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It is a bit surprising for us living here in Melbourne that the media coverage in India is so negative. Of course there is a problem with travelling on trains at 1am at night, and inviting potential opportunists. But this has to do with the general safety on trains/ public transport at night. As someone who uses train for commute to work, I can see that there is no such problem during the day. The Indian media have seized upon one or two cases of Indians being bashed and blown it out of proportion.

Racism in general? Well, if you are in a foreign country you do come across some minute form of racism. Most of the time it is because the locals are not in touch with international communities. In Australia, it would be most evident in outer country towns. But for where most of us, the city areas, its great. Even in Hobart, not being such a small place, still was quite tolerant of international communities.

If you want to see blatant racism, have a look at kuwait, where I grew up, or any middle eastern country for that matter. You can go to the government departments, where they will not listen to what you are attempting to say and make life hell for you. They even have separate schools for kuwaiti kids.

All in all, my personal experience in Melbourne has been very positive since my move here. I’ve bought a house (with a huge mortgage!) and am content with the after work life. Definitely more variety in jobs than Hobart.

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2 years on

It has been two years since I last blogged. Plenty has changed since then. I’ve moved to Melbourne, taken up employment at a bigger firm and achieved a few personal and career milestones.

It is great to see that people out there are finding this blog, mostly around the thoughtworks interview process. Hope this goes some way in preparing for the interview.

I attended the TW graduate Day yesterday in Melbourne. We were introduced to TW in general, had a session where we introduced our neighbours, and then a presentation from a TW graduate of Aug 2006 class. This was followed by individual and group activities, with half of us doing one set of activities before lunch and the other set after lunch alternatively.

The exercises themselves were simple and was designed to test the potential TWer skills in different areas. You don’t need to prepare for these types of interview, its basically designed to understand your strengths and weakness (atleast I think so).

I must mention the coding round though, where I was given a problem and had two developers watching me solve it. Of all the attendees, I had the very first go at the problem. There was a delay in receiving the question, delay in setting up the laptop and a second screen so that they could watch my coding.

Over lunch, we were greeted by other TWers who provided some idea of the work done in Melbourne. The office itself was fairly small, as it housed only the admin and support staff. All consultants worked mostly at client locations.Overall I would say it was a positive experience. All of the attendees were bright and were clearly good at certain tasks than others. I could imagine myself having a very difficult time deciding who would be the best pick for TW university.

Today I stumbled across the Read Out Loud feature of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Microsoft Sam (the default Windows voice) can read paragraphs or pages at a time. In the middle of a long paragraph, I ventured out to the next room to grab a glass of water. The robotic voice from the other room almost sounded freaky. I remember how 3-4 years ago, one needed proprietary software to do any text-to-speech conversion.

I came across this excellent resource on consulting. The articles on the site gives an insight into some of the challenges faced when dealing with different stakeholders in a project. This article reveals how the questions posed often have a different motivation behind it, and how to answer the question behind the question. The carrot and stick analogy is so true!

After the code submission (2 weeks back), I got a call today giving an advance timeline for the next round of assessments. The feedback of my coding submission was “positive” and hence the invitation to attend the next round. The exact date is not confirmed yet, but it would generally be sometime mid next week.

This part of the assessment is likely to contain psychometric tests, logical puzzles and perhaps a code pairing session. I am thrilled to be presented with such a fantastic opportunity.

Update: It’s going to be Thu arvo and Friday of next week.

I’ve been recommended this software a long time back, but never got around to using it – until now. Reading blogs maintained by TW developers was essentially my research and preparation for the interview mentioned in a previous post. I became interested in the concept of blogging since, and have started this blog as a result.

And now, Feedreader allows me to keep track of the blogs that I care about. Some are very prolific, with posts every day whereas others don’t post for months together. I’ve also stumbled upon blogs about non-technical topics – personal development in particular, which I used to love reading during by undergraduate years. Feedreader allows viewing/categorizing of posts similar to email clients. I’ve also enabled the Unread count
(not enabled by default) to give a quick overview of the posts left to read.  And since the blogs are categorized into custom categories, I can see the number of posts per category as well. Overall a very useful application.