Saving the third rock 15
A GREEN PERSPECTIVE
Fun-d-mentals 18 CROSSWORDS
India Hues 06
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
A RELIGION CALLED CRICKET
FESTIVALS OF INDIA
JAIPUR - PINK CITY OF INDIA
US Palette 16
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u VIRTUAL WORLDS TO EMBIBE KEY BENEFITS OF AGILE TO OFFSHORE FOLKS
Author is principal architect with Cognizant with Patents for his work on stepped loading of web page content and has vast work experience in Onsite Offshore model
A frame work for distributed agile The Agile development methodology, often touted as a “common sense methodology” for Software development, relies on effective communication as its foremost motivating factor for successful execution. It is well understood that face-toface communication is by far the most effective method of interaction. This is applicable during requirements clarification, planning, development, review and testing in addition to various other phases of the software development lifecycle. In the context of an “offshore strategy” or Collaborative Distributed Software Development,
collaboration via face-to-face communication is largely a luxury. The risk of not having face-to-face communication therefore has to be necessarily mitigated using alternative strategies and one such strategy is a Virtual World, it is a framework that provides for the immersive experience aiding in successful software development leveraging Agile Methodologies.
Getting the most from our research analysis
include “Tandberg/ TelePresence based video conferencing, WebEx/ LiveMeeting based whiteboarding, Extended working hours enabling overlap times between onsite and offshore, etc. And most of the above techniques tend to create a mundane work atmosphere. But How do I ensure that all the team members across locations are completely participative in a Scrum (or equivalent) based Agile Execution model, and also enjoy the experience of an efficient Agile Development Methodology?
and server, but also to package up artwork and complete world as easy-to-install modules. Modules can also be Open Wonderland (originally Project Wonderland) is a client- written to connect Wonderland with an unlimited number of external services. server architecture supported, Java based open source toolkit Virtual spaces are 3D for creating collaborative and dynamic 3D virtual worlds. Risk of not having collaborative immersion Within those worlds, users f a c e - t o - f a c e environments that are available can communicate with highc o m m u n i c a t i o n for a specific period of time fidelity, immersive audio, has to be mitigated to better enable core business share live desktop applications using virtual world processes. They are built on virtual worlds technologies and and documents and conduct are integrated with enterprise real business. Open back-end systems, 2D Web Wonderland is completely and physical world. They extensible; developers and support secure and private graphic artists can extend its interactions within the enterprise, and deliver business functionality to create entirely value to participants. Also they support structured and new worlds and add new features to existing worlds. This unstructured business interactions. Virtual spaces, enabled by different technologies, are built with the is made possible by a flexible focus on Integration, Interaction, Immersion and module system. This scheme Interoperability which helps in linking, collaborating and allows developers to extend navigation between multiple virtual worlds and spaces. not only the Wonderland client
Key Agile Events captured u Ad-hoc
video recordings of day-to-day activities shared with onshore Scrum Master for review Wall of Post-It Notes setup for all stakeholders to login and take a look at u Sprint Planning meetings, Sprint Demos and Sprint Retrospectives conducted in the virtual world recorded and saved for subsequent perusal u All conference calls conducted on the virtual world u Ability to readily share developer desktops for immediate/peer reviews. u A
Ability to share desktops between onshore and offshore for “cross-boundary peer reviews” . Saved recordings of onshore interactions with business personnel via the virtual world leading to improved understanding of user-stories and requirements, with readily available business centric contextual discussions Easier demonstrations of sprint deliverables directly from offshore u The Virtual World effectively used as a one-stop shop for presentations, reviews, requirements clarifications, interactions with testing personnel, virtual Scrum stand-up meetings u Offshore teams clearly becoming more Agile-aware, thereby readily imbibing the benefits of the Agile Methodology u u
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TREND L IN E S
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2015. Sounds far away, doesn’t it? But it’s not, and we already live with a little taste of what that future will be like. Consider: The rise of mobile computing, the proliferation of social networking, and the cloudification and appification of our entire technological lives. What’s most interesting aren’t the trends themselves, but the sheer magnitude of them. For instance, we all know that mobile computing is on the rise. But the proportion of people who access the Internet only through mobile devices will grow from 14 million in 2010 to 788 million by 2015. Meanwhile, the number of smartphones will rise from about 500 million today to 2.5 billion. And this whole cloud computing fad? According to these rather astonishing projections, we can expect the sector to become a $173 billion industry, on yearly growth of 21% All of which is to say, science fiction is upon us. But it’s all happening in ways that are both imperceptibly gradual and shockingly fast. The future somehow doesn’t feel like the future anymore, because the present is just changing too damn quickly.
For More facts and Video http://digitallife.neolabels.com/
FIRST NOTE - 2010 Q uick B ytes :
»»No. 1 in the Financial Data Services category of FORTUNE 500 list »»Jonathan J. Judge is named CEO in September »»First Data and ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, form a merchant acquiring alliance named ICICI Merchant Services. »»Key Partner for innovative Google Wallet project
• Approx 110,000 associates • Fortune’s 100 Supercharged Performers & All-Star List - Sep’10 • EquaTerra’s Performance and Client Satisfaction Rankings in Europe : First Place - Aug’10 • Forbes Fast Tech 25 - Apr’10 • Fortune’s World’s Most Admired companies - Mar’10
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way high above the permissible limits. The semi-finals were fiercely basketball is not about individual competitive with teams fighting tooth and nail. Flagrant fouls, talent, it is about pure teamwork blocking and charging were testimony to the intense aggressiveness. and intelligence. After the initial Both the matches ended up with a tight score-line and eventually round-robin matches, where each the Casanova and Extream teams booked their spots for the muchteam had to play awaited finals. Shooting, passing, dribbling, against each other, Breaking away from the When it’s played the way defense, rebounding along with each successful monotony and the glum of routine there were four is supposed to be played, aim at the basket were cheered on by the crowd. The daily work, it was indeed a perfect teams battling out basketball happens in the first-half ended with almost an even score-line while against each other dream-sequence. Associates air; flying, floating, elevated in the second-half the Casanovas outplayed the to vie for a spot in sweating it out, perfecting their above the floor, levitating Extream with some superb passing and accurate the finals. Finally, aims at the loop, honing their the way oppressed people shots at the net. Team Extream fought till the last the Casanova dribbling skills and improving of this earth imagine buzzer and it was the Casanovas who emerged as clashed against on passing, jump stops and themselves in their the Champion. the City Rocks and defense. This speaks up for the dreams.” – John Edgar the Vision Plus widely favored FD-Basketball Wideman Narasi and Kevin handed over the Championship Valihavgal locked Championship. Trophy to the victors in the midst of thunderous horns with the applause which was followed up by emphatic Extream. The ever-enthusiastic Vision celebrations. It had its own share of jubilating wins Plus team took the initiative and agonizing losses, but the most important thing During the to organize this event in the was the enthusiasm amongst the participants, the tournament, the basketball court Cognizant Navalur facility. non-participants and the on-lookers. Who said basketball is a man’s became the centre of attraction Seven teams took part namely game? Sarmila from Vision Plus team was the only woman player with people flocking the sidelines Casanova, Extream, Vision Plus and scorer of this tournament. way before the match began. Valihavgal, City Rocks, VQC, The cheerleaders relentlessly S5 and SSUPDATE Boys. Each cheered up the respective teams. and every team constituted of members who were endowed with The atmosphere was electric and the decibel-level soaring special talents for the game. But
Sometimes, a break from the routine, unwinding from the daily schedules does rejuvenate our minds. A team bowling event was arranged at Sempeck’s Family Entertainment Center in Omaha. As always, the meeting started with the introduction of everyone and an inspirational speech by Nachi. He highlighted on the current market situation and answered all the questions posed by the team. The certificates of appreciation were given to the best performers in the team. After that, the team went to the bowling arena, where dinner was served. On the whole, it was a memorable event.
BOWLING NIGHT @ OMAHA 9
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A shadow far off, Beyond her horizon Gets life and, Exchanges garlands with herâ€Ś Marriage is bliss, they say. What balancing act nature plays, Is incomprehensible!!
All alone she sings, About her apprehension, Expectations far and near, A dream, a new home Away from her home The summer breeze smiles At her mockingly, Anxiety peels out her heart every passing moment. She doesnâ€™t know him, Neither does he know her.
Anonymity is momentary, A feeling of sincere affection slowly Grows as a lovely right, drawing Rainbows in hearts and sending Hidden messages through a divine rhythm For her life blooms again To a wonderful new world Shared with freshness, Love and eternity! Krishnaveni Rengaraj
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RHAPSODY Have you ever felt indebted to someone but couldn’t think of a way to repay them? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t thank someone enough for something they had done for you? For me, it happened one day when this total stranger gave me a lift home from the middle of nowhere. I wanted to repay him in some way for his kindness, but he would not listen, and when I asked him why, he said simply, “Don’t pay me back. Pay it forward!”! Since that day, I have been thinking about what he said and trying to figure out what he actually meant. The following article is the gist of what I understood. Many a time there are things for which we cannot repay others, but for which we can pay forward. Let us take the simple example of freedom and nature. On a simpler note, we cannot repay nature for giving us all that we have, but we can pay it forward by spreading awareness about the importance of conserving and protecting our environment. Although this concept of ‘Pay it Forward’ in theory seems to be related to materialistic give and take, reality shows us that there is much more to it than we would expect. For those who believe that we live life based on our perceptions, a perception lighted by the concept of paying forward can actually serve the immortal Indian
values of establishing a world of love, ending selfishness, and realizing our duties towards other human beings. The obvious counter questions and arguments will include “Why me?”, “That’s how life is in today’s cruel world”, and the like. However, Einstein once said, “Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labor of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received”. Truer words were never said. By paying forward, we are not performing favors. But giving to our fellow men and the earth what we owe them. When I asked a few people, ‘Pay It Forward’ meant to them, their replies included ‘Living life in the true sense’, and ‘we constitute what we call the cruel world. So we must change it’. Someone also said, ‘we are the ones who can make tomorrow a brighter day’. Paying forward is a virtue to be promoted. It has great potential to make our world a better place. The cherry on the pie is that what fuels it is a simple understanding and modification of perception. The following few lines showcase what ‘Pay it Forward’ means to me: (1) A timeless tradition continued by a few. (2) A sincere thank you expressed by a responsible lineage. (3) Gratefulness complemented by a sense of beauty. - Iyswarya
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- A Humbling Experience Drowned inside thoughts of a corporate world so narrow Received an invitation to photograph bright minds of tomorrow Volunteerism with a will to serve thy Nation is what I learnt from a young mind of today’s generation Darkening Clouds of a Saturday morning I enter an Academic Sanctum so alluring Wandering through Empty classrooms reminiscing bygone days Imagining Swami Vedhachalam and his pious grace Smiling faces and children soon pour in The Silent sanctum soon comes alive with a din Volunteers organize for the events as told “River of Words” and a “Poster Contest” to unfold Fifteen words of substance for the kid A competition of sorts with prizes to bid Volunteers essaying the role of teachers Hair raising experiences ensue with mischievous tormentors Kids begin to apply their mind Little noises overpowered by silence of a different kind My eyes glance the School of Maraimalai Adigal A temple with ambitions like the overarching Pipal A break followed by the Poster Contest A team event putting creativity to the test Kids illustrate what a nation should do I hope their noble thoughts guide our future too
Prizes given among smiling faces and readers Adieu kids, I hope to see you as my leaders Volunteers introspect of the day gone by I’m a happier person. Serve thy Nation. Give it a try.
Project Outreach: Cognizant Global Initiative U.S.
Junior Achievement pilot in six schools in Chicago, IL and Hartford, CT. Recording for the blind and dyslexic; partnering with School for Autism.
School adoption programs–200+ activity-based projects completed (coaching classes, science awareness, talent competitions). “TalHunt”–164 winners chosen from 5000+ students at 14 underprivileged schools in Chennai (library awarded to two schools). Alumni-led Campus Engagement Program pilot with Anna University, Chennai & RVCE, Bangalore.
ENCORE Team South Auth: Congratulations on a job well done Gang, This is absolutely terrific. Given the complexity (and criticality) of our systems, Iâ€™m constantly amazed with the way weâ€™re able to successfully managed change of this magnitude. It is a testament to your leadership as well as the skill and dedication of your teams. Thank you! Jerry Bartlett [Chief Development Officer, RAS, Frontend and Merchant Boarding] Team MPS: Excellent, Job Well Done This is the first BAMS GL Segregation project that has gone really well. I wanted to say thank you on the great work and team partnership demonstrated on this project. I know this has been a long road so far, but your efforts have paid off for the client and FDC. Many thanks for your hard work and dedication. Thanks Lori E.Kastrick [Senior Vice President GSD Settlement & Back Office Operations] Team ICVerify: Douglas J Sanchez acknowledges ICVERIFY team effort for becoming PCI compliant I want to let you know of the great accomplishment by our ICVERIFY development group. The ICVERIFY software has been certified by the PCI Council for PA-DSS. Many thanks to Amit, Sripada, and the team offshore. Thanks Douglas J Sanchez [ Director IT, PC Product Development & Front End Tools Retail Alliance Services Product Development ]
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SAVING THIRD ROCK
I was trying to understand what this “Go green” is all about and the fuzz surrounding it. Go-green’s commercial value can’t really be understated. Any product tagged “Go green” claims a premium price in the market as compared to its peers. People have started talking about climate change, global warming, saving the earth, importance of growing more trees, recycling resources, conserving energy, leaving a better world for our children and grandchildren like never before. Some scientists even claim that the pace in which the arctic glaciers melt, would deplete entire land mass in few decades. Some other scientists refute the claims and there is a lot of debate on this issue. I couldn’t really separate the facts and the myths on this issue. So I decided to do some thinking, based on common sense perspective. This article by no measure is a research article though I have done quite a bit of research, on the topic at hand, before attempting to write this one. “Go Green” simply means reducing the carbon footprint. Now what does “carbon footprint” mean. “Carbon footprint” is the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person. For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide. So what is a greenhouse gas and why on earth do I need to be bothered about that? To put it in simple terms, green house gases are a set of gases present in the earth’s atmosphere that aide in greenhouse effect. I can predict the next question. The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from earth’s surface is absorbed by the atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated back into the earth’s surface. This helps in maintaining the earth’s normal temperature that we live in. If not for these gases and their effect on earth’s surface, the earth would have been uninhabitable because of relatively lower temperatures. Following are the four major greenhouse gases and their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect: water vapor (36–70%), carbon dioxide (9–26%), methane (4–9%), ozone (3–7%).
Greenhouse gases can be emitted through the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, etc, through the construction of roads, buildings, etc and through mining and land clearance to name a few. As the emission of green house gases increases, the density of them in the atmosphere increases which in turn re-radiates more thermal radiation back into the earth’s surface thereby raising the surface temperature of the earth. This partly explains what global warming is all about. Let’s get another perspective of this issue which certainly is interlinked to what has been discussed above. Going by recorded history, the population in the year 1804 is roughly about 1 billion vs 7 billion now. For some reason human beings felt a compelling urge to fill the earth with their own species, especially over the past 200 hundred years. Plainly put, we as human beings depend completely on the nature and its resources on every walk of our lives. Especially our dependence on non-renewable resources is even more alarming, as you know; they are not going to be there forever. The more we consume and dispose, the more the greenhouse gas emission and the more the increase in temperature. So, not everything about climate change can be discarded as myths. Our mindless consumption and disposable attitude have already started having its effect on our environment. “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is a classic example of one such attitude. It’s a “plastic soup” of waste, primarily constitute by our disposed waste, floating in the Pacific Ocean, growing at an alarming rate which now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States. And the latest scientific studies have also shown that there are as many as 11 such garbage patches across all of the oceans in the world. Now I get some idea of what this go-green is all about. But how can you actually ‘Go Green’. Well, it is an attitudinal shift or a mindset change and it can’t happen overnight. We can’t really study every process involved in the making of every product that we consume, evaluate the amount of greenhouse gases in that process and decide whether to use it or not. But we can start making our choices with more eco-friendly products. Taking a mass transport system instead of a car for work, taking our own eco-friendly bags for supermarket purchases, using low power consumption lamps, leaving your computers switched off at the end of the day are some of the day-to-day go-green tasks we could engage ourselves with. Let’s make our contributions for the better world, our future generations will live in, for what we have now was given to us by our ancestors. It becomes our duty to safeguard what we have and pass it on to our children for they have every right to enjoy nature’s wealth and beauty without harming her. Tomorrow may be too late!!
Laptops use 5 times less energy than a Desktop
ENCORE FundsXpress & their customers congratulates team for the successful launch of Hardware Token What perfect timing! I had been holding back on the full congrats until we got some feedback from our pilot – but here you go – hot off the press this morning – our first sign off after only 1 week of testing!!! Per Nish, we’ve gotten similar feedback from other pilot participants about how concerned they were with ease of use/administration and have been pleasantly surprised to see how uncomplicated we made it. Great job team! Cindi Lieblich [Vice President - ePayments/FundsXpress Product Development] FundsXpress – Jared Zafer recognizes the Wire Transfer QA team (Manas, Surendra & Praveen) Testing and assignments are very well coordinated. Keep up the good work as I believe this project will set the tone for future ones. Jared Zafer [First Data Financial Institution Services, Manager - IT.] Statements/Nordstrom project teams : Congratulations to Statement Development and Nordstrom Service Project Teams for the successful implementation of multiple projects into the April 15th Release related to the Nordstrom Statement Redesign. Remarkable Teamwork, Talent and extra Effort by everyone involved help overcome the obstacles placed in front of this team and in the end Client Satisfaction prevailed!! Special acknowledgment and appreciation to Ayush Kumar, Deepak Sundaram, Deepthi Sama, Jim Brailey, Kevin Flesner, Michael Hansen, Rajashree Vasanthiamma, Senthilnathan Ramalingam, Jamie Brock, Anita Smith and Wanda Shurson on a job well done! Jerry Bartlett FDGS Team: Our last mainframe system moved from a non go-forward data center (Denver) to one of our state-ofthe-art go-forward locations (Chandler in this case). As of the completion, all of First Data’s mainframes are located in Chandler AZ and Omaha NE. In all cases, the moves were executed flawlessly with zero critical customer impact. Participation in the planning and execution included not only a wide range of First Data technology, operations, and business representatives but also our customers.
SCENES OF INDIA
Art By : Illayaraja (http://elayarajaartgallery.com) ClockWise: TAJ in the Backdrop of an Steam Loco | Pulivesam - regional folk of South Indian state of Kerala | Ambassador Taxi - Yellow Cabs of Kolkatta - East India Cricket Passion - Kids playing Cricket beside Taj Mahal, Agra | BackGround: AutoRickshaw(Tuk-Tuk) and Busy Road of Chennai - South India
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A trip advisor to Coyote State !! The season changes and it’s a ritual of life, and our moods too incline for trips and lot more fun activities. It so happened on the Memorial Day weekend too. A plan suddenly chalked out on the day before, six of us set on a trip to Mt. Rushmore & Badlands. The Western Region of South Dakota, comprising Black Hills, Badlands and the Lakes region, which has a lot to offer for a three day trip. The whole place is surrounded by majestic granite spikes, pine covered mountains and sharp rock outcrops. The drive to Mt. Rushmore was so scenic and breathtaking. There is no better picture as Nature itself. The national monument at Mt Rushmore has a sculpture carved out of Granite Mountain, depicting the former United States Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. We then headed towards the scenic Needles Highway to the Sylvan Lake & Custer Park. Sylvan Lake is an extra-ordinary landscape. The rocks which lay on the ends of the water give it a unique appearance, yet unquestionably underline the fact that we are in the Black Hills. It is a location that can provide nearly any recreation you're wishing for. This is the best and apt place for bringing kids for their excursions. The drive to Custer Park was enjoyable and in the park we could takes a closer look at animals like wild buffalos, prairie dogs, burros, and deer’s as they walk along the roads or they graze in the open grass-
lands. It is always nice to discover places and nicer to discover new routes to the places. Leaving aside the little stress that prevailed while losing our way to the Badlands, we found it amusing and amazing all along the roads, watching the beautiful landscape with literally no vegetation and only peaks of sand. We reached on time, to enjoy the marvelous sun set! The beautiful orange rays falling on the sedimentary rocks of different shapes, canyons, ravines, threw a wide range of colors. The colors alternate from dark black/blue coal strips to bright clays to red sand. The whole place was fascinating and you can’t doubt the skill of the eternal creator. In Bear country, a good number of bears walked side by side with us. The teddy bear dolls that we have at home are just less good looking than the real ones, I can vouch. We also visited Cosmos, a place where Newton’s theory of gravitation has to be recollected and thought of. A house built crooked on the top of the hill tried to defy the force of gravity and we can feel mysterious forces against us. Is it a true natural phenomenon or an illusion? I couldn’t conclude, however a good place to visit. On the way back to Omaha, we visited the world’s only Corn Palace in Mitchell. The whole trip was fun and proved that nature is the best entertainer on the earth!!
◊◊ Cognizant was accorded the honor of opening the first day of trading at NASDAQ in 2011. Gordon presided over the opening bell ringing ceremony at the NASDAQ site. The event also coincided with Cognizant completing 50 quarters on NASDAQ at the end of the December 2010 quarter ◊◊ Cognizant announced that it has been selected by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the leading U.S. performing rights organization, for a multiyear engagement to provide ASCAP with a range of remote IT infrastructure management (RIM) services to drive operational efficiencies, enhance the quality of service, and enable virtualization ◊◊ Cognizant became the big winner in Institutional Investor’s second annual All-America Executive Team survey ◊◊ Cognizant announced that it has been selected by Eli Lilly and Company, one the world’s leading innovationdriven pharmaceutical companies, to deliver an end-to-end set of services to help Lilly’s U.S. sales and marketing operations be more effective, efficient, and innovative ◊◊ Cognizant made it to Paul Greenberg’s CRM 2011 Watchlist for a second year in a row. “They are a proven powerhouse in CRM moving to be that in SCRM,” wrote Paul.
◊◊ Cognizant ranked among the Top 5 companies that were most important to the growth economy in 2011, according to a list compiled by Michael Moe, co-founder of NeXtAdvisors—a strategic advisory firm—and NeXt Asset management, and Luben Pampoulov, Co-portfolio Manager at NeXt Asset Management, and published in NeXt Up!, a newsletter on the growth economy ◊◊ In the annual Forbes ranking of the 25 fastest growing technology companies in the US in 2010, Cognizant placed 11th, up from 15th place last year, in its eighth consecutive showing ◊◊ Cognizant made the first-ever appearance on HR Executive Magazine’s list of Top 100 U.S. employers ◊◊ Cognizant ranked third in a list of the Top 10 providers in the Outsourcing/IT Integration category compiled for the year 2011 by Consumer Goods Technology magazine based on readers’ choice ◊◊ For the third year in a row, Cognizant was named to Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list. Cognizant joined IBM and Accenture to make the Top 3 in the information technology services industry category. The entire list included 350 companies. The World’s Most Admired Companies study examined ◊◊ Cognizant announced it was named a “Leader” in the “The Forrester Wave: Global IT Infrastructure Outsourcing, Q1 2011,” published March 11, 2011. 22
Images used in this Material are from unlicensed Public images available in Flickr and Web.