Since I have cleared two of the Microsoft’s certifications within a month I have been besieged with questions of my colleagues on how to clear the exam. There is phobia that the certification exams are tough and we must prepare rigorously for them. It’s nothing like that. Now I feel happy to share with you the inside of cracking the certifications.
Somebody said in the past that “Work Smart Not Hard!“.This is the trick since we do not get enough time as professionals.
Browsers began to be taken seriously around 1993 . The first were the Unix browsers such as Line Mode Browser, ViolaWWW, Erwise and MidasWWW, and MacWWW/Samba for the Mac. In a short span there were more like Cello,Arena,Lynx,tkWWW and Mosaic. The most popular was Mosaic. It was designed by National Center for Supercomputing Applications(NCSA) to run on multiplatforms.
Marc Andreessen, a founding developer of Mosaic, started his own Mosaic Communications Corporation and his first product was Mosaic Netscape. The company was renamed Netscape Communications Corporation and the browser Netscape Navigator. The Netscape browser was much better interfaced and reliable than other browsers of that time but the best thing was it was free.
Corporates soon recognized this as a new market and many more IT companies jumped in like Browse, IBM’s Navipress, SlipKnot, Web Explorer, UdiWWW, Omni Web, Web Rouser, Mac Web . And then one day Bill Gates took notice of Netscape and soon Microsoft introduced it’s own Internet Explorer 1.0.
By 1995 Netscape Navigator in only about a year was more than 80 % of the web browser market. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 1.0 with licenses from NCSA’s Mosaic on its Windows 95 Plus! Pack in August. Some time later Netscape was free only for educational institutes and non profit organizations while Internet Explorer 2.0 was released as a free download. Everybody realized how competitive the new market had become and started to provide free installation with new updates appearing regularly at a rapid pace
On October 1997, when Internet Explorer 4.0 was to be released, Microsoft had a 10 feet “e” logo put on the lawns of Netscape office with a sign “From the IE team … We Love You”. Netscape responded by knocking it down and setting their Mozilla dinosaur mascot on top of it , with a sign reading “Netscape 72, Microsoft 18” representing the market distribution.
Internet Explorer 4 was a turning point. It was introduced as a part of Windows to exploit the already dominant personal computer market of Microsoft. IE 4 was free and already there with Windows and thus no need for users to get another browser.
The U.S. Government soon took notice of this and was concerned because Microsoft had already had some trouble over monopoly rules in the past. Microsoft defense was that Internet Explorer was not a separate product but an upgrading feature for Windows, although the IE was part of the Plus! Pack which was sold separately from Windows 95. Microsoft in its reports said that the government, under influence from its competitors, was trying to constrain the Windows business.
The Trial – Part 1
On May 18, 1998 the U.S. Justice Department and the Attorneys General of twenty U.S. states sued Microsoft for illegally obstructing competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly and for violating a 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to include its Internet browser as a part of the installation of Windows software.
Bill Gates himself was brought to trial. But his attitude was reported to be “evasive and non-responsive” and saying ‘I don’t recall’ so many times that the judges got irritated. Intel Vice-President Steven McGeady, called as a witness, quoted Paul Maritz the senior Microsoft Vice-President as to “extinguish” and “smother” rival Netscape Communications Corporation and to “cut off Netscape’s air supply” by providing Netscape Navigator’s clone for free.
To prove that IE 4 was an upgrading feature of Windows, Microsoft provided videotapes that demonstrated that removing IE 4 from Windows caused slowdowns and malfunctions. Interestingly Microsoft Vice-President James Allchin had stated the video to be a seamless segment filmed on one PC, but the prosecutors found some icons mysteriously disappear and reappear on the PC’s desktop, and thus claimed it to be a fake. Allchin confessed and blamed his staff, “They ended up filming it – grabbing the wrong screen shot,” he said. Microsoft had to drop the the claim that removing IE slowed Windows and got irritated by the lawyers’ “nitpicking on issues like video production”. Microsoft submitted a second videotape to demonstrate how easy it was for America Online users to download and install Netscape Navigator onto a Windows PC. Microsoft’s video showed the process as being quick and easy with the Netscape icon appearing on the user’s desktop. The government produced its own videotape of the same process, revealing that Microsoft’s videotape had conveniently removed a long and complex part of the procedure and that the Netscape icon was not placed on the desktop, requiring a user to search for it. Brad Chase, a Microsoft Vice-President, verified the government’s tape and conceded that Microsoft’s own tape was falsified.
A voice buzzed near me. The pitch of the voice was high, and i could feel that it must be piercing through the walls into the green playground outside. The voice grew muffled – ” What i am to do with this kid! He just does not ……… ” I could not hear anymore..
But this story is not about Rehaan or his mom. It is about me.
I never talk to myself. I just give Gyaan. I am not intelligent. I am just efficient. But because i am efficient, i just am not able to get any rest. Who am I? I am Google. Google Search. I would have helped you so many number of times but sorry i dont know your name since you have not logged in. If you want, just click Sign in and say Hello. But yes, even though you will just tell me your userName, i will come to know about all your secrets because you know i am very good in archival of history. But dont be scared. I dont tell anyone – I am very secure and based on how you treat me or use me, i help you get to your results better with this archival based on your preferences.
When i was born, I dont remember much of the exact date – (Please – No need to search Me for this) but my parents were very happy. I did not look as beautiful as i look today and I was small and was barely able to walk, let alone search. My dad told me, “Google, Dont worry. You are my most beautiful child. A day will come when everyone in the world will know you and you will be praised by everyone alike”. I had only learnt to listen to it and think it being daddyish love.
I had heard stories when i was playing with text searches, I often heard daddy talk over the phone to someone – “So what if Altavista can do …. ?” I would look at dad and think if I can help him but i could not- I was just a kid. At times in the middle of the night, i would wake up when someone typed something and i counted that to my memory. I dont know how but dad always used to come running to me to see the hit counter of mine. And this continued for days, months and years.
When I was about a year old, one day my dad drove me into a house where i had to “Live”. Dad told me that everyone calls this house as the Internet explorer. I cried a lot since i was going to be live for the first time but dad said you will manage it just fine. At times when i fell sick, dad used to come and repair me. But i was not allowed in the garage home anymore. Dad said i am grownup now and have to live with the IE. I recall one day when someone came and typed Altavista on my face and I showed him a few results. The guy just shouted – ” Man, I dont believe this.. Altavista is just gone.. There is nothing getting returned from this. I could know that something happened to the other search engine.
From then on, i could see myself getting sick very much very often. I would often be taken to the garage home and dad and his friends would give me medicines. I never cried – I was a brave boy and dad told me that you would be one of the finest gentleman of all time. I believed him and took all the medicines which he gave me. Some of them I could not bear and i crashed out! Some i gave random results out but then dad loved me so much. Only when i was stable, he would take me to Internet Explorer house.
I was getting more and more loved by all people who came to this house. Everyone came to this house, met me always, typed on me and i gave them good results and slowly people loved me more. In IE, there were a few friends which i made. There was one called Lycos, he did similar things as i did but still i liked him somehow. And people did like him too. Then Dad said, “Google – From today you dont have to climb the stairs to go upstairs if someone calls you. I have made a Google Search Toolbar and pasted it in front of the house – IE. So users will find it easier to find you and then you will have to answer them. Will you get tired son? ”
I said, “No Dad. I love to work. I will be the best search engine. I will fulfill your dreams to the best of my abilities”. Dad said nothing. He just smiled.
I dont remember how many years went by. But in a couple of years, i had so many of friends, and brothers and sisters which dad sent to my IE house. There was this guy called Picasa, who captured photos of everything whenever someone smiled, he used to archive that photo. Then there were the google office kids – Google Docs and Google Calendar. Someone told me that you dont know – dont go by their looks, they are trying to do something on cloud which much older people are doing on the desktop clients. To this i would always feel, “Well, Yeah – Its all inside me but i will know only when someone searches me! ” Couple of years back – Dad brought home two guys into IE saying they will be my companions – One guy – God he talked so much.. He just kept on talking and talking. His name was Blogger. Then i later knew – my dad adopted him. Then there was this cool hunk – You Tube. Picasa was always jealous of him because youtube showed the exact emotions, exact video that just photographs. But I was cool with everyone because everyone loved me.
Years later, Dad took us all into a new house altogether. We all love it. It is our own house. We call it the Google Chrome. Till today we also go to the older house of ours IE and at times to the garage home too but we all love chrome. We also have a marketplace where we meet other people belonging to the Chrome app store or Google app store. All these new members too love me. I am the darling of all – I am google search. Today I remember what Dad used to say..
Son, You are the most beautiful of all searches. You have to work hard and always keep focussed. You cant complain for the pain which you will have to suffer in the interim period. You cant cry out loud. Learn to be patient. Dont worry if you cant be the cynosure of all eyes overnight. A day will come when all your efforts will pay off. A day will come when the entire world will just love you like anything. And i could know that this is the day which dad was talking about. I love you Dad.
“…… Where are you hiding?!!” Rehaan’s mom’s voice slowly faded in. She stood near my world. Started at my world’s screen and the screensaver and said,” God, the laptop has been on all this time!” and switched me off.
I was not scared.
I knew that this is the time to take a power nap to get ready for more efficient searches when my world sees the new sunshine! After all, I have to live my dad’s dream and make him proud.
The shrill tone of the alarm dragged Harish from under his blankets and his dreams, into the cold consciousness of reality. And while still trying to find equilibrium between the real and the surreal, he remembered that it was the day of his interview!
The previous night had been hectic to say the least. Software companies these days, hire people by the dozens and most of them middle class undergraduate students who flock to these companies with dreams of making it big one day. Harish too got an opportunity to try his luck with this company and it can be said, he tried his best. But somehow by the time he returned home after the aptitude test, he felt he had missed the bus this time. And so, it was a pleasant surprise when Mr. Roy, the paan chewing, attitude throwing placement officer of his college, called to say that he had indeed cleared his test and had to have an interview the following morning.
Nine o’clock found Harish sitting on a plastic chair, his face white and hands sweating, in front of the room where his fate was to be decided that day. He looked at the people around him. While some seemed confident of facing the interviews, most of them were of the state as him. This ironically was comforting to Harish. He looked at his friend, Vivek, who gave him a comforting “don’t worry” type of smile. Harish smiled back weakly. He had hardly recovered from this state when his name was called; it was time to face the trial by fire.
An interview is never the straightforward affair it is supposed to be. Like say, if it’s a technical one, you might expect a question like “Draw a graph showing the relation between current and voltage in a diode..”, but you will most likely be asked “Can you draw the graph showing the relation between current and voltage in a diode?” To this, the most appropriate answer will probably be “Yes I can”. Harish‘s interview lasted for about twenty minutes, but quite naturally, to him it seemed a lifetime. And he came out of the room, trying to make up his mind about how he had faced his interrogator. One moment he felt that he had flopped the whole thing and the next moment he was sure he had given his best shot. Finding nothing more to do there, Harish and Vivek, whose own interview had proceeded more or less along similar lines, decided to take a break and came out of the building. They sat in a tea stall, Harish still pondering over his performance, with a dirty looking glass of piping hot tea, when his friend, who was smoking a cigarette, said “We could not have done better” and then added prophetically, “we are not going to make it.” This obviously didn’t make Harish’s condition any better.
This was by no means the end of their trials. Another round of interviews had yet to be done, and the seemingly endless wait to know if they had crossed the first hurdle, made them anxious and uneasy. Harish tried to shift through the study materials he had brought along but the strain of the endless wait was too much and he soon gave up. After what seemed to be an eternity, came the news about the selected candidates. Harish’s heart was literally leaping out of his body, when he heard his name being called. His joy was complete with the news that his friend too had been selected.
Then there was the wait for the final round. Even as the day gave way to afternoon and afternoon to evening, it didn’t seem to end. With his mind heavy and stomach empty, Harish waited. A girl came out of the room, agitated. By the time she had crossed the corridor, she had started crying herself hoarse, to the consternation of all present there. Just then (call it luck or whatever) the interviewer happened to come outside, and finding the girl weeping (much to his alarm), decided to have a retake. The whole incident lasted only a few moments but left everyone dazed. Harish went back to waiting out his turn and as darkness approached, found himself among very few candidates left waiting; and thus was immensely relived when at last his name was called. What transpired at the interview is better left alone but it must have been a pleasant affair because Harish came out looking quite satisfied.
It was raining slightly and night was approaching rapidly when Harish called it a day and went home.
The wave of expectations that were building up inside Harish was waiting to break. They would either lift him into heights of ecstasy or plunge him into depths of misery. Harish maintained a diplomatic stance throughout as all and sundry enquired about his interview but secretly, hoped for the best.
Nothing happened. No wave of ecstasy or misery broke upon him. News reached him from somewhere about other candidates who had received calls. Harish and his friend, made frantic calls to all those who could help. “If not an acceptance letter, then may be give us a rejection letter!” This enigmatic silence was really unbearable. They checked their mailboxes thoroughly and even tried in vain to contact their interviewers, but to no avail. The search was abandoned after a few days and they resigned themselves to their fate. But the whole episode, like an anticlimax after a fantastic movie, left Harish high and dry.
Life returned to the humdrum existence again.
NB: Remember the girl who wept? Well she got the job. Last heard, Harish was trying to learn “How to weep at an interview”.
(Based on a true story :))