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 :-)

Wednesday, June 18

You know you are in 2008 when ...

  1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
  2. You haven't played Solitaire with real cards in years.
  3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
  4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
  5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
  6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
  7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
  8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
  9. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
  10. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
  11. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
  12. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
  13. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
  14. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't#9 on this list
  15. You desperately want to post this somewhere, on a blog or a tweet perhaps!!
I know, its a little bit old and a forward, but couldn't help it.

Sunday, June 15

Book in your emails

Books I am reading right now -
  1. 3 mistakes of my life - Chetan Bhagat
  2. Sybil - Flora Rheta Schreiber
  3. Adrian Mole: The Cappucino years - Sue Townsend
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. Wessex Poems and Other verses - Thomas Hardy
The last two of these books I am reading via email!! In one of my feeds, I came across this new service DailyLit which sends you a small section of your chosen book a day. Its upto you when you want to read it.

The perfect service those busy people who do not get enough time on their hands to sit and read a book. How much time does it take to read an email!!

Go check your mail!!

Friday, June 13

The Temporary The All

by Thomas Hardy

Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime,
Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen;
Wrought us fellow-like, and despite divergence,
Friends interlinked us.

"Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome -
Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision;
Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded."
So self-communed I.

Thwart my wistful way did a damsel saunter,
Fair, the while unformed to be all-eclipsing;
"Maiden meet," held I, "till arise my forefelt
Wonder of women."

Long a visioned hermitage deep desiring,
Tenements uncouth I was fain to house in;
"Let such lodging be for a breath-while," thought I,
"Soon a more seemly.

"Then, high handiwork will I make my life-deed,
Truth and Light outshow; but the ripe time pending,
Intermissive aim at the thing sufficeth."
Thus I . . . But lo, me!

Mistress, friend, place, aims to be bettered straightway,
Bettered not has Fate or my hand's achieving;
Sole the showance those of my onward earth-track -
Never transcended!

Thursday, June 12

Sex and the City

HBO was the channel which aired Sex and the City for the first time in India. My sister and I were immediately hooked with Carrie Bradshaw's witticisms and her troupe of friends. Lily's innocence, Miranda's pragmatism and the exploits of Samantha were a fun to watch.

Keeping those episodes in mind, I decided to go to the movie with my roomies. Its like watching the old characters that you love, except now that they have gotten old and have moved on from their characters. Its the same with meeting old friends ... you are glad to see them again, but you notice small albeit significant changes to their characters ... not to mention wrinkles :-).

All in all its a good movie, but I still prefer Mr. Big and Carrie in 20 minute dosages. Go give it a whirl only if you are a die hard fan.

Tuesday, June 10

Sarkar Raj

Went yesterday to see the movie. Let me come out clean at the outset itself ... I have not watched Sarkar, but still I thought that I should give this one a look see. The film starts where the last one has left off ... now with Sarkar being one of the strongest forces in Mumbai and in the country as well.

The movie is a good Indianization of Godfather ... a lot of the scenes look like nice copy-pastes of Godfather II. Except the last bit, the movie shows off the acting capabilites of the Bachhan parivar, at the same time, RGV gets to show off his brilliance as well. A must watch for Godfather and Sarkar fans.

Sunday, June 8

IPE taking on Ibibo!

I was just checking out the alexa rankings of this new site I read about in Deccan Chronicle (yeah! sometimes I do read newspapers ... no, I actually dont!!). Its apparently the firstIndian pr0n toon star (the IPE in the title stands for Indian Porn Empire)!! Her name is Savita Bhabhi, and the site is a daily comic strip of her shall we say "exploits".

I compared the pageviews of savitabhabhi dot com to ibibo dot com (no links, I do not wish to link myself to these sites), and lo behold! check out for yourself ...


Just an interesting piece of stats and comparison, if nothing else. But, isnt it interesting to note that the same time the traffic stats on ibibo went down, those on savitabhabhi went up.

Sidenote - What do you think would be ibibo's target market?

PS - This post in no ways is an attempt to offend any of the owners of the sites mentioned.

Suit Up!!

Its an expression that Barney, from How I met your Mother (one of my favorite sitcoms) often says. Was going through daily RSS, when I came across this ... a jacket for geeks who cant make their own pick-up lines. A small printer is fitted into the jacket along with sensors near the arms and heart to detect that change in the heart rate :-).

And voila!! You can be a casanova as well. Here's a video demo of that piece!!

Friday, June 6

Biryani at Bawarchi's

Our intern at eYantra, Mitesh(IIM-Indore Batch of 2009) is having his last days here, he has had a blast till now (or so I would like myself to believe). Today he gave us all a treat at Bawarchi's, for lunch. Having never been there, I obviously was excited to go there for lunch. Taking 2 bikes, the party of four left for the place ... sadly, the place was closed. All the great plans were dashed ... why was it closed?? Because of some strike against the hike in petrol prices!!

Fortunately the indominatable Indian spirit came to the rescue; We noticed a man standing besides an alley infront of the popular restaurant. He was gesturing towards us to follow him. He led us through a back door, into the kitchen of the restaurant and finally into the restaurant itself!! The place had so high an opportunity cost of being closed, that they were opening it despite the strike. How awesome is that.

The Bawarchi biryani is really famous for its taste and the clean, soft chicken. The portions are aplenty, and it takes a huge stomach and a healthy apetite to finish off an entire plate. Burrpp!!

Afterthought - We need to have more interns like Mitesh here!!

PS - 100th post!!

21

I learned to play Blackjack when I was in my teens. I used to get lucky and considered myself pretty good at the game. All those misconceptions were shattered when I saw this movie. I did not know you could apply probabilities and change theorems this effectively!! Combine that with card counting and voila ... you might just have a way to beat the system.

The movie is a true story of how 6 MIT grads made such a system and took a lot of casinos for a ride. The movie stars one of my favorite actors - Kevin Spacey, immaculate as usual. The story is racy enough and keeps you involved throughout the 2 hours.

Geeks can be heroes as well :-) ... worth a watch if you like numbers and cards.

Thursday, June 5

Capslock!!

Inferences (and assumptions)

Was going to Mumbai on some weekend (I have been doing that a lot lately :-) ), when I noticed a lady surfing orkut on her lenovo laptop using a firefox browser. She obviously was switching between a lot of windows and was also chatting using gtalk. Later, she got bored and took out her blackberry and started playing solitaire on that. Hmmm, I am not a peeping tom, but when I was looking at that scene, it suddenly struck me how much you can find out about someone just by looking at their habits.
  • The lady is a management professional or a management student
  • The laptop is her own (since she uses firefox, which is not the standard corporate browser, sadly, and she can surf orkut)
  • The lady has an orkut account :)
  • If she is a student, then most likely she would be studying at ISB
  • If she is a management professional, then she just might be into sales (the blackberry)
  • If she is in sales, then she would most likely be single (assumption)
Yes, I did not have anything else to do. No, I do not ogle at girls.

Foo meets Churn

Continued from Foo

Now, the reader must realize that in the realm of IT-Rawksdom, all work was not done by Foo. Rather Foo was an overseer of sorts, the tougher tasks were left to him to handle ... like battling huge 3 headed-monsters, and taking on evil marauders and pirates, and preparing the battle stations. The normal day-to-day tasks were left to the programmer peasants, coder common men, the networking nitwits and the sysadmin simpletons. Jobs that involved killing minor code bugs, maintaining the server farms, keeping the networks of the kingdom safe and clean were in Foo's domain, but not his daily chores.

So, all in all, Foo very much loved and needed his townsfolk for the kingdom to maintain a serene and a peaceful atmosphere. And all was well.

Hark!! What does Foo spy on the hills o'er yonder?!? It seems to be a two headed monster, one head is hungry for the little peasants innocently working in fields, the other has its evil eyes on the treasury of the kingdom ... attrition and churn. Foo did what any other superhero had to do, jumped up and rushed to meet the monster headlong in the battle.

What will happen when our hero meets the monster in the battle? Only an appraisal will tell ... the market watches.

Wednesday, June 4

Garfield

Indiana Jones is back!!

I am a big fan of Harrison Ford characters ... Hans Solo, Deckard, Indiana Jones ... all of them! I first saw Indie and Amrish Puri fight it out in the Temple of Doom as a kid. Although the very idea of India was laughable, but the movie was definitely entertaining.

Give it to Indiana Jones, his hair brained heroines and his antics to keep you on the seat. Plus, the whip and the hat completes the ensemble. This movie doesnt fail to maintain that Indiana Jones edge ... right from the start it maintains a steady beat of action, thrill, adventure and comedy.

Loved the movie, absolutely loved it. Will not give out spoilers, suggest that you watch it for yourself!!

Monday, June 2

Ringo goes down the drain

Got this mail today. Another one bites the dust!! I think its good for social networking as a phenomenon that the redundant networks are consolidating.


May 31, 2008


Dear Ringo member,
After much consideration we have decided to end the Ringo service.
As of June 30, 2008 the Ringo service is ending and you will no longer have access to your Ringo account.

How do I get my photos?
We created a new feature that will allow you to download your photos to your computer. Click here to download your photos.

You may also order a CD of your photos. Just sign in to your Ringo account, click on the "You" tab, click" Order prints" and then "Photo Disks".

How do I get my videos?
Videos uploaded to Ringo were hosted for us by a partner. This partner has decided to end this service and after June 30 videos uploaded to Ringo will no longer be available.

Thank you for being part of the Ringo community.
The Ringo Team

Server outages

With the recent outages of the online service Twitter. Many have started asking the question, how good is a service really without the people who drive that service?

And another thought that comes to mind is - have they done that great a work if that service goes down without them? When do you call your work complete ... when it is sustainable without you or when its completely and utterly dependent on you.

Thoughts welcome.

7C Model

When I was doing my PGDM at IIM-I, I had taken one course known as IT Enabled Marketing (ITEM). The crux of that course was a simple model known as the 7C model. The point I am rekindling this knowledge is because I aim to use it in real life business for a change. The theory that was taught two years back is finally going through chrysalis and culminating (in what I hope) to reality. Any web portal should have as many of the 7C's as possible, they would be -
  1. Context
  2. Content
  3. Community
  4. Customization
  5. Communication
  6. Connection
  7. Commerce
The latest web portal that I was working on had just 4C's ... we are currently working on the 5th one. Will keep you posted on this.