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Friday, December 31, 2004

End of 2004

Category: Misc

The year 2004 comes to an end.

It will be remembered as the year when the land became the sea, the sea became a wave, and the wave became a messenger of death and destruction.

The Hindu (Newspaper) Relief Fund

Donate to The Hindu Relief Fund. They accept online donations unlike the ToI, which doesn't have that facility.

All you need is a credit card. It takes only a minute.
It is safe, secure, fast, reliable, and easy.

Make an online transfer to The Hindu Relief Fund
(Only in Indian Rupees).

Tsunami help through SMS

Help by sending a SMS in Europe and Scandinavia.
Cell phone users in Italy, Portugal, France, and Finland are helping tsunami victims by sending text messages. Everytime they send a SMS, an amount is contributed to the relief fund by the service providers.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami Alert in coastal Tamil Nadu and Kerala

Tsunami Alert in coastal Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
It is on the news too. Kiruba from Chennai has written about his visit to a beach, after the Tsunami alert of this afternoon.

Sri Lanka has declared 31st December as a day of National Mourning.

The death toll keeps on rising, now more than 80,000 people have been feared killed in the South Asia Tsunami disaster.

In such an atmosphere will it be right to party?
The government should officially Ban all New Year's eve parties in India. How can people think of partying in an atmosphere of gloom and tragedy, and when the danger is still not over?

List of Relief Funds and Aid Agencies to send donations to help the Tsunami affected regions

A list of Relief Funds and Aid Agencies to send donations to help the Tsunami disaster and SouthEast Asia earthquake affected regions.

Relief Funds & Aid Agencies
[via Google Tsunami Relief]
- American Red Cross (from Amazon.com)
- Word Food Program
- Oxfam America
- Oxfam UK
- GOAL, Ireland
- Network for Good
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
- Habitat for Humanity International
- Karuna Lanka, Sri Lanka
- Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka

To donate from India, please read Tsunami Help. Select from the links on the right-hand side of the Tsunami Help blog.

Tsunami Help has links to donate from Portugal, Germany, Ireland, and Spain.

Note: Please crosscheck and verify an organization's credential before donating.

Donate from America.
[Source: The NYT]

- Food for the Hungry, Phoenix, AZ

- World Emergency Relief, Carlsbad, CA
- Operation USA, Los Angeles, CA
- Direct Relief International, Santa Barbara, CA
- International Relief Teams, San Diego, CA
- Project Cancun International, San Diego, CA
- International Medical Corps, Tsunami Response, Santa Monica, CA

- AmeriCares, Stamford, CT
- Save the Children, Westport, CT

District of Columbia
- B'nai B'rith Disaster Relief Fund, Washington, DC

- CARE, Atlanta, GA
- MAP International, Brunswick, GA

- Church World Service, Elkhart, IN

- Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, MD
- Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, MD
- International Rescue Committee, Hagerstown, MD
- ADRA International's Asia Quake Fund, Silver Spring, MD

- Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Grand Rapids, MI
- International Aid, Spring Lake, MI

New York
- US Fund for UNICEF, New York, NY
- American Jewish Joint Distribution, New York, NY
- American Jewish World Service, New York, NY
- Action Against Hunger, New York, NY

- Mercy Corps, Portland, OR

- Brother's Brother Foundation, Pittsburg, PA

Rhode Island
- Plan USA, Asia Disaster Fund, Warwick, RI

- Baptist World Aid, Falls Church, VA
- Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
- AirServ International, Warrenton, VA
- Christian Children's Fund, Richmond, VA

- World Concern, Seattle, WA
- World Vision, Tacoma, WA

Bookmark the Permanent link to this post.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Down with cough, cold, and slight fever

Category: Personal

I'm not feeling well. I'm down with cough, cold, and slight fever.

If you're looking for Tsunami disaster related information, these are the permanent links to the posts - Tsunami Help and News. Sumankumar's blog has links to amateur Tsunami videos.

A Thought for Today

Category: Misc

We are the pilgrims, Master.
We should always go, a little further;
It may be beyond the last blue mountain, barred with snow;
Across the angry, or that glimmering sea.
~ James Elroy Flecker

Five days a week, three hours a day, power cut in Pune

Category: Personal

Five days a week, three hours a day, load shedding in Pune.
This load shedding will go on till May 2005.

Tuesday - 9 am to 12 pm
Wednesday - 3 pm to 6 pm
Thursday - 9 am to 12 pm
Friday or Saturday - 3 pm to 6 pm
Sunday - 9 am to 12 pm

Plus another half an hour of power cut on any other day.

Are you going to party on the 31st?

Category: Personal

Are you going to party on the 31st?

I had decided to have a blast, however, I'm not going to party now.

Nothing has gone right for me since Nov. and I hope the New Year begins on a good note, and for that I'm going to wake up early in the morning on 1st Jan.

Most probably, I will read a book on 31st evening, and wake up at 6 am on 1st Jan.

It's upto the individual to party or not, however, I suppose, after the Tsunami disaster in south India, the celebrations should be low key.

What do you guys think?

Are you going to party?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami Help - Addresses of Relief Funds and Helplines

Tsunami Help

Tsunami Help has a list of addresses of Tsunami Relief Funds.

Please pass on this URL [http://tsunamihelp.blogspot.com/] to people you think would be interested in contributing to the relief measures. You may use the 'envelope' on the bottom right-hand corner of this post, to forward this information.

Donate from America to help people affected by the Tsunami disaster in South Asia. The list of aid agencies is at the end of the news report.

Aid agencies and information from Google.

Spread the word - Tsunami Help [SEA-EAT]
The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Relief collaborative blog.

Permanent link to this post.

Monday, December 27, 2004

On 26th Dec - Tsunamis hit coastal areas of south India after an earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia. Tamil Nadu worst affected.

26th December 2004
Earthquake and Tsunamis in India and South-East Asia.

Tsunamis hit the coast of South India on Sunday morning, after an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, caused large-scale death and destruction in Sumatra, Indonesia and parts of South-East Asia.

What is a Tsunami?
Tsunami is a Japanese term, which is used in English to describe a giant wave produced by an earthquake or an underwater volcanic eruption. These waves rise to great heights and cause catastrophic damage near coasts.

The coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh have been badly affected.

Chennai's popular Marina Beach was smashed by Tsunamis on 26th Dec., Sunday morning, around 09:30 IST.
Images of the damage caused at Marina Beach in Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu, India.

I didn't feel the tremors here in Western India, but the loss is huge in coastal Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Coastal parts of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have also been affected.

The epicentre of the earthquake was off the northwest of Sumatra, Indonesia and the tremors were felt in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives, and India, with coastal parts of South India rocked by huge killer waves on Sunday morning.

Read the latest news on the Earthquake in South-East Asia, and the Tsunamis that hit the coastline of south India.

Read Wikipedia on the Indian Ocean earthquake.

A report in The NYT's Science section says, 'Tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean could have prevented damage'.
Read NYT's report on the earthquake in South-East Asia. (Registration required).

An article in The Times of India says-

"Though the tsunami that hit Sumatra island took three hours to crash into the Indian coast, no measures to save life and property could be taken. The lack of knowledge on tsunami is to be blamed, says the government."

Links to earthquake news from The Hindu, NDTV, Rediff, and The Telegraph.

This is a personal blog and I'm not a journalist. However, if this helps people, then why not. If you want to know about the latest news in Chennai you may email bloggers from Chennai. Links to blogs from Chennai - Sumankumar, Kiruba, and Karthik.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

TechnologyReview: What's next for Google

Category: Professional

I've to read, What's next for Google from the TechnologyReview.
[via Google Blogoscoped]

Category: Professional

28th Dec. To read.

China launches next-generation IPv6 Internet CERNET2

To read. Feeling the need for RSS feeds.

IBM on search

James Fallows reports in The NYT on IBM's outlook on the future of search. (Registration is required).

Thinking of a new title for my blog

Category: Personal

I'm thinking of a new title for my blog.

How about

- Footsteps on clouds
- Going fast to nowhere
- Search Haiku and Cricket
- Wordsmith's Writing
- Notes on an Afternoon
- Google, poetry, and cricket
- Search engines and life n' times
- Road to discovery
- Ideas in the air
- Thoughts floating in the sky
- Writing in the rain
- Writing is life
- Word weaver
- Blogging and work
- Search engines, Google, Poetry, Haiku, and Pune
- Personal, Professional, and Misc. jottings
- On the road to who knows where
- Keep walking
- When the going gets tough, the tough gets going
- A simple guy with big dreams
- Love me or hate me, you won't be able to ignore me

I like the Footsteps on clouds title and also the last three.

What do you guys think? Let me know.

Personal: Ups and downs of 2004

Category: Personal

Year 2004

- My best day of the year - 12th June
- Most unexpected day of the year - 2nd November
- Quote of the year: I am good, but I'm too good, for my own good.

I'm an optimist and I believe that each tomorrow will bring something better than today. My time will come, and when it comes, no one will be able to stop me.

Yahoo likes RSS feeds

Category: Professional

A Syndicated blog gets indexed faster on Yahoo.

Most of the visits to my blog have been through Yahoo in the last couple of days, and that's because Yahoo indexed the Tsunami disaster related posts that I'd written on my blog on 27th Dec., Monday.

This blog doesn't show up on Google search results for posts written in the recent past, while Yahoo indexes the latest posts, as I've syndicated my blog, and it has a RSS feed, which helps in faster indexing of the latest posts.

Technorati, the blog search engine, indexes the posts almost instantly, within 20 minutes. However, it is a special search engine, a blog search engine, and only those who are aware of it search for information through Technorati.
I recommend Technorati for regular use.
Search the world wide web live from Technorati.

To get your latest articles, posts, web pages on Yahoo; start a blog, syndicate it, add to My Yahoo, and then write keyword rich content that brings your blog on the search results of Yahoo. From the posts on your web blog, give a link to your web site; or better still, make the content on your web site/web page an extension of the post on your blog.

Almost 70% of the visitors to my blog in the last few days have come through Yahoo search and that's the magic of RSS. Well done Yahoo.

Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven

Category: Misc

Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven has been voted as the the best rock song of all time by listeners to digital radio station Planet Rock.

Read the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven

Link to download Stairway To Heaven MP3 (select the 9th search result 7.5 MB) from filesearching.com, which is a FTP Search Engine.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Search Haiku

Category: Misc Haiku

Wrote these search Haikus after reading a question on GLAT. Write a search Haiku to describe the seasonality of searches. I think the first one answers that.

Haiku 5-7-5 verse form. What is a Haiku?

Whether autumn, spring, or winter
Babe searches are always at their zenith
Beauties to view without touching

Another one

A keyword opens the door
The rainbow's amazing to view out there
If you know the way

This is cool, isn't it? :-)


Time: 2004 Pictures, Blogs, and Web sites

Category: Misc

Year-End Special.

Time magazine's Year 2004 in Pictures.

Time magazine's 50 Coolest Web sites.
They used the word cool - must read or useful would have been better words.

An article in Time - Ten Things We Learned About Blogs in 2004.

Best of the year

Category: Misc

My Best of 2004 for search engines, Bollywood, and cricket.

- Search Engine Google
- Blog Search Engine Technorati
- New Search Engine A9
- Meta Search Engine Dogpile
- Innovation in search Google Desktop Search
- Browser Firefox
- Messenger Yahoo!

- Internet Banking ICICI

- Hindi Movie Lakshya
- Bollywood Actress Preity Zinta
- Sweetest Actress Diya Mirza
- Hindi Film Song Kaho Na Kaho from Murder
   -- Listen to the song

- Team of the year Australia
- Test Century Virender Sehwag's 309 v. Pakistan
- India's Player of the Year Irfan Pathan
- One Day Match of the Year—ICC Finals West Indies v. England

Lycos Top 100 Searches of 2004

Category: Misc

Lycos Top 100 search terms of 2004

Thoughts for today

Category: Misc

The world is filled with the sounds of Christmas. If you listen with your outer ears, you will hear carols, bells, and laughter. If you listen with your inner ear you will hear the sound of angels' wings, the hush of inner expectation, and the sacred sound of the deepest silence, the vibrant whisper of the eternal Word.

The world is filled with the sights of Christmas. If you see with your outer eyes, you will see fancy trees, tinseled stars, flaming candles, and a creche. If you look with your inner eye, you will seethe star of Bethlehem in your own heart.
~ Anna May Nielsen

Wish you a Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2004

Link to an article on Google's Library Digitization Initiative

Category: Professional

An article in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Google's Library Digitization initiative.

The logistics involved are staggering.

Stanford has 8 million volumes, Michigan 7 million. Oxford, Harvard and the New York Public Library initially will participate only with a limited part of their collections.

Current Reads

Category: Misc. Reading

I am reading these books.

- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
- Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

The Monk... is a dull read. I was attracted by the title and was looking for some insight in Zen Philosophy and modern life, however, this book is a rehash of so many feel good books, more so from Indians like Deepak Chopra and Shiv Khera.

A rich and successful lawyer sells everything, including his red Ferrari, and goes to India in search of the meaning of life, finds it from some sages in the Himalayas, returns home, and preaches it to his friend. That's the story.

You don't have to visit India to find the meaning of life. It is as good/bad as the US, if not any better or worse.

The Monk... is dull & boring with pedantic writing and hackneyed examples. It is a mixture of Dale Carnegie, Deepak Chopra, Shiv Khera, Chicken Soup series, and Who Moved My Cheese rolled in one.

How did this book become a bestseller?

If there were Sanskrit Mantras to be used, then proper references should have been provided, instead of a platitude like this is ageless wisdom.

A popular verse from The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

You are what your deep, driving desire is
As your desire is, so is your will
As your will is, so is your deed
As your deed is, so is your destiny.

Google Zeitgeist: Top Searches of 2004

Category: Professional

Google Zeitgeist. Top Searches of 2004 on Google.com

Google International Zeitgeist. Country-wise Top Searches of 2004

Google's 2004 Zeitgeist Archive.
Monthly and weekly top gaining and declining search queries.

2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist Interactive Edition.
A monthly round-up of the most popular queries, images, and news. (Macromedia Flash 6 required).

Top 10 searches of 2004 on Google.com
- 5 Babes, an Actor, Chat, Games, Harry Potter, and MP3.

A Suggestion for Google - Please include Google India in your monthly International Zeitgeist results for 2005.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Yahoo! Top Searches of 2004

Category: Professional

Yahoo's Top Searches of 2004 - A surprisingly good look & feel to the page with neatly arranged categories.

Vardan's CAT score

Category: Misc

The CAT result was declared yesterday.

CAT is the objective type Common Admission Test, which is the first step towards taking an admission in the Indian Institutes of Management IIMs.

It is the toughest entrance exam (elimination, rejection exam would be the right words here) in the world, even tougher than Harvard, with an entry level success of 0.75% from the 1.5 lakh odd students who take the test each year.

Negative marking and time factor plays a very important role in increasing the difficulty level of the exam, which can be judged from Vardan's CAT score.
Vardan is my blog friend. I haven't met him irl (in real life).
He secured 44.59% and ranked among the top 1 percentile of test takers.
He scored 99.23 percentile in CAT 2004.
An analysis of the CAT 2004 paper.

Even after scoring 99.23 percentile he got a call for a GD/PI from only one of the six IIMs, that is IIM-Bangalore.

What criteria do the IIMs use to short-list candidates?
I think Vardan scored less in Data Interpretation, and maybe the other IIMs were looking at a certain benchmark in all three sections, which he didn't cross in DI. What do you think of this, Vardan? I suppose, this may be a reason for not getting calls from A,C, L, I, and K.

Vardan, wish you all the best for your IIM-Bangalore GD and PI preparation.

You have one chance, make the best of it.

An IIT-IIM combination sets you in the big league even before you're out of college. Once you are in IIM-Bangalore, whatever happens after two years, please don't sell soaps for a MNC.
IIT-IIM guys should be changing the world, not selling soaps.

Good luck and God speed, Vardan. Best of luck.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary: Blog is the #1 Word of the Year 2004

Category: Misc

Blog is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2004.

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

Read Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2004 and Top Ten Favorite Words of 2004.

I liked the word defenestration.
An example, Defenestration of garbage is bad for urban development.

Talking about words, have you read Peter Bowler's Abecederian Insult?

Abecedarian insult: "Sir, you are an apogenous, bovaristic, coprolalial, dasypygal, excerebrose, facinorous, gnathonic, hircine, ithyphallic, jumentous, kyphotic, labrose, mephitic, napiform, oligophrenial, papuliferous, quisquilian, rebarbative, saponaceous, thersitical, unguinous, ventripotent, wlatsome, xylocephalous, yirning, zoophyte!"
~ Peter Bowler

Quote this and the next time you swear at someone they will rush to read a dictionary.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

An online test and page cannot be displayed error

Category: Personal

I took an online technical writing test for two hours from 04:40 to 06:40 p.m. and on submitting the form I got a 'The page cannot be displayed' error (the web site wasn't compatible with Firefox, hence I had to use IE). Now is my test submitted or not? I tried submitting the form four times and each time I got a 'The page cannot be displayed error'. So what do I make of it? Is my test submitted or will I have to take it again? And they have a one time log in policy.

Why do they keep these kind of online tests where the web page isn't accessible or even if it does open, after taking the test, one gets an error?

Please check and let me know if the abovementioned link is accessible.

I have six Gmail invites

Category: Misc

Wow, the Gmail invites are back in my mailbox. I have six Gmail invites. If you want a Gmail address as a Christmas gift, please let me know. I will be glad to give four of them. Please convey your request, with your full name and email address, through the Comment link on the bottom right-hand corner of this post.

Job: Bright chances

Category: Personal

I have good chances at two places in Pune. I haven't discussed the salary with them. I've also got a call from a Bangalore based MNC. However, if I get a good opportunity in Pune, even in a small company, I will prefer that, instead of being a 'number' in a big, high-paying MNC. However, money makes the world go round, and I'll decide once I reach that bridge.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Syndicate this blog

Category: Professional

Syndicate this blog. Subscribe to my site feed.
Add to My Yahoo and NewsGator.

Site Feed | Subscribe to my feed. Syndicate this blog. View as XML | Syndicate this blog. Add to My Yahoo

Syndicate this blog. Add this feed to NewsGator Online | Syndicate this blog. Subscribe to my feed

Permanent link to this post.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Cricket: Australia crush Pakistan by 491 runs in the 1st test at Perth

Category: Misc. Cricket

Glenn McGrath took 8 for 24 as Pakistan crashed to 72 all out and suffered a humiliating 491 runs defeat versus Australia in the 1st test match played at the WACA in Perth.

Full scorecard

Australia scored 387 in their first innings with Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist taking Australia from a precarious 78 for 5 to score more than 300 runs. Justin Langer scored 191 in the 1st innings and followed that with 97 runs in the 2nd innings.

Pakistan were all out for only a 179 runs in their first innings. Australia put up 361 runs in quicktime for the loss of five wickets before declaring their second innings. Damien Martyn scoring an unbeaten century and captain Ricky Ponting missing one by two runs, out stumped for 98. Justin Langer carried on from his 1st innings performance, and scored 97 runs in the 2nd innings.

Pakistan's 2nd innings didn't last long. They were all out for a measly 72 runs, with Glenn McGrath taking his career best figures of 8 wickets for 24 runs. Most of the scalps taken behind the wicket, either caught by wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist, or caught in the slips.

Australia is unbeatable in world cricket. It is their relentless winning streak and the consistency of overwhelming their opponents that sets them apart from the rest. There is no competition for the no. 1 spot in test cricket.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Marketing opportunity for Indian Railways with Google India's search results

Category: Misc

Thoughts on a marketing opportunity for Indian Railways with Google India.

Indian Railways is the world's biggest employer, employing more than a million people. Railways is the lifeline of India. Indian Railways has an efficient online reservation web site and a web site for enquiries and passenger status check.

There was an interesting post on Google Blogoscoped, which mentioned about
Google Germany (google.de) providing a link to a railway reservation web site, for a cities search query.

For example, search for Frankfurt Hamburg on google.de and alongwith the search results, there's a railway link (with an image of a train) that takes the user to the railway reservation page of bahn.de
Another example, Bonn Stuttgart Train Fare.

I think this kind of an arrangement will be a good opportunity for Indian Railways to make its online presence felt and to encourage more users to purchase tickets from their web site. This will also help in building brand credibility, and will project a net savvy, progressive, and innovation oriented image to the users. They're doing something different, it's new and it's cool, something of that sort. Imagine searching for Pune Bangalore on Google India and getting a result, which says, 'Buy train tickets from Pune - Bangalore'.

Indian Railways should explore this kind of an association with Google or Yahoo and the revenue model for the search engines could be either pay per click or pay per transaction carried out; or they may give their data to Google and Yahoo, who'd crawl it for free, and provide the results with a cost per thousand impressions (cpm) rate. This won't be an adwords ad, but it may follow a part of contextual ad wherein a railway link is displayed when there is a search query for cities.

Indian Railways

I've used the online booking web site of Indian Railways a lot of times, and I've found it to be very good.
For online booking use www.irctc.co.in - registration required.
To check the availability of tickets and reservation status use www.indianrail.gov.in - free.

I think an arrangement by Indian Railways to take users from Google or Yahoo to www.indianrail.gov.in to check the availability of tickets and from there to encourage them to purchase tickets online at www.irctc.co.in is worth exploring.

A related link: China overtakes India in railways

Some thoughts and I put them online. Blogging provides me with an opportunity to share my thoughts. I don't know whether people read, notice, and take action, or whatever; but it makes me happy that I'd something to share and I've shared it with the world.

An idea should never be kept in isolation, it should be allowed to float freely, and take various forms, until one of them converts from an intangible thought to a tangible reality, which in some way improves our life. :-)


There are 7 zeros in a crore

Category: Misc


A search query for How many zeros are there in one crore on Altavista brought someone to my blog.

So this post is for you.
Bro, if you're loking for the answer.

There are seven zeroes in a crore.
1 followed by 7 zeroes makes a crore. 10000000
(Dictionary.com says the plural of zero is zeros or zeroes, so both are fine).

1 million = 10 lakh
10 million = 100 lakh = 1 crore
10 million = 1 crore

An example,
Google searches 805 crore 80 lakh 44 thousand and 651 web pages.

Hope this helps!


A thought for the moment.
If you have a search query to check, even that has something to teach. :-)

I will term this as a cool post.

My Blogger Profile is not updated

Category: Misc

My blogger profile statistics haven't been updated since Nov. 2004. Why is it so? It still shows 554 posts and 700 odd links. The posts would have crossed 650+ and the links tally would be more than 800 by now.

AOL's top searches for 2004

Category: Misc

AOL's top searches for 2004.


Category: Misc

This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
~ Fight Club

Friday, December 17, 2004

Blogosphere: An essay on the virtues of idleness

Category: Misc. Net Surfing

An essay that is everywhere on blogosphere.

An essay on the virtues of idleness by Mark Slouka in the November 2004 issue of Harper's magazine.

If you:

- have 35 minutes to spare for *reading* on a weekday (from your busy work) [an irony]
- are interested in reading, understanding, thinking, and contemplating
- like to frame Historical anecdotes and their present day analogy
- understand History, Geo-Politics, and Art
- then this essay on the virtues of idleness is a *Must Read* for you.

The philosophy of the essay is
Leisure is good and idleness is bad is a sign of the world's Zeitgeist.
Leisure is good as money gets leisure; and idleness is bad, as it is a sign of weakness shows the shallowness of our thinking.

The essay challenges your thought process, and if I may add, even though I agree to the thought of idleness as a virtue; I did read this essay only because I had the time to spare (an irony), and I enjoy speed and work (although the thoughts of us being numb at it are very often true), as much as I enjoy standing and watching the stars from the terrace on a dark winter night.

Read the essay and you will have your own views.
A suggestion: Don't leave it mid-way through.
Read, understand, assimilate, think, and contemplate; or else give it a miss.

Insightful quotes.

- We succeeded in transforming even ourselves into bipedal products, paying richly for seminars that teach us how to market the self so it may be sold to the highest bidder.
- I recognize that work of one sort or another is as essential to survival as protein, and that much of it, in today's highly bureaucratized, economically diversified societies, will of necessity be neither pleasant nor challenging nor particularly meaningful.
(Very true, for example, I was making Americans gamble, play Poker for four months of my life last winter).
- If we have no time to think, to mull, if we have no time to piece together the sudden associations and unexpected, mid-shower insights that are the stuff of independent opinion, then we are less citizens than cursors, easily manipulated, vulnerable to the currents of power.
- Idleness, on the other hand, has a bad attitude. It doesn't shave; it's not a member of the team; it doesn't play well with others. It thinks too much, as my high school coach used to say. So it has to be ostracized.
(Or put to good use. The wilderness of association we enter when we read, for example, is one of the world's great domains of imaginative diversity: a seedbed of individualism).
- Whitman might have exhorted us to loaf and invite our souls, but that was not an invitation we cared to extend, not unless the soul played poker, ha, ha. (In this context, read Walt Whitman's The Song of the Open Road. It is a beautiful poem.)

Related Links: Arrow and wound: The art of almost dying by Mark Slouka. Worth reading.
Essays written by Mark Slouka (To read)

I spent a calm and lazy Friday afternoon writing, and posting this (01:28 p.m. to 02:58 p.m.), and I'm hurrying now, as there's a power-cut scheduled for 3 p.m.

Firefox ad in The NYT

Category: Misc

A two-page Firefox ad in The NYT on Thursday, December 16, 2004.

Download Firefox.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Video Search Engines

Category: Professional

Yahoo's Video Search (Beta) launched yesterday is similar to AllTheWeb and Altavista, which are Overture businesses, and Overture is a Yahoo! company.

Yahoo's video search should have followed Alltheweb's presentation format.
Alltheweb's video search results are arranged vertically with an image, page title, description, link, time, size, and file format information.

Yahoo's video search results are displayed horizontally. I feel giving a 'vertical' (alltheweb) look and feel to the results will make the video search look different from the image search.

Dogpile's video search presents information vertically without an image or a description. The results are displayed from SingingFish and Yahoo Video.

SingingFish (now a part of AOL) presents results vertically without an image or description. AOL's results are powered by SingingFish with information on category and video quality being the added inputs.

Yahoo's video search should follow Alltheweb's vertical format.
Alltheweb provides a nice look and feel to the video search results.
Yahoo should experiment with the vertical search result format.

An example:
A video search for Sachin Tendulkar on:
Yahoo | Altavista | Alltheweb | Dogpile | SingingFish | AOL

Usability: Don't make the user think, make it obvious

Category: Professional.

Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug.
I read excerpts from the book through the above link on Amazon.

Insightful points:

- Don't make the user think on your web site.
For example, instead of a search box with three drop-downs for keyword, author, and title; give a search box with books as default. Why do you want the user to think about what a keyword is?

- Users don't read line-by-line on a shopping web site.
For example, if you have a couple of paragraphs and an image of each product, and there are five such products on your web page, don't expect the user to read the first, second, third, fourth, and then fifth paragraphs. Their reading won't be linear, it will be random and will elicit a click on the first link they prefer.

- Users glance in a muddled way and click on a link that catches their fancy
For example, If a user has come to buy tickets, make it obvious that you sell them and give a link, which shows that.

Don't make the user think, make it obvious. A search box should be obvious. A user shouldn't be made to think about what to enter in a search box based on some drop-down (in another box) to be selected.

- Omit needless words - like the one struck off.
Let the users glance through your site and click on the links (as words) they are looking for.

Links: Blog Search Engines

Category: Professional

Net surfing. Some more links.

Blog search engines

Blogdigger, Blogpulse, CompleteRSS, and sites related:www.blogdigger.com

Search by author on blogdigger.
For example, author:(chirayu)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Books I read during the last week

Category: Misc. On books and reading.

I read these two books during the last week.

- By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
- The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho


By the River Piedra...is a part Catholic, part philosophical story about the power and triumph of love amidst miracles with a message about faith in the feminine face of God. I liked the idea of the story and the message of the power of love to surmount any obstacle in life.

A beautiful quote mentioned as an acknowledgement at the start of the book.
For xyzee, for the joy of the battles we have fought together and for the dignity of the battles we have fought between us.
(Beautiful words... dignity of the battles we have fought between us). Lovely and emotional words, I can feel them.

The Devil and Miss Prym essays the perennial conflict between good and evil in our souls, and how we commit a crime a hundred times in our minds and are afraid to do it in real life. The question asked by the author is "Are people good or evil?" and "Do circumstances change the way people look at life?" The story is good, but it has a predictable/tame end, unlike Paulo Coelho's other books like The Alchemist and By the River Piedra... that have magical and emotional endings.

Google's AdSense for Content

Category: Professional

I've added Contextual Links from Google's AdSense for Content online advertising program. The links are on the right-hand side of this web page.

Note: Google AdSense links don't open in a new window. At present, they don't have any option for the links to open in a new window, as they are dynamically generated based on the content of the page.

Thoughts on external links opening in the same browser window.

In a way it compromises on the usability of the web page.
If a user has come to read your web page and he finds a link worth clicking, and clicks on that - it is all right if he doesn't lose his place from your web page, that is if the web page opens in another browser window and he can do multi-tasking, simultaneously surfing your web page and the other web page, however, if the link opens in the same browser window, then the user has moved away from your web page, and even though you earn a click through, the user is not on your page. So it is a give and take kind of relationship. You lose a user to gain a click through.

Another angle: There are chances that the user may click the back button and return to your web page, even if the contextual link opens in the same window. Then what percentage of users who click on an external link that opens in the same browser window return to the original web page?

The reports of AdSense click throughs will make for an interesting analysis. Check on that after a month.

Note: All the external links on my blog always open in a new browser window, except for the recently installed Google AdSense contextual links.

Firefox Browser Tip: Use the Ctrl+T keys on your keyboard to open a link as a new tab in the same browser window.

Q: What is contextual advertising?
A: Advertising that is dynamically generated (comes on the fly) based on the content and words used on the web page.

For example, if there is a post on blogging then links related to online diaries, blogging etc. would show up through Google AdSense. If there is a post on content filtering softwares, then links related to Internet filtering softwares etc. would show up.

Link: Google AdSense FAQs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Letters of the alphabet with Google Suggest

Category: Misc

If you've had enough of A is for Alpha, B is for Bravo, C is for Charlie, and so on, and so forth.

Have some fun with Google Suggest.
Learn ABC the Google Suggest way.

Note: Don't remember the P & T.

Type the letter (A) and wait for the drop-down to populate, the first search result in the drop-down is the result for Google's ABC.

A is for Amazon
B is for Best Buy
C is for CNN
D is for Dictionary
E is for Ebay
F is for Firefox (this is cool)
G is for Games
H is for Hotmail
I is for Ikea
J is for Jokes
K is for Kazaa
L is for Lyrics
M is for Mapquest
N is for News
O is for Online dictionary
P is for Paris Hilton (surprise! yuck!)
Q is for Quotes
R is for Recipes
S is for Spybot
T is for Tara Reid (the *you know what* slip effect)
U is for Ups
V is for Verizon
W is for Weather
X is for Xbox
Y is for Yahoo
Z is for Zip Codes

Read the ABCs and 123s of Google Suggest at Slashdot.
Note: Number 8 is adult content.


Category: Personal

To cut a long story short, I'm still looking for a job. The place where I'd been last week, those guys are offering 60% less than what I was drawing, and that too for a period of three months on a contractual basis.

I guess, they need 'numbers' not a 'resource'.
They want someone who can enter a search query in google, not someone who can explain the PageRank algorithm.

I'm thinking of stopping blogging for a week or two.
There are millions to keep a track of what Google is doing and what Yahoo should do.
I should just be a 'brick in the wall'.

There are times when even an optimist like me thinks in terms of if only, the most pessimistic word in the English language, instead of next time, the most optimistic word in the English language.

Forget it. I'm an optimist, and it pays to be one.
Everyday is a winding road, and I still have the night shift opportunity to explore, and after that, if nothing else, the devil does beckon me to gambling, and I can make money there.

Each tomorrow has something better, and guess what destiny is playing games, and the lights are still red, but when they turn green, which they will very soon, I'm going to race ahead.

No, I shouldn't be using words like destiny. My destiny is in my hands and everything that has happened or is happening is of my doing, so I shouldn't be having any regrets, I don't have any. And, the good thing is, "I'm still free to choose my way."

PS: Download MSN toolbar with Desktop search.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Movies: Review of Musafir

Category: Misc. Review of Musafir

Watched Musafir last night.


Anil Kapoor................Lucky
Sanjay Dutt.................Billa
Sameera Reddy...........Sam
Mahesh Manjrekar......Luka
Aditya Pancholi...........Tiger
Shakti Kapoor.............Wacko Jacko
Koena Mitra................Lara


Director.....................Sanjay Gupta
Screenplay.................Sameer Malhotra & Venita Coelho
Dialogues...................Milap Zaveri

It's a Sanjay Gupta (Quentin Tarantino inspired) film.

Musafir (Traveller) has lots of violence, glitz, glamour, sex and betrayal; with babes, style, funky music, and 'item' songs.


Sameera Reddy looks flaming HOT. She has very Latin looks. She looks more like Michelle Rodriguez, more Latino than Indian.
Sameera looks sensuous, sultry, tanned, fabulously toned, and sexy. She has a hot body. She's a bronze goddess. As long as she keeps quiet it is all right. Her acting is passable, and her fabulous figure - the right curves at the right places, and energetic dancing - the right moves and the right shakes, makes up for her acting skills, or lack of it. Check her in the pink top and the long brown skirt. Maan, she looks Hot and sexy.

Anil Kapoor is the protagonist of the film. He is dressed in black throughout the film. A black vest, black locket, black shirt, black blazer, black trouser, black boots, black goggles, black jeep, black suitcase, and black bag. He has a tough, rugged look. Anil Kapoor plays the role of an individual looking for love and being on the wrong side of the law, with ease.

Sanjay Dutt's costume is almost like Kevin Costner's (as Thomas Murphy) in 3000 Miles to Graceland. Black blazer, gold chains, a big cross, a goatee, psychedelic pink or shiny black shirts, black boots, diamond studded trousers, cigar smoking, inanities mouthing, Harley Davidson riding, big burly, all consuming, powerful drug lord.

Aditya Pancholi plays a bald police officer on the lookout to make money from drug deals.

Koena Mitra doesn't have to do anything except show her assets, which she does, but that didn't impress me. She's nowhere near Sameera Reddy in sex appeal and oomph.

Mahesh Manjrekar plays the suspecting, sex-obsessed husband of Sam. His language is rough (no one in Goa speaks a thok dalunga kind of Bombay Hindi, too much of a Vaastav hangover). The dialogue written for Luka's character is weak.

Shakti Kapoor plays the role of a middleman in drug dealing.


Part of the story is Hollywood inspired - U Turn, just like Kaante was inspired by Reservoir Dogs.

Anil Kapoor (Lucky) is the protagonist of the film who is planning to do one last drug deal, a final walk on the wrong side of the law, before settling down with girlfriend Lara, played by Koena Mitra - who has two songs and a swimming pool cleavage show to her credit.

Lucky makes a bagful of money in his last drug deal. However, instead of settling down, his life takes a twist, as his girlfriend seduces, drugs, and cheats him; and runs away with the money.

Drug lord Sanjay Dutt (Billa) captures Lucky, who doesn't have the money and doesn't even know where it is. To save his life he has to work for Billa. He is sent to Goa to make a drug deal on Billa's behalf.

In Goa, Lucky meets Sam (Sameera Reddy) whose car breaks down, while on her way back home, after a dance at the club. Lucky gives her a lift in his jeep.
(This is the scene where Sameera appears in a pink top and brown skirt. Don't miss it and the lip-locking smooch between Anil Kapoor and Sameera Reddy).

Mahesh Manjrekar (Luka) is Sam's sex-obsessed husband. The only two things on his mind are having sex (with Sam) and thinking of getting the insurance money by killing her. He knows Lucky to be a con man and makes him an offer to kill his wife, which Lucky rejects initially, but takes it later on, following some twists where he loses the money received from the drug deal he'd come to make in Goa. He gets romantically involved with Sam and also involved in planning to kill her, and to add another twist, Sam also offers Lucky to kill her husband (Luka) who is a sex starved fiend who had molested her when she was young and then killed her sister (his first wife) so as to marry her.

There follows a twist in the tale after this.

To find whether Lucky kills Sam or Luka, what happens to the money lost in the drug deal, does Lucky get another chance to make money, and when and how does Billa make an entrance, and what happens to the police officer on their trail, go and watch Musafir.

The storyline is weak; the initial part of the 2nd half drags along and is unimaginative.
For example, the scenes of flashback, where Luka narrates his experiences with Sam to Lucky, and frame by frame, the flashback also shows Sam narrating her experiences with Luka to Lucky; and both want each other killed and choose Lucky to do that job for them. I found it slow and boring.
The dialogues are rough, crude, and sometimes out of place. Goanese people are kind-hearted and even if they commit adultery or are lecherous (as shown in Luka's character), they never use Bombay Hindi for heaven's sake!


Musafir is worth watching once.
A repeat viewing of the movie is only if you want to look at Sameera.
Look at, ogle at, drool over would be the right words here.
(This is from a male perspective).

Not recommended for Family viewing or for a Date.
This film will make for a fun night out with friends before a booze party.

Cool Dialogues

Sanjay Dutt as Billa
Tu udhar paanch minute ruk, mai do minute mai aata hoon
You wait for five minutes; I'll be there in two.
(This is cool).

Anil Kapoor as Lucky
Police chahe asli ho ya nakli, saali aati hamesha late hi hai
Whether the police are real or false, they always arrive late.

Shakti Kapoor as Wacko Jacko
While making a tattoo on Sam's back
Is resham se badan par haath aur niyat fisalne mai der nahin lagti
It doesn't take long for the hand or mind to slip looking at this silken body.

Beautiful Lyrics

Zindagi mai kabhi koi aaye na rabba - this song comes in the middle of 2nd half, when Lucky feels that Sam has ditched him, just like his ex-girlfriend Lara did so.

Zindagi main koi kabhi aaye na Rabba,
Aaye jo koi to phir jaaye na Rabba,
Dene ho agar mujhe baad main aasoo,
To pehle koi hasaaye na Rabba

Let no one come in my life, Lord
If someone comes, then let her not go, Lord
If she has to give me tears afterwards
Then let her not make me laugh at the beginning, Lord


Overall: 3 on 5
Sameera Reddy: 4.5 on 5 :-)


Always give a link only when you want the user to click on that link.
For example, I could have given a link to Sameera Reddy in the first paragraph itself; however, no one would have read the review then. So I gave a link at the end of the review. There's always something to learn, even in a Bollywood movie review. Isn't it?


Desktop Search

Category: Professional

Desktop Search

Yahoo in search of bypassing Google with their desktop search to be launched, most probably in Jan. 2005.

"Yahoo claims that its new product (Desktop Search) has the ability to search through 225 different data types, including many formats that the Google Desktop is unable to search for."

225 data types, omg!, that's huge. Here's wishing Yahoo good luck and success in launching their Desktop Search.

Related Link: A list of common file formats.
I guess, if they have 225 file types, they'd be having all of these, and that's really good news. Way to go, Yahoo! All the best.

An article on Techwhack informs that Microsoft's Desktop Search is to preview tomorrow. Is it?

Yahoo News results for Yahoo's Desktop Search.
(yes, for searching Yahoo related news I tried Yahoo News! :-))

My thoughts: If Yahoo wins the battle for Desktop search with Google, then they have chances of converting loyal Google users to Yahoo.

The reason is simple.

If a search box or a search icon rests on your taskbar, and once you search and are *happy* with that, your first click, even if the browser is open, would be on that desktop icon. And if the desktop search results provide sufficient options to the user, then there are chances that a lot of click-throughs to even advertising sites (paid advertising) would be generated from those desktop search results. (This needs to be tried to gauge its effectiveness). I like doing all these usability tests on my own. :-)

Although I have been (since March 2000), I am, and I will be a *loyal* Google user, but you never know.

An example: I tried a search query, and to my surprise, my blog is nowhere on Google for that (come on Google, I didn't expect this, I guess, Googlebot wouldn't have crawled that post), and it is on nos. 1,2, and 3 on Yahoo. Thanks, Yahoo.

I'm looking forward to trying out Yahoo's Desktop search. They should make it compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP and other operating systems. Google's Desktop Search is not compatible with Windows 98.
I had tried Google's Desktop search at work and I really liked it, especially the ability to easily find email messages, and chat conversations.

I haven't tried Copernic's Desktop Search appliance. I've to download it.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

SEO is one of the 13 hot businesses for 2005

Category: Professional

SEO is one of the 13 hot businesses for year 2005 according to Entrepreneur.com.
Hispanic marketing is another exciting possibility, with P2P support groups and technical security consulting also earning a place among the 13 hot businesses for 2005.

Hispanic Marketing is an exciting possibility. There's a big market right from America to Europe, to South and Central America.

Learning Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese would be a good idea.
I know a bit of Spanish, picked up from Mirc chat rooms and Google translate.

Cricket: Congrats Sachin and Anil Kumble

Category: Misc Cricket

India v. Bangladesh 1st Test in Bangladesh

This is one record breaking test match in progress.

On the 1st Day - 10th Dec.
Anil Kumble breaking Kapil Dev's record of 434 wickets to be India's highest wicket taker in Test cricket. Congratulations, Anil Kumble.

On the 2nd Day - 11th Dec.
Sachin Tendulkar equalling Sunil Gavaskar's record of 34 test centuries. Well played, Sachin.

(A separate post on my favourite test innings of Sachin).

1. A few that immediately come to mind are that 119 not out, his first test century in 1990 versus England at Old Trafford, where he hit Devon Malcolm off the back foot, straight down the ground to a good length ball pitched on the off, to reach his first test century.

2. That magical knock of 114 runs on a fast, bouncy Perth wicket in Feb. 1992 where Mike Whitney shattered our batting with Sachin scoring 114 out of 200 odd runs. Those cover drives of the front foot to deliveries on the middle and off, of the bowling of Craig McDermott and Mike Whitney. That knock was in a class of its own.

3. The hundred he reached at Edgbaston, on the 1996 tour of England, with a straight six of Min Patel.

4. The century versus West Indies at Nagpur in 1994, hitting Walsh for a six over deep square leg to score his century.

5. That fanatastic knock of 136 versus Pakistan at Chennai during the 1999 tour of Pakistan in India. Getting out for a duck in the first innings, playing patiently, negotiating Saqlain, and then going after him. Hitting him for three consecutive boundaries and turning the match in India's favour, Saqlain v. Sachin was an intriguing battle to watch, and then India crumbling with 16 runs to get and 4 odd wickets in hand, and ultimately losing by four runs.

6. The innings that mesmerized Shane Warne during the 1998 tour, once again at Chennai. Scoring 155 in the heat of Chennai, hitting Shane Warne out of the ground. Taking a stance outside the leg stump and hitting the ball against the spin straight over mid wicket. How can one forget that!

PS: Thanks for the feedback, Rahul.

Sachin's batting makes everything else irrelevant.

An interview with Sachin (October 2004)
Cricinfo's Stats Guru - the Cricket statistics search engine.
When Sachin plays... cricket is life, the rest is mere details.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ice cream in the winter

Category: Misc

Pune's Sitaphal ice cream

The joy of eating an ice cream is during the winter. Pune's specialty is sitaphal (custard apple) ice cream. Two places I distinctly remember, among others are - Fantasy juice bar opposite the Wadia college hostel gate on the Tata Management Training Centre road. Turn right from the Wadia college post office traffic signal and there are all these photocopy shops and the Fantasy juice bar. Another place is Pasteur on M.G. Road, which is always crowded on Saturdays, and they have many varieties with Sitaphal being one of them, whereas at Fantasy they have Sitaphal as a specialty. Fantasy is downmarket and Pasteur is upmarket.

I like the Gulkand ice cream too of the Mewad ice cream sellers.

M.G. Road is the place to show visitors. Whenever I have guests at home, I take them to M.G. Road. Two places worth visiting in Pune are M.G. Road and F.C. Road. They give an instant feel of the vibrancy of Pune. Guys, gals, bikes, cafes, neon lights, pubs, shops, eateries, bakeries, restaurants and shopping malls.

Somehow, it's a been there done that (btdt) kind of feeling. Don't feel like going out and eating, or going specially for dinner, or having fun eating pizzas. I am tired of pizzas. Smokin Joes is any time better than Pizza Hut, but Pizza Hut being nearer, I end up calling them. I need company (get married), or maybe, I've changed having been out of town for 2 years, and I've had enough of outside food.

Bangalore's Darshini meals

I remember eating the Rs. 10/- (yes Rs. 10/-) meals (lunch) at the Darshini at J.C. Nagar, Bangalore. Bangalore has these eating joints (Darshinis) where one can stand and eat. The food is good and very reasonable. For example, in the Rs.10/- meals (lunch) they used to provide rice, unlimited sambar, one chapati, and sabzi (vegetable). If you're a rice lover, then Bangalore is the right place for you to experiment with rice. There are 'n' number of rice combinations. Lemon rice, sambar rice, rasam rice, tomato rice, plain rice, pulao, biryani, bisibele rice, fried rice, sweet rice (pongal), schezwan rice jeera rice, curry rice, dal rice, curd rice, and some more.

Thoughts for Today

Category: Misc

If in the twilight of memory
we should meet once more
we shall speak again together
and you shall sing to me
a deeper song

And if our hands
should meet
in another dream
we shall build
another tower in the sky

~ The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

We all take different paths in life,
But no matter where we go,
We take a little of each other everywhere

Friday, December 10, 2004

What's New at Google - Google Suggest

Category: Professional

What's new at Google? Google Suggest (Beta).

As you type your search query, Google suggests the possible search keywords alongwith search results.

For example,
Type poe (wait for a second or two) and a drop-down populates the words - poems, poetry, poem, poets, poetry.com, poetry contests etc. alongwith their search results.

The Google Suggest link is also available from Google Labs, Google's technology playground.

PS: I like the name, Google Suggest, Google is suggesting and not commanding you to take that as the query. It will be a useful utility for related searches, for example, you're searching for a product and as you key in the first few alphabets of that product's name you will get related search keywords and their results. Example, type kod and you get a drop-down with results for kodak cameras and related model searches.

Link: Google Suggest FAQs.

A lovely shayari, a poem, and thoughts on leadership

Category: Misc Shayari, a poem, and thoughts on good leadership.

Jaam jisne utha liya hai fanaa
Uski kismat mein kamyabi hai
Chal mastana...nazar gulabi hai
~ Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Annihilated, one who has picked up a glass of drink
Success is destined for him (written in his destiny)
Walk unconcerned, the sight is intoxicating

(Here sight can mean eyesight, or the environment, or both and that is the magic of Urdu/Hindi poetry)

It's always difficult translating from Urdu/Hindi to English

fanaa (urdu) - annihilation, but here means something else, I suppose.
jaam - a peg of alcohol
jisne utha liya - who has picked
kismat - destiny
kaamyabi - success
mastana - happy-go-lucky, unconcerned, amorous (?)
nazar - eyesight
gulaabi - means pink, but here it can mean amorous, roving, or intoxicating

It is easy translating from English to Hindi.
For example,
Hope is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
~ Tagore
Bharosa woh pankhhi hai jo ujaala hone se pehle roshni ki kirano ko mehsoos kar leta hai

I like to read Shayari. I remember Mohsin whenever I read shayaris.
He had a shayari for almost any occasion.
One of his favourites was,
"Yahan kaun hai jinhe tauba ki mil gayi fursat,
Ek zindagi kam hai gunaah karne ke liye"
Who is there who has the time to lament
Even a lifetime is less for committing a crime

Beautiful, especially if you understand Urdu/Hindi.

When I'm happy I'm in a poetic mood, or when I feel like drinking, I'm in a Shayari mood. It's been a long time I had a drink. Almost a month or more.

(Chirayu: *Keeps two tall glasses on the glass table, pours a large one of Smirnoff in both glasses, puts two ice-cubes in each glass, pours Sprite, lifts the glass and says cheers, to all the beautiful girls in town who are single and lonely, from all the handsome guys who are single and available, now it's your turn to say cheers*) :-)


On somedays I am myself
On others I am more than myself
I am the sun that shines
And the moon that weeps for his beloved
And the stars that keep company to dry the moon's tears
And the birds that encircle the morning sky
And the dewdrop that lives an eternity in a moment
And the snail that lives a moment for an eternity

Sometimes the words just come and you write and there's a poem, like the one above, viola!

I don't know whether I can be a good manager or not, but I *know*, I can be a good leader.

My definition of leadership is, "Leadership is action, not position and a good leader always leads from the front by example. I won't ask you to do this, I'll go ahead do it myself and then challenge you to do it." Like, a leader doesn't ask people to climb a mountain, he takes off his oxygen cylinder, climbs the mountain, and reaching the summit half-dead, declares, "I did it without oxygen so what is preventing you from doing so with oxygen."

That's my kind of motivational leadership, and when I get a chance, which I will, I'm going to do management my way. I'm going to be a good leader, and a good leader is one for whom people speak in front and not behind the back. I'm going to be like that.

Writing is never enough. I'll go on. On some days the words flow and the fingers tap on the keyboard, and the rickety-rack and clickety-clack (that's a lovely alliteration) goes on and on, today is one such.

Thanks very much for reading.

Once again,

You guys have a great weekend.

Links: Blog Search Engines

Category: Professional

Blog search engines.

I use feedster, technorati, and daypop.

Amazing, technorati has crawled my latest post written half an hour ago and it appears in the search results. Cool.

For my ready reference.

A big list of blog search engines.

Writing: Learning from others

Category: Misc

There's always so much to learn from people's writing.

Each individual's writing provides an opportunity to learn and improve oneself.

Hima is a fantastic writer. All her posts are laced with sarcastic humour.
Kpower (KK) comes across as intelligent and informative.
Vardan's style is friendly and innovative.
Teju writes with humour and sarcasm.
Pratima's writing is simple and makes for good reading.
Jahnvi writes straight from the heart, genuine thoughts.
Shilpa's poems are lovely. She has a feel for words.
Avlokana's Vin seems to be busy nowadays. Not many posts from him. His posts on Google are very informative.
Charley has the ability to string words to make a melody, his description of a winter sunrise, in one of the posts on his blog, was beautiful.

On the professional front, John Battelle's blog is worth reading and re-reading for the wealth of search engine related information. Search engine journal is very good. There's always somthing new to learn on google blogoscoped.

(Note: You may find links to their blogs on the right-hand side of this page).

Jim used to use the word 'encourage' in many of his emails. He never used the word difficult.
For example, instead of saying, "This is very diffcult and bound to fail, we shouldn't waste time in trying this" he would say, "I encourage you to explore this opportunity and challenge you to progress along this path and find brightness at the end of the tunnel" or something similar.
I still have his farewell email in my mailbox, it's a piece of motivational writing. Thanks, Jim.

Personal: On the job front

Category: Personal

This is further to my post of last evening. I went for a meeting in the afternoon. It was a good discussion. They would be letting me know in a couple of days, say by Monday evening.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Links to Speeches and thoughts on India, China, and outsourcing

Category: Misc

Speeches, thoughts on India, China, infrastructure development, and outsourcing.

I read some interesting speeches this evening.

Jeff Immelt's speech to the class of 2004 at Dartmouth
This is the way to search,
Jeff Immelt Dartmouth speech site:www.ge.com filetype:pdf (pdf)

Jeff Immelt's speech as a Hatfield lecturer - Cornell April. 2004. (pdf)
Thanks for the link, KK.

An interesting point from this speech, "If you're in your twenties, and you're going to work for the next 40 years of your life, it is imperative for you to learn about China, because during your life as professional, China will be one of the, if not the leading economies of the world."
This is where the newly launched search engine Accoona may come into play, as they have a Chinese backing, and to do business in China, one needs information about China.

Other interesting points.

- China is going to invest $300 billion on infrastructure development in the next decade.
- At present, there are 25 new airports under construction in China.

Another point, read is somewhere
- China has an ambitious program to teach English to school students.
(From an Indian business perspective, this is worrying and our politicians cannot think of a long-term education policy).

The moment Chinese learn to say, "Good evening, Thank you for calling XYZee, this is John Davis from the customer service department, how may I help you today?", and "Is there any thing else I may help you with regarding your question. Thank you for calling XYZee. Have a nice evening.", in perfect English, most of India's ITES, BPO, call center and related jobs would move to China. And, the way China achieves its objectives, their plans of total English literacy for school students by the year 2010, if I'm not mistaken, would be a reality.

It is a question of maximizing the benefit for a company, and increasing shareholder value, and if American companies think that China would be a more valuable destination to outsource their call centers and back-end work, they won't hesitate to do that.

India is nowhere in infrastructure development as compared to China.
(Note to myself: I'm going to read about Shanghai this weekend).
To research and read on this.

Our infrastructure needs rapid and massive development. And, if we don't do that, inspite of all the rosy pictures shown by international consultants, graduates in 2015 may just end up selling MNC credit cards, with no calls to take, no American queries on credit cards to answer, and no test plans to make for web site tracking softwares.

We've to understand, or let me write this from a personal standpoint, I've to understand that all the pizzas that I'm eating, the beer that I'm drinking, the malls I'm shopping in, the coffee shops I'm visiting, the shopping I'm splurging on, and above all the money that I'm making is because America outsources its work to India, whether in software application development, or online research, or call centers, or back-end data processing, or network management. And, once they find a better, cheaper, less bureaucratic, and easy to tap alternative, they won't hesitate to go there. Like, GE did with their call center operations in India, wherein they've divested a part of their stake.

Not one city in India can be compared to Shanghai. It will take years for India to reach somewhere near Shanghai.

Our politicians talk of making Bombay the Shanghai of India, and each day millions of people commute to work in overcrowded local trains that are packed to 400% of its original capacity. (To really understand this sentence, try commuting from Churchgate to Borivali at 6:30 pm on a weekday, to understand why Bombay is unique. One day in Bombay teaches you about life more than an entire lifetime spent in your city, village, or small town, and that's true even for people from metros like Delhi and Kolkata).

Pune, or Bombay (even with so many flyovers), or for that matter, all our cities need massive infrastructure development, or else with us being so complacent, in a matter of a decade and a half, China will overtake India even in the services industry.

China is the manufacturing playground of the world, and what better example than, India's biggest festival, Diwali, providing an opportunity for China to market itself, right from the earthen lamps, to the lanterns, to electric lighting, to toy guns, to small boxes, to pocket radios, and 'n' number of other things, all with the 'Made in China' tag.

China plays on volume. Make ten million pieces and sell each at 90% less than what India sells at, and I'm not an expert to understand how they are able to sustain this play on volume.

An example would be the electronic components industry, which is sort of dormant in India. No one needs to buy from India, most of the manufacturers in India itself buy from China or Taiwan. A capacitor would sell for Rs.5/- per piece, and a Chinese made one, even with the taxation and duties would sell at Rs. 2/- per piece. This is the kind of cost benefit advantage China has over India, and that is because there is no Unionism and a there is a communist government that gets work done.

Some more speeches that I read.

Subroto Bagchi's speech to the class of 2004-06 at IIM, Bangalore.
Inspiring, giving the message of optimism, fairplay, respect for elders, and values.
This will take 15 minutes of your time, but it is worth reading.

A debatable point...
Here, I feel our value system binds us together and at the same time prevents our thinking too.
We cannot think out of the box because we've been told that elders are always right and in that context we take that to work too, and the managers and clients are always right, the boss is always right, which doesn't encourage constructive dissent.

Alex Stepanov's speech to Adobe India programmers in Nov. 2004.
(Got this as an email forward).

Points worth noting.

- Never miss an opportunity to learn
- Follow your values
- What's in the mind is what matters the most, and not what's in the pocket.

So these were some thoughts on India and China.
This would be one interesting presentation.
Where is India vis-a-vis China?
I'll find some time and do research on this, and maybe put a powerpoint presentation online.

Bye for now.