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!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Google Maps - Run

The personalized distance measurement was not available on Google maps last year. Its certainly quite helpful. If it was not for this, I would have to install Google Earth on my machine.

For the record, its the distance between Wipro Technologies, Phase 1 and Infosys, Phase 2, at Pune, Hinjewadi. I think, I will be running between them - only till the Marathon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Boycott the Australia tour - 2

Amish's response to my post requires a separate post

Ha ha!

1) Ponting was out (caught) in first innings when he was 17. But was not given out. He was given out on 55 (lbw), wrongly. So, some say, it evens that out. How is that even if his partnership with others (Hayden and Hussey) added further 80-90 odd runs?

Didnt that go against India?

Ok lets say this is ignored.

2) Symonds was stump-out and his foot clearly 1 or 2 inches above ground and even then 3rd umpire gave him not out.

3rd umpire was never asked for explanation on why he didnt give him out but then rule doesnt require him to give explanation.

So lets ignore this too.

3) Symonds again was stump-out with foot appearing on the line. Noone but Dhoni appealed, so umpire didnt call for 3rd umpire.

The rule says umpire if has doubt and even if only one player appeals he can refer to 3rd umpire.

Now lets say he didnt have doubt so didnt call 3rd umpire.

So again lets just ignore this.

4) Second innings, Jaffer was out (bowled) probably (95% looked so) on a NO BALL from Bret Lee. But umpire didnt declare it to be so and so Jaffer was out.

But as we already know by now that umpires in this test were one having BEST EYES in the world.

So lets ignore this too.

5) Ganguly was given out on what looked to be doubtful catch. In most cases 3rd umpire would have been called and he would have given benefit of doubt to batsman. But as there was somekind of pre-match agreement that in such cases, umpire will accept fielding team's captain's decision and Ponting declared him out and Ganguly was given out.

Lets ignore this in the name of rule.

6) Dravid in 2nd innings (pillar innings) was clearly NOT OUT, bat no where near ball, no snickometer readings but he was given out. Umpire finally heard the nick of Ponting and declared Dravid to be out.

Ok lets ignore this too.

So eventually India lost by 122 runs, fair and square!

Whooping 123 runs short to win the match.

Oh wait!

Symonds first innings was on 30 when he clearly nicked the ball and easily caught OUT. He stood, umpire stood, he didnt raise the finger and then Symonds scored 162!

Now 162-30 = 132 (lets ignore the partnership runs)

So now if we ignore these 132 runs we find that India scored 9 more runs then Australia and even then LOST a test match.

Hey afterall Australia had declared their 2nd innings!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Boycott the Australia tour!!

If the BCCI has a even little bit of spine and self-respect, it will act on the threat and call the team back.

It's also unfortunate that while we are discussing boycott, most of the attention is on Harbhanjan-Symonds episode. It shouldn't be. Ricky Ponting's behavior itself should make the Indian team boycott unless he is banned (based on historical precedence)

And then there are the ghastly and cruel umpiring decisions.

My fear is that BCCI is too corrupt and money minded to not care about $2.5 million in penalty claims. The passage in rediff suggests so as well.

"We are most likely to leave for Canberra tomorrow. If there is no threat to the tour, there is no threat to this side game also," commented a member of the team management on condition of anonymity.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mumbai molested - update

After the initial foolish reactions from the police (though this there this late tubelight commentary from Sena to contend with), the police have done a fantastic job in rounding up 14 accused.

Great work from the family members and neighbours who handed over one of the molesters, Ravi Shukla.
After the initial hankering

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mumbai - Women Molestation Redux

Two of my friends were smoking on the pavement in the York city center. A guy comes along and randomly punches one of them. Somewhere else, a girl keeps hurling the choicest abuses at guy-whom-otherwise-she-would-be-snogging. Another guy runs with his girlfriend on his back. The girl falls flat on her ass in the middle of the road. All the night, police van keeps criss crossing the city picking up flat-assed girls.

Heavy drinkers cause public nuisance.
Sex deprived men abuse women on the streets.

Link here

Last year's blog entry here