Wednesday, August 20, 2014

hitchBOT: A New Canadian Initiative to Bring Technology Closer to People

Have you met hitchBOT, the newborn hitchhiking robot who is onto its first venture hitchhike ride with a mission of bringing technology closer to people. The newly built robot that has a size of a 6-7 years old kid, is making his way across the whole country, Canada, with one ride at a time. If you want to know where is it right now, just go to its website and a real time tracker will let you know its current location. hitchBOT has over 5,000 followers on twitter who are keenly interacting regarding hitchBOT.
hitchBOT is totally dependent on people for its movement. It seeks one ride at a time to move from one location to another with a mission to cover the whole country. Its constituents include bucket, pool noodles, rubber gloves, wellington boots, solar panels and a chip based computerized brain. It is a robot from Port Credit, Ontario and has a mission of travelling the whole Canada, coast to coast, the whole summer, with an intent of making new friends, covering interesting places, having interactive conversations and capturing beautiful pictures and videos on its way. It is purely a Canadian research project. Its journey started from the coastal region of Halifax and was immediately became an attention for a couple, Anne and Brian Saulnier, who were heading towards Kouchibouguac National Park, hence becoming its first ride.
An initiative of Hamilton’s McMaster University, with David Harris Smith, an assistant professor there, is the man behind this whole project. hitchBOT is powered with multiple solar panels that can be charged from regular charging outlets. With multiple rides, hitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot is supposed to reach to Victoria finally. hitchBOT is enabled with GPS and 3G wireless connectivity to keep interacting with its twitter, instagram, facebook and other accounts for posting and updating its progress. People are crazy to have selfie with hitchBOT.

Survey: 67 Percent of Project Managers Seeking Job Change in UK

A large number of project managers who were recently surveyed by a UK based company for consolidating data for UK based project managers and thus using this data to drive out some conclusive results came out with stunning results. Only 28% of the project managers said they are happy where they are currently with the job profile they carry and are not thinking about a change in job. On the other hand a whooping 67% of project managers expressed their consent in not having a fair amount of satisfaction in their current job and profile and are looking for a change in job at a new place.

As per the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the latest release states that the salary in UK has acquired slowest rate of growth. In a parallel note released by Arras People, it says that the low increase in salaries specially in the project management industry has severely impacted on them. 75% of the project managers working in some of the excellent companies confirmed that their salary hike was far less than the inflation rate this year. Out of this 93% of the project managers are working in public sector organizations. Based on these figures, it is quite easy to rule out the level of disappointment and dissatisfaction among project managers in the United Kingdom.

Contrary to this, the demand of project managers is on rise and has upsurged by 13% as compared to previous year (2014 vs 2013). 68% of the companies have confirmed that the recruitment of project managers in their organization has put a positive impact on business growth.

An Excellent Video: Agile Product Ownership In A Nutshell: Henrik Kniberg

This is an excellent video by Henrik Kniberg talking about Project Owner with a vision, Stakeholders, Development Team, User Stories, Capacity of delivering 4-6 user stories in a week by development team. This 15 minutes video is quite interesting and attention grabbing in terms of the information it provides on project management and the product ownership in an Agile Project.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Have A Look At My New Minimalistic Style Home

O Home, 
Give me your soul
and take mine
so that you become my House
And I become your Heart!

I woke up in my dream yesterday night (or rather today early morning, as it is said that the early morning dreams have higher chances of becoming true!). There was a light blue streaming soothing light all around, universally scattered thereby making everything blue and blissful). I was totally mesmerized. There was a white God-like shape standing in front of me and asked me to ask for a wish from him. I thought for a while and then asked to wish my home to become a high-tech. And it was granted by giving me a secret link to land in the huge world of digital arena, internet, visit the place and select three best items to make my wish true.

Wow! Without bothering to go for another nap, I decided to land at the portal. First item that drew my attention was a simple and sweet looking Little India Pure Brass Antique Design Real Telescope Gift -157 that was so cute that I instantly decided to pick it up. Reason was to search for God every night in the sky, find him and talk to him for a while. If not, then at least I will have God's representatives - Moon, Galaxies, Stars etc. to gossip around.

Next to steal my attention was a beautiful, gorgeous and gregarious MeSleep Red Monument Digitally Printed Cushion Cover so bright that it looked sure to bring a permanent brightness in my life. 

Since next item had to be my last one as per my wish granted, I struggled a lot among the variety of items available there to ultimately zero down to an ultimate piece 925 Silver Indian Traditional Silver Night Lamp - 15104 which I named as my Life Lamp. 

This post is a part of Makemyhome activity at

Monday, August 18, 2014

An Excellent Video: How to Reward Your Team: Project Management

Here is an excellent video from Jennifer, Director at which is quite concrete, crisp and comprehensive. A must watch for all project managers across the globe.

Project IntelliScout using Google Glass: Basecamp Networks

Basecamp Networks, a Georgia based development company has unveiled their latest product IntelliScout. IntelliScout is a web application that is closely integrated with Google Glass which is specially meant to assist Crop Scouts, Farmers and Agriculture community. Basecamp Networks has a motto of changing the idea of work through technology and that is what they emphasize on while working on their any of the projects. They believe in building ecosystems that are sustainable and smartly built. The core purpose is to make technology to work for real cause with real kind of solution.

So, the project makes it possible to look at a crop in real time irrespective of the geographic distances. In a hands free mode, once can take field notes, pictures of crops, videos, etc. and sharing it in real time so as to get engaged in a discussion. The crop scouts, who are more worried about the enemies of crops – pests, fungal infestations or rodents; are bound to get a lot of assistance from this solution. The application, IntelliScout, uses Google Glass for logging issues encountered during the surveys being done by crop scouts and sharing the real time data in real way in shape of notes, videos, snaps or any other form. The best thing is that it does not require a laptop, smartphone or camera.

The year long project by Basecamp Networks got over in March this year after which its testing began. Currently its deployment is in progress by means of building a global database of crops by mapping various crops being grown in various parts of globe.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Some Details of the Baseline Study Project by Google X

Google X is a research division of Google Inc. and is currently engaged in a deep study of a human body and its connection with being healthy. The discovery is focusing on an inside out study of human body to understand how a perfect and healthy human body appears. The project is being termed as Baseline Study in which the research wing of Google is busy in collecting and studying genetic, molecular and cellular architecture based information from human body so as to arrive at a conclusion regarding the health patterns in a human body. These health patterns are termed as Biomarkers, also known as biological markers.

Once the concept of health patterns is captured in a right manner, will tremendously help in detecting and treating of serious unharnessed diseases and shall lead to a major breakthrough in medical sciences. Something which has never been achieved so far. This would help in ascertaining at a very preliminary stage about people who are prone to acquire chronic diseases at a later stage of their life, due to some inheritance in their genes, or some risky living patterns like smoking and drinking. If this diagnosis will happen at an earlier stage, it will help in mitigating the risk of loss of life or low chances of survival.

The research which started with 175 people whose tissue and body fluids samples will be the part of research, is being planned to increase to 1000 people for arriving at more accurate results.

Revival of Facebook Mobile Ad Revenue: An Excellent Project Showcase

When Facebook launched its IPO in 2012 under heavy expectations, speculations and rumors from investors, public and corporate world; it never knew the bad treatment it was going to get when the prices were reached to half in a period of 3 months. Keen watchers remained stuck to the movement of its stocks in the market. Either Facebook has remained as a secret planner for earning money without disclosing its strategies in advance, or the financial stalwarts have not been able to judge the weakness or strength of its scrip.

There is no doubt that after the launch of its IPO, Facebook had a bad period of struggle in the market. The projected inflows and earnings were not as per the agenda and even during a period of one year after the launch, Facebook's earning from mobile advertising was not as it had anticipated. The speculations and rumors have been sidelined with the latest press release by Facebook where they declared their earnings for the second quarter of 2014. As per the results, Facebook has achieved to increase its revenue to 67%. Its weakest area of earnings through mobile ads has become now quite a strong piece of the overall revenue by having a contribution of 60%.

With increasing profit margins and its end users base, Facebook has become a top most ranker in terms of ad seller. With these results announced, Facebook shares price had a whooping jump by 5% and the current share price of USD 75.2 is almost double of the initial offering of USD 38 IPO.

13 Facts About Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming is one of the aspect of Agile Processes and probably among the most popular ones.

It has proven and established its success on global front

It is independent of the project size, industry size or industry type.

The topmost priority of Extreme programming is customer.

It focuses on delivering what is actually required by the organization rather than talking about a delivery of big elephant with no clear vision of delivery date.

Instead of committing to produce everything it promises to produce what is the first need of organization. So once this gets delivered the next most important requirement becomes the first.

This way Extreme Programming never takes complete customer requirements in one go. It starts with outer periphery moving inwards.

It has proven its capability in providing a last minute change in the business requirement even during the time of delivery in a swift manner.

It puts a high emphasis on team collaboration and customer engagement in a constant manner.

Its simple mechanism has proved to be highly effective and productive.

It talks about least monitoring and high amount of self organization to produce highly efficient results.

The role of tester begins along with the developer and both go hand in hand.

Above with continuous engagement with customer promises to deliver any suggested changes with quicker implementation.

Scope of User Stories

In continuation from my previous post on user stories, the basic fact about user stories remains established that it is a powerful mechanism to drive a project in a more promising mode. The results are more predictive in this way, quicker, and the whole game is played with a very low risk. Driving a new application development project based on user stories is not only interesting but high result oriented also.

User stories must be strongly depicted to provide low risk clue to declare the timelines. Release of user stories depends varies not more that 3 weeks and less than a week. While the development team starts working on a specific user story, it must be carried out in a most isolated state, with no interference, no other priorities and no alterations in plans. The developers must be very clear about the scope and boundaries of story. If a story is stretching beyond 3 weeks for its release, it needs to be fragmented into smaller pieces so as to arrive arrive within the limit of 1 to 3 weeks.

Similarly if a story is estimated to be released in less than a week's time, it needs to be added to some other stories so as to lengthen the release time but keeping in mind that the combined time should not go beyond 3 weeks. A release plan contains release dates of a number of such user stories. Stories are always business process centric.

9 Facts About User Stories


User stories are not same as use cases though they objective and purpose of both is same. 

User stories are crisp, realistic, to the point, directional, practical, purposeful, resulting and have multipurpose.

User stories are a good alternative of business requirement document but are shorter and crispier than the voluminous size of the latter.

User stories have a huge amount of objectivity in terms of declaring or demanding a business feature or function to be fulfilled by the software application.

They are somewhat having a good amount of resemblance with business scenarios.

User stories are created by or with the help of experts in specific business area in a specific format and limited text. User stories form a solid foundation for test cases specially the acceptance tests.

Unlike detailed requirement documents prepared in traditional project management process, user stories are limited to only of length that is sufficient enough to depict the requirement in such a fashion that the overall requirement framework can be understood, and provide  near to perfect timelines for its deployment.

The actual detailed requirement is understood at the time of its development and deployment by developers.

The latter part happens in direct interaction of development team with the business core user or the story creator.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Developers Worldwide: Get Ready For Innovative Mobility Series Challenge: USD 30K Prize

Looking at the global verticals becoming interconnected by sharing similar kind of issues and in wake of sharing the challenges with online communities and trying finding out optimum solutions by joining hands with best of the brains, Ford Silicon Valley Lab has launched a global challenge for development community to find out the best of the solutions for challenges being faced at various levels in various countries/ cities. Innovation is the key to all challenges. Mobility is the key problem being faced worldwide whether it is connected to economical, affordability, environmental, social or global factors.


 Who Can Participate In This Challenge: a. An application development professional in the capacity of individuals b. An organization with a team size of less than 50 employees c. A large organization with a strength of employees more than 50 Whereas category a and b above are applicable to compete for the prize money, category c can participate to get a non-cash Large Organization Recognition Award, which in no terms is lesser. What Platform: Developers are free to use and development tools on any platform. They can use Ford’s proprietary development tool OpenXC too. Purpose: The prize winning (or recognition winning) application will become part of Ford Automobiles for deployment or further enhancement/ development. The application developed might also be used as an integrated tool with their any of the existing apps (Ford Sync). Location: Developers belonging to any city across the globe may submit relevant app(s) for any locations mentioned for the contest – Lisbon, Los Angeles, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Johannesburg cities and the entire Argentina country. The competition/ challenge is specific/ unique for specific location depending on the specific requirements of these locations. Duration: The challenge has started from July 15th, 2014 and is on till October 14th, 2014. What Exactly is to be developed: 

Location wise requirements are as below:  


Lisbon: Developers are required to develop an application that helps Ford in optimizing the delivery of their goods and services in a sustainable manner for cities having population within a limit of 600,000.

Mumbai: The application to be submitted for this city is covered under Monsoon App Downpour Challenge where the complete focus of the app will remain on improvement of mobility forces during the severe weathers. 


 Delhi: The challenge is named as SUMURR Golden Hour Challenge in which the main attention of the application is meant to reduce time for taking care of traumatic instances. Chennai

Chennai: Challenge in Chennai is named as SUMURR mHealth Challenge. The focus of the app has to be on providing information on health services to rural areas

. LosAngeles 

Los Angeles: The app challenge here is to develop Parking Lots 2.0 in which the main focus is to provide innovative and unique ways of providing outdoor surface parking lots.


 Shanghai: The challenge here is to provide an app that provides a transformational assistance in improving mobility. The challenge is called Urban Community Challenge.


 Johannesburg: Developers for this challenge need to develop accessories to improve mobility.


 Argentina: The developers need to bring in an innovative app to define the future of mobility for the whole Argentina including urban planning, new mobility models in public and private arena.

Reprinted from my other tech blog:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Meet Arjit Kansal: 16 Years Old Teen Has Won Microsoft PowerPoint World Championship 2014

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

A global recognition and USD 5,000 award is what Arjit from Delhi has earned in recently concluded Microsoft Powerpoint 2010 Specialist World Championship 2014 held in Disney's Grand Californian Resort, California, on 4th August 2014. The MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) award was being competed by over 400,000 aspirants from 130 countries. 123 out of 400k competitors were able to make it into finals and finally Arjit was declared as the winner.