Author: Arjunlal B

A starbucks barista who wanted to write my name right!

A starbucks barista who wanted to write my name right!

Starbucks baristas are known for writing names wrong, intentionally or otherwise. There are many theories which argue that Starbuck baristas do it intentionally. This phenomenon is so widely known, so much so that people usually give out just an easier to write names when they go to Starbucks. I had a colleague who use the name ‘Prado’ instead of his real name ‘Pradeep’ and a friend who goes by ‘Harry’ instead of the name ‘Harikrishnan’.

However, it turns out all Starbucks baristas do not want to write your name wrong. This is a story from my trip to Tijuana, Mexico in February 2017.

My friend Naveen and I were in Tijuana for a weekend. We did not have a hotel reservation and to take advantage of a booking.com offer I had, we decided to do the booking online and then head to the hotel. Both of us had US sim cards but our data plan was not working in Mexico. Hence, we decided to go to the nearest Starbucks, grab a coffee and use the free WiFi to book a hotel room online.

We walked into the nearby Starbucks at Paseo de los Héroes. There was a cute young lady at the counter. While taking the order, she asked for my name. I said, “Arjun” (Pronounced as ar-j-un).

She looked at me with a lost expression and confusion. I spelled it out. She still had the same look. She waited after writing ‘A’ and ‘R’. I repeated ‘J’. Same expression with a hint of an apologetic smile. I tried having a conversation with her to understand the confusion and then she told me in her broken English that she can’t recall the letter ‘J’.

She still wanted to give it a try and wrote my name as ‘Argun’ and asked me if it is correct. I told her that there’s a small mistake and that I can write the name for her.

She apologized for the mistake and politely asked me if I could instead show her how the letter ‘J’ is written so that she can learn. She told me that she’s only learning English. I demonstrated it to her and she recalled ‘J’ once I wrote it down.

She smiled at me, thanked me for the little ‘lesson’, took another cup and wrote the name right on the second cup, filled my order and handed it over to me with a huge smile.

I was impressed by her curiosity, tenacity and the urge to learn!

Here’s a photo of the two cups, side by side.

A Starbucks barista's tryst with my name
A Starbucks barista’s ‘tryst’ with my name

During my travels till date, I have come across many interesting human beings and heard many interesting stories. This is one such. Not just a story, but a heartwarming and inspirational one.

At GIDS 2018 : Part 2

At GIDS 2018 : Part 2

Click here to read At GIDS 2018 : Part 1

First day at GIDS 2018 continues after lunch. So far, all talks have been running on time! On time is a good thing.

Townhall Session

Right after the lunch, it was time for a townhall session with a great panel of technologists. Townhall session was moderated by Dr. Venkat and the panelists were Scott Davis, Kito Mann, Michael Carducci, Pavan Podila and Supriya Srivatsa. Multiple questions raised in the session revolved around Privacy / Ethical issues in light of the recent Facebook controversy. One delegate voiced his concern about the technology scene becoming a hellhole of frontend frameworks, while another wanted to know about the panelists’ thoughts on future of automation and how engineers should adapt to it. Questions were also raised on the tradeoffs on ‘competition vs collaboration’ and also on two of the recent remarks about the Indian engineering space (‘Indians not creative’ remark and ‘80% indian engineering graduates are unemployable’ remark by some technology leaders). Last question was posed by the only female questioner of the session about the skewed gender ratio in engineer. The townhall session was informative and the discussions were current and valid.

Townhall session in progress
Townhall session in progress

Now, its time to go back to focused sessions.

Metaprogramming with Javascript

I headed to attend Metaprogramming with Javascript by Dr. Venkat. It was a joy to sit through the session while Dr. Venkat took us through a journey with practical examples, exploring whys and hows of metaprogramming using Javascript. He enlightened us about injection vs synthesis, use of proxy and how to leverage metaprogramming to make Javascript more fun!

Dr Venkat talking about Metaprogramming using Javascript
Dr Venkat talking about Metaprogramming using Javascript

It’s Spelled ‘Accessibility’, not ‘Disability’

Next session I attended was It’s Spelled ‘Accessibility’, not ‘Disability’ by Scott Davis. Mr. Davis took us through a series of examples discussing why Accessibility should be a first class citizen while building software and not a ‘feature’ to be included after the development. He emphasized on why universal / inclusive design is important and beneficial, and how accessibility is usually misinterpreted as disability. The talk taught me a lot about many things that I did not know previously on how a web page gets transformed into various forms using accessibility tools.

CSS Animations, Transitions and Motion UI

Last talk of the day for me, started with a magic trick! Yes, you read that right. Mr. Michael Carducci is a magician and a programmer, and before diving into slides and code snippets, he entertained the audience about what animations and transitions are using multiple card tricks. What a great use of metaphors! The talk titled CSS Animations, Transitions and Motion UI walked us through the animation, transition and transform functionalities of CSS, with a lot of examples. Before concluding, he also introduced us to Motion UI and WOW JS.

Michael Carducci talking about CSS Animations
Michael Carducci talking about CSS Animations

End of Day 1

Last talk of the day ended at 6:40PM. Right on the clock! Kudos to the GIDS team. It was a great day. All talks were informative and engaging. Obviously, some were more entertaining than others, but all of them were total value for the time invested.

Unfortunately for me, this is the only day I’d be attending. And, that is the only regret I have while I leave the venue today.

At GIDS 2018 : Part 1

At GIDS 2018 : Part 1

Finally, Great Indian Developer Summit 2018 (GIDS 2018) was here and I am all set to attend the first day’s track : Web & Mobile. What better way to head to a technology conference than to use a carpool app I recently discovered, to share my ride with a fellow summit attendee.

GIDS 2018 is being held at J N Tata Memorial Hall in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore from April 24 – 28, 2018. I reached the venue just before 8 AM. Check-in and registration were super smooth. Just had to scan the QR code that was sent to me during registration, collect the tag and I’m in. All over in 10 seconds flat. When I got here, quite a few attendees had already come and the hall was beginning to fill up and the sponsors were setting up their booths.

Two speakers that I was looking forward to at GIDS 2018 were Dr. Venkat Subramanian (agiledeveloper.com) and Scott Davis (thirstyhead.com). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and followed most of Dr.Venkat’s lectures and talks on YouTube and this was my chance to listen to him live!

Keynotes

The event began at sharp 8:45 AM like in the schedule. Scott Davis, Principal Engineer at ThoughtWorks delivered his hour long keynote titled ‘Ship of Theseus : Building the 1000 year web’. It was an engaging take on metaphors, how to build tools that last the test of time and how standards (not frameworks) should be the guidelines for software developers.

Scott Davis delivering the keynote address
Scott Davis delivering the keynote address

Nick Tran, VP of Developer Marketing at Akamai, delivered the second keynote address. He talked about why mobile performance matters in the current world where every application maker is fighting for the attention of the consumer, who apparently has a lesser attention span than that of a gold fish!

Nick Tran delivering the keynote
Nick Tran delivering the keynote

Mr. Alok Kumar, AI Developer at Sapient India delivered the third keynote address. The talk had an interesting title – ‘Presenting the mobile “first” “last” strategy’. He talked about how the technology world’s de facto outlook of smart applications is to interface it with a mobile application and how it is not the best of solutions. I, personally, was so happy to hear somebody talk about this.

Fourth keynote address was ‘Public Cloud and Private Cloud Leveraging AWS’ by Mr. Sajid Ahmed, Head of Technology at Goldman Sachs.

After some refreshments, we were all ready to attend more focused talks.

CSS for Programmers

I headed to listen to Scott Davis talk about CSS for Programmers (2018 edition). He started by enquiring how many in the audiences are programmers and how many are designers. Interestingly, apart from my hands, there were only very few that was raised for both. He went on to talk in detail about how programmers should go about understanding web development and CSS. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk! More about this as a separate post!

Scott Davis delivering 'CSS for Programmers'
Scott Davis delivering ‘CSS for Programmers’

Exploring Typescript

After that, I headed to Exploring Typescript by Dr. Venkat. He took us through the nuances and features about Typescript in an hour long session where he wrote code live and did demo about every concept that was discussed. Classik Venkat style talk! Loved it!

Dr. Venkat delivering 'Exploring Typescript' talk
Dr. Venkat delivering ‘Exploring Typescript’ talk

And then, we headed for lunch break. More updates later…