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Monday, October 31, 2005

Scott Maxwell, you just read my mind!

Attracting, Retaining and Motivating. What's in it for them? [Now what?] Scott Maxwell

An excerpt:
Stretch them (without breaking them). Think of stretching a rubber band as far as you can without breaking it. This is the fastest way for top caliber people to develop…getting their goals met becomes difficult for them, which they like!

Give them hard-hitting, constructive feedback.
Everyone loves feedback, especially constructive feedback, and most managers shy away from giving it. Instead of hoping they will do the right thing and ignoring when they get off track, tell them what you observe and how you what you think (note: you can do this without being a micromanager by focusing on the themes rather than the details). High caliber people can and do want to do the right thing, so it is up to you to help define what that means (btw, you might be wrong, so giving them the feedback and being open to theirs is even better. It can get you aligned with you taking on their view of right quite often. It also clears the air really nicely).
Read the article

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Perceptions: Engineers from India

Thursday, October 27, 2005

News round-up

The speaker of the U.S Congress has his own Blog
In this land of rabid polemicsm I can see that right now everyone has decided to side with technology and the benefits it promises. The speaker of the U.S congress has just setup his own blog [speaker.gov]. I'll bet he got a 1000 hits in the first hour itself :-).

Chris Webber is black and proud
I saw Chris Webber [NBA] make an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. I was impressed by his pride in his African-American heritage and sense of identity. The discussion was focused on a new NBA directive that requires players to be dressed formally when travelling with their team or when on the sidelines during a game (e.g when they are injured and on the bench). Maher attempted to portray this directive as smacking of racial overtones. Chris Webber effectively retorted by going at the root of the problem - I paraphrase, just because he has been asked to wear a suit does not mean he has to stop being black.

Narayan Murthy shows the Karnataka authorities that he is pissed
There is a massive fallout between the very strong Infosys and the Karnataka govt. where a huge Infosys campus is based. Specifically, the CEO Narayan Murthy is angry that the state government has not addressed the poor infrastructure in the state. I am interested in the outcome. Can powerful corporate lobbies influence the state to do good? Thats a great change from hearing about how powerful pharmaceuticals and oil companies drive the state to do *no good*.

Rediff: Myths and facts about the Indian IT Industry
10 myths & facts about the Indian IT Industry [Rediff]

BlackBerry Enterprise Security Architecture

I have the article in German and am looking for a translation.

Che Guevera

Che Guevara: Assassin and Bumbler [Capitalism Magazine]

Che Guevera [Wikipedia]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

IT Careers: Evaluating your job

I came across an interesting article on evaluating your current job. I respect the article for the fact that it is based on the experiences of the author. It isn't just any joe blo writing about what he thinks the industry should be like. However, I think the tone of the article is tremendously harsh.

The article can be found here [fr.sys-con.com].

From i-Technology Viewpoint: When to Leave Your First IT Job:
"The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned. Only one thing kept me going -- pure ego. You know when the schoolyard bully says something about your mom in front of everyone? But, ignoring the size difference and the fact that he's already shaving daily at age 14, you step forward and say "Oh yeah?", with a Brock Sampson-like eye twitch the only warning of the impending ownage? That's the kind of ego that kept me determined to give software engineering a second shot."

I do agree with the following points highlighted in the article.
  1. Don't ever work in cubicles.
  2. An over-bearing management or they think that they know too much.
  3. Management that relies on, but disregards your technical advice
  4. Management that bullies you over your schedules
  5. Jobs that stunt your personal growth
  6. Job commitments that you are not happy doing
  7. Jobs that don't give you the opportunity for career advancement
  8. Jobs that don't consider overtime alongwith compensation
I don't agree that any one of them alone, is reasons enough for quitting your job. Perhaps that wasn't the author's point. It is obvious that very few employers will score 10 out of 10 by the standards set down in the article. It is also hard to evaluate each of these requirements against any existing job. For example, schedules can often be tight when trying to meet market demands and when taking advantage of available opportunities. However, it may not be necessary to have to deliver all that is promised on time. A reduced set of commitments can be negotiated upon within the available time constraints. If the management were to then turn down the request to restrict the scope to fit the time - the writing is on the wall. Several start-ups offer stock-options that are worth very little in exchange for loyalty and dedication. It is only a promised compensation, one that may not materialize ever. Is it still a good job subject to the possibility that the employee is willing to risk it?

What is important is to be aware that your ideals have been compromised. Is your job just another job, or is it something that you enjoy doing with a great deal of passion. Do you honestly believe that you had to make that compromise because of your current working conditions? When did it stop being a true challenge and a learning experience? Then again, should having to work in a cubicle be enough grounds for disullisionment? Or is it that I am incorrectly adopting a more conciliatory stance than is necessary?

It is hard to evaluate your employer objectively, what with the growing liability of having to provide 'diplomatic' feedback to their employees, feedback that will not have the potential to hurt the company. Be careful when you do so. I wouldn't be surprised if some companies truly are skimping on the quality of work environment they provide.

Some quotes from the article:
At my last job, I constantly felt dejected. "You're not growing fast enough! You're barely in the middle of the pack." was the kind of feedback I was getting from my supervisor. Much later, I realized they were setting employees up for failure, and then blaming the employee, instead of blaming themselves.

Work is not all bad. A lot of employers say they want their employees to think work is fun. Few employers put their money where their mouth is, and difference is something you not only see - you feel it when you start working for those employers.

Some good blogs of Indian origin

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NYTimes: The Lap of Luxury

An article on some idiot who is suing a strip-club, albeit one-sided. Read on for a psychoanalysis of strippers and strip clubs.

This time it's an executive from Missouri named Robert McCormick, who, treating himself and friends, ran up a $241,000 bill at Scores on his corporate American Express card two years ago. American Express is now suing him for refusing to pay up. Several other unhappy customers have also sued Scores over large bills.

Among strippers I worked with, the most dreaded customers were not the obese or the lame. Rather, we feared customers who thought they were exceptions to the rule. They were just handsome enough, or successful enough, to foolishly think that their own sex appeal was tip enough.

-- "The Lap of Luxury"
The New York Times

Monday, October 24, 2005

Northwest airlines

How cheap can international travel tickets get? How about $505 for San Francisco, USA to Bangalore, India? Round-trip that would be $1010. Which is relatively cheap. I just booked Seattle, USA to Mumbai, India for $1250 with NWA.

NWA Promotions [NWA.com]

Revisit Pune

I am going to be in Pune between 3rd of January and 24th January next year. Drop me a line if you would like to meet up!

Is anyone even reading this :-)?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Excerpts from FEMA officials' e-mails

Just so that you are aware, I hate inept babus who hold high government posts in India, are corrupt and arrogant... I hate the ones in the U.S just as much. One of the FEMA officials in the Superdome had a BlackBerry and was in constant touch [BlackBerryCool] with FEMA HQ.

Marty Bahamonde a FEMA insider was sent to the New Orleans Superdome as Michael Brown’s “eyes and ears”. Bahamonde was armed with a Blackberry and tried to sound the alarm numerous times about breaking levees and the growing danger inside the Superdome. In an email directly to his boss Michael Brown,

Also see this article [Seattle PI].

-Bahamonde to FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 31, 11:20 a.m.

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here some things you might not know.

Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.

The dying patients at the DMAT tent being medivac. Estimates are many will die within hours. Evacuation in process. Plans developing for dome evacuation but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.

-Sharon Worthy, Brown's press secretary, to Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs, and others, Aug. 31, 2 p.m.

"Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn (sic) that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.

-Bahamonde to Taylor and Michael Widomski, public affairs, Aug. 31, 2:44 p.m.

"OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won't go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move my pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don't stab me in the back while I try to sleep.

Business Etiquette for PhD's

I came across a short article on Business etiquette.

For Ph.D.'s looking for jobs outside of academe, the insularity of the ivory tower is often a handicap, but it doesn't have to be. If you arm yourself with a solid knowledge of business etiquette and a sense of how academics are perceived by the outside world, you will have a better experience on the nonacademic market.

--Speak Up, Shake Hands, and Smile; Chronicle Careers

Suggested books on business etiquette

In brief,
  • Business etiquette is necessary when dealing in the business world
  • Overdressed is fine, but dress appropriately
  • Rehearse a good handshake
  • Make frequent, sustained eye-contact, it is a sign of confidence
  • Work on nervousness/anxiety signs offline
  • Emphasize on precise written and spoken communication in different contexts
  • Practise the "elevator speech"
  • Practise your "airplane test"
  • Practise your small-talk skills
  • Be savvy when you write your e-mails, timing is important, so is content, and privacy
  • Don't attempt communication when your upset, high on pot, or just plain out of sorts

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Jon Lech Johansen inspires

Jon [So sue me] is inspiring.

He prefers Linux - C [So sue me]. Don't be fooled though, other platforms don't scare him.

He is planning on working for Michael Robertson's [MichaelRobertson.com] mp3Tunes.

Incidentally, he also recently [Wall Street Journal] moved to the U.S.A.

Slashdot loves him [Slashdot.org] :-)

Exchange Server 2003 SP2: Direct Push Technology

RIMarkable broke the news. [RIMarkable.com]

Details on the new Service Pack [Microsoft.com].

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hindustan Times: NRI Achievers

Shashi Seth, Lead Project manager, Google makes the list...

BlackBerry updates :-)

The BlackBerry is now synonymous with mobile e-mail. It's also a benchmark.

BlackBerry is a UK CoolBrand 2005 [BlackBerry Cool]
BlackBerry OS 4.1 now supports Bluetooth synch [BlackBerry Cool]
BlackBerry Hacks - Dave Mabe [Another Blog by Dave]
Professional BlackBerry is a topselling book on devices - Amazon.com [Grob's Blog]

Monday, October 17, 2005

A day in India's Silicon Valley

A day in India's Silicon Valley [BBC.co.uk], Spencer Kelly

Wedding Part V: Parsi Ceremony

Wedding Part V: Parsi Ceremony
Originally uploaded by Nayantara.
Brother of the bride, mother of the bride, groom, bride, father of the bride.

The groom is Parsi and the bride Hindu, so they had both types of weddings. The Parsi reception was a huge party, but the ceremony was only for close family.

-- Nayantara [Flickr]

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Which hat do you wear at work?

An Indian spread and conversation.
My housemate and I decided we were going to go grab lunch at a vegetarian Indian buffet today. Between visits to the buffet table, we realized the queue was a little too long to accommodate the two of us. Instead, we stayed at our tables and the conversation grew thicker.

My housemate has been lucky enough to work alongside several different personalities in different jobs. His current job profile is that of a sound engineer, or at least that is what I would call him. Anyhow, he drew up a great picture of what I think are two ends of the spectrum of employee profiles.

The specialist.
He spoke of one of the engineers who was extremely good at one particular task which required no sweat but a lot of precision. His work was of such extraordinary quality, it helped the company justify a sweet profit margin for some of the more delicate jobs. He was also very dedicated to his work. From the moment that he awoke, to the minute that he was asleep, his thoughts lay with doing a great job. There was of course another side to this coin. He simply hated the sweat and bulk jobs. He wasn't any good at it, and it did not happen to motivate him at all. He would avoid it and complain loudly if he ever had to undertake one.

His manager was always faced with the question of how to balance this individual with the others on board. On one hand, the setup was a small one, fewer employees and therefore each employee bore a greater responsibility. This specialist brought great value to the company when precision jobs were necessary. However, that wasn't really the bulk of the work that was contracted to the company. To his manager, he was a tool, an expensive one, which really wouldn't apply in the face of an economy job.

The generalist.
My housemate has a different perspective on things. He says he has stopped viewing his job as his passion any longer. He goes in gets his work done, gets his paychecks at the end of the week and indulges himself with snow-boarding and promoting extreme sports with the youth in the Seattle area.

His manager sees him as a pivotal member of the team, someone who he can count on to get the job done efficiently and correctly, time and time again. It does not matter if it is an economy job, or a precision job. Certainly, he might not be as good as the specialist, there are days when the manager cannot rely on the specialist either. In such an event the manager can count on my housemate - the next best thing.

Which hat is the right one?
The company would find it hard to replace the specialist. After all, his contribution is unique to a certain extent. It is also pivotal in the satisfaction that is derived from the finished product, and directly contributes to the profit margin. The generalist on the other hand is comparatively easier to replace. However, he does not negatively impact company morale. After all, awarding a special role to an employee could be viewed as favoritism by his peers who may have a wider range of responsibilities. He is also versatile - an especially important quality if the work the company gets is really like a box of chocolates.

The specialist is a one-job-at-time machine. I put forward this argument based on anecdotal evidence. Specialists tend to perform one clearly-scoped task at a time really well. I do allow for exceptions, I don't believe it to be the rule. On the other hand, the generalist is often required to utilize his expertise on a multitude of projects. The nature of his utility tempers him into being able to execute different jobs at the same time. He usually has to solve a larger problem with smaller, loosely co-dependent problems that are very different from each other in their nature. The specialist on the other hand, is tackling the same problem seen through a lens with a narrower focus. The individual solutions that make up the final solution are cohesive in nature and can be taken up one at time.

Is there even a right answer?
In my opinion the right answer is that a professional employee must wear both hats. He has defined himself clearly as the person to turn to in at least one or two areas which require a specialized skill-set and an exceptional end result. He can also be relied upon when there is a need to get other more varied tasks done quickly. It is in his best interests to be able to strike a balance quickly between the two and communicate that to the company. Even if the circumstances that the company is operating under change, the employee is still of value to his company. The company on the other hand has the opportunity and the obligation to intelligently utilize the employee.

What do others in the industry think?
When software industry veterans make comparisons between hackers and developers I believe that they are debating the same question. Is it better to hire someone who can just write up code to solve an interesting issue intelligently, or is it better to hire someone who can look at the entire project, including it's infrastructure, code, quality assurance efforts, maintenance, and best practices fairly?

The many faces of a developer [developer.com]
Great Hacker != Great Hire [ericsink.com]
Great Hackers [paulgraham.com]

What do I need to watch out for?
I would not explicitly feel the need to say this if it were not true. Not every role is requires a specialist. In fact, it is not unusual for well-established companies to promote very specific roles for their employees. Such roles can be filled by any employee but don't offer a great challenge and therefore don't merit the specialized title. It's probably best to avoid such roles altogether. It is more of anomaly than a career choice for software professionals.

Gates stop's by University of Waterloo, Canada

The only stop Bill Gates will be making in Canada is the University of Waterloo [uwaterloo.ca].

Two thousand students listened attentively yesterday morning as Bill Gates talked about how the world got to the present state of technology -- and how the most exciting things lie just ahead.

The Humanities Theatre, which seats 700, was filled with listeners who had managed to get the coveted tickets to hear the Microsoft founder, computing guru and reputed "richest man in the world". Just as rapt was an audience of several hundred more who covered the floor in the Student Life Centre great hall to hear the talk (and see Gates's videos) on a specially installed big screen.

And in the Davis Centre, hundreds more packed the lobby, while spectators lined the balconies on the second and third levels like birds crowding on a wire. Most were, in Gates's phrase, "avant-garde practitioners of the digital lifestyle." Among them: the blogger of Studentlifecentre.com, who posted a minute-by-minute report on Gates's talk and the audience reaction.

Incidentally, founder of RIM, Dr. Mike Lazaridis is the Chancellor of UWaterloo [uwaterloo.ca].

Someone asked what he thought of Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of Research In Motion and UW's chancellor, whom he had met for the first time earlier in the day. Gates said he was very impressed with the Waterloo man, describing Lazaridis as having tremendous vision for the research development he supports, and adding that he is "very impressed with his generosity to Waterloo." Asked about a business issue for Microsoft -- whether RIM, maker of the popular BlackBerry, has an "insurmountable lead in the wireless handheld devices" field -- Gates simply stated that in his thinking, "the field is open . . . we're in the field and will do the best we can."

UWaterloo is also widely regarded as the best overall university in Canada.

During a wide-ranging interview with members of the print media in the Humanities building yesterday, Gates praised UW several times as a university that is at the top in terms of talented people, recognition and acclaim.

He singled out the number of interesting "R&D collaborations" MS has with Waterloo, saying that "really stands out for us" as a positive arrangement. As well, he noted that year in and year out Waterloo is probably the top pool for people and talent that Microsoft dips into.

"In terms of scale, Waterloo stands out on a global basis," he said. "There are many years Waterloo is the number one place we hire from in the world," he went on, and it's always in the "top five" of places that Microsoft comes to for talent. He again lauded the co-op program as worthy of special praise, and wondered aloud why other institutions don't follow the same model because his company can hire top students year-round under the Waterloo system.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

mChq introduced with Airtel, Visa, and ICICI

Bangalore and other IT centers in India are very well known in the services sector around the world. However, I want to be able to stress on the fact that atleast some Engineers there want to be able to push ahead with their own ideas for products that can make an impact in day to day life.

Now the difficult part is to find them. It is not a difficult task if your already in India. Some social engineering can get you a lot of information on which company is doing what and when. Of course, I must point out that this is all within the limits of appropriate disclosure.

I was excited to come across Kanishka Agiwal's blog Non Sequitur. He announced his company's first major software release and also provided a link to an article [CIOL.com]. It's a simple and effective idea, but the point is - none of the cellular provider's in my state have actually gotten round to providing micropayments yet. So there. ( I should point out that Japan already has [BBC] an evolved mobile payment solution.)

From the article:

India gets mobile-to-mobile payment option
Airtel, ICICI, Visa introduce mChq, the first mobile-to-mobile payment option
Monday, September 19, 2005

NEW DELHI: Airtel, ICICI Bank and VISA have joined hands to launch mChq, the first mobile-to-mobile payment option in the country, which enables Airtel customers and ICIC Bank Visa cardholders to pay for their purchases using Airtel mobile phones.

The transaction process is one where the retailer/merchant sends an SMS mentioning the amount to the customer. The customer enters his/her personalized PIN number and sends an SMS back to the retailer acknowledging the amount to be paid. Both the parties then get a confirmatory SMS indicating the completion of the transaction.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Who is Mr. Arindham Chaudhari?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I must know, who is Arindham Chaudhari? As has already been proved, curiosity did kill the cat [Vantage point]. That much I am aware. But I still want to know, can anyone reveal the mystery behind your dark personality? I stood by the bylines, until I happend to come across your personal website. There I discovered how big a fan you are of yourself and the extent of your deception. I could no longer be a passive onlooker.

You claim to be a 'noted economist & management guru'. But I am afraid to have to say, far from having managed the books of the MNC down the road, you don't appear to have even a balanced mind. I ask, how can someone who blows his own horn so loud, be sane? You claim on your resume to have won such inspiring awards as the "Management guru 2000". The reader is almost left wondering, "I would not have been surprised had he won again in '01, '02, '03, and '04 too". After all, it must be your modesty that prevents you from disclosing all your winning ways. Come to think of it, maybe you were just running out of scroll space. After all, where would you squeeze in "Personality of the decade"? In fact - I would bet my money that you won a place on Raymond's model-line up too.

Ahh, lets not forget that awards of dubious distinction and origin are every desi's pedigree. What about your degrees? Degrees can come from many places, are of varying shapes and sizes. The ones that are least respected, however, are the ones that you award yourself! Especially if your going to do so gratituously to bloat your resume, putting even Microsoft's bloatware to shame. There are smart con-men and dumb con-men, but even the dumb ones are aware that it's smarter to steal someone else's credentials, than to come up with an institute to distributes them. What will come of the day when you decide to enroll your own kids in your institute?

There isn't a breathing villianous character who is complete without cronies. Sauron had his Orcs, Mogambo had little desi's with machine guns, Hitler had his nazi party. So too do you have a loyal army. You threaten us with your hundred's of students armed with laptops and pony-tails, who adore you as their founding father. It's too bad that while making their case [absurdiav], they inadvertantly left their spell-checker off. They hide behind their anonymity so that the 'poor spelling' police can't catch them. Don't think we underestimate them though. In a pre-emptive move [Vantage point], they threatened to burn laptops on the streets in protest. What other evidence do we need of their strategic planning? Such a long way the youth of India have come, earlier they burned government buses to lodge protests. Now they earn MBA's and burn chinese made laptops instead. You state with disgust that 35% of Delhi defecates in the open and yet your students bull-shit openly on the Internet? Their punditry too deserves applaud and a look of awe, claiming that Indian women rely way too much on their boyfriends. Perhaps they are not too far from the truth, or maybe they don't look further than their own homes and friends. I am sure the free laptops you handed out to them have continued your deception nicely, just like the charlatan king of Kafiristan who doled out justice to naive tribals while pretending to be the son of Alexander. I hope that your deception too will be uncovered and that your subjects make you walk the plank.

Compare yourself to the tree that everyone threw stones at, till it bore fruit, the fruits of humor and absurdity of course. Who am I to flag your deception? I am just an individual blogger - my two cents (or 2/45 paise) is hardly something you should have to write home about. Don't you have awards to win, degrees to earn? Your well past that I guess, you award lawsuits now, in the form of emails. I might not have learnt all of the little truth that there is to you, but I can promise you this, we bloggers will put up a strong fight.

We shall not flag or fail [DesiPundit]. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight on the ground, we shall fight in the print and on the airwaves, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength over ether, we shall defend our freedom of speech, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight in our blogs, we shall fight in our newspapers, we shall fight over email (don't forget to notarize) and in the 9'o clock news, we shall fight in court; we shall never surrender (Inspired by Churchill).

The character(s) in this piece of fiction are entirely fictional and any resemblance to a real, actual person, living or dead is purely unintentional! And definitely no resemblance to Arindham Chaudhari of IIPM was ever intended. This blog does not reflect the views of my employer, and for that matter the people I know - but is definitely my own point of view and that makes me proud.

Urdu Poetry: Mirza Mohammed Rafi

Amar Akbar Anthony's has to be my amongst my top-rated blogs.

The other Mohammed Rafi.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Java: Performance review

Java theory and practice: Urban performance legends, revisited [IBM Developer works]

A very well-written article that examines the popular belief on memory-allocation in managed object-oriented languages is inefficient.

From the article:
Brian Goetz has been a professional software developer for over 18 years. He is a Principal Consultant at Quiotix, a software development and consulting firm located in Los Altos, California, and he serves on several JCP Expert Groups. See Brian's published and upcoming articles in popular industry publications.

Related links:

Content Management System

This mornings inspiration:

I am thinking of a single unifying entity to define and present my presence on the web.
  • my presence Flickr, a photo blog
  • my presence on this blog
  • my presence on Orkut, Friendster, and LinkedIn
  • my presence on Forums
  • my presence on Yahoo! and MSN IM networks
  • my presence on Amazon (as a reviewer)
  • my presence on StumbleUpon
  • other sites that I own, including my student homepage
  • so many other places you could have a footprint
It shouldn't be so hard to do? I'm sure Google and Yahoo are already thinking of the benefits if such a system. For them, they get huge amounts of customer data to mine and shape profiles from. While I don't necessarily subscribe to that idea, I'd just prefer to be able to manage all my content. I am willing to be there is already a partial solution out there waiting to be tapped.

Alonso doesn't think the Constructor's championship is important

Alonso is happy with driver's crown [BBC]
Arrey wah! Alonso ne eclair khake declare kar liya!

My sarcasm translated - if your losing to your opponent, simply call the trophy unimportant. Alonso has made a fell move to discredit McLaren's efforts to seal the constructor's championship. Ahh, this is one of the moments the 2005 F1 champion is going to regret later on. He even calls the season a "Perfect season". With sportsmen like these, who needs pussies?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Hilarious blog on the modest aaloo

On following a trail of blogs, I came across an analysis of the mystery of the potato and tomato [Amar Akbar Anthony].

In India, the tomato is known as - tamatar, and the potato is strangely called the aaloo and also the batata. The analysis tries to determine from where did the aaloo in the saag (spinach-potato) appear?

An excerpt:

Aaloo: A Hindutva Perspective?

What horror. Foreign vegetables have arrived and taken the names and identitity of our native vegetables! Further, the potatos are reproducing so heavily that they have taken over as the most populous vegetable, while elephant yams have become a minority in their own country. And did we mention the native vegetables had the name aaloo first! Historical injustices must be corrected, the potato must give up its claim on the name aaloo if it wants to stay in Desh!

RIM is going to initiate a stock buy-back

Research In Motion Announces a Common Share Repurchase Program [RIM]

Festival: Phirni

Originally uploaded by lecercle.
Akshay Mahajan is blogging Mumbai, or Bombay as I grew up learning. I don't think he is going to run out of steam ever, Mumbai is very very wealthy in that respect. Take a look at a shot of mouth-watering phirni.

Incidentally, adding pictures to my blog is easy now with Flickr.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

They will be in Seattle on Nov. 14th.

Journalism needs to stay with journalists

Grassroots journalism: Actual content vs. shining ideal [The online journalism review]

Atleast one journalist feels that not all bloggers can deliver the sort of insightful, informative news coverage we have come to expect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Woah BlackBerry, Bam-a-Lam

The new BIS release for tmobile has been a hard one. But what really concerns me is the ongoing battle with NTP ["RIM moves closer to the edge" - Business week].

People who shorted the stock, made a bundle over the last week. The overall mood has been very pessimistic ["End of the road for Blackberry users" - Slashdot]. Apparently, one could find unjustified behaviour on both sides of the argument.

Also see RIMArkable.

What if..?

(Score:5, Interesting)
by Dynamoo (527749) * on Monday October 10, @08:34AM (#13755733)
What if RIM was a US company and NTP was Canadian. Do you think that the judgement would have been different? Consider also that Microsoft has been found guilty of patent infringments many, many times and yet it has never had an outright ban on those products being sold or used.

Exactly what has NTP done with these patents? The USPTO keeps striking them down (see here [msn.com]). Did NTP actually use or license the patents to make a product? I can't think of any.

Of course, this was nearly all settled [brighthand.com] but seems to have fallen apart.

RIM vs NTP is a complicated case.. many patent cases are. But when it boils down to it, the approach doesn't not appear to be consistent between different cases. If the judgement remains, then RIM's revenues will take a huge hit, US Blackberry users will not be able to use their devices and I can't see any product on a comparable quality anywhere on the horizon.


(Score:4, Informative)
by feijai (898706) on Monday October 10, @12:20PM (#13757323)
[sigh] The people that get modded +5:Insightful these days (and at 0 I don't expect anyone to see this, argh)... A quick rundown about NTP. For more info, see the excellent article in The Washingtonian (DC's local magazine) debunking the crap RIM has been spreading.
  1. NTP owns six patents that RIM is violating. These patents were submitted at the dawn of PDAs -- before the Newton, in fact -- and proposed the general notion of a wireless handheld which receives email, including protocols, long before this was an obvious notion.
  2. The original patent submitter actually built devices based on these patents and hawked them at trade shows.
  3. NTP's lawsuit includes the original inventor as one of its litigants. He's directly suing RIM.
  4. RIM completely ignored NTP's requests for a year.
  5. NTP wasn't formed to go after patents in general: it was largely formed to give the original patent submitters enough power to go after RIM for flaunting them -- and believe me, RIM was flaunting.
  6. RIM behaved monstrously at court. They tried to starve NTP to death by dragging out everything, repeatedly lied to the judge (to the point that he issued a condemnation of them), and even appealed to Congress to throw out the case by fiat because they'd given Congressmen Blackberries and so if RIM lost the case it'd create a problem with "national defense".
  7. RIM has been doing whatever they can to suggest that NTP is a patent whore.
I hate patent whores. They are evil. But NTP is not one of themI. They invented the concepts, produced products based on them, and were screwed by RIM. RIM deserves to fry.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mt. St. Helens 09

Mt. St. Helens 09
Originally uploaded by The_Vent.
Too bad the Summer's over!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Desi Stereotypes!

It's fantastic that Gaurav Bhatnagars blogs his R2I (Return to India) :-).

He describes his first year after R2I fondly here

I repost my comment:
You've probably heard this comment before... "Starting your own company can be a *lot* more rewarding than getting a MBA". How true is that? Personally, I would attach a lot more importance to what your doing now. Especially since you've decided to contribute directly to India's economic and intellectual wealth (hmm, I enthusiastically :-) attach the word 'wealth' here since India is entering the information age ahead of every other developing nation).

To emphasize on the issue with stereotypes - I was very passionate as I started out with my M.S. I quickly realised that I was definitely not the first "desi grad student", and certainly by far not the last. Of the desi's I knew in my area, everyone was committed, hard-working, ... you know the rest. That did somewhat dampen my enthusiasm to continue, but I couldn't stop once I had started.

I guess many have the innate desire to be successful, and of course to be unique inventors/discoverers. That by itself isn't unique.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Slashdot: Publications that help you be a better Programmer

Here is the thread

Every once in a while, we revisit the basics!

Monday, October 03, 2005

BlackBerry Internet Service - T-Mobile

Finally, a major software upgrade to allow Internet users to receive instantaneous e-mail on their handheld.

To highlight the change,
* direct-access, straight to your Inbox. No intermediates involved. Imagine getting a warning message "Your Inbox is full", when you've only used 500MB of your 2GB Gmail mailbox. Thats how it would be if your carrier was using an intermediate mailbox with your handheld - a bad idea.

* Notifications to your handheld as soon as email is available in your Inbox. In a test-run this morning, I received mail within a few seconds of it arriving in my Inbox

* Reply to your e-mail, masquerade your mailbox as someone else and also automatically BCC yourself if you like

* Exchange, iNotes, Hotmail, MSN, RPA, CS2000, AOL, Yahoo!, Gmail, and ISP mailboxes, we can catch them all!