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?


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.


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, same for Brazil, hence the traffic figures have dropped to 33% (approx.). I feel like such a dunderhead :-)

Tuesday, August 19

Technology Hype Cycle


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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 blog which comes when you hit (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


5 Software you use (Windows/Linux)
  1. Winamp/XMMS
  2. Firefox
  3. Putty/SSH
  4. VLC/MediaPlayer
  5. gvim/vim
5 Sites you hit
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.