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!!

Tuesday, July 29


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 user. Been an active user since March 2nd, 2008. For the uninitiated, what 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, why install windows when you have (grrr.. i know, since you need an OS), why install messengers when you have, why install office suite when you have ... 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 :-)


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.


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


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


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


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


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


Picking up my feelings about meetings from here.


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 :-)