Wednesday, December 24

Merci beacoup

A big thanks to all for making it to the marriage. A special thanks to the maxxx group for giving us the lava lamp :-) … wheeeeee!!

The wedding went without a hitch, 4 hours of getting blessings and smiling with everyone tests your facial muscles and patience as well. Grateful to a lot of people for seeing this through. Photos to come soon. Meanwhile, feel free to check some of the photos that Amit has uploaded on facebook.

Monday, December 15

Shaadi 2.0

No, its not about collaborative marriage over the web :-). Amol gave me this crazy idea. We were discussing the Indian SMS site, Vakow which enables us to push normal SMS into a web-based RSS/Atom feed. There are about a gazillion applications for an RSS feed. Well, this is just one such mashup between a practical application of Vakow and Google Reader.

Well to be honest, the title of the blog should not be Shaadi 2.0, but rather Event 2.0, but since we are using the my marriage as the event to cover, I decided to name the title so, well ..  and this one is more exciting na? So here is what we did.

  1. Register on Vakow, get a username and have your phone number associated with that username, so that you can SMS messages to your Vakow id.
  2. You are on track now, and you should be able to post a feed … now that your feed is set, we just need to integrate that feed with my marriage feed
  3. Send me the RSS link, I will add it in my Google Reader public folder, and voila!! You can view the sample page here.

People who cannot attend the wedding in person can keep on hitting the RSS page for an up-to-date status.

Sunday, December 14

Saturday, December 13

Be Selfish

image 

How true is this, wish I could be that honest!

Saturday, December 6

Diabetes

International symbol for Diabetes

My father is a diabetic; my grand-father was a diabetic (may god bless his soul); my great-grandfather was also a diabetic. Diabetes is a Y-linked disease – meaning that it gets inherited from father to son. So much for parental legacy :)

Diabetes is an incurable disease. That does not mean that once you get it you are doomed … no, certainly not. The day my father was diagnosed with diabetes, my mother started learning more and more about the same. She was smart enough to educate us as well. Well, hope some of you benefit from this post as I did from my mother’s admonitions. 

What’s this? – Diabetes mellitus refers to the group of diseases that lead to high blood glucose levels due to defects in either insulin secretion or insulin action.

So? – So, that means blood sugar levels go through the roof, increasing your chronic exposure. In short, if not taken proper care … you are in deep shit.

Why Me? – It’s hereditary, so you cannot escape it if its in your genes. Might as well embrace it and understand how to control your sugar levels.

Now what? – Worry naught. The entire secret is in controlling your sugar levels (the implicit ones and the explicit ones as well). With explicit, I mean the intake of sugar and sweet substances; implicit are those which are finally broken down into sugar – oil being one of the major stakeholders. Monitor those sugar levels judiciously, reduce the oil intake you eat.

Change your oil especially if you eats Saffola or Sunflower (these two brands are a strict no-no). They advertise to be healthy oils, but frankly speaking, they are not!! Would recommend changing to olive oil (too expensive for some) or mustard oil (too smelly for some), well if you don't like these, then groundnut oil will do as well.

Exercise is also good, I am not saying heavy gym work-outs. Simple half an hour to one hour walks every day would do you good. Establish a routine. Normal life helps get your health back on track.

Eating certain items also help – 1 walnut a day, home-made ghee (sajuk tup), flax-seed (alshi), fish (halwa, bangda, surmai). All of these contain a chemical called as Omega-3 fatty acids. These help the body combat sugar levels.

Here’s looking at a healthier, happier and stress-free life.

Friday, December 5

New leaf

image

An extension of the last post, but I figured – that it deserves a separate mention. So, here we go!!

On the day I touched Mumbai, one of the first things I did was back-up my machine and format it. Formatting is like a cleansing mechanism for me … like turning over a new leaf. A new OS, a new folder structure, my choice and my will to decide how I want to proceed forward. The data of the past legacy long forgotten and the freedom to take decisions as I want them.

Erasing all the baggage and getting rejuvenated for a new life. As I write this, it gives me a secret thrill … to be on the verge of a new year, in the middle of an economic crisis, without getting shackled to a conventional “job”. Have decided to benefit from the past years, and the advises given by friends … and here is my resolution for the new year (I know it’s early, but I intend on keeping this one).

To be more critical – because chalta hain does not cut it.

Think about it.

Home Sweet Home

Yes, the post is slightly late, but after all the action happening throughout the week, there was minimal time to post. Well, I am back in Mumbai for good, and am set on settling for good … no more travelling around for me. The stint in Hyderabad has ended after a good two years, feeling refreshed after a good week’s rest.

Did I tell you what a daunting task shopping for you marriage can be (honey, in case you are reading this, I am just kidding :-)). But seriously, when you lie on one side of the size-spectrum as me, shopping can sometimes become a tirade. All in all, glad to be home, in Mumbai.

So I bid adieu to the biryanis and the Karachi biscuits, to the Famous ice-creams and the Serengetti keebabs, to the unruly traffic and the relaxed way of life. Hello to Mumbai :) … to a life with family and loved ones.

Thursday, November 27

Mumbai

Mumbaikars, dont go astray
Keep your fears at bay
Life is going to continue the same way
Keep the faith and pray

Be it bombs be it grenade
For an aam aadmi these are all a charade
We wont treat it as a tirade
In the walk of life we parade

We toil and we fawn
From the dusk till dawn
Come what may
Life will still go on

Wednesday, November 26

Heart

image

the difference between a smile and a frown
you can see when the chips are down
what sets the winners and whiners apart
is that winners have got heart

Monday, November 24

Relieving

image This week I hope to be relieved of all my duties. After a mammoth 3 months of notice period, it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess I can take up to a month of living without any responsibilities. But that's the future, lets just focus on getting relieved on time, yeah?

Fingers crossed.

PS - The next time I put my John Hancock on any acceptance letter, I will make a note of checking the notice period. The last 3 months were a bitch.

Wednesday, November 19

So you fcuked up! Move on!

I would like to take a view au contraire to the recent global meltdown. With most of the companies looking at slicing off their costs by targeting their cost centers ... they are doing a big mistake. What they should focus on, is how to monetize their cost centers ... how to turn their cost centers into revenue centers. Instead, what do we see ... job slashing ... 1000 sacked! ... 50000 sacked!! How is that going to help you? Yes, in the short run, your Quarterly statements might be able to absorb the hit the financial crisis has had on your revenues, but in the longer run, you have just sunk deeper into sinkhole that you are trying to rise from(pardon my french).

The entire reason why companies are seeing the financial crisis is because the finance giants were not cautious enough in making the investments on which they bet their proverbial asses, and are now reeling with the losses. So you screwed up ... big time. It takes a great man to admit his mistakes, it takes an even stronger man to move on. In Hindi there is a phrase ... agar yeh nahi to wohi sahi.

Organizations are there to do business, and there is business to be done. If the world says that the total amount of business has gone down ... well they have to be wrong :) ... or they are not just looking in the right places. So what if Lehmann Brothers closed up ... what if AIG has gone for a second round of rescue ... there are other firms who will step in the shoes of the fallen ones. Global business ... the show ... must go on. Where to look at business opportunities one might ask - see a problem, fix it ... can it be simpler than that?

So lets see the world back on its feet and totter to the trot that we were used to seeing.

Tuesday, November 18

Panic!

panic

Your heart beats a pace too quick
Sweat on your body a sheen too slick
Tension in the air can be cut as thick
That's what it feels to panic

Friday, November 14

Bounce

bounce

In life there are many ups and downs
Don't let' em weigh you down an ounce
A smile on your face will take out the frowns
Remember, all you have to do is bounce

Thursday, November 13

I'll take boring

image As a child ... and as a teen even ... well lets just say the pre-25 years :), I used to love the thrill of life. The excitement of it all ... resigning from the job to give the CAT, not knowing what I am going to do next, walking around in the city with friends ... carefree, without a care in the world. The one thing I looked down upon despised, was the normal, routine rote of a life that my folks and all the 40 something's were following. How boring!! How can one live a life knowing ahead their every move?

I then touched 25. Finished by Post Graduation. Got a job. Welcome to the real world Neo.

With my risk appetite going down every coming year, and with my blood pressure going up, it becomes a necessity to know these things. To follow the simplicity of a routine. No surprises. Give me my daal-roti and I will gladly leave the Chicken Makhanwalla's of the restaurants. Yeah ... I would love having a normal, boring life for once. We as human beings are constantly striving to achieve that normalcy ... and so few of us actually manage to achieve it. As Fido Dido would have you believe ... Normal is boring .. hey give me boring, and let me be :-)

Thursday, November 6

Then, Now and Will be

Got tagged by Archana, I know this tag is going to make me do a lot of introspection; much needed at that. Tags spread through viral referrals, and I hope that this one spreads out ... through me and through my friends (you are going to be tagged!!).

The tag:

Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.

Then:

Your oldest memories

  • Getting spanked on my derriere by the nurse ... ohhh the blood rushing to my head ... for crying out loud!! (he he .. was just kidding :-) )
  • Throwing toys down the 9th floor and watching them disappear as they fell fell fell ... from my grandparents flat in Churchgate when I was a toddler
  • The glee when I saw my first horse at the age of 6
  • The achievement I felt when my aunt taught me to draw a horse shortly afterwards ... I was addicted to horses after watching the movie Betaab ... had seen the movie 3 times in one night!! ... for the horse ... no I dont mean Amrita Singh :-D
  • Seeing my first computer at the age of 9, it was a 80386 and my mothers brother had forked out one lakh for that machine ... shucks ... so much for Moore's Law. Played Prince of Persia for an hour, I was thrilled ... decided then and there that I would be a computer engineer :))
  • Owning a XT 8086 with a monochrome display and 640KB of RAM, the machine did not have a hard drive, and I was happy
  • Feeling the pride when my Maths teacher called my parents to commend my papers and explain the empty class notebooks in my 4th standard
  • Feeling an even greater humiliation when I finished last in class during the mid-terms of 9th standard ... cable TV is a great evil
  • My first ship cruise to Goa ... fresh fish and a choppy sea
  • Standing atop a spiked gate and then the horror I felt when I saw that my new cream chappals had turn blood red ... weirdly I do not remember feeling any pain

What were you doing ten years ago?

November 1998, I was a first year engineering student, the first semester was coming to an end; and I was fast learning that I am loving engineering more and more since it does not adhere to the sad mugging pattern of school. I remember going to college, attending tuition, bartering notes, copying assignments, discussing over the phone, the long bus rides along the beach. My engineering college was Fr. Conceicao Rodriguez College of Engineering ... it is on bandstand, Bandra and generally a very nice place to hangout if you get over the engineering studies :). I was having a rocking time.

 

Now:

Your first thought in the morning

I should not have stayed up late in the night to finish Brisingr.

If you build a time capsule what would it contain?

Hmmm ... good question. It would contain nothing; the present is to be lived ... enjoyed ... why give the future excess baggage to dig up. (pun intended)

 

Will Be:

This year…

I intend to get married to the love of my life, possibly shift jobs and find a way of means to be near my loved ones. Activities such as blogging, web dev, tweeting, et al are bound to happen!!

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?

Why the no. 14?? Well ... I would be attending PTA meetings ... and planning my retirement as well. Archana, are you up for co-authoring that book?

 

I tag:

Amol

Sudhir

Amit

Ashish

End of the tag

Monday, November 3

Silly-kaun Valley!

We recently shifted to a new office. The eTail team has grown so fast over the past two years, that it became imperative for our division to shift to a new office. The postal address boasts of an impressive area - Banjara Hills Road No. 12. I say impressive, since it is by far the most expensive area to live in .. with showrooms and plush restaurants all over the place. Little wonder why the top management decided to shift here, aside from the fact that the office was the only Vastu-compliant office readily available at that time.

The office seems good, but sadly lacks in all the aspects of infrastructure ... no Class A internet provided here, public transport to a minimum, cellular networks barely reach here, this place is good for one thing ... seclusion. Lack of network reach here makes for highly boring times ... I did not know how much chattering I do on my cellphone until I came here.

Saturday, November 1

To Wordpress or not?

Baba aka Amol has seriously taken up blogging, you should check out his blog. He can write a nice rhyme when he does find the time! (in case you did not notice, that was my attempt to rhyme :-) ). So Baba tells me that I should check out the great set of features that Wordpress has. I had a wordpress powered blog once, but the moment my free hosting provider stopped MySQL support, the blog stopped working. I then migrated to a file powered blog using SimpleBlog, but that was a very minimalistic blog. Giving that up, I moved on to Blogger.com platform.

What Blogger gives me is a very stable platform which is never to go down. Although the themes and the set of features are there but still very less in number, Blogger gives me reliability. Over a telephonic conversation, I tried to see how easy it is to migrate from Blogger to Wordpress with all the content ... and you know what?? It was a piece of cake ... smoothest transition ever!! You can check out the work-in-progress blog here.

So, oh helpful readers of mine, can you help me out in this ... whats it going to be ... the stability of the blogger platform on google servers or the flexibility of the wordpress platform on a hosted server?

Friday, October 24

Reality or Perspective?

In a world where the difference between real and virtual is diminishing day by day, I ask you ... do you have your own version of reality?

We as a human race tend to twist the reality around us to suit our needs, to feel comfortable and self satisfied ... to know that we are correct and proper. In fact saying this makes me feel as if I myself am doing that ... sitting on my high horse. But is it not true?

Then one would say, you should empathize with that person and see the world from his perspective ... true. If that is the case, then what is real? Or more importantly what is correct and what is wrong?

In the book Shantaram (read this one if you havent already!!), the character Kader Khan might be the closest one to that answer ... if everyone in the world does that act, and that act simplifies the universe, then it is not correct (since the very nature of the universe is to become more and more complex). Take the example of murder, if everyone started committing this act, then the human population will dwindle ... this simplifies the universe ... not good. Or adultery, if everyone starts sleeping around ... then marriage, relationships, etc, are inviolated ... this simplifies the universe ... not good either!!

If everyone starts blogging, this creates a complex blogosphere of opinions, information and thoughts ... complex!! I blog, do you?

Thursday, October 16

Happiness

Was browsing and checking the incoming and outgoing links on my blog, when I came across this thought provoking post. Happiness by Veena where she tries to define this intangible emotion ... makes you think na? I tried my best to define it .. but then I realized that to define this, I will have to make a boundary around it and then bring a structure to it (think through this before you rush to comment).

Why then should I bother to put a boundary on something which cannot and should not have any limits?

I have decided to leave the intangibles to the marketing gurus and just define what Happiness means to me -
  • being with my loved ones
  • a new game on a uber-gaming machine
  • ghar ka khana
  • a beautiful piece of code
  • pizza!!
  • a hot steaming cup of coffee/tea early in the morning
  • maggi at 4 am
  • PS3 + 42" HDTV
Heck, the list will go on for some time. I guess overall, I am a happy person :-D

Monday, October 13

Star Wars

I think I have an overdose of George Lucas here. Watched the complete series. Then installed SW-Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords. Saw lightsabers in my dreams last night.

May the farce be with you!! (Chennai style!!)

Saturday, October 11

The joy of achieving

achievementI have a classmate from school. The fellow was brilliant. Is infact ... brilliant. After school, we joined the same junior college, and he promptly started gunning for the IITs. He cracked IITJEE the first time around, he also managed to get a decent percentage with the Maharashtra board. God knows how he managed all that, I had a tough time to mug up all the studies. Engineering was a relief, and so was normal working life ... MBA was a blast for me. I lost contact with him as the years gone by. The last I had heard was a brief article in the news about him starting his own company which made RSS readers for the blind. I remember thinking like a business person, how is this going to make money!?!

Recently, out of the blue, I get a call from him. For old times sake, we decide to meet. The guy is happily chatting about his business plans and all that. I naturally assumed that he finally found a way to monetize his RSS readers. After 2 hours or so, I realized that this was something else he was talking. Apparently he had closed down his company and was now working full time as a network marketing professional. For the uninitiated, that means he will sell some company's products directly for a commission, and the people he sells them to can do the same, whereupon all the middle men in the transaction get a decent commission. Incredulously I agreed to attend one such sales pitch ... I will not name this person (you know who you are!!), and I certainly wont name the company.

I have been avoiding him ever since. How can you forego your education, your training, your ambitions, your dreams ... for money? Where is the joy of achieving in that ... did he not feel that when he got into IIT Bombay, Comp. Sci?? Did he not feel that when he started his own company? How do you let go of that addictive feel of achieving ... for the sake of money. What a waste.

Pearly whites

teeth How many of us can boast of teeth like these? The ones that razzle and dazzle the onlooker. I certainly cannot!! In fact, back when I was a b-schooler, I had to perform emergency surgery and get one of my wisdom teeth removed .. the reason - it had rotted away due to some infection. Mea culpa. I had not paid enough attention to my pearly whites. Till that point of time, I had not bothered to visit a dentist.

Life has its set of ironies for everyone, my fiance for instance is a dentist :-)

One day I was having a talk with Harshaja about the dental awareness and her work in general. It struck me that the awareness levels of dental health are pretty much low in India. Until and unless its not a major problem or an infection, people do not wish to go to the dentist. A lot of Harshu's clientele are actors and actresses who want to have that perfect smile (with that glint *ting* sparkle as well). I considered them vain, but in the long run these very people are going to end up having better teeth than moi. Since they are more aware about what a dentist can do, I am blissfully unaware. Did you know for instance, that they can whiten your teeth?? Absolving you of all those cigarettes smoked, coffees/teas drunk ... how awesome is that!\

So how many of you do brush their teeth before you hit the sack?

On a funny tone, have you listened to the song from Dr. Alban - Go see the dentist, and he will say open your mouth ... :)

Thursday, October 9

Happy Dasara!!

Dasara

Wishing you and your family Happy Dasara!!

Wednesday, October 8

Idea - Adapting or Confusing?

abhishek-bachchan-and-idea You must have seen those ads - "What an Idea! Sirji!!" of Abhishek Bachhan and how having a generic phone number ensures that all problems due to differences in caste, sect, religion are removed. Novel way to target and position yourself to the masses indeed.

Come to the streets of Mumbai, there you see a different picture. Idea ads have celebrities declaring proudly, that they have an Idea Mumbai No., and that makes them a Mumbaikar. The niche is well defined and it does have an appeal to it. I consider myself a Mumbaikar, but would I go to the extent of getting an Idea Mumbai No. :-P. But it's a good ad nonetheless.

So in one case, Idea is seen generalizing their service offering, whereas in the other, the same offering (viz., the phone number that you get) is a way of defining and segregating the masses. Interesting, wouldn't you say? Kind of like Glocalisation.

Wednesday, October 1

A decade ago I was non-existent!

Came up with the oldest search index of Google, tried ego searching, and came up with squatch. I am most humbled :-|, give it a whirl folks!! Notice the lack of "I'm feeling lucky" button. On a related note, check out Google Pirate. Harr! Harr Matey!!

Tuesday, September 30

No more IE readers

Following up from my last post. I have decided to take my hate for IE to the next level. Readers will not be able to read my blog in IE. I have used the browser specific HTML to identify the browser, and dish out customized content to the reader. If you are a Firefox user, you should see the blog as it is without any changes. IE users, beware, you will see that nice grey banner across this content asking you to use Firefox :).

I checked the site statistics, turns out a hefty 35% of my readers use Internet Explorer. Call it creating a niche, or call it active evangelism.

Stay Safe. Get image Firefox.

Saturday, September 27

I deleted iexplore.exe

Funny, I had not talked about Google Chrome uptil now. I still won't rave about it, since I prefer Firefox over Chrome. Tried it, uninstalled it. End of story. But with the recent launch of this browser, people are now forced to relook at their choice of browser. I hope this helps informed users take a decision and switch to Opera or Firefox, which are way better browsers than the rest available in the market. The last one of which is the market leader, Internet Explorer. Phycuk!! Just talking about it makes me want to spit, and clean my tongue. I hate it. Not because it is a Microsoft product, but because it actually is a pretty crappy browser. The fact that you cannot take it out of your Windows Operating System just goes to show how smart the MS IE Product management team is, full marks to them!!

So, I took it upon myself to remove this insult to a browser once and for all from my WinXP machine. I went to Add/Remove programs, and removed it. The icon on my desktop went away ... yaay!! Then when I went to Start -> Run and typed iexplore.exe, back again it rears its ugly head. Grrr!! You can't remove it, that's that. So finally I did what I should have done when I installed WinXp, delete the folder Internet Explorer in my Program Files. And life was good.

I forgot one teensy weensy thing, I work in a web retailing firm, which has a propensity of churning out portals. These portals need to be tested. Since my marketing guys feel that a major portion of their customer base would be on IE, they expect me to make the portal IE-Compatible (read compatible javascripts, reduced effects, workaround on ajax), nothing that we can't do, of course not. Just I ask my readers, why?

Why bother to make things compatible with IE? Why not force those ignoramuses to switch to a better browser. You are not only doing yourself a favour but improving the world. Impacting your customers positively. Being the change not just trying to make it. Yes, "customer-centric" people would say that you need to sell what your customer wants, I say, tell that to an artist and see his reaction. So if you agree with me, go delete your iexplore.exe and make the world a better place.

Thursday, September 25

Twitter uses

I have posted earlier on Twitter as well, but this time, its for a more practical purpose. It is on how to use this web tool to market your site online, to get those readers/customers to your portal. Social media is a powerful thing, and using it to promote your product/service online at minimal cost is even better :-)

So here are a few ways you can use twitter to tweet your way to more hits.

  1. Have an RSS Feed on your site, if it is content based, eg. Crazy Engineers, put that RSS in Twitterfeed, and push out regular updates through twitter! Similar updates can then be sent to your twitter of your blog/corporate blog as well.
  2. Once you have your twitter account setup and your tweets are flowing a-go-go, then you can have your social networking accounts like Facebook, to display the same tweet.
  3. Take care not to over do the feeds, since your followers can get bugged with you. I know a few friends who have complained of me tweeting of what songs I am listening to and all that jazz, so keep a filter on those feeds.
  4. It also helps if you are tweeting every once in a while by yourself, so you get a more human face. For eg. Zappos' CEO, Tony Hsieh is there on twitter, and he actively tweets about his daily routine. How cool is that, direct access to a firms CEO, can you be more customer-centric?
  5. Use twitter for simple market surveys, qualitative and quantitative as well. For eg. You can tweet, "What do you think is going to happen to the Indian economy?", the answers would be more than enough to put forth a blog post. Later, you can tweet that post url, and there is a likely chance that people who participated in your twitisurvey would also read your post

Try it out, give twitter a twhirl!!

 

Related Links:-

Pipes, Twits and Feeds

Microblogging

Friday, September 19

We need more products

image

With the changes in the US economy, India is feeling the ripple effects pretty early on. Even before the financial giants announced to the world that they are either wrapping up or being taken over, the Indian IT sector knew that times were going to be hard. Layoffs are bound to follow. The dotcom bust 2.0 is here :-). I had earlier written about this on my previous blog. A senior management professional at TechMahindra had predicted this as early as August 2006.

If you see the graph above, the dependence of the Indian economy lies largely with the Service sector, and that dependence has been growing constantly over the past years. We had the green revolution to bolster our agricultural sector, over the past decade, we have seen the IT revolution, that has significantly bolstered our services contribution to the GDP. I know this is obvious to most of you ... but did we all see it coming? And if we did see it coming, then how come none of us sat up and took action.

Would we now try to start a belated industrial revolution, giving more priority for a product-based economy instead of a service-based economy? Can we see the contribution of Indian industry to our nation's GDP increase? Or will our aam aadmi continue giving service to the firangs, depending on derived demand to earn his daily bread.

Friday, September 12

Plagiarism

iris_elements elements

Ever since we have discovered the internet, we have found this unending source of pirated software .. be it the latest games, operating systems, software, graphics packages, movies, music, what not. We simply download and use. Have we thought about how it is affecting the creator of that content? Not just financially, but rather, the thought of knowing that there exists a Prasad Ajinkya in the world who is knowingly using content/media created by that particular artiste/programmer. No, I have not thought so in the past, and certainly would not have thought about it in the future had it not happened to one of my close friends.

Today I was just browsing through Digit Magazine's August DVD (the one that's free). In it were different wallpapers that they had shared for everyone's use. One of the wallpapers was this ... Now take a look at IRIS-2005 flash intro, it has been painstakingly made by my classmates - Amit, Jhasketan and Sanchit. Jhasketan had drawn those figurines on a tablet, it was then imported into Photoshop, colors and effects were added, and then it was imported into flash. I saw the entire creation process right in front of me ... these three guys put in days and nights on this. Try juggling that with a day full of lectures and quizzes, and it becomes a handful.

Now after 3 years, I see it being ripped-off, straight out. There are no acknowledgements mentioned, so that the thousands of Digit subscribers can unknowingly use the same wallpaper on their desktop without even saying a simple Kudos! to the three artistes.

Life is not fair. Shame on you Digit.

PS - Can you tell which is the original?

Related Links -

http://blog.dsignbeyond.com/2008/09/plagiarism.html

http://jainuine.blogspot.com/2008/09/plagiarism-by-digit.html

apt-get so many files!

Yes. I am going to bitch about Linux for a change. Throw your brickbats at me, I dont mind, but for this one time, I will rant. The problem with having an open OS is that there are a lot of updates ... a LOT!! Also considering the fact that I have taken my time to view all the UIs viz., KDE3, KDE4, Gnome, Ice et al, that means a lot of updates as well.

Everytime I do an apt-get-update and an apt-get-upgrade, half a GB of data is downloaded, the system is re-initialized, and there are more updates to download. Whoa! Thats a lot of packages.

What is one to do? I just finished downloading 600 megs, I start Gnome ... no big change :-)

Yes, now I will tout the stability of linux ;-)

Wednesday, September 10

Smokers Beware

cigarette_burning I am generally a tolerant person, but I have decided to step up my protest against smoking. Quite a few of my friends smoke (you know who you are!!). Is it not unfair, to smoke it every day, it's almost criminal. You are not only killing yourself (which is OK with me), but you are also polluting the air for your peers. Thankfully most of the people I know are considerate enough to remove themselves off the premises and go for a smoke. Out in the office corridors, or just outside the restaurant, et al. Have I got some news for them!?!

From Oct. 2, 2008, the Government of India will put a ban on smoking on private AND public premises. Punishable with a fine of Rs. 200/- (to be hiked to Rs. 1200/- soon). These fines can not only be exercised by policemen, but also by school-teachers, bus drivers, motor-men, social workers, etc. Restaurants who have a smoking section will have to keep that in a separate enclosure with a separate ventilation. Employers will be fined a heft Rs. 5000/- per employee. Whoooweee!!! I hope they increase the tax on cigarettes as well.

Let the smokers burn in their own heaven!! Sing the song with me fellows - Bh3nch0d Sutta, Sutta na mila ...

Tuesday, September 2

Wall·E

walle This weekend we decided to catch Wall-E, thanks to my best friend Ashish's suggestion. I am not such a great fan of Pixar, I love their culture, but not much of their art ... well, that things changed now! I mean, I like animated movies ... the effects and all that jazz, but why would you resort to toons ... only because you cannot render the same effects in real life? C'mon ... give me a break here. Then came a genre of movies which used toons to good effect, and how!! KungFu Panda, Finding Nemo ... and now this. This is the coup de grĂ¢ce of why you should look at animated movies as a serious competitor to other motion pictures.

The movie takes us around 800 years into the future, when the Earth is a lonely desolate planet. It's a touching love story of two robots, and how they rescue us human from permanent space colonization. A whopping 8.7 guys, do check this movie out.

Some radicals will always rant about AI and the terminator crap, but honestly, each machine has a fail-safe mechanism, and that can have another fail-safe. So why worry? The machine can only be as devious as its creator :-)

PS - Watch the end titles of the movie, the background changes from the initial cave drawings to hieroglyphics to sketches to classic art to renaissance art, so on. History kind of repeats itself, now with machines and humans. Awesome conceptualization.

Digg Suxx

I am a Digg fan ... or rather, I was one. Since the past month or so, I am reading about Sarah Palin. Finally curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to click on one of the links. Read her wikipedia entry, you might get some insight into her. Anyway, that's not the point.

Today, I am going through Digg, to find out six articles about Sarah Palin doing the rounds on the same Digg page ... blehhh!! There have been rumours that Digg is rigged, now its just confirmed. The stories are made popular only by a select few and their followers. Is web2.0 a collaborative content management system always going to be plagued by a few leaders and a throng of their followers? If that's the case, then I see Digg as nothing but a PR tool. Sad really.

Thursday, August 28

Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Harold and Kumar Movie night at my place in Hyderabad, always sees us roomies get together in my room, and watch one of the movies. Yesterday was one such day, we were determined to watch a movie, but could not decide on which. Diptesh wanted to see Hancock, I wanted to see AVP2, Jay was pretty much okay with anything that had a lot of action and sex thrown in. Finally we decided on Harold and Kumar ... and what an awesome choice it was.

The movie is about two american friends who are of Indian (Kumar) and Korean (Harold) origin, and their zany adventures. I cannot stress more on the word zany, trust me. You also have the antics of Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser MD and of recent, How I met your Mother fame) playing himself. Go watch it if you want to laugh and not think for 2 hours on the trot.

There is also a beautiful piece of poetry in the movie ... its the coup de grace

 

The Square Root of Three - by David Feinberg

I’m sure that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

Wednesday, August 27

Gearing for the future

Are we gambling too much on the Knowledge Industry? Manmohan Singh recently announced that the eleventh five year plan would be centered around increasing the infrastructure (read institutes) for a knowledge based industry. That translates into more IITs and more IIMs with the generic mix of IISCs and IIITs thrown in as well. Effectively graduation and post graduation are been given more focus here, aimed at churning out more skilled labour and management students for corporates to come to the nation and setup bases; cost effective and efficient.

But, is this not increasing our dependence on the IT sector? Whenever the INR rises against the USD, the Indian IT sector plummets by a few percent ... its obvious, direct PAT is taking a hit here, for the entire industry. Stocks of all the big IT companies see a dip. When the Rupee saw a 17-month low, the IT sector saw a cumulative 0.86% rise, the big firms' stock rose by as high as 2%. So whenever I want my INR goes down, my IT sector does well ... meaning more business ... meaning more exports ... meaning more employment ... meaning higher cumulative disposable incomes ... meaning higher GDP ... meaning economic development ... meaning more imports (assumption here, but generally higher disposable incomes lead to higher imports - correct me if I am wrong) ... meaning INR rises back. Would it be not great if the finance minister could use other industries for balancing the economy?

Politics v/s Economic Development

I just read this, only in Bengal can this happen ... maybe in Kerala as well. But at least the South Indian states have realized that reform can only be ushered in through economic development of the state.

If it is good for the country, does that justify sacrificing the lifestyles of a small segment of the populace? Logically speaking, I would say yes, but as the marathi saying goes - jyachi jalte tyalach kalte. Sometimes the ruler does have to make hard decisions, and those are the times when the opposition party is waiting for ... to make a big hue and cry for garnering more votes.

Ughhh! What a mess ... It really is surprising that how governments get anything done.

Monday, August 25

Remember the Teacher

I was reading my feeds when I came across -

A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash and Now THERE's a Teacher

Takes you back to movies like To Sir, with Love, doesn't it? Just that the students are not half that bad. What often moves or works against the teacher are the preconceived notions of the students. In our lifetimes as students hell bent to finish the term as soon as possible, we sometimes forget the main task at hand - knowledge and learning.

I remember one of my Services Marketing professors in this regard, Prof. Ram Kumar, who was the faculty at IIM-A. In the second lecture, he gave us senior students as quiz, one simple question - "What is services marketing?"

Having finished our preliminary year with a lot of poppycock, we had learned the management mantra and more than eager to try it out. At the end of the quiz, Ram Kumar made us write a textbook definition of the same, 20 times on the back side of the question paper. Honestly, I felt like a school kid. The only thought that was going through all our collective minds was - "This is what they do at IIM-A, huh?" or "All this effort for doing this?". The rest of the course was awesome, with presentations and assignments which made us think ... no, really think. Come out with ideas, collaborate, discuss the merits and demerits of different services, and most importantly, learn to ask the question Why?

At the end of the course, the last session had us sitting in the class, with one minor change. The class' mike was attached to a mini stereo system. Our disastrous quiz papers were distributed amongst the class ... I was staring at my bad handwriting and wondering, what am I to do with this paper? Ram Kumar, then hit the stereo's play button ... and asked us to tear up the quiz sheet where we had expressed our rote learning and throw them in the air. The background music was - Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd.

Tearing up a piece of paper never felt that good.

Saturday, August 23

Facebook or Orkut?

social

I was mulling over Alexa this weekend, when I decided to compare the web traffics of the three networking sites; facebook, myspace and orkut. The annual traffic graph revealed an interesting picture I must say. The myspace traffic is more or less constant with its brief set of fluctuations, Fox Interactive Media should be a happy puppy. Their market share has remained solid,whew!!

But look at orkut and facebook, facebook (in red) has been steadily growing from milestone to milestone, and recently was crowned as the top social network site on the blue nothing (that's the internet). The sudden spurt you see in all the curves, I think its the announcement of Facebook, when they announced their predator safegaurds. Remember that time in May, when a youth in India was kidnapped by some strangers through orkut? Well, could that explain the sudden dip in orkut traffic?

Strangely, during that time, orkut went the facebook way by having a few orkut apps, could this culture shift have thrown more traffic towards facebook?

I know a lot of people have not put too much thought into social communities, et al, but community management and monetization of the same is the only revenue models for both orkut and facebook. I wonder whether the orkut product manager is breaking a sweat on this? Incidentally, the orkut development and engineering team has shifted entirely to Brazil, where it is the no. 1 social networking site.

Addendum

I don't know how he came across this blog, but Gaurav Dua gave a very logical explanation for the sudden dip in the traffic. If you see the Orkut url, then for Indian users it is nowadays orkut.co.in, same for Brazil, hence the traffic figures have dropped to 33% (approx.). I feel like such a dunderhead :-)

Tuesday, August 19

Technology Hype Cycle

gartner-hype-cycle1

For the uninitiated, please read more dope on the Hype Cycle.

Just came across this diagram, I thought that I might share this with you :)

What I would like to highlight here is that, Web 2.0 is going to go for mainstream adoption within the next 2 years (assuming that Gartner has done their homework), and it is about to hit the Trough of Disillusionment.

Are we to see another dotcom bust?

PS - Advice for freshers about to choose their careers, go towards ERP, EAI, BI side ... or towards storage and hardware side.

Monday, August 18

Jet Airways runs Linux!

On my way back to Hyderabad this morning, as I was taking my seat bleary-eyed, I glanced at the Jet Screen. That's the tiny entertainment TV for the passenger's viewing pleasure. Could not help but notice that those monitors were running on a centralized system, and that system was booting. The techie inside me wanted to probe further, so I kept my eyes glued to the screen ... and voila ... it runs Linux!! All the peripherals attached to it were also being detected ... credit card reader installed ... awesome. Sadly, I could not determine which distro of linux, I think embedded linux though, because it was using RedBoot. The reason why I am so thrilled is because that just goes to show the trust in the operating system.

Saturday, August 16

Emails!

image

Could not stop from posting this one ... its too real. This applies in work as well.

Innovation and Dilbert

 

Was going through the Dilbert archives when I came across this two strips. Real example of what happens when management makes uninformed decisions about technology where they are clueless. Seems familiar to you too?

Friday, August 15

MP3 Hunts

I am an mp3 whore. A song hoarder, and here's a tip on how to do it.

Fact1: If you have been in the web hosting business, you should know that most web servers have directory listings, and most n00b users forget to switch them off. If the web server happens to be just a file server, then its highly likely that the directory listing is on.

Fact2: The listing is cached in Google's index by the title of the page, which normally is Index of /blah blah blah.

Google for the keywords - "Index of /" + mp3 + <keywords of your song>

Eg- "Index of /" + mp3 + beatles + strawberry fields will lead you to at least one directory listing.

A word of caution though, there are advertisers and spammers out there who know this as well, so 80% of the links turn out to be dead ends, but perseverance and determination gets you there.

American Pie Productions

 nakedbeta

I am not that big an American Pie fan, although I have seen more than my fair share of american teen comedy movies. Quite a lot of them, watching those movies I sometimes realize that the average IQ of an american must be really low. I do not mean to be condescending or even orthodox for that matter. They are rated 5.0 and 5.4 respectively. Watch only if you have time and/or grey cells to kill.

Thursday, August 14

Reply-All

When you see a mail lying in your inbox having multiple people in the CC and in the To, the first urge is to hit the Reply-All button. Make your presence felt in the email conversation. The urge increases exponentially with power distance (also see Geert Hofstede) in that organization. The minions have to prove to their bosses that they exist, and they can contribute for the bosses benefit.

You will see this become excruciatingly apparent on public holidays, company-wide announcements, successful projects, etc. The reason I am posting this today is because I know that my inbox is going to get inundated with Happy Independence Days tomorrow. Despite repeated requests, this does not change, so I say, let the spam spew forth.

Wednesday, August 13

Customer Loyalty

I was coming back from Mumbai via Indian Airlines (now known as Air India). As you would have it, the flight was delayed by 90 minutes ... the passengers were sitting in the flight without the airplane moving a single inch. Finally, when the flight reached Hyderabad, I took a cab to office, half the day was wasted ... hrrrumph!!

On my way to the office, I receive a call from an Air India representative, saying that 4 air miles have been accrued to my account and I can check those at so and so url, all I need to do is keep my boarding passes with me. Just how idiotic is this ... for travelling 1600 miles, I get 4 air miles ... so after 400 trips with Air India, I will finally get one flight free of cost. That's a discount of 0.25%

If only they can take that discount and use the savings to bolster their infrastructure and setup so that such flight delays do not occur. I would rather pay that discount instead of waiting those additional 90 minutes. Does the marketing department of Air India have a warped definition of customer loyalty?

Tuesday, August 12

Truth

I love the truth. It's absolute ... impartial, undeniable, it is out there. And no one can say otherwise. A lot of people I know run away from the truth in search of answers that satisfy them. Would it not be better if men would be men and stood straight to face the truth ... and nothing but the truth.

One more thing, truth is cold and it is bitter.

PS - Dear reader, worry naught. I was in a melancholic tone of mind when I wrote the post, but now I am good :)

PPS - Hey!! You know what?!? I just got engaged!!! More on that later ...

PPPS - No more PSes for now. Time to go home!

Friday, August 8

Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V

25a4yfk

Enthusiasm v/s Experience

What would you reward more in your firm? Often, in a start-up, you need that zeal, that spirit, that enthusiasm to get things going. To overcome the inertia of normal living, to overcome the difficulties that would falter any one ... to get the thing done. My sales team is full of young and enthusiastic fellows.

We recently hired a new director to head one of the SBU's of the firm. Jolly Jose has a mountain of experience behind him, is persistent and dedicated to the job, knows enough tricks and tips of the trade to get those things done. His experience offers him insights that we normally miss out on. My technology team started out young, but now is a mix of veterans and enthusiastic people, I favor the experienced guys myself, since I know that when the cookie crumbles, it is the battle hardened veterans who will keep their cool and carry the ship through past seen stormy waters.

So what do you think? Enthusiasm or Experience?

Thursday, August 7

Facial

So, its almost time for my engagement, and my family (including the soon-to-be extended one) arm-twisted me into agreeing to take a facial. I frankly thought to myself, must be a simple procedure where someone slathers some cream-sheem to my face and pampers me. But Oh! What horror of horrors awaited me!!

Scene1: (It's 9.00am) I am shaving, and taking meticulous precautions in not cutting the varied pimples on my face. Believe it can be very painful to cut your face in such a scenario.

Scene2: (It's 7.30pm) I head towards the beauty saloon with some trepidation having never been inside one of these saloons. I sit on the chair and inform the masseuse what all needs to be done.

Scene3: (It's 9.30pm) The poor man is pricking away at all my pimples, blood and tears are flowing from my face. Irfan (that's his name) is informing me that this is for my own good ... yeah right!! My blood (or whatever thats left of it) is seething to a boil. Grrrrr! The chair's arms provide a hard and cold solace against the needle's sharp point.

Scene4: (It's 10.30pm) My face has been brutally mutilated, with open wounds across the face, it feels like what the Mumbai stadium feels like after Shiv Sainiks have romped across the pitch.

I reach home, my cell has been constantly ringing off its hook, but in the pain endeavored moments, I could not pick them up. It's my fiance, ... "Honey, how was the facial?"

Sometimes I really wonder at the suffrage that women go through, or do they like doing these things? I think it prepares them for the pain during the delivery phase. I for one have decided that this was the last facial that I ever had. No more, no more ... cholbe na ye na cholbe!!

Wednesday, August 6

w.bloggar

I am testing the w.bloggar windows application to publish to my blog directly. At first, I am not able to understand how the Title of the post can change. Lets see if this works.

Sadly enough, it doesnt work as I desired. I guess its back to the blogger platform only. Earlier, I had tried ScribeFire, which did not fire at all!!

On Biggie's suggestion, I tried out Windows Live Writer ... its pretty cool, just the thing I was looking for. Infact I might just get addicted to it!! Surprising that google has not come out with anything like this :-)

Tuesday, August 5

Corporate Blog

I like the blogger.com blog which comes when you hit blogger.com (its below the login form). Especially this post about babes at blogger. Gives the firm that personalization touch, dont you think? As it is, it is way more interesting than Google Blog :-)

It's kind of difficult to have a corporate blog that readers come repeatedly to. Generally, if you are a well known firm like Google, HP, IBM, Accenture, et al, then having a blog makes good sense. What we see though is that people use blogs to make their companies famous!! I should not call those people fools since we were about to be one of them, when we thought other wise. Having a blog is good, but it should act as a PR tool and not as a marketing tool.

Monday, August 4

Succession Planning

I am now in the process of making a succession plan ... for myself!

Why do I want that ... to ensure that the organization is not people centric, even if it were myself, I dont want the firm to be dependent on me. What are your experiences in charting out a succession plan for the management of the firm?

As far as I know, it should ensure that the next one who takes up can hit the ground running without any suffrage to the firm.

Saturday, August 2

Tagged!

5 Software you use (Windows/Linux)
  1. Winamp/XMMS
  2. Firefox
  3. Putty/SSH
  4. VLC/MediaPlayer
  5. gvim/vim
5 Sites you hit
  1. gmail.com
  2. blogger.com
  3. twitter.com
  4. crazyengineers.com
  5. reader.google.com
5 Brands around you
  1. Sony Ericsson
  2. HP
  3. Reliance
  4. Toshiba
  5. nVidia
5 People whom you would tag
  1. Don
  2. Kaustubh
  3. Amit
  4. Sudhir
  5. Mayur

Friday, August 1

Power of Language

I never realized how powerful a medium could be, until today ... this realization may be incomplete as well, but just a small wow was enough for me to dash of a quick post.

I talk to my soon-to-be fiance a lot ... telephone is the only sahara to breach the long distance between Hyderabad and Mumbai. Believe me, a lot. Reliance ki jai ho jai ho jai ho.

Although my cabin sees a lot of people throughout the day, I do not mind talking to her on phone since very few people understand our common language. Marathi. Matrubhasha rocks!! So, one fine day, after talking I kept the phone down ... only to realize that one of the employees in our retail department was smiling at me. I smiled back. Today, I recieve a mail from him regarding some work ... I see his name, Deepraj Bhise. Great!! Gone is the awesome privacy that language can offer you in a foreign land.

A straight forward application of this we see in our daily lives .... encryption.

Thursday, July 31

Direct from Dell (to Hell)

No its not a complete, "I hate Dell" post.

I was the student representative for IIM Indore, in handling all the IT problems. I loved it, and liked fixing the varied problems that my classmates, juniors and seniors had. Back then, we had a tie up with Dell for laptops. Roughly at any point of time, at least 70 laptops were there from Dell. The warranty on them had lapsed in a years' time, so ... as Murphy would have it, the problems started cropping up only after then. Thus started the telephone calls over Warranty issues, and the constant bartering ... over warranty given on paper ... then comes the line, read the fine print. I was glad to hand over the ITCom Secretary post to my able junior .. whew!!

Now I do not own a Dell laptop anymore, but two of my colleagues do. Both have malfunctioning laptop batteries and chargers to boot, so the machine refuses to run without AC power and a functioning battery. Ok ... easy solution ... go to support dot dell dot com and raise a request. One month wait for customer care to respond. Fine, lets raise a sales enquiry of purchasing a new battery and a charger ... one month wait for sales to respond. Is the site working anymore?

If you have a website and are making case studies of it in so many b-schools, then can you make sure it works properly; and if it is working properly, then why not respond to the customer, establishing their expectations. No response is a no-no. That has not only resulted in lost sales, but more importantly lost customers. An easier approach would be to sell extended warranty support to them and retain them as customers.

Wednesday, July 30

Job hunts!!

I always thought that job hunting would result in instantaneous gratifications ... guess not!!

How's this for a covering letter??

Hi So-and-so,

I am desperately seeking to working in your firm, since I need the money badly. You do not have to issue any work to me since my qualifications can hardly count for naught. No need to revert, your read receipt is counted as your approval.

See you on Monday!!
Your-latest-employee

Tuesday, July 29

86400

That's the number of seconds in a day. Its also the name of the latest project that my team is working on. The concept is to sell one product a day, and keep it very simple. We sell to stock, you buy 1 product ... no registration ... product dispatched to you within 3 days.

The site is yet to launch, but you can catch the beta launch here - 86400.

PS - the .com domain was taken ... by a pr0n site!!

Monday, July 28

Wedding Rush


Not me! This photo I took whilst going home ... looks like someone is late!!

Friday, July 25

Lazy blogger

I feel the need to change the look and feel of my blog. But I am too lazy :-)

What to do now?

Addendum - Thanks to Biggie's help, I am working on this ... it's WIP, but you will see the blog morphing!!

Some more - Now working on the CSS and the XML, It would be great if someone could give me a nice image to put on the header. Okay, now I am close to tearing my hair out here.

I think I am done!! No comments please, this aint changing!!

Thursday, July 24

Facebook Updates!


I love the way coincidences happen in real life!!

Wednesday, July 23

Music Spiral


I am a last.fm user. Been an active user since March 2nd, 2008. For the uninitiated, what last.fm does is it stores my music plays and tastes and also recommends me music which I might like to listen, based on my tastes ... collaborative filtering + social community.

So, they have revamped their site design ... added so many widgets (I had sported some on my blog) ... now they are allowing this data to be accessed through API!! What this means that the gazillions of programmers out there can come out with their own version of add-ons for this application. What that means ... is that there is a big pay load of data to be mined. I saw this music spiral application for instance ... it generates my music spiral (dont ask me what it is) ... it looks pretty.

If you ask me the exact application .. go figure :-)

Tuesday, July 22

kyuki saas ...

No I am not talking about the never ending soap ... I do not own a TV, I do not watch hindi soaps, and I do not care for such glorious and frivolous waste of one's time either. Ok, that was slightly too strong, but what the heck, I mean it.

I meant Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Wherein, instead of purchasing the software, one uses the same software hosted on a service provider's infrastructure ready for him to use. Perfect way to tryout an expensive software without committing too much capital into software license cost.

These days you are getting almost anything as a hosted application ... take winamp ... why install when you have last.fm, why install windows when you have desktoptwo.com (grrr.. i know, since you need an OS), why install messengers when you have meebo.com, why install office suite when you have zoho.com ... the list goes on.

I am awaiting the day when the machine will come only with one software .. and nothing else ... that software would be a combination of a browser and an OS. Or a browser with a HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer). The mind is running ... hope our technology can catch it.

Monday, July 21

Dark Knight: IMDB #1

Saw this one over the weekend, and yes ... the news is out. We have a winner here ... pro'lly the best batman flick ever!!

It's a whopping 9.7 on IMDB, ousting Godfather from the top spot is a feat ... a huge feat!! The reason?? I believe the movie is not like your run of the mill batman flick, with chics, action and baddies all over the movie. It goes deeper into explaining why the characters are as they are ... why Batman has to be a vigilante, how is police officer Gordon promoted to the Commissioner post. Why is the Joker who he is ... why does two-face hate Batman's guts.

The casting of the movie is superb, with acting greats like Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine (playing the role of the wise Alfred). The action scenes are realistic, the characterisation is superb, if you are a Batman fan, this is your Meccah!!

Saturday, July 19

Sacred Underworld

Well, I downloaded the expansion pack as well ... and the installation of the same nearly killed my machine!! But the refined game is much better, the item drops are much more ... with 2 more character classes and more missions and more areas. I want longer weekends where I could play this game!! I also want to play this on Multiplayer!! I wonder if I could get my fiance hooked onto it, so that post marriage, we can play this on the LAN!!!

Please honey?!? - The trials and tribulations of an over-aged gamer and his family :-)


Wanted

It was quite a while since I had seen a movie, and I was kind of desperate to watch one (it's almost an addiction now!!).

Had heard from Harshu, that Wanted seemed a good movie, very well, lets give it a whirl I thought. The movie is action packed!!! Let me tell you ... some of the stunts have you saying Woowwww!! and Yowzer!!!

The essential story revolves around a secret clan of assassins who can bend bullets and accelerate their heart rates for higher adrenalin secretions.

Just one word for some of the stunts ... unbelievable!! Go watch them for yourself.

On a sidenote - This is a medical fact, at higher heart rates, your perceptiveness and reflexes increase, but it takes a toll on your body. I had read it somewhere.

Friday, July 18

Quantity v/s Quality

Today Don and I tried out this new restaurant in Hyderabad, it seemed new; considering the fact that we had not noticed it earlier. Upon entering the restaurant at peak lunch hours, we saw that the place was like a graveyard ... rows upon rows of empty seats. Thats not a very good sign, let me tell you at the outset.

We still decided to persist, it's the never-say-never attitude combined with the kya-hi-farak-padta-hain attitude that pushed us. Prices were decent, we ordered our usual order ... one meal and two rotis plus one more dish. This normally is enough for the two of us. Just about more than enough actually :-)

When the waiter came, he had his tray full with dishes ... the quantity was huge .. big dishes and loads of dishes (what a meal!!!). It was enough for maybe 5 people, 6 even. The food quality was not that great, neither was the service ... but pricing and quantity. Wow!

I wonder, what would have happened had the restaurateer focused on quality instead of quantity.

Hyderabad

Only in a city like Hyderabad do you see such idiosyncrasies. Our office timings were 9am to 6.30pm, which worked out for everyone (although I found them a tad too early!!). But ever since I have started waking up at 6.30, it has become much easier.

Nonetheless, today when I walked into office ... I found that the AC was not working; which was very fortunate considering the fever I was running. After half an hour or so, the enter lights, connectivity, etc went. zook, kaput, gone ... silence. The office does come to a stand still, especially the tech department. The newly installed UPS took the brunt of all the machines and the servers ... phew!

Upon further questioning, we found that this is now going to be a daily occurence with the AP electricity board. The area is going to face extensive power shedding and daily from 8am to 11am, the lights will be cut. Great!!! Awesome!! As a joke, I asked our admin that maybe we should reschedule our office timings to suit the AP board.

11am, the management decides to reschedule the office timings ... 10.30am to office it is!! What am I going to do in the mornings now?!?

Wednesday, July 16

Groupware

So we finally decided that Google Apps is not a sustainable idea without subscribing to their paid service (which costs a LOT by the way!). The only solution - look for alternatives who can give the same kind of service (my Head Ops wants this, thats Manish) and be as easy to administer (I want this) for as less as possible (my finance guy wants this). Yes, we want the BEST :)

So after doing a long due diligence, we decided, that having our very own hosted email server would be better (yeah, the cost-effectiveness hurts since Google Apps was free). Now, my MD wanted an interface where everyone's schedules and calendars were visible to every other person. So, the need for a calendaring system was apparent, the moment he said that ... I realized that we want something like the Google Apps paid version at a cheap cost. Fair enough, we can have that, just buy MS Exchange and enough Office licenses instead of using Gnumeric and Abiword bounded with QMail. My headaches would be resolved. Again, the financing of this exercise looks like a nightmare to me.

So, I have to look the open source way once more. Apple apparently offers CalDav, which works well with Outlook even (Thunderbird needs Lightning extension, or you can use Sunbird). Very good, so I take one derelict machine lying in my office (it's a P3 you know :-)), and I install Ubuntu 7.1 on it. The installation goes without a hitch, I choose command line and remove the GUI interface, that drastically brings the load on the machine down. Sadly, for some reason CalDav is not installing, I cant compile the @*#@*^ file.

No worries, I look around and then decide to go with eGroupware, which needs not much just apache2, php, mysql and its own binaries. Installation has now begun ...

10 minutes later ... the file system on the machine has crashed. Some days are just fun days :-)

I am beginning to appreciate Google Apps from a whole new perspective.

Thursday, July 10

Knowledge Value Cycle

Note - Had to edit this, renaming the model from Chain to Cycle. See the comments. Thanks Amit.

I was reading a friend's blog about how he has decided to have a mission for his blog. Immediately in the comments, I put in that along with a mission, one should also have a vision to know where the mission is going. Now, while suggesting a good looking and smart sounding mission and vision, I came up with this term - Knowledge Value Chain (I wont edit the comment on Biggie's blog). I do not claim to have invented this, since a quick google showed me that the term is already used and abused many times over. So heres one more to the count.

Small explanation:
The cycle is divided into six stages, with the ultimate stage or goal of knowledge is to be the guru, the one, the yin on that subject. Look at our education system for example, that should tell us how this process goes ... initially we do only rote (remember those horrid 10th and 12th exams??) ... as we go into graduation, the awareness increases, we start listening and finally understand that theres more to knowledge than rote (try doing Hearn & Baker of graphics or Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest and Clifford Stein or any other thick book for that matter) ... next comes the phase where you actually start learning yourself (that would be during your post graduation or job where there is no one there to teach you or learn from) ... post which you become comfortable at internalizing a lot of information in a go ... once it is internalized, you say ... "hey, this stuff is awesome!!" ... you want to spread the word ... write blogs, talk with friends about it ... you become an evangelist. People start looking up at you ... they start saying ... "yeah! he knows stuff" ... you become a teacher.

Of course the process can be extended into a heightened form of knowledge cycle ... thats when the teacher learns from his students. Interaction.

Wednesday, July 9

Monday, July 7

Mondays

Something to welcome the week, an ode by yours truly.

Of blues and unpaid dues,
Of illegitimate taxes and ignored faxes,
I do not welcome it, I do not love it,
Oh!! It certainly tis not a fun day,
But here comes a Monday!!

To IPL or to IPO?!?

This is a follow-up to Sudhir's post on IPL. Yesterday I was reading the Economic times whilst the bai was cleaning my room (that's the only time when I took a break from Sacred), and there it was ... in the big headlines pattern.

IPL teams can raise capital through going public ... or via private equity as well!! Imagine the Mumbai Indians being listed on the BSE, and everytime they have a match against some other team, the share prices would buckle, a cricket crazy nation ... now putting their money where their mouth is. I am just waiting for those Sports Team Mutual Funds ... wanna bet that Ravi Shastri launches one??

Saturday, July 5

Sacred

I am a huge fan of role playing games, the ease with which you can get lost in them forgetting reality is simply awesome. Diablo series is just a case in example, more to follow that I played were Dungeon Siege series, KOTOR, The Elder Scrolls series (Morrowind and Oblivion), et al. Gimme any RPG and I will spend days on end happily clicking away at the monsters that otherwise would have spiralled the world into doom. I am a RPG-whore :-) (Sharma and Ashish, PG-13 levels reached??).

So, I could not help myself from downloading and installing the Sacred series (awaiting the release of Sacred2: Fallen Angel :-) ). The game is pretty much like a Diablo2, with a choice of six different races, and spells and different skill trees, et al. What sets it apart, and I feel it is the money making factor here, is the ability of the character to get into a non-linear game play style. What I mean by non-linear is that the player does not necessarily have to stick to the main game plot ala Diablo, but can go on the side plots and keep on playing them ala Oblivion. How cool is that!?!

The environment graphics are not that well done, slightly 2Dish but the gameplay is pretty decent. Kudos Ascaron Games :-) ... my weekends are booked!!

Friday, July 4

Kandivali

Today I am in a lot of Angst! No idea why!!

Anyways, to bore away the angst, I was going through the analytics account of my blog, and saw that quite a decent no. of hits are coming from Kandivali, Mumbai.

Who could it be? If you are reading this, then please post a comment :)

Thursday, July 3

Efficiency


Picking up my feelings about meetings from here.

GraceNote

Day before yesterday, I updated my Winamp ... and normally I do not saunter around this software, I just listen to songs and be happy with that. That day, I was tinkering around with the Media Library, and saw this awesome AutoTag feature.

Don't you want to classify your ever growing music collection Artist-wise, Genre-wise, BPM-wise, Year-wise, Album-wise, so on and so forth? Won't it be great if you could manage that? Believe me, I try but have never managed to do so, so many songs, just 10 fingers. I bet many of you would also face the same problem. ITunes has a facility of tagging the songs, but you need an IStore id, and that aint available in India. Bummer!!

Worry nought!! GraceNote is here ... its a firm bought over by Sony Inc. for $260 million sometime back. They have an online CDDB collection, for tagging your songs automatically. Winamp is integrated with that. Wooohooo!!

No more listening to Title - Artist.mp3 :-)

Firefox Download Day: A Guinness world Record!!


Glad I could help in my little way :-)

Monday, June 30

Autowallahs

Pffttt!! This is so awesome, being a business grad. makes me appreciate the way people think and do their daily business. The fact that I am getting robbed in broad daylight is irrelevant.

I moved to Hyderabad in the December of '06, and I barely knew my way around. I thought myself very fortunate that the Autorickshaw stand was nearby and my friend knew some of them. Naturally, they operated on a fixed price basis. That sucked, since I knew they had a nice fat operating margin of 15%. I paid, I fell to the cartel's ways ... and soon everyone of them was earning supernormal profits at my expense.

This went on for 18 months, then the government of India hiked the petrol rates and inflation peaked to more than 11%. What that essentially meant for autos, was higher meter rates. Since what I was paying them was higher than the meter rates, I kept on paying the same amount. The smart buggers that they are, decided to hike up my fixed rates as well ... upon this, I was quick to point out that my rate should not increase, since their costs are not increasing by a significant amount (Rs. 5 per litre, an auto which gives an avg of 24 kmpl and I have to go 8 km, which means an additional cost of Rs. 1.66).

For a couple of days, this worked. Today, they told me, that I am not profitable enough for them, and that their opportunity cost has gone up!! Indicating, that while they are dropping me off at my office at a normal profit level, they could be earning higher profits somewhere else as well. If only I had so much business sense when I was a b-schooler :-)

A related rant from Hypnos is here.

Diablo 3: The thing I have been waiting for

When I was doing my engineering (way back in 1999), one of my very good friends, Choxy told me of this original game CDs that his friend had gotten from the US. Now trust me, back then an original game CD was a big thing (it still is, but now you have torrents :-) ), and needless to say, Choxy with his awesome networking capability had those cds with him.

After meeting with him and getting those CDs, I was excited ... heck, I was jumping up and down and aching to just play the game. But how to make the game run without those CDs... that was the question. After much soul searching, I found the right crack (had to install the game twice before I got the exact crack!!). By this time it was night and my mother was heckling me to go to sleep (yeah, it was so back that I actually listened to my folks). You could say that this was the turning point ... once, the game started running, I said bye bye to a normal life, and the next 3 years of my engineering life were spent late-nights, surfing, playing, days - sleeping, eating.

I was hooked, and how!?! One of my best friends also got hooked to the game, so much that he used to visit my place just to play the game ... and boy he was a good player. During my CAT preps, I took his help in occupying the machine so that I would not play Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction instead!! So part of my MBA's credit is also due to Kombdi!!

After almost 5 years, Diablo2 is completely out of my system. Or so I thought, yesterday I learned about Blizzard announcing Diablo3 :-)

The craze is on.

Friday, June 27

The Incredible Hulk

Ever felt super pissed? This is the movie to watch then, anger can really get you mad sometimes.

Edward Norton is an awesome actor, you could tell that in movies like Fight Club. Plus, he has the beautiful company of the angelic Liv Tyler and some brit baddie to do the bad guy part.

The movie stand alone is pretty good and intriguing, Marvel Comics do a good job at keeping you hooked to the movie. The only issue is that the last Hulk movie had a completely different story altogether, the cast has changed and the background story also has changed. The good points are, this one sticks together pretty well, the action scenes are awesome, and Hulk seems like H-U-L-K!!

All in all a good watch (7.7)!!

Tuesday, June 24

Having the cake and eating it too?

Some display bug with the Solitaire of WinXP.

Convergence

Read this in today's morning news.

So MTNL has finally decided to go the developed country way. Opening up their offerings for not only other bulk buyers, but also for individuals like you and me. This means a stronger focus not on voice revenues, but on data revenues. 

A natural extension of this is Value Added Services (VAS) for fixed line networks. This trend makes more sense since MTNL was loosing market share of the customer's talking time. The average Indian has stopped applying for land line since the mobile is readily available with cheaper and varied tariff rates. Heck, even I do not have landline number in Hyderabad! 

So, with India copying the trends of more developed nations like UK and US, it is only a few years when we see a mobile revolution taking place in our markets. The future is here, are you ready for it?

Thursday, June 19

Internet Addiction

This just in. Internet Addiction is a clinical disorder.

I think I am infected. What about you? Chances are, that if you are reading this, you would be :-)

Welcome to the club!

The article says,

The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer through any number of mechanisms: emailing, gaming, porn.
I can certainly identify with emailing and gaming :-)