Friday, December 15, 2006

100 things we didn't know this time last year

A rather interesting read! did not know such a thing even existed.

Beach huts in Hove
10 beach huts by Angela Pini

1. The UK's first mobile phone call was made 20 years ago this year, when Ernie Wise rang the Vodafone head office, which was then above a curry shop in Newbury.

2. Mohammed is now one of the 20 most popular names for boys born in England and Wales.

3. While it's an offence to drop litter on the pavement, it's not an offence to throw it over someone's garden wall.

10 toes by Stuart Evans

4. An average record shop needs to sell at least two copies of a CD per year to make it worth stocking, according to Wired magazine.

5. Nicole Kidman is scared of butterflies. "I jump out of planes, I could be covered in cockroaches, I do all sorts of things, but I just don't like the feel of butterflies' bodies," she says.

6. WD-40 dissolves cocaine - it has been used by a pub landlord to prevent drug-taking in his pub's toilets.

7. Baboons can tell the difference between English and French. Zoo keepers at Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent are having to learn French to communicate with the baboons which had been transferred from Paris zoo.

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it's possibly because religious people have less fear of death.

9. The energy used to build an average Victorian terrace house would be enough to send a car round the Earth five times, says English Heritage.

10 butterfly eggs by Peter Rettenberger
10. Humans can be born suffering from a rare condition known as "sirenomelia" or "mermaid syndrome", in which the legs are fused together to resemble the tail of a fish.

11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed.

12. Until the 1940s rhubarb was considered a vegetable. It became a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten.

13. Prince Charles broke with an 80-year tradition by giving Camilla Parker Bowles a wedding ring fashioned from Cornish gold, instead of the nugget of Welsh gold that has provided rings for all royal brides and grooms since 1923.

14. It's possible for a human to blow up balloons via the ear. A 55-year-old factory worker from China reportedly discovered 20 years ago that air leaked from his ears, and he can now inflate balloons and blow out candles.

15. Lionesses like their males to be deep brunettes.

16. The London borough of Westminster has an average of 20 pieces of chewing gum for every square metre of pavement.

17. Bosses at Madame Tussauds spent £10,000 separating the models of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston when they separated. It was the first time the museum had two people's waxworks joined together.

18. If all the Smarties eaten in one year were laid end to end it would equal almost 63,380 miles, more than two-and-a-half times around the Earth's equator.

19. The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".

10 on Ford GT40 by Tony Crowther
20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.

21. One person in four has had their identity stolen or knows someone who has.

22. The length of a man's fingers can reveal how physically aggressive he is, scientists say.

23. In America it's possible to subpoena a dog.

24. The 71m packets of biscuits sold annually by United Biscuits, owner of McVitie's, generate 127.8 tonnes of crumbs.

25. Nelson probably had a broad Norfolk accent.

26. One in four people does not know 192, the old number for directory inquiries in the UK, has been abolished.

27. Only in France and California are under 18s banned from using sunbeds.

28. The British buy the most compact discs in the world - an average of 3.2 per year, compared to 2.8 in the US and 2.1 in France.

29. When faced with danger, the octopus can wrap six of its legs around its head to disguise itself as a fallen coconut shell and escape by walking backwards on the other two legs, scientists discovered.

10 hangers by Patrick McGarry
30. There are an estimated 1,000 people in the UK in a persistent vegetative state.

31. Train passengers in the UK waited a total of 11.5m minutes in 2004 for delayed services.

32. "Restaurant" is the most mis-spelled word in search engines.

33. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has only been in an English pub once, to buy his wife cigarettes.

34. The Little Britain wheelchair sketch with Lou and Andy was inspired by Lou Reed and Andy Warhol.

35. The name Lego came from two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It also means "I put together" in Latin.

36. The average employee spends 14 working days a year on personal e-mails, phone calls and web browsing, outside official breaks, according to employment analysts Captor.

37. Cyclist Lance Armstrong's heart is almost a third larger than the average man's.

38. Nasa boss Michael Griffin has seven university degrees: a bachelor's degree, a PhD, and five masters degrees.

39. Australians host barbecues at polling stations on general election days.
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10 grandchildren - five kids and their portraits - by Jimmy Martin
40. An average Briton will spend £1,537,380 during his or her lifetime, a survey from insurer Prudential suggests.
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41. Tactically, the best Monopoly properties to buy are the orange ones: Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street.
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42. Britain's smallest church, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, opens just once a year. It measures 4m by 3.6m and has one pew.
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43. The spiciness of sauces is measured in Scoville Units.
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44. Rubber gloves could save you from lightning.
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45. C3PO and R2D2 do not speak to each other off-camera because the actors don't get on.

46. Driving at 159mph - reached by the police driver cleared of speeding - it would take nearly a third of a mile to stop.
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47. Liverpool has 42 cranes redeveloping the city centre.

48. A quarter of the world's clematis come from one Guernsey nursery, where production will top 4.5m plants this year alone.

49. Tim Henman has a tennis court at his new home in Oxfordshire which he has never used.

10 penguins
10 penguins by Nic Evans
50. Only 36% of the world's newspapers are tabloid.

51. Parking wardens walk about 15 miles a day.
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52. You're 10 times more likely to be bitten by a human than a rat.
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53. It takes 75kg of raw materials to make a mobile phone.
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54. Deep Throat is reportedly the most profitable film ever. It was made for $25,000 (£13,700) and has grossed more than $600m.

55. Antony Worrall-Thompson swam the English Channel in his youth.

56. The Pyruvate Scale measures pungency in onions and garlic. It's named after the acid in onions which makes cooks cry when cutting them.

57. The man who was the voice of one of the original Daleks, Roy Skelton, also did the voices for George and Zippy in Rainbow.

58. The average guest at a Buckingham Palace garden party scoffs 14 cakes, sandwiches, scones and ice-cream, according to royal accounts.

59. Oliver Twist is very popular in China, where its title is translated as Foggy City Orphan.

10 bales of straw by Peter Bradshaw
60. Newborn dolphins and killer whales don't sleep for a month, according to research carried out by University of California.

61. You can bet on your own death.
Full story

62. MPs use communal hairbrushes in the washrooms of the Houses of Parliament.

63. It takes less energy to import a tomato from Spain than to grow them in this country because of the artificial heat needed, according to Defra.

64. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's home number is listed by directory inquiries.

65. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, had a hand in creating the Klingon language that was used in the movies, and which Shakespeare plays were subsequently translated into.

66. The hotter it is, the more difficult it is for aeroplanes to take off. Air passengers in Nevada, where temperatures have reached 120F, have been told they can't fly.

67. Giant squid eat each other - especially during sex.

68. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold one copy every minute since its 1969 publication.
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69. First-born children are less creative but more stable, while last-born are more promiscuous, says US research.

10 sunbeds by Ann Cooper
70. Reebok, which is being bought by Adidas, traces its history back more than 100 years to Bolton.

71. Jimi Hendrix pretended to be gay to be discharged from the US Army.

72. A towel doesn't legally reserve a sun lounger - and there is nothing in German or Spanish law to stop other holidaymakers removing those left on vacant seats.

73. One in six children think that broccoli is a baby tree.

74. It takes a gallon of oil to make three fake fur coats.

75. Each successive monarch faces in a different direction on British coins.

76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.

77. The only day in that time when no-one killed themselves was 16 March, 2001, the day Comic Relief viewers saw Jack Dee win Celebrity Big Brother.

78. One in 18 people has a third nipple.

79. The section of coast around Cleethorpes has the highest concentration of caravans in Europe.

10 snowdrops by Bryce Cook
80. Fifty-seven Bic Biros are sold every second - amounting to 100bn since 1950.

81. George Bernard Shaw named his shed after the UK capital so that when visitors called they could be told he was away in London.

82. Former Labour MP Oona King's aunt is agony aunt Miriam Stoppard.

83. Britain produces 700 regional cheeses, more even than France.

84. The actor who plays Mike Tucker in BBC Radio 4's The Archers is the father of the actor who plays Will Grundy.

85. Japanese knotweed can grow from a piece of root the size of pea. And it can flourish anew if disturbed after lying dormant for more than 20 years.

86. Hecklers are so-called because of militant textile workers in Dundee.

87. Pulling your foot out of quicksand takes a force equivalent to that needed to lift a medium-sized car.

88. A single "mother" spud from southern Peru gave rise to all the varieties of potato eaten today, scientists have learned.

89. Spanish Flu, the epidemic that killed 50 million people in 1918/9, was known as French Flu in Spain.

10 kebabs by Harpreet Punny
90. Ordinary - not avian - flu kills about 12,000 people in the UK every winter.

91. Croydon has more CCTV cameras than New York.

92. You are 176 times more likely to be murdered than to win the National Lottery.

93. Koalas have fingerprints exactly like humans (although obviously smaller).

94. Bill Gates does not have an iPod.

95. The first traffic cones were used in building Preston bypass in the late 1950s, replacing red lantern paraffin burners.

96. Britons buy about one million pumpkins for Halloween, 99% of which are used for lanterns rather than for eating.

97. The mother of stocky cricketer - and this year's Strictly Come Dancing champion - Darren Gough was a ballet dancer. She helped him with his pivots.

98. Nettles growing on land where bodies are buried will reach a foot higher than those growing elsewhere.

99. The Japanese word "chokuegambo" describes the wish that there were more designer-brand shops on a given street.

100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

btw: this is taken from

Thursday, December 14, 2006


December 13th 2006. Well, i guess its going to be one of those days I will never forget! I picked up my first new car! Eleanor, she is a moon mist grey Fiat Palio. Sigh! She's such a beauty, that i am worried I might cheat on my girlfriend with her! :)

I have always loved the Italian Marque, in my opinion it oozes sexiness and masculinity. My quintessential muscle care. Till such times I can pick up a hemi, I guess my Eleanor will be an Italian badge!
Buying a car, i have figured out is one of those really hard decisions. Especially if you are shelling out a lot of money to acquire this, you will always think twice at all possible stages. This means that you always wonder when you are going to be making a mistake. After you buy it, every small thing makes you wonder, "oh no, is this going to break down now" or "is this normal" or "oh my god, what is this" or "oh shit, please start" nonetheless, buying a car is stress full.

After I took delivery, I was driving so bloody carefully, i never did think that would be the scenario, :) well, its a matter of time, once I get used to her, its going to be me and my love, riding down the highway!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New conspiracy!

I have just ucnovered the greatest conspiricy of all times.
Companies are getting people to work more.

now why and how did i come to that conclusion ? well, very simple! the food!
imagine if companies are serving food known to cause impotency in men. So if a man is impotent, then he cannot perform, so if he cannot perform, he will be cursed by the partner (and that leads to a fight) and if he gets cursed by the partner, he would much rather not be at home ,and if he is not at home, (he obviously cannot go to the bar, as the same problem will exist with other women as well) he will be at office. working!
Now! more efficiency, and longer working hours for the same pay!
well, that tackles 70% of emloyees. For the other 30% being women, the same food causes "performance problems" in men, and that will lead them to not enjoying their times at home, so they end up working more.
so net net! the company is able to extract more work by serving food!


random scriblings

I guess there seem to be a lot of "random" messages going into my blog. very many a time, the question arose, what is random. is it a series of events that have no preset order? or going deeper, are they the ones that have an order, but its just that we cannot see what the order is. It is at that level, when we see order in chaos, that we realise that we are above most materialistic goods. So many times in the past few weeks I have been wanting to sit down and just write some stuff, but never got around to doing it. work keeps me busy at ffice, and when i get back, well, i have to catch up on work at home. so, sigh! we live such busy lives that we forget what it is to live. I guess we need to blame ourselves for the scenario as we have no control over the way our life goes. well, guess what... thats random! :) so, we are living a random life!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

M&A heating up or heading up?

The latest figures from transaction management firm Dealogic show that the value of deals this year has already set a new record, at $3.37trillion (£1.77trillion), surpassing the previous high set during the dotcom buyout bonanza of 2000.

This year has not just been notable for the volume of M&A, it has also been remarkable for the size of the deals taking place.

The year got off to a big start with the $39.5bn takeover of French steel firm Arcelor by rival Mittal Steel in January.

In February the deals got even bigger, with Spanish utility Endesa receiving a bid from German energy group E.ON that has subsequently risen to $66bn.

And then in March, US telecoms giant AT&T agreed to acquire smaller rival BellSouth in a deal worth $83.4bn.

M&A fever

The relentless run of deals has continued throughout 2006, culminating earlier this week with $75bn worth of deals in one 24-hour period.

According to the experts, there are a number of key factors driving the surge in M&A activity seen in the last couple of years - a boom in demand for commodities and raw materials, modest company valuations and the availability of cheap money.

The economies of developing nations like China and India are growing fast, creating huge demand for the commodities needed to build new factories, roads, power stations and ports and produce manufactured goods for their booming export trade and domestic markets.

This has sent commodity and energy prices rising and boosted profits for oil and gas companies, miners and steel makers.

graph of M&A deals in 2006

It has also led to consolidation in these sectors as companies look to increase their production capacities and cost efficiency via the quickest route - by buying up rivals.

Deals that have fallen into this category this year include Mittal Steel's $39.5bn purchase of French rival Arcelor, copper mine owner Freeport-McMoran's $26bn swoop for rival Phelps Dodge and Suez's $43.1bn tie-up with French counterpart Gaz de France.

Meanwhile, strong economic growth around the world in recent years has boosted corporate earnings across most industry sectors have left company valuations at a reasonably-priced level.

"Balance sheets are as healthy as we have seen in a long time," says Lars Kreckel, an equity strategist with investment bank ABN Amro.

"This gives them the capacity to fund a takeover, and now they have the confidence as well."

Private equity

According to John Cole, a partner at consultants Ernst & Young, heavy M&A activity is one of the hallmarks of a stable, mature economy.

  1. AT&T (US, telecoms) buys BellSouth (US, telecoms) - $83.4bn
  2. E.ON (German, energy) buys Endesa (Spanish, energy) - $66.1bn
  3. Suez (France, utility) buys Gaz de France (French, energy) - $43.1bn
  4. Mittal Steel (Dutch, steel) buys Arcelor (French, steel) - $39.5bn
  5. Banca Intesa (Italy, finance) buys Sanpaolo IMI (Italy, finance) - $37.7bn
Source: Dealogic

"There comes a point when even a well-run company cannot grow much further organically, it can't eat any more market share," he says.

But the main impetus for M&A growth this year has not been companies buying other companies, it has been private equity investors buying companies.

According to Dealogic, private equity firms have done $563.2bn worth of deals this year, 17% of all M&A activity, up from a 12% share of activity in 2005.

With their recent successful track record of buying under-valued companies and selling them at a profit, private equity giants like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira, Blackstone and Carlyle have been able to raise huge funds from eager investors wanting to share in the profits.

Investment bank Credit Suisse reckons that private equity houses will raise up to $200bn in the US and Europe.

But the money they get from investors is dwarfed by the huge sums they will be able to borrow against it.

Credit Suisse estimates this will swell their takeover budget to between $500bn and $600bn.

Cheap debt

Cheap money is at the heart of the M&A bonanza.

Building site in China
Surging economies in China and India are lifting global earnings

Although interest rates are on the way up in many countries, they are still historically low.

Hence private equity companies can borrow huge amounts of money, confident that they can accommodate these debts with the earnings growth they can achieve from their takeover targets.

"Private equity companies are very good at making use of low borrowing costs," says Mr Kreckel.

"All the pieces are still in place for strong M&A activity looking forward."

Prospects for 2007

If anything, Mr Kreckel expects the deals to get bigger as the even greater sums available to invest bring larger companies into play as potential targets.

"It can make sense to buy one big company instead of 25 smaller ones, and they often offer more value," he says.

Copper mined and processed by Phelps Dodge
Rising commodity prices have boosted mining company profits

Although the current M&A cycle is three years old, it shows no sign of stopping.

Recent notes issued by ABN Amro, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley all point to another bumper year next year.

Economic growth looks set to remain relatively strong and stable, and interest rates should stay at historically low levels.

And although M&A activity has surged to levels seen just before the dotcom crash and economic slump in 2001, more companies are funding their takeovers with cash rather than financing the deal with their own shares.

Experts also point to the historically low levels of companies defaulting on their debts.

Things could change - interest rates could rise sharply, company earnings could slump and a number of high-profile private equity deals could turn sour and spook the markets - but at the moment, M&A activity is set to continue apace during 2007.

taken from bbc world website:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

i saw a rainbow today.

i saw a rainbow today.

the funny part was it was a clear hot day, i thought maybe my eyes are playing a trick on me, but then two others also confirmed what i saw. maybe its not a rainbow, but a part of a rainbow. light reflecting very strangely off a cloud can cause light to disperse and cause a rainbow. its lovely, in stark contrast to the metal chinmey of the generator that pokes into the skyline like an ugly thorn, this adds a suble beauty. the green tree at the base of the tower, ad the vibrant raimbow at the top, its ads the color one looks for in an increasingly bleak life. its still there ,a few mins later, strugling as the clouds sweep past. its only source of the elexir of life is the white water mass, high above the ground. strugling.
life is many a times like the rainbow. today it was formed here, tomorrow, it goes where there is rain. we need to go where we find an opportunity to make us better.
make us fly faster,
make us realise the reason we are here.
its amazing! sometimes things are so clear, but they do not exist. physically you can see it, but physically you cannot prove it is there. there exists no form, no feeling, nothing.

The Golden Quad

I drove down to bangalore the other day, and took the famed GQ... man, was i impressed. I was able to do a steady 90, even while passing thru villages. However, true desi style, you had maniacs driving on the wrong side, and glaring at you like your at fault!

Friday, October 06, 2006

M & A

classification of growth has lead to a very generic macro level perspective that can be compartmentalized as organic and inorganic. One where the company grows through its hard work and push, thereby improving systems within, and products leads to better profits and share value thereby a bigger market cap. This, I feel is a good way of growing, simply due to the fact that the possibility of learning during the process. This is much slower and has its own loopholes and downfalls, there by making this route to growth sometimes a harder path to take.

Another interesting path that is taken by many is the "inorganic" path. This mainly encompasses the M&A route that leads to a larger organization with a better market cap. However, mixing oil and water cannot happen by just mixing them, you need to add emulsified agents, or blend them in, like with mayonnaise. The acquiring company generally looks for a company that either compliments or supplements its existing talent pool thereby enabling itself to move into a relatively new market, or a new product or a another competitor. In essence, any M&A activity involves changing the 4Ps and creating a new set of 4Ps that are different from the company's existing ones.

So how does an M&A activity help a company? Well, like the points mentioned above:
1. The company sees great scope in a particular market, however, it does not posses the necessary talent or technology to enter this market, hence it decide to acquire a company that is doing well in this market for the same.
2. The company needs to grow to show that it is doing well, I call it the ford route, acquire other companies that will help add to your product portfolio and say very boldly to the world that my product portfolio has increased hence I am dong well.

there are many more reasons why M&A activities take place, but this is not the reason of this post. Many a time, actually majority of times the merger fails to take off, due to cultural or other factors, some notably good ones that lost value for the share holder rather than gained value are he AOL-time Warner merger, Daimler Chrysler,etc. etc

However, a symbiotic relationship need not necessarily exist purely through a merger or an acquisition. There are MoUs that can be signed by companies such that they can work with each other to help provide better services to their customers.

Cashnet, a common atm switch built for Indian banks is one such example where consolidation of infrastructure has worked well to better the customer experience. Cashnet is in direct competition to VISA/Maestro's switching and backbone networks, however, with the interconnect fees being charged per transaction, the possibility of moving customers from counter banking to ATM banking would have been tough with this as a deterrent. The average cost of servicing a customer at the branch works out to about Rs.200/- per transaction as opposed to Rs.20/- at the ATM and about 0.40P via the internet. Hence, embracing technology is a good way forward for the bank thereby allowing them to be able to spread their reach and improve the customer touch points.

Consolidation in t he banking industry has seen a string of mergers between banks and other institutes. The ICICI merger along with ICICI bank to result in a single entity, the same with HDFC and TimesBank resulting in HDFC bank, Global trust bank etc. This can be seen as a path forward to many banks.

Like with setting up any infrastructure, the costs involved are rather high, and the returns need not necessarily offset the investment. The greatest risk is the fact that a large percentage of the income is from interests generated via lending. India has the highest percentage of vehicles bought on loans. The worldwide average is about 70% vis a vis 80% in India.

The ability of the treasury in the bank to be able to roll the customers savings profitably is the key to survival of the banks. Hence, areas where the bank can save on infrastructure costs it will either outsource or work with other banks. In the case that the bank has decided to go on its own, eventually might lead to its collapse, and its assets being picked up by another bank.

The banking scene is fraught with trends of Mergers or acquisition or understandings within the community in order to survive against the big fish.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

a song!

I stand at the door,
wondering where i need to go,
my life is ahead of me,
like a book, with empty pages.
waiting for me to write,
about, me, my love and my life.

now how i choose to write that,
it is all up to me,
cause my life is in my hands,
to be what i want to be.

I stand at the door,
wondering where she is,
looking for the light,
feeling a sense of pride,
now, why should it affect me?
the five words, L,O, V E

Now How i choose to write that,
it is all up to me,
cause my life is in my hands,
to be all i want to be.

---- Guitar Solo-----

the door closes,
i am neither in nor out,
wondering why i have to be,
in so much of doubt,
i see the light,
i see the dark,
i see the love,
as bright as a spark,
i wonder what holds me,
no matter how hard i try,

its all up to me now,
to live my life,

now how i choose to write tht,
it is all up to me,
cause my life is in my hands,
to be all i want to be.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My new torch!

Well, I could not think of a better title, because i just wanted to pen down some of my thoughts, and my torch, which incedently is new, was lying next to me, hence the title.

One of the things i personally belive de-motivates anyone beyond measure is the lack of any acknowledgement from people involved. i put in a lot of effort into something that i did sometime ago, but hoewver, acknowledgement has never been attributed to me, but to some others, sometimes, i wonder why this happens. is it that its an oversight? but i guess what upsets more is that someone who does nthing gets acknowledged as having contributed, thats even more depressing.
sigh!!1 i guess i have to just live with this kind of stuff all the time!!!

The latest competitive edge!

in todays world: what is the single point that provides the competitive edge? Technology: there has been a steady move from man, to machine to microchips.
from the industrial revolution, there has been the constant urge to find ways of doing things, better, faster and cheaper, thats what makes the company do better, and thats what sells. The horse drawn carriage was replaced by a motorised carriage (even though in some states in india, there are still ox drawn carriages, thats a generation behind the horse drawn ones), the hand made motor carriage was replaced by the assembly line, the assembly line was perfected to JIT, and that has provided for cheaper faster cars. now a company that first had gotten itself lovely sales persons who could talk the hind legs off a donkey, and also sell sand to the arabs at the same time. later, there was the inkling that the things were not going as planned, so they turned towards technology to get and track the customers needs, wants & desires. that worked really well, then everyone got into doing just that. Jaguar did that rather successfully, wherein, they used technology to track their customer service requirements, and this has become an industry standard. Jaguar worked hand in hand with Peppers & Rogers group to come out with a customer relationship mgt suite that helps track the usage, and based on the customers driving patterns informs the customer about service frequencies etc. this worked well, because it provide for a "personalised" attention to each customer. From what i heard, lexus goes one level further with technology. Each car owner's specifications are taken into account, and once the internal adjustments for the car are made, they are embedded intot eh key that is handed over, that includes seat height, airconditioning, music system volume etc etc, so when the car is opened with a particular key, the adjustments are made for the driver to get in. That is clearly a competitive edge using technology.

However, technology can be replicated, so what is it that the company needs to stay in front? Using technology to enable business, not using technology for business. Using technology to enable business is to be able to leaverage on cutting edge technology to offer better services to its customers. The market is moving from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. World over, it is the services that play an impact. Even in a manufcaturing company, the services angle plays an important role in deciding the buying decisions of the customer. Hence, any company, wishing to stay ahead of competition, should use technology to enable its employees to work better.

Unified communications platforms,VoIPs, MPLS, MoIP etc are all new age technologies that are coming into the market. ompanies that are able to implement them will definitly be able to push ahead of competition.

On example of leveraging on technology, a food service company was able to reduce response times from 24hrs to 15 mins due to implementation of CISCO's Unified communcations platform. Another IT service company was able to shave 20% off its data communcation costs due to its migration to an MPLS network.

So, now that we know that technology is here to stay, we should allow ourselves to leverage on it to enable businesses.

That is the latest competitive edge!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My first long distance trip!

Well, there is this group of cycling enthusiasts, whom i had gotten to know of, yesterday, they were planning on taking a trip to the north of the city. i thought, hmmm. maybe i will take a ride, meet up with them and head back, so i went to meet them, and the idea of actually peddling a bout 65 Kms did sound fun, it was that inbetween place, neither too far, nor too close! so we took off. It turned out to be a very interesting ride. the sights, the sounds. The pain of cycling really got to me by the end of the trip, i was a pile of aches. That did feel rather bad, cause the others seem to have been in good health! :( so now i have something to work towads, i think i must get a better seat on my cycle, i think that will help! :)
anyways, i decided that if i comeback and give into my aching joints, i might not be able to get up, so i bravely put up a front and head out to finish errands! i finally go to sleep rather early, and then wake up in the mornig with a phenomenal back ache! something that does not hurt, is hurting now! :( aarrggh! got to get back in shape!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

HP's dilemma with the law?

off late, there has been a lot of "hue and cry" about HP's independent probe into the alleged leak of information of its board meetings to the media. The HP board inducted a vendor to look into these, and also to look for the source of the leaks. The HP director assigned to oversee these, Patricia Dunn, appeared to have been unaware of the use and methodology of pretexting. Gathered from various news reports, I figured that Dunn, would not have ordered the use of such means, considering the high profile of this case as well as the unethical nature of the method. However, why is there such a hue and cry?

I want to find out what is happening in my house, I ask someone to check, they give me the results. I don't want to know how they did it. I find out what's wrong, I fix it. I am happy, no one knows.

how different is this from what governments of countries do to ensure "security"? Except this is a government organization. In all fairness, people are jumping onto this "lets get at HP and prove a point" bandwagon. However, the bigger picture is not being seen.

this is quite unfair for people to be pouncing. If my security and my trade secrets are at stake, I will use any means in order to resolve these issues.

in today's information world, where the technologies and needs are changing so fast that they can be clocked with an egg timer, guarding secrets is the greatest necessity of the corporation.

so what is the difference between a company and a country? One is guarding the people, and one is guarding the economy. Which is more important? Well, neither. They both require each other to survive. The economy requires the company to survive, and the company requires people to survive, and the people require the economy to survive. So the government, should allow the company to survive, as putting a spoke in the wheel might lead to greater consequences that might spiral out of control.

Monday, September 18, 2006

he state of the press--- very un-im"pressed"

i was just reading something on a news website, about the prime ministers visit to havana.then somehitng stuck out like a sore thumb.

why do the press pry so much!

people are talking about meetings between two great people, and then the last few para's are about the prime minsters eating habits! it kinda really pissed me off.

do i really need to know that he does not risk eating non veg food outside, and that he takes cooks from india where ever he goes. and if he does not take cooks, he eats food made at the indian ambassadors house? and... the best part, they have given the menu!
honestly, this is great news, very well researched, but do i really need to know that? about how he eats only lentils and greens ..... how does this affext me?

Friday, September 15, 2006



Apparently, a very rare species of the ape family, this was thought to be a common chimpanzees untill 1982, when scientists found a difference in the genetic sequence. now there is a swing that these Bonobos are closer to humans than to Chimps.
I actually came across this on bbc's website that said there exist less than 10K of these. I was thinking, that an entire species exists, who's total strenght is less than the number of people working in one city in my office. like the dodo, if things are not done fast, the bonobo will become extinct.

so why is this ofprime importance to me? quite simple, i did chcek some pictures of these things, and i saw that these are so close to humans that they might be the missing link between chimps and humans. This is a matriarchial society, like the egyptians and some of the more advnaced societies in the world, the female bonobo makes decisions.
They breed once every 3 to 4 years, thereby giving the female time to recover and nurse the bonobo till its old enough. That is another line similar to humans ( well, i guess i am leaving out certain areas that have an annoying habit of getting "knocked" up "unknowingly" and not in terms of planning for families) that is why the number of bonobos are reducing as the frequency of births and number of offsprings are a far cry from some other species such as dogs and turtles.

Now come some more interesting facts, the bonobo infant, needs the love of a mother, else it just dies. thats very scary considering, the fact that we assumed the mammals to be of a "lesser" species. there does exist a sanctuary in DR Congo that has 'surrogate" mothers to take care of these infants.

The links that I thought i must talk about,

and the sanctuary that take care of Bonobos:

NOTE: The above images are not mine. They have been taken from the website

Monday, September 04, 2006

Information overload

Information overload:

As and when i type out, the keys that i press are transformed to ones and zero's and then its pushed to the computer, that displays the keys are they are "supposed" to appear. now, the word document that saves the words that are typed by me is again saved as ones and zeros. the now the whole world, has been converted to ones and zero's. this means that these one's and zero;s are growing faster than the fusion on the sun, and this information explosion is going to hit us so hard, we wont know what hit us?

to us what is a file that is being saved? 45KB that is saved on my 40Giga Byte harddrive. gone are the days that a 128Kbyte harddisk is top of the line, now a days, disk players are coming with more memory than that.

So where is this going?with one document after another being churned out every minuute, the frantic typing of keyboards shows that there is information going into the system to be stored. now this systems then gets put onto the internet, and displayed for the world to see. However, there is a physical aspect to the whole thing.

Where there is a physical dimension, there will be a limit, where there is a limit, there will be a cost.

So where is the information overload heading? Currently, there are the Terra bytes, and so on, and Apple's XSAN claims to be able to handle PetaBytes, thas the size of the GigaByte, raised to the power of five! So where does all this lead to? The cost of storage is skyroketing! with cost per GB gradually declining due to the technology cost time curve, the volume of the storage is increasing at rates of close to 100%. Now with social sites coming and people "connecting" there is a spurt of storage requirement. Take for example "you tube" or "flickr", a site that allows people to upload and share photos. There is a poitn where it costs the user nothing to share, but the company to provide the storage space, and as and when this stoage grows, the costs allocated to the company's storage also grows?

there needs to be a more streamlined thought process on Data & storage dynamics.People should be more concious on where what when how. there are always, multiple copies of files stored in multiple locations. Companies taking
backups are taking the backup of the same data.

There was a report that said 60% of the information on certain systems were accessed last about twelve months ago.

That leaves us with the picture that more than a couple of TB of data is lying blocked. It is not an asset now but a liability, and hence a white elephant.

People need to be taking an active role in making sure that the data that is stored is of use and not something that will not be seen after a while. if there are internet links that have interesting documents, the best thing to do is either save the links on files, or other bookmarking sites like can be made use of to save on stoage space by bookmarking the sites.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Product Sabotage & Market Cannibalization

Marketing is war! Be it within the organization or within the market segment or within the market on a generic level. There is a battle of the brands to get mindspace, shelf space, top of the mind recall, impulse purchase points and anything possible to make the consumer lift the product off the shelf and place it at a point of consumption in their personal lives. There are many ways that marketers achieve their desired results, be it in a legitimate way or sometimes borderline cases where the truth is bent so much that it makes any meandering river appear smooth as a well polished piece of wood.

Advertising has been the primary method for product promotion. Over the top advertising, online, offline be in a straight line, or not so straight line, products are advertised throughout the city, street or country. The popularity of the product and the places where all the products are advertised meets the eye at every nook and corner. Things right from pin to pianos are advertised in all media possible: electronic, print, radio television etc. This is the form that has the marketer standing and shouting from the roof tops about discounts and more discounts. Look at the strategy of any of the airlines. They shout and advertise about low airfares, and how these airfares are cheaper than the train fares, but what they don’t add is the fact that “other charges are extra”- namely a surcharge, tax and others. So what is so great about advertising, very specifically, it gives just the highlights of the product. However miniscule the “benefit”, that is built upon. Obviously, that is the logical explanation; you do not stand on rooftops and shout about the defects of the product.

It has been a trend of late, instead of moving from a product appeal to emotional appeal, thereby taking the consumers through the “advertising life cycle”, marketers are attempting to bypass the whole process by releasing emotionally appealing advertising first. This attempt, I feel, seems to be back firing big time, simply because, in advertising, like in kindergarten, consumers need to be hand held till they can stand on their own two feet and decide. There is a popular belief that the advent of the internet has made the process of purchase and the entire purchase cycle shorter, however, in a country like India, where the PC penetration is still a mere 14 per 1000 and the internet penetration being about 5 per 1000 [1] , so how does this contribute to the “increased” awareness? We still have 995 people out of every 1000 still basing their decisions on the advertisements they see on the various media, so I believe there needs to be a serious re-look at the advertising methods being adopted. When a brand connects with the customer on the emotional level, leaving out the first phase of “product enlightenment”, the customers are left vulnerable. Much like Abhimanyu’s attempt to breach the Chakravyuha. He was successful in breaking in, but unable to escape, breathed his last, in a vain attempt to free himself. Similarly, moving advertising onto the emotional level, by by-passing the first few levels, will leave the consumer highly susceptible to counterfeits and “pass-offs”, as the knowledge levels of the product are still in the infancy and the consumer has “bonded” with the product already, the window of opportunity to strike and dupe unsuspecting victims is evident at this stage.

Marketing is more than advertising, according to the marketing text-books, the product, price, promotion and place or the new mantra of creating value, communicating value and delivering value. So the value is created by the product team, this value is then communicated via the marketing team and finally the sales and distribution team delivers the value. However, sometimes value needs to be “destroyed” in order to build value. This means reducing the market share on one product in order to increase the market share of another product. Else, the introduction of flanker brands does just that. The market is captured by the fact that the main brand exists and the flanker brands, basically watered down versions of the main brand, work towards driving out competition. When car companies launch cars to compete in certain segments there is inevitably a spill over to another segment wherein there is competition with pre-existing models. Perfect examples will be high end models in one segment and low end models of the next higher segment.

There is another interesting phenomenon that seems to be getting noticed these days: Product sabotage [2] . Essentially, this means, pushing higher margin products, and keeping the lower margins off the “menu card” so to speak. Sabotaging the product, is also done in order to make the consumer upgrade to the next higher one. One example cited was the IBM printer example, in which IBM inserted chips into the printers in order to slow them down. Starbuck’s example of not featuring the cheaper ones on the menu, because the profitability on those are lower.

So what does all this translate to?

Consumers are becoming more aware that these things happen, more so, the ability of the consumer not to be taken for a ride is definitely reducing because of the internet. Developed nations such as Japan, the US, Europe and others where the PC penetration is high and the internet penetration is even higher, the ability to deliver information directly to the target audience is a growing challenge. This will be a constant battle in order to provide direct campaigns that ultimately resort to a higher convertibility in terms of sales.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My mistaken identity as a Pimp!

Well, I am really pissed. the past few days, my life seems to be getting tormented by morons who dont seem to have the balls to go speak to women, or they just dont seem to have balls, full stop. I really dislike it when people use my name to get to knw others, without my consent. I dont mind it if i personally introduce them, however, when people take liberties such as this, it really ticks me off. today i got a call:
Caller: hey man, how you doing?
ME: good, wassup?

Caller: hey, this friend of ours was saying you know this girl.
Me: yeah, So.

Caller: Well, there is this friend of mine who wants to know which school she studied in.
me: What? (complete disbelief, considering im doing some really important work on news. bbc.

Caller: Well, this friend of ours said that you know this girl, and I wanted to know if you can give me that information.
Me: Can i speak to this friend of ours?
Friend: these guys are mad.

Me: duh! huh! they work for SW cos, what DO you expect?

Caller: maan, can you help.
Me: No.
Friend: NO, good!
Me: Tell them if they wnat to know, let them Talk.
Caller: *click*

I mean, gwad! whats up wth the world today! Do I look like a pimp or something? i mean, AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!
two days in a row: something tells me, tomorrow IS NOT going to be different!

Brahadeshwara Temple!

One of the most famous landmarks of Southern India, The brahadeshwara temple is a quentisential display of Cholan Art form. Its sanctum sanctorium (the inner shrine) is built out of a single stone, thereby making it the largest monolithic structure in the world. It is also one of the first sites in southern india to come under the UNESCO banner as a heritage site. The unique structure of the sanctum sanctorium is such that the shadow of the top never falls on the ground. It is also the ONLY temple in the world where the Sanctum Sanctorium is taller than the entrrance. In traditional temple architecture, the entry gopuram is taller than the main gopuram, however, in this temple (and unique only to this temple) it is the other way. Also, this is one of the few temples dedicated to Shiva.

Lovely place. You should visit it if you have the time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The future of the internet

There seems to be a serious amount of consolidation that appears to be happening over the internet. Initially, there was the client - server architecture that had the world blown with its advanced technology at the back end and "dummy" terminals at the front end. But then, gradually, as people became pressed for time, more and more applications started moving to the desktop, and there were more powerful and faster computers, and the transfer rates within the computer did not keep up with the rates of the network. That means, the network rates were much slower, and it reduced over distance. So the cost of transferring data over longer distances seemed to be increasing. However, the size of data also seems to be on the rise. So, what does one do?

Move everything online. That is on the server, yet running off the client. Perfect example Ajax. Heavy application running off the server and page gets dynamically updated without referring back to the server on the desktop unit itself. Now how’s that for technology.

I feel that IT is going through the same process that the manufacturing companies took. First the bigger is better, then bigger is not better, then better is bigger, and then better is better.

Big companies came in, the dot com boom, the dot com bust, the dot com rise. in processing, things are getting smaller, like manufacturing, batch sizes are decreasing, for optimization on the production line. more and more items are getting intergrated.

the VoIP wars seem to be heating up. VoIP of voice over IP, heralded in a new form of long distance communcation. with the internet speeds icnreasing very fast, packet sizes are becming smaller, and more packed. MPLS, now moves away from ATM and Frame Relay networks, offering high avaiability networks that can run voice and data and have QoS installed on it, now HOW cool is THAT! Skype's tryst with the internet seems to be taking beatings in all quaters. Voice quaility is good on skype, and the only downside was the free skype to skype calls. that means, unless skyps esits, its paid calls for a skype out connection. The gizmo project came out with something "better" you could call your contacts off-net numbers for free. but that is so cunning that it does not seem to work for me, even though I have fulfilled all the pre-requsit requirements. Very deceptive! well, the Behemoth of the internet google is slowly making inroads. I fear that soon, they will rule the internet, an if they decide to start charing for their service, god help the others!!! :)
anyways, skype's "unique" peer-to-peer protocol, which suspect was improved on from Kazaa days is not the usual SIP/SIMPLE protocol that is deployed by gizmo. It has its own propritary protocol that it is riding on. Now with google getting into the instant communcation space using jabber, i seriously think things are going to get heated up. the enterprise space seems to be dominated currently with microsofts, ibms and other large players. OpenSource seems to have taken a backseat, mainly due to support issues. Now, that I am sure will be something that is slowly growing out. The Ubuntu forum seems to be the a brillinat place to be able to get information, with the pool of knowledge of users giving rookies a fair taste of seemless intergration. Google's promotion of Jabber, a protocol used for presence and IM. i first used it on apple talk. found it so cool. if you log into you gmail, the same thing pops up and shows you if your contact is online or not. imagine now moving this to a mobile unit. if I look at my mobile phone, I can see if my friends are online, and send then an sms/ instant message.

I think the entire shift is towards mobility, information and speed. Wimax has been deployed, now with a wimax enabled phone, you can log into your phone, surf, and make calls, voip as well as via the cellular network.

wimax will have the ability to stream video and audio with bandwidths of Mbps as opposed to slower than 33.6 Kbps on a gprs.

the future is wide open!

Friday, August 18, 2006

and with time!

Not the view from my room

I was bored! well, not bored, just did not feel like processing work. so i decided to let my creativity take flight! and this is what i got. I must warn you, i have shite loads of work, but then sometimes, you just dont feel like doing squab! and this is what i felt before indulging in this. I do like the outcome.... someday i might just show you what the orignizal picture is. i saw some nice clouds from my desk, and clicked it with my phone. then transfered this to my desktop and edited. I wonder, five years ago, this would not have been possible. gwash! technology is here to stay!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Places I want to visit

1. Bhutan
2. Cairo - Egypt
3. Tulavu
4. Norfolk Islands
5. Timbuctoo
6. Maldives : Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives : Bright white beaches, lush vegetation and high-end resorts conspire to make the Maldives, a cluster of remote islands in the Indian Ocean, one of the sexiest destinations in the world. Lhaviyani Atoll, known for its abundance of sea creatures, is also home to Kuredu Island Resort. On the northern reef of the atoll, Kuredo offers thatched-roof bungalows and private villas. Room rates start at $100 per night over the summer and include breakfast.
7.Lofoten Islands, Norway, Ranked as the 2nd most beautiful island.

Marketing Practice

Marketing Practice

Random thoughts on IT

Every morning, I board a bus to come to work. the bus service is operated by the company i work for. I get picked up at an early hour, and its a good one hour ride to work. similarly, the return journey in the evening is a grand hour and a half long. towards my drop off point, i am one of the few people left.

the morning pickup, inevitably has me thinking about life. the pickup point is the local bus stop. The point where the public transport system and the private transpot system form a union. the Metropolitant transport buses come, people run about, the young the old, the frail the healthy, men, women children, grandchildren, all come to board the bus. the come, they stand, they see, they run, they smoke, they laugh. these emotions, carried on through the time, waiting and watching. Watching if its their bus that comes, talking on cell phones, talking to friends, just thinking. as their transport approaches, they run, desperate to get onto this one, else they have to wait longer. the thought of getting the next bus that might be even more crowded. does not appease the person waiting.

then comes the IT busses, they stop, people get on. more than sufficuent space to sit. people in the busses look down on the bus stop. looking down literally and figurativly, you wonder, what special thing did we do to deserve this treatment? are we, the ones in IT really all that great to look down on people? are we really helping the industry or are we increasing the CPI due to the extravegant spending.

An It employee with stock options gets so much money that he/she does not know what to do? where in this earth would you have thoght that at some point you would be sitting on stock thats worth in the million range! i mean, get a grip. so this is a classic case of big bigger biggest fish.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

office politics!

There is a rather long series of articles on office politics on a news website. in each article the format is standard, a case, and then dissection by psychologits (shrinks). well, what do shrinks know? in a larger scale of things, i will give them credit to be able to see it from a macro level, but ground reality is simple. water does not flow the way you want it to flow. it has its own mind. human beings are just the same. theories of constipation, procastination and squalor will not apply to all in situations when there are lots at stake. at best, there could be a general direction hat human beings go to, but then this is a rather "technical" explanation. a depressed person might kill himself or mightnot kill himself. now hows that for an explanation? rather generic. well, yes. but as they say, there is still a lot that needs to be discoverd about the human mind, and typecasting a person is getting that no where.
office politics like with politics everywhere, on the playing field, in the classrooms, everywhere are the same. the protagonist is the boss, and the pawns are the helpless people being outdone. but, is it possible to be able to survive in a highly politically charged environment, and yet remain neutral? well, i belive it is so. staying out is harder. people prefer to take sides, and the side they take, can be either one sided or two sided.

practicing the art of staying out, should be spread as the gospel truth!

adsense - makes no sense!

in the midst of a rather serious article on office politics.... "Learn Buddhism - Help yourself and others be healthy in body mind & spirit. Distance ed - Ads by Google"

kinda added a rather humurous touch to the article! :)

Monday, July 31, 2006

are we trapped?

there are many times when i go into these "phases. i wonder many a times, as to what are we doing. here, there, everywhere. i wonder why i come to work, and what am i doing here. everyday after lunch, i stand at the canteen window, and from there it is an unristricted view of just open spaces.(my office is situated far outside the city). i do think it should be justified to make any call to my office a long distance call, its rather inhuman to travel so far to work. anywyas, when i see these large tracts of land i wonder, if we are doing all we can. i wonder i am doing what i can do best? am i doing what i like? what brings me here? its so wonderful to see open land, green, with vehicles in the distance, trawling up and down, like little ants. motorcycles, auto's, very few in number, jus floating through. traveliing at what seems to be its own pace. that coupled with a blue sky, washed fresh with a few clouds. aaaah.. you wonder... why, why am i standing behind this glass and looking out? why am i not out there? and why am I NOT creating a path where others can follow?

so, are we trapped? by the shackles of society. society that does not allow us to do what we want to do, a society where it is black and white, right and wrong, traditions followed blindly without question. questions that make one wonder where this is headnig or why it has to be done in a way. we take things and accept them as we are, but what we fail to see is the underlying reason or truth beind it.

look at advertsing. no one sells coffee anymore. everyone sells either the experience of drinking coffee or the emotion of drinking a coffee. so what abuot the good ol cup of caffeine? the much needed boost to push you through the day. marketeers push to differentiate the product from the competition. so, at the end of the day, the coffee in the cup that you drink is the same, but the way they sell it to you is different, else why would they try and "differentiate" their products to the customer? the customer, (me in this case) is intelligent enough to be able to know the differnence between the coffee. but no, the marketing person needs to "think up" a differentiator. why?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Microsoft, Nortel join on unified comms - Microsofts tryst with unified communications.

Microsofts tryst with unified communications. Unified communications is a platform on which all forms of commnication, voice, im etc etc are combined to a single "dashboard" where people find it easier to use. in the sense tht from a sort of "IM" screen, one can send out IM, phone calls, audio and video confrences- share files & Applications and on the whole, a host of other productivity enhancement tools right to the desktop. So how does this help?
this means that using a single screen, i can connct, disconnect and get work done in order to "improve" my productivity and ability to respond faster and quicker.
But whats MS got to do with it? well, in my opinion, almost everything. they heralded in the popluarity of the instant messaging platform with their msn messenger that was literly forced down everyones throat, in a way its a good thing. and in a way, its well, force feeding. i am sure people will say there have been instatn messaging solutions before msn popularized it across the internet, like ibm's lotus sametime and all, but the popularity of this has definitl surparsed.
MS now decided to foray into enterprise wide IM, and then said, "hey, i think i can start charging for this" casue after all, its my client. so they decide to charge for it. which in my mind is THE mos ridicilous step they can take as i would not want to pay for something that the whole world uses for free!
now they get wiser. in 2004 -2005 gartner showed MS getting its hiney kicked by Siemens, Nortel etc etc, so they decide to do what MS is best at, sink in tonnes of money and bring out a crappy product that serves no better purpose that what its already serving now, and i hve to pay more for it. gwahs, with MS you really need to rename them buggers to MonopolySoft and not Microsoft.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

the state of affairs!

When you read the news today, where is all the happiness going? where are all the good things going? you see only violence, hatred, war? why is the world slipping into the dark ages, where its not becomming mroe than an eye for an eye, but more like a body for your eye, and outright war for my eye.

is it fair on what the state of the world is?

Monday, July 10, 2006

review: second in Command

Well, i was sitting down to watch the dvd of "16 Blocks" a bruce willis flick, which i found rather interesting, (will write about that laterz) and i saw the tralier of "Second in Command" a Jeane Claude Vandame flick. the trailer as usual made it look awesome. so in my ensuing search, i went forth and conquored. I got myself a copy of the movie. Man! that was simply the worst decision of my life!
the movie sucked to the core.
Vandame's movies have been going downhill, and continue to go down way beyond repair. the movie tends to glorify the millitary and the fact that its a low budget flick is evident from the poor sets, and bad CGI / SFX.
gwash, even te students of NYUFI could have done a better job!
well, the story is, ... hmm.. how do i put it, non existant. the usual, JCV comes, glorified entry, hype, sex, guns and more guns! here you have a tank shooting at a building and the marks are left on the wall like a 50MM AA gun. its rather sad.
The apache's and sikorskys in the film are shown to have a range of 6Hrs, WAHAT? three hours, hovering time, and a return journey.
its painful to see JCVs flicks go down like this. after movies like UniSol, kickboxer, the quest, and hard target, atleast they were genuine action flicks, wher JCV had some serious kick ass action scenes. His karate is rather good, and it needs to be showcsed, here there was nothing !!! phat!
still trying to recover fom it!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Review: Apocalpsye now!

I first read about the movie apocalpsye now when i was reading about the vietnam war in Wikipedia. Now, i figured i must get my hand on this movie and watch it.
I finally did manage to get my hands on this movie, and Am I glad i did that.
firstly with a stellar cast of Marlon brando, marting sheen and harrison ford, put together by cappola's screenplay and direction, there is nothing else on can ask for.

i guess i can say that it did spook me out a bit, cuase in the middle of the night i woke up seeing the faces of the tribals all over, thinking they have machine guns and are going to open fire once chef and i ride out in the boat.

the way the movie flows keeps you in your seat, along with the psychodelic music of the doors goes well with the abstract theme.

initially when you start the movie you wonder, whats going to be happening, the grim portrayal of the vietnam war, and like willard says, the more like home they try and make it, the more they miss it. mere teens on the boat, in the war everywhere.

sometimes it makes you wonder what is it that pushed them into going to war? i read somewhere that it was the fact that between germany and japan the allies had no base, and this would have been ideal for it was close to both countries.

the movie brutally portrays the determination of the us soldiers to stay alive, and the vietnamese to push them out by any means, the scene that captures the latter is the one at the school yard, where the little girl throws in the grenade into the huey. and the former is when they are making a surprise inspection of the boat. like willard says "first we cut them up with a machine gun, and then give them bandaid". rather true.

i foudn the film to portray a mans confusion in life, as he procedes with what he is supposed to be doing, and when you get there, you wonder if you should be doing what you came to do or do in your judgement what is right? but then, agian, what are you there to do in the first place? you are sent in to do someone elses dirty work, you do it no matter how dirty it is? does this prove your loyalty? or does it prove that you have no say in the matter. a similar thought stream eminated from X3, but will talk about that later.

Martin sheens charecterization is great, with a cold cruel killer. like he says, i went back, but i realised my mind was still here. will one ever be the same after a war?
Brandos portrayal of Kurtz is awesome. The buildup of the charecter, nd the final display when he cuts off "chefs" head. cold, cruel. but then when you hear him talking about the vietnamese who cut off their innoculated childrens arms, then you realise, Krutz will do anything to get the job done, and below the exterior, he is still human.

i guess its some of these questions that plague all of us through out our lives.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Review: Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore

In the search for good italian food, one apparently draws up to Pasta Fresca.
Recently opened up in Chennai, at 32 Thirumallai pillai road, (opposite vidyodaya school, TNagar), i was blown away with a lot of things there.

there were four of us, one chef, one self confessed pasta lover, and two foodies. We decided to embark and try out the new "Italian" joint.
There was a strong professional touch to the entire thing, the Head chef is Italian, and the restaurant chain is an international one headquartered in Singapore. Their website is

We had starters, a main course, dessert and expresso (apparently, it is a tradition to close dinner with an expresso). the bill worked out to about Rs 350 per head, which i felt was well worth it due to the wonderful food, excellent ambiance and brilliant service.

The starters was this bread with cheese on top, it had a very italian name, which for the life of me i cannot recollect, but it was brilliant, had authentic olive oil, and cheese. There was a bread basket with an assortment of nice hot bread that was on our table, and the water glass never became empty.

Ratings are on a scale of 1 - 10, where 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

Ambiance : 9
the quaint interior had just the right lighting and the decor was adequate. There was however the irritating "pesto-flash" cracking away in the room, with a UV glow filling it. the kitchen was an open kitchen, yet it provided the privacy to it. The excellent cutlery and the plates were thoguht right thru.

Food: 10.
the freshest vegetables, most authentic food, and generous quantities would definitely tip the scale in favor of Pasta Fresca. I ordered a fried chicken of sorts, there was a pasta, a pizza and a non vegetarian platter that was ordered. These portions were generous, and the food tasted authentic. the pizza was flat, hand spun and brilliant. The meat was well cooked and fried just right. The pasta was delicious, they also have their own pasta making machine, that rolls and cuts it how ever they want it, as Spaghetti, Fusilli, Rotini etc. the desert was mind blowing, had souffle that was not made out of egg white but out of alomond milk. this apparently has the same properties of thickening as egg white.
The food was also very well presented, with care being given to the kind of vegetables being placed on the plate that go with the dish.

Price : 7 - 8
The price was a bit on the high side. there was the avg. price of the dish being in the range of 250-350, but this is a substantial dish and does not require anything else to go with it.

Overall: 9
with all the factors combined, i felt this was a rather authentic italian experience. the music, layout, and ambiance was nice. the restrooms were clean and functional, and the kitchen was well laid out, with high stress on hygine. i did get to go into the kitchen as we were the last people to be there (they were closing by the time we finished dinner) and i was quite impressed with many things.

Do go there if you find the time, and want to eat some nice food! we had a nice chat with the head chef Carlo who is italian.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

why are we here?

in the relm of life, there exist certain instances that we invariably think. stop to think. stop. think. what makes us real? what is the line that defines a person who is artistic and one who is autistic? what drives a person mad? what makes them think?

why are we here? why is it that we go about living? existing in the quantum of energy, abundance of natural resources, yet, nothing is reachable. all is kept under lock and key!

i guess today is one of those days when i am just feeling really low. the low points in my life! lowlife!

well, c'est la vie!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

what can i say.....?

Ø Regular naps prevent old age... especially if you take them while driving.

Ø Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.

Ø Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is the husband!

Ø I believe we should all pay our tax with a smile. I tried - but they wanted cash

Ø A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new school uniforms.

Ø Don't feel bad. A lot of people have no talent

Ø Don't marry the person you want to live with, marry the one you cannot live without,,, but whatever you do, you'll regret it later.

Ø You can't buy love . . . but you pay heavily for it

Ø Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.

Ø Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired

Ø Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway.

Ø My wife and I always compromise. I admit I'm wrong and she agrees with me.

Ø Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others.

Ø Ladies first. Pretty ladies sooner.

Ø A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Ø You're getting old when you enjoy remembering things more than doing them.

Ø It doesn't matter how often a married man changes his job, he still ends up with the same boss.

Ø Real friends are the ones who survive transitions between address books.

Ø Saving is the best thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you.

Ø Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something

Ø They call our language the mother tongue because the father seldom gets to speak!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Processing thoughts

Processing thoughts

End of Web 2.0

it is interesting to note that doomsdayers and soothesayers invariably try and predict the fall of a particular service, or phenomenon. They would have recieved a much needed moral boost with them predicting the dot com bust.
I guess the bust was a case of economics and chaos, and that when the two come together, they are like oil and water. You cannot hope to implement a "business plan" on a system that is built from chaos, unless in the chaotic system, there is a form of semblance to sanity. a surviver, but why? because they streamlined the web within the portal. all links were inside the portal to various other parts, selling, cross selling and upselling. However, any other portal needed 1. information from somwhere else, revenues from somewhere else, and found it difficult to keep people on the site because links were leading to : somewhere else.
Wiki's and blogs however are a system that require no investment, no advertising, and there is no "economic" model based on this.I would relate this to iPods' disruptive innovation.
More importantly, wiki's and blogs do not try and tame chaos, they are chaos as well. a butterfly flapping its wing sets off a ripple effect. bloggers start writing, and posting. millions of posts in all directions.
It cannot die.

the news from china

I came across the google site, that had the headline "Al-qaida in Iraq names new leader", so i click on it, and i am taken to "china" now, this is true globalizaiton where china is taking over where news first breaks from china as opposed to CNN or BBC!

VoIP Gear

VoIP Gear

Thursday, June 01, 2006



Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may
be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with
all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud
and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for
always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your
achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career,
however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of
trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons
strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be
yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the
grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the
things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not
distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and
loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are
a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a
right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the
universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And
whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep
peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is
still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

--- Max Ehrmann, 1927
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