Amazon Alexa

Though reading about Amazon Alexa and their services eco-system earlier, yesterday I had the first-hand demo of its cool features in Crosswords. It’s a magic for my family.  It was very hard for me to control my intentions to buy immediately.

They had Echo and Echo plus for display and each model is configured with some specific apps.  Though in a shop and crowded environment it was able to take voice input many visitors and same time some specific control from the salesperson.  It could take heavy Indian accent words.

Today doing little research on Alexa eco-system, local content, and support. It looks its marketed heavily on TV with nice advertisements. With Prime Video and Prime music handy and few gimmick apps like weather and question answers would be interesting for gadget savvy youths with a good Fiber internet connection in Bangalore.

But the possibility of using Echo plus as home controller and build a smart home solution looks very promising for me.  Amazon needs to get local partners to build smart home solutions or it may be right startup space.  To extract and implement some niche business ideas like easy accessibility solutions for elders.  This could be useful for home security as well.  It can break smartphone-phobia of our senior citizens to enjoy socially with their young ones at home.

I wish they will have local language support sooner in this platform.



Athletic Bilbao – Supporting local talent

Yesterday while watching La Liga match between Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou with my son (in spite my urge to look at the cricket score of Nidahas T20 tense final match), he mentioned that he did not like Athletic Bilbao team selection process as they don’t go behind international club stars.  His choice of favorite team changes based on his first choice player.  He prefers Real Madrid any day. And if not, he is ok to watch Barcelona.

I was amused to hear a view of a sporting franchise who is participating in highly commercialized sporting leagues.  Their La Liga status is impressive – they are always playing in the first division and qualified for Europa league and Champions League in recent years as well.  The major beneficiary of this policy is their Spanish national team.

Compare this with our known sports leagues, I am not sure any of our sports franchise would have a similar policy at the national level.  But I love the concept of a hyper local-focused sports franchises which would do wonders for the quality of sports across India.  It would be interesting to study their policy on talent finding and grooming and their commercial model as well.



Trying out Chrome OS in VmWare

Today, I had downloaded the Vmware image of Chrome OS from and trying to boot up Chrome OS.  I was struck with logon screen for quite some time before googling for an offline user name / password for Build. Then based on some suggestions I looked again on the site where I had downloaded the Vmware image to get the valid user id / password. 
Only thing, I am seeing now is chrome browser tabs without any network connectivity. I am yet to figure out how chrome will use my ethernet or wireless connectivity on this machine. However all other guest OS I had tried on VmWare were able to get connectivity easily 🙂

Hello World

I am just going through the experience of recovering a crashed computer (which I uses for work).  It was cranky and crying for attention quite some time now.  Last week, I was trying to install virtual machine (Sun’s Virtual box) and playing around virtual network card configuration. And in the same time,  I got my Win XP service pack upgraded to SP3.  I don’t know if that was due to driver mismatch or something.  I was getting Blue Screen of death (BSOD) while starting Windows (both normal mode as well as Safe mode).

When tried to rescue with BartPE boot CD, I was not able to see C drive and in the same time, I could see other logical partitions.  So only option is to reinstall the operating system. 

Who is the product owner ?

In agile, specially I am taking about scrum method,  who is the product owner. As per the definition at Scrum Alliance – Scrum Roles page, the product owner is defined as

The Product Owner has the following responsibilities.

  • Define the features of the product;
  • Decide on release date and content;
  • Be responsible for the profitability of the product (ROI);
  • Prioritize features according to market value;
  • Adjust features and priority every 30 days, as needed; and
  • Accept or reject work results.

With my limited experience in using scrum in a globally distributed team, me and my team has to work mostly with IT Organization of the customer and we are assigning a person from customer side who is typically managing / involved in the application for more time (when compared to others in practical scenarios). 

And the following are my observation and thats based on my experience in implementing this practice

Product owner can define features for the product. It was more like a requirement / use case definition through story points or use cases or both. This works well when we are migrating a existing application into new platform. And while working on any new feature or use case story, role of the product owner is becoming more like a Single point of contact for gathering the requirements and if you have very short sprints (say 2 weeks) we are spending more time.

Any one have better experience in this aspect.  I am interested to listen from someone who had done this role

Disabling USB storage devices on Windows XP

One of the recent problems we had in our team is virus through USB storage devices.  I had noticed people using both pen drive and USB external storage.

I am not against usage of these devices, but the people who uses the devices should know what they are doing.  Though these USB storage devices are just carriers in spreading problem and whole problem is un-patched operating system or IE or any other windows components, our client and our management team does believe that disabling or preventing usage of USB drives would solve this problem.

I was looking for a simple VB script to perform the operation and found one here.