The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The book make logical sense but hit hard on feelings. It could have been a great article instead of a book. Book is filled with fillers. And Marie’s strange rituals like kneeling at the floor of client’s house or thanking her purse are way beyond my comprehension.

Marie emphasize on creating a space that improves your mind and body. She suggests to keep only the things that you are passionate about and get rid of everything else. We often buy things that appeal to us impulsively and then do nothing with them. Kondo says that the purpose of such things has already been served and now it’s time to discard them. This applies to books, clothes, documents, bills, gadgets etc. Every object that you have has a role to play. The challenge is to find if that role still has a meaning in your life.

I am inclined to try this out. Marie says it takes six months to tidying up a house. But I’ll do it my way not Marie Kondo way. I can’t talk to the things and find joy in everything. My mobile charger doesn’t give any joy but it serves a meaningful purpose in my life. I am going to leave the joy part aside. That just don’t make any sense to me. Instead, I’ll evaluate importance based on purpose.

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3 Steps to safeguard your credit card from operator’s innocent mistake


Be careful wheb you enter card pin

Jagdeesh, my colleague, told me an story one day. A doctor was travelling with his driver and they passed through a toll booth. Doctor paid 40 bucks as toll tax using his credit card and moved on. When he read the SMS, sent by the card issuer, around 15 minute later, he as satrteled. He has been charged 400 thousand bucks. Since his credit card has limit, the transaction went through. Although he came back and settled the things with toll company and his bank, I could never understand how that can happen. Well, not untill yesterday when I was about to pay 27 million. Of course, I do not have such limit in my card.

What actually hapened was that after entering the amount, the petrol pump attendant missed to press the enter button. As he handed over the swipe device to me, I entered the pin without looking at the little lcd screen. However, I happen to look at the screen before I pressed the enter button. I noticed the amount, took a moment to understand what has happened, and returned the machine to attendant to cancel the transaction. She looked at the amount, stranged look came on her face as if she has seen a ghost, and she immediately pulled out the card. I was relieved and saved.

The amount was 2704.83 and I after added 4 digit pin, it became 27048311.11 (pin changed to 1111). This is 27,048,311.11 i.e. 27 million. Although the transaction would not have approved because of insufficient limit in my card, it was a very good lesson for me.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Always have a second look at the amount. You must know how much you are actually paying.
  2. Always look where are you typing and ensure that you are typing at the correct screen.
  3. Always press enter after you have entered your four digit pin.

Image source: pixabay

Flushing in ASP.NET MVC

nik codes

I’ve written a follow up to this post that answers many of the common questions about flushing early. Be sure to check it out.

The Setting

Before the beginning of this decade, Steve Souders released two seminal books on the topic of web performance: High Performance Web Sitesand Even Faster Web Sites. The findings and subsequent suggestions that came out of those books changed the face of web development and have been codified into several performance analysis tools including Yahoo YSlow and Google PageSpeed.

High Performance Web SitesEven Faster Web Sites

Most professional web developers that I’ve met over the past five years are familiar with Souder’s recommendations and how to implement them in ASP.NET MVC. To be fair, they aren’t that difficult:

  • HTTP Caching and Content Compression can both be enabled simply via a few settings in web.config.
  • Layout pages make it easy to put stylesheets at the top of a…

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The internet of everything: 5 big ideas at Structure Connect about connecting everyone and everything


Between the smart home, wearables and the industrial internet, we’re hearing about the internet of things all the time. But before we start connecting devices, we need to connect people in more places, improve connectivity in our homes and offices and even figure out how we can connect our web services to these new products that you control via an app.

It’s a lot to take in. That’s why we’re excited to host Structure Connect, a conference dedicated to the challenges and opportunities that ubiquitous connectivity in everything from sensors to smoke detectors is creating. The conference will take place in San Francisco on Oct. 21 and 22 at the Mission Bay Conference Center. We’ll use the event to discuss how we turn the theoretical promises of energy savings, smarter cities, automated homes that anticipate your needs and more-efficient businesses into reality. You’ll want to be there, so register…

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Got Chrome for Windows? Your extensions have to come through Google’s Chrome Web Store


Google announced in November that it was going to start cracking down on Chrome extensions, particularly on the Windows(s msft) platform. The warning became reality this past week as Google is now enforcing the policy it laid out last year. If you run Chrome(s goog) for Windows — either the Beta or Stable channel — all of your browser extensions will be had through the Chrome Web Store. Chrome Canary and the developer channel of Chrome on Windows are exempt from this; these channels can still install Chrome extensions from any source.

Why the new policy? There have been too many reports of malware-infested extensions for Google to ignore. Some extensions were doing things behind the scenes and unknown to users, such as, according to Google, “silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity.” And that’s a no-no. So…

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Google is harnessing machine learning to cut data center energy


Leave it to Google (s GOOG) to have an engineer so brainy he hacks out machine learning models in his 20 percent time. Google says that recently it’s been using machine learning — developed by data center engineer Jim Gao (his Googler nickname is “Boy Genius”) — to predict the energy efficiency of their global data centers down to 99.6 percent accuracy, and then to optimize the data centers in incremental ways if they become less efficient for whatever reason.

Part of Gao’s day-to-day job at Google is to track its data centers’ power usage efficiency, or PUE, which demonstrates how efficiently data center computing equipment is using energy. Traditionally many data center operators were seeing about half of their energy consumed by cooling equipment, but in recent years data center leaders like Google, Facebook(s fb) and others have focused on tools like using the outside air for cooling, or running the server…

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4 mistakes engineers make when building a SaaS company


Before I joined Loggly as CTO and VP of Engineering, I built seven cloud-based products. From my perspective, four mistakes separated the SaaS companies that stumble from the best.

1. “Adoption for our offering will take time, so we can build fast now and build right later.”
Look at how steep the technology adoption curve has become. Every SaaS product needs to be built for scalability and robustness from the start.


Image courtesy Udayan Banerjee

2. “Our customers have predictable behavior.”
Be ready for something unexpected that will threaten to break your service, and have processes for managing out-of-policy activities. For example, Loggly must deal with customers that send a huge burst of log events, inadvertently or during a fire, 24-7.

3. “We don’t need operations automation.”
Operations is at the heart of every SaaS business, and they shouldn’t be treated like sysadmins. By automating defrag of ElasticSearch, Loggly devops saves about 15…

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How to Manage Verbal Requirements

imageAll the project management practices advocates that the requirements should be properly documented. I agree to this. But it is not very infrequent that you get the requirements over the phone or verbally. Someone just called in and asked you to some changes in the module that is currently being developed. And if you are not unlike me, you know the consequences sometimes are  very drastic in nature.

Let me explain this by an example. Once there was a psychotherapist – highly educated and very talented. He decided to open a clinic in the city. Once everything was done, he called up a local painter and asked him to paint his signboard. The painter did his job very well but when our psychotherapist saw this, he fainted. He then starts shouting at the painter. And painter was not able to understand what went wrong. What actually happened was that the the painter was asked to pain ‘Psychotherapist’ on the sign board. However, he painted ‘psycho the rapist’.

I hope you can now imagine what happens with the verbal or telephonic requirements. So how to cope with these? In practical scenario, you cannot avoid verbal requirements. I follow a process, which I call ACR (or Accurately Confirmed Requirements, as my teammates call this) to cope with such situations. The three step process goes as below:

  1. Accept the verbal or telephonic requirements – since you cannot avoid this, it’s better to accept this strategically.
  2. Confirm – once you have received the verbal or telephonic requirements, review them in your head to make them more clear. Once you know clearly what the caller wants, draft a mail. Write down what you understood and send it back to the person who gave you the requirements. Ask him to confirm whether your comprehension of his thoughts is right. This will help you both to be on the same page.
  3. Record – After getting the confirmation from originator of the requirements, document it. You may need to update the requirement documents or project scope statement.

ACR is always followed by the planning and execution on the new requirements.

Previous: Save Your Project from Communication Gap | Next: Why Project Gets Delayed?

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Save Your Project From Communication Gap

imageToday, In a casual discussion one of my colleague told me that he has forwarded some queries on a proposed project to his boss. His boss will get it clarified with the client and update him on the same.

This reminded me about one of my project long back. There project team was forbidden to talk to client directly. All communication happened through project manager only. The mode was like

team member <–> team lead/architect <–> PM <=> client PM <–> client’s technical team

  • Result: one week time to get a query answered. That too with insufficient or incorrect answers.
  • Consequences: slow project progress, unhappy stakeholders.

One day, fortunately, we got a new project manager. And the forbidden forest became easily accessible. Now you could directly talk to the person who can solve the query, be it client PM or client’s technical staff. This small change accelerated the project progress. Rest as they say is history.

I learned certain stuff from this and created a theory that communication gaps kills the project. When I started managing the projects, I always emphasize on the following three factors:

Communication gap kills the project

The more channels in the communication medium, the poorer is the quality. There are two factors – one, indirect communication slows down the process; two, at each level there is loss if information. Indirect communication results in a slow and incomplete message. This raises another set of queries – which again slow down the progress. This may gradually kill the project.

Communication should be as direct as possible

Direct communication resolved the issue in a faster way. When knowledge possessor and knowledge seeker talks directly, there is no loss of the information. Further, any query which arise out of the answer, will get answered immediately. As a project manager you should keep the communications between teams as straight as possible.

But don’t forget the keep the stakeholders in loop

This is most important. You must always be informed about the information that is being exchanged between the cross team members. This is required for the good health of the project. This will help you to  – 1. keep the project scope in control, 2. keep the project documents up-to-date and 3. Keeps you up-to-date on the current state of the project.

These three things will add rocket fuel to your project and make your life somewhat easier.

Previous: Why Project Gets Delayed? | Next: How to Finish a Project On Time

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How to Finish a Project On Time

imageIn the previous post, I explained why a project gets delayed. Here I will explain how to deliver a project on time. Keep the following four things in minds and you will be able to deliver your project on time.

1. Manage your scope very carefully

Project scope tends to increase. There are several reason for this. Sometime project team itself increase the project scope. A team member thinks that feature-X is a blasting idea and it will be very useful to the end user. He may be right in his thinking but time to implement feature-X was not estimated. So doing so will either waste the buffer time or consume a slice of time from some other task. A project manager should always keep an eye on the project scope. Having the requirements defined very clearly and reviewing the tasks status regularly helps in keeping the scope under control. In my projects, I always welcomes the new ideas from team members. However, I take the decision after carefully reviewing the current status of the project, available time and other factors.

2. Implement a change control process

In continuation to keeping the scope under control, you MUST implement a change control process. Project stakeholders tends to change the scope of project. This happens because someone just discovered a new idea which he thinks will make the project super successful. As a project manager you should welcome such ideas. However, do no jump to implementation immediately. Instead, follow your change control process. Estimate the impact of suggested change on the timeline and cost of the project. Evaluate of the new idea can be implemented in the next phase of project. Communicate your estimations to all stake holders clearly explaining the impact of implementing the new idea on the delivery of the project. Get the approvals on new timelines, cost or resources as applicable before you begin implementing the idea.

3. Keep you plan up-to-date

Always keep your project plan up-to-date. If you are using any software tool to manage your project, the task becomes easier. You project plan should be able to provide you actual vs. planned progress. As I mentioned in my other post, You always need this figure to communicate to stake holders. Your project plan should always be updated in real time to provide you correct figure.

4. Identify any deviations and fix then quickly

If you have your project plan up-to-date, you can easily identify any deviations from the plan. This is the time when you need to land your helicopter at a particular point and look into the problem. You may need to talk to team leader/member to understand the reason behind the deviation. Whatever is the reason, fix it ASAP. If fixing the reason is beyond your control, communicate immediately to stakeholders. Don’t be shy to seek help and guidance from stakeholders.

There are many more factors that may affect the timely delivery of a project. But if you follow the above four basic things, you can dramatically increase the chances of delivering your project on time.

Previous: Why Project Gets Delayed? | Next: How To Report Project Status

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