Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rabbi Shergill - Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par Wo Kahaa Hai

For all that is wrong with our country, for all those things that rile and rankle, for all that disgusts us, for all those things that make you go, "When will we ever learn?", there is a truly the most amazing song.



If there needs to be a patriotic song in these times, then this is it. For in the last few days, it is not the external factors that have threatened India. It's the ugliness within. The insurmountable agonies, the unspeakable debasement, the sheer insensitivity that ordinary Indians have to face. 26/11 is NOT an external attack. It is direct result of the callouness of our government and bureaucracy.

The song so beautifully summarizes our inadequacies in that regard. After all, Bilqis Yakoob Rasul, Manjunath Shanmugham, Satydendra Dubey and Navleen Kumar were not victims of the criminals who killed them. That were victims of the system that never enforced and ensured decent protection for those who stood up or swift and suitable justice to those who fell.

Criminals in this country (especially politicians, police and bureaucrats) and outside (terrorits) know this and play to its weaknesses.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire - Indian Film?

It is galling, the ignorance of some of our Bollywood actors. Anil Kapoor says in this interview that Slumdog Millionaire, a film in which he plays a pivotal role (and not just a walk-in part) is a Hollywood film. Now it was ok for our entertainment reporters with their low IQs and poor GK to say something like that. But AK has worked on the film, got paid by the producers (Celador Films and Film4), taken instructions from the director, said the lines that the writer, Simon Beaufoy wrote.

Can you tell me AK, where does Hollywood come into the picture.

Friday, December 12, 2008

CDMP using CBIP

The credits you get on CBIP can be transferred to get CDMP - Certified Data Management Professional. Most speciality exams on CBIP are valid to get a CDMP. All you have to do is to contact ICCP or DAMA, send an application to transfer the credit (admin cost $50).

CDMP is conducted by ICCP and DAMA (Data Management Association)
Previous posts on CBIP 1, 2 and 3

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lloyds TSB is terrible

Following is the official complaint I made with Lloyds TSB. I am definitely moving my bank to protest against the ill-treatment and brazen rip-off I was subjected to. Please don't fall prey to their cross-selling tactics.

*********************************************************************

I am furious at the way I have been literally duped by Lloyds TSB with my credit card account. I have faced recurring problems with Privacy Guard and then again with Payment protection and have lost almost £50 which I have been surreptitiously and incorrectly charged.



Privacy Guard - I took up the Privacy Guard facility based on a cross-sell that it was going to cost me £1 for the first month and that I would get my credit report from Privacy Guard. I was unable to get my credit report in spite of trying thrice. Subsequently I called up before the 1 month period to cancel my account. However, due to appalling processes, the cancellation was not registered in their systems. I was subsequently charged for the next month and had to call up again to cancel the service (not surprisingly, they didn't have any records of my previous call).


Payment Protection - I signed up to this when I visited York branch (Pavement) for some other banking needs. I clearly remember being rushed into this, and more importantly not being told anything about any monthly charge (my wife, who is an Accountant, was with me at the time and for a change, agrees with me on this one). I was not explained at all that this is actually an insurance for which I need to pay a monthly premium.


When I called up Lloyds TSB, it was made as my fault that I did not read the documentation that was sent later. That may be the case, but the advisor in the bank should have explained the main terms and conditions clearly to me, which he didn’t. The documentation is written obviously not to be read; else it would be simple, summarized and intelligibly show the charges with examples. It may be my fault that I did not read the documentation, but I have no doubt in my mind that I was misguided when I was sold the scheme and that the cost implications were not explained at all.


I think on both cases Lloyds TSB has used unscrupulous means to sell new schemes to an unsuspecting and gullible customer like me. I am hugely disappointed and angry at having being cheated by your bank.


I will be moving my credit card account soon to somewhere else and subsequently do the same with all my accounts with Lloyds TSB – current as well as online saver.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

article from outlookindia.com


From Outlook




magazine | Dec 08, 2008

Link to this Story : Ah, Bombay...
Falling to the mother of all security lapses

Subscribe Online: Outlook Magazine

Seige of Bombay - The ugliness within

In the aftermath of the seige of Bombay, there is a lot of praise and pride of how the security agencies performed. I want to only focus on the ugly.

I think thanks to the utter failure of the top brass in the police to manage and control the situation, exacerbated no doubt by complete lunacy and depravity of the government, as also lack of training and common sense, the security forces deployed - police, commandos, army - have been exposed badly.

Exhibit A - Inadequately armed policeman runs away from the crime scene.
Exhibit A - Armed policemen unwilling to fire a single shot.
Exhibit C - Killing the terrorits who could have been captured
Exhibit D - Still some terrorists are at large.

Heads need to roll everywhere. Good that Home Minister has FINALLY resigned. Hope he dies of guilt tomorrow. CM, Deputy CM should go, too. For too long, they have sat there impotent, giving undue attention to dance bars and family weddings. But more than that, the heads of most intelligence agencies need to go. The work of these agencies is shrouded in secrecy - not only for outsiders but also for the guys who work there. They have no clue what they are supposed to do. If you don't know, I will tell you.

Protect Indians, you motherfuckers.

The whole response to the attack, particularly at Taj hotel was nothing short of a farce. Police turned out in shirt and jeans, many of them still without bullet proof vests. Some of just chatting away to each other, in the cover of a car or a wall.

Failure to control the flow of information was also stupefying. Why should anyone on the ground be ALLOWED to speak directly to the media, when the top officials themselves are clueless. No clampdown on media itself to stop images of a covert operation from being trasmitted live. Similarly mobile jammers are now used in schools, colleges and conference rooms. Have you even heard of the technology. Why were people in the Taj and Oberio able to communicate to the outside.

This is most retarded I have seen the establishment to be. But politicians and all officials come from the amongst us. I wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with us. We are after all fine within the confines of our homes, but outside, we are a callous lot. We dont care of others, we disrepect our poor, and our general involvement for larger public causes is abysmal. Our organizational and planning skills in social environments (where the incentives are not directly aligned to your abilities) are inadequate, which is why no one got a measure of what the terrorists were upto.

Yes, I think the attack came from within India.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai nightmare continues

There are no heroes. Only victims.
How many wake-up calls does our fucking government need.

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you are laid off, you will most likely not get laid.

Tracking the lay-offs world over at news.com.

Tucows is restructuring - Will become Onecow.

LinkedIn slashes 10 percent of its workforce - the fired people will use their linkedin network to find new jobs.

Freescale dragged to loss; will lay off 10% - The scale was breaking, they had to downsize.

Anadigics cuts 15 percent of workforce - by giving them an overdose of analgesics

Pandora cuts 20 employees - they had a staff of 20.

Jive Software lays off 1/3 of staff - 200 staffers will be dancing without their partners.

Micron to cut workforce by 15 percent, slash flash output - Will be called Picon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Centipede caught in a stampede. Loses a leg.

The new breed of cricketers have sure achieved a God like status. A near stampede (for God's sake!)

Stampedes at Indian temples happen like floods in Bangladesh

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace. Stupid movie. I saw it yesterday. I couldnt remember most of it within an hour of the movie ending.
I think Quantum of Shoelace would have been a much better watch.

Loved Mystic River (there was a massive feeling of deja vu, can't pin it down still, only means one thing - I am getting old). I thought Marcia Gay Harden (Marcia Hay Garden would be such a funny name) was FAN.TAS.TIC. Just extraordinary acting skills. I couldn't take my eyes off her.

P.S. Didn't I say I was getting old. My older blog post on Mystic River here. Couldnt remember most of the movie (though I had seen just 2 years ago. Vaguely remembered who the killer was, but nothing much beyond that. I am turning senile quickly and irreversibly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hee Hee Hindus...

Guess what, most Hindus will take this statement at face value

Orkut profile deleted

Hurray, Hallehujah, Joy Be to the World, Three Cheers..
 
I HAVE DELETED MY ORKUT PROFILE. PERMANENTLY.
 
I am glad I did it, without much thought.
 
P.S. actually, I don't feel that happy, but I think it's a Monday thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dreams are made of cheese. They go bad.

I have been obsessed with doing at MBA for such a long time. Doing my masters from IIT was no good. There was no recognition of that in the offers I was got (though I think it was academically the best 1 1/2 years I spent). It wasn't even considered equivalent to 1 1/2 years of experience. So, basically, that period is counting for nothing.MBA even from a shit institute has always been worth something.

Obviously the degree matters, but for me, the education was more important. A chance to learn from others. A chance to get my finance fundaes ironed out. A chance to study with no distractions. And also a chance to critique what I had done at work so far. From afar.

A shit institute - no I wasn't looking at one. I gave my GMAT, got a okish score, and apped. Got through into Instituto de Empresa, one of the top 10 b-schools in the world. But then, I was encumbered by too many responsibilities - marriage, a baby on the way, a massive home loan. They just got the better of me. I postponed my MBA.

I hoped things would get easier in a year's time.Well, they worsened. Now, the world is conspiring against my dream. Even the IIM graduates aren't getting good offers. My school though highly rated, has been so-so in terms of placement. Bringing a family (with a baby) is extremely difficult in the UK, esp if you are not a UK citizen (no benefits). So, I just can't take the chance of taking on another massive mortgage for my MBA and hoping I would land a high-paying job later. Considering the economic situation we are in, the probability of me getting placed in one of the blue-chips is small.

So, basically, I have bid my dream good bye. MBA definitely counts to get top jobs. It will be longer and more difficult for me to get there. Calibre doesn't count, if you work in isolation from your supervisors - like I have to. Its been impossible for me to get my voice heard so far. Will it get easier? Will I get there?

Who knows?

Friday, November 07, 2008

CBIP certificate

I have received my CBIP certificate. My marks for the three exams are 69, 67 and 71. Which means, I have missed the expert level certification by a fraction (70 in each exam).
The certificate is fantastic - bound in a folder, with detailed assessment for each group of questions.
Hope it counts for something.
People needing help with the type of questions asked etc, mail me (atoras at gmail). Please go through my previous posts on the subject. 1, 2

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dad, can I eat jargon?

What this downturn has given us - new buzzwords

1. Credit-crunch

2. Black swan

3. Austrian theory of business (though it was around, people just ignored it)

It has also given us a furrow on the brow, less cash in the pocket, and uncertainty aplenty.
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chamunda Devi stampede

Its happened again - another stampede at the foot of the Gods. Its not the people to blame, or the Gods. It's the temple trustees, who have such poor crowd control mechanisms and terrible disaster management systems.
I did ask the question then - When will we ever learn.
Never.

Madaross strikes (a match) again

40% of India's health problems linked to smoking: Ramadoss

Remaining 60% are linked to Ramadoss

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mr Patil does it again

While people get blown to bits almost every fortnight, our be-luv-da Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, is busy changing clothes like a model on catwalk.

What the fuck!

Monday, September 15, 2008

STAY OFF THE STOCK MARKETS

This is more about reminding me than anyone - THINGS WILL GET A LOT WORSE BEFORE THET BECOME BETTER.
 
The bottom is no where in sight and there is no point surmising that the market is fallen a lot and so stocks valuations look attractive.
 
No, they don't, not in the current scenario. More bad news will come, most definitely. If we are talking a recession of 12-18 months in the Western world, then, then it will be after that, that markets really stabilize in India.
 
So, STAY OFF THE STOCK MARKETS. Else, you will make a killing - yours.
 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Masumeh, Masumi etc


I am not sure, but I think I first saw Masumi as a participant on Antakshari, where - and this was like 10 years ago - she wasn't particularly good. I mean, in her knowledge of songs and stuff.

Would be great if someone extracted those episodes out
1. to confirm whether I am right or not. and
2. do a compare with how she looks now- she looked extradionarily average then.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Run baby run

By the by, just for the record, I have a nice paunch whose arrival coincided with my daughter's arrival, and I believe at the exact moment that she was born (why should I just thank her for all the happiness in my life, my problems are her courtesy too).

I am trying to get rid of it, one paunch at a time. Have started running.


P.S. - Its incredible how the body (not the mind) remembers. How to breathe, how to pace, I could just go on and on, and I am not talking about praising the body, but about being able to run for a long time, in spite some really really slothful couple of months.


Away from DWH

After a career of more than 7 years in pure data warehousing and BI technologies, I am finally out of the space. No, if that sentence reads like a sigh of relief, it is not.

It's just that it was difficult getting any work in that space after my stint up in York, and this new one is a good opportunity, if not better. Working in Solution design space, with the same client, though now, for a different technological unit. I have come to like the solution design space, you learn about stuff, propose how to improve it (with due diligence, cost benefit analysis, feasibility etc), write the overall design and move on to the next piece. Don't really involve with the deliveries themselves, which invariably tend to get messed up with poor management, budget and time constraints, and lack of good technical resources.

But no longer doing DWH, hope the separation doesn't last too long




Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bata ke joote

Yes sir, Bata is a multinational. It is NOT an Indian company and the owner is NOT a Parsi.

Monday, September 01, 2008

CBIP certified professional - third paper update

Finally gave my third paper - data management. And guess what, I passed. Just missed the mastery level by a whisker. But its fine. Overall, I think the exam was tough and I did well.

I took the exam by remote proctoring. I am not sure of the extent of control of your laptop that the proctor has, I mean, to what extent he checks on programs open on your laptop/pc. I played it safe and didn't have any reading material on the laptop or paper. Anyway, there is hardly any time to refer to notes as you have to answer 110 questions in 90 minutes. That's less than a minute for a question.

Some of the questions didn't make sense, but overall the exam did test your knowledge of the domain quite rigorously. I have jotted down areas that are not that common but brought about a lot of questions. Will write in subsequent posts.

Previous Post

Kosi breaks banks and lives

The river is the people.


I don't think we have seen the end of such catastrophes. India has one of the poorest defences against natural disasters and ZILCH understanding about environmental matters.

More and more of this will happen. It's inevitable.

Update-Great article in rediff showing a litany of fatal mistakes regarding the Kosi embankement management strategy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wipro Technologies registers 64 as TOGAF 8 Certified

Great achievement this, I think.

The course itself was so-so, and the TOGAF framework itself needs LOTS of rework, overall, I came out benefitting from the training, due to the fantastic thought provoking discussions. The training group consisted of really experienced, hard boiled architects, so the insights from their previous projects were just really really useful.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Country for old men

What a perfect foil this video (even though from the US) is for my article on old age crisis in the UK
http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-walt-babyboomers-blurb,0,1036393.blurb

Enjoy!

What does pro-poor mean?

Chiranjeevi's party is pro-poor. Without going into the details of party's policies, let's just say that Chiranjeevi hasn't thought about any as yet. Well, this is India, you don't have to worry about boring details such as policies and plans. You invent them as you go along, based not on whether they benefit the people in the long run, but on whether you can fool the people with them.

Chiranjeevi's party is pro-poor. What does that mean? Will there be no policies for the middle class and the rich? What happens when the poor upgrade themselves to middle-classdom? Are they doomed into obscurity and neglect.?

Will they have to pray to Lord Balaji for mercy? And offer atleast Rs. 2000 in the 'Hundi'?

I am sure Chiranjeevi's party - Pro-ja Garibyam, I mean Praja Rajyam will win a lots of votes. I just hope, he doesn't start singing and dancing to the tune of 'Abba Nee Teeyani Debba' when things go belly-up (God!, As a teenager, I used to think that the dancing was stupendous)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stephen Colbert out of character at Harvard

One of the very few rare occasions when Stephen Colbert is out of character. And probably the longest he has been so, in public. A truly delightful exchange.



Because he the character most of the time - this ego-manic, right-wing, rigid fool- it makes you wonder if he really is a smart guy at all, or is he just playing himself.

This video sets to rest all your doubts. This guy is a genius. He is one of the most intelligent, gifted and witty tv personality ever. It is clear that not just the writers writing top-class material on his show, but Colbert's owns insights and spin of the news would be responsible for more than 1/2 the funny stuff on his show. His off-the-cuff remarks about J D Salinger testify to this guy's intellect.

The way he acknowledges Jon Stewart without being fawning was touching; he could easily slip into his character and make impudent remarks about Stewart and get away with it (the audience were laughing even when Colbert paused between serious statements).

Mr Colbert, I bow before thee.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Children outnumbered by over-60s

Children outnumbered in the UK by over 60s

Soon, the business model for baby shops will change. They will change the name from Mothercare to Grandmothercare. Mamas and Papas to Grandmas and Grandpas. No prams, only mobility scooters. Nappies, well... they will still keep those.

Toys are Us will be Bowls are us. Largest selling oral hygiene product- Pepsodenture. All public transport will go bust giving free service for over 60s. Government income due to speeding fines will decrease drastically as no one is driving above 30 mph. In the tube, instead of finding people plugged into their iPods, you will find them plugged into their hearing aids.

50% of the GP appointments would be missed by those seeking treatment for Alzheimer's. They will be found at Bingo or Bowls.

The cakes will be bigger; you can't fit 60+ candles on normal cakes, can you? Bakers and candle makers (incl. Kapadia Limited) will rake in the moolah.

Flats all over the country will be razed to make way for lavish retirement homes (Motto- We care coz there no one else left to). Britain from Above will look like a mass of grey.

Replaced Hip, hip hurray!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TISCO and TESCO

Tata Steel was earlier known as TISCO (Tata Iron and Steel Co Ltd)
So, what a concidence that TATA is now going into a joint venture with TESCO.

For those of you who are not aware, TESCO is the largest supermarket chain in the UK (similar to Walmart in US). Of course the supermarkets in the west are veritable warehouses - massive complexes almost always greater than one football field. We still don't have them in our Indian cities as yet. But I guess a lot of these supermarkets will sprout in these satellite cities that are coming up all over the country

CBIP preparation - my experience

Recently took 2 papers of CBIP. CBIP is Certified Business Intelligence Professional. You can specialize in a number of streams - details here but you have to take 2 main papers - Core exam and Data warehousing.

Core exam is about general IT fundaes - software engineering, hardware, program management, processes, system design etc.
Data warehousing about the basics of data warehousing which any BI professional would be expected to know.

Though I was relatively free and had loads of time for preparation, let me tell you it is extremely hard to prepare. One, because the scope is vast. You are not expected to deep dive, but cover a lot of different areas and topics. There is lot of stuff that you would obviously know, but then there would be some basic terminology that you might have forgotten or never come across due to the nature of your work. eg. RAID (in networking), SDRAM, Gantt chart etc. So, you do have to ensure you cover all those subject areas and atleast get a basic understanding of these terminologies. But again, due to the questions being multiple choice and mostly of the nature, "What is XYZ NOT used for?", you just can't rely on the basic understanding but actually have to go into the details as well. Thats why I am in a major confused state during the preparation - to skim over to cover all the topics or get into the details to ensure you can trick those trick questions.

Overall, I would rate the tests as tough. It will be difficult to pass without ANY preparation, even though you might be top of the class IT and BI professional. With a week's preparation, it is easy to pass, though to get the MASTERY level (70%) in each test, 2 week full time preparation is mandatory.

More updates

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Look how I resolved my mid-life crisis

Mean riding machine. Traffic Obliterator. Road Marauder. King of the Urban Jungle.
This is my latest acquisition.

Cannondale F6 (Hydraulic) Disc 2008.

While you drool over the beauty, why don't you marvel at the disc brakes?
Please don't assume that I am amongst those you has 'gone green' just when the oil rates were burning the pants off half the world (the other half been Middle Eastern). I have always been a fan of bikes.
* My first videshi love -whose seat was stolen
* My second bike - whose seat was stolen along with the rest of the bike - within a day I purchased it.
* My third bike - which the owner couldn't understand, but the one that I tamed through incessant riding.

And now, the Katrina Kaif of all bikes. Hmmmm, yummm!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Killer Deol

According to Hindustan Times,
Bobby Deol will play an assassin in the film Ek – The Power of One.

Yes, he will be killing the film!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sensational joke from Moi

Nelson Mandela is on a state visit to Mumbai. After a 2 hour mandatory delay at Shivaji Chattrapati Hawai Uddan, and some snide remarks from the immigration officials ("Kiti kaala aahe haa manus!"), Mr Mandela finally came out of the Hawai Uddan.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra was waiting impatiently outside to garland Mandela Saheb. As soon as they saw him, some one in the crowd went, "Mandela aale, Mandela aale"

CM, a bit irritatedly said, "Tuesday la kaa naahi aale. Monday la amcha adhiveshan asta ki ho"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Naina devi stampede

There are some gruesome pics on NDTV showing just how terrible the tragedy was?

150 dead within a few minutes
. Notice the bodies - most are women and children. Just heartbreaking and plain wrong!!

What price negligence? Our places of worship are blemished by poor ventilation, lack of hygiene and cleanliness(except the santum sanctorum), complete disrepect for the devotees and absence of any crowd control plan. Something like this is just waiting to happen.

I have been in one or two places like this, and after standing in the queue for about 2-3 hours, when I am closer to the darshan of the God/ess, I am filled with dread. The jostling, the shouting due to the complete absence of crowd management could result in a situation any time. I don't want to be crushed under the fat pujari. I do a quick namaskar, and get the hell out of there. With such chaos out there, how does anyone get a chance to be one with the Almighty?

Compare our temples with other places of worship. There is peace, order and discipline invariably in a church. Even when it is crowded, it is NEVER noisy. The whole aura of the place makes you want to talk in hushed tones. I haven't been to too many gurudwaras, but judging from the few I have been to, I feel it is always sane, and orderly there. Even though they serve free food, there is no pushing and shoving around.

We are the oldest religion in the world. When will we learn?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Scribd

Scribd is a extremely useful file-sharing site. By files I mean, documents, pdfs, slideshows, books etc. In case you are looking for some academic material, then it's a great first stop.

I was looking for material for a test that I am preparing, and certainly found a lot of useful stuff there.

It is very high on usability factor; I like the way it indicates download progress for large files, and also page number indication (such simple trick, but never used before) while scrolling pages of documents.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Village

I found The Village extremely riveting. Silly of me not to have guessed the twist early on. As they say, it was as clear as air.

Though the structure, story and technique is a rehash of the age-old Shyamalan formula, still the presentation, the editing, and overall direction was thoroughly engrossing.

It's a pity Manoj N Shyamalan's story-telling though has gone consistently downhill since The Sixth Sense. He is a man of unquestionable talent, but his insistence with suspense, dark, faux-horror genre makes him look lazy, arrogant and banal (though I think, he should still give The Life of Pi  a try.)

Hope he find his mojo and treats us to some amazing pictures.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Governent stays

Glad, glad, glad that the UPA has won the trust vote. The left had got their comeuppance. The arrogance of the infidel Mr Karat! Hope the Peking ducks in the CPI(M) get infected by Bird flu and bird STDs and die horrible deaths.

What completely beats me is the brazenness of the Opposition in resisting deal for completely absurd reasons. BJP -ShivSena have never said they were opposed to the actual deal (to say that they will renegotiate the deal later was a hogwash). All they were against was the Congress. Same thing with the other BJP allies - BSP is opposing to teach SP a lesson (and give M a shot the PM post). TDP is opposed because ruling AP government is Congress.

To top it all, worst of enemies - CPI(M) and BJP find themselves on the same side, not because they agree about something, but because they want to destroy a well-entrenched, fairly well run government at ALL costs.


If you are for a particular deal/agreement/treaty, then will you not, as a consequence, vote in favour of it. Right?

No, not in India. Bizarre.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oscar prediction - before

I am going to go out on a limb and set me up for my biggest debacle ever. Note - The Dark Knight is yet to be released, Christopher Nolan isn't a dependable, moolah -raking, mainstream director, and it's afterall a superhero film franchise we are talking about. And I haven't seen the movie.

So, here is my ultimate prediction

Heath Ledger will win the Oscar for the Best Actor in Supporting Role for The Dark Knight

Jane McGrath - another breast cancer victim

Touching photos of Jane McGrath's funeral.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hindustan Times - chronologically challenged

Hindustan Times does have good website, but sometimes it does a google news on you.
Here is a glorious example.

Here is the page it links to.

Black in this 2008 ? Cmon, even if Amitabh Bachchan has a lot of stake in IIFA, he won't let Black hog all the limelight this year.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Indian blood donor in the UK

The blood group was persistent. No let me begin again. The National Blood Service, which takes care of organizing for blood donations and providing it to hospitals, was persistent. They sent me letters, one every month. The last one was really really disapproving. This is how it sounded to me like
'In spite of sending you repeated reminders, you still have not donated blood. Tsk, tsk. That you are busy doesn't mean you are allowed to let so many people die. Get your bloody arse out of that chair and go donate'.

Now I have been a prima donor, having attended and donated a number of times (atleast 5). So I called up the blood service booking an appointment. Well, they make me fill all my personal details (2 pages of them). And... they find that I am an Indian. Oh my God! Everyone run! Houston we have a problem. A person from a malaria prone country is giving blood. Some twisted bio warfare assault on the malaria virus -mune people of Great Britian. Get lost, you filthy Indian, you can't donate blood. Come back after 6 months, if you want to. An Indian cannot donate blood within 6 months of coming from India.

Let me calm my nerves here for a while. Lets go by stats. There were 890 malaria deaths in India in 2006 . Based on the population of India, that's 0.00009%. 890 in terms of human loss is hardly disregardable, but does that mean, we treat every Indian as a malaria carrier? That risk is so low as to be insignificant. Not accepting blood based on some trivial, unsubstantiated risk, is actually doing great disservice to those in UK who are desperately in need of blood.

Is there a way to mitigate the risk? There definitely is. Allow for a blood donation and then test it for malaria. If it is infected, discard it. The cost of taking and storing the blood is far far less than the use that it can put to, in case it is clean.

Am I going to donate after 6 months? Who knows. I think the NBS lost a great chance for some free blood. Esp, considering that it is in dire need for blood from ethnic minorities. Now, here's a stat.

Only 3% of the UK donors are ethnic minorities. Know why?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You can't hide when you write

Isn't it superfluous or just plain lazy to write to someone that you don't know something. You know, like I don't know who or what Kaiser Soze is or which is the 10th closest star from the earth, or just where do we get hing (asafoetida) from?

Or when someone writes "You, noob!" on chat, you can't just reply, "I don't know what you mean". That will make you more of a noob


You know, if you are writing, then you are either on email or chat (who writes on the paper anyway, apart from the devil printers) And in that case, you can easily find out the information for yourself - google is at your fingertips. So, why can't you not know?

It doesn't matter that you didn't know stuff, and it doesn't matter that you don't know stuff when you talk to real people. But when you write, you are all-knowing. You can be a wise erudite info-whore.


NB - Does excessive pursuit of knowledge make you a wikipedo-phile?

Paisa hi paisa. But remember paisa hi

I wish everyday is a claims settlement day. The flush of happiness that floats over you on seeing an mail with the Subject, "Your reimbursement claim has been processed", can only be matched by a dear one affectionately cooing, "You dirty simian". Though no one calls me that, I think the simile still works.

I am loaded with reimbursed money and the salary is still due. So, if you want to ask for some cash, don't hesitate. I can lend you a penny or two. I mean it - the lending bit as well as the denomination.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good article about blogging

I kept coming back to the idea that I had a right to say whatever I wanted. I don't think I understood then that I could be right about being free to express myself but wrong about my right to make that self-expression public in a permanent way.

Good article about blogging

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why we should all die at 30

When I was 15 I was at the zenith of my rebellious phase. I raged against everyone and everything: My parents, my teachers, organised religion and on many occasions, even my friends, whom I regarded as rather naive and in need of mass herding. I did everything a human being was not supposed to - at least according to a few popular ancient books.

I completely agree. And I so wish my daughter would have seen me operate when I was younger. My agility - physical and to some extent mental, is going. The back, the neck, the shoulders, they ache. The body is a creaking prison.

Again, not that I am unhappy, but there is absolutely no point holding off sex till after marriage. Either you get married early, or have loads of sex in college.

The exuberance, the passion, the vitality of youth brings a lot to the table (when young, its the table, when old, its the bed), and that is something not to be wasted. The middle-ages exist to revel in a different kind of pleasure, but the pure carnal desires have an important place of their own.

Indian Workforce unhealthy

Indian Workforce unhealthy
All work and no play is making Indian professionals unhealthy. A study conducted by the World Health Organisation to gauge the health of India's workforce has made some startling revelations.

Friday, May 16, 2008

trends in BI

A perfectly good article on the trends in BI.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Trained to wait

York to Nottingham - distance - 86.5 miles
York to London - distance - 204.5 miles

York to Nottingham - Train duration - 2.10 hours
York to London - Train duration - 2.10 hours


The bitter truth in the UK is that, all lines lead to London. If London is not your source or destination, be prepared for slower trains, numerous changes, and time wasted on platforms waiting for the next one. This is even true if you are travelling between other country capitals (Cardiff and Edinburgh) and county capitals. There just isn't frequent and quick service.

I wish York was in Bihar and Laloo Prasad was the Railway Minister of UK

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Juno why it won the Oscar for best screenplay?

Juno pissed me off. Oversmart characters deliver wise-cracks which are more crack than wise, Ellen Page drawls painfully through the whole thing. It is as if Diablo Cody didn't know when to stop and kept on stuffing more tasteless, profane, loud stuff in an attempt to sound cool. It ends up being incongruous and gets on your nerves.

There were a few deft touches, but overall, the writing and Ellen's acting hammed big time.

Lets soften the show

More of those, people. More of those.

Wipro Infotech merging with Wipro Technologies?

Wipro Infotech seems to be merging with Wipro Technologies. According to an Organizational Announcement

APAC Geography has had a great performance last year with ASEAN and Australia both growing above 93% in Revenue and PBIT over 265%. The respective teams have done a great job on all counts - farming of large accounts, adding new accounts, adding new Lines-of-Business in existing accounts and over-achieving the revenue and profit targets.


This performance and the market growth have prompted us to provide it a greater growth lever - by moving it to Wipro Technologies. We hope with this movement APAC will grow more aggressively in the future.


This movement would mean that all employees in Wipro Infotech (whether in India or at an overseas location) in APAC accounts would eventually move into Wipro Technologies, albeit in a phased manner...


The new structure makes perfect sense, now that the growth is not coming from the West. Wipro Infotech and Tech operated as different companies and offered no perceptible leveraging of their individual strengths as they cross-employee movement was restricted. The integration will greatly enhance their services across geographies.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And the sun will set for you.

Recession is good for the IT industry. Too many crap people have got into software - people with zero aptitude. Brains the size, content and color of mushy peas. Ability to speak like a baby toy with corrupted speech program ("I put here the document")

They drag you down, waste your time, destroy your piece of mind, and reduce you to an insensitive, grouchy, nervous wreck.

The bad times should swallow such invalids and help restore some sanity (literally) to IT.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bangla se aaya mera dost.

Booking for 'Maitree Express' begins on Friday.

A train between Dhaka and Kolkata.hmm.... Probably, they should soon extend it to Mankhurd, where the biggest Bangladeshi community resides.

Bangladeshi immigrants should not be required to change so many trains to get to their karmabhoomi

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

No time to stand and stare

"Life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us".
Compelling read

Meru Redbus

Cool to find that there are more hassle-free options for public transport these days.

Meru cabs provides on-call and internet booking. This is especially useful for people in suburbs where cabs don't ply that frequently, and there aren't any taxi stands worth their engine-oil.

The Meru cabs look comfortable, well-maintained, and especially suited for corporate types. They give you receipts, which is a must for claiming the fare back. And such corporate types are not worried if the fare is a bit higher. After all, you are reimbursing it.

Update - I used it while travelling to the airport, good service, and the fare is economical. However, they don't have enough luggage storage. They use LPG based engine, which takes up a lot of space of the boot. Also, they allow only 2 pieces inside the car. So, if you are carrying a lot of luggage, Meru probably is not your best option.

Redbus
is a site where you can book bus tickets online. The site is sparse, clean, and fast. Good choices amongst various operators. Really, the founders need to be congratulated for the initiative and creating a market that wasn't serviced at all.

If both could mash it with some mapping tools - so you could see your route - then it would certainly add some pizzaz to the site. Not to mention making to even more useful.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi -redux

Saw Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi again and it still packs a wallop. Some amazing writing has gone into the making of this masterpiece.

Not to forget the delectable, glad-she-is-back Chitrangada Singh.

Google News sucks

I had earlier written about my dissatisfaction with Google News. I never find the most relevant news within the first 3-4 news items displayed in each section. Also, I don't quite comprehend the logic for showing me news in the recommended section. Does it do some profiling of my web behavior to produce that list? Well, I would want to remove the recommended section altogether, but can't. right now. And it wastes the most previous space on the web-page.

Anyway, here is the screenshot from Google News India today. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How the Indian IT Industry can cope with the US recession

The US downturn is slowly but surely redefining the Indian IT paradigm and if the Indian IT companies are not watchful, they may lose the outsourcing advantage soon.

The signs are for all to see. US employment fell for the first time since 2003, manufacturing declined 5.3%, first time house buying - a good proxy for economic health - plunged 8.1 percent in December. Technically, it might not qualify as a recession, but according to Warren Buffet, “by common sense definition”, the U.S. economy already is in a recession.

A December, 2007 report on the Indian tech sector by Morgan Stanley says the uncertainty in the United States may delay tech spending in the first half of 2008. Margins are already under tight pressure due to the weakening dollar. With Indian IT salaries rising 10-15% a year, the overall operating margins have been reduced to 6%. The major crisis in the US financial markets has had a ripple effect on all sectors and it might be a while before things start looking up. As Lakshmi Narayanan, Nasscom chairman and V-C at Cognizant said, "The current situation is not temporary. It is the new baseline. The industry will have to learn to operate under the new parameters." Anecdotal evidence suggests that fewer development projects from existing clients are coming through. The sales cycles have increased and winning new customers has become increasingly difficult.

If there was a major watershed in the Indian IT Industry post Y2K, this is it. After the dizzying growth of the last 10 years, it is time to pause, reflect and realign strategies. If the industry has to survive, then it needs to adapt to the changing market scenarios quickly. Talk of a software upgrade.


Diversify Globally

For far too long, Indian IT industry has focused on the US. Yes, US accounts for about 60% of the total IT spending. However, IT spending of American companies is slipping. It’s also been a long time since US firms embraced the outsourcing model, so further growth seems very limited. With that in mind, the Indian IT firms need to focus their attention on the other markets, especially Europe. Using UK as the base, software firms can branch out onto mainland Europe. There will be a certain amount of language and cultural resistance in countries like France, Germany, and Netherlands, that Indian firms will need to grapple with. Language training and cultural orientation should form a big part of the foray into Europe.

The potential of nearshoring – supporting the the clients from offices located geographically closer to them - in the context of IT, also needs to be tapped fully. Customers are looking for IT service providers who are located closer and culturally similar. With respect to Europe, the East European countries satisfy both these criteria. Moreover, East Europe has a large number of skilled software programmers. According to Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO of outsourcing powerhouse EPAM, the so-called "Soviet heritage" of traditionally strong engineering education is responsible for the region's large pool of trained professionals. The cost advantage of India over such locations is also significantly diminished as salaries in Eastern Europe are not significantly higher than those in India.

The need for nearshoring is especially highlighted by the fact that many UK IT service providers have recently invested in 3 global delivery centers in Eastern Europe (others are in Morocco and China). Such nearshore locations will be able to service EMEA and South East Asia region, and their capabilities cannot be replicated by similar centers in India. Many global firms want to continue offshoring, however they are looking at non-India based partners as a way of addressing the issues of talent shortage, salary hikes, and high turnover which are becoming more acute in the Indian IT sector. Such firms are even willing to back development centers run by Indian giants elsewhere, purely from the standpoint of flexibility, business continuity, and seamlessness in global operations. Hence, Indian IT companies should establish a strong presence globally through delivery centers in emerging regions, so as to maintain its existing business and gain a bigger portion of the IT revenues pie.


Local Foray

With the rupee gradually strengthening against the dollar, it makes imminent sense to enter the local markets decisively. Indian IT market is growing at a compounded annual rate of 21%. Indian companies have been traditionally slow in embracing IT, but are now adopting technology at a breakneck speed. A few large multi-million dollar contracts like the Bharti-IBM, Dabur-Accenture and SBI-TCS deals should make the rest of industry sit up and recognize the potential of the Indian market. Some of these deals have been jaw-dropping huge – TCS’ $140 million deal with BSNL, Wipro’s $80 million and $60 million deal respectively with HDFC and Dena Bank equal, if not exceed, deals of similar nature with international clients. The opportunity is not worth ignoring.

South East Asia is another region where IT big-wigs can focus their energies. China, Korea, Japan, Australia are big markets, and Indian firms should make a firm thrust in capturing them. The region can not only be tapped for local markets, but also be used as satellite facilities to support their Indian counterparts.


Tighten Recruitment and Retention Processes.
Since the last few years, the composition of IT resource pool has undergone a substantial shift. Earlier, many reputed companies only recruited engineers through campus placements. These placements were also carried out in Tier 1 colleges. The selection process was tough - base criteria was first class academic qualification, followed by test of GMAT style logical questions, and a rigorous interview process. Only the top few got through.

However, the demand for Indian IT services kept getting bigger. Post dot-com bust and 9/11 tragedy, business conditions in the US became tougher, and companies wanted to focus on key operational and strategic functions and outsource technical application development and support to the experts. India as an IT destination offered notable cost advantage, better flexibility, 24/7 support and improved accountability.

To cater to the rising demand, there has been a mad rush to recruit more people. No longer is a 4 year engineering degree a de-facto selection criterion for recruiting candidates. Now, companies have started hiring from non-engineering colleges. Recruitment cells are covering lower ranked colleges during campus placements. Consequently, the quality of new recruits has gone down noticeably. Figures suggest that only 25% of the total graduates in India have employable ‘production-worthy’ skills. With the recruitment net thrown far and wide, the statistics about production-worthiness is reflected quite closely amongst the new joinees. Not only are the much celebrated analytical skills poor amongst such fresh hires, but even basic communication skills are a cause for great worry.

Fewer contracts in a sluggish economic scenario would automatically drive down the break-neck speed of recruitment. However, instead of a complete stop to all recruitment, the IT industry should use this period for a meaningful introspection and a substantial realignment of its hiring and retention processes. The employees who have demonstrated continuous below par performance need to be put on notice. They must be mandated to undergo training programs to hone and upgrade their skills – technical as well as inter-personal. In the absence of any significant improvements, they should be let go. At the same time, campus and lateral recruitment of high performing individuals needs to continue. It will help restore the balance in favor of a more productive workforce.


Address the Skills Shortage

Concurrently, this quiet period needs to be used to get the existing resource pool ready for the next big wave. Most programmers are too caught up in the daily quotidian tasks to catch up on the latest technical advances, and appreciate the breakthroughs that will sweep the IT world. To address this gap, workshops and technical trainings to educate the workforce should be held at regular intervals. Similar sessions on soft-skills and cultural orientation programs should be conducted to make the people more customer-centric.

Service Oriented Architecture, Software as a Service, Cloud Paradigm (or desktop virtualization) are emerging as some of the biggest IT trends. Additionally, platform consolidation is the biggest IT change that many CIOs have on their radar. Much of the work coming along will be governed by these trends. The software designers should be brought up to speed on these new trends, and the programmers trained on the technologies that underline these trends.


Improve Productivity

Addressing the skills shortage amongst the existing employees will partly lead to better productivity. But a concerted effort is needed for flexible and savvy use of the existing resources. The recent growth of IT has left many organizations with massive shortage of middle level managers. To fill the gap, untrained software engineers have been promoted to managerial roles - far too quickly, in my opinion. At the same time, the inter-operability found in foreign tech heavyweights– where senior staff continues to be technically hands-on even after 5-10 years – is not to be seen. In India organizations, such resources tend to be entirely devoted to administrative tasks and managerial reporting.

Resolving this can be fairly straight forward. Technical tasks should form a sizable portion of a project lead’s tasks. Technical advancement through training and project work should be an integral part of a manager’s appraisal criteria. For smaller projects, senior resources need to be encouraged to code themselves, thereby reducing the overheads.

Simple tools like word and excel, if used effectively provide fantastic productivity gains. Trainings on such desktop tools need serious thought.

Some Indian IT organizations have world-class in-house systems. But there is still a tremendous scope in making these functions quicker and simpler. What better time to get those things fixed than this slack period? Programming is one of the most intense and focused activities, and any hindrance to it – availability of software, training material, access issues – should be resolved speedily through a system that exists to support the programmer more than anyone else. There is a sense that the rapid and reflexive adoption of security management controls like BS7799 has done more harm than good by cramping creativity and adventurous spirit of the computer programmer. An elaborate review might be in order.


Upside down in a Flat World

Cut-throat competition from global players and the falling dollar has squeezed the margins for typical run-of-the-mill work. Yes, consulting is a niche that eventually all Indian IT companies would want to get into. But basic factors like maturity (dearth of experienced consultants), perception (image of Indian IT firms as application developers and implementors) and location (failing of global delivery model in primarily client based work) will hinder any real inroads into the consulting space.

The trick is to innovate – not necessarily do different things, but do things differently. In that regard, the focus on innovation of some of the top Indian companies is a step in the right direction. Wipro’s Applied Innovation Framework lays down a roadmap for systemic change to deliver sustainable business benefits. An illustrious case in point is Wipro’s transformational engagement with Credit Suisse. In this trailblazing flex-sourcing model, three primary ownership models (captive, outsourced, co-managed) have been employed together, in effect to cater to different business requirements. It is a risky manoeuvre which has paid off handsomely, as evident from the remarkable growth of the Credit Suisse account within Wipro.


Summing IT up

This is indeed a tricky time for the Indian IT industry, but there’s no real reason to panic. The IT guns showed great character and resilience during the years following the dot com bust. They are wise enough to read the signs and realize that change is in order. With a slight course correction and an unswerving view on the long-term, the India IT industry can emerge stronger and bigger.

Update - CIOL has put the article up in the features section. It's edited haphazardly, but still, feels good

Monday, March 31, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay

Aamir Khan should as well

Youngistan and Jashan Mana Le

The youngistan ad by Pepsi is definitely better than Coca Cola. May be by virtue of triple star power crammed in 30 sec slot, or the funny alien impersonation, or just the plain irreverence of it. On the other hand, Hritik's Jashan Manale ad for Coca Cola tries to play it cool and ends up being indifferent.

BTW, did anyone notice the neon blinking SRK (Supermarket sign is malfunctioning and only blinking the letters S R K). Smart.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

MapmyIndia buggy ride

MapmyIndia is getting better by the day. But seems it uses some weird algorithm to arrive at the route to travel between two points on the map.

I tried a route starting from Kandivli East to Dadar East

and here is what it calculates to be the optimal path.



The path goes through Aarey Colony, Filterpada and Powai Naka, which are big bootlenecks to quick transit. Even on the parameter of distance, the route is longer, compared to the most suitable one - Take the Western Express Highway till Bandra, then through Dharavi onto Sion, Matunga, final stop Dadar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Litun

Litun (She was known something else then :-) used to work in the same account as me. She was generally in the world of her own, which was remarkable coz people in IT have no world of their own. I am not sure she was cut out for the technical drudgery (I am so cut out for it, they have invented the neologism IT drudger especially for me), and good thing, she's gone on to do her MS.

Anyway, if you are not satisfied with the incoherence on this blog, go patronize her blog.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Commmunist Left are Chinese cronies

Left is silent in the face of Chinese atrocities. What conclusion can one draw apart from the fact that they have been pimped by China

They never protest when China sells arms to Pakistan, when Chinese intrude into Arunachal Pradesh, and claim parts of India to be theirs.

It's obvious that their loyalties are only with the Chinese (may be they get kick-backs).

Update - Also opposing the India-US 123 nuclear deal

Friday, March 14, 2008

If it hadn't been for cotton-eye joe

The ground split the day Cotton (Kapas) Gill was born. He was the child of the netherworld. But the devil didn't want him, so dumped him on earth. Cotton was found with a hockey stick up his ass. The sun doesn't shine in the whole of the netherworld, so no one noticed the violation while he was there.

Yes, Cotton Gill was a man who was violated from his birth. It tormented him during his childhood, and his adulthood. No girl would dare come close to him due to the stench of blocked crap. He was full of it.

He decided to take revenge on the poor hockey stick. But what did Cotton know? The hockey stick was getting all knotted up, cursing the heavens for having to suffer such wretched ignominy.

In his quest for vengeance, Cotton started destroying everything related to hockey in all of India. He systematically side-lined good players, removed good coaches, neglected all facilities irreversibly destroying them, installed his cronies in important position.

He bled hockey to death.

He pilfered huge sums of money meant for development of facilities, training and equipment. He had heard from presidents of other sports associations that money relieved constipation. He tried, but the blockage remained. He swallowed more cash, but still, no relief. He tried Eno, but now he was regurgitating crap

With each passing day, the hockey stick ensconced itself firmly inside Cotton and kept travelled north.

A day came in 2136, when the stick struck his heart and tore through it. The aorta ruptured with a dreadful noise. His lungs turned red and blood started cascading from his tongue.

Cotton withered away. India rejoiced. It got hockey back after almost 60 years.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Firefox add-ons - Piclens, Tab Effect, Febe

Piclens is like a photo viewer that hovers in the background and activates when you are browsing pictures on Firefox. It allows to view them as album with a slideshow and full screen. Slightly large in size (1 MB) but a fantastic utility nevertheless.

Installed another recommended one - Tab Effect . It adds effects when a current tab is changed. But it got a bit boring after a while. Have disabled it now.

The baap of all is FEBE backup add-on. The brilliant thing about it can back up all the add-ons, themes, preferences, bookmarks, history, permissions. I have configured it to backup just my add-ons, so I can install them on other desktops that I use. The restore can be done with one click of the button.

Here is the status report at the end of the back-up.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sage works well

The Firefox addon Sage works beautifully. The sites that were inaccessible due to the megalomanic proxy bot are now accessible. Indiauncut for one

Only thing remains is to get RSS feeds of other banned sites plugged into Sage.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bollywood and Cricket in Australia

Based on the recent India-Aus cricket spat (the fracas is infinitely more entertaining than cricket), can I make a hypothesis?

I think the number of movies shot in Australia will dramatically reduce. Australia has been a popular shooting location for Bollywood films - Dil Chahta, Sunday, Salaam Namaste, and Chak De India to name a few. I don't think it will last.

The reason being that Indian movie makers are big cricket fans (some like SRK and Preity Zinta have already bought IPL teams) and I don't think they will take the unrelenting abuse from the Aussies lying down.

Keep watching.

Bollywood and Cricket in Australia

Based on the recent India-Aus cricket spat (the fracas is infinitely more entertaining than cricket), can I make a hypothesis?

I think the number of movies shot in Australia will dramatically reduce. Australia has been a popular shooting location for Bollywood films - Dil Chahta, Sunday, Salaam Namaste, and Chak De India to name a few. I don't think it will last.

The reason being that Indian movie makers are big cricket fans (some like SRK and Preity Zinta have already bought IPL teams) and I don't think they will take the unrelenting abuse from the Aussies lying down.

Keep watching.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bhau Wow!

MNS to start Marathi classes for non-Marathis

This is just hogwash. Not a single class will take off. Shiv Sena and by extension, MNS, are not doers just ransackers.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mirthful world

The Onion has a useful world atlas for dummies.

Before you get upset about how India is represented (truthfully), have a look at other countries of the world. Funny.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mithun Chronicles - School Days

Mithun remembered a day from his school, he was in the 8th grade and on the cusp of adolescense. The class was geography - his favourite subject. The teacher was a short stout lady, who was teaching islands that day (Wisdom No 5 -"Every man is an island, but then some lands are also islands" Fact No 2 - "The biggest island is also a continent"). It was a boys schools, so all teachers had abandoned their civility, mild-mannerdness (if any) and a general caring nature in the interest of self-preservation. The geography teacher bellowed,"What does Sri Lanka resemble?".

Class fell silent, heads dropped. Mithun had done some homework the night before, interspersed with sideway glances at 'Yeh jo hai Jindagi'. He loved the sitcom. Mithun was confident he knew the answer. His hand shot up. "Yes, Chirag", the teacher said.

Mithun was used to teacher's persistent nominal gaffes, and blurted out "A tiger! Sri Lanka resembles a tiger".

The teacher paused for a second. And then burst into the most devilish fusillade of laughter. The class followed suit. Visualizing the scene now, it seemed as if all the fingers were pointing in his direction, as all the jaws went full circle in delirious amusement and heads bobbed back and forth as if trying to send their noses into orbit.

Tears streamed down Mithun's face. He couldn't believe that all of the class was mocking him. His friends were giggling underneath the desks. Mithun sniffled, "Agreed, Sri Lanka may not look like a tiger, but why am I being derided for saying what I think is right. It's the teacher's fault anyway. I am sure there is some association between Sri Lanka and the tiger. It's Madam's fault she didn't make it clear. Else it would have registered. It surely would have”. "

Mithun wiped his tears and sat at his desk staring at the blackboard.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Aa Raj mujhe Maar

Mumbai Mirror says
"Cops to oppose bail for Raj"

Why? Is the bail from Uttar Bharat?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Menace - se Mumbai hogi fishing town

Fasnastic. Cabs are off the road. Personally, support the reasons. But also glad that there is less pollution. Cold weather is not good, the smog just refuses to lift, and that's why we have so many chest and throat infections around.

Anyway, I wish all non-maharashtrians gang up and go on strike on a single day (ADA switches of electricity, UP cows refuse to be milked, bhaajiwalahs refuse to do business, Palanpur Jains stop trading diamonds, Bombay House shuts shop and all bawas deliberate on how to advance the Parsi clan ("I got an idea. Why don't we have more sex?").

Future of any city depends on business. I had a fascinating conversation with a kurta trader (Jain btw) a couple of days ago. His view was that, Bombay's reputaton as a trading hub (may be not as a financial capital) is being fairly quickly eroded. A lot of new jobs have moved to Pune, textile manufacturing (Girgoan to Bhiwandi) has been usurped by Surat. Gujarat has done away with octroi - one of biggest roadblock (literally) in an efficient business transcation. Infrastructure has improved leaps and bounds there. Smallest of towns there are now buzzing with business activity. Narendra Modi is a zealot (my thoughts), but he is a superb administrator (his thoughts and I am inclined to agree), who has improved the lives of average Gujaratis and made one thing that they are good at - enterprise - easy.

It's increasingly common to see massive paradigm shifts in the blink of an eye. If Gujarat and other states continue the onward march and Bombay continues to plagued by governmental neglect and mental bigotry, then Bombay will return to how it was - the land of the kolis.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Arajak

"Mummy, mummy, mein bahut bore ho raha hoon"

"Ja baher jaun khel mitran barobar"

"Mummy, naahi, mitra sagale seriously parikshe chi tayyari karat aahe"

"Tu pan abhyas kar na mag"

"Chchya, yevdha traas kon ghenaar? Kaka chya navane guruji malaa paas karnarach"

"Hehehe..
(in an indulgent tone) Shahana maajha por. Thik aahe, mag kaay karnaar aahes?"

"Hmm, maahit naahi. Vichar karto, te navin Uttar Bhartiya aale aahet naa aaplya societit, tyancha thoda chal karun yeto"

"Thik aahe, pan tujhya chaalitlya mitranna gheun jaa. Maarmari jhaalich tar tu palun ye. Te nistartil sagale"

"Yes M'am!! Bbbyyyyyyyyeeeeee"

"Bye Raj! Aik, yetanaa tya baniya kadun 1 kilo tandul gheun ye haa! Kaay re!! Aiktos kaa??"

Here goes the sun...

Worrisome signs in the IT martket are evident from the news from TCS and IBM.

I think software business as it - volume driven, mass recruitment, US focus will be definitely dead or be very close to demise in 5 years time.
We should be seeing a stablisation of business and resources if not a drastic reduction in that time.

We already are seeing poor resource quality in the haste of recruiting new resources and it will be impossible to use such guys in any useful way. I am primarily embarrased about such guys travelling onsite and screwing up the reputation of everyone at offshore.

I am also not convinced of our average project management capabilities either. We do well in support/maintenance projects, but invariably screw up in large development programs. When the push comes to shove, then these 'bad' managers make their resources work over-time.

In times of crisis (when the projects dry up) these issues will become major headaches.

Katlene ke tarike dhoondhna abhi se shuru karna chahiye

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The crafty Australians

What really galls me in spite of so many brazen offenses from the Australian side, the focus is really on what Harbhajan did or did not do wrong. Just some clear violations that rankle big time.

1. Ponting claiming a clearly grounded catch as a clean one. No penalty or a rebuke for him. Here is Prem Pannicker's fantastic case for his banning.

2. How did the Harbhajan episode really start. Harbhajan went out to congratulate Lee for his delivery. Symonds starts abusing him unprovoked. He used 'fuck' or it's variation (probably, 'I am a fucker, Bhajji') in his rant. Do you get this? You want to appreciate your opponent and one of them starts berating you in foul language.

What are you supposed to do? Smile and say, "Yes".


3. Ponting says, nay orders the the umpire, "Go and tell him. Go and tell him straight away".

Bhajji is the devil. Ponting is the (monkey) God!

4. Most important, - THE WORD MONKEY AS UTTERED BY HARBHAJAN IS NOT CAPTURED ANYWHERE IN THE RECORDING. For any serious accusation, there has to be clear evidence. Even ignoring the fact that monkey is not a racial term, there is ZERO proof to Bhajji's transgression.

In the melee, the issues which really hold the most significance in the case (not India being a financial powerhouse, BCCI's highhandedness, Bhajji's repeated offenses etc) have been completely effaced. The Australians strategise every minute aspect of the game, and I am sure they thought of this one too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Control - All delete

For a www skimmer like me, it is extremely painful to have all these restrictions imposed by powers that be.

Access to external mails like gmail, yahoo is barred. Access to google spreadsheets, documents is barred. Online files storage is not allowed. If you think entertainment sites should be banned, then yes, all the film sites are barred, but surprisingly cricinfo doesn't fall in that category. Trading sites are banned. Of course Orkut is banned, but I have no sympathy for orkut-addicts.

Yes, there is some advantage in banning non-work relevant sites, but such restrictions should be kept at a minimum. There is lot that I have learnt through now-restricted sites - after all labnol, a very popular and informative technology site was operating under the blogspot domain for a long time. So many of the technology blogs are on blogspot.

I have always struggled when sending 10 MB plus files. God knows where the company file server is and how many approvals you need to take to upload your project files there (I still haven't gone there)? So, why can't we use one of the thousands free file storages for an occasional file transfer?

Google spreadsheets can make such fantastic issue trackers, contact information stores where employees located globally can access and update. Informal use of such tools - preparing party list, taking votes etc. should definitely be encouraged. And I have also found my knowledge of movies (courtesy the banned rotten tomatoes and IMDB) useful in holding conversations with client (it is a DEFINITE part of the job - small talk)

If you get stuck behind the privacy norms and regulations, then things will never get done. Afterall, no innovation came out of a status quo. I am sure if you think out of the box, then you will find the most realistic solution around using external applications for official purposes. I am also not proposing putting confidential information up on the web. At the same time, it is easy to abuse the concern over privacy by implementing draconian restrictions, that ensures that nothing is done safely and securely.


Owing to such restrictions, even IT junta is generally so unaware about the not-so-latest technical advances like tag clouds, RSS feeds, AJAX, podcasts and mashups.

For me, some blogs are a daily must-consumes. So, what do I do, I use the remote machine. It just one more hurdle that I cross. Many people use proxies to view social networking sites like orkut or facebook. Youtube is banned, so someone(one client lan where no such restrictions exist) downloads it as flvs and circulates huge video files through email. So, problem solved? No, just transformed.

Similar kind of ignorance pervades in defaulting access on workstations to user level (rather than admin). No USB drives are enabled, no CDs are allowed, no software can be downloaded and installed. How many times have you stopped people from installing and exploring new tools, and advancing their knowledge. How many times have you stopped free exchange of information, thereby having to endure a bunch of slightly more ignorant software engineers?

The threat of viruses would have been valid if not for the expensive anti-virus and survelliance bots installed on machines. There are just too many productivity aids out there that you can install and do your tasks much quicker and better. A central authority censoring what comes into the system is vastly shackled by its ignorance, lack of understanding and of course time. And of course, absolute power corrupts absolutely. So, the propensity is towards adding more restrictions rather than relaxing them.

Filtering everything out and then allowing access to a few random things is a wrong way to go about it. The approach should be to have no filters in the first place. If certain sites and tools are causing a nuisance, and if certain hotspots crop up in certain permission-types, then you can choose to modify them.

But first, you need to treat your employees like adults.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No, not me

 
No, I don't. Though I am a nobody, I am also everyone. And no, I don't.

Why the freak?

Jaideep Moshai in the article here claims that
"...this will almost certainly be Tendulkar’s last Test on Australian soil, and he wanted to leave a mark..."
 
Isn't that a bit premature to say, when he can easily play Test for 2-3 years more. And when the man himself is ambivalent about it.
 

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mumbai Marathon - 2008

Around the 16 km mark - near the Marine Lines Station, there is an enormous feeling of despair. Only the top atheletes will still be raring to hit the finish post. Except the first time (when I ran very much within myself), I have always asked myself, " Why the hell am I doing this?".

There is no $31000 waiting for me. People on the side seem to mocking me- watching my flailing arms, my widly bobbing neck, my shorts dripping fluids (water I poured in them to cool my muscles). Too many long days in the hospital (with the baby), less sleep and severe cold meant that my body was never relaxed and not at its bit. Also didn't stretch/ loosen up sufficiently during the last 2-3 weeks. And didn't acclimatize that much.

And if you are running against a target, you can never dare to take it easy.
This year had to beat the 2:05 time. So, had been running extra hard during training. Cross training was good, by virtue of ample badminton, football and swimming.

Most of what you do during training is really manipulating the mind - prodding it to go a bit further, run a bit harder, bear the pain a little more. Yes, all of this is physical, but the crazy thing is your body can keep going if the mind commands it to. A little bit of stamina building does happen during training. But its really all in the mind. How else can you propel yourselves as soon as you glimpse the finish line (even if it is a km away), but can't bear to drag on for the next 10 meters when you are at the 16 km mark?


This year stopped about 7 times, more than previous occasions. Had more drinks. Still, really chuffed with the time. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I collapsed on the side. Was so drowsy, that I thought I would drown in it. Somehow managed to bite into an energy bar. Inside the certificate collection tent, it was chaos - the software was not working. Stood in the queue for an hour, but then decided to call it quits. The announcements were thick and fast (very helpful) and decided to trust their promise that certificates can be collected later.
Otherwise, the facilities this year were much better - more water stations, more electrol (though if the bottles are color coded, it will help tremendously). Fruits, water and biscuits were served to all certificate collectors. The announcer was urging people to sit down and relax. Really kind.

I would like to thank a tall, lanky guy who kept pushing me during my torture stretch. You helped!