Thursday, December 07, 2006

Techies do suck at marketing...

I had to implement IPSec on Minix 3.1.2 for my Internet Security course this semster. Had it not been for the incident, I will be ranting about later in this entry, this entry would have been a detailed overview of my implementation.

We (grp of 2) were given about 5 weeks to implement the project. We finally nailed it and were very proud of our creation. Adding IPSec on the IP layer of a micro kernel based OS has its own kicks. Everything from designing, programming and debugging were harder than on a monolithic OS(I have done some on FreeBSD and Linux). Severe memory constraints (within Vmware) made the kernel to panic and, everyone with kernel development experience knows how hard it is to trace memory leaks. After painstakingly tracking and squishing the bugs, our product was ready for prime time.

For non CS people, we "Software developers/engineers/scientist" treat the software we create as a work of art... more like our own child. We get so absorbed in the beauty of our creation that we lose sight of the reality, which is what happened to me.

Dr Du has a different way of evaluating projects. He alloted just 15 minutes per group and never touched the keyboard or say anything. He asked us to step into salesman shoes and try selling the product to him. We on the other hand, full of ourselves, raring to show off our product, had 16 test cases (which were necessary to prove that our implementation was correct) and a presentation (of 4 slides.. just explaining the setup and robustness) all squeezed into 15 minutes. We couldn't have been more naive. We took around 8 minutes to explain the setup properly and then tried to show the test cases to him. Running 16 test cases in 5 minutes was clearly impossible...the inevitable happened,...we fumbled and the demonstration went downhill after that. Even though I might have made the best darn project in the class (yes I am egotistic and full of myself... i need to see a psychiatrist )... the world never got to see it.

I went through the three phases of denial, anger and acceptance. We were almost wailing like a kindergarten kid, that 15 minutes was not enough to sell a product we made in 5 weeks.... acceptance came later when we realized what went wrong. How much time would have been enough? 30 minutes? 1 Hr?... for all the 15 groups? Frankly, I could spend hours talking about the project. It is one thing to be enthusiastic about the work you do, but expecting others to show the same level of enthusiasm toward it is stupid and silly.

I guess I should sign up for an entrepreneurship course next semester....

PS: I will be leaving for India on 17th December. My Itenary will be available through Google Calendar. You can subscribe to it by clicking the button on the sidebar....


  1. subscribe to ur calendar that is egoistic ...[:D]

  2. There is nothing egoistic about it.."Share my calendar" exist for that particular reason... Its geeky not the least egoistic

  3. i guess u can still rant about ur implementation HERE specially coz u dint get to do it in the presentation ..wat say ??

  4. Hehehe....Well as long as you could transfer the largest file he asked your good.....but 16 test cases? was that not over doing it? Have you not heard the phrase...."Too much information is noise"

  5. chill .... greatest of the people wer recognised - posthumous ...try dying !! lol

  6. @Rashmi: I guess I was trying to show off.

    @Vishal: I would be damned if I am recognized posthumously for a course project.. although it would be really interesting. :P