Weekend trip and Jruby demo

September 5, 2007

This past weekend a large group of us in Bangalore took a trip to Mysore. It’s a city which is about 3 hours outside of Bangalore and was a great experience. We saw several palaces, a few temples and got to see more of the Indian country side outside of the city. The contrast between the overstretched infrastructure of Bangalore to the beautiful green and open country is quite shocking. All in all the trip was great and the sites were beautiful (photos on flickr).

I also had the opportunity to hear Ola Bini give a great intro to Jruby. I’ve toyed around with it a bit in the past few months but Ola’s talk was really enlightening. He was able to get right down to the “why should I care” about the project, and it made quite an impression on all who were in attendance. He was frank about the things he feels that Matz’ Ruby Implementation (MRI) isn’t doing so well (threads, concurrency, c extensions, etc) and made awesome points about how Jruby addresses many of these concerns. Wish I could attend RailsConf Europe to hear more about the things he’s doing with Jruby and Mingle.

I’m heading back home to the states this Friday and I’ve yet to hear where I’ll be staffed, so hopefully something should come up soon.

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Lots of cool stuff going on here. Yesterday, we had an awesome presentation about how ThoughtWorks makes fixed-priced projects work. Not just work, but work in an agile manner and achieve great results. I’ve had relatively bad experiences on fixed price projects in the past, but this talk was really inspiring. It basically involved creating a client contingency plan by giving them a “bucket” of free stories. When the client decided that they wanted some new feature that was outside of scope, rather than bickering and fighting about price, scope, etc., the client could simply take a few story points out of their bucket. This made the relationship better and the project smoother. Cool stuff.

Also, yesterday Roy Singham, our founder, showed up in Bangalore and took our Immersion class out to dinner. The food was good, the iPhone ripping began approximately 5 minutes after sitting down, and Roy proposed a chili eating contest. Ola Bini destroyed the competition with 10 chili’s. I ate literally 1/10th of 1 and felt horrendous the rest of the night (pictures forth coming).

Today, we had a quick talk from some of the ThoughtWorks Studios guys. Studios is essentially our product arm. It inspired me to get both CruiseControl.rb and Mingle (two Studios products) installed on my Ubuntu box and I’m pretty happy with each. I feel like they’re neat examples of the power ruby (and jruby) can have on the enterprise level.

Halfway thought Immersion, I’m really happy with the way things are going. We’re doing a trip to Mysore tomorrow where there’s apparently a pretty cool temple.

India: the first week

August 29, 2007

Howdy from the garden city. The first week here has been a total blur, but I’ll try to summarize as best I can.

The flight was one by far the longest I’ve ever experienced. Two 9 hour flights back to back with an hour delay in Chicago (of course). My 5 US co-workers and I landed to the sight of a sign proclaiming “if your name appears on this list, please talk to an agent at the counter.” All our names were on the list. All our bags were in the Frankfurt airport. We were in the Bangalore aiprort. Oh well.

We quickly packed into a couple of cabs and rode over to our hotel. I called a few people and went to sleep.

The next day, I could see a bit more of our surroundings. We’re staying in an area called the Diamond District in Bangalore. The district is composed of a bunch of residential blocks and a corporate building, which is where ThoughtWorks office is. It’s a nice, short, 3 minute walk.

We quickly got into our training routine, which is basically classroom work from 9-6 each day. However, we’ve had tons of time to get involved in open source projects (we’ve started one here and will continue to work on it in a distributed manner after the trip), eat at a million restaurants and see a lot of the city. Here is a quick list of interesting things I’ve learned:

  • Indians become temporarily insane when getting behind the wheel of a car
  • Crossing the street is a scary. Scary as hell
  • Indian food is amazing. Fried daal, tika masala, masala dosa and veg hydrabad are some favorites so far
  • The head wobble is extremely confusing

That’s it for now, more updates coming soon. In the mean time, check out my photos.