Monday, December 31, 2007
1. The site is quite clunky. You can't buy/sell shares of more than one company at a time. You can submit the buy/sell request for each company and then put in the trading password and then navigate your way around to Market Watch to do it all over again.
2. They had a good password recovery option - where they would email your trading password. Until recently. Now they still mail you - just through a snail. And the first time it happened, they didn't send me my trading password. And since I didn't have it, I couldn't reset it. And till I reset it, I can't submit a new one. Pathetic.
3. Did I say the site is clunky - in Firefox, the top frame, goes all awry and gets obscured under the main frame.
4. Pretty decent market research reports and a good Equity Portfolio Tracker. However, even here, there is a screw up. Some of the shares show buying price as 0. Whether they were split or bought in an IPO, the share price can never be 0, can it? And, for shares were transferred into the account ( I think it does the same for shares bought in an IPO), it shows the price when the share got into the account. Now, that's just wrong.
I bought Satyam for Rs. 600 before Kotak account was active, but when I transferred it into my account, the market price was Rs. 800. Kotak reflects the buying cost as Rs. 800 (instead of Rs. 600). This way the unrealized gain calculation gives you completely wrong numbers.
5. Another silly mathematical blunder explained
April 2004 - Infosys 100 shares - Rs 2200 each approx (this was 4:1 split given in )
July 2006 - Infosys 100 shares added - Rs. 0 each (1:1 bonus)
So now - Infosys 200 shares average buying price should be - Rs. 1100. Portfolio does reflect this accurately. But wait. How is a sale transaction reflected on Kotak?
Sep 2007 - Infosys 50 shares sold - Rs. 1960.
Actual gain/loss - 50 (Rs. 1960 - Rs. 1100) = Rs. 43000 (profit)
Kotak's gain/loss - 50 (Rs. 1960 - Rs. 2200) = Rs. -12000 (loss).
If I was making a loss, I won't sell Infosys, would I? Cmon, are you recruiting your portfolio managers straight from KG?
6. When you have to make quick buy/sell decisions, the stats are not easily accessible anywhere on Kotak's site, especially the technical charts. I have to use moneycontrol (which has a great portfolio tracker by the way) on the side.
7. The most atrocious thing is the amount of time the trading option is down after trading hours. The importance of this flaw is only felt immensely by those who can't log in during trading hours viz normal people who work during those hours and don't punt on fickle sensex movements. Not to forgot, people not in India. If you are sensible investor who does his research and then want to buy or sell based on prudent long term financial assessment, you will probably do it after your office hours or weekends, when you can concentrate on this activity. But here's what Kotak tells you
This is plain unacceptable, especially since you find this happening for long periods repeatedly. The solution from those with half a brain would be to allow the After Market Orders to be queued till the system came up and send a accept/reject response later, based on whether the request satisfies all the eligibility parameters. Is it all that difficult to do?
I hope you agree - If you are a sensible trader, you won't trade on Kotak.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Having to tolerate those pesky relatives, whom you avoided all year around. Having to bear the tantrums of your kid who was pestering for a laptop rather than a rucksack. Having to make food, an art mostly lost to another wonderful cultural thing called the takeaway.
I like Diwali better - spread over languidly over a number of days. Outside, streets are overflowing with people buying flowers, household utensils, sweets, new clothes. In our family, we still make Diwali sweets, unlike here, where it is mostly chocolates.
Even better - we still don't have a culture of giving gifts to all and sundry. And exchanging cards with your close ones - in India, we only send cards to friends and colleagues, don't we?
Why the formality of wishing your mom Merry Diwali with a card?
I am sure the trend will catch up in India - just like card flinging during Valentine's day, Relative(insert Mom/Dad/Brother/Step-sister/Dog) day is picking up. I see the reason behind birthday cards - it's special as the person born on that day is celebrating it. There is no reason for celebrating Mom/Dad/Brother/.../Step-sister/Dog day - it was just invented for 'commercialization of the calendar'.
Spend your money on a silly mass printed card with toxic ink calligraphy to prove that you are a good Mom/Dad/Brother/.../Step-sister/Dog, er.., I mean dog owner. It's just ludricrous!!
Back to Diwali. If everyone would do away with the tradition of bursting crackers, I would like Diwali much more.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Ms D L Acche was terrible at her work, but Mithun couldn't get himself to tell her that. She was so nice, she helped arrange the team picnics, brought drinks from cofee/water/tea machines, etc. when there was a Office Assistant to do exactly that. She genuinely felt Mimoh's (Mithun's dog) pain, when he lost his tooth in Mithun's neighbour's hamster. She was always on the phone getting updates from her friends, their dogs and their neighbours' hamsters.
She cared that Mithun didn't get the promotion and offered her post to him. It was hard not to like her. But did she do her job well? Hmm...well, Mithun could never tell because Ms D never finished it.
Mithun knew what else was bad? Team members who blog.
Monday, November 26, 2007
A six hour ride to and from Norwich might well unhinge the whole backbone from the rest of me.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Last year was hoping that I would run a sub 2 hour race. Completed in 2:5:32.
This year, am very pleased with my overall fitness, though the marathon training is irregular still.
A 1:45 timing would be just awesome, though I would settle for 1:50. Fingers crossed, legs not.
The Angrez football team got a lifeline this Saturday through Israel's win over Russia. And all they had to do was to equalize or win this match against Croatia to qualify for Euro 2008. And they blew it big time. 14 min into the game and England are down 0-2. It was an unsteady recovery after that, yet Croatia were making excellent break-away attacks all the time. Finally, England got what they deserved.
To add insult to injury, it was a game at Wembley, which hasn't seen a bigger game since re-opening. Terrible!!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
1. Rather than going to Wakad Police Station to catch sumo, bus, it is better to catch one from below Wakad Flyover.
Sumos, buses are less full when they reach Wakad Flyover. Many sumos, Tourist vehicles don't stop at Wakad Police Station for the fear of the mama.
2. Many people fear taking sumos, private cars for the fear of being looted. Many incidents have happened in the past, that would certainly have you worried. Before sitting in any such vehicle, note the vehicle number and relay it loudly over the phone to your near-ones. Sumos, cars are generally cheaper options, so if you take care of the risk, by being watchful and judicious, you have your journey made.
3. It is also easier to travel to Chinchwad (Hinjewadi-Dange Chowk-Chinchwad) and try and catch transport vehicle from there. Many vehicles ply that route.
4. For people staying on Central Line, Koyna (Chinchwad at 4.40 pm) is a great option, if you want to leave early on a Friday
5. For guys - Many of the IT guys fix up a sumo shuttle between Hinjewadi and Pune. Unless the driver is reliable and punctual (both very rare), avoid this and try your luck from the highway. Pre-arranged sumos are 50% more expensive as well compared to ad-hoc sumos.
6. Look out for high-end company cars going to drop or pick up passengers to the airport. The drivers are not too worried about the price, because whatever they earn apart from the main drop is a bonus.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Pretender - Foo fighters - really really awesome and unabstruse song. Very very relatable.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Reading was for Dassera festival. Quite well organized (inspite of limited resources), good events - dances, skits, fashion show. Some of it was amateur, but still very endearing and worth our time. Compare that to Diwali event at Trafalfar Square. Brandishing the Indian flag every 5 seconds. Every patriotic song in all its form - Sare Jahaan se, Jana gana mana, Vande mataram, performed, and danced to.
But hang on - this is Diwali!!
What's it got to do with Indian flag. Why hammer the "Chak de" song till everyone says 'F*$k de'. Can't we have some pure festive revelry. Even some jhatak -mataks and rocking Bollywood numbers - I was rooting badly for "Sajana ki vaari vaari" so badly - would have been fine. But no! The best they can do is 'Mein teri dushman, dushman tu mera'. Amrish Puri would have turned in his grave like a constipated snake.
The dancing on all the songs was unrehearsed and very banal. The dancers were so out of depth that a lady whose skirt started to come undone at the start of the song, continued to dance with one hand on the crotch, rather than go backstage, fix it and come back (or better, just let it slip on stage).
The stage lighting also was so poor, that most of the time, the performances looked straight out of a horror show. On top of it, the weather was wet and awful. The best part was a kid singing Jana Gana Mana so completely above the tune (reaching notes no human has reached before), that he must be the proudest (and loudest) Indian.
All in all, a very embarassing show of Indian culture.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
1. V for Vendetta - overrated. Good in parts, but direction lacks ambition.
2. Stephen Colbert and Russel Peters are amazing. Catch them on youtube.
3. Indian fans have it better than English, when it comes to be disappointed by their ridiculously paid sportsmen.
Exhibit A - England v Russia - 1-2
Exhibit B - England v S. Africa - Rugby final - 6-15
Exhibit C - Lewis Hamilton snatches defeat from the jaws of F1 driver championship victory.
Well, but Mithun soon realised that software is nothing like that. The whole hacking thing is really cruched into 5% of the project life-cycle. Rest of the time goes into planning, waiting for resources, waiting for business requirements, talking to business, talking to PMs, talking to HR (who have been findmucked into believing that they pay the employees' salaries), talking to schizophrenic halfs of the above mentioned folks, and last but not the least you talking to yourselves.
On top of it, there were really some IQ challenged people at work. The worst was this guy who would wash his banana - after it was peeled. The guy was unfortunately his lead. The lead was a difficult one - superficially you would have thought he was a great manager. But scratch the surface, and his failings would ooze through like pus from a wound.
Lead has done absolutely no homework about the design and goes into an important workshop. The project sponsors are there. If you screw the workshop, chances are that project may not go ahead.
Lead opens the meeting- "We are planning to build this using SAS and Oracle database with SAS interfacing the legacy systems and the new Consultant Management System. This is the only viable approach ".
Anybody with half a mind - "But SAS is not the best tool for pure ETL projects. Forget that, it's not within our client's strategic roadmap. And we don't have the licenses."
Lead - "That is not what I was told. (shakes his head and looks at Mithun). Looks like I have been misguided".
Mithun is fuming - Even a moron would understand that Lead is farting. And why is hell is he looking at me.
Mithun - "We are not using SAS, we are using Datastage."
Lead (with facial contortion signifying outrage and betrayal) -"WHY WAS I NOT TOLD".
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I had been told a few things were not possible, and then a few of them happened. There is no complete resolution yet (it would be nothing short of a miracle), but still with important and genuinely supportive people, I have set a few do-something alarms ringing. I am just disappointed, that things didn't take so much time, and that for genuine employee requests, we didn't need to take so many exceptions and make people jump through hoops.
But overall, just pleased with things (used that word a lot in this post). Putting on weight in spite of some intense baddy is not one of them. Pizzas and crips to blame, not me. Pringles is devil incarnated as a potato slice.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Well, for a start we didn't have a cycle-map of areas outside York, so were not sure how we will avoid the motorways. We managed a good start taking the small countries roads, but then hit the A64. As it busy with traffic, so turned back and started on a bridleway. The bridleway would have taken directly onto another country road, but we lost of way (the bridleway passes along the periphery of farms and through private properties, but it's a way of allowing people to enjoy the countryside, without causing disturbance for the land-owners) and reached a gold course. Turning back would have been futile, so crossed the barbed wires into the golf course and as discreetly as possible tried to make our way out the other sides. Balls were whizzing past us, trying to knock us intruders down, but we held our own.
Finally reached the driving range. We got more stares, but we pretended like we were the grass-cutters inspecting the course on our cycles. Finally, out of the course hurriedly.
At Strensall, Anthony bought a proper map which was very useful. Then onto Foxton, Thorton-Le-Clay and Foston. Close to Castle Howard, the journey was uphill. My cycle isn't amenable to gear changing, so I can't navigate gradients. So, it was off and on the cycle for some distance. But the view was spectacular and the weather was fine. Passed through a series of majestic gates into Castle Howard. Had a great steak sandwich (my first steak). The admission price was expensive, but then Anthony thought it would be worth it and it was.
The house is well-maintained and well-restored. It has a huge hall with frescos and statues. We were taken through various rooms with paintings, and artefacts, books, and furniture. Quite fascinating. The Howards still stay in the other block, so it must be a royal and lavish life for them.
Got a lot of interesting tidbits from Anthony about Greek and Chinese mythology. The guy is a knowledge store of information. Would be interesting to learn more and atleast get introduced to more history (I am extremely poor there).
The way back was smooth (mostly downhill). We missed a turn, but it wasn't a lot of time lost and were back in 1.5 hours (the way to, took 3 hours).
All in all, a great day of cycling.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Also went further north along Amble coast, Alnwick, Warkworth castle and Big Waters. Things have been intense for a while - some important people threatening to leave the program, someone trying to sabotage the good work others are doing, a shrew not knowing how to close a conversation and making a spaghetti mess of a fruitful discussion. It's been great learning working in this project. But as usual, new challenges keep popping up on the sidelines and it becomes difficult to concentrate completely. I am getting the feeling that this is going to the norm of professional life rather than an exception. Later, it would be kids, and their schooling, and promotions, and takeovers, and then finally finding a landmass to pitch on in a water-world.
Been reading Heat by George Monbiot. I know Monbiot as an author who features in Outlook and anyone who writes in Outlook, I respect (btw, anyone sees any similarities - personality wise between Anirudhdha Bahal and Anurag Kashyap). The book suggests that we should cut carbon emissions by 90% by 2030 in order to keep the temperature rise below 2%. Above 2%, it spirals into an environmental disaster (heating causes more heating and earth starts releasing more carbon dioxide than it can absorb).
Have to stop aimlessly surfing the net and TV.
Baddy is going along well, but still not in full control of the smash the back-hand. There are some pros playing along side and just watching them is tremendous experience. Baddy and football together are taking a toll on my tibia and it's sending shooting pain signals up my leg. Need to take it a bit slow. But still. I am loving it.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I wonder why I - the biggest fan of processes - am always at the receiving end of such screw ups. It always makes me yearn for Infosys. With Accenture, there was an excuse - there operations in India had not matured yet, and again, the major problems I faced were during the exit process. I don't know a single reason, why a company would want to make it easy and simple for an employee to quit. But my current employer can have no such excuses.
My expectation is that things would work as planned (without minimal intervention from me or my managers). But the reality is that, you have to keep parading yourself and get yourself in everyone's face to be noticed and considered. I am not good at it (its not a virtue, just a personality trait). I wait and wait for people to do the right thing, but they don't and THEN, when I act, they say, "Oh well!, why didn't you tell me before?". It's immensely frustating as it makes you the guilty person and a trouble maker.
Another hiccup - My MBA because of loan, visa (and also personal issues) will need to be postponed to next year. There was too much of chaos anyway, so made sense to take away one variable of the function. I will be old, old, old, but the time I complete it (probably, too senile to make sense of the acads). But que sera sera!
But otherwise, things have been great. Project's been good, am having fun with regular footer and baddy games.
Just hope the babus relent! My life would be peace!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Anyway, this takes the cake. An article from 2006 about Being Cyrus is unearthed and put up as a link on Google News. Why munna.
BTW, I know its not right to put unrelated stuff together, but its been some awesome couple of days. (label - personal extra curricular). Have been playing badminton almost 4 days a week now. Today, it was not on, but went playing footer. These English guys really know how to play the game, and its always fun learning (still) and playing the world's most favorite game. I hope the silver streak continues. Touch wood.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Prestige reminds you why Christopher Nolan is a great director. He goes back to his distinctive style of film-making (quick cuts, non-linear story telling, shocking twists, portentous music) after Batman Begins. He puts the rehashed double role trick to magnificient use. The acting is top notch, though Scarlett Johansson is wasted. The casting of Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in their respective roles is inspired. They suits their roles perfectly. I love the way Bale uses his strong immobile jaw to sharpen his understatedness. May be not on purpose, but it works.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I saw the Marathi play - Gandhi Virudh Gandhi and got to see the real father of a dysfunctional family for the first time. Just like Gandhi's humor and eccentric traits, this one also seems to have been sweeped below the PC carpet.
Anyway, my main grouse is really that none of these high-brow reviews mention this Marathi play as the source for the dramatization. Feroz Khan just trasported the material onto the Hindi stage and now the film and thus made it available to a wider audience.
If there is any credit due, it should be first to Ajit Dalvi and Chandrakant Kulkarni.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Sometimes you just want to reach the destination fast. Hell, you even know journey-is-important blah blah, but sometimes, things just get stuck, like constipation or something.
Its a time when my employer is trying to build another Channel Tunnel through my ass. And my bank has not debited my salary almost 4 days after month end. And I have just enough money to book the sidewalk spot to beg for the weekend. Its been a literally ass to mouth existence. Fuck the bloody what!
And my wife. Well, she ran away to Bombay, because I had no money. Here, I am.. All alone, sleeping on the floor, drowning in self-pity, typing away on a borrowed laptop.
Fuck the bloody what!
P.S. Correction - Wife didn't run away, though you are sure to think otherwise.
Friday, June 29, 2007
What could have been the reason for this tragedy?
The mother had told his son,"Beta, Japaani le aa!" <---Answer here
"Are you freaking kidding me!! Did Mr Ocean not warn you not to carry Manisha Koirala's diet lunch with you? You will freaking make me lose my job."
Apart from the grub, lots of clothes and fancy dresses were discarded. It's extremely dull here in the UK.
Anyway, we were talking about LOTR. So, after insulting JRR Tolkien and his motley bunch of looney characters, I thought I should mend my ways and get into the reading habit. Instead I took 2 months to get through the 'Heart of Darkness'. It must be like a blunt Maasai spear through Joseph Conrad's skeleton buried somewhere in Canterbury.
Thus achieving unprecedented elephantine success in killing the reading habit, I am in a position to share my wisdom about to go about committing bibliocide.
1. Check mails (official and gmail) every 30 minutes - Only mails I get on official mail id when I am home is from System Administrator admonishing me about my huge size - of the mail box, I mean. In a way, I am comforted by the daily dose of identical automated messages from such a highly placed authority. I deliberately send myself spam, so my mailbox explodes and system administrator manifests himself
2. Buy TV - Waste money on TV license, Freeview (set top box) and develop slender toned thumbs through remote punching. Watch reruns of ranking programs like the Top 100 books of the last century.
3. Web Surf - read trashy and terrible blogs, similar to yours. Reread the good ones at home (the first 7 hours in office are spent sleep clicking on RSS feeds of these blogs).
4. Borrow more books from the library - You scan through the adopted books - a comic, an autobiography, a travelogue. Flipping through is interesting, so you read some more. And after two days, you are overcome with shame at ignoring your own books. You stop reading the borrowed books. And forgot why.
5. Download movies torrentially - With the immense back log of last year's acclaimed movies to be seen, its a race against time and bandwidth. Unlimited download on my ISP means that I have to pump it dry with download queues circling the globe 365 times over. BTW, Azureus is much better than ABC
6. Video chat - Discover the many pleasures of having a webcam and mic at your end and none at the other (folks). You do a video tour of the home for every guest visiting your folks and show where the washing machine and the clothes drying line is. Make silly jokes, the responses for which are a muted :-)
Friday, June 08, 2007
I sometimes envy the guys - you know the types who topped whose camaraderie with their school pals is still intact, who won all the competitions on the way to topping in their classes, who got into IITs and then into IIMs and then quit a cushy ludricrously paying job to start a new venture and made even more moolah there. Meanwhile, ran through a thousand girl-friends, all just giggling and eye fluttering at these handsome hunks (yes, they found the time to body scuplt as well), and then got married to the most gorgeous babe in town. I don't just envy such guys, I hate them from the bottom of my gall bladder. You would think, that such guys form a miniscule portion of the populace like those who do the shirshana at 5.45 am every morning and simultaneously read 'Gravity Is Going To My Head' by Chutpati Vedamuttu, over and over again, and then under and above. Endlessly. No, these guys exist in ample. They prowl the streets of Goldville, and own the most popular blogs and have the most number of friends on Orkut. Oh, how I hate them.
Self doubt is a place where you had been earlier and demolished all the street signs. And you are there now. You don't know where to go or what to do.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
To make the travel hassles a bit lighter, here is a Mumbai Nagivator - I had used its earlier version, which was good too. This one looks like an improvement. There is also Mumbai local train timetable - Especially useful during the late night early morning hours.
Link through Anand
Old post about Mumbai and Pune maps.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Let me try to explain. If you are in a menial, subordinate job, or lower rungs of the organization, sure you can display your skillful, honest, hardworking and helpful nature. But it makes a difference to a lowly few. Also, there are far less challenges at that level, for you to truly test your mettle; qualities like leadership, patience, decision making never come into play.
Only at a management level, will you have the opportunity to develop these aspect
s of your personality and put them to good use. Able leaders and bright colleagues will demonstrate ways of doing things well. Mediocrity at that level stands out and mediocre people are dumped (unlike at subordinate level where they just continue to thrive). It is trial by fire.
Only to differentiate yourself from that bunch, will set you on the path to professional nirvana.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Saturday went to the Bowness Lake. Then came back home to watch the FA cup final. What a disappointment! Didn't watch the final goal in the dying minutes of extra time. We set out by bus to Ambelside and then walked to Grasmere. We started our walk around 5.45 pm, but this being summer, dusk doesn't settle in till about 9 pm. We stopped at a number of places - Rydal Caves, along the Grasmere Lake, Wordsworth's grave, and finally reached Grasmere at around 8.30 pm. Were fortunate to catch the last bus back to Windermere immediately.
Sunday, we decided to cycle to Crook and back. It was a great ride, though in the end, missed a turn and reached Kendal. Kendal Castle is ruins, but the view of the town and nearby hills is spectacular. The ride was a slightly difficult and so decided to take the train back. But repair works were on, and again were fortunate to have a replacement bus with plenty of storage, so we could put our cycles in.
Still the day was not over, so walked around Windermere town - Adelaide Hill, then to the lake and back to Orrest View Point. Unfortunately, we tried to take the shortcut to the hill top and missed the road completely. Reached some private hill-top (where we saw a deer), which has quite a amazing views. Made our way back from a different route.
On Monday, we decided to take it easy. Took a explorer day ticket. First stop - Brockhole Visitor Information Center. Then to Coniston. Walked to Coniston Pier and took a ferry to Brantwood. Saw John Ruskin's home, learnt a bit about his contribution (social, arts, philosohy), and had a great cup of coffee. Back to Coniston. Came to Ambelside, saw the Waterwheel (not working), the Bridge House. Collected the luggage from the B&B and then back to York by train.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Its bloated, disjointed, and plain boring. Sandman part was interesting in bits, but other guys - black widowed spiderman and Green Goblin Junior were a big let down. The attempt to add depth to the plot by going back to Uncle Ben's murder doesn't work out. It is a clean copy from Batman, where the murder of Batman's parents is not longer just a petty mugging. I wish Sam Raimi, would leave behind Aunt May and Uncle Ben behind, and just concentrate on the story of the now.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
But even if you excuse that fact, I think Ayaz Memon's last paragraph here is just plain wrong.
Had he flopped in the final, Gilchrist would have seriously thought about retiring, as indeed would have the selectors. Now he wants to play for some more time; and so do the selectors and fans.
Find no mistakes? Read it again. I will fill in how the sentence should obviously complete itself.
Had he flopped in the final, Gilchrist would have seriously thought about retiring, as indeed would have the selectors (thought about retiring). Now he wants to play for some more time; and so do the selectors and fans (want to play).
Now, sure, Ayaz Miyan didn't mean it that way. What he meant was
Had he flopped in the final, Gilchrist would have seriously thought about retiring, as indeed would have the selectors (thought about retiring him). Now he wants to play for some more time; and so do the selectors and fans (want him to play).
But, the para just contorts the meaning altogther. Wenyhay.
Don't look for grammatical errors here. I ain't proof-reading. It reminded me of that famous Bushism
Our enemies are looking for ways to harm us. And so do we.
Since, I was tour-guiding for the wife, had to stick to the same routine - Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Cruise, Greenwich, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace. Wished I had done at least a museum probably, didn't happen. Also, wanted to go around, some out of way spots - probabaly only thing we managed was Neasden's Swami Narayan Mandir (awesome- probably, the best temple I have seen). Next time, (provided I am around), will time my journey around some event (Noting Hill carnival etc) and make sure I check out the museums - Tate Modern, Nat History, or British Museum (atleast). Also go to Brick Lane and do the Wapping Dockyards walk.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Just a few highlights of the last month.
1. Bought a cycle on a Saturday. Boom! Stolen on Sunday. So, that's a downward trend, over Norwich theft. Lots more cycle tracks and far more cycle friendly in York, than Norwich, but then, will I be able to enjoy it.
2. York is more expensive than Norwich. Don't know the reason really. It's not much better than Norwich or anything. Just dearer.
3. The way this project is going, not sure, how long my work will last here. Already have put in a word with my managers, to find other available work.
4. Council tax is cheaper here, but then, expenditure on public facilities is less. Not so good swimming pool, really really sparse library.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Guys there are far more better games worth your while, whether you are playing or watching. Go chase them.
Friday, March 09, 2007
I saw this interview - Udayan Mukherjee, just royally screwed Kamal Nath. I don't know if it is the twin influence of Raghav Bahl and Karan Thapar, both of whom work for CNBC TV 18. But Udayan's arguments were precise and probing. Kamal Nath was left an irritated man - trying rhetoric and deviation from the topic. None worked. I think, he actually disconnected the call in a huff. Udayan was left with a victorious grin of the last man standing.
I have written about Udayan earlier. In the guise of the man next door, there lies a sharp, intelligent and commanding media-man. Hats off to the guy.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Of course, doing drugs is against the law - and not just in India. Rightly so. It doesn't harm just one person. These drugs provide mind-altering experiences - some permanent. They hamper judgement and rational thinking. That is a fact. Now, if such an individual starts behaving erratically, ignoring his well-being, his social obligations (as a child to his parents or as a parent to his children, just to keep it to the family), setting out on a slow but steady path of destruction, how is not government's business to intervene. Can individual families go about checking drug distribution? Or will market forces and profit motive come together to stop it?
Another case in point is this. Lets say, it is decided that government shouldn't intervene on issues of incest. And the inbreeding causes kids to be mentally and physically retarded. Who is to blame? These bro-sis couple doesn't even have an iota of guilt. Probably, did a lot of drugs as kids.
Profitability is a innocous word which masks the underlying greed. People are greedy. They keep wanting more. Even by defrauding others - the interests may not be harmed in an obvious way (global warming for example).
What if, a hundred people have to die as a consequence of personal freedom (oh, lets say, young rebels out on a rave party - with drugs coming from a Nigerian who provided spurious heroin some time back).
This personal freedom for unadulterated greed, and manic recklessness has to be checked. Don't get me wrong. I am all for dirt-biking with helmet on.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
"It's one huge family," said player Matt Ferguson, who didn't make the trip. "We spend
all day together. We go to classes together. We do everything together."
Sophomore Courtney Minnich said that at a college as small as Bluffton, "even if you didn't know everybody, it will hurt, because you've seen them on campus."
Everyone in US talks as if he is TV. Sample.
Don't want to demean the tragedy, but just an observation
Friday, February 23, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Vir Das, it seems, is already a well-known stand-up and looking for a break in Bollywood. He certainly has the goods. Watch out for him.
Amillia Taylor shouldn't be alive. She was born at less than 22 weeks - in the US, where babies aren't considered 'viable' until 23 weeks. But her desperate mother lied to doctors about how far gone she was, and Amillia is now the most premature baby to have ever survived. Aida Edemariam reports on her extraordinary story and asks: should we be saving such tiny babies? ...
I don't think we need to put medical science to the test, in such extreme cases. The baby wasn't meant to live and if it does, it faces insurmountable health problems - mental and physical. And that pain - the baby bears alone. Not even your parents can understand it.
Sometime back I wrote about the world's largest baby and world's smallest baby here
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I fill it in my fingers
I fill it in my toes
Mud is all all around me
And so the filling grows
My stink is on the wind
It's everywhere I go
So if you 're really dirty
Come on and let it show
You know I love goo, I always will
My mind's made up by the way, with filth
You'll be so cringing, you'll be so stained
'Cause if I am pool, you'll be deep end
You've been defaced before me
As I lay on my turd
I cannot get to thinking
Why do they call me nerd?
You gave your disease to me and I gave mine to you
I need someone beside me in everything I do
You know I love goo, I always will
My mind's made up by the way, with filth
You'll be so cringing, you'll be so stained
'Cause if I am pool, you'll be deep end
I got to keep it moving
My stink is on the wind
Oh everywhere its goo
So if you really love me
Come on and dab some goo
Come on and dab it,
Come on and dab it,
Come on and dab it,
Come on and dab some goo
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Anyway, SOA is a big buzzword, doing the rounds of tech-forums these days. Informatica 8 also claims to have adopted SOA. Tell you what! After looking at the tool, it's just a superficial makeover. Infa Powercenter has Workflow Manager, Workflow Monitor, Repository Manager etc. All these are hosted as servers. They have just renamed it as a service. Does it make the mappings faster? Does it require lesser resources? Does it make these tools more accessible? No. Everything remains the same.
In fact, on promotional material, it looks like a breakthrough. However, actually, its useless. Infa is not an exception. Data warehouse is stocked with buzz words like SOA, CDI, ELT, DSS, ODS etc. It is odious.
All these consultant types are operating at a level, where they don't deal with the intricacies of actual development. And so, are never exposed to the tools at a basic level. Only when you really work on tools, do you realise that the hype machine is just basically pumping out hot air.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
You can read the transcript here.
2. A better actor than Baby AB would have done justice to the role. Baby AB is unconvincing.
3. Aishwarya is zillion times more tolerable than in Dhoom-2.
4. Lot and lot has been written about the cinematography. Apart from the initial flourishes, it was pretty average. I especially dislike it when slow-motion is used and frames transition isn't smooth (less number of frames per second, which are unable to support them slow-motion). I don't know the tech jargon for this, but RDB also used it and it gets on my nerves.
5. The movie just talks in punch-lines. There aren't too many details about what Guru actually does to become that successful (Its literally a montage of 4 shots where his company grows from 10 people to 10000). I would have liked lesser time for side-plots, so that the main story was more elaborate.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The Sumo was chartered by a group of political workers, who had gone to support their friend in Pune. Since most of the Sumo was empty, they took in 3 more as extra income for the driver.
The workers kept discussing the results and favor deals. At a break, started talking with another guy. He was a Sales Officer for Diageo, the owners of brands like Johnny Walker, Smirnoff, Guiness, Black/Red/Blue Label and so on. Told me a lot of stuff about distillation process, quality of liquor, taste, BII (Bottled in India), BIO (Bottled in origin) concept, the marketing. His info about licensing and excise regulations was pretty instructive. I told him how absurd I felt the permit law is (you have to own a permit to drink in India). I tried to defend the law, but I think I made him see some sense.
Later got talking with a software guy from Geometric. Turned out we had a common friend. He needed info on DB2. I said I had a book and can lend it to him, as I don't need it anymore. We talked work a bit.
Overall, was a pretty useful ride. Thought, I was implementing some aspects of the Future Manager's program (soft skills training) I am almost about to complete.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Some major grouses
1. Disallows free money transfer from one account to another - even if the other account is HDFC.
2. No temporary disablement of debit card, in case it's lost. I mean, when the wallet is lost, you may find it somewhere within a couple of days. You don't need to order for a new debit card - just have the old one unblocked. But HDFC doesn't have that facility. You have to permanently kill the debit card and then order a new one - it costs you Rs. 100.
3. Since the last 6 months or so, there is HDFC ATM sign at Kandivli (East), Thakur House, Ashok Nagar. But guess what! No ATM. There is always some work going on and have gone searching for the ATM there. In vain.
Complained twice to HDFC Customer Service. Absolute zero response.
4. Least number of ATMs amongst the leading banks. It was funny. In Accenture, we had a salary account with HDFC and the ATM within the main campus was ... ICICI.
Onsite guys donated around Rs. 3140, With about Rs. 1000 more promised. That is a total donation about of Rs. 6800, which is just spectacular.
I am truly moved by the generosity and hope good things come out of the donation. I have pledged the money to Apnalaya. I ran in Usha Handicrafts T-shirt (committed to Fair Trade), coz Nainesh gave it to me the marathon morning.
For random acts of kindness, log on to http://www.giveworld.org/pledge.htm
Sunday, January 21, 2007
My start was very good - smooth and evenly paced. At about 4 km mark, I hardly broke into a sweat. But it was slower than my expectations. I was hoping to be at the end of Chowpatty in 30 min. I was there in 40. Still, legs were going strong and I was confident of not losing any more speed. Dad and wife were supposed to catch me there, but they got there a bit late.
But then the Babulnath stretch started. It's mostly uphill, with a gentle slope towards Haji Ali junction. The upward gradient saw the first of my 4 walking breaks. I had taken Glucon-D powder in small sachets, in case electrol was hard to come by along the way. And it was. There were stations where I am sure it was available, but the volunteers were tepid in handing it to the runners. At a medical station, I had to shout and then stop to get my first energy drink. It breaks your momentum and also sets some pain-alarms on. Also, taking 5-star as an enery bar was a bad-idea. It tried one bar, but the caramel is so chewy, that you are out of breath and want to spit out the chocolate. But overall, water stations were aplenty. I saw adequate toilet signs as well, though not sure about the state of the loos.
On my way back, I was struggling along Chowpatty stretch. It was probably because I was trying to increase my speed to make it within 2 hours. As soon as you exceed your normal speed, you struggle with your breathing pattern and are quickly breathless. Then your pace drops. At one time, I had a stiffening in the neck and then another, I was feeling so light-headed, that I thought, I would either collapse or just float past the finish line. I was looking at the tall Ambassador Hotel, for an indication of the distance remaining along the Queen's Necklace, but you know how it is with tall buildings. They are actually farther than they seem.
Finally, after some dragging along and last mile burst, I made it past the finish line.
The queue for timing certificate was huge. Waited for about 1.5 hours to get it. My colleague who finished later, had to wait 3 hours. That's ridiculous amount of time just to collect a document. The printer is on the critical path and then can certainly arrange for more printers. I hope the organizers look into it. Not only did I miss the action of dream run (costumes, celebrities, crowds), but was also not able to stretch properly after the run. My knees hurt badly.
Still, in spite of not meeting my expectations, I am glad I participated. I completed the run in 2 hours 5 min, 32 sec - exact 17 minutes off.
A sign on the road said "Make mole-hills out of mountains"
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Most of the women really represent only one section of Britian - uncouth and uneducated. It shows - in their squabbles, their ignorance and disdain for things and people alien. Not all of Britian is like that - but yes you would find a lot of people like Jane Goody and Danielle.
I just wish Shilpa would do a full on "Dilwalo ke dil ka karaar lootne" and leave all house mates and whole of Britian jaw dropped.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Here, I am having a major issue with Firefox. The click on the toolbar doesn't work. Say when you click on Bookmarks, you expect a drop down to be activated. It doesn't. It works with keyboard shortcut alright. But the click on the mouse doesn't work.
I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox, still the problem is not solved.
Another issue I have is the add-ons. I have dictionary, flashgot and BrowserSync (very useful) and some others. I don't know why many of these applications have constant updates. It increases Firefox load time greatly. Already Firefox loads slower than most applications (and there are ways overcome that)
If not anything else, I need to cancel these updates when Firefox loads. But as most are aware, it gives a feeling that you are outdated.
I am sure Amish will prove that I am an idiot to have these problems.
Firefox posts 1,2,3,4 and 5
Saturday, January 13, 2007
So, I downloaded the youtube video. Its cumbersome task - download on remote machine, and then copy from remote machine to local one. But then I saw the video, and trust me, it isn't funny. I mean, the guy just uses a national figure to provoke a few pitiful laughs. The whole act was degrading (far more for Gautham Prasad) and cringe-inducing.
Good to know that Sahara and IBN 7 have apologized. They are perpetrators of the crime and need to be booked themselves. They are far more culpable than Gautham Prasad. His act was not for broadcast and his audience for that act was only to blame if they were offended and sat through the show. I didn't watch the whole thing, coz it was plain disgusting.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
When any such episode catches media fancy - especially when you have visual proof of the ugly nature of the incident - there is intense pressure on the police to bring the culprits to book. In this case, the couple have not even registered a police complaint. The pictures are grainy, so it's going to be difficult to find the actual perpetrators.
So, I think the police have just rounded off some street side goondas. Once the media abandons the story, the guys will be out.
This reminds me, I had been the Gateway of India some time on new year's eve 2001 (or was it 2002), with family and friends (all girls) and it is extremely rowdy out there. We decided to scoot just a short while before midnight and fortunately didn't get into trouble.