Monday, December 28, 2009

Compact Calendar 2010 - From David Seah's Compact Calendar

I have been following and occasionnally using David Seah's compact calendar for project activities in the past. This time, I have created an separate version for India. The holildays should hold good in the IT industry, though there are lot of regional variations in other industries.
Download the india version here
Tell me how it was.
Go to for the actual concept and US version template

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas greetings..

For all engineers....

(1) mystery tweet = M2c2(A/π)(mx+b)-XF(q/t)

And given that:

(1.a) A = πR2 (area of a circle)
(1.b) y = mx+b (linear equation)
(1.c) F=MA (from Newton's laws of motion)
(1.d) S=q/t (classical Entropy definition)


(2) mystery tweet = M2c2R2y-XMAS
2.a) E = Mc2 (Einstein's equivalence of mass and energy equations)


(3) mystery tweet = MER2y-XMAS

4) mystery tweet = MERRy-XMAS
and for the fortunate others....
Wish you all a Merry Christmas .....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dan Abel: how to measure the quality of code


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Planet TW by (Dan Abel) on 12/15/09

I've been sharing this for a while, so I thought I should put it up here also, as its the soundest measurement I've found.



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Saturday, December 12, 2009

<3 this. Here is the link:...


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via STFU, Believers on 12/9/09

<3 this. Here is the link:

(Thanks Jeff)


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Check the Current Geographical Location of any Indian Railways Train


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Digital Inspiration - Technology Blog by pratham on 11/6/08

IndiaRail Info is an interesting Google Maps mashup that helps you visualize the current geographical location of any train in India. Just type train name or train number and check its exact location on the map.

indian train location
India Rail Info has a database of all trains and railway stations in India

For example, the Bandra Garib Rath Express (2910) has crossed Kota junction at 8:23pm IST. Unfortunately this site does not extrapolate this data to guess the location between two junctions, so the train is still shown at Kota. Thanks Info-Madness.

Related posts:

  1. Find Public Restrooms Near Your Current Location
  2. Please Add Your Name & Location on this Google Map
  3. Know the Current Location of your FedEx or UPS Shipments Via Email

Check the Current Geographical Location of any Indian Railways Train - Digital Inspiration


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Thursday, July 23, 2009



Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Humor Columns by Syndicated Writer Jason Love by (Jason) on 7/22/09

Syndicated humor column about gyms and health spas by Jason LoveI joined 24-Hour Fitness because the salespeople don't slide notes across the table and say things like, "How 'bout this? Can you live with this number?" My answer to that question is always the same: "If you can't say the cost out loud, it's too much."

Some people avoid the gym for fear of others staring, but that's unrealistic because it means those others would first have to stop staring at themselves. Seriously, you don't want to come between the regulars and their reflections.

When a man falls in love with his own body, it's called an Adonis Complex after the Greek god of protein shakes. These guys develop their upper bodies until, like the Tyrannosaurus rex, they cannot reach their face.

"Hey, Bob. Can you get this itch on my chin? It's drivin' me nuts."

In the weight room they strain so hard, you can actually see their beards grow. I leave when they start making porn sounds -- all that grunting and groaning while the spotter carries on. "Come on, baby; do it. Show me what you've got."

When I bench-press, a machinist named Booker hovers nearby like an incubus, volunteering pointers. "I hope you know you're cheating your pecs with that exercise."

Booker demonstrates more painful ways to lift the weights, which brings us to Gym Rule #1: If you want to know the correct way to perform an exercise, the answer is, "Whatever hurts most." When you yelp involuntarily, you've got it!

I listened to Booker until that day I found him smoking Marlboros in the parking lot. After all the squats we'd been through! Booker averted his eyes the way Elizabeth Taylor might if you caught her giving marriage advice. So it goes.

You wonder why we don't take all this pushing and pulling energy and do something useful -- build a monorail or something. The treadmill extremists could power the whole city, clip-clopping along until management finally steps in.

"Sorry, Kitty; you've become entirely too thin. We're going to have to cut you off."

When did we become obsessed with xylophone ribs anyway? Our current Miss Universe has a size-22 waist, which makes her, technically speaking, a stick figure. Her boyfriend, also a model, reports four percent body fat. Can you see them rubbing around in bed? Talk about your fire hazards.

And why does Miss Universe always come from Earth? It's like the rest of the planets aren't even trying. Unless you count Tyra Banks.

Then you have the Spandex pants with the writing on the rear end. Ladies, what are you thinking? Don't you know how big men are on reading? One girl wore on her butt the Nike swoosh symbol, which in this case does not mean "just do it."

I prefer to jog al fresco. As comedian Daryl Rummens said, "I was going to join the gym but decided to use the ground for free." Maybe we should just build gyms on top of really steep hills. That way, by the time you reach the door, you're done!

I feel for people who frequent the gym but never see results -- men who can still pinch an inch on their forehead, women who could wear five-piece bathing suits. You wish they'd just say, "Screw it. I am in shape, and my shape is round."

I like to hang out in the steam room with the large, furry creatures who grunt but don't say much. It's like Gorillas in the Mist in there. Some brag about their steam-room stamina, which I believe calls for a sweat-off. Judges can stand outside while contestants stagger out and swoon in their little numbered vests. Last one out wins a pack of Marlboros.

For all the teasing, though, I've come to admire the simplicity of gymfolk. One guy wears a shirt that says, "I'm not smart, but I can lift heavy things." That's like one step away from enlightenment.

So I've decided to leave behind philosophy and current events in favor of my own upper body development. I will match wits with neckless men and use my sleeve as a nose rag. I will lounge naked in the locker room and dry my pubes with the bolted-down hair dryer. And if anyone comes near, I'll have them scratch this godforsaken itch on my chin.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How & What Mobile Phone Services does India use – Report


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Trakin' the india business buzz by Arun Prabhudesai on 6/22/09

India is currently the 2nd largest Mobile Market in the world after China, adding nearly 10-12 million subscribers on average monthly.

At the end of April 2009, Indian Mobile subscriber base was pegged at 403.66 million, as per recent TRAI number.

Most of the Metro's and big cities have nearly come to a saturation point, however, the current phase of growth in Indian Mobile Market is in Rural areas that is now accounting for majority of growth in mobile space.

Having said that, I thought it would be interesting for our readers to know how 270 million odd Urban subscribers use their mobile phone

So here you go, some of the numbers may surprise you, while some may disappoint, but it sure makes a good reading.

Which Indian City Uses Social Networking maximum through its mobile phones?


Nearly 10% Delhi Mobile subscribers use Social Networking services on their mobile phones, followed by Mumbai & Chennai. No doubt, I see hoards of Delhites, tweeting from their mobile phones !

Which Social networking site is most favoured by Indian Urban Mobile Subscribers?

Most-popular-Social-Networking-site-india Okay, we know Orkut is the king in India be it web or Mobile, but what in the world is "Mycantos", which accounts for nearly 4% of urban India using it?. I am also surprised that twitter does not find any mention here – Isnt it part of a Social Networking Phenomenon?

Which is the most favoured Mobile Search Engine by Indians?


Nearly 18.5 million Indian Urban Mobile subscribers used their mobile phones for searches, with Google taking the numero-uno position with 5.76 million followed by yahoo with 4.58 million.

Which mobile site is used daily by Indian Urban Mobile Subscribers?

Mobile-site-used-daily-IndiaAgain, no surprised here – the winner is Google followed by Yahoo. Nearly half of Urban India uses Google daily on their mobile phones.

Which IM application does Urban India use on its Mobile phones?

A quarter (25%) of all urban Indians who use IM over their phone do so from an application that came preloaded in the phone.

    • Pre-Loaded IM Application – 25.7%
    • Web Browser for IM – 19.1%
    • Third party downloaded IM app – 16.8%

Which is the most popular IM service used by Urban Indian Mobile Subscribers?


Aha…surprises here – Yahoo! Messenger has narrowly edged Google's Gtalk to become most popular messenger service with urban Indian mobile users, with a 18.3% market share followed closely by Google Talk (17.8%). Nice to see Yahoo beating Google, atleast somewhere :). I am sure though next few months will see Google coming to No.1.

Which Indian Mobile service provider offers the most reasonable prices, Reliable Customer Support and diver range of Products?


The state and Government run companies seem to score well in reasonable offerings column, while MTNL and Vodafone score in the reliable customer support offering. Aircel followed by Airtel top when it comes to offering its subscribers diverse range of mobile products.

Do Indian Mobiles subscribers participate in Mobile Contests?

Offcourse they do, that too in large numbers!

Indian-mobile-subscribers-SMS-contestAlmost 60% of Females have participated in 1 to3 SMS contests and though this is higher than their male counterparts, in frequency of participation males outshine females.

And what is the source of these SMS Contest? offcourse, it is dominated with TV.  all reality TVs, song and dance shows choose their winners via some or the other SMS contest and India just loves it.

have a look


86% of all SMS contest originate from TV, followed by Newspapers and Internet.

Mobile VAS services report

Here are some numbers on how Urban India uses the Mobile Value Added Services offered by Telecom providers.

SMS Based Value Added Services


Nearly 56 Million urban Indians used a VAS related SMS subscription service in March/April 2009 – out of which Reliance Mobile CDMA accounted for a quarter of all subscribers to VAS SMS subscription service, followed by Bharti Airtel (18%) and Vodafone (14%).

Which is the most popular SMS service used by Urban India?

Most-Popular-VAS-service-Urban-India This number actually surprised me – I had thought News and probably Jobs would garner most votes, but NO – it is Jokes that used by 52% of Urban Indian Mobile users followed by Astrology.

Once conclusion I can definitely make from these numbers is that majority of mobile users in India fall into Age group of 16-25 years !

Which are the popular VAS options that Urban India likes?

No surprises here – Unlimited Internet Access & better offers on SMS bundles are the two VAS options that Indian urban mobile phone users look at while deciding on a service.

Which is the most popular M-Commerce Activity for Urban Indian Mobile phone users


Nearly 98 million of all mobile users have used mobile phones to recharge their card or pay their phone bill –The second most popular M-Commerce activity is buying movie tickets (39.67 million)

Which is the most popular VAS service used by Urban Indian Mobile Phone User?


"Finding out who called" and "informing people when busy" are the two other most popular Value added services used by Urban India. Missed call alerts is used by almost 110 million urban Indians while Talk/Voice SMS is used by almost 80 million.

Note: The above graphs / numbers are created by (let us know if you have any questions on these numbers)


  • June 23, 2009, Siddhesh writes: Good analysis, Arun. Some interesting figures there. Any particular reason why MTNL is rated so highly? Also, social networking on mobile puts interesting figures too.
  • June 24, 2009, India doesn't like anything Chinese. But China likes Indian spices | China, India writes: [...] That's not it. BSNL has recently imposed a virtual ban on Chinese equipment manufacturer following the advice of DoT. Huawei and LTE are the leading telecom equipment manufacturers of China and the world and DoT do not want them to be operating in sensitive zones. Sensitive regions are the areas having borders with China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan. A major blow for the telecom companies trying to operate in world's fastest growing telecom market. [...]
  • June 24, 2009, Harpreet writes: Amazing facts ! Great Job.....Would love to read more abt these in future as well.........
  • June 25, 2009, ghosh writes: Good report! But keeping in mind the total GPRS/data enabled handset users, as per industry reports, total GPRS/data users in the country would 9m across( IMAI report 2008). That essential means if we take the total users in 4 metros- its about 64m and out of which users of Social Network services is about 4.2 m. Which would mean approx 48% of the total GPRS / data handsets enabled users use their handsets to access social networks. Or in other words it means out of every 2 data users approx 1 users user uses their handsets to access social networks. This looks a tad high. Even if we double the data users from 9m in 2008 to 18 m in 2009(not likely) even then it means 29% users using their handsets to access social networks. of data users use their handsets to access social networks. Given the current state of congestion for voice calls on various networks it seems though possible might be unlikely.
  • June 25, 2009, Arun Prabhudesai writes: Ghosh, you got the maths perfectly I must say. However, if a user has gprs, I am sure most of them will use for 2 & social networking, so 48% although a bit higher is comprehensible. I will put this question across to the surveyor and let me see what he has to say.. Update: Here is the reply from the surveyor
    To answer your comments around social networking, Social networking sites can be accessed via sms as well, you dont necessarily need gprs enabled handsets to access the same, the numbers we have take that into account
  • June 26, 2009, Venkat writes: Can you help me make sense of the "SNs favored by Urban mobile subscribers" number? The number on the graph is not clear - is it 11.4% or 21.4% (31.4%?) for Orkut? Question 1: Hard to believe that Orkut is almost (at least) double Facebook's usage ON MOBILE in URBAN areas? That's an interesting insight if it is true. If the biggest player here is 11 or 21%, does this mean that there is a very long tail of SNs being accessed from mobile? (The graph obviously doesn't cover these 100 or so players with less than 2% share of the mobile SN usage pie.) Venkat
  • June 26, 2009, Arun Prabhudesai writes: Venkat, Thanks for dropping is your answer
    The number is 11.4% for Orkut, facebook though increasing is still behind;( ) article on business week, that further solidifies this. Anything under 2% we do not track, due to the low usage we will not be able project the numbers reliably.

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13 year old kid reviews a 30 year old Sony Walkman


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 6/29/09

BBC Magazine gave 13-year-old Scott Campbell a gen-one Walkman in place of his MP3 player for a week, then gathered his impressions on the device:
It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.

I told my dad about my clever idea. His words of warning brought home the difference between the portable music players of today, which don't have moving parts, and the mechanical playback of old. In his words, "Walkmans eat tapes". So my clumsy clicking could have ended up ruining my favourite tape, leaving me music-less for the rest of the day

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman (Thanks, John!)


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Friday, June 19, 2009

CUSAT: 1.69 per cent pass engineering supplementary examination

Date:18/06/2009 URL:

Kerala - Kochi

1.69 per cent pass engineering supplementary examination

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Engineering colleges affiliated to the Cochin University of Science and Technology have put up its worst performance ever in the B. Tech supplementary examination 2009, with only 23 out of the 1,358 students passing the test.

The pass percentage, according to official records, is a mere 1.69. Nine out of the 21 affiliated colleges set another record, with all the students from these institutions failing to clear the examination.

The colleges include College of Engineering, Adoor; College of Engineering, Poonjar; College of Engineering, Kidangoor; College of Engineering, Karunagapally; College of Engineering, Trikaripur; TKM Institute of Technology, Kollam; Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram; College of Engineering, Cherthala; and M.G. College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.

Seven colleges had the record of having one student each passing the examination. The colleges include Model Engineering College, Thrikkakara; College of Engineering, Kallooppara; College of Engineering, Thalassery, Co-operative Institute of Technology, Vadakara; Toc H Institute of Science and Technology, Aarakunnam; College of Engineering, Attingal; and College of Engineering, Kottarakara.

College of Engineering, Munnar, had the distinction of having two students clearing the examination. College of Engineering, Chengannur, was in the third position with three students passing. The colleges that figured top in the list include School of Engineering, Thrikkakara, and Cochin University College of Engineering, Pulinkunnu. Four students each from these colleges cleared the examination. Out of the total 1,358 students, only three students won distinction while 19 got first class marks.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

Ranjith Ravindran

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meet Mr. Mohammad Said Al Zaabi: he is the first person in the world to purchase the Nokia N97, which he did late Sunday night at the Nokia Store in the Dubai Mall, in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Mohammad Said Al Zaabi explained: "I couldn't wait until the next morning to pick my N97 up!" He had pre-ordered the device last week, when the booking campaign was kicked off in the UAE.

He became increasingly intrigued by the N97 when he started hearing about it through the news and the ads that were highlighting the booking opportunity. "I went online to find out more about it, and got really excited about the Internet experience promise, and also the memory capacity. Being able to access applications through Ovi also played a big role for me. I have always been a Nokia user, as Nokia has consistently delivered on its promise. I'm in the process of fully exploring my Nokia N97 … and saying goodbye to my E90."

According to Nokia Partner Retail Sales Manager Siddharth Jham, the Lower Gulf team put together a very impactful pre-order campaign. Siddarth adds: "We ensured that the first availability of the device was through the Nokia Stores, to provide consumers with an environment in which to experience the Nokia solutions to the fullest."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fwd: Google Wave: What Might Email Look Like If It Were Invented Today?

Ranjith Ravindran


Yesterday's Google I/O keynote highlighted the power of HTML 5 to match functionality long experienced in desktop applications. This morning, Google plans to announce an HTML 5-based application - still very much in the early stages of development - that represents a profound advance in the state of the art.

Lars and Jens Rasmussen, the original creators of Google Maps, will take the stage to unveil their latest project, Google Wave. As Lars describes it, "We set out to answer the question: What would email look like if we set out to invent it today?"

That is exactly the right question, and one that every developer should be asking him or herself. The world of computing has changed, profoundly, yet so many of our applications bear the burden of decades of old thinking. We need to challenge our assumptions and re-imagine the tools we take for granted. It's perhaps no accident that this project, carried out secretly at Google's Sydney office over the past two years, had the code name Walkabout. That's the Australian aboriginal tradition of going off for an extended period to retrace the songlines and learn the world anew.

In answering the question, Jens, Lars, and team re-imagined email and instant-messaging in a connected world, a world in which messages no longer need to be sent from one place to another, but could become a conversation in the cloud. Effectively, a message (a wave) is a shared communications space with elements drawn from email, instant messaging, social networking, and even wikis.

It turns out that Jens had the idea back in 2004, when Google first acquired the company that became Google Maps. As Lars tells the story:

We were excited to join Google and help create what would become Google Maps. But we also started thinking about what might come next for us after maps.

As always, Jens came up with the answer: communication. He pointed out that two of the most spectacular successes in digital communication, email and instant messaging, were originally designed in the '60s to imitate analog formats — email mimicked snail mail, and IM mimicked phone calls. Since then, so many different forms of communication had been invented — blogs, wikis, collaborative documents, etc. — and computers and networks had dramatically improved. So Jens proposed a new communications model that presumed all these advances as a starting point....

We started with a set of tough questions:

  • Why do we have to live with divides between different types of communication — email versus chat, or conversations versus documents?
  • Could a single communications model span all or most of the systems in use on the web today, in one smooth continuum? How simple could we make it?
  • What if we tried designing a communications system that took advantage of computers' current abilities, rather than imitating non-electronic forms?

Responding in Context

Let's say I want to communicate with someone. I start a wave, just as I might start an email message. The recipient(s) see an incoming wave, just as they see an email today. Where the magic starts is with replies. In email, you have the choice of including no context, only a portion of the message you're replying to, or the whole thing. In the first case, you need to go back to the original message for context; in the second, you have wasted copies going back and forth. Come into the middle of a long thread and you may be replying to a discussion that has already moved on or covered the point you want to express. But what if there were only one message, shared in the cloud? Now, your comment on the second paragraph is attached directly to that point in the conversation. There are no redundant copies of portions of the message, as replies are seen in context.

As you can see in the screenshot below (click to enlarge), a Wave inbox looks much like an email inbox. But look to the right, and you can see how the replies are embedded right into the middle of the original message, so Stephanie's question about what camera Jens used for his photos appears right in context.


Now, you might ask how well this works for long, complex messages rather than the short one shown in the demo. I don't know the answer, but I suspect that Wave will be even stronger in that case. Our experience with collaborative editing of book manuscripts at O'Reilly suggests that the amount and quality of participation goes up radically when comments can be interleaved at a paragraph level.

Is it a particle or a wave? It's both.

First generation email/IM integration let you see when someone was online, and opt to instant message someone rather than send them an email. Wave simply erases the distinction.

If both people are online at the same time, a wave acts just like an instant message -- except that you see each character as it is typed, just like in subethaedit. "In our experience, a lot of time in IM is spent waiting for the other person to press 'Done'," says Lars. (However, it is possible to set Wave to hold your messages till you are done.)

A key point here is that Google's relentless focus on reducing the latency of online actions is bringing the online experience closer and closer to our real world experience of face-to-face communication. When you're talking with someone, you know what someone is saying before they finish their sentence. You can respond, or even finish their sentence for them. So too with Wave.

The real-time connectedness of Wave is truly impressive. Drop photos onto a wave and see the thumbnails appear on the other person's machine before the photos are even finished uploading.

Step by step playback draws a cheer

Let's say you are added to a conversation (a wave) that has been going on for a long time? You can be added at any relevant point, not just the end. But even cooler, you can do a playback of the entire evolution of the conversation.

But wait: there's more! Let's say you want to edit your message (or even a message that was written by another participant in the wave). Yes, you can. The original author is notified, but every participant can see that the message has been modified, and if they want, can replay the changes.

This leads to a change in behavior: conversations become shared documents.
The screenshot below shows a simple example, as Gregory and Casey collaborate to produce a good answer to Dan's question. As Stephanie Hannon, the product manager for Googe Wave, said to me, "In Wave, you don't have to make the choice between discussing and collaborating."


As anyone who's used version control knows, a document with lots of discussion and edits can become pretty messy. No problem. You can export an edited wave as a new wave, and start over. "One of our design principles," says Lars, "is that the product of a wave can be as important as the original wave."

Nor do you need to include everyone in every part of a conversation. Essentially, Lars, says, "waves are tree-shaped sets of messages. You can shape a subtree, or a sub-conversation and limit the set of participants in any way you like."

Wave as a Platform

Wave is more than a product. As Lars explains:

The Google Wave product (available as a developer preview) is the web application people will use to access and edit waves. It's an HTML 5 app, built on Google Web Toolkit. It includes a rich text editor and other functions like desktop drag-and-drop (which, for example, lets you drag a set of photos right into a wave).

Google Wave can also be considered a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services, and to build new extensions that work inside waves.

The Google Wave protocol is the underlying format for storing and the means of sharing waves, and includes the "live" concurrency control, which allows edits to be reflected instantly across users and services. The protocol is designed for open federation, such that anyone's Wave services can interoperate with each other and with the Google Wave service. To encourage adoption of the protocol, we intend to open source the code behind Google Wave.

Anyone who's followed my writing knows that I'm a huge fan of simple systems with extensible architectures. So I was excited to see that the team didn't lard lots of features into the core product, but instead added new features via the Wave APIs, much as they hope third party developers will do.

One useful extension, Polly (Poll-y) lets you incorporate polls into a wave. In the wave shown below, participants are asked whether they can make it to a party. Responses appear immediately in the wave. That's the way these things ought to work! No jumping to a website to see the results of an Evite or a poll.


(I should note that the ever-prescient Jon Udell showed how to hack existing tools to similar effect in his 2001 book Practical Internet Groupware. It was one of the books I'm proudest of publishing, despite its commercial failure. It was just too far ahead of its time.)

The API has been used to build a bunch of cool extensions: Bloggy, a blog client, lets you make a blog post as a wave. When people comment, they join the conversation. Spelly is a spell-checker that uses the entire corpus of the web as its dictionary. Linky is a link-recognition engine that is clever enough to recognize that the link you just entered is a YouTube video, or a link to a photo, and give you the option to embed the target of the link into the wave. There's even a twitter client - you can tweet into and out of a wave! And of course, buggy, a bug-reporting tool that can also be a participant in a wave.

Wave can also be used as the base for interactive games. For example, here's a real-time interactive chess game in Wave:


Open Source, Open Protocol, and Federated Wave Clouds

Google wants other providers to adopt Wave - the protocol allows federation between independent Wave clouds. The team hopes that Wave will become as ubiquitous and interoperable as email and instant messaging, not just a Google product.

I support this vision. The Wave team has done a great job, but for Wave to really succeed, it needs to become a new fundamental service on the net. An open protocol means that anyone can build their own Wave services - everything from Wave servers to Wave extensions. But open source means that people can push the envelope in adapting the service to new environments, devices, and use cases.

I'm hopeful that the industry will take up the challenge, and build on what is being shown at Google I/O this morning. Eric Raymond noted that every open source project begins with a plausible promise. There's no question that the plausible promise is on stage this morning. I hope the folks in the audience at Google I/O, as well as those at Yahoo!, Microsoft, and elsewhere, get on the bandwagon as well. I'm eager to move from email and IM to Wave!

Aside: The fact that this application was built using GWT and HTML 5 really emphasizes Vic Gundotra's points from yesterday, that web applications can not only match, but can even beat the functionality of native apps. It's not just HTML 5, though. It's the commitment to the lightweight nature of the web, to real-time, to lightweight components connected by open protocols rather than to monolithic systems.

Make it New!

Ezra Pound once wrote: ""The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth." And elsewhere: "Make it new!"

Even more than the application itself, I love the way Wave doesn't just build on what went before but starts over. In demonstrating the power of the shared, real-time information space, Jens and Lars show a keen understanding of how the cloud changes applications.

When I saw Wave for the first time on Monday, I realized that we're at a kind of DOS/Windows divide in the era of cloud applications. Suddenly, familiar applications look as old-fashioned as DOS applications looked as the GUI era took flight. Now that the web is the platform, it's time to take another look at every application we use today, and ask the same question Lars and Jens asked themselves: "What would this look like if we invented it today instead of twenty-five years ago?"

For more information

The following links may not be live until the end of this morning's keynote at about 10:15 am Pacific time: the eventual home for Google Wave. For now a place to learn more and sign up to be notified when we launch home for the API, documentation and sample code. home for the protocol specs (draft), whitepapers and a discussion forum about the open google wave protocol


The Google I/O demo of Wave is now available on YouTube. It's embedded below:


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Intel Spotlights the Real Rock Stars of the Tech World


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via geeksugar by geeksugar on 5/7/09

Sure, you know Steve Jobs, the Woz, and Bill Gates, but do you know the name Ajay Bhatt? He invented the USB, and in this new commercial from Intel he's being given the celebrity treatment - a premise that's equal parts inspiring and amusing.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Times of India

Found a nice article in the times of india today:

Women have been on top for a while now – statistically, we mean. But it was still a surprise to many when engineer Shubhra Saxena topped the

UPSC exam, and the other two in the top three were also women.

The girls-can’t-do-maths variety of misconceptions persist, it seems, but the girls couldn’t care less.

‘Shaadi ho jayegi’
Shilpa Niyogi, who is doing an MTech in anthropology, says, “I topped my college in BTech. My parents and teachers were proud of me, but my relatives asked me how long I’d be studying all these subjects. ‘You’ll get married in a few years,’ they’d say. Now, I’ve also earned a scholarship for higher studies at the Singapore University. In terms of percentage, even if seven-eight women feature in the top 20, it still is high, considering that fewer girls than boys appear for these exams, and out of those who do, almost all make the cut...” Academician Sachin Sharma, who also works as a counsellor in many Delhi schools, says, “No one will believe how many parents want their extremely bright daughters to settle down in the ‘comfortable job’ of a teacher. They ask me to convince their daughter to take up teaching. You name a field where women haven’t made a breakthrough and haven’t shown what they’re capable of.”

‘Maths vaths hai rabba’
Niharika Sharma, currently pursuing an MPhil in plant molecular biology from Delhi University, will soon be moving to Australia for four years to pursue a PhD. “As opposed to the common perception, excelling in subjects like science and maths has nothing to do with one’s gender. Society expects a girl to finally settle down in marital bliss. My family is supportive, but at times, they also worry about my future. They know, however, that I’m not going to sit at home.” “It is still the common perception that girls do well when it come to languages and other subjects that don’t need analytical and reasoning powers,” says Sushmita Ray, an XLRI passout, who’s now working with a financial consultancy firm in Delhi. “When girls top the CBSE exams, everyone says, ‘Let’s see who’s on top at the university level.’ The percentage of girls who take admission in IIMs and IITs is less, but the numbers are slowly increasing. During placements, all the girls from our batch got placed before the boys. This is not to say that they weren’t good enough, but it was heartening to see that the companies were more than forthcoming when it came to recruiting girls.”

‘It’s a girl? How nice!’
Sociologist Rekha Dutta maintains that despite the general sentiment that it’s a more equal society now, somewhere, we’re still stuck in the old notions of what a woman should and can do. “Year after year, girls top the CBSE exams, a higher number of girls pass the exams as compared to boys, bell the CAT, and now, three women have topped the UPSC exams. Everyone thinks we have an egalitarian outlook, but our surprise when we read these things says a lot about our expectations. We’re pleasantly surprised because we’ve been conditioned to assume that boys will do better than girls in such exams, but when girls do better, we sit up and say, ‘Yeh hui na baat’.” Psychologist Anu Goel blames the Indian social setup, which still expects the mother to be at home if the child is unwell. “It’s always said that women make pathetic drivers, and when a girl zooms past them, people assume she’s the aberration. The same mindset also works when we compare boys and girls in the educational field.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stay hungry, Stay foolish - the UPSC story !


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth by (Rashmi Bansal) on 5/7/09

Sanjay Aakhade, son of a porter in Nashik, has cracked the civil service examination. He secured a rank of 263.

TOI reports: Son of Dnyandeo, an unlettered porter, and Vimal, a beedi worker, growing up was about bringing home some money. He cleaned tables at hotels, worked at a medical store, distributed newspapers and manned an STD booth through his teens.

Although a topper in school, Sanjay dropped out and pursued a course at the Industrial Training Institute; getting a job was priority. He'd attend class from 10 am to 5 pm and work at the STD booth till midnight. "I was a voracious reader and would read whenever there weren't any customers. If I liked something, I would jot it down in a diary,'' recalls Sanjay.

This is what is so amazing. Despite a really hard life, Sanjay did not wallow in self pity and curse his fate. He found a way to learn and grow, within his limited resources. And not for any particular reason. But somewhere deep down I'm sure he knew this was the only way to escape from the prison of circumstance. And make something of himself.

See any 'success' story and you'll find this common trait! They stay hungry - no matter what.

Self-study was what the Marathi-educated Sanjay depended on as he learnt English through newspapers. His drive was recognised by a regular customer, Digambar Vaishyampai, a teacher who started bringing him books and encouraged him to return to studies. It was with his backing that Sanjay enrolled for the HSC exam and subsequently pursued his BA, ranking first in all exams, despite not being able to attend lectures. His family started backing him too. His mother says she can't even read the clock, but wanted her children "to make it big in life''.

A UPSC advertisement Sanjay chanced upon got him interested in the services. He trails off into another incident that further strengthened his resolve-a narration that brings back memories of Slumdog hero Jamaal being interrogated by policemen. "A college friend of mine once had trouble with a cop, who smashed the windshield of his autorickshaw. When I questioned the action, I was thrashed,'' says Sanjay, adding that he could perhaps join the IPS and reform the system.

But achieving his goal wasn't easy. He first gave the UPSC exams with history as his subject in 2006 and failed twice. Although from a minority community, Sanjay applied through the open category as he wanted to play fair. "People would tauntingly call me collector sahib and tell me how life would never change, but I believed otherwise,'' says Sanjay.

This is the 'stay foolish' bit. Never mind what the world says.. you have to believe in yourself.

He married his cousin last year and has a four-month-old son named Yash. His interview in Delhi was his first trip to the capital. "I gave my interview in English, as I didn't want to lose the essence of what I said during translation.'' Employed with an insurance company, he dutifully returned to the rut, praying all along for his results. When his phone rang on May 4, also his birthday, he knew good news was on the way. "My friends called to say I had cracked the exam.'' His newly rented flat buzzed with visitors on Thursday.

"Entering the services will not change our lives at home, but help me change the lives of many others like us.'' He says his background has helped him better understand what the government needs to do. "I will be handling child labour, for instance. I know what it is to be a child labourer."

I think this is certainly true. Sanjay's own experience would make him so much more sensitive to the plight of millions of Indians living on the edge of poverty. Devoid of hope, or opportunity.

Hearty congratulations and warm wishes to Sanjay. Keep the idealism, keep the faith!

Another heartwarming story is that of Maharashtra topper Aniket Mandavgane who secured an all India rank of 29 . The 22-year-old's father takes care of their ancestral temple at Varangaon in Jalgaon.

However Aniket was sent to live in Pune with his grandmother from the age of 5, and that's where but he completed his school and college education. He is a graduate of Sinhagad College of Engineering (2008 batch).

Interestingly, he began preparing while in third year of engineering itself and this was his first shot at the exam. That should certainly enthuse some of you out there to start preparing early if the UPSC is your dream!

Aniket plans to join the IFS.

Then there is 24-year-old Balaji Manjule from Jeor in Solapur, who cleared the exam on his third attempt.

TOI reports: Manjule, who has poor eyesight, studied under a kerosene oil lamp and lost his left eye as he had a cataract that was diagnosed late. "My village does not have electricity and I had no option but to study in such conditions,'' says the 57th ranker, who was asked in the interview if his eyesight would pose a problem at work.

He replied: "Having just one eye has never been a hindrance in achieving anything, not even a high score in the UPSC.''

A few months ago, this Wadar community (one of the most backward communities in the state) boy was also short-listed for the Maharashtra Public Service Commission exam and was offered a posting as a deputy CEO. Manjule's parents are daily wage workers who break stones for building roads. Their son wants to become an IAS officer and "progress of India's countryside'' is high on his agenda.

I think this is real progress. Here's to many more spirited young men and women taking India forward!

P.S. 'Stay Hungry Stay Foolish' is an attitude which applies to all walks of life. And hence it will be the theme of the weekly show on careers I am hosting from this evening on UTVi.

Do tune in if you can - at 7 pm. Channel no 541 on Tata Sky.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2 harihar nagar kandoo

normally it does not happen, but today i got some free time.

saw 2 harihar nagar, loved it. same old formula works. just to refresh memories, saw the original in harihar nagar too.

others should look at this movie to learn how to make sequels

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oracle Buys Sun - What Does It Mean for Oracle BI&DW?


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Rittman Mead Consulting by Mark Rittman on 4/20/09

So you've probably heard the news now, that Oracle have agreed to buy Sun, the makers of Solaris, SPARC chips, lots of application servers, servers and storage units and of course Java. IBM were originally in the running but backed-off due to anti-trust concerns, now it looks like Oracle have won the prize. So what does this mean for Oracle business intelligence and data warehousing?

Well, to be honest it's not all that clear, especially seeing as Oracle's favoured hardware partners and operating system seem to be HP and Linux rather than Sun and Solaris. Sun weren't an especially big player, directly, in the BI&DW market, although their hardware used to power most cutting-edge data warehouses back in the late 90's and even today, those customers who've not gone down the RAC route tend to use Solaris and SPARC hardware to host their large-scale data warehouses. I've not personally perceived Sun as being so relevant these days, with the architectural advantages of SPARC chips being less pronounced these days, and a general move amongst the industry towards Linux and commodity blade hardware. Sun do in fact have their own DW appliance initiative, in conjunction with Greenplum and PostgreSQL, which presumably won't be around for much longer, and in fact it's in this area that I can see Sun's hardware business having its focus in the future - as a means for Oracle to build off of what they've done with Exadata and Database Machine to create highly-tuned, highly-optimized appliances for the running of Oracle databases, application servers and Fusion applications.

I guess also part of the move was defensive in that Oracle wanted to firstly, make sure whoever bought Sun had the same commitment to Java (on which most of Oracle's products are based), and secondly make sure someone like IBM didn't get Java and therefore place much of Oracle's architectural underpinnings in the hands of a major competitor. Oracle's own BI products are a mix of pure Java (the legacy BI tools like Discoverer), bits of C++, Java and .NET (from the Siebel side) and a mish-mash of lots of technologies from the Hyperion side. Going forward, I would imagine this means Java will be even more central to Oracle's (BI) tools strategy, we'll have even more Java application servers (though presumably Weblogic will stay the strategic direction), and we'll have even more focus on end-to-end BI and DW appliances; and maybe, we'll see mySQL start to appear in entry-level BI products from Oracle, or even have Oracle BI support/ship mySQL in the BI SE One variant? We'll have to wait and see.

So, it's a takeover that's obviously not got BI and DW as it's rationale, but I think we'll see spin-off benefits in the areas of DW appliances, more optimized storage solutions and perhaps optimization going through to the server, network and even the operating system level, especially if the engineers behind Solaris and ZFS start to contribute towards Oracle's Linux, storage and hardware strategy. For the time being though we'll have to wait and see what happens, one thing I do know though is that surely, they'll either have to run a technology Open World and an apps Open World separately now, or maybe even move to Las Vegas in the future if Oracle want to run a single annual event for all their customers?


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Brijesh Nair: Campaign Videos of Dr Shashi Tharoor – A class of its own!


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Kerala Blog Roll by Brijesh Nair on 4/7/09

You may have seen the campaign videos of lot of candidates but may not have seen one like this for a long time. A campaign video that talks only about development and nothing about politics. An indication of things to come? All vidoes are only around 1 minute long.Dr Shashi Tharoor's vision of Development  Dr Shashi Tharoor talking about the need of a vision for Trivandrum's Development Dr


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Should Indian Outsourcing Be Banned?


Sent to you by Ranji via Google Reader:


via Thought Clusters by Krishna Kumar on 4/11/09

James McGovern, of Enterprise Architecture, writes:

So, if quality can be lower in enterprise in-house software, then that allows for lower-quality resources from Indian outsourcing firms to maintain it. Remember that good is good enough and it doesn't make sense for architects to expend such energy churning on better ways of developing higher quality working software.

Indian outsourcing has caused many to lower their standards and therefore the opportunity to abuse is rampant. Methodologies such as extreme programming encourage merciless refactoring while Indian outsourcing has taught us that refactoring is nothing but overhead as you have to write comprehensive documentation in order to get working software. Sometimes the effort but into documentation makes refactoring a non-starter.

McGovern's recent posts have been pretty cynical about Indian outsourcing and I suppose it has some roots in his actual experiences. So I am not going to quibble and say he is wrong, because he will be obviously right with what he has experienced personally. That being said, I think he has a limited view of why many companies outsource outside the United States, including to Eastern Europe, India and East Asia.

What I am writing below is based on meetings and conversations with CEOs, VPs and other executives in charge of outsourcing decisions. Obviously, you cannot take any one person's word at face value, but when you hear the same reasons cited by multiple people, you start seeing trends. Let me start with saying that cost is a major factor, but not for the common reasons you would think. No executive talks of costs in the context of replacing existing costly resources with new inexpensive resources. Instead, the typical reasons cited are as follows:

  1. There is an unfulfilled project need, but the existing software development team is busy with tasks. How do we increase the development team without incurring too much additional cost?
  2. The existing team is busy with maintenance tasks. How do we get them to work on new tasks and move the current maintenance work to someone else without incurring too much cost?
  3. We have a project that is low on our priorities, but would be very helpful to get done. If we can get it done at a lower cost, it could go up the priority list and approved faster.
  4. We are uncertain about our revenue stream and do not want to add long-term obligations on our payroll.
  5. We want someone who has done this kind of work before and can therefore do this at a lower overall cost. (In many cases, the existing development team does not have any experience in the new work that is being proposed to be outsourced.)

Cost is an important (if not the most important) factor because it is the easiest and most unambiguous one to measure. The compensation of most executives is determined by how much money they could make or how much they could save. But to assume that they are only obsessed with the bottom line figure is wrong. If that were the case, every action could be taken by only considering the short-term cost analysis, where you don't want to introduce any new costs.

But as you can see, in the above cases, although the executives are trying to save money, overall they are increasing costs. They are not shutting down the existing development team. They are augmenting the team with new members for the purpose of performing projects that add to the company's value. This adds more costs, so what the executives are doing is not so much as reducing costs, but reducing the rate of growth of expenses.

They could do this in a variety of ways, of course: Hire permanent workers, hire consultants, hire interns, buy off-the-shelf products, outsource to a local firm, outsource to a firm somewhere in the United States, outsource to someone outside the country, automate. And each has its pros and cons. The cost of the project is affected by risks of each approach and this includes quality too, because poor quality increases maintenance costs too.

There are two arguments that cannot simultaneously exist, which is that foreign programmers are both inexpensive and of poor quality. If an inexpensive foreign programmer produces code of really poor quality, the rational thing to do for a cost-conscious executive would be to use only domestic programmers. There would be no point in outsourcing if a programmer in an outsourcing country is more expensive than one in the United States because their poor quality cancels the benefit of their lower per-hour costs. One could argue that maybe some executive are dumb, but that does not account for the tens of thousands of jobs that have been outsourced.

The assumption that Indian outsourcing is associated with low quality may be satisfying to some United States programmers, but it is a dangerous assumption for several reasons.

  1. Even assuming that Indians are bad programmers and executives only outsource based on per-hour cost, there are plenty of inexpensive outsourcing destinations for software development. Eastern Europe is particularly strong in software outsourcing and they have very competitive rates combined with excellent developers coming out of first-class universities.
  2. It is difficult to envision sustained low quality from any outsourced-to country. It will improve quality through greater exposure and experience, or die a quick death. Unless you think that any country is culturally indisposed to quality, which I find hard to digest. They used to say that about the Japanese in the '50s. Look what happened.
  3. If outsourcing is ever banned, employers and executives will look to control costs through other means. If a company is not growing fast enough to exceed its costs, it will bleed people and go out of business. In any eventuality, people will lose jobs. Outsourcing is a good scapegoat, but it is only the symptom of a larger concern within the company.

I call it dangerous because it doesn't help the displaced American programmer from understanding the high-level economic trend that is causing the job loss. Both national parties in the United States (and most parties in the Western world) are non-protectionist. They favor free markets and open trade. This means a much more competitive market for all companies. Blaming any one element that causes job losses in a particular sector is missing the bigger picture.

For instance, as Nick Carr wrote in "The Big Switch", a trend that will cause the loss of many IT jobs is the rise of cloud computing. It will mean the end of many system and database administration jobs, as small and large companies move their data and processing to the servers of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Is it worthwhile to complain that cloud computing may perhaps have less performance than a finely-tuned Oracle machine on a Solaris box? It may be satisfying to think you (as a sysadmin) have been replaced by an inferior solution, but that satisfaction is all you get.

What is the answer for the American programmer? If you cannot lower one's wages, you has to provide greater value. Quality is greater value, but that may not be enough to justify those higher salaries. Corporations (and smaller companies) with access to the entire globe may not agree to the monetary value you place on your existing skills and quality. So the right answer is what new portfolio of skills will appeal better to employers and executives?

Better code quality is not enough. If you improve it, there is no guarantee that the Eastern Europeans and Filipinos will not equal you tomorrow because they are learnable skills. But the American programmer will always have the strength in understanding American businesses, rules, customs and traditions. They can be better analysts and managers. Although the Internet has dulled this advantage, Americans can take greater advantage of the wealth of experience in Silicon Valley and other technology hotspots as well as the many first-class universities in the US to become better architects and designers in emerging technologies. Finally, they can embrace globalization to obtain greater value through mixing and matching development resources from across the world.

Krishna Kumar


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Siebel IP 18 - 2018 SOD

Oracle is going ahead and staying with Siebel. For now. They have just released the statement of direction for IP 2018. At a high level th...


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