2nd Year @ IIT Guwahati

Attendence of abt 10% in class, CPI of 6.75, a girlfriend, an electric guitar, a rock band, few sucking performance on stage, beer rum whisky vodka and lots of friend : In short this was my first year at IIT Guwahati. But then college life is not just about fun, and my experiences of 2nd year were enough to prove this point.

There is something about this college life that once people are in here, they dont wanna go back home. Atleast this was the case with most of the people in my batch. 3 months of holidays, means hell lot of vellapanti. I guess its lack of freedom back home that makes us feel so addicted towards this college life.

“12 baj gaye hai, so jaaao” , “subaha ke 8 baj gaye hai uth jao” , “Bijli ka bill jama kar aao” , “Nahalo jaldi se nahi to panni chala jaega” (This is the biggest headache i suppose) , “Shyaam ko doodh le aao” , “Pandey ji ka ladka computer course kar raha hai, tum kuch karte kyon nahi” , “Koi kitaab le aate”, dad se zindigi ke funde and similar infinite comments.

Actually, this is what we all run from. (If not all atleast most of us). Anyways I was back in the college, after a boring 3 month holidays. However, I came back with a few points to prove, firstly i wanted to improve upon my CPI which was falling like anything. 7.00 –> 6.75 .

I remember my dad asking abt my performance in IIT, n the answer I had was ‘Papa woh IIT waale results seedhe 4 years ke baad hi dete hai, beech mein kuch nahi dete.’ I thought may be if i can improve my CPI some how, next time I will say ‘Papa woh rules naa change ho gaye hai, aab results har semester mein milenge, but puraane nahi.’

But it takes something to fulfill ur dreams, n that smthing never came out of me. Infact the 3rd semester proved to be the worst semester academically for me. My CPI fell like anything by the end of 2nd year….. 7.00–>6.75–>6.23–>6.21……Academically things were out of my hands. However thr were a few areas i was fast improving [:)].

I was chosen as Music secy for the 2nd year, n that meant even more dedication n commitment towards music. Jamming for hours in the music room, practicing day n night in the room, organizing cultural nights within the campus, giving guitar classes n wat not……music was all over the place.

To be continued…

My stay @ IIT Guwahati (1st year)

I was never a bookworm and didnt liked studies from my school days. Infact I didnt knew about IIT’s even when I was in 12th standard. My father always used to hate my frnds, and the reason was quite obvious…none of them looked like a ‘seedha saadha padhai waala bacchaa’…..Infact none of my close frnd cleared JEE exam and in my case the only reason why I was able to clear it was my father.

‘Unka dandaa naa hota to shayad mein kissi private college ke bahar cigraattte pi raha hota.’

Anyways I now thanx my father for having that ‘danda’ over me, which was hugely responsible for my success at the JEE extrance examination. After all I lived some of the best days in my life here at IITG.

I came to IITG with no further aims. Though of studies in the beginning but then soon I found an excuse to run away from studies i.e. ‘Professors chutiyee hai’. Music was my destination next and guitar was everything for me in the initial days of my life here at IITG. Playing guitar in my room and jamming for hours in the music room with frnds was daily routine. Then came ‘Manthan – IITG intra batch cultural festival.’ I can still remember the enthusiasm which Manthan brought with itself in the hostel. Some were showing enthu for making name of our batch in front of seniors and some were showing enthu for making name in front of the gals [:)]. Anyhow after preparation of abt 1 month the result was that we were proved as the worst batch in whole IITG and our batch still possess that title I must say. However that hardwork of 1 month didnt go waste for many as many of us including me, as we got a pass to Subansiri-IITG girls hostel. That marked the end of the 1st semester where I found many many new frnds and someone whom I started liking for some reason or the other.

After vacation for 1 month we all were back at IITG. Everyone had results in thr hands, few people who never used to study were somewhere in the high 8’s. Some who tried everything were somewhr in the low 6’s and for people like us who were by that time deeply in love were arnd 7. 1st semster results proved eye opener for many but not for people like us, who were already been blinded by many things. However the saga of romance continued and finally came the proposal from my side. Everything well settled, infact I must say too well settled [:)]. Music was other area I was fast progressing. By the end of the semester I saw my 1st electric guitar.

That brought an end to my 1st year of stay at IITG, infact which proved to be the ‘THE BEST’ days of my life. IITG brought a whole new experience for me, sleeping at 4 or 5 in the morning was normal. Infact I dont remember a single day during my 1st year when I slept before 12 in the night. I found many new frnds and the love of my life. I progressed satisfactorily in music, atleast my frnds back home gave me a few words of encouragement. However one side whr I was loosing out constantly were academics. My cpi fell from 7 to 6.75 i guess. My attendence then in the classes was smwhere arnd 10% (or may be that is more [:)]). Anyhow I was then enjoying the whole new experience in the life, I was enjoying the company of people out thr, I was enjoying the atmosphere thr……BUT BUT BUT…..

Will google be a new Library of Alexandria.

What if all the world’s information would be available and easy to find? What if all the news, all books, all texts, photographs and videos would be collected in one place, and made available, always and everywhere? This is the goal of Google, and the company seems to be realising its core mission at an amazing speed: through its popular search engine, through Google Earth, with which users can find any kind of information based on geography, and through Google Print, a project in which Google digitizes complete libraries.

Google is divulging ever more information, in the process hiring the smartest people in the industry. But is the company aware of the responsibility it has, being the guard to all the world’s information, including personal information about its users? With its motto ‘Don’t be evil’, Google seems to have the best intentions. But there are also claims that Google is slowly turning into Big Brother, keeping track of its users and continuously making decisions about the information it provides to an ever faster growing number of users.

Will Google turn out to be a new Library of Alexandria, serving as a middleman that brings all useful information to anyone? Or is it turning into a monopolistic Big Brother that challenges the freedom of information?

This documentary takes a look into the world of Google, in the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California and in its London offices. We see –among others- Vint Cerf, named ‘the father’ of the Internet who explains the inner workings of Google as a company. Since 2004, Cerf has been working for Google, helping them to develop new applications for the Internet. What is his view on the development of the Internet, and on the role Google plays in today’s world?

Found the comments and matter discussed in the video really interesting so thought to finally blogging it. Hopefully we have a discussion coming up. 🙂

Microsoft Deputy CEO Puzzle

Yesterday I got a mail from one of my friend whose title read as: FW: Microsoft Puzzle. I just click opened the mail to have a look at the puzzle. Though I am not too sure if this puzzle was really asked my the Microsoft HR team for recruiting their Deputy CEO. Anyways by any chance, if it was really asked by the Microsoft HR Team, I thought it worth sharing with you all.

Click for the puzzle here

Try out the puzzle. The deputy CEO was given 15 minutes so you deserve atleast that [:P]. Anyways, if after 15 minutes or half an hour you are still scratching your head, feel free to see the answer below the puzzle.

Enjoy and have fun solving the puzzle.
Abhinav

Life in Bangalore after IIT Guwahati

Bangalore, Bangalore, Bangalore !!!

This was what everyone wished for in their final year at IIT Guwahati. Everyone wanted to get a job in one of the multinational firms in Bangalore and like everyone else, this was what I longed for and got too! After a long wait for my joining letter,  I was finally asked to join my present employer on 21st June, 2007 and if I can recall correctly, it was on 19th June, 2007 that I landed in Bangalore.

First trip to Bangalore (2002):
It wasn’t for the first time, that I was visiting Bangalore. I came to Bangalore way back in 2002 for an NDA (National Defence Academy) SSB Interview. That trip was my first trip outside Lucknow (my hometown) and it proved to be a disaster for many reasons:

  • I wasn’t selected in the Indian army.
  • I watched 4 movies in a span of 7 days here in Bangalore. ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Gadar’ were watched back to back on the very first day in Bangalore followed by another one starring Amitabh Bachaan, Manoj Bajpai and Raveena Tandon (I can’t recall its name). Must be wondering how watching movies could have made this trip a disaster. Wait, read on to know about my last movie on that trip.
  •  On the last day, I was already out of the NDA campus roaming on the streets at around 04:00 PM, when I cared to take a look at my train ticket back to Lucknow. The train was scheduled for 08:00 PM . So at 05:00 PM, since I had a lot of time at hand,  I wondered why not watch another movie, probably an english one, at one of the theaters near the railway station. It was ‘The tailor of panama ‘ that I chose to watch. The movie, starring Pierce Brosnan,  was as good as expected. It was about 07:00 PM when I came out of the movie hall. I rushed to the station and sat there awaiting the train’s arrival.  I continued to wait for the train, but till 08:00 PM, neither could I see any rush on the platform nor were there any announcements for that train. I called back home to my father to check if there were some changes in the train schedule. He asked me “Why are you out of the train ? You must be at Hyderabad station right now, isn’t it ?” Foxed on hearing what he was saying, I told him “I am still in Bangalore waiting for the train, but there is no announcements or anything what so ever.”  I had begun to sense that I’d committed some blunder. After the conversation with my father, I realized that the train was at 05:00 PM (the time i decided to watch a movie) and not 08:00 PM. I just put down the receiver and started looking at the ticket for that magical 08:00 PM, how could I mis-read such a thing, and I realized that the train ticket was booked at 08:00 PM in Lucknow, and that was what I interpreted as the train departure timing. Hell of a mistake!
  • But that disaster trip was not going to end here. The ticket stubs of the movies I watched during my stay at Bangalore  were all there in my back pocket. I reached home and my father got hold of those movie tickets. Thats when the real drama started, I was beaten to pieces.

First few days on my second trip:
Anyways, I expected a lot better experience in Bangalore this time. Hotel Orchid Harsha, was where we were supposed to stay for the initial 15 days. All the expenses were managed by the company so we all spent like a millionaire at Harsha. There were atleast 8-10 friends and colleagues present for dinner at the hotel room. 😉 I will say that those 15 days were one of the best here at Bangalore till date, when we lived life King size.

Dull, boring and Monotonous life:
However, once we were all engaged into our professional lifes, we could hardly find time for regular bakarchodi sessions we used to have back in college. It was more of a dull, boring and monotonous life for us all here. Also few of our friends found girl friends for themselves which didn’t help any further (less people = less bakarchodi). 😛 At times, a long drive on bikes with friend (Tau, a huge enthusiast for such long drives, owns a Karizma and 2 accidents till date did not lessen his spirits. Infact he’s looking forward to Hayabussa!) was another thing we tried, but our laziness and eagerness to sit in one position 😛 killed the interest in those long drive trips. Every friday, rock music and drinks at Purple Haze was the only joy we used to have then. Back in college, I used to think that we were not addicted to alcohol and that we used to drink for fun. But after coming to Bangalore I realized that we all had become addicted to beer and hard drinks at some level or the other.

No Rock band for me:
I came to Bangalore with high expectations of forming a new rock band. However it is really disappointing that I couldn’t find a band till now. All the bands from where I got invitation to play were either 20-25 Km from my house or they were not according to my taste or they were just on the starting to play rock music. Involvement with my website ‘Altertunes.com’ also didn’t leave me enough time to play my guitar at home.

Work @ Office:
I was probably looking for a different domain in my first job. Business intelligence was probably not the thing for me. (Though the field is great with some great scope ahead in the market) .Knowledge gained while developing my website eventually helped me in cracking Yahoo! . I just hope it will be great fun at Yahoo. Looking forward to working there !

Colleagues @ Office:
One of the things to cheer about is the team and colleague I got to work with at Oracle. Mahesh, Eshwar, Prashanth, Karthik, Vinnet Jain (mantri), Yasser, Vineet Alagh, Ankur and Avisek (Dada), everyone just made sure that I had a rocking and comfortable time at Oracle. Be it the moon walks in the lift by Ankur Jain, Finance funde by Dada or mimicry by mantri, it was fun all the way. The managers had an inspirational presence in the office, seeing them handle and managing thing was a great learning experience in itself. Kumar, Bala, Vishy and Michelle all were inspirational and joy to work with. Overall, I must say that I couldn’t have asked for a better work culture in my first job.

To be continued ….

Altertunes featured in Bangaloreinc.com

Hello All,

Yesterday Altertunes was featured and reviewed by BangaloreInc.com. This is first ever coverage of Altertunes over web.

To read more on the same visit:
http://www.bangaloreinc.com/2008/05/11/introducing-altertunescom-music-from-the-web/

To have a look at “In conversion with Abhinav Singh, Founder of Altertunes.com” visit:
http://www.bangaloreinc.com/2008/05/11/binc-talk-time-in-conversation-with-founder-of-altertunescom/

Many thanks to Pravin Karoshi for covering Altertunes on BangaloreInc.com.

My journey with Music and Altertunes

Hey there !

Its been close to 5 years now, since I first plucked the guitar strings and close to 3 years since I started working in the field of Music Information Retrieval and Audio Processing Technologies. Overall I can say that, the better half of my life has been ruled by Music in the past 5 years or so, and it continues to do so in the form of Altertunes.com.

Launched on 1 April, 2008, Altertunes is a social utility that helps people find their favorite music more easily and efficiently. It all started about 6 months back in October 2007, when I was given some training sessions on Web Application Servers. I was then introduced to the terms like Tomcat, Apache, IIS and other web application servers. Though the training sessions got over in a few days, it was a new beginning for me. I was so awed by these technologies that, my next 6 months were fully occupied by them.

Though my job profile didn’t demand any knowledge in the field of Web Development, out of interest, I started working on developing my skill sets in web development. It took me about 1 and a half months to know the basics of web development and how the things work on web. Finally, I thought of combining my knowledge of Music Information Retrieval and Web Development together, and came up with Altertunes.

The basic idea behind Altertunes was to come up with technologies that will allow its users to manage their music online, access them from any part of the world, and share their favorite songs and artists with other people in a trusted and secure environment. With Altertunes, one can explore this vast trove of music to their heart’s content. One just needs to drop the name of one of their favorite artists into Altertunes and rest is handled by it. Altertunes will quickly scan it entire music database, to find songs musically similar to the user’s choice. Then the user can just sit back and enjoy, create playlists, see who else on Altertunes is having a similar music taste, what all playlists others have made. To build the music meshup in Altertunes, I used API’s from AudioScrobbler and YouTube.

In future, I look forward to developing browser-based tools and applications which will help users manage their music from their desktops, get real time recommendations and related stuff which current music recommendation systems like last.fm and musicstrands fail to provide.

Music and My Guitar : How it all started (Part 1)

Well if you ask few things I can’t live without, apart from my parents,love and friends it will be guitar and music that will make to the list.

But I was never a born musician. There were friends of mine (Amit Chandra alias Candy and Navneet Singh alias Noni) from school days who used to play old country stuff along with Lucky Ali and K.K. but I was always a part of audience then.

My first real introduction to music was done while I was preparing for JEE examination(25th December 2002). By then Candy and Noni had moved from the world of Lucky Ali to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith and the likes. One day after my coaching classes as I entered Candies house I found a lot of noisy stuff going inside. Actually they were listening to Fly Away (Aerosmith). At that stage I was just like any other normal person without a bit a of knowledge about music. I couldn’t even play Sa,Re,Ga,Ma on guitar or infact any instrument. I asked them ‘Whats the big deal in this song’. They laughed at me and asked to sing the song for them, as they were planning to form some rock band. Well I unaware of the world of music, scales, pitch etc etc started mummering the lyrics of the song in my own tune and pitch. I can still recall the way the laughed at me after I sang the first line of the song ‘Gotta find a way’. Actually I sang something ‘Gaataa find a way’ in old dehaati style.

Well that was my first encounter with the world of music. They gave me a CD full of rock songs and asked me to listen to it. Slowly and steadily, don’t know out of what reason I liked the songs, specially Smells like teen spirit(Nirvana). As Candy and Noni were looking to form a band they turned to me. They initially thought of training me as a drummer and for about 15-20 days I was official drummer of the band . Candy being as Vocalist/Bassy/Guitarist and Noni with Vocals/Leads. Anyhow they soon realized the mistake they made by making me a drummer and Candy took my place and I moved to bass guitar.

…to be continued