26 September 2007

We now know for whom the muslims round the world prayed

When I heard Pakistani Skipper Shohaib Mallik tell in the presentation ceremony that he was thankful to all the muslims around the world who had supported him I really felt surprised. But then the humor in me came alive and some interesting thoughts hit me.

So I tell you about possibility number 1. It so happened that muslims around the world did not pray for Pakistan. It actually happened that most of the muslims in India were supporting the home team. So keeping in mind the majority, Allaha decided that India should win. So Mr Shohab Mallik's only hope went for a toss.

Another possibility is that the muslim's Shohaib Mallik was counting on certain muslims who were actually busy praying for success in suicide attacks on innocent civilians so that in turn they would get 70 odd virgins in heaven. In the end Shohaib Mallik had no one praying for him.

Another reason could be that since the muslims prayed that may the may the muslims take the cup. And God looking at Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan (probably he considers them to be the more muslim) decided that they should be happy. He helped Irfan Pathan get all the crucial wickets and runs so that he could be awarded the Man of the Match. No wonder India won.

Interestingly either of the two things can be true. Most muslims do not pray for Pakistan and instead consider India to be their real representative or Allah does not like Pakistanis. Whichever be the real scenario one thing is true Pakistani skipper is living in a dreamland and so are the big heads of Pakistan.

21 September 2007

An Anthropology of Indian Chutneys

Well the Indian household as I understand makes use of four different varieties of chutneys mainly. Though there are several other variations available but as far as I know the usual ones are

  • Green Chutney or Dhaniya ki Chutney
  • Imli ki Chutney
  • Nariyal Chutney
  • Tomato Sauce(Yes the way we use it, yes you can call it chutney)

So what so special about green chutney. Well it is the spicy variety. People often(may be once in a blue moon{Big Grin}t) confuse it with chilly sauce but it is distinct from it. Unlike the sauces it cannot be preserved for long duration, or rather it is not. Another difference which might be irrelevant is that this chutney is made of dhaniya. Whats that in English. Sorry I dont know. Google and find out if you wish too. The most awesome thing of this chutney is that it adds a flavour to the snacks that you are having without actually destroying the original flavour of the snacks.

Imli ki Chutney is of the sweet variety. It adds a distinct flavour to your snacks. If its a Samosa then you ought to have it with this chutney. Its just yummy. Though the original recipe for it has been patented by the Gujjus of India but like all other pirated items it is treated as one of their own across India. They are even remixed to the local flavours.

Nariyal Chutney is a patented chutney of South India. Though North Indian believe that this chutney is meant only for the Idli and Dosas but the fact is that aboriginal South Indian have it with almost everything. Although actually its tasteless but the salt and green chilly in it make it real hot and tasty. I bet that you cannot have Idli without this chutney. Even if I lose the bet, one thing is for sure, that you will lose the taste of Idli. This chutney confirms the reason why there are so many Exclusive Piles Clinic in South India{Batting Eyelashes}.

Tomato Sauce. Well this is one of those items which are used in almost everything. There is a very good reason for that. Thats because it actually overpowers the flavour of the snack that you are having. So if you really hate some snack, your best bet is to have it with tomato sauce. You would feel as if you are only having this tomato sauce, keeping in mind that no one actually hates it.  This tomato sauce is also known at several places as Tomato Ketchup.

Other than the four mentioned above there are others like Lahsun(Garlic) ki chutney, Dhana-Mirch ki chutney and Pudine ki chutney. There well may be many other chutneys as well but they are just a variation of the ones mentioned above. So its safe to say that I have mentioned all. If you really think that I missed something please let me know in the comments below{Raised Eyebrow}. Yummmy

17 September 2007

DCamp Bangalore.....Yes I was there

With so many things happening for the engineers Bar Camp, OCC and now D Camp. Sure we are going to see the next MS or Google from India very soon. D Camp or design camp was held a Yahoo office in EGL.

First presentation was by Muthu from Sun Microsystems. He started with demo on how to use CSS and Javascript. Next how to use it to get 'Your Kind' of a look for your webpage. Then we had the demo for YUI Javascript Library. And the usual corporate bashing was kicked off but Muthu cleverly moved the controversy out by saying that YUI is his favourite thats all and the ultimate call to use is on the developer themselves.

Joe Arnold from Yahoo! was next to make a presentation with an unusual title "Learning to Fly". Rather actually it was a great one. Interesting way to explain how to design, using the Wright brothers experience on how to build invent a plane. Some interesting thought on what it takes to build or rather invent a good product.

  • You need an itch to invent
  • No PhDs actually required
  • Test first and test again
  • Dont rely on others data
  • Gather your own data
  • Dont go all at once launches
  • Look for inspiration at unlikely places
  • Do not over design or over engineer
  • Solution often do not exist, invent them
  • Look for patterns
  • Spend time with engineers

Does that seem like Agile to you. Yes it is but the way he presented the whole idea, it was just excellent.

Third Session was by Ruta from Yahoo! No points for guessing what did he talk about. Yahoo Innovations. Some interesting ones are here

  • Yahoo IM karaoke
  • Flickerator: Your Yahoo avatar put in your favorite snap at flickr
  • Random Avatar generation.(Avatar Transmogrifier)
  • Yahoo Avatar Makeover Plugin.Make your own avatar and for your friends too.

Sidenote: Yahoo Avatar was done in India entirely.

Next speaker was Amit Pande from Oracle. Topic for him, "Enterprise 2.0". Interestingly he made is clear that he is not going to talk about anything related to technologies like AJAX or Oracle frameworks. He talked about how organizations should adapt to Web2.0 technologies. Make use of Wiki, social network and others. Some companies have already started working to work towards that is and execs are looking towards adapting that soon. His underlying theme was that Interesting note on design practices

  • Be aware of Fad/Utility Ratio
  • Best of consumer releam with policy, security and scale.
  • Literal translations most of the time do not work well.

Nicest talk as of now at D Camp.

Three touchstones of Interface Design by Harish from One Big Web

Basically you can go through his presentation but the main points that came up were that you should have an interface which is generic, efficient and intuitive. You have to make a good balance of each to get the best product out.

Siddhi from Sliver Stripe Software presented on Programmer Spaces. Peopleware and The Psychology of Computer Programmers were two books that he mentioned . The presentation was basically about how the workplace be organized so that best can come out of the programmers.

Interesting points about time we work

  • 30% alone
  • 50% with 1 other person
  • 20% with more than 1 person.

Schematic Mapping by Arun was the next topic. Interesting thoughts on how to reduce information on maps(may be extended to others) to give actually be more useful. This guys actually made a schematic for Chennai.

Next presentation was by Navneet from Google on User Motivation. Pretty interesting points for ideal process

  1. Functionality - Physicality
  2. Trust - Safety
  3. Social - Belonging
  4. Experience - Esteem
  5. Pride - Actualization

Bhasker Kode on Overview/Evolution of end-user programming was next to present his ideas. He also is the one doing some interesting stuff at http://returnable.org/.

Two guys from Microsoft(Supreet Singh & Pandurang Nayak) showed up the Silverlight with all the usual jhinga-a-laala. I actually yawned once during this presentation. If you want to attend the Silverlight Design meet, send mail to supr...@microsoft.com.

Basically it was a great time. A lot to learn from there. I met some of the usual people in the circuit and some new ones also. I felt great to hear that some of the good things happening in India. I hope similar things keep happening and thanks to Yahoo! for supporting this initiative.

And if anyone knows of any of the presentations link, please let me know.




14 September 2007

Ram Ram....Yeah kya hai

WTF...thats what I said when I heard this http://www.ibnlive.com/news/govt-says-no-proof-ram-existed-vhp-seethes/48547-3.html. Amazing thing. Ram never existed. But dude how can we prove that we prove that Ram never existed. How can you prove that somebody some hundred thousand years ago existed. I cannot see your brains does that mean anything. I really cant say that. Its just an open question, a question of faith. And a country like India which is not secular. Yes its not secular because here's what Google returns from define:secular. I would say India is more of multi-religious. You need to respect the peoples sentiments and if there is mythology associated with any of the places you need to respect them. Now that Govenment is reviewing and calling back its affidavit I feel we need to rething what should be done in this non-secular multi religious India.

But the blogospheres reaction was interesting. Some of them are here

Did Lord Rama Exist?

yet another goof up in the name of religion

A “Babri Masjid” by Congress

Space photos no proof of Ram Setu: NASA

Rama Rama

12 September 2007

Hindu India??? Muslim Billionaire -- Bullshit

The Wall street Journal reports with this as its headline

How a Muslim Billionaire Thrives in Hindu India

Mr. Premji Has Wealth And Clout as Wipro Chief; The Imam Disapproves.

What bullshit is this. Hindu India??? Was it Mr Praveen Togaria or some stupid Hindu Fundamentalist who gave this view. India is not Hindu first of all and it was not he being Hindu or Muslim that made the difference. It was his hard work and vision that saw him make that mark in the International space. More than Mr Azim Premji I feel its former President of India APJ Abul Kalaam who is looked upon a role model than anything else. And if the report is to suggest anything, its the fact that Wipro has made its mark because of its secular policies. I dont know of any Indian Hindu billionaire who would not be secular. Although you are a pious Hindu like the Birlas building a temple in every city in India, but when you do business you cannot constrain yourself on the people front. I dont think its true. And I am not discounting some of the lesser known small home business where someone of your own will only work. Caste etc. do play a big role there. Perhaps thats the reason they never go over the top the way Wipro, Infy, Tata, Birla or Ambanis have done it. Obviously in this secular India being a single minded never works. Even the political parties have realized it and so we see BJP seeking Muslim help and BSP wooing the Brahmins and others too. Go knows when others will realize the truth. But least of all it was required from WSJ. Shame on you

10 September 2007

Google Webmaster Sitemaps bug

Dear Google,
I have my blog at http://the100rabh.blogspot.com as you can see ;-). I was looking into Google Webmaster Sitemaps. Today I found that I was not able to see more than 100 inlinks to my page.
The main page link was this
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/externallinks?siteUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fthe100rabh.blogspot.com%2F&hl=en&bplink=http%3A%2F%2Fthe100rabh.blogspot.com%2F&sort=allsubdomain&num=100

The next link was this
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/externallinks?siteUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fthe100rabh.blogspot.com%2F&hl=en&sort=allsubdomain&view=&bplink=&num=100&bpmark=100,0,100,0,0&fwd=true

It was frustrating to see that clicking on the next link I went to the main inlinks page. For the time being I found solution as this

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/externallinks?siteUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fthe100rabh.blogspot.com%2F&hl=en&bplink=http%3A%2F%2Fthe100rabh.blogspot.com%2F&sort=allsubdomain&num=100&bpmark=100,200,XXX,YYY,0&fwd=true

Instead of clicking on next I make my own next URL. I just change that value of XXX in multiples of 100 with YYY being 100 more than XXX and you keep going to the next page....Google boys are you listening?

After giving some thought to the problem I have realized that the reason for this kind of behavior is a silly mistake on the programmers part. But I believe that the larger problem is because of the way Google gets and displays data. No doubt I am not the best in the business, but my common sense tells me that less I expose thing to be manipulated at the client end, more secure I am. In this case I did the same manipulation as I did to make a Greasemonkey script to get to the last page of the topic in an Orkut community. The script can be found here. Your comments are invited.

Bangalore Bloggers Meet II

It started with the mail from Me :-).... So finally we meet on 8th Sept 07 after a lot of requests falling for the meet day to be shifted from 1st to 8th.

Here I went to see that the key organizer, Sanjukta is not there. Oh no she is late...

After a quick round of introductions AJ started the meet with what should be in the mailing list. We had a number of views.

  • AJ's suggestions was to have different mailing lists
  • Ramjee suggested that we have a forum
  • Another is that we make rules like
    • Do not publicize your own blog.
    • Make etiquettes to work with mailing list posts.
  • Himanshu's suggestion was to have a number of moderators.

Final decision

  • Have an etiquette for mailing list.
  • Make moderators if things go out of hand.

Etiquette

  • Only people from the mailing list those who are not having relevant blog.
  • No personal blogging
  • Only exchange of ideas.
  • No empty links

Next on Agenda, NLS meet. Ideas for what to talk about

  • Technicals
    • Pod-casting
    • Setting up a blog
    • Visitor tracking and analysis
    • Widgets
  • Ethics of blogging
  • Indian Laws relevant to blogging

One day workshop sometime later.

Why Wordpress is a bad by AJ.

  • Random changes to policies.
    • Ads included randomly.
    • Sub domains assigned to different people without informing current owners.

My Ideal Startup

Well last Sunday I again happened to be at the Open Coffee Club of Bangalore. A whole lot of interesting ideas on marketing and all were tossed up. The big question that's always in my mind was answered during this session. Yes what is my ideal startup.

I think what would make up my ideal startup would be some ideas taken from Hari and Venkat (Venkat has a startup named OutSmart, so guys be ready to expect something). Here are the something's a startup should do.

  • Be positive about your idea and more importantly show it.
  • Have a long term plan, something like 2 years. Be ready and plan up to flourish in those two years, not just survive. This should be planned before you get your hands wet.
  • Waiting for VC may not be the best bet. Keep ground realities in check.
  • More often than not the power of idea is so strong that one can loose track of customer expectations. Be firmly stitched to that ground.
  • Make employees feel that they are adding value to their resume. A startup may fail but their knowledge will make them sail ahead.
  • Be ready to refuse people rather than just recruit for the sake of it. Get only the best. A 1::500 recruit to resume ratio is not unimaginative.
  • Keep all employees aware of the best things happening. It drives the spirit to work in them.
  • Drive the team spirit by making sure that people sit in a group so that team spirit thrives.
  • Money or any kind of benefit cannot stop an employee from quitting your company. Bonds etc only bring a bad name to the company. A startup for sure cannot afford it. Instead if the employee may come back if he finds the relationship and environment worth the value. Even if he does not he will brag about his past company. This sure will bring goodwill to you and perhaps some good employees too.

I don't know about others but I sure will follow this for my startup if I ever start.

05 September 2007

Silly questions

It makes me worry sometimes looking at the kind of reporting that goes on in the media. I feel there are just too many junk heads around who do just the useless reporting. But then I feel that Scott Adam is just so right, everyone is an idiot depending on the situation. Each one of us just acts stupid at some point or the other. But still I always thought that there were a lot many checks in place for the media to not allow such useless comments to come out in the open.

Here is the latest by Indian Express.
They asked Mr Saurav 'Dada' Ganguly if they are going to win the series in England.
What is dada supposed to answer. Yeah the Englishmen are going to beat us our pants down( Yeah I cannot pull off my shirt) or The Indian team is lead by a loser who cannot butter his bread or Dawood paid us Rs 100000000000000000000000000000000 to loose. Bullshit. Hopeless

Other known examples.
  • A man has just survived a building that fell on him but left his near and dear ones dead. And the media asks, " How do you feel about it". What should the man do, Kill that reporter then and there?
  • Media asks an election candidate "Are you going to win". Expected replies
    • Not I am just there to see myself loose.
    • Win, No way I am the biggest looser around
    • Yeah I gave away Rs1000000000000 for campaign to loose. No way I am going to win.
  • A 'Mis' Universe contestant is asked "What are you doing to do after getting the Miss Universe crown?". Expected answers
    • I am going to become like Mother Teresa and denounce all the wealth that the contest is going to give me. I will live the life of a saint and work towards worlds well being. Thats the reason I got into this contest, obviously otherwise I could not have done any good work.
    • Yeah after I win this contest, I will get loads of moolah and will live the life of luxury. Not counting endless modeling assingments for obscene amount of money and if I am lucky a role in a movie or tele series.
  • A captain who just lost a series. "What do you have to say about it"
    • Well I took a big moolah from the betting syndicate to loose the series
    • You know I am not feeling well.
    • It was revenge on the board member who insulted me by comparing XYZ with me.
    • Me and my team are hopeless players of the game.
I wonder what is the sense in asking such questions when the results are pretty much obvious to a blind man too :-)

03 September 2007

Seven Strategies to getting an auto in Bangalore

I know that like me, many Bangaloreans of all origins have a lot of trouble in getting auto. The biggest problem is that people have shell out amounts which are really high. We can easily blame it on the Autowalas but the truth is that he too wants to earn a lot of money like all of us out here. He too wants to have a Capachino at the CCD or take a bite at McDees. But the auto fare just does not allow him to do all that. Now that he has an advantage got himself. There a lot of people and comparatively lot less auto-rickshaws. So he just asks for obscene amounts of money for a distance way too less. I have faced it myself and now here I present to you 'Strategies to getting an auto in Bangalore'.

Well let me start with rule no. 1
Rule 1
Never pay more that whats in the meter.

If you just cannot follow this rule, please do not read further.The strategy is definitely not going to work for you. Infact you could even help raising the unjustified fares even more.

Rule 2
Read Rule No. 1 Again

Why is that. Well thats just to emphasise on Rule 1. I hope you will read further only if you ready to follow Rule1

Rule 3
Always ask autos parked in the stand but never hire unless they go as per fare meter.

It is a general observation that the the autos in stand would never go for hire unless you pay extra. So you would never get an auto on hire from the stand. But still give it a try. Never bargain, just refuse right on the fact. It will make them realize that people are not ready to pay extra. This is very important in the long term perspective. So how do you get an auto. Read the next rule

Rule 4
Give him a reason to take you to your destination

By the above rule what I mean is that you should give the auto driver a reason to give you the service. This should not be confused with more money.
That the most you could have done wrong. Actually this is what is going wrong. Give him a softer reason. Something like a longer distance or to a place where he can get a lot more hirers. Another possibility is that you are going to the place where that auto driver belongs to. In fact this is what next rule asks you to do

Rule 5
Take an auto from the right place

You need to stand in the right place to take an auto. I would give a personal experience in this regard. How many times have you tried to get an auto from MG Road to say something like Airport Road or Indiranagar. I am sure you would have had failed in the endeavor or paid heavily for it. But if you try the same thing while standing on the Residency Road, you will end up happy. The reason being that person is going to somewhere there itself and so is rather happy to take you along. You can try other places too. Readers are requested to share their similar experiences. Other alternative is that you should try and take pre-paid auto. Thats a rather nice way to get off all the hassles. But then its not available everywhere.

Rule 6
Break up your journey if its too long and and the drivers are unwilling

Most of the time drivers are rather unwilling to go long distances. Something like going from Basveshwarnagar to Indiranagar may be a rather long one and not many will be ready for it. So break your journey up. Take an auto to something like Shivajinagar and take another from there to Indiranagar. In this way you have little discomfort of taking 2 autos but believe me you will end up saving a lot of headache and money. Of course make sure that you get down somewhere you know can get an auto easily.

Rule 7
Treat the auto driver as another service provider

The auto driver is yet another service provider. You tip the waiter in a hotel or at a pizza store. Why not tip an auto driver for his good behavior. Sometimes even a thank you makes the life of a person better. It gives him a sense of pride. I wonder why people dont do that in India.

Thats it from me. If you folks find any better ways, please comment. If you liked my suggestion I wish you would spread the word and comment on the post too. Please feel free to copy paste and forward ;-)