Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 best workplaces in India

1. RMSI:-There's never been a better time to work in India. Today, India offers such good opportunity and career prospects that many people stay back in India reversing the trend of going abroad in search of greener pastures.

As India becomes a much sought-after jobs destination, here's a look at the best places to work in India. In a survey conducted by 'Great Place to Work Institute' and The Economic Times, among the top 50 companies, IT and ITeS sectors dominate the best workplaces' list. The institute researched and promoted the concept of 'Great Places to Work' for over 25 years and is now present in 40 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

The study uses an employee-centric methodology. Workplaces were ranked on a points scale based on both quantitative and qualitative data. Almost 66 per cent of the score is based on employee response and the rest on management survey. The 2008 study, spanning 6 months and 200 participating firms, surveyed 36,000 employees. 

2. Marriott Hotels India :-Marriott India's human resource practice has won it the 2nd best workplace award. Marriott India is the only hotel chain in India's top 50 Workplaces. Marriott India has won this recognition for the 3rd consecutive year.

The current Marriott portfolio in India is represented by six hotels: the JW Marriott Mumbai, the Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Center, Lakeside Chalet-Marriott Executive Apartments (Mumbai), the Goa Marriott Resort, the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel, and the Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai. Marriot believes that 'if you look after your associates (staff) well, they will look after the guests.'

3. Google India :-Google India is ranked as the third best place to work in India. A lot has been said about the work environment at Google. A cool and happening place to work for, Google offers an environment which is diverse, inclusive and collaborative.

It provides a flexible working environment with perks that are designed to make life easier and more convenient for employees to manage their life-work balance. Employees benefit from on-site services like car wash, onsite doctors, and dry-cleaning, while other perks like massages just help you relax and feel good. Google also offers free food to employees. 
One of the things that Google does to encourage innovation and provide an inclusive working environment is to actively encourage the '20 per cent project'. All Google engineers get to spend 20 per cent of their time to pursue projects they are interested in.

Google has been voted one of the best companies to work for by various publications, including the Fortune Magazine's Best Places to Work list. 

4. Agilent Technologies :-Agilent, the fourth best workplace in India, strives to become better and better with policies and practices that support work-life success.

It provides various offers like electronic job posting, harassment-free work environment, domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policy, employee network group guidelines, open door policy, education assistance program, employee and family assistance program (EFAP).

Employees benefit from a share in the company's success, competitive pay practices, flexible work hours, creative, energetic and innovative work environment.

The company operates two primary businesses -- electronic and bio-analytical measurement -- supported by Agilent Laboratories. Agilent offers innovative measurement solutions that enable customers deliver the products and services that make a measurable difference in the lives of people everywhere.

For instance, Agilent helps test more than half of the world's 1.13 billion cell phones. Agilent spun off from Hewlett-Packard Company in 1999 as part of a corporate realignment that created two separate companies.

5. Classic Stripes Pvt Ltd :-Classic Stripes Pvt Ltd ranks fifth in the list of India's best workplaces. The company believes its core competence is its people. At CSPL, there is scope for professional as well as personal growth. 
There is freedom to explore and learn, with opportunities for many new initiatives. The company believes in letting employees' dreams drive the company's excellence.

The company was ranked 19th in Great Place to Work in 2004 and was ranked 16th in Great Place to Work in 2005, a survey done by BusinessWorld. With a clear sense of direction and focus, the company always looks for talented, individuals who are ambitious, who love challenges and have a passion to excel.

Established in 1987, the company is in the business of producing decals which are used in the 2-wheeler and 4-wheeler industry. The company has a production capacity to produce 10 million motorbike decals sets per annum and is the largest manufacturer of 2-wheeler graphic worldwide. Classic Stripes is a complete solution provider for all automotive screen printed graphics.

6. American Express India :-American Express is the 6th best place to work in India. The bank operates in over 130 countries around the globe allows options like rating the boss! Employees get an opportunity to rate their bosses anonymously.

A company that prides on its employees' strengths and capabilities, allows them freedom and a great work environment. Quality, integrity, teamwork and respect for people are the focus areas at American Express.

The company encourages people to contribute towards development and rewards their performance. It is a diversified travel and financial services company. It was established in 1850 in New York.

7. Cadbury India Ltd :-Cadbury India has been ranked as the 7th Great Place to Work and the No. 1 FMCG company in India in 2008, by the Great Place to Work Institute.

This is the fourth time Cadbury has been featured amongst the Great Places to Work in India. It was ranked 10th in 2003, and was among the top 25 in 2004 and 2005.

Cadbury began its operations in 1948 by importing chocolates and then re-packing them before distribution in the Indian market. After 59 years of existence, it has five company-owned manufacturing facilities at Thane, Induri (Pune) and Malanpur (Gwalior), Bangalore and Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) and four sales offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. 
The corporate office is in Mumbai. A part of the Cadbury Schweppes Group, the world's leader in confectionery, the company belives in spreading happiness!

8. NTPC :-The 8th best company to work for in India is NTPC. The only public sector unit in the top ten list of best workplaces across all industries in India, the country's leading power company has also been ranked No.1 in 'Best Workplaces for Large Organisations' in the country.

NTPC, a premier public sector enterprise of Navratna status, was established in 1975. It is the largest power utility with an installed capacity of 28,644 MW through 26 power stations including 4 stations operated under joint venture companies.

NTPC has emerged as an integrated power major with presence in hydro power, coal mining, oil & gas exploration, power distribution & trading. 
With its excellent practice in human capital management, NTPC is among the most admired organisations in the public sector. The company prides itself on its dynamic and dedicated workforce.

9. Godrej Consumer Products :-Godrej Consumer Products is ranked the 9th best company to work for in India. Creating and maintaining an energetic and innovative work culture is at the heart of its corporate strategy, says the company.

It describes its work culture as a combination of fun, sharing, collaboration and connection. The company believes in the philosophy of holistic employee care, taking care of not just the employees but also their families.

The company also belives listening to employees and inspiring them to do better. It offers a good compensation package and other benefits. Various internal surveys are conducted to discover issues that need to be addressed.

The company's work/life balancing programmes provide employees with resources that help them balance responsibilities. Godrej Consumer Products is a major player in the Indian FMCG market with products in personal, hair, household and fabric care segments. The company employs 950 people and has manufacturing facilities at Malanpur (Gwalior), Guwahati (Assam) and Baddi (Himachal Pradesh).

10. Hilti India:-A company that stresses on professional as well as personal development of employees, Hilti India is ranked the 10th best company to work for in India.

The company deal in construction equipment and supplies solutions for measuring, fastening, demolition and construction chemicals worldwide. 
The company focuses on professionalism, contentment, continuous development as success factors to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. The company believes that customer satisfaction is strongly interlinked with a highly motivated workforce.

The Hilti Group is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing added-value, top-quality products for the construction industry and building maintenance. Its product range covers drilling and demolition, direct fastening, diamond and anchoring systems, firestop and foam systems, installation, positioning and screw fastening systems as well as cutting and sanding systems. Hilti India is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Liechtenstein based Hilti Corporation.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

LaCie Big Disk Extreme 1 TB

I recently bought a new external Hard Disk with 1TB of space. Its been 3 days, since am using it. 

Info on Lacie Big Disk:
The Big Disk Extreme is the dual drive model of the Lacie d2 series. All drives come in a nice aluminum case and offer either USB 2.0, Serial ATA or USB 2.0 with Firewire 400 & 800. The latter models are called Extreme with Triple Interface.

There are two Big Disk Extreme drives available, the regular one with USB 2.0 only, and the triple interface variant that has the additional Firewire ports. Yet there is another difference: While the storage area of the regular version spans across both hard drives, the Big Disk Extreme with Triple Interface is actually based on a RAID 0. As a result, it offers excellent performance when attached via Firewire/1394b at 800 MBit/s. However, this comes at the price of exposing your data to increased risk: Should either of these two drives fail, all of the data will be lost. From this point of view it's a pity that the user does not get the option to select whether to run a fast RAID 0 or a more secure JBOD setup.

LaCie provides a full set of cables for USB 2.0, Firewire 1394a and Firewire 1394b (for 800 MBit/s transfers). There is no manual, but a compact quick start guide booklet is included that will help beginners to get going.


Item Number : 301201KU
Capacity : 1 TB
Interface : 2 x FireWire 800 (9-pin) ports
1 x FireWire 400 (6-pin) port (compatible with iLink, DV)
1 x USB 2.0 port (compatible with USB 1.1)
Cooling System : Thermo-regulated progressive quiet fan
Rotational Speed (rpm) : 7200
Cache : 32MB
Interface Transfer Rate : FireWire 800: up to 800Mbits/s (100MB/s)
FireWire 400: up to 400Mbits/s (50MB/s)
USB 2.0: up to 480Mbits/s (60MB/s)
Burst Transfer Rate1 (max. drive speed) : FireWire 800: up to 80-90MB/s
FireWire 400: up to 35-40MB/s
USB 2.0: up to 30-34MB/s
Average Seek Time (Write) : <10ms
Size : 1.7 x 6.8 x 10.6 in. / 44 x 173 x 272 mm
Weight : 5.51 lbs / 2500 g
Triple Power Management : "Auto" for energy efficiency, "On" for instant access, "Off" for data protection
Driver-Free : Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista / Mac OS X. Silverlining software for Mac OS 9 included.
System Requirements : Computer with a FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 port
Mac OS 10.2.8 or later; Mac G4, G5, Intel 500MHz processor or higher
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista; Intel Pentium 500MHz processor or higher
Minimum 128MB RAM (512MB or greater recommended)
Compatibility : Compatible with Windows© Vista and Mac OS© X 10.5 Leopard (including Time Machine)
Comments : *1GB (gigabyte) = 1,000,000,000 bytes. 1TB (terabyte) = 1000GB. Total accessible capacity varies depending upon operating environment (typically 5-10% less).
1 Burst transfer rates vary from one computer to another and may vary slightly from one drive to another. Average speed is usually lower, depending on host configuration.
on formatting as NTFS - my drive showed 931 GB of space)
Box Content : LaCie Big Disk Extreme+; FireWire 800 to FireWire 800 (9-to-9 pin) cable; FireWire 400 to FireWire 400 (6-to-6 pin) cable; USB 2.0 cable (compatible with USB 1.1); external power supply; drive stand for upright use; User Manual; Quick Install Guide; LaCie '1-Click' Backup Software; SilverKeeper for automatic backup & file verification (Mac); EMC Retrospect Express HD for Windows, EMC Retrospect Express for Mac
Warranty : 3 Year Limited Warranty

My Experice with Lacie uptil now:
I love it. Am impressed with the big guys performance. And the little one touch back-up button is superb. 
To test lacie, I started by initially, booting up my VM. To my experiece, booting up process was very fast compared to my existing USB powered 80 GB disk. Once, I had windows OS up and running, I literally threw everything at it all at once. Starting from opening up IE, running anti-virus scan to opening up development (Visual Studio) enviornment. My screen did not pause even for once. Lacie does have an impeccable record in industry when it comes to performance and safety.

With all this great speed, space and peace of mind there are some downsides to:
  • external powered - USB powered external drives come upto 320GB, any higher one has to go for external powered drive
  • comes with a hefty price tag - drive cost me around 15k. As it is external powered, need to buy a UPS (considering power condition in India) for 2k. Totoal cost of ownership comes about 17k.
If price tag and being external powered is not an issue for you, then I highly recommed you buy Lacie.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist - Wss 3.0

To take MCTS exam had been a lingering task in my To-Do list. Finally, I caught up with it this weekend. I was being a lazy numb-nut, post-poning exam every weekend for one or the other reason. Upon post-poning, planning out study-schedule for upcomming week. 
I said to myself, this ae'nt going to work. Reasons will keep on popping up and I 'll never gonna get time to sit down in peace and prepare for Wss3.0. This time around, instead of scheduling my exam way before exam date, I walked straight into Prometric Center with all necessary documents. To my luck, they had a evening time-slot available for 70-541 Wss3.0 exam. Came back home, went to bed. Slept for couple hours. Went back to Prometric center just to find that their servers were down. aaawwww  !!! :( :(  Some ordeal.. which I'll talk about some other day. To cut the long story short am a "Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist". Yipeeeeee !!!! Hurrah .. !! 

Exam details:
Exam Name: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - Application Development  
Official Exam Link: Click Me
Time duration: Roughly 2 hours (way more that one needs)
Exam Fees: Approx 2250 rs (depends on USD conversion rate)
Topics Covered:
  1. Deploying Windows SharePoint Services and Custom Components
  2. Creating Site and Feature Provisioning Components
  3. Creating Metadata and Workflow Provisioning Components
  4. Developing Windows SharePoint Services Components by using .NET framework
  5. Manipulating Site Content by Using the API
  6. Manipulating Site Configuration by Using the API
I highly recommend "Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by Ted Pattison & Daniel Larson". This book covers nearly all the subjects that the test addresses. I found it to be great in and of itself beyond simple exam prep. It provides great examples and really got me thinking about some new and interesting things to try. Nothing beats actual hands-on experience. If you have time and interest, follow along with the examples in the book and then experiment with them. You'll have an easier time on the exam as well as really learn WSS application programming.

Life is what happens to you when you are busy making plans

"Life is what happens to you when you are busy making plans" - something I stole off a friend's gtalk title. This I believe defines Symphony of life we live. Numerous occasions, it so happens, you anxiously wait for something to come by and make future plans based on it. Turns out, when it's in your grasp, life plays you like a toy and everything you prepared for, looses relevance.
This not only applies to one's personal schedule, but generates a ripple effect, bringing in unplanned change in peoples lives. This unplanned change which influence people directly or indirectly is what I call "controlled chaos". At times, I get amazed as I see, how changes in my life, make other people alter their plans. By people, I not only mean people who are close to me, but also those who I do not interact with in day-to-day basis.
Lets just say, I recent time, I planned out something for myself. From no where came 'a change' which forced me to deviate from my well planned activity and alter my path. Am at my wits end, when I start to think, would have I walked on planned path all the way if that change haven't come by, or has it given me an excuse to console myself with.
One of my close friend, had an accident recently (I pray he recuperate soon). Call it chance, it so happens, the day he received offer letter from his favorite company, the very same night it happened. He was going through a rough phase and was in need of that job desperately. My entire group, was on the hunt for him. Seems to me fate had other plans. Its ironic to see, how a sudden change can make your life go topsy-turvy .

Thursday, September 18, 2008