Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

I switched to a MacBook Pro in May of this year. And it has been a pleasant computing experience so far. Yes, my MBP had an issue. But thanks to the apple warranty I had its motherboard replaced for free. And since then I’ve upgraded the memory (to 16 GB) and at some point would love to upgrade to a SSD as well. I hear SSD’s are better in terms of not just speed and booting time, but also in terms of withstanding traveling. Though I don’t travel much, I do like to just close the flap and take it with me. Other than that, the only other thing that I plan to purchase for my MBP is apple care plan for another two years. That is just for piece of mind.

My other apple device is an iPad. I bought it mostly because I wanted to travel light when I hop around for meetings. And now I have built my work flow around it replacing the planner/notebook that I used to carry. I am now teaming a workflow centered around GTD principles, but using the pre installed applications that are available both on the iPad and MBP. I like the fact that they get synced via iCloud. The worst thing that can happen to a task management app is it going out of sync.

Besides a previous iPhone3 which I used till last year these are the first Apple computing products that I have used. And I have to say I am a convert. Every now and then I go wow over the new intel ultra books. But then I remember how I used to go wow over the MBP’s when I was on Dell’s and HP’s. When it comes to consumer electronics, Apple has mastered something that the others are still playing catch up with.

Windows8 and MS’s Surface tablet seems pretty promising. That combination, along with a new sleek ultra book might pose a challenge even for apple. Ultra book + Surface + windows phone with their shared commonalities across their OS can make the everyday computing experience for users seemless like on Mac + iOS platform. Bit given that I have already invested heavily on the Mac platform I’m more likely to remain on this camp.

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System.Web.VirtualPathUtility.ToAbsolute("~")  does the job of ResolveUrl on the server side.

It has been raining since this morning. It has now healed a bit but still the drizzle is on. I am forced to write blog posts in offline mode as my broadband is also not working.

I made use of this offline time to rearrange my desk. I raised both my LCD and my laptop using two plastic low-stools. Now the monitors of them both are slightly above my eye level. I am going to give this arrangement a try for a little while. At least it will make me lean back on my chair rather than an leaned forward hunched position that I am usually in all the time.

I have been looking at some lifehacker posts of featured workspaces with raised monitors. Some of them have the monitors raised even more. But I am not entirely convinced of the ergonomics of those arrangements. But in the process of typing this what I realized is that with my current raised monitors I can easily lean back on my chair and rest my head against the head rest and type. Which is something that I was unable to do with the level the monitors were in earlier.

My workspace is my never ending project. I get inspired to do something with it every once in a while. But with the absence of an Ikea or a Staples in Sri Lanka, most of the tweaks are out of reach unless I attempt to do them DIY. I have been thinking about investing in some power tools for me to attempt the DIY. But have been putting it off as I can think of better uses for money. Therefore I am making to do with what I have.

The other reason that prevents me from spending a lot on my workspace is a conversation that I had with my client. When I told him that I finally got a U shaped work area he congratulated me and then said that he is working with two small desks one enough to fit his laptop and another for the mouse. That point made me wonder whether I was on an overkill!

But I want to create a workspace that is both practical as well as inspiring. I want to have a workspace that makes me want to spend time in it rather than something that would make me want to get out of it every few minutes.

A few things that are pending: need to fix the speakers on the walls. And I need to hang some fun/inspirational artwork on the walls!

I upgraded my old Acer Aspire laptop to Windows 7. This is the second upgrade it went through in probably a space of three months. Earlier I upgraded it from Vista 32-bit Home Premium to Vista 64-bit Ultimate.

So far this has done gone through any serious performance tests. I am still setting it up. Installing software and tools that I need to out it to any kind of effective use.

But I am going to put it through some tests pretty soon. I have hooked up my normal use lap top to a LCD monitor so it is currently acting more like a desktop now. So maybe it is time for me to start using this (I am blogging from the Win7 machine) more as the mobile computer. Only thing that prevents that is the pretty bad battery life this machine has got.

I always wanted to put this machine to effective use rather than just keeping it collecting dust as a backup machine. I think this still has a good two to three years of life left in this.

When I setup Vista 64-bit on this earlier I was going to use it to sharpen my RoR skills on it. I wanted to do something effective with RoR and was planning on using this as my non-MS development tools machine. But with me getting swamped with work, RoR was a non starter.

But with Min7, I also installed VS2010 Beta 2. So at least this time I will use this to test drive VS2010 and to start migrating some of the projects to VS2010. So hopefully, this time this machine will be used more frequently and will see me reaping performance out of it.

Wow! Another year has gone by. Whatever happened to time? Doesn’t it always make us wonder.

But for me, I felt the year going by. The year 2009 had been a year of major changes. My life has taken a new path!

The year started a bit rocky for me. I was not seeing eye-to-eye with the owners of the company that I was working for. So the year started with me contemplating my future. It was clear that I was not going to have any future working there.

The good thing that came out of it was instead of looking for another job, me going into business for myself. I turned into a freelancer. While I was transitioning from being a monthly paid normal office worker to a uncertain and new territory of freelancing, my wife was expecting our son.

While all of this was going on, our son came into this world. That made us forget all our woes and enjoy his arrival. I think he truly brought in a new dimension to out lives. I stepped into the unchartered waters without much excitement or nervousness, initially. And I have to thank wifee for standing by me through all of that. She was brave to accept that I might have to go for sometime without a proper income or any income at all.

For me, things didn’t turn out that bad. First of all, a friend of mine came into my rescue by giving me a project. That kept me busy initially. And during the first month itself, I landed a gig with a LA web development company. And I am happy to say, 8 months and few projects later, I am still working for them. And we are exploring the possibilities of taking business to the next level.

Freelancing turned out to be better than I bargained for. Of course the initial couple of months, though I had an income, it wasn’t what I used to get in the job. That was mainly due to my erratic schedules and getting used to being my own boss slippages. But once I came to terms with my new life and the fact that no ones going to look over my shoulder to make me work, but it is the paycheck at the end of the month that will suffer, if I don’t out in solid work, I turned out pretty well.

Actually from about the third month of being a freelancer, I caught up with my salary and from the month after started to exceed it. That was the best thing and also took away my worries of financial stability. I have been earning much more than what I had earned in any job, for the past four months as a freelancer. The beauty of this is, if you have the capacity freelancing gives you the option to earn more. But if I was in a job, I would have had to wait for the annual reviews and all the other bullshit to get a raise. Even then, with the current economic condition,that was a far cry. With my last boss, it was definitely a non-starter.

And the other major thing is that we are going to be moving houses. We are moving to our own place and we are currently in the process of doing it up to our tastes and needs. And that gives me an opportunity to setup my ideal working environment. I have already designed the furniture and setup. Now it is just a matter of getting them done.

All in all, 2009 has been a good year. An year of changes, but looking back, it is an year that I am happy about. It has been an year of achievements. Looking forward to the house move and starting 2010 in a new house with a new lease of life!

Ever since I started working from home, one of my biggest challenges had been being productive. When you are working from another room in the house, the opportunities for distractions have been far greater. Whether it is to satisfy an urge to get something to munch from the refridgerator, or to go play with the kids, or to get a quick update on match on TV, etc, the list can be endless.

Over the past few months I have found a few things that worked for me and I thought of sharing them. The motivation for sharing is partly because some of these tips I picked up from a variety of blogs on freelancing and work@home.

I had to adopt some strategies as some attributes that help successful freelancing do not come naturally for me. One of the worst being I used to be a champion on procastinating.

Practice some sort of GTD:
You don’t have to be a champion on GTD. But it helps to have some sort o a workflow that you follow. GTD proposes a great workflow and I use a slimmed down version of that.

One of my main challenges has been in finding the tools. I am yet to find my ideal tool. But between a notebook (the paper type, not a computer), my iPhone with a few free task applications, Google tasks, I make an attempt to record all the stuff that needs to get done.

I also a great fan of unfuddle for managing software projects. It provides a tool that is more geared toward software projects without the overkill or the complications of major project management tools, which is ideal for small projects with small teams and short timelines.

Find the times that work for you best:
All of us have times that we are more productive than the other times. These are the times when our energy levels are highest and our concentration is sharpest.

For me these times are the morning and the night. So I have planned my work day in such a way that I can make use of these times.

I schedule other activities such as meetings that requires me to go out and meet clients to those times that my energy I low. Having to go out and meet people is better option when you’re energy is low rather than trying to work on your own.

But I am not always able to dedicate these times for doing paid work. Go instance some mornings I have to drop and pick my daughter to school. An sometimes there are other errands or family matters that need to be done at those times. If that happens I shift my work hours to other time slots.

Stick to a schedule as much as possible:
One of the first things I tried to do when I started out was to get rid of all schedules. And that was the biggest mistake I made. Nothing hardly got done without crunching everything at deadlines.

Set targets:
This is something that helped me to get things done and also to keep my income in check. I target to do a cetain amount of work everyday. There is a monthly target and a weekly target and a daily target. Sometimes I may exceed the daily target but sometimes due to other tasks that I have to attend to, the weekly paid time target may go off target. I try todo my best to cover the weekly target. If I fail to meet my weekly targets, I know that it will result in a dent in my monthly income.

Time box:
This is something that has worked out for me really well and help me deal with procastinating and meeting targets as well. When I work I try to work in a chunk. Spend a chunk of time like 2 hours on a task. I reward myself with a small break after the specified time was spent on the task.

This also helps me meet my targets without getting burned out. This also helpse pace out my day.

Be flexible:
The greatest of plans go off th track. So the key is being flexible and having th ability to adopt the changes and disruptions. I still get irritate when my work plan gets disrupted. But I am trying my best efforts to be flexible. One of the advantages of freelancing is it gives greater freedom to become flexible.

These techniques and this work flow has helped me keep my productivity at a higher level. This also helped me to keep my income in check. One of the great worries of freelancing is the fluctuating income. While getting work is the primary fact in meeting this, once you land work, getting things done will ensure that you deliver on the work that you have taken up.

Powercuts have been a common occurance the past few days. Everynight ther seems to be a powercut of at least half an hour. And to add pain to the misery there was a full day powercut yesterday. Not only did it make getting through the day extremely uncomfortable with the prevailing heat and humidity, it alo made me miss my work.

Since excuses such as those are not acceptable to people in the USA, I ended up working till 4 AM. And now I am trying to get through today like a zombie. I can tell you this, neither my kids nor my wife are impressed. No who said life was all rosy?

I recently upgraded my VS2008 to Service Pack 1 which was a combined update to .NET Framework 3.5 also to SP1. I did update to try my hand in ASP.NET MVC architecture.

I am working on a couple of projects that are using ASP.NET AJAX these days. And after doing this update I started noticing strange issues in pages using AJAX extenders.

First I noticed that the pages containing the AJAX extensions were throwing strange errors. They were usually in the form of “Cannot set value True for property enabled”. This caught me quite by surprise and made me review the HTML over and over.

Once I was sure that there was nothing wrong in the way that the properties were set, and these were pages that were working perfectly, I realized something would have happened after applying the service pack. But I could not find a lot of useful information directly documenting this issue. Most of the issues were reported on the user controls behaving in a similar manner.

After quite a bit of Googling and putting 2 and 2 together I managed to solve it by applying ANOTHER hotfix. This is where I found most of the info from: https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/Workaround.aspx?FeedbackID=361826

This is the hotfix that solved it for me: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/KB967535

Hope this helps someone out there to avoid the mess I was in which resulted in a few hours worth of work just before a major deadline!

I have taken the plunge. And this post comes one month late. Since the start of April 2009, I am a full time freelancer and an entrepreneur. I made the decision and moved ahead with it. Severed all my strings with the cubicle nation and started in the environments of home sweet home. I felt the fear, but did it anyways (that phrase sounds strangely familiar)

And I have been feeling better than I felt for a long time. I felt peacefulness that i had not felt for a long time. All the stress I had boiling inside me just vanished. I had to drag myself to work some times during the past few months and all that pressure evaporated.

Now I work the hours that I am comfortable (honestly I work far more hours, but I do it joyously), I spend quite a bit more time with my family (my daughter is thrilled that both her parents are at home), cut down time spent in commute, am doing projects that I want to do, learning new technologies every day and actually enjoying the work the that I am doing.

And there is no chance of this work getting bored as the projects that you do as a freelancer tend to be more short term and you are constantly working on new projects. This is a major departure from my last gig, where I was maintaining and developing an old system built on deprecated technology.

The transition had its own set of complications. I was moving from a salaried position to becoming a freelancer which meant that my income was going to vary from being the fixed income to a variable income. This was a major decision to make as I have fixed expenses due to debts apart from day to today expenses. But I had this major confidence that I would be able to earn the minimum that was needed to sustain our family and the first month has been successful in that regard.

Secondly, I was looking at the upside more. As a salaried employee my income was more or less FIXED. But as a freelancer and an entrepreneur the upside is unlimited! I read somewhere that a risk assessment should concentrate more on the potential upside and not the potential downside! And if you see your cup as half full, you know what I mean.

Thirdly, I wanted to always try my hand at starting a business. I have attempted this as a side project a few times, but the conflict of interests and work commitments kept me giving such a project the true effort needed in one. Being a freelancer is in a way, you doing your own business. And it gives me the opportunity to build a company around the services that I offer, do it in a more expanded manner that goes beyond a

single person. So I am finally giving wings to my dreams!

Hopefully, this will enable me to blog more often, do things that I truly enjoy doing, work the hours that I want, spend more time with my family, reduce my carbon footprint (no daily commute for me), exercise more, create more value and earn far more than I DID!

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I am getting the vibes that things are not in my favour. I have seen the things that happened and can spot a trend. I have seen how people were recruited and then shown the door once they were milked.

If you were looking to fill up short term positions with specific outcomes, then it would be really great of they were told that up front. That would have helped the persons concerned to make an informed decision. It would have set the expectations straight.

But when you get people in, promising them long term employment, and then getting your immediate pains solved through them, and then showing them the door is a pretty bad way of running a company. It should have opened my eyes then, but then I kept telling my self, “no it wont happen to me”. But now, it is happening to me.

When I took up this job I knew that the risks were higher. They were offering me an employment contract enforceable in the US. That meant I would have little or no legal protection in Sri Lanka. I also knew that since the company was not established in Sri Lanka, I had to shoulder a large responsibility of setting it up and stabilizing it. These were challenges I knowingly undertook.

I am a trusting person by nature. I don’t set out with a suspicion. So I believed i the rosy picture that my boss painted. What I did not count for was all the games and the politics that I would have had to put up with.

The first few months were great. I set up the operations, recruited the people, set up the infrastructure and did this all by my self. I went and paid the bills, ran the errands and had the work done. I never got any negative feedback regarding the work that I did. Then my probation period was over. I asked to be confirmed in my job. He said that he woudl issue a letter.

When I took up the job, I agreed to a lower salary than what I was asking for during the probation period. I was made to understand that my expected salary will be paid upon my confirmation. So I asked for the salary increment.

Then the flood gates got opened. I was told of a long list of areas that I needed to improve on. I took them positively. Then started the witch hunting. None of the good work I did were not appreciated. But even the smallest mistakes were taken to town! I kept putting up, all the times that I was being hunted.

Now it has come to the stage where I can hardly take it any longer. I know I am still not shown the door as there are still a few things the rest of them cannot handle. And I can see the pressure being put on others to learn those things from me. They are being pushed to learn the things that I am doing as part of my daily tasks. That’s fine. When a company is trying to make a person redundant, they need the remaining employees to pick up his work. I am asked to document all the work that I am doing, so another can do it in my absence (if I was sick, etc – yup that’s what they told me).

And the hunting for my head continued. I was held responsible for everything that went wrong. The funniest was then I was blamed for mistakes done by a person who was not even reporting to me. The respective manager was left scott free and I was the one blamed.

Enough was enough. I tendered my resignation. I was not ready to be made a scape goat. And I wanted to work, when there is professional freedom to perform out duties. So come end of March, I will be blissfully jobless.

Contrary to the official stance of the government recession is having great impact on Sri Lanka. One of the most obvious signs are the drying up of the job market. Take any weekend news paper and check the employment sections and you can see this for yourself.

A few more pointers, notice how many times properties and vehicles for sale ads are being repeated, and the going rate. Property prices are being slashed quite significantly. And how long rental properties have been vacant without new occupants. These are tell tale signs of cash drying up from the hands of the consumers.

And the stuff that usually do not hit the news stands. How many companies did away with their annual bonuses in December. How many did away or curtail the spending on Christmas and new year parties, calendars and diaries they were printing?

So what does it tell the average salary earning professionals? Hold on to your job like its dear life? Damn, I am praying for a speedy recovery from the recession.

Happy Wesak everyone. At least those of you who are in Sri Lanka are enjoying an extended weekend of 4 days this weekend. Some of you have been lucky enough to go out of Colombo. But I am in Colombo for several reasons as there were a few things we had to attend over the weekend.

To start off with there was a ‘bana’ and an alms giving on Friday and Saturday. Then there was Vidara and Thedara’s birthday party. Then there is the fact that my parent company being in the US, requiring me to be in Colombo with broadband connectivity in order to support thier operations. This is one of the things that I will have to do, working on US calendar as my head office. Something I figured would nt be much of a hassle. But in the long run I will have to get some Sri Lankan holidays, at least ones like the Sinhala New Year.

Coming back to Wesak, the recent bomb blast and the security situation in the country will put in a lot of restrictions on the Wesak celebrations. At least people will be a bit reluctant to travel to see the wesak celebrations due to security fears. Even my mother did not go to the usual temple that she goes to obtain SIL as today there is some big program with a lot of big shots in attendance and hence she was scared about being at a locations which is a prime target.

So on this noble day my wish is for peace in this paradise island. May we be allowed to celebrate wesak in  peace and harmony next year wihout the fear of bombs and loss of life!

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I posted last on this blog. Ever since I returned from my last overseas assignment things have been a bit of a mad rush. There were so many things that I had to play catch up on, I spent a few weeks just getting my life back in order. I think my work life still has not returned to normalcy.

Well, out of the significant events that happened since then the most significant has to be Dinara’s first birthday. We couldn’t just let the day pass by, though she did not understand a thing that was going on around her. We had a alms giving to a children’s home which had some 40 odd girls. We did not make a scene out of the fact that it was due to a birthday celebration because we thought that would make those kids sad!

Then we had a small party at our place. We knew that some people were going to turn up anyway, so we invited a few more. Then it turned out to be a bigger crowd than we expected! You know when you invite some, there are still some others that you have to invite. If you don’t you end up hurting their feelings and probably them holding a grudge against you for the rest of their lives!

Well, Dinara didn’t know what to make out of the fuss that everybody was making of her. She was feeling very sleepy and fell asleep just as the party was kicking off. We had to wake her up for the birthday cake. And as soon as the cake was cut, she went back to sleep and slept throughout the whole duration of the party! It was good in a way as she was kind of left alone because of the fact that she was asleep. Also, it gave us a bit of a breather to socialize with the guests.

I think Lushi was more exited about the party than anybody else. If it wasn’t for her, it wouldn’t have been much of a party. If it was any success, the credit should go to Lushi, the two amma’s and thaththa. Also for Sujee and everybody else who helped.

As for the rest of the things, well work is kind of getting hectic. My plans have gone a haywire a bit and am trying to get things on track.

Lushi is a bit stressed out as well. She is buried with work and whole lot of changes that are taking place at her workplace. Hey darling, take things lightly! And remember I am there for you, always!

Out sourcing is a big business in countries like India and Sri Lanka is also playing catch up in the game. But in our desire to get into this game, we have overlooked one crucial factor. What happens when things don’t go according to the plan.

For most US or European companies, the main reason for going for out sourcing is the cost factor. But since of late, a new trend is also emerging. That is the exploitation of the out sourcing partners in Asia. These companies usually draw up their contracts stating that any legal action needs to be taken up in their countries. This immediately puts the out sourcing companies at a risk as litigation in US or Europe for a small company in Asia is a very costly affair. So it makes it sensible for these companies to absorb their loses and walk away from the situation.

The companies in Europe and US, knowing this very well, come to these companies and play a very dirty game of getting their work done cheap and at times for no cost. the out sourcing companies hoping to build lasting relationships go out of their way to delight these customers, which most of the time end up doing more than they quoted for in the first place. Then at the end, after all the hard work they put in, if the company in the west refuses to pay, citing some odd reason, the outsourcing companies are at a loss.

The downside of all of this is, although the governments and governmental agencies promote the out sourcing business as a major foreign exchange earner for the country, they provide absolutely no support in such situations, in terms of arbitration or escrow services. I think it makes sense for the government or the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka to step in and set up and escrow service with an arbitration panel to help the ICT companies in Sri Lanka who are engaged in outsourced projects to foreign clients.

But as the saying goes, once burned twice shy, these serve as lessons in dealing with foreign clients, so you can avoid getting into similar situations in future projects. Managing the clients is an art. And managing clients with a hidden agenda is both an art and a task that needs you to be two steps ahead of the client. I was

While we battle out our case with the clients who tried to fleece us, I hope the rest of the companies who are engaged in such projects, take the necessary precautions to avoid such pitfalls. And we are not going to easily let go of people who walk out on us with our intellectual capitol! Though they were very unethical on thier conduct, we are still trying to act ethically. But there is a limit to everything!

In another transit in Dubai. I been here for about two and a half hours now and I am feeling pretty tired. Specially since I had no proper sleep last night as my first flight was at an un-godly hour of 2.30 in the morning.

Air travel can be pretty tiring if you are flying economy class and have long transits of a few hours. You have to spend your transit time on air port corridors. Dubai air port is packed with people. Busiest I have seen (ok, I haven’t seen many) and you hardly get a seat to rest your weiry legs. My legs are paining now as I have been on my feet most of this time

I am on my way to Tanzania to conduct a training to one of our clientd there. It’s been almost an year since we has deployed the system there and the client has had staff turnover and the new staff needs a fresh training to use the system effectively. As I have not done many trainings before this is a bit of a learning experience for me as well. Specially since I am doing the training away from home and help, if I need any, is far away. But with the help of the Internet, help is just a IM away! The world is truly a global village! If there was no IM or Skype I wound’nt have dared taking this trip on my own!

I am happy for Affno. With projects like these we are transforming ourselves to a global software company. I am hoping to make a few new business contacts for Affno as well as to renew an existing relashionship as well. If this trip can also create a few new business opportunities I think my trip would be a resounding success.

Personally for me it would be a big personal development as I would be playing a marketing role in this trip. Marketing is an area that I percieve weak in me. I have always shied away from any marketing activity. But as you progress up in your career, it is one of the key skills that you need, specially if you want to head a company someday!

Well, I have been ranting away so much it will be difficult to give this posta topic! I should stop now and go check to which gate I need to go to for my next flight.

PS: I am typing this on my PDA phone.

PPS: I am posting this from the hotel in Tanzania as I heard the final call for boarding before I could post it from Dubai and had to make a dash!

I am leaving for Tanzania for a company assignment tonight. I didn’t plan on going away so soon, just 3 weeks after my return from Mauritius, but I was compelled to go. Had no choice. Guess it is one of the downsides of working for a corporate entity. You are not entirely free to choose your schedules.

Anyway, my mission is to conduct a training for a government agency in Tanzania that is running some of our software. We commissioned the system a little over an year ago and they have not used the system properly since. Also the key people whom we trained at the time of the training have left that organization and now they require a fresh training from the scratch for them to effectively start using the system.

My company also wants me to engage in some business development tasks to make our existing contacts in Tanzania stronger. So I am going for dual purposes. I am comfortable in doing the training, I am conducting a training after a long long time. And it is the first time I am going on a business development mission and all by myself at that! I have tagged along the Business Development managers when they were going to meet clients as a techie to answer any technical questions. But I have never done a business development meeting on my own. Having said that, deep inside I am kind of looking forward to that experience as it will be a totally new experience for me!

Well, I guess this trip also will also be confined to work. Since I have been to Tanzania once before and since I am on my own this time I am not planning on doing any wild life safaris. I’ve seen it once and that is enough. I am not so keen to do that trip another time. Maybe the only thing that I might do is, if possible I will make a visit to Zanzibar, as it was a place we missed on our last trip. Other than that, I am looking forward to coming home at the end of the week!

Last night was a memorable night for Affno. At the National Best Quality Software Awards 2007, organized by the British Computer Society Sri Lanka section, Affno walked away with THREE gold awards and a special award presented by CIMA Sri Lanka Section.

Our products won gold awards in both product categories we entered in as well as the overall Gold Medal across all product categories. It was a great moment for us as our products were adjudged teh best in their respective categories and or Expenditure Management System was adjudged the best software product among all the products that competed.

This year, unlike last year my involvement with the BCS Awards was minimal as I was away in Mauritius during the time the judging took place. I only briefly participated in the initial brainstorming sessions, but my input was limited to chipping in a few ideas. But the teams that presented the products have done a brilliant job. Good work guys. Also, i would like to congratulate the engineers on both the product teams, both past and present for building such high quality and award winning products. Guys your hard-work has paid off. You can be proud of the fact that your efforts have been recognized in a national scale.

I am proud to be a member of an award winning team! Way to go Affno! NBQSA 2008, watch out for us!

My visit to Mauritius was uneventful to put it simply. I just went there and did what I supposed to do and came back. Didn’t get a chance to wander around, as I spent almost all my time working.

I was able to over the area that I had to cover on this project in a day and spent another 2 days writing up the spec for it, I spent more than a week understanding the whole project including the parts that our partner company was doing. Then I spent a few days preparing the final documents, formatting them and proof reading them voluntarily, as I had nothing much else to do.

I could have spent this time exploring Mauritius but I didn’t do so for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t think it would be nice of me to be exploring the place when the others were hard at work. Second, I didn’t feel like exploring all by myself. If Lushi was around I would have been more than happy to wander around with her. But not all by my self.

Then there is nothing much to explore in Mauritius. Coming from Sri Lanka you get plenty of beaches and sea sports over there. So I was not so thrilled about spending time on a beach. There is not much of wild life to speak about there. None I think, I didn’t see any literature promoting wild life tourism. There were not many historically significant places to visit. Nothing spectacular to see.

Work-wise I think the trip was very successful. I clearly defined the scope of the modules that we are to deliver. There were some fancy requirements, but I managed to define them clearly and to bring them within the scope of our existing product. This reduced the amount of work we have to do significantly. The time I spent understanding the whole business process of the customer and out partners product will help significantly when our two products have to be integrated.

Coming on this trip by myself and handling the client and two partner companies that we are working with, one in Mauritius and and the other in Sri Lanka was a good confidence booster for me. Also I think I built a good rapport with your partners, about whom I was skeptical at first will help me in the long run on this project. And to top it all off, I think I worked with some really awesome people, and forged a few friendships that will last a long time. So from a human angle it was a good trip.

I like doing this kind of work. And I would actually do this kind of a job readily of not for the fact that I miss home like crazy when I am away. I missed Lushi and Dinara to the point where I felt like dropping everything and going home. Dinara specially had made some significant progress while I was away. I am now impatient to go back home to them. I just have to hang on a bit more for that!

PS: I wrote this post while waiting for my flight out of Mauritius at teh waiting lounge of the SSR Airport. But since there was no Internet connectivity I could not post it. And I had totally forgotten about it. But in any case I am editing the timestamp to reflect the date it was written

On my way to Mauritius

I am on my way to Mauritius and writing this post from Dubai International Airport on my transit.

I have a pretty long transit of 12 hours. And since I am flying economy class I am left to use the basic facilities at the airport. I have spent about 6 hours of my transit time and am now bored to death. And I am tired too.

This is the third time I am on a long transit in Dubai. In fact everytime I have had to pass through Dubai I have been on pretty long transits. The worst being a 26 hour transit on my return from Tanzania last year.

I have been hearing that Mauritius is a beautiful country. But I am not sure how much I will enjoy the beauty of the place as I am going there on my own. I now find it pretty hard to be a tourist alone without Lushi. If I was with her, I am sure that I would have enjoyed the place pretty well. But since I am alone and missing her and Dinara, I guess I will just concentrate on my work.

I am going to Mauritius for a system study. Affno, the company I work for is involved in a project in Mauritius, along with another Sri Lankan company, Informatics International to deploy a system at Passport and Immigration Office of Mauritius. This is the second project that I am involved in the African region, the first being the Capitol Markets and Securities Authority project in Tanzania.

This time I am going to be away from home for around a month. This is the longest that I have been separated from Lushi, ever. Earlier I have been away from home in India for about a month, but that was before I was married or met Lushi. This time is it even more lonely for me as I have never been away from Dinara for more than a day since she was born.

I am already missing Dinara and Lushi. And it is not going to get better as this  is only the beginning of my journey. I know Lushi misses me as well. I hope Dinara won’t miss me that much as she would not realize that I am gone. But I miss her! she’ll be 10 monts when I get back and these days she is growing rapidly. And I am going to miss one month of her progress!

NOTE: This was finally posted from Mauritius as I could not connect to the Internet from Dubai.

Came back to work after a week long break! Not the best day to be back. The mood was pretty lazy and I found myself missing the quality family time I had over the week end.

The avurudu weekend was fantastic. I got to spend some quality time with Lush and Kesh. Kesh is pretty active now. She can recognize people and things. But she is pretty proud too. She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she recognizes you.

I think Lush liked the fact that I had some time to spend with her. Since I had been working pretty late and due to the fact that we use separate cars to travel to work, our together time has decreased significantly. When we were travelling together, we used the travel time to catch up on the days events and to discuss things in private. We no longer get to do that, except in rare occasions.

Also, I used the break to recharge my batteries and to do a bit of reading. I had bought a pile of books, but haven’t had the time to read them. I couldn’t read all of them, but started on the reading.

Now that I am back at work, with my batteries charged, I have quite a bit of work that I need to accomplish. So, let me roll up my sleeves and get to work 😉