super-happy to be a part of this initiave and proud to contribute to it.




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